Message from CIRHR Director, Rafael Gomez

Dear CIRHR Community,

With the holiday season upon us, there are a few milestones from this past term that I’d like to acknowledge, as well as some new initiatives beginning in earnest in the new year. I would also like extend a few words of thanks before we disperse for the winter break.

A room full of seated people observing the 2023 Sefton-Williams Memorial LectureCONGRATULATIONS

First, this past November we held our annual Sefton-Williams Memorial Lecture where we presented the Sefton-Williams Award to Deena Kumari Ladd for her tireless work on behalf of marginalized workers, and then heard an engaging talk by the brilliant David J. Doorey. It was a memorable evening spent with 150 of our colleagues, friends, and loved ones, both in-person and online. We send our congratulations to Deena, as well a thank you to David for an illuminating lecure and Q&A.

We also extend our congratulations and well-wishes to another cohort of fall-term graduates who crossed the stage this past November to receive their degrees. One of those graduates, Asawari Bapat, is our November 2023 recipient of the Frank Reid Prize which is presented each convocation to the top graduating student or students.

We’re incredibly proud of our 34 newest MIRHR grads as they join an illustrious community of alumni, and begin a new and exciting chapter in their lives. As you know, we pride ourselves on maintaining strong bonds with our past students, and we very much look forward to continuing our relationship, and continuing to celebrate the accomplishments of each and every one of you.

Post-Presentation photo of CIRHR Undergraduate Students with Professor Rafael Gomez and Sharon Abel, Manager of the YSM's Double Take Thrift StoreACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would also like to acknowledge the great work of our undergraduate students this term, with special kudos to those fourth-year students who have completed IRE446 Working as an Internal Organizational Consultant: A Community-Engaged Learning Experience, a course which gives students the opportunity to put their learning into practice by working with a real community organization.

I offer my deepest thanks to Sharon Abel of the Yonge Street Mission, Asher Lichtman of Spotwork, and Ingrid Zaldivar of the TLN Media Group who very generously welcomed our students, and engaged them in the consulting process. I hope you'll check out this recent profile on the course and some of the students’ experiences from this past term.


I'm thrilled to report that we’ve partnered with Inclusive Design for Employment Access (IDEA) to help employers and IR/HR professionals build capacity to better support and harness the talent and potential of workers with disabilities. Our first two information sessions took place at the Centre this past week, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in 2024, which will also see the National Assembly on Workplace Democracy launch with Dr. Dikla Yogev as project lead.


And finally, I'd like to express my gratitude for our staff and faculty who are unwavering in their diligence and support of our students' learning. Last week, we broke bread to together to celebrate the completion of another fantastic term. As I looked around the table, I was awed by how our numbers have grown, and moved by our coming together, not just as colleagues but as friends.

Thank you all. I look forward to our next chapter in 2024. Until then, stay safe and please enjoy your winter holidays.



Dr. Rafael Gomez, Professor
Director, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources
University of Toronto