On behalf of the faculty and staff at the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you, our certificate, undergraduate, and Masters students in industrial relations and human resources, who had your degrees and certificates conferred upon you at the University of Toronto’s Fall 2020 convocation celebration on Saturday, November 21.
The faculty and staff at the Centre are incredibly proud of you. Not only have you completed an important step on your path to becoming leaders in human resources, labour relations, and industrial relations, but you have made it here despite the considerable challenges you’ve faced over the past eight months. You completed your degrees and certificates in a format that was completely unexpected when you began your programs, learning how to learn in a brand new way as you continued to build your knowledge and skills.
Your resilience, and ability to adapt and continue learning in a situation that was sometimes changing daily, will serve you well throughout your careers.
At every convocation, we thank the loved ones of our graduating students. This year, when we have spent so much time apart but have needed our social connections more than ever, we are especially grateful to your families and friends for their support in helping you reach this incredible milestone under particularly challenging circumstances.
You are graduating into a world that needs you. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of understanding issues related to the world of work. During your program you have learned many things, including how to build safe and healthy organizations, design effective HR policies and working arrangements, and resolve workplace conflicts.
You have a greater understanding of which workplace skills are most relevant in a changing world, and what government policies and practices best support decent work and good employment relationships. The challenges the pandemic has raised for governments, employers, workers, and unions aren’t new, but they have never been more urgent to address. You are graduating with the tools to help the organizations you will join better navigate these challenging times.
As you graduate today, you are joining a wonderful community of alumni. Our alumni remain a key part of the life of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources long after graduation, and I encourage you to become engaged with this accomplished, supportive group to which you now belong. And I certainly hope that you will continue to stay in touch with the Centre and to share your future milestones with us.
But first, let’s celebrate this important milestone, your convocation.
Congratulations to you all again, and best wishes as you embark on the next phase of your journey.