This is a free event but donations are appreciated! Only members may vote.
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This is a free event but donations are appreciated! Only members may vote.
[contact-form-7 id=”2695″ title=”Event registration”]
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“If you’re cold I’ll keep you warm
If you’re low just hold on
‘Cause I will be your safety
Oh don’t leave home”
~ Don’t Leave Home, Dido
During this time of a global pandemic with COVID-19, I encourage and implore you to… PLEASE STAY HOME.
Just today I was reading about a backyard party in Brampton with 20 people and no physical distancing. There is no better way to distance physically than to STAY AT HOME!
To the 75% of Canadians who are not self-isolating for 14 days after returning from vacation abroad I say: ARE YOU DUMBER THAN A FIFTH GRADER? (“75% of returning travellers bypassing mandatory quarantine: Study,” 2020) You are putting your friends, family, and community at risk by not doing the one thing we’re all asking you to do. STAY HOME.
In Brampton, the fine for not physical distancing is between $20K – $100K. In Ontario the OPP advise people could face a fine of $750 for not following public health orders. (“Coronavirus: Provinces say fines, arrests face people who don’t distance, self-isolate,” 2020) Nationally, the penalty is up to a $750,000 and six months in jail.
So let’s be respectful of our neighbours, especially those with compromised immune systems, and stay home when we absolutely do not have to go out, and further, self-isolate if we’ve just returned from a trip outside of Canada. And while you’re staying at home, be sure to support our local merchants! Especially for those that are paying for their employees to stay home should they need to self-isolate.
Yuen, J (2020, March 30) 75% of returning travellers bypassing mandatory quarantine: Study, Toronto Sun Retrieved from https://torontosun.com/news/national/75-of-travellers-returing-to-canada-have-visited-a-grocery-story-bypassing-mandatory-quarantine
Valiante, G (2020, March 21) Coronavirus: Provinces say fines, arrests face people who don’t distance, self-isolate, Global News Retrieved from https://globalnews.ca/news/6713438/canada-coronavirus-self-isolation-fines-arrests
This article was written by J2DW CEO Peter V. Tretter and edited by volunteer editor Brandon Amyot.
In May Journey to Diversity Workplaces will be holding our virtual Annual General Meeting on Google Meet!
We’re looking for one, maybe two people to deliver a 20 – 40 minute speech around workplace safety and/or workplace diversity.
This gig pays nothing but we’re happy to promote you in our materials both promoting the meeting and separately.
If you’re interested, apply below!
[contact-form-7 id=”4453″ title=”Speaker application”]
July 22, 2019 by Sarah Wild
As soon as Barbara Boswell began reading the journal article, the associate professor of English at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa says she was surprised about the language it used. Even the title and the abstract set alarm bells ringing, she recalled. “As I read further, I saw more problems.”
The controversial paper, “Age- and education-related effects on cognitive functioning in Colored South African women,” was published in March in the journal Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition following peer review. The authors, from South Africa’s Stellenbosch University, claimed to show “low cognitive functioning” in this group, which they attributed to low education levels and risky lifestyles. (In South Africa, “colored” is one of the four officially recognized racial categories — a relic of the apartheid system — along with white, Indian/Asian, and black African.)
In April, Boswell spearheaded a petition for the journal to issue a retraction. “The article is published as scientific research but draws on colonial stereotypes of African women, and ‘colored’ South African women specifically, as intellectually deficient,” Boswell and her co-authors wrote. “The article relies on flawed methodology and science, perpetuating harmful, racist stereotypes.”
More than 10,000 people, including scholars and ordinary citizens, signed the petition, which was ultimately successful: The journal retracted the paper on May 2. But this wasn’t the only recent scientific article in South Africa to face fierce criticism on its methodology and treatment of race. A second paper, also published in March in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics, claimed to show that inhabitants of countries with lower IQs were more likely to be sold as slaves between the 15th and 20th centuries. Following an outcry, the co-author resigned from his position as an adjunct professor at the UCT.
Together, the papers raise questions regarding how such research made it through peer review, a process in which academics validate studies prior to publication. Peer review is considered by many researchers and academics to be the best quality-check for scholarship, but others point out that it can be flawed, opaque, and susceptible to bias.
Both papers were subjected to reviewers in internationally-published journals despite appearing to dabble in race science, which regards race not as cultural construct, but as a biological variable that can be used to make allegedly scientific conclusions about groups of people. Many experts consider biological notions of race to be largely debunked, making the appearance of such research in the global literature, where it can then be used to undermine the rights and dignity of entire communities, particularly problematic. “Scientific racism was used to justify racist policies like apartheid,” says Boswell. “It was used to make an argument about the inferiority of black people, indigenous people, and why they needed stewardship because they were not fully capable of looking after themselves and the land.”
The two papers show “how shoddy peer review can be at times,” says Agustín Fuentes, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame. “The ideal is good — great, in fact — but it does not always work out. I think that there are also a lot of biases about race and gender in the academy in general. And in too many cases those biases go unchallenged and result in things like these getting in to print.”
It has been 25 years since the end of South Africa’s apartheid government, which separated people based on race and often relied on flawed race science as justification, and the country still struggles with racial tension and systemic divisions that drive inequality. The academic system reflects these realties: White researchers still occupy half of all university posts despite accounting for just 8 percent of the population, and they publish about two-thirds of academic research.
Stellenbosch University, for instance, was mainly reserved for white students and staff under the Afrikaans-speaking apartheid government. The school has been attempting to address its racist past and transform its university body by increasing scholarships to previously disadvantaged racial groups, hiring more diverse staff, and switching from Afrikaans to English as the main medium of instruction. Eugene Cloete, the vice-rector for research, innovation, and postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch, says that the paper on colored women has set the university “back years.”
Cloete suspects there might be other published articles from the university with racist assumptions, and he is personally reviewing thousands of ongoing projects for racial insensitivity. Still, he says, some blame should lie with the journals. The paper “was published in an international, peer-reviewed journal,” he says. “We publish 1,800 papers a year here through thousands of different journals. We have to rely on peer review.”
Cloete and Boswell, along with other researchers, argue that peer review should have caught what they say is flawed research in the Stellenbosch study. The study’s authors, a team of sports scientists, assessed self-identified colored women from a township in the Western Cape. The sample size was limited, with just 60 women, but they extrapolated the results to apply to millions of people. The researchers also made assumptions about the group, identifying it as racially homogenous when it was actually diverse. And, based on a measure of cognitive ability that has been shown to be inapplicable to South African populations, the researchers made sweeping claims about the poor cognitive abilities of colored women in general.
“The study is based on ideological assumptions that are deeply rooted in a racialized and racist history,” says Garth Stevens, president-elect of the Psychological Society of South Africa. “Those assumptions are overlaid with a set of scientific methods that are themselves fatally flawed.” As a result, the generalizations about a particular population group “become spurious and a real indicator of poor science.”
Corresponding author on the paper, sports scientist Elmarie Terblanche, said she was not allowed to comment as the matter was under investigation.
The academic publisher, Taylor & Francis Group, confirmed that the article was peer-reviewed, but that editors retracted it after Boswell’s petition took off. When Undark asked the organization for comment, press coordinator Saskia Kovandzich said “I’m afraid that nobody is available to discuss this issue with you.”
While the Stellenbosch article was retracted, the one on slavery and IQ was not. That article, “Intelligence and Slave Exports from Africa,” was published by a team of economists in the Journal of Interdisciplinary Economics by Sage Publishing on March 28. The team claims to show that African countries where people have higher IQs experienced lower levels of slave exports than countries which had lower “cognitive ability.”
The lead author, economist Simplice Asongu, listed UCT as his institution on the paper, but he was an adjunct professor rather than a full staff member, says Elijah Moholola, a university spokesperson. And the university doesn’t stand behind the findings, Moholola adds: “UCT rejects the assumptions of the paper and this line of research as bad science.” Asongu has since resigned.
Sage did not respond to an interview request.
Like the Stellenbosch study, the methodology of the UCT paper came under scientific scrutiny. The paper claims to prove that countries with higher average IQs saw fewer inhabitants sold into slavery because they were smarter and thus better able to escape, confront enslavers, and organize resistance.
Asongu and his co-author, Oasis Kodila-Tedika, an economist at the University of Kinshasa, show this through linking, among other variables, countries’ IQ; their capacity for technology adaptation, inferred from previous research; the landscape’s ruggedness; and historical population density.
The authors assume most types of intelligence can be captured through IQ tests. But the idea that it is possible to determine the cognitive ability of entire countries is problematic, says Adam Haupt, a professor in media studies, who specializes in race discourse. He points out that there is plenty of research showing IQ tests can be inaccurate and unfair. “There’s a cultural and ideological bias embedded in those tests,” Haupt says. “Science is seen as non-ideological, but we know that’s not true.”
When Undark contacted Asongu for comment, he said he wouldn’t discuss the matter through non-scientific media, adding: “Anybody questioning the robustness of the findings should have his or her comments peer-reviewed and published in a scientific medium, then I will also respond through the same scientific medium or other scientific media.”
But peer review is part of the problem. “If it was a predatory journal” — a journal which charges researchers to publish, but doesn’t offer rigorous services such as peer review — “then you’d understand it,” says Haupt. But “Sage is a reputable publisher. It has you asking questions about their peer review process. All of the supposed safeguards fell flat. Why did editors not ask how sound was this methodological approach? How much do we know about IQ?”
It remains unclear why, exactly, the papers from Stellenbosch and UCT made it through peer review. “A charitable interpretation would be laziness and genuine oversight on the part of the reviewers,” says Angela Saini, a science journalist and author of “Superior: The Return of Race Science,” a new book on the resurgence of race science since it fell out of favor following World War II.
“A less charitable one is that they let this through because they share with the authors some commitment to the idea of biological race — an idea long ago discredited by mainstream scientists,” she adds. “Either way, the system must be flawed in some way or this wouldn’t have happened.”
Regardless of the reason why, it’s common for faulty papers to slip through peer review, says Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, a watchdog publication for scientific publishing. “There are 1,400 retractions per year, and there are others that should be retracted but aren’t,” he says. “Peer review is a porous system.”
Recent reports reveal that system is under pressure. A 2016 study in PlosOne, looking at biomedical research, found that the responsibility for peer review is concentrated in the hands of a few reviewers. At the same time, the volume of scholarship requiring peer review continues to increase at about 3 to 3.5 percent each year. And there is also bias when it comes to who gets to be a peer reviewer. In its Global State of Peer Review 2018 report, for instance, the peer-review tracking website Publons found that established regions review more than emerging regions; in fact, there was not an African country in the top 20 nations that supplied reviews. And an investigation into gender and international diversity at the biosciences journal eLife found that an all-male review team was more likely to accept papers with male authors, and gatekeepers were also more likely to accept papers whose authors were from the same country as them.
“Humans are fallible and peer review has subjective aspects to it,” explains Cassidy Sugimoto, a professor of informatics at Indiana University, Bloomington and a co-author on the paper.
Part of that subjectivity comes from personal worldviews, but it also encompasses the scholarship reviewers and researchers are exposed to. Editors tend to choose reviewers who have read the same body of literature, Sugimoto adds, and may be oblivious to valid work disproving their viewpoint. In the case of race, there is plenty of well-established scholarship, she says, but mostly in fields that are unfamiliar to researchers and reviewers.
“A number of disciplines outside of the humanities need to engage across those boundaries to think critically about what they do as researchers,” says Haupt. “What does it mean to be a scientist in a world that is trying to undo colonialism, systemic racism, sexism? How do you undo the systemic racism, sexism?”
“You need to interrogate your position and the history of your scholarship,” he adds.
Still, there are moves to change the system. One way is to have a more diverse pool of reviewers, Sugimoto says. Another is to have partially open peer review, where reviewers and authors know one another’s identity and their comments are public.
“If peer review is the mechanism to determine validity of work, open peer review would be accountability and transparency,” Sugimoto says, although she adds that this could spark other problems, such as junior reviewers damaging their careers by openly challenging a senior academic. One way to avoid this would be to make only the reviews, rather than the reviewers’ identities, public.
These fixes, perhaps, could have halted the publication of the papers about colored women or countries that experienced slavery. “I’m sure there are lots of pieces of research like this,” says Boswell.
Such work “doesn’t come out of nowhere,” she adds. “This comes out of a context.”
Sarah Wild is a freelance science journalist based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This article is under Undark’s copyright and does not qualify for the Creative Commons license J2DW normally uses.
12 June 2019
Lee Tappenden, President & CEO
Wal-Mart Canada Corp.
1940 Argentia Road
Mississauga, ON L5N 1P9
Dear Mr. Tappenden,
Recently, it came to our attention Walmart Canada made policy changes greatly affecting your employees, disabled customers, and First Nations customers.
I was visiting your South Barrie store the other day when I discovered it no longer had express checkouts. Instead, I had the option to use the job-stealing self-checkouts or wait in line at one of the beer-toting checkouts. Either had me behind other customers with carts full of stuff vs my three items I was purchasing.
The problem, Mr. Tappenden, is that I have a hidden disability. Waiting in line can actually be unsafe for me, especially as of late due to tiring quickly, there is no where I can wait while the three to ten people in front of me take more than ten minutes each to pay for their purchases.
I further worry for your First Nations and People of Colour customers who may not feel safe in your stores. Who may only come in for two or three things and then quickly leave, now, your new policy forces them to stay longer with no visible security present. Your staff is inadequately trained for this. A First Nations youth shoved into the shelf of an over-crowded aisle might be seen as an “accident” instead of the assault that was intended by the perpetrator.
Your South Barrie store was difficult to navigate as your normally wide primary aisles were crowded in the middle with stock or other items making it difficult to get around.
As a result of this situation, we would like:
Peter V. Tretter
President & CEO
Journey to Diversity Workplaces
1 June 2019
Jeff Lehman, Mayor
City of Barrie
70 Collier St. P.O. Box 400
Barrie, ON L4M 4T5
We are writing to you today concerning Suzanne Craig, the City of Barrie’s “Integrity Commissioner” and her report to City Council regarding Councillor Keenan Aylwin.
We are greatly concerned that the report could potentially be influenced by her own biases and this could potentially be in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Act.
We come to this conclusion as she seems to ignore the fact that the complainant is an elected Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party of Canada. A party that has publicly supported positions in violation of the Ontario Human Rights Act and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of which the City of Barrie and its elected Council are required by law to uphold. This is a biased individual whom should be treated with “kid gloves” and any complaint treated as suspect. Mr. Brassard is taking the most extreme and unreasonable interpretation of Mr. Aylwin’s post.
As a result we request that Ms. Craig be placed on unpaid administrative leave while her intentions and biases are investigated by her immediate superior.
Peter V. Tretter
President & CEO
Journey to Diversity Workplaces
Warning: This article is for general purposes only. For specific legal advice please consult your attorney.
Wiktionary defines consent as:
“To express willingness, to give permission.”
In the era of Me Too, so many people seem to have forgotten a basic concept about consent… It’s about more than just sex. What is the best part? It’s also for minors.
Consent remains integral to our lives. We give consent when we eat a burger at McDonald’s or get an IV at the hospital. Sometimes a formal process is involved such as a parent signing a permission slip for their child to go on a field trip.
Wiktionary defines assault as:
“An act that causes someone to apprehend imminent bodily harm.”
A doctor who does surgery on you without your consent is committing assault. As is a nurse who gives you fluids in your IV without consent. Sometimes as in the second case consent is passive. You decide it’s ok and say nothing. Or you’re unconscious and the medical staff have to make that choice for you. The law allows for this.
In Canada, for medical purposes, with a few exceptions, most provinces have not set an age in law at which a minor consents to a medical procedure. The generally accepted age is 16. However, even below that age if a child can be shown to understand what the doctor is saying and the possible consequences of having a medical procedure (or not) their informed consent must, by common law, be obtained.
For an employer, this means they have to tread lightly with all employees, even those below the age of majority. Workers have the right to refuse unsafe work in Ontario. They have to consent, no matter what the task is. To do otherwise could risk injury to the employee and a giant fine for the employer. The onus is on the employer to explain the risks to the employee if there are any. Even a paper cut is a risk, albeit a small one.
Every day we encounter situations where we consent or we don’t. We eat that burger or we pick up a hammer and pound in that nail into the board. We balance the risks. However, that does put the onus on the person with the position of power from getting consent. In many cases, that’s the boss.
assault. (2019, April 9). Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 17:46, April 19, 2019 from https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=assault&oldid=52322351.
consent. (2019, March 24). Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 16:23, April 19, 2019 from https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=consent&oldid=52097289.
Knight, K. N. (2014, August 5). Consent of Minors to Medical Treatment. Retrieved April 19, 2019, from https://www.siskinds.com/consent-of-minors-to-medical-treatment/.
This article was written by J2DW CEO Peter V. Tretter and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.
We are fortunate to see an increase in visits to our website in 2018 with lots of help from our active volunteers! Now we present the top 5 articles visitors read on our website in 2018.
Freedom of religion, in Canada, is a constitutionally protected right that allows religious believers the freedom to assemble and worship without limitation or interference. Religious discrimination is treating individuals differently in their employment because of their religion, their religious beliefs and practices, denying their reasonable request for accommodation or a change in a workplace rule or policy that denies employees equal opportunities due to their religious beliefs or practices. Canadian employers are required to accommodate the reasonable needs of religious employees in the workplace.
Throughout our history, women have adopted new roles from working as a housewife to entering the workplace and providing for their family or oneself. As women entered the workplace, we saw issues of sexual harassment, unequal pay and opportunity starting to emerge. These issues are still seen and frequently voiced today as women are continuously taking a stand for their rights. Unfortunately, there are many issues that go unnoticed that need to be addressed. Every day women have to prove that they are just as good or better than their counterparts and when they fail to do so they are labeled as weak, incompetent or just plain lazy.
The success of an organization in today’s competitive world depends upon how well it embraces the challenges of diversity and realizes its benefits. Employees from different backgrounds, ages and ethnicities bring their own set of experiences and world views, and are better able to provide a wider range of solutions to developing problems. Most of all, a lack of diversity has been linked to increased discrimination which in turn leads to elevated stress levels among employees. The National Center for Biotechnology Information note that discrimination due to immigrant status, legal status, skin tone or language can contribute to increased stress in individuals.
Ever thought you would one day be in a position where you would have the decision on your hands to make or break someone’s career? Well if you are, here is something that you might come across depending on the nature of your job. This article aims to analyze some of the main factors to consider while picking the right person for the job. At the very outset, I must make it clear that I am referring to older as in more experienced professionals and not just being ageist.
There are a variety of workplace issues that both employers and employees encounter. Some of these issues are minor while other workplace issues are more significant and require frequent attention from employees for the workplace to function properly. While it is the responsibility of management to take steps to develop strategies to combat workplace issues, employees also have a responsibility to speak up when they recognize issues that contribute to or may eventually lead to problems.
This article was mostly contributed to and edited by J2DW volunteers!
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government had announced a large scale rollback to Ontario’s Labour Standards Act, which promised to freeze minimum wage at $14 an hour and repealing Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Doug Ford, The Premier of Ontario had stated some of the proposed legislation changes that we would see such as the removal of paid sick days and the exemption for a sick note if you are sick for less than three days a year.
There is some evidence from other provinces in the country such as Alberta that shows the increase in minimum wage would only help boost the economy.
Small-sized business owners had a hard time swallowing some of the Premier’s changes, as many were quite costly to their business that caused them to have to cut staff and raise prices. The Ontario government could have perhaps introduced grants to help bridge the gap for small-sized businesses struggling to adapt to the changes. We are seeing an almost whole-scale rollback of the Labour Standards Act, which makes it extremely difficult for those small-sized businesses to survive.
With the repeal of Bill 148, this could be seen as a politically motivated move as we are seeing Ford favouring rich business owners while the lesser are suffering.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Doctor’s notes are a tax on the poor because neither the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or the employer pay for them.[/perfectpullquote]
Most of labour law changes affect poor workers. Doctor’s notes are paid out of pocket and not reimbursed. Unpaid sick days mean those who are sick and would have previously stayed home will continue going to work and risk passing on their virus to their coworkers and those they come into contact with.
However, employers cannot make large changes in their workplaces to rollback the increases without possible large scale litigation along with potential claims of discrimination and constructive dismissal.
If Premier Doug Ford wanted to make genuine changes to the Labour Standards Act and the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 then he would have started by consulting with minimum wage earners, workers in blue collar positions and small-sized business owners.
For Ontario deserves more.
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.
Addiction: A Workplace Depressant?
Canada Centre on Substance Abuse and Addiction
This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Erin Murphy.