All Posts Tagged With: "labour"
Skills mismatch may mean 1.5 million vacancies by 2016
On a recent February evening, Karl Eve received an emergency call from a restaurant owner in Canmore, Alta. The busy eatery had suddenly found itself with no hot water, even though the basement hot water tanks appeared to be working fine. A plumber with 10 years’ experience, Eve eventually traced the problem to a malfunctioning dishwasher and got the hot water flowing again—much to the owner’s relief.
It’s the sort of detective work Eve says he loves about his job. He also likes that his plumbing business, which he runs with his wife in nearby Exshaw, provides his family with a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. But it was a career he very nearly missed. Never a fan of textbooks, Eve ended up toiling in a southern Ontario gypsum mine after high school. It was only after moving to Alberta years later that he considered a career in the trades. A chance meeting at a church potluck led to a ride-along with a local plumber and, ultimately, an apprenticeship. “I discovered there was a lot to learn, especially when it came to math,” Eve says of his four years of training, which included eight weeks a year in a classroom. “The amount of education was very surprising to me, but in a positive way. I grasped it with both hands, so to speak.”
Eve’s story is more rare than it should be in Canada. Many consider the trades to be low-paying, go-nowhere jobs, if they consider them at all. But it’s a perception not grounded in reality, as Eve’s healthy hourly rate of $90 to $135 suggests. Nor is it one Canada can afford to maintain. Numerous studies warn Canada is facing a massive shortage of skilled workers over the next few decades as millions of baby boomers hit retirement age and exit the workforce.
Colleges create programs in response to industry demand
Amy Gordon was in the middle of completing her second university degree when she decided to go to college instead. Gordon already had a degree in biology from the University of Alberta, and was studying chemical engineering at the University of Calgary. “I was getting really tired of learning lecture-style theory. I had an itch to get more hands-on and learn more,” says the 29-year-old.
So she left U of C, and is now nearing the end of a two-year diploma program in instrumentation engineering at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton. Gordon has been getting the hands-on training she wanted in labs supported by—and named after—Spartan Controls Ltd. The company has poured about $8-million worth of equipment into the program since 2007, essentially creating labs that replicate what it’s like to work in a refinery, giving students access to training on new technology.
What students are talking about today (February 22nd)
1. Students at Brandon University were excited for some metal after KISS frontman Gene Simmons posted earlier this month on his website that the band would play July 18th in the Wheat City. Both The Quill and the Brandon Sun reported the news but now the date has now disappeared from Simmons’ website and it’s unclear whether they’re even coming. This may not seem like a big deal to most of us, but it shows how desperate students in small cities are for entertainment.
2. Here’s disturbing news. Daniel Younis, 24, was Recruiting Coordinator and Running Back coach for the York University Lions football team when he was arrested this month for luring a child under 18 and attempting to make child pornography following Internet chats with a 16-year-old boy.
What students are talking about today (February 19th)
1. Brandon University student Mason Kaluzniak left this weekend’s basketball game with free tuition to his Manitoba school. In the season’s final Shoot-out for Tuition contest he was drawn at random and asked to either take a half-court shot himself or assign it to someone else. He choose to give Bobcats Head Coach Gil Cheung a try, who sunk it and won the big prize for Kaluzniak. The video has been shared around the globe and has more than 1.3 million views on YouTube.
2. University of British Columbia Athletics has mandated sensitivity training for 29 student athletes who participated in the @UBCDimeWatch Twitter account that surfaced in 2012, reports The Ubyssey. DimeWatch posted creepy photos of UBC women—a “dime” is slang for a female with looks that are ‘a perfect 10′—and disappeared after being linked to a hockey player in October. Eight of the 29 were deemed in breach of the Student Code of Conduct and some have been suspended from their teams. Athletics isn’t releasing names, however. Litsa Chatzivasileiou, a gender instructor, criticized that choice. “I don’t understand why there’s so much secrecy behind it,” she told The Ubyssey. “If you don’t publicize this, the broader community still feels unsafe.”
3. Here’s another creepy story. A hidden camera was discovered in a co-ed washroom at Queen’s University’s Victoria Hall on Feb. 13, reports the Queen’s Journal. The camera was disguised as a towel hook inside a shower. It was removed, all other residence washrooms were checked and Kingston Police are investigating. No Secure Digital card was found in the camera and an e-mail to staff said it would be “inappropriate” to disclose whether any images were found by police.
4. Students at St. Francis Xavier University are back in class today after a three-week strike that started on Jan. 28. The tentative deal for staff includes an eight per cent salary increase over four years and improvements to job security and health benefits for part-time contract workers and full-time employees, according to CTV News. The student union is already looking for some kind of compensation for missed time. The deal includes five teaching days added to the school year.
5. The University of Regina has opened 10 gender-neutral washrooms on campus by tacking signs on wheelchair accessible single-stall bathrooms that read: “This washroom may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression.” Mikayla Schultz, president of the TransSask Support Services, supported the partly symbolic change. Schultz is undergoing a gender transition and told CBC News that the women’s washroom was never comfortable. Other universities in Canada, including the University of Victoria, have a limited number of gender-neutral stalls.
Students pay the price for high compensation
As Canadian universities continue to pay the most generous compensation to their professors in the world, something is going to have to give. Mix this with pensions that are sometimes worth more than the paycheque of professors in the U.S. and U.K. and it’s a recipe for budgetary disaster.
St. Francis Xavier University is the most recent university staff to go on strike, cancelling classes for more than 4,000 students. Pay and the contracting of term professors are some of the justifications offered by the Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT).
According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 report, assistant professors at St. FX made a median of $74,377 in 2010-11 while full professors earned a median of $123,673. The average assistant professor’s salary nationwide was $91,035 and the average full professor’s salary was $143,366. That’s far higher than most Canadians will ever earn.
As the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance reported in a 2011 study, new funds for teaching staff there are mostly going to current professors, so it’s not as if students are benefiting.
See the 20 occupations with projected worker shortages
Much has been written about the plight of the recent university graduate. She is over-educated, underemployed, and staring down an uncertain job market; the promise of a stable position was the last generation’s reality, not hers.
A newly-released report from the American non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests almost half of all graduates work in jobs for which they are overqualified.
In Canada, the situation doesn’t seem quite as dire, but during the last year for which there are numbers, 2006, about one in four university-educated workers was in a position that didn’t require a degree. As Chris Sorensen and Charlie Gillis pointed out in “The New Underclass”, this proportion is believed to be even higher now.
But there must be jobs somewhere, right? In 2011, The Canadian Occupational Projection System (administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) developed a detailed, 10-year labour market projections report that focuses on the estimated trends in labour supply and demand between 2011 and 2020.
Broken into occupational groups, the report determines which jobs are projected to have an excess of positions and which will have an excess of workers. The chart below details 20 of the occupations expected to see the greatest worker shortages between now and 2020. Note: They are not the positions where there are the most jobs, but the areas in which the chances of getting a job (due to the number of job openings exceeding the number of job seekers) are greater. Interestingly, only three require university-level education.
While the projections provide hope for some, they also reveal occupations for which the number of job seekers far outweigh the number of positions. To those seeking employment in the following fields (just to name a few): consider becoming a tailor.
- Management in communication.
- Managers in art, culture, recreation and sport.
- Physical science professionals.
- Athletes, coaches, etc.
- Machine operators and related works in pulp and paper production, wood processing, and workers in fabric, fur and leather.
- Machining, metalworking, woodworking and related machine operators.
Classes cancelled as professors picket over pay
“We want to reclaim this university,” says St. Francis Xavier Association of University Teachers president Peter McInnis. That’s the message that faculty members carried as they took to the picket lines Monday commencing an unprecedented strike at the campus in Antigonish, N.S.
After eight months of talks, the administration and union failed to reach an agreement on pay and other issues. In the last round of bargaining faculty proposed a 9.3 per cent wage increase over three years, according to the AUT. The administration offered 6.2 per cent over four years.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2011 report, assistant professors at St. FX made a median of $74,377 in 2010-11 while full professors earned a median of $123,673. The average assistant professor’s salary nationwide was $91,035 and the average full professor’s salary was $143,366.
Professors, lab instructors, librarians and writing center workers all hit the pavement at 7:30 a.m. Monday forcing the postponement of classes for the foreseeable future and causing uncertainty for the school’s more than 4,000 students.
What students are talking about today (January 3rd)
1. Canada Goose coats are a staple on cold Canadian campuses, but an a new campaign is trying to make them unfashionable. Furtrimisatrap.com, an activist website, says that coyotes are “stolen from their families and homes, these sensitive, intelligent animals often spend hours or even days stuck in cruel traps where common injuries include broken bones and teeth, gashed eyes and severe internal bleeding.” Kevin Spreekmeester, Vice President of Global Marketing of the Toronto-based company,* defended the product to the Winnipeg Free Press, saying Canada Goose is proud to support the people of the north “for whom [trapping] is their livelihood.” He also notes that coyotes are not endangered and that their fur protects against frostbite.
2. Green Party leader and MP Elizabeth May knows a thing or two about hunger strikes, having mounted one for 17 days in 2001 while demanding the government move families living near the Sydney tar ponds in Cape Breton. Now she tells iPolitics.ca that Attawapiskat chief Theresa Spence, on Day 24 of her hunger strike, should meet with Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, whom Spence has refused to see since starting her starvation diet on Victoria Island on Dec. 11. Spence has said she will not eat until Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of the Crown agree to a “nation-to-nation” meeting to discuss treaties. Meanwhile, a two-week old rail blockade by Aboriginal protesters in Sarnia, Ont. has ended. However, the tone of the “Idle No More” debate is getting uglier. After John Ivision at the National Post dared call Spence “hapless,” Gerald Taiaiake Alfred—a political science professor at the University of Victoria—responded by calling him a “racist p—k” and threatened to kick his “immigrant ass” back to Scotland.
Study shows which occupations are in high, low demand
A CIBC report released Monday suggests Canada’s economic prosperity is at risk due to a labour market split that sees high-demand positions go unfilled while lower-skilled workers languish in unemployment.
“We have people without jobs and jobs without people,” said author and deputy economist Benjamin Tal.
The mismatch of companies unable to hire and people unable to find work is “simply big enough to impact the economy as a whole, our productivity, our potential growth and therefore our standard of living in the future,” Tal said.
The CIBC report breaks down the labour market divide into 25 “have” and 20 “have-not” occupations.
It says the health and science fields, natural resources extraction, plumbing, social work, psychology and even the clergy are among the sectors that have openings, but not the people to fill them.
SAIT’s two-drink limit, bedbugs & Transgender Day
1. In case you needed more evidence that binge drinking is a pervasive problem on Canadian campuses consider this: SAIT in Calgary is imposing a new rule on the student-owned pub that limits patrons to two drinks before 3 p.m. and outlaws mid-day shooters, reports CBC.
2. Ryerson is the latest school to deal with a bedbug epidemic in student residences. The university has eight confirmed cases so far this year, reports The Ryersonian. As Maclean’s discovered two years ago, the problem is fairly common across Canada. Here are five things you should know about these biting beasts.
3. Despite the fact that Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza, celebrated the bombing of a city bus in Tel Aviv that injured 22 people, a cease-fire with Israel was announced Wednesday in Cairo.
There are more options than ever, but they come at a price
This story is from the 132-page Maclean’s University Rankings, on sale now.
Katie Cvitkovitch, a second-year nutrition student at Ryerson University in Toronto, knows how to spot a healthy meal. One evening in September, she assessed the options in the dining hall on the first floor of Pitman Hall residence. For $13.25, she could buy a grilled chicken-breast sandwich, a side garden salad with fat-free dressing and a bottle of diet iced tea. It cost the same as the deadlier deep-fried version, with fries and a Sprite. As a former vegan, Cvitkovitch was pleased to see vegan shepherd’s pie beside the meat- and-potatoes version. Even the Tim Hortons on campus carries a vegan wrap. Cvitkovitch gives Ryerson’s food a high rating.
Her classmate Deanna Chong, also in nutrition, gives Ryerson decent marks too. She had no trouble finding a balanced meal: a turkey wrap, milk and a melon cup for $14.28. (Those with meal cards pay five to 15 per cent less.)
Still, neither student eats much at the campus dining halls or fast-food outlets run by Ryerson Food Services, the main food provider on campus. “Lunch is like 10 bucks and dinner is like 15,” says Cvitkovitch, “so that’s $25 a day that I don’t have.” A student who managed to spend $5 less daily for one academic year would save roughly $1,000.
Universities once had a reputation for offering unhealthy food, and not enough choice. But as the heat lamps and deep fryers are replaced with vegan alternatives and halal meats, some students say they have a new problem: it’s too expensive to eat on campus. Whether food is provided in-house (via a combination of school-owned franchises and old-style dining halls) or contracted out to a single institutional provider, universities are finding it difficult to meet the multitude of demands while also keeping prices in check. Continue reading The new beef with campus food
A fake medical student, a fake gun & Dalton McGuinty
1. After nine years as premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty stepped down last night and prorogued the legislature. By 9 p.m., the newspapers had stories suggesting he’ll run for the federal Liberals against Justin Trudeau. Paul Wells writes that he would be astonished by that. “But then, McGuinty has already astonished me once tonight,” he adds. Wells explores the Teflon Premier’s legacy and examines a (possibly) telling recent speech.
2. A man rejected from medical school at New Zealand’s Auckland University decided to go anyway. He spent two years attending classes, labs, and hospital placements and was only caught when a classmate put his name on a group assignment.
3. A 28-year-old woman who was walking to the University of Windsor Monday was told by a man carrying a fake gun to hand over a computer bag. The woman described the gun as “two sticks taped together.” The University of Windsor Campus Police arrested and charged a 21-year-old.
Voyeur arrested, three-year degrees & pipeline politics
1. Canada added 52,100 jobs in September, which is not bad at all. The unemployment rate edged up to 7.4 per cent, but only because more people were looking for work. The job gains were concentrated in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba. Men, whose prospects had diminished most during the 2009 recession, did well too. Also good news: the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 per cent after 114,000 jobs were added in September.
2. Police in London, Ont. have arrested Bradley Priestap, 47, who they suspect committed a series of crimes near Western University. The suspect has a history of other convictions. He faces 17 counts, including trespassing and breaking and entering to commit voyeurism.
3. The Ontario government is considering an overhaul in post-secondary education and one of the ideas floated is three-year degrees. Many observers were quick to oppose the idea, but Ontario’s colleges say they would be happy to provide them. See their argument here.
Uncomfortable washrooms, tuition, & angry naked folks
1. Some students at the University of Victoria are uncomfortable with the new “multi-stall gender inclusive washrooms” in the Student Union Building. The student union got rid of the old man-woman divide by renovating urinals and changing the gendered signs to show just a toilet. The goal is to make life more comfortable for transgender students. I guess one person’s comfort is another person’s discomfort sometimes.
2. The new Mattamy Athletic Centre at the Gardens (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) is sponsored by Molson Coors. There are multiple beer ads and beer is for sale in the concession. While hockey fans are saying “thank God,” other people apparently have a problem with it. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy, true to form, has a pragmatic response: “you can sneeze and be within 40 paces of the Gardens and have alcohol, so how am I supposed to police things?,” he told The Eyeopener, adding, “I consider the students adults and I trust them to make judgments.”
3. Two University of Regina students are seeking sanctuary in a church after the Canada Border Services Agency decided to deport them to Nigeria because they illegally worked for two weeks at Walmart. U of R President Vianne Timmons is lobbying the government to allow them to stay.
The streets are quiet but plenty is happening
The nightly demonstrations against the Quebec government that crippled Montreal in the spring have dwindled to nearly nothing this summer. But that doesn’t mean nothing is happening. Here are three important updates from the past few days:
1. Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUC), says that protesting students are now focused on defeating the Liberal government in the next election. (She also says the “strike” will resume when classes start up at 14 junior colleges (CEGEPs) and some universities on Aug. 17.) Pundits expect Premier Jean Charest to call a September election. At least the students and the government can agree on one thing—it will take an election to settle the dispute. See The Gazette.
You’re not alone
It’s a tough summer to find jobs, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. Among Canadians aged 15 to 24 who were planning to return to full-time studies in the fall, only 58.9 per cent were employed in May. That’s down from 60.8 per cent in May, 2011. The good news? At least things aren’t as bad as they were during the Great Recession. In May, 2009 only 56.3 per cent of students were employed. If you’re struggling yourself, these 10 Summer Job Search Tips may apply. It may also be time to consider unglamorous work, despite what these Alberta students say.
Esteemed law professor Mary Eberts thinks so
Mary Eberts was a junior law professor at the University of Toronto in 1974 when she told her colleagues she planned to miss the July 8 faculty meeting to help get out the vote for Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Their reaction was bewilderment. Professors weren’t often politically involved.
Eberts got her day off and then left U of T in 1980 to join a Bay Street Firm. She remained an activist, giving her time to organizations like the Native Women’s Association of Canada.
Now she’s back in the academy as the Ariel Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan. Three decades after her first academic job, she says it’s just as difficult for professors to get involved in civil society and speak out about their political beliefs. She argues Canadians are losing their expertise as a result.
I sat in on her talk at Congress 2012, Canada’s largest gathering of Humanities and Social Sciences, in Waterloo, Ont. (click to see a recording) and then I interviewed her in her house in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. Here’s what she said about why professors so often stay silent, why she believes they shouldn’t, and how to square civic activism with their roles as teachers.
Should professors step up and engage more in civic life, even when it’s politically controversial?
I did seven too and I’m not suing anyone (unlike this girl)
Diana Wang, a university graduate from Ohio, is suing Harper’s Bazaar after her dream internship with the fashion magazine turned into a nightmare.
Wang’s bosses wanted her free labour for at least 10 hours daily. Worse, a mean superior falsely accused her of not sending some hats to a photo shoot in Europe, she told CBC’s The Current.
Since Wang wasn’t in school, wasn’t getting supervised training and wasn’t getting paid, she says the internship was illegal. (That type of internship may technically be illegal here too.)
Needless to say Wang didn’t realize her childhood goal of becoming a fashion writer in New York City. Her other six internships didn’t get her much farther. She went on to work at a call centre far from NYC. Suffice it to say, she’s pissed.
John Geddes on Montréal
I admit I’ve always felt ambivalent about mass youth protest. I came along just after the Sixties generation, you see, and so my undergrad years fell in the early 1980s. My demographic coterie had heard about enough from our older siblings, high school teachers, and younger professors about changing the world by taking to the streets. It was getting a bit stale and sentimental. Pierre had rediscovered the virtues of a decent haircut. Phony Beatlemania had, we were given to believe, bitten the dust.
By the time the next round of serious street demos rolled around with the anti-globalization movement that hit the news big time with 1999’s “Battle of Seattle,” we were way past donning gas masks. Last year’s Occupy encampments forced some of us to alter our preferred dog-walking routes. I touch on all this to candidly frame the way I’ve watched, from afar, the Montréal protests: I can’t see my younger self in the images. So if my perspective seems detached to those, say, a decade older or younger than my 50 years, I think that could be partly a matter of my lack of nostalgia.
An in-depth look at the nightly protests in Montreal
For the last month, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Montreal in what might be described as a schizophrenic display of righteous, pacifist outrage and opportunistic violence. Beginning at about 8 p.m. every night since late April, they gather at Place Émilie-Gamelin, a squared-off chunk of grass and outsized public chessboards formerly best known as downtown Montreal’s go-to spot for public drunkenness and illicit drugs. From there, the crowd marches off in a direction chosen by whoever happens to be in front. Purposefully, no one knows where the protest march is going.