PRESS RELEASE - July 4, 2022
HAMILTON SPECTATOR OP-ED - July 19, 2022
FINAL REPORT PRESS RELEASE - December 6, 2022
THE CONVERSATION OP-ED - December 11, 2022
The benefits of collective voice in the workplace, where workers’ concerns are adequately represented, are significant: enhanced job satisfaction, decent wages, safer workplaces, greater productivity and increased civic participation. These benefits improve the lives of workers, increase the bottom lines for firms and enrich Canadian society as a whole.
Yet, in recent decades, research has pointed to a significant “voice gap” where workers do not have their expected say, or influence, at work, along with longstanding concerns about organizations falling short of addressing this gap effectively. These shortcomings affect long-term workplace productivity, mental health, and a host of other critical factors that, if considered and addressed thoughtfully, can positively affect workers and the organizations they work in.
The CIRHR convened a special Ontario Assembly on Workplace Democracy where a representative group of Ontarians discussed the current options available for workers to vocalize themselves at work, and established recommendations to amplify their voices and influence decisions in their workplaces. More details, including a full report is now available!
The project was led by CIRHR Director, Rafael Gomez, visiting researcher, Andrew Gibson, and Simon Pek from the University of Victoria.
Assembly members learned about the problem of workplace democracy and shared their experiences while getting a crash course in worker voice from subject-matter experts.
Members heard from stakeholders/experts to better understand the trade-offs/benefits of different voice channels/policy options for workers, employers and society more broadly.
Members identified and weighed different policy options for improving workers’ capacity to influence decision-making and advocate for change in their workplaces.
SPEAKING UP AT WORK: WORKPLACE DEMOCRACY POLICY DEBATE
On September 2nd, we held a virtual policy debate as part of our Ontario Assembly on Workplace Democracy (OAWD) initiative. Moderated by Anil Verma, the debate saw employment and labour-law lawyers, Simran Prihar of Goldblatt Partners and Kathryn Marshall of Levitt Sheikh Law, advance and defend their best solutions for protecting workers’ voices in the workplace. Check out the full debate now!
Tell us about your experiences "speaking up" at work. Were you able to influence decision-making? Tweet us at @CIRHR_UofT or submit your story via email, and don't forget to follow us on Twitter to participate in this timely conversation!
Members of the Assembly will work with fellow participants representing different walks of life and work experiences; learn from experts and researchers about the various options for promoting stronger and fairer decision making in the workplace, including but not limited to collective bargaining; understand the trade-offs and benefits —for both workers and employers—between different workplace arrangements and policy options; and provide guidance on how governments and organizations can implement new, and strengthen existing, policies and institutions with the goal of increasing workers’ influence on decision-making at work.
1-in-440 households across Ontario have been randomly selected to receive a special invitation by letter. Of the respondents to this letter, 36 individuals will be randomly selected to serve as members of the Citizens’ Assembly through a special lottery that will ensure the Assembly is representative of Ontarians by age, gender, geography and other factors.
The Assembly will meet twice in early summer and three times in early fall over Zoom. The CIRHR will also provide an honorarium to participants who may face barriers to participating, and provide other stipends to help cover reasonable expenses.
Rafael Gomez (Chair of Advisory Board), Associate Professor of Employment Relations, University of Toronto
Ed Broadbent, Former Member of Parliament and Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada
David Doorey, Associate Professor in Work Law, York University
Josel Angelica Gerardo, Student Peer Leader at the Young Workers Rights Hub, Toronto Metropolitan University
Anthony Giles, Former Assistant Deputy Minister in the Labour Program of Employment & Social Development Canada
Kathryn Marshall, Employment and civil litigator at Levitt Sheikh LLP
Colette Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the Atkinson Foundation
Lisa Raitt, Former Member of Parliament and Minister of Labour for the Conservative Party of Canada
Sara Slinn, Associate Professor of Labour and Employment Law, Osgoode Hall Law School
The Board will help ensure the Ontario Assembly on Workplace Democracy is credible, unbiased, balanced, and well-positioned to inform the future of work.
Rafael Gomez, University of Toronto – Steering Committee Member
Andrew Gibson, University of Toronto – Steering Committee Member
Simon Pek, University of Victoria – Steering Committee Lead
Andrew Gibson, University of Toronto – Project Manager
Abdullah Naqvi, University of Toronto – Project Coordinator
Andreas Vatiliotou, University of Toronto – Communications Lead
Richard Johnson – Lead Facilitator