Message from Acting Director, Dionne Pohler

Dear CIRHR Colleagues,Photo of Dionne Pohler

I hope you are all well.

As we wind down the Fall semester and head into the holiday break, I would like to share a few announcements.

New Faces at CIRHR

We are delighted to have two additions to the CIRHR community, Manda Vrkljan and Annie Pan.

Manda Vrkljan is our new IRHR Librarian from January 1 – December 31, 2021, while IRHR Librarian Vicki Skelton is on research leave. A librarian with a commitment to user-first library services, Manda joins us from the John M. Kelly Library at the University of St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto, where she was InfoExpress Liaison, coordinating the Kelly InfoExpress faculty and graduate student personalized document delivery service. Manda will work with Sarah Clark Morgan, and our three library work study students, Claire Buisson, Francesca Rouselle and Victoria Yang, to continue to deliver the exceptional online reference and syllabus services the library has provided to our faculty and students during our building’s closure. Manda will also be leading the planning for the re-opening of the CIRHR library once the public health restrictions and regulations in Toronto are lifted. Manda has a keen interest in labour research, and will assume editorial responsibility for the PWR: work&labour news&research weekly newsletter during Vicki’s leave. You can read more about Manda here.

Dr. Annie (Yazhuo) Pan is the new Research Officer for the Research Initiative on Education and Skills (RIES) project, which is co-directed by Professors Elizabeth Dhuey and Brad Seward. Annie received her PhD from the University of Waterloo Economics department and has previously worked as a research analyst at Statistics Canada and CPP Investments. Annie’s previous research has explored how unexpected changes in the economy and legal environment affect the labour supply of Canadian women and she has several related academic publications. Her research at RIES will similarly focus on gender inequality in the labour market and in STEM fields. You can read more about Annie here.

Building and Holiday Closure

The CIRHR building remains closed during the normal university holiday closure (December 23, 2020 to January 4, 2021), and until further notice. We will revisit our plans for re-entry early in 2021, as the COVID-related restrictions and guidance evolve. If you require access to the building to undertake research or teaching activities that cannot be undertaken from home, please contact Dionne Pohler (from December 18 to January 4) or Joanna Jiang (after January 4). There are specific guidelines on campus access, which include the requirement to complete a COVID-19 self-assessment and generate a risk status each time you go to U of T: by using UCheck, or by completing a paper-based or offline self-assessment log. No cleaning of the building will occur during the normal university holiday closure.

Due to planned staff holidays, the CIRHR finance and administrative support as well as the IRHR Library will be closed from December 18 at 5:00 pm until the university re-opens on January 4, 2020. No library reference/service requests or expense claims will be processed until after January 4. Program offices will remain open on December 21 and 22, and Tanya Pitel (undergraduate) and Carol Canzano-Hamala (graduate) will be available on those days.

Holiday Party

A reminder to join us at the CIRHR virtual holiday party today (Friday, December 18) at 3:00 pm. Please bring a beverage of your choice and come prepared to test your trivia(l?) knowledge!

Final Thoughts

In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you, CIRHR faculty, instructors, staff, and PhD students, for your resilience and good humour over the better part of 2020, as the world appeared to be crumbling around us at times.

I am reminded by the spirit of the season that hope and joy are the antidotes to despair and fear. And the recent arrival of approved COVID vaccines in Canada suggests that there is indeed much to be hopeful and joyous about as we head into the New Year.

I wish you and your loved ones a peaceful holiday season.

We made it to the end of 2020, together.


Dionne Pohler, PhD, Associate Professor
Acting Director and PhD Chair