October 22, 1998

“The Alberta Advantage: Myth or Reality?”

Allen Ponak, University of Calgary
Larry Holm, Finning Canada
Dan Rogers, Labour Lawyer

Despite their geographic proximity, Alberta and B.C. have very different reputations for industrial relations. Alberta has low levels of union density and fewer strikes than B.C. yet wages in Alberta are over 95 per cent of B.C. levels, and the province has experienced several very bitter labour disputes there in recent years.

How real are the differences between the two provinces? To answer this question, we have a very experienced panel with background in both provinces.

The first speaker will be Professor Allen Ponak, from the University of Calgary. Allen formerly taught at UBC and McGill. He is an active arbitrator and organizes the largest conference on labour arbitration in Western Canada each year. He recently completed a paper “Alberta – Industrial Relations in a Conservative Climate”. Joining Allen will be two practitioners who have worked in B.C. and Alberta.

Presenting a management view will be Larry Holm, Human Resources Manager for the Alberta Region of Finning Canada. Prior to assuming his present position, he was in the forest products industry in B.C. and Alberta. He is a graduate of UBC.

The union perspective will be presented by Dan Rogers, a union side labour lawyer in Vancouver since 1990. He was called to the Alberta bar in 1981 and practiced there with Andrew Seins (later Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board) and later with Faulkner and Rogers until coming to Vancouver. His practice now includes clients in both provinces.

This promises to be an interesting and topical programme – exploring an issue that has not been discussed before. We hope you can join us.

June 23, 1998

“Have We Created a Contingency or Casual Workforce?”

Ed Lavalle, College Institute Educators’ Association
Donald Monk, Canada safeway Limited

The public sector has long had contingent workforces. With budget cuts and less government funding, employers are relying more on part-time and temporary workers.

So too in the private sector. In major food industry collective agreements recently negotiated, long service employees were bought out and the hours of the newly hired employees were to be capped at 20 hours per week. All in an effort to cut costs and remain competitive.

What is happening to the workforce and workplace as a result of these developments? Is it having a negative or positive effect? Hear from both the public and private sectors in this regard – from both the union and management sides – as they give their views on the issue and any side-effects they have witnessed.

Joining us to give their views on such an issue will be Ed Lavalle, President, College Institute Educators’ Association which represents almost 6000 post-secondary teachers, many on contingent contracts, and Donald Monk, who was Vice-President of Labour Relations for Canada Safeway Limited for the past 17 years. He is now on special assignment reporting to the Executive Vice-President of Labour Relations for Safeway and the President of Canada Safeway

March 12, 1998

“Labour Code Reform: Balance and Fairness in Labour Relations?”

Stan Lanyon, Arbitrator and former Chair of BC Labour Relations Board
Jim Matkin, former Chair of BC Business Council
Miriam Gropper, a labour lawyer

In July of 1997, the provincial government appointed a panel to review the Labour Relations Code. Stan Lanyon, an arbitrator and former Chair of the Labour Relations Board, became Co-Chair of that panel along with Vince Ready, mediator/arbitrator Miriam Gropper, a labour lawyer and Jim Matkin, former Chair of the BC Business Council were the other members of the panel – representing both Unions and Employers respectively.

When he announced the appointments, then Labour Minster John Cashore stated: “I expect them to provide government with sound advice to ensure B.C.’s labour code continues to work well to provide balance and fairness in labour relations”. Discover if this panel succeeded in achieving “balance” and “fairness” in their final recommendations to be issued on February 20, 1998. Also, hear about what the panel learned regarding B.C.’s labour relations concerns and climate as they traveled the province listening to many interest groups. (It should be noted that Stan Lanyon also sat on a panel with Stephen Kelleher to review industrial relations in the construction industry, so he will be able to field any questions about that review as well.)