A packed audience participated in Monday’s Bancroft Session, with Katherine Lippel, Canada Research Chair on Occupational Health and Safety Law, and Ellen MacEachen, Associate Professor University of Waterloo, reporting on the first phase of an ongoing study looking at precarious employment and return to work challenges in Québec and Ontario. Toronto Star labour reporter Sara Mojtehezadeh , 2017 recipient of the JHR/Canadian Association of Journalists Award for human rights reporting, spoke of her nine-month investigation into the working conditions of temp agency workers, while Willy Noiles, president of the Ontario Network of Injured Workers, recounted his lived experience dealing with the workers’ compensation system. Presentations were followed by the panellists’ discussion on the roles and interactions of researcher and reporter. The session was taped (to be available on the Centre for Research on Work Disability Policy Youtube channel).
Precarious work (including its impact on workers’ compensation) was also the topic this week of CBC Radio’s Ideas. According to former US Labor Standards Regulator David Weil, a “fissured workplace” where companies replace their workforce (other than executives and senior managers) with contract workers is increasingly becoming the new norm. It leaves these indirect employees with fewer — or no — health and safety benefits, job security, pension, decent pay and training – and is contributing to society’s widening income inequality. Currently the Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, Boston, he presents also policy options and state initiatives to address the linked issues. Listen to the episode and see a video of David Weil’s lecture on the fissured workplace delivered at the 2017 Labour Law Conference at Western University.