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Voices of our Nation

Is addressing Addiction in the Workplace Worthless?

An addiction is a condition where a person engages in the use of a substance or indulges in a type of repeated behaviour. An addiction’s rewarding effects provides an incentive to continuously repeat the behaviour despite serious consequences. Addictions do not only include what people consume, such as drugs or alcohol. Addictions come in many different forms from gambling to seemingly harmless products, such as chocolate. Addictions can include virtually anything. When a person is addicted to something they can become dependent on the addiction to cope with their life.

Workplace morale consists of the emotions, attitudes, satisfaction, and overall outlook of employees during their time in a workplace environment. A portion of effective workplace productivity is thought to be directly related to the morale of the employees. Employees that are happy and positive at work are said to have positive or high employee morale. When someone is consuming drugs or alcohol, it can dramatically change a person’s behaviour, and these negative changes in personality will lower the workplace morale. Workplaces that maintain employees who are negative about their work environment usually have low employee morale.

The effects of workplace addictions can be frustrating, upsetting, and devastating. Substance abusers are more likely to cause injuries, accidents, and even fatalities in the workplace. Health and safety regulations are expected in any workplace and the risks posed by addiction simply cannot be allowed. When employees do not feel safe in their workplace the morale will decrease. Addictions can increase the likelihood of harassment, bullying and other unprofessional behaviours. These inappropriate behaviours will likely cause other employees to feel unsafe in their workplace environment. A drug-free workplace is more likely to be successful at maintaining an accident-free environment and prosper.

Addictions are costly for workplaces and individuals when addictions are left unaddressed. Supporting an employee who is struggling with an addiction can be a huge challenge for many employers. Addictions can make employees less productive. Absenteeism is one of the significant killers of corporate profitability. Many addicted employees lose their jobs and remain unemployed as a result of their addiction. Other employees may end up in jails, prisons, or long-term rehabilitation facilities, which can result in years of lost productivity. Employees find it to be difficult to get themselves back into the workplace after years of unemployment due to substance abuse or various other addictions. Absenteeism costs Canadian workplaces over $16 billion per year. In Canada, drug use and drug abuse is a problem that not only ruins the lives of the users and their families, but also costs workplaces a total of $23 billion dollars or $1,100 per person.

Policies should be developed to address any workplace issues that are associated with addictions. Workplace policies should be clearly defined. Employers must make reasonable accommodation efforts for employees who seek help with addiction, allowing time off for detox or counselling. This approach is recommended for encouraging workplaces to invest in their employees and reduce the total long-term costs related to substance abuse. Voluntary disclosure allows for treatment without risk of being fired and eases the stigma related to addiction. Workplace culture and employee commitment to recovery are critical to reducing substance use affecting the workplace. Policies will be most effective in an environment that discourages substance use but also discourages discrimination, stigma and potential prejudices. When addiction issues are effectively addressed, workplaces will have a better opportunity to be successful.

Sources:
Addiction: A Workplace Depressant?
Canada Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction
Psychology Today

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Erin Murphy.

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Voices of our Nation

Fire Safety & Prevention

Fires destroy property, cause injuries, and take lives. The goal of fire prevention is to educate the public to take precautions to prevent potentially harmful fires. The general population needs education about the dangers of fires and how to survive a fire. Fire prevention is a proactive method of reducing emergencies and the damage caused by them. To prevent a fire, the objective is to keep sources of ignition and fuel separate from one another.

The best defense against fire in the home is preparation. People should create an evacuation plan. This plan should be regularly rehearsed to avoid panic and confusion in the event of a fire. Fire hazards, such as matches and lighters, should be kept out of the reach of young children. Small fires should be put out with a fire extinguisher if possible. Large fires, or fires that begin to spread, should be left for firefighters.
Smoke alarms should be placed properly in homes and checked regularly to ensure the smoke alarms will notify people when a fire occurs. To get help as quickly as possible, children should know to dial 911 as soon as a fire is noticed. People are approximately 66% more likely to sustain a serious injury or death in homes without smoke alarms. Smoke alarms will not eliminate the risk of dangerous situations, but smoke alarms can reduce the risk of serious injury or damage occurring in the home from fires.

Fire safety and education should start early even if this training is only basic, to begin with for children. A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires in emergency situations. A fire will generally be a more traumatic experience for children than for adults. Developing and reviewing a simple fire plan can help children to minimize panic and to stay focused on escaping the dangerous situation. Children must know how to call for help, use a fire extinguisher, how to get out of a burning building, and what actions to take should their clothes catch on fire. Young children may learn this kind of information using simpler language and visuals, so they understand as much as possible.

Mental or physical disabilities can create barriers that can increase the risk of serious injury or death from a fire. Each person needs to have a strategy for getting out of a building quickly in the event of a fire or another emergency. Fires can happen whether we are at home, at work, or in a public area such as a mall, theater, or hotel. Anyone who has reduced mobility, a speech, hearing or visual impairment, or a cognitive limitation may need assistance to evacuate a building in an emergency. Preparation and planning are the keys to surviving in an emergency situation. Strategies should be in place to prevent injuries for all building occupants. The more information captured in emergency procedures and plans, then the better equipped emergency managers will be in the event of an emergency.

In most Canadian provinces, building managers are required to maintain a list of at-risk individuals in their building, whether a workplace or a residential building. While individuals are not obligated to identify as being at risk, it is in their best interest to communicate their evacuation needs and abilities to avoid putting themselves and others at risk. Emergency managers and individuals should work together to plan the best, most suitable evacuation and assistance strategy. When proper fire safety planning and education takes place, everyone will be more likely to be safe from fires and other dangerous hazards.

Sources:
Canada Fire Safety and Prevention
Disability Barriers and Hazards
General Fire Safety Tips
Stats Canada

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

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Voices of our Nation

The most boring article on Fire Safety in the Workplace

Fire prevention is an important component of workplace health and safety programs. An effective fire prevention program provides employees with the tools and information needed to work safely, and protect the workplace and employees from the devastation of fire. Human personnel, property, and environmental losses can have a significant negative impact on workplace ‘production, morale, and continued expectations of success. The damage resulting from even a small fire incident can be detrimental to a workplace’s ability to remain in business.

There is specific legislation about fire prevention in the Canadian provinces. There are fourteen jurisdictions in Canada. One federal jurisdiction, ten provincial, and three territorial. Each with occupational health and safety legislation. This legislation outlines the general rights and responsibilities of the employer, the supervisor, and the worker.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, gives the Government of Ontario the power to make regulations while also setting out the general principles and duties for workplaces. The Ontario Fire Code is a regulation made under the Fire Protection and Protection and Prevention Act, consisting of the minimum requirements for fire safety within workplaces.

The business owner is responsible for complying with the Ontario Fire Code. The Building Code Act is the legislative framework governing the construction, renovation, and uses of workplaces. The purposes of the Ontario Building Code include public health, safety, and fire prevention; although, its primary purpose is the promotion of public safety through the application of building standards. The Ontario Electrical is intended to ensure safety considerations and protections for workplaces keep pace with the new technology and building needs.

All workplace personnel have a role to play in ensuring health and safety requirements are met within the workplace. Workplace assessments can be useful in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of employees and employers in a workplace. The reason for fire risk assessments is to keep people safe. By establishing current risks and possible barriers to safety, solutions can be found before an emergency situation occurs. It will be more difficult to develop during a life-threatening fire event, especially when barriers to safety arise.

Analyzing the issues and factors that are creating the current issues in your workplace helps to develop effective solutions to accomplish workplace goals and to allow the workplace to become more successful. Accommodations for employees, if needed, ensure the health and safety of each employee including those persons with disabilities. Workplaces should be responsible for complying with safety regulations and guidelines to ensure a better opportunity for a successful workplace.

Sources:
Canada Acts and Regulations
Fire Safety Procedures For The Workplace
The Effectiveness of Workplace Assessments

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

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Voices of our Nation

Attitudinal Barriers in the Workplace

Attitudinal barriers are the challenges, or barriers, experienced by people with disabilities in the workplace. Attitudinal accessibility refers to eliminating attitudinal barriers that discriminate against people with disabilities. Attitudinal barriers include thinking that people with disabilities are inferior or assuming that a disabled person with a speech impairment never understands you. Discrimination is an action or a decision that treats a person or a group negatively based on their race, age or disability. Canadian employers are not allowed to discriminate against their employees. Employers are required to make every reasonable effort to accommodate an employee’s individual circumstances that relate to discrimination.

Discrimination can be decreased when there is awareness of the potential misconceptions or negative attitudes towards employees, including disabled persons, within the workplace. Employers must not discriminate on the basis of a disability or a perceived disability. Employers must make it clear that harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated. Harassment must be investigated and corrected as soon as employers become aware of it. An effort must be made to eliminate the various types of discrimination, and the associated social stigmas, that can exist in workplaces.

Attitudinal barriers are the most basic barrier and contribute to other barriers. People may not be aware that difficulties in getting to or into places can limit a disabled person from participating in everyday life and common daily activities. People sometimes will categorize or stereotype disabled people while assuming their quality of life is poor or that disabled people are unhealthy because of their impairments. Some types of disabilities may be similar, but can pose different challenges or impairments for disabled people within the workplace. Employees should be aware of the individual needs of all of their employees to be able to maximize workplace productivity.

An inclusive workplace environment should be created where each employee is valued and respected. Every employee will bring various skills, strengths, and weaknesses to the workplace. For a workplace to be successful, employers must be aware of how to properly manage these skills, strengths, weaknesses, along with the individual needs of their employees. Attitudinal barriers are behaviours, perceptions, and assumptions that discriminate against people with disabilities. Attitudinal barriers are also ways of thinking or feeling resulting in behaviour that limits the potential of people with disabilities to be independent individuals. Attitudinal barriers usually lead to illegal discrimination which cannot be easily overcome.

To eliminate attitudinal barriers, the best solution is for employers and employees to familiarize themselves with employees living with a disability. Do not assume what employees or clients with disabilities can or cannot do. Members of a workplace should be trained to effectively interact and communicate with people with different types of disabilities. Employers must understand the types of accommodations for disabled people, some of which are low cost to the workplace. Being aware of attitudinal barriers allows the workplace to cooperatively develop strategies to overcome the barriers. Workplaces will be more successful when employers and employers are able to cooperatively work together as a cohesive unit in an inclusive workplace environment that encourages respect and an awareness of each employee’s individual needs.

Sources:
Disability Barriers
Discrimination and Other Workplace Barriers
Overcoming Attitudinal Barriers
Solutions to Attitudinal Barriers

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

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Voices of our Nation

Promoting Social Cohesion Through Diversity and Inclusion

Social cohesion refers to the social factors that bond individuals at the community, national, or universal levels. It occurs through the building of positive social relationships.

This involves the willingness of members of society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper and an accessible community with a barrier-free environment. One that does not limit anyone’s participation in everyday life.

Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It includes an understanding that each individual is unique and recognizes the individual differences of people in a society.

Social inclusion improves on the terms that individuals and groups take part in a society. A socially inclusive society is where people feel valued by others. Their differences are respected. Their basic needs are met, so that people can live in dignity within the society.

Inclusion is a feeling of belonging, being treated fairly, and providing people with an equal opportunity to be successful. Social exclusion is a process where people are denied full access to various rights, opportunities, and resources that available to members of a different group in the society.
Diversity and inclusion can promote social cohesion. Social cohesion a means to bond diverse groups of people in working toward a common goal for the improvement of the society to benefit the well-being of everyone.

Social cohesion is when people live peaceful lives. When diversity is accepted in societies, they begin to be more productive innovators by approaching problems from different perspectives.
Some of the benefits of social inclusion cohesion are people experiencing a sense of belonging in community with an increased level of acceptance, providing valuable societal roles to increase individual self-worth, and developing stronger social bonds between people from a wider range of diverse backgrounds.

When people experience even some of these conditions in their life, they will more likely be happier and healthier. In non-inclusive societies, people are more likely to experience poor physical and mental health, loneliness, isolation, and lower self-esteem.

Several people with various disabilities unnecessarily experience life in a worse way. Unfortunately, these people may not have gained a sense of presence in their community due to not having adequate access to the social activities to significantly enhance their wellbeing.

People with disabilities may also lack opportunities to work, learn, and develop social relationships with others. Disabled people are sometimes not acknowledged in their community with their skills and unique perspective, where they are untapped or underutilized by society.

Strategies should be developed to promote social cohesion through diversity and inclusion. When a society becomes invested in promoting social cohesion through diversity and inclusion, every person can benefit and societies can be more successful by utilizing the skills and abilities that each member of society has to offer.

References:
Diversity and Inclusion Aids Social Cohesion
The Upside of Diversity and Inclusion
Why Diversity?: Advocacy and Issues
Why Social Inclusion?: Advocacy and Issues

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

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Voices of our Nation

Developing a Positive Workplace Culture

A workplace’s culture is composed of the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that the employees share, and use frequently, within the workplace. The workplace culture determines how employees describe where they work, how the employees understand the workplace, and how the employees see themselves as an essential part of a productive workplace. The workplace culture is what makes the workplace unique. This culture is very important, because the workplace culture can either strengthen or weaken the objectives and goals that the workplace is trying to achieve.

Every workplace has a unique style which contributes to developing a workplace culture. The beliefs, principles, and values of individual workplaces form the workplace culture. A positive workplace culture encourages the employees to stay motivated and loyal to their employees and also committed to the goals of the workplace. The culture of the workplace controls how employers and employees behave within the workplace as well as managing behaviours in regards to interactions with people that an organization may do business with outside of the workplace. A positive workplace culture encourages employees to behave in responsible, ethical ways, resulting in higher workplace morale, employee collaboration, and empowerment.

A positive workplace culture allows individual employees to be clear about his or her role and responsibilities in the workplace. A positive workplace culture can increase productivity and improve employee satisfaction. A workplace culture should be established where employees are treated equally. Every employee should be made to feel valued and respected within the workplace. Workplace policies can help to develop a positive workplace culture as these policies assist to guide the employees’ conduct. Policies also give employees a sense of direction at their workplace. A positive workplace environment can lead to significant benefits for employers and employees as the workplace is more likely to be successful when a positive workplace environment is established.

A negative workplace culture can decrease productivity and also reduce employee satisfaction. Employees can become uninterested or disengaged, in their job, which will cause significant workplace issues. Workplace stress has been linked to serious health problems and absenteeism which can be costly for workplaces. Workplaces can improve their culture by addressing negative issues promptly and effectively. Workplaces should make it clear what types of positive behaviours are expected to reduce the impact of a negative workplace culture.

Changing the workplace culture might seem like a quick and easy process. However, changing a negative workplace culture can be challenging when negative workplace habits have been allowed to continue over a significant amount of time. Adjusting the workplace culture will require setting policies with clear boundaries and consequences. The long term goal will be to change the negative workplace culture, but this process usually requires changes in the behaviour of individual employers and employees before there can be a noticeable difference in all aspects of the workplace culture. Improving the workplace culture may require letting go of disengaged or unproductive employers and employees which could present temporary challenges, such as an increased employee turnover before workplaces will benefit from a more positive workplace culture. Developing a positive workplace culture will typically require patience and also a commitment from to employees and employers to improve their workplace habits.

A positive workplace culture can be achieved by encouraging good communication, employee input, cooperation, participation, and trust. Better productivity is accomplished through increasing employee satisfaction along with paying attention to the physical and emotional needs of individual employees. Policies should be implemented that will promote the success of workplace. These policies should be evaluated and adjusted to ensure that workplace policies can remain effective in the future. The development of a positive culture leads to greater workplace effectiveness, which positively affects financial workplace performance, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and also an overall improvement in workplace productivity. When employers and employees are willing to cooperatively to create a positive workplace culture there is a better chance of ensuring that workplaces will be successful.

Sources:
Challenges to Promoting a Positive Workplace Culture
Importance of the Workplace Culture
Statistics Canada
The Impact of a Positive or Negative Workplace Culture

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

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Voices of our Nation

Seasonal employment’s effect on employee absenteeism

Employee burnout is considered as when employees have exhausted their physical or emotional strength. Employee burnout generally happens as the result of extended stress or frustration. Stressful jobs, lack of workplace support and resources, along with short deadlines, can all contribute to employee burnout. The seasons of the year can have an effect on the performance level of employees. Burnout can also occur when employees’ have high expectations of themselves or when an employee has stressful personal circumstances. Burned-out employees can be costly in terms of productivity, and if burned-out employees quit, there are costs of replacement searches and job training for workplaces.

Employee burnout cannot always be prevented, but it can be managed. Full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees can each present unique challenges that employers need to address effectively. Workplaces should understand the reasons for the burnout for their employers and employees. Workplace burnout is often still perceived as carrying a stigma, so staff may be reluctant to seek help at an early stage. Employers and employees should work together to find effective solutions to workplace problems such as burnout. A study of Canadian employees found that an increased salary, improving morale and employees being recognized for their accomplishments were the best ways for employers to improve their work satisfaction.

Absenteeism is an employee’s intentional or excessive absences from work. Some common causes of absenteeism include burnout, stress, depression, illness, harassment and work related injuries. Frequent employee absences can also have a major effect on workplace finances and workplace morale. While employers expect workers to miss a certain number of work days each year, many absences can cause decreased productivity. Seventy-five percent of Canadian employees studied considered the office as the most productive place to get work done. Sixty-eight percent of these Canadians felt that an increase in temperature was a contributing factor to employee burnout. Forty-three percent of Canadians have reported that they are working longer hours simply to catch up on work they couldn’t accomplish during an eight-hour day especially during the summer months.

Employers need to understand the laws governing the various types of employment for the different types of employees. Seasonal work has been an important aspect of the Canadian labour market throughout Canada’s history. However, employee performance can still be affected even when employees are only exposed to extreme temperatures for brief periods of time. Employers should be aware that completing certain tasks may be more challenging for disabled or elderly employees and make reasonable accommodations to assist their employees in completing their assigned tasks. Employers also must take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety and health of their employees.

Sources:
Absenteeism: What’s Missing in Canadian Labour?
Business Advantage Canada
Causes of Absenteeism
Causes of Employee Burnout
Statistics Canada

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

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Voices of our Nation

Religion and the Modern Workplace

Freedom of religion is a constitutionally protected right in Canada. Freedom of religion allows religious believers to have the freedom to assemble and to worship without limitation or interference. However, freedom of religion has not always been granted in the history of Canada. There are numerous religions, and workplaces should be aware that an individual religious employee may have varying beliefs from other religious employees. Employers are required to provide reasonable religious accommodations to their employees. Employers also need to effectively incorporate Christians, with diverging views, into a diverse workplace culture for the workplace to be successful.

The workplace culture has continued to evolve and change over time. Modern workplace employees and employers are now faced with different challenges than previous generations of workers. Technology has changed modern workplace interactions as workplaces have opportunities to become more global and diverse. However, religious employees can still bring skills that will benefit the workplace when these employees are properly integrated with the skills of the non-religious affiliated workers.

Inclusion has become an increasingly important concept for workplaces. Equality forms the foundation of inclusion. Employers must understand that equality does not necessarily mean treating everyone the same, but rather appropriately taking into consideration the differences of employees. Inclusion focuses less on what makes people different and more on creating a workplace environment that encourages employees to bring various perspectives, contribute a variety of ideas, and where employers can be appreciated for all aspects of their diversity in the workplace. There are benefits to creating an inclusive workplace environment. Inclusive workplace cultures develop organizational practices and goals that allow employees having different backgrounds to be treated equally within the workplace. Inclusive workplaces generally have higher job satisfaction, lower employee turnover, higher productivity, increased employee morale, improved problem solving, additional creativity, and an improved quality of employees through better hiring and retention practices.

The integration of work and faith is an ancient concept for some countries. Employee integration is an important component of a successful workplace. The values that workplaces need for long-term effectiveness are similar to the values exhibited in the major religions such as loyalty, compassion, respect, integrity, humility and a belief in something greater than the job or the individual employee. Employee integration can be easier when a culture of respect, tolerance, and acceptance is established within the workplace. Diversity is based on a positive attitude to differences, along with recognizing that everyone is unique and that these differences should be respected for the benefit of the workplace. Workplaces need to develop employee integration strategies that will allow the workplace to maintain success in the future.

Employee integration strategies should recognize the strengths and weaknesses of individual employees. Diversity encourages the individuality of employees and the unique qualities that the employees can bring to the organization by seeing differences as a valuable resource to a workplace. When diversity is acknowledged and respected employers can find new ways to maximize and capitalize on the different skills and ideas. Employees that feel valued and respected are much more likely to be actively engaged or put forth their best efforts for the workplace. Employee integration is more effective when employees feel as though their relevant input is valued. Employers should eliminate employee stigmas and reduce conflict or issues that develop between employees. Employers need to promote a safe and healthy work environment especially as new employees are integrated into the workplace. A diverse workforce brings a unique set of experiences and perspectives, which are essential for developing new ideas and innovations. The management of workplace diversity focuses on integrating individual differences into the workplace to benefit both the individual employees and the organization. Communication is also an essential factor that will contribute to the success of any workplace.

Workplaces can significantly benefit from inclusion and diversity. Progress still needs to be made toward the goal of workplaces becoming more inclusive and diverse in the future. However, employee integration strategies should still remain effective when these strategies are implemented properly to improve the productivity, wellness, and success of future workplaces. Religious employees can provide unique skills and values that will benefit workplaces when these employees are properly integrated with other diverse groups of employees along with non-religious affiliated employees. Each employee should be made to feel valued, included, and respected. Future technology will continue to transform workplaces as employees will utilize various new skills to complete assigned tasks. Workplaces could potentially use improved technological advancements in communication that would make workplaces even more globalized. Employers and employees must cooperatively develop a positive workplace culture consisting of good habits, policies, procedures, and values that will allow the workplace to meet various challenges while remaining successful in the future.

Sources:
Benefits of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Developing an Inclusive Canadian Culture
Diversity Management for the Modern Workplaces
Diversity in Canadian Workplaces: The Present Building to the Future
Integrating Health and Safety in the Modern Workplace
Stats Canada
Workplace Integration Strategies

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson.

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Voices of our Nation

What you need to know about child labour

Child labour is the regular employment of Canadian children under the age of fifteen or sixteen. Attitudes toward child labour have changed since the late 18th century when it was generally assumed that children should contribute to the family economy from about age seven. Prior to the 19th century, children were often seen as economic assets to families.  By the beginning of the 20th century, most provinces had enacted labour legislation to restrict the employment of children. The employment of people who have not reached the age of adulthood can cause significant workplace issues. Younger employees do have unique skills that can benefit a workplace.  However, it is important that employees understand the Canadian laws that are associated with hiring younger employees.

In Canada, the provinces have established ages of majority for the purpose of determining when a child has the legal capacity to enter into contracts, is able to purchase restricted products, is free of parental control, and can exercise full civil rights. Child welfare and employment are within provincial jurisdiction in the Canadian Constitution, but most of the young worker legislation is created at the provincial level. The minimum age for working in Ontario is fourteen years for most types of work. However, fourteen through seventeen-year-olds are not to be employed during school hours unless they have been excused from school attendance under provisions of Ontario’s Education Act. The legislation governing minimum age for employment, the number of working hours per day and the time of day that a youth may work varies between the provinces and territories. Some provinces require parental permission for a minor to be employed. The Ministry of Labour enforces and promotes the awareness of employment standards, such as minimum wage, hours of work and public holidays. Explore the Ministry of Labour website to learn more about employee rights and employer obligations in Ontario. The legislation also exists to protect minors from working under dangerous or hazardous conditions.

Child labour consists of the employment of minors in any labour industry, particularly when it is illegal or exploitative. Labour shortage is a significant problem in some countries.  Child labour’s main advantage is that compared with employing an adult child labour is remarkably cheap.  Workplace expenses could be driven down by expanding the child workforce. Child labour potentially can teach children to help provide for their family or could be beneficial in earning and saving funds for educational opportunities such as tuition for college later in a child’s life. Child labour also could allow children to develop a  variety of useful skills from a young age.  Child labour is a prevalent driving force in countries such as China and Vietnam.  It is easy to imagine that a wider scope of goods could are manufactured from such regions using child labour.

Child labour risks are rising around the world.  Young workers are still developing their physical, social and mental skills or judgment.  Young workers may find it more challenging to protect themselves from injury, overwork, or abuses than adult workers.  Verbal abuse or sexual abuse can have a detrimental effect on a child’s mental health.  More than two hundred million children today are child labourers worldwide.  An estimated one hundred twenty million child labourers are engaged in hazardous work.  Several countries now consider underage child labour as an unethical practice and a violation of human rights.  The effects of some forms of child labour are traumatic, and the consequences can include long-term health or psychological problems for the children that are involved.

Child labour is still a significant issue that needs to be effectively addressed.  There are many aspects to active child labour that employers might consider. Employers and employees have an interest in maintaining workplace health and safety standards. Laws can change suddenly and employers have a responsibility to understand how these laws affect their workplaces. Workers have the right to know about any potential or real workplace hazards that they may be exposed to. Workplace employers should not treat their employees as slaves, but rather employers must maintain respect for their rights as employees.  Employers also should respect an employee who exhibits proper conduct toward their employees.  Workplaces can operate more successfully when employees are encouraged to communicate their concerns and to provide input to employers or supervisors that cooperatively assists in resolving workplace issues.

Sources:
Child Labour: Canada’s Invisible Crisis
Pros and Cons of Child Labour
Statistics Canada
The Canadian Encyclopedia

This article was contributed by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson, and was edited by both volunteer editors Parul Datta and Peter Tretter

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Voices of our Nation

This is the future of employment for Millennials

Millennials, or Generation Y, are considered as the individuals that became adults around the 21st century. The Millennial generation represents approximately twenty-six percent of the Canadian population. Job hopping is considered as the practice of frequently moving from one job to another. For previous generations, job hopping was more commonly viewed as career suicide causing job-hopping employees to be viewed as lacking focus or as unreliable. Workplace employers were more reluctant to hire job-hopping employees with resumes consisting of several short-term employment experiences. However, the increased popularity of job hopping has lead to more acceptance of this practice by employers and job hopping has less of a stigma in the modern workplace.

The Millennial population is typically optimistic, but with unrealistic workplace expectations. These unrealistic expectations result in a very demanding, savvy generation with a lot of “entrepreneurial” spirit. The Millennials’ mentality makes these employees potentially difficult to manage and hold on to in the workplace. However, as an ethnically diverse generation, Millennials do tend to be more tolerant of differences in society within the workplace. The Millennial population is generally more innovative and able to adapt quickly to advancements in modern technology which can be an asset to workplaces.

Job hopping creates significant workplace issues as this practice makes it more difficult for workplaces to establish consistency and cohesion among employees, with consistent employee turnover, among other workplace issues. Ninety-one percent of Millennials are expected to stay at their current job for less than three years. Several workplaces are struggling to keep their Millennial employees for more than two years. Job hopping can also lead to greater job fulfillment, which is more important to Generation Y workers than it
was to any previous generation and a better quality of work among Millennial employees.

Workplaces need to effectively address the differences in values and expectations of each employee generation. Employers can establish workplace strategies to maximize the potential of their employees. An effective workplace should maintain structure with clearly defined roles and expectations for the employers and employees. Employers should provide leadership and a workplace environment should be created where appropriate employee feedback is encouraged. Millennials have an attitude of being ready to take on the world. Their parents told them they can do it and they can. Employers should recognize this attitude as a strength of millennial employees and encourage the confidence of millennial employees to benefit the workplace. Employers must continue to find ways to implement changing technology to allow workplaces to be successful. Millennial employees are more comfortable in teams, than previous generations, and are more productive when their employers acknowledge their input. Millennial employees’ job satisfaction typically decreases quickly when these employees do not feel effectively engaged in the workplace or that their skills are not being properly utilized. Millennial employees generally need a wider variety of activities to stay engaged in their jobs than previous generations.

Millennials want to enjoy their work and these employees want to be involved in their workplace. Millennials want to make friends in their workplace and prefer to work in teams to accomplish tasks. However, employers must also recognize that maintaining a work and life balance is important to a millennial employees’ productivity. Millennials are more prone to work-related stress as this generation feels more pressure to keep up with the demands of the faster paced, modern workplace. Employers should be concerned if their employees aren’t laughing, going out with workplace friends for lunch, or helping to plan the next company event. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each generation of employees, along with how each generation of employee interacts with other employees, is an important element to a successful workplace. Challenges are ahead for workplaces expecting to retain and advance the Millennial generation of workers, but any workplace willing to meet those challenges can expect well-educated, hard working, and loyal employees in the future.

Sources:
How to Manage Different Generations
Millennials and the Workplace
Statistics Canada
The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping