Unpaid internships: The most precarious work of all

Unpaid internships that last months or even years make up the most unstable part of an increasingly precarious workforce, which accounts for almost half of employment in the GTA and Hamilton….“You won’t find the word ‘intern’ in our employment laws at all. It’s an industry term,” said David Doorey, professor of employment law at York University, in the Toronto Star March 5. “There seems to be a widely held belief that an employer avoids our basic employment law rules simply by labelling someone an intern. That’s wrong.” Read full story.

Nazi labour camps more widespread than thought, new research shows
As time passes and memories of the war recede, the new research is an effective reminder of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, said Sara Horowitz, director of the Koschitzky Centre for Jewish Studies at York University, in the Toronto Star March 4. “I don’t think we lose the capacity to be shocked, but sometimes I think the general public, they think, ‘Yes, yes, we know all about it,’ ” she said. “The main point is the intricate web that was woven by the genocidal machinery in Nazi Germany.” Read full story.

Sanctioned sex club events and Israeli Apartheid Week have some university students angry over what their money funds
It’s a frustration that’s been echoed by students elsewhere. Why is their money going to support controversial events, such as Israeli Apartheid Week or the “Epic Sex Club Adventure” recently hosted by the student-funded Sexual Education Centre at the University of Toronto?…York University political science Professor David J. McNally does not see a problem with student unions involving themselves in controversy so long as there is fair room for discussion and debate. “Students are not hermetically sealed from the wider society and its politics and to me it would be frankly bizarre if young people, the people who are going to inherit our society…and their elected bodies didn’t take stands on such issues,” he said in the National Post March 2. Read full story.

Lessons learned
Most companies say they will not sponsor overseas candidates, citing burdensome, lengthy immigration processes among the biggest barriers. The federal government’s plans to fast-track the entry of skilled foreign workers when there’s demand for their specific talents will help matters, but it’s only part of the solution. In the long term, a successful labour force strategy will need to rely on life-long training and a greater emphasis on “soft skills”, says Allan Middleton, executive director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre and professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. “I tell people what they’re learning will not survive relevance for more than five years, so they have to take charge of their own learning,” he said in the Financial Post March 5. Read full story.

Unwelcome to Canada: We’re setting immigration records, but it’s nothing we should trumpet
Canada has a long-standing tradition of welcoming newcomers, said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, “but…immigration must meet our national economic, cultural and social needs in a highly effective manner.”…This attempt to micro-manage the immigrant flow for economic purposes is full of pitfalls, especially if the overall immigrant level is to be kept under control. Allan Middleton, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, identified one of the pitfalls: “If you hold the total immigration numbers, increase qualifications and squeeze out the bottom end, that’s a formula for a low-population-growth economy with inflation of wage rates at every level,” he said in the Financial Post March 5. Read full story.

Does your compensation committee need a reset?
“Executive pay practices are in the news on a regular basis. Just in the past few weeks, after meeting with investors, the performance metrics for Citigroup were changed following a failed say on pay vote a year ago. Yesterday, it was reported that Apple has required executives to hold triple their salary in stock. The heat is now on compensation committees – who approve and set executive pay – more than ever before,” wrote York Professor Richard Leblanc in the Huffington Post March 1. “Academic institutions are also keeping up, training our next generation of executives and directors on the rapidly changing terrain of best compensation governance practices and shareholder accountability.” Read full story.

Christy Clark to meet with caucus today
The premier has the cabinet support, but can she depend on caucus? Christy Clark faces rank-and-file Liberal MLAs tonight in Victoria….York University political scientist Dennis Pilon says with cabinet support locked up, he doesn’t expect caucus to challenge her leadership. “It would be very unlikely to see a leader dumped at this point… the party doesn’t want to go there,” explained Pilon in News1130 March 4. Read full story.