Showing posts from April 5, 2016

Canada’s head bureaucrat makes mental health in the workplace a top priority

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[On the one hand it's hard to disagree with any effort to address the long-ignored issue of workplace mental health. On the other, is this simply a push to get workers to adjust and adapt to objectively rotten circumstances? Employers concern themselves with employee well being to the degree that it reduces sick day expenses and makes workers more 'tractable'. *RON*]
Kathryn May, National Post, 4 April 2016
Canada’s top bureaucrat is making mental health in the workplace a top management priority in this year’s performance contracts for all deputy ministers.

Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick has notified deputy ministers that they will be assessed on the health and well-being of their departments. That means a portion of their performance pay will be tied to how well their departments are faring in building a “respectful” workplace.

It’s the second year in a row that the public service’s top bureaucrat has made mental health a managem…

Push For NDP To Embrace Leap Manifesto Intensifies Ahead Of Party's Convention

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[The LEAP manifesto is the most recent of several overall action agendas that have been proposed for the NDP over the years. Since the article doesn't provide one here is a link to the Leap Manifesto. It was basically Naomi Klein's baby but, oddly, both this article and the web site studiously avoid saying this. In any case it's worth a look - it's a good general statement of intent, direction and strategy. In my view it's what the NDP should have been saying in the last election. *RON*]
By Kristy Kirkup, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 4 April 2016

OTTAWA — Backers of the radical "Leap Manifesto" have a plan to push their agenda to the forefront of the NDP's convention later this week.

The manifesto calls for dramatic change, urging a transition away from fossil fuels, a rejection of new pipelines, and an upending of the capitalist system on which the economy is based.

Leading left-wing thinkers released the …

Trudeau: Liberal Party Should Be Open Movement Without Memberships

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[Quite a contrast to the Conservatives; it also speaks to who the Conservatives see as their base. "While the Liberals look to further open up their party to all comers, the Conservatives are going in the opposite direction. For the current Tory leadership contest, only those who've been party members for six months will be eligible to vote, and the membership fee has been hiked to $25." *RON*]
By Joan Bryden, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 3 April 2016

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau is pushing a proposed new constitution for the Liberal Party of Canada aimed at transforming the federal party from an exclusive club into a wide-open political movement.

The proposal, adopted Saturday by the party's national board during a three-hour meeting with the prime minister in Halifax, would do away entirely with the long-held principle that only dues-paying, card-carrying members are entitled to take part in party activities.

Indeed, there would …

These New Co-op Apps Show How to Build Worker Power In the Age of Uber

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[The real sharing economy. People are using the Internet and information technology in general to come up with new, cooperative models of work. In the apps of the “platform cooperativism” movement, workers share in the profits. *RON*]

By Tom Ladendorf, In These Times, 21 March 2016

A new movement called “platform cooperativism” hopes to harness the power of tech to democratize the economy and advance labor rights.

For many labor activists, “tech” has become a dirty word. While Silicon Valley extols the virtues of the “sharing economy,” critics argue that platforms like Uber and Airbnb allow investors to reap profits by circumventing labor law and ripping off workers.

But what if workers owned the apps? A new movement called “platform cooperativism” hopes to harness the power of tech to democratize the economy and advance labor rights.

In response to the proliferation of app-based services, some unions have begun trying to make inroads with Uber driv…

B.C. seniors home fires 150 employees — its entire staff — as it blames years of underfunding

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[Gosh, Premier Clark, thank you so-o-o-o much for a balanced budget! It's so important that fiscally prudent VIPs be in charge of things. *RON*]

By Canadian Press, The Province, 4 April 2016

NANAIMO, B.C. — A seniors-care home on Vancouver Island is laying off its entire staff thanks to what the facility’s operator calls years of chronic underfunding from the region’s health authority.

More than 150 employees at Wexford Creek Care Home in Nanaimo, B.C., ranging from nurses to care aides, received pink slips on Friday.

There is a 150-resident capacity at the facility, where services range from complex care to private, assisted living.

A statement from the centre’s operator, the Edmonton-based Good Samaritan Society, says the care home reported $2.6 million in losses over the past eight years.

The statement says Wexford Creek will be sold to an unnamed third party, which will be responsible for hiring its own workers, and that staffing changes…

Panama Papers: A game of hide and seek using shell companies

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[Combines a bit of a primer on the reasons why people use tax havens and the approaches they use with a listing of some of the countries and names involved. See also: Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak. *RON*]

Christina Pellgrini, Globe and Mail, 5 April 2016

The Panama Papers are a trove of 11.5 million leaked documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that has been retained by politicians and business leaders around the world to channel money beyond their countries’ borders and into tax havens through the creation of offshore accounts. These files, which have not been viewed by The Globe and Mail, are said to expose how the world’s elite move cash from place to place – and where the money stops in between. So far, the full extent of the allegations is not clear. While wealthy people may hold their funds in an offshore account, there isn’t necessarily anything illegal about it. Often, what is illegal is w…