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New workplace challenge combats sedentary behaviour in the office

March 24, 2017

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, along with Paul Estey, Chief Innovation Officer of Public Inc. announced the launch of Sit Kicker. Sit Kicker is a nationwide initiative focused on encouraging Canadians who work in office settings to reduce sedentary behaviour and "kick the sit" out of their work habits by shifting workplace culture towards more stand-friendly physical work environments. Sit Kicker will encourage employees to participate in a four-week challenge to interrupt sitting every half hour and stand more often. Participating workplaces will be provided with a Sit Kicker tool-kit that includes portable stand-up desks for use with laptops, tablets, phones or other office devices, a companion iPhone/Android Sit Kicker app that enables workers to track their standing time, as well as posters, stickers and other workplace supports. The program is designed to inspire participants to transfer the knowledge, experience and less sedentary habits gained from the Sit Kicker initiative to other parts of their life.



More than half of Canadian managers are annoyed by untidy workspaces

March 23, 2017

Is it time to spring clean your messy desk? More than half of Canadian senior managers (51%) interviewed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said the most distracting or annoying aspect of employee workspaces is sloppiness or disorganization. Senior managers were asked, "Which one of the following, if any, is the most distracting or annoying when it comes to employee workspaces?" Their responses:

  • Having a messy or disorganized workspace (51%)
  • Having too many knickknacks or decorations (28%)
  • Displaying inappropriate or offensive photos or phrases (13%)
  • Having a workspace that's too clean or bare (7%)



MHCC releases implementation findings on National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

March 16, 2017

The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) released the findings of its three-year Case Study Research Project that tracked 40 Canadian organizations from various industries and sectors as they successfully implemented the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard). A global first, the Standard is a "made-in-Canada" set of guidelines, tools and resources to help employers promote mental health and prevent psychological harm at work. The Case Study Research Project findings identify promising practices and lessons learned from these organizations, representing 250,000 employees, which implemented the Standard in 2014. Key findings include:

  • Ninety-one percent of the organizations implemented the Standard because it is "the right thing to do". Other reasons included "to protect the psychological health of employees" (84%) and "increase employee engagement" (72%).
  • Seventy-eight percent implemented respectful workplace policies and educational initiatives.
  • Seventy percent provided early intervention through employee and family assistance programs and services addressing mental health.
  • Sixty-six percent enhanced awareness of mental health among employees.
  • Participating organizations achieved on average 72% compliance with the five elements (commitment and policy, planning, implementation, evaluation and corrective action, management review) in the Standard, a remarkable improvement from 55% compliance at the baseline stage.

In Canada alone, mental health problems and illnesses account for more than one-third of disability claims and two-thirds of disability costs. A recent Ipsos poll found the Standard could be a contributing factor to the overall improvement in the psychological health and safety of Canadian workplaces. For example, employees living with depression who work in an organization using the Standard are missing five fewer days each year from work, according to the survey.



Public input sought on Alberta’s workplace laws

March 15, 2017

Albertans are invited to participate in a review of the province’s labour legislation to ensure fair and family-friendly workplaces that support a strong economy. The review focuses on the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code, neither of which has undergone significant updates since 1988. These laws cover topics such as hours of work, overtime, general holidays, special leaves and collective bargaining rules. Some of Alberta’s workplace rules are currently out-of-step with the rest of Canada and these areas need to be reviewed.

The public is invited to provide their views and input on Alberta’s workplace laws until April 18, 2017. Albertans can find more information about how to get involved by visiting work.alberta.ca/leg-review. Government is seeking feedback on:

  • Maternity, parental and compassionate care leaves
  • Introducing leave for the care of critically ill children
  • Other job-protected leaves in relation to the federal Employment Insurance program
  • The collective bargaining process
  • Improving enforcement and administration

The reviews will include direct engagement with business and industry associations, trade unions and social agencies over the coming weeks.



Many Canadian workers face a growth gap: ADP Canada poll

March 15, 2017

Four out of ten (40%) working Canadians face a "Growth Gap," saying that their company rarely or never provides them with career development support. Almost equal numbers say they would leave and take a pay cut from another employer that offered better professional development opportunities. These are among the findings of the latest ADP Sentiment Survey, a research series that identifies Canadian workplace trends. Among the 39% who would leave and take a pay cut, almost one-quarter (23%) said they would take five percent less, and more than one in ten (12%) said they would take a 10% salary decrease. Smaller numbers would settle for up to, or more than 15% less pay (4% and 1% respectively).

When asked to explain the cause of their "Growth Gap" at work, the most common reason, cited by one-third of employed Canadians (33%), is that their company doesn't offer this type of support, which typically includes skills development programs, technical training, career mapping or mentoring. Almost two out of ten (19%) say they haven't asked for this type of support, while 14% feel they aren't senior enough to receive it. Close to one in ten (9%) say their boss doesn't have time to address their needs in this respect.



Women for Nature announces Young Leadership Grant call for applications

March 15, 2017

Women for Nature are leaders who care deeply about nature and want to inspire others to make a difference. In particular, they want to encourage, foster and nurture youth (under 30) to demonstrate their leadership for nature. To that end, Women for Nature have established a grant/bursary for a young person to develop and implement a project inspired by some of the objectives in the recently published Nature Playbook. This Women for Nature sponsored grant of $1,000 will support project implementation in the year 2017, in celebration of the role that nature has played in our Canadian culture and identity. Interested applicants should submit either a two page essay or a short video outlining their proposed project. Project ideas will be evaluated by a Women for Nature Grant Bursary Committee based on the following. The deadline for submissions is 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) on March 31st of 2017. Click here for additional eligibility requirements.



Survey suggests Canadian executives aren't making employee engagement a priority

March 14, 2017

Employees' personal commitment to the job is a crucial factor in an organization's success. Yet new research from global staffing firm Robert Half suggests Canadian executives aren't making it a priority. While over half (52%) of CFOs interviewed think their workers are more engaged on the job compared to three years ago, 88% are not concerned about the level of commitment. Recent findings from a separate study help to underscore the point that executives should not take employee engagement — or loyalty — for granted: About one-third of professionals surveyed for a study on worker satisfaction and engagement from Robert Half and Happiness Works indicated that they are considering leaving their jobs in the next six months.



New $10,000 prize helps conservation heroes in financial need

March 13, 2017

Nominations are now open for the inaugural $10,000 Glen Davis Conservation Leadership Prize to honour the slain philanthropist, and to reward a conservation hero in financial need. The Prize was established by WWF-Canada and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society to be given for the first time on the 10th anniversary year of Glen Davis's death in May, 2017. The Prize will help a worthy candidate do things such as pay the rent and buy groceries, recognizing that conservation activists often experience financial hardship in order to do what they do. The successful candidate will have the one of following characteristics:

  • Played a key role in bringing — or being on the cusp of bringing — meaningful protections to identifiable land or marine ecosystems in Canada.
  • Or led a foundational initiative regarding species or spaces that leaves Canada measurably better off.
  • Have a demonstrated personal financial need.

Nominations accepted at wwf.ca/glendavis until 5 p.m. ET Monday May 1, 2017. Winner announced May 18, 2017.



Congratulations to the nonprofits included in the 2017 BC's Top Employers list

March 9, 2017

Whether you're a weekend warrior, cycling enthusiast or an occasional yogi, BC's leading employers go out of their way to make sure employees' health and lifestyle choices are supported in the workplace. Their HR programs and policies reflect a unique West Coast culture, which creates a highly productive and engaged workforce. The best of these initiatives were recognized today as winners of the BC's Top Employers competition for 2017 were announced by Mediacorp Canada Inc., the publishing firm that manages the annual Canada's Top 100 Employers project. CharityVillage would like to congratulate the nonprofit organizations and charities who made this year's list!



For persons with disabilities in Canada, education is not always an open door: CHRC report

March 9, 2017

People with disabilities in Canada are facing overwhelming barriers and challenges within our schools, says Canada's human rights watchdog in a new study released today. In a report, entitled Left Out: The treatment of persons with disabilities in Canada's education system, the Canadian Human Rights Commission finds that persons with disabilities in Canada are not receiving the quality education they need to later thrive and succeed in the workforce. Discrimination and the exclusion of persons with disabilities in employment has long been recognized as some of the most prevalent human rights issues in Canada. But what makes an already bad situation worse is that for persons with disabilities the odds are often already against them because of the barriers they face in school. The Commission's report highlights barriers and key issues facing students with disabilities, including a lack of disability accommodation and support, a lack of services and funding, as well as widespread bullying and exclusion. For people with disabilities living in remote areas or on First Nations reserves, the situation is even worse. They face the same barriers but with additional ones including a lack of special education and ineffective dispute resolution mechanisms.



The Canadian Photography Institute launches a $10,000 CAD Research Fellowship Program

March 7, 2017

Today, the Canadian Photography Institute of the National Gallery of Canada launched its first Research Fellowship Program, designed to encourage advanced research in the study of the history and criticism of photography. The program is open to photography specialists – historians, conservators, independent researchers and other professionals working in the visual arts, museology and related disciplines in the social sciences in Canada and across the world. Applications must be submitted by March 31, 2017.

The Fellowships involve full-time residencies at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa in order to study photographs in the context of other art media. Successful candidates will have access to curators, conservators, collections managers and archivist, as well as, the availability of world class conservation laboratories, storage vaults, exhibition space, and library resources. Each award is valued up to $10,000 CAD, which includes expenses and stipends.



Nominations open for Canada’s Volunteer Awards’ National Advisory Committee

February 28, 2017

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development announced the launch of a call for nominations to leaders from the not-for-profit, voluntary and business sectors to become members of the Canada’s Volunteer Awards’ (CVA) National Advisory Committee (NAC). The National Advisory Committee role is to recommend award recipients annually in partnership with the Government of Canada. Committee members ensure that Canadians are recognized for their contributions towards making a difference in their communities. Sumbit your nomination today to become a member of the Canada’s Volunteer Awards’ National Advisory Committee. Nominations will be accepted until Friday, March 17, 2017 (23:59 PT). The members of the National Advisory Committee will be announced in spring 2017.



BC minimum wage set to increase in September 2017

February 28, 2017

The BC government will increase the minimum wage by 50 cents to $11.35 an hour, effective September 15 of this year, according to a recent announcement. The daily rates for live-in home support workers and live-in camp leaders, as well as the monthly rates for resident caretakers will also increase proportionate to the general minimum hourly wage increases on the same date. More information on these rates will be made public in advance of Sept. 15.



Strong emotional intelligence is vital for the workplace, survey shows

February 23, 2017

Does EQ outweigh IQ when it comes to success in the workplace? Nearly all human resources (HR) managers (95%) and workers (99%) surveyed by staffing firm OfficeTeam said it's important for employees to have a high emotional quotient, or EQ, because it helps them manage their own emotions and understand and react to the emotions of others. Additional findings from the research:

  • More than one in five employees (21%) believe EQ is more valuable in the workplace than IQ. Nearly two-thirds (65%) said the two are equally important.
  • Most workers (92%) think they have strong emotional intelligence; slightly fewer (74%) believe their bosses do.
  • Three in 10 HR managers (30%) feel most employers put too little emphasis on emotional intelligence during the hiring process.
  • HR managers identified increased motivation and morale (43%) as the greatest benefit of having emotionally intelligent staff.
  • Reference checks (70%) were cited by HR managers as the most common way companies gauge job applicants' EQ, followed by behavioural-based interview questions (55%).
  • Forty percent of HR managers said soft skills, such as communication, problem-solving and adaptability, are more difficult to teach workers than technical abilities.
  • More than six in 10 employees (61%) admitted they've let emotions get the better of them in the office.
  • Eighty-six percent of workers said when a colleague doesn't control his or her emotions, it affects their perception of that person's level of professionalism.



Productivity decreases when senior managers leave, survey shows

February 21, 2017

Employee productivity can take a big hit when the boss leaves, a new survey shows. According to research from staffing firm Robert Half, both workers and CFOs believe having a vacant senior manager role has an adverse impact on the team's efficiency, though those in leadership (78%) are likelier to find it an even greater problem than staffers (69%). Decreased morale and motivation were the biggest reported causes of lost productivity among both groups, followed by concerns over increased workloads and fear about job security or relationships with the new boss.



Nominate an outstanding access to justice leader

February 16, 2017

The Law Foundation of Ontario is encouraging nominations for its signature Guthrie Award, which was created 1996 to honour Hugh Donald Guthrie, QC, a long-time member and Chair of the Foundation’s Board. This year the Foundation celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first time the award was presented. The 2017 Guthrie Award will once again recognize an access to justice champion. Past recipients have come from many directions – the judiciary, private bar, community legal clinics, and nonprofit organizations. They saw a chance to make a difference and took it. Guthrie recipients built bridges between youth and the justice system; advanced justice for Indigenous peoples; served women experiencing violence; and strengthened the community clinic system to assist people with low-incomes.

With the 2017 Guthrie Award, the Foundation hopes to recognize a champion who is actively engaged with the challenges and opportunities in today’s justice landscape – someone who has made a difference in the past and is also focused on the future. Nominations of individuals who have a significant and proven track record of furthering access to justice are being accepted until April 17, 2017. For details on the streamlined nomination process, visit lawfoundation.on.ca.



New survey shows where workers things managers need to improve

February 16, 2017

Strong communication skills are necessary at every career stage, but especially for those in leadership positions. In a new study from Robert Half Management Resources. However, one in three workers (35%) did not give their boss high marks in this area, reporting communication and diplomacy are where their managers most need improvement. Greater leadership (20%) and technical expertise (14%) ranked second and third, respectively, on professionals' wish lists.



Canada's top family-friendly employers for 2017 announced

February 16, 2017

It's not every day that employees feel like they have a powerful advocate to help balance their work and family commitments. But that's just what the nation's leading employers are doing, with the best among them offering a range of great benefits suited to employees at all stages of life. Canada's Top Family-Friendly Employers for 2017 were announced yesterday and the winners have set the bar, turning work-life balance into an important tool for recruitment and retention. The competition reviews a range of employment practices and policies, including: maternity, parental and compassionate leave; daycare assistance; reproductive assistance, including fertility drugs and IVF; adoption assistance; paid personal- and earned-days-off (EDO) programs; flexible work arrangements; and even academic bursaries for employees' children. CharityVillage would like to congratulate the nonprofit organizations and charities who were recognized on this year's list!



Study shows workers are happiest and least stressed in first year of job

February 7, 2017

For many professionals, that first year in a new job can be a "honeymoon period," full of new and exciting challenges. But a recent study from Robert Half and Happiness Works shows that professionals with between one and two years on the job are less happy, less interested in their work and more stressed than those still in their first year. After three years or more on the job, happiness levels edge back up and interest levels increase. In fact, those with the greatest tenure (21 years or more) showed the highest level of interest in their jobs. Although managers can take steps to create a happier work environment, they aren't the only ones who can fan the flames of employee happiness. When asked who's responsible for keeping spirits high on the job, 25% of North American workers surveyed said it was their responsibility alone. Another 5% said it was all in their company's hands. The majority of respondents – 70% – cited a combination of the two.



Applications open for paid Justice Fellowship for nonprofit leaders

February 7, 2017

The call for applications for The Law Foundation of Ontario’s Community Leadership in Justice Fellowships for the 2017/2018 or 2018/2019 academic terms is now open. The fellowship gives nonprofit leaders the opportunity to further their careers and their causes through a paid fellowship. It provides a professional development opportunity for leaders in the public sector and builds bridges between community and academia, leaving a lasting access to justice legacy for both. The opportunity is open to senior employees in public interest organizations who are dedicated to advancing access to justice. It allows recognized leaders in the public sector to spend all or part of an academic year at an Ontario university, law school, or college in a legal or justice studies related department (including but not limited to criminology, sociology, social work, political science, and law and society programs). The fellows plan and implement their individual projects, leading activities such as research, teaching, lectures, events, and collaborations. Candidates do not need to have a law degree. The Law Foundation of Ontario provides funding toward the cost of the fellow’s salary and for equipment and other program-related costs the academic host may need. The deadline for applications is April 29, 2017. For full details of the program criteria and application process, visit lawfoundation.on.ca.



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