November 5, 2014

Yesterday, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz seemed to step in it with some comments he made to a House of Commons Standing Committee on Financing. Blogs and twitters are up in arms over his suggestion that out of work youth should just work for free, but judge for yourself:

Q:  We heard about the impact this recession has had on the labour market, youth unemployment and under-employment.  Just curious as to your assessment about the long-term impacts of that trend with less experience coming out of school and gaps in resumes, that kind of thing.

Mr. Poloz:  Yes, I’m very cognizant of that.  It’s why we’re bringing to bear this more diverse view of the labour market indicators, to capture exactly that kind of thing.  And it’s why we say, for instance, that the unemployment rate as it is today over-states the amount of improvement that we’ve actually had because in the background, there are discouraged worker effects and, of course, worker effects such as the youth who may not even be answering the phone when the survey takes place.

So we estimate around 200,000 of those.  And the problem, of course, is the longer this takes, then the more likely it is that a brand new graduate is more attractive to an employer and the folks that have been taking this thing hard and have not been able to engage in the workforce are scarred by it.  And that makes it harder for them to engage with a good match where they’re most productive.

So we know that the labour market does not deliver its fulsome outcomes with a high efficiency, the high productivity matching until it’s actually running pretty hot.  When it’s running cold like it is, it doesn’t.

So we have to be patient for that.  And when I bump into youths, they ask me, you know, “What am I supposed to do in a situation?”  I say, look, having something unpaid on your CV is very worth it because that’s the one thing you can do to counteract this scarring effect.  Get some real life experience even though you’re discouraged, even if it’s for free.  If your parents are letting you live in the basement, you might as well go out and do something for free to put the experience on your CV.

But anyway, our belief is that, over time, as the growth happens, there’s sort of a natural draw for those kids to get those new jobs.  The vast majority of those jobs that new recruits get are in new companies, young companies.  And we’re just beginning, I think, to have the right environment to get that.

So we have to be patient.

As the Jian Ghomeshi train keeps rolling along, CBC has announced that they have hired a prominent employment lawyer, Jancie Rubin, to conduct an independent internal investigation. Commenting on the challenges faced by Ms. Rubin is a familiar face around these parts, Stuart Rudner:

Still on the subject of Ghomeshi, word is out he’s hired a prominent criminal defence lawyer, Marie Henein. Last week, Henein was the emcee at a Criminal Lawyers Association gala dinner and made light of Ghomeshi (obviously hopefully prior to her retainer):

“As criminal lawyers we represent people who have committed heinous acts. Acts of violence. Acts of depravity. Acts of cruelty. Or as Jian Ghomeshi likes to call it, foreplay,” she said to the crowd of about 450 lawyers, including judges of both the provincial and superior court where his case might be heard if charges are laid.

She also joked that she and Eddie Greenspan, famed Canadian criminal lawyer and the evening’s keynote speaker, have worked together for many years. “Some criminal. Some regulatory. Some light BDSM.” Both jokes drew huge laughs from the crowd at the Ritz Carlton.

I couldn’t find the Jan Wong v. Globe and Mail decision yesterday, but it’s available on CanLII now:

The Calgary Herald’s “Work in Progress” series continues with Part 5 today:

On Monday, the Calgary Police Service introduced the public to the facial recognition technology they would be using in conjunction with officer-worn body cameras. Today, Alberta Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton announced her office would be conducting an investigation of the technology.

Three procedural decisions from the Alberta Human Rights Commission found their way on CanLII today:

  • The first time the AHRC has considered appointing a litigation representative for a complainant:
  • Ordering production of a complainant’s WCB file:
  • On thrown away costs:

It’s Take Your Kids to Work Day, apparently, and as of the time I’m writing this, the #kidstowork is trending on Twitter in Canada. Just a quick reminder that the Employment Standards Code imposes a bunch of extra obligations on employers of children so it may not be wise to have them help complete your TPS reports today (and don’t forget the new cover sheet).

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