Editor’s Voice: 2019: The Year of the Fork

Happy New Year! It’s the start of an exciting year for us (and hopefully for you) as Your Workplace begins its platinum year with a bang. Two decades of workplace issues, advice, analysis and commentary may seem like a long time, but we are really only scratching the surface.

In this, our 20th year, we are planning to tackle some bold issues with a packed agenda that will hopefully turn into annual events, not to mention our new look. We are hitting the ground running by looking at the issues that are current and relevant to you. Although questions still loom as to timing, pay transparency will be a hot topic in 2019.

The current Ontario government inherited legislation from the previous Liberal government it is still considering. Our story on the issue dives deep into its meaning and how it could change the pay landscape for employers going forward. We also have a separate piece on the topic that profiles companies’ attitudes and practices toward pay transparency and/or equity.

It is January and you know what that means? The party is over. It’s back to work, with a full inbox, and the post-holiday reality has set in. Our story on post-holiday blues and its effect on your employees sheds light on a sometimes overlooked issue and how best to help employees with their winter blahs. Employers can better understand the causes of so-called seasonal affective disorder and take action to better morale, boost employee engagement and make the transition back to work a smoother one during this time of year.

Always on the minds of employers is how to expand diversity in the workplace. In this issue we look at integrating people with disabilities back into (or into for the first time) the workplace. Several companies are profiled for their inclusive policies as well as their ability to create work environments that not only create an environment for people with disabilities but also give people opportunities beyond their initial job descriptions.

At Your Workplace we recognize that work can occur anywhere and is not one-size-fits-all. That is why our expert columnist Linda Nazareth discusses engagement of the “non-employee” and how temps and other contract workers need to be treated as part of the team more than they were in the past. We also delve into benefits plans and how diverse and different workforces need diverse and different benefits plans and options.

Over the course of this year we will be launching awards dedicated to celebrating HR managers, recognizing their efforts, inventiveness and dedication to the employees and companies they serve every day. Also, we thought it would be a good idea to start a ranking, much like other, eh-hem, publications that look at schools dedicated to our industry. Later this spring we will look at the HR schools in Canada and grade them on certain criteria to help educate you when you are hiring staff and help make choices for education or continuing education an easier decision.

Also, we will conduct a comprehensive survey to look at the trends and issues facing your everyday lives and provide analysis on those issues. The idea is to better understand your daily pressures and present them back to you in such a way that provides solutions and comments from colleagues and peers.

As we embark on our 20th year, we are looking into the future. There will be features on how artificial intelligence is affecting your jobs and the way people interact (or don’t interact) in the workplace. The future also means exploring who will inhabit HR jobs down the road, and so we will also look at millennials’ and Gen Zers’, for example, views and attitudes and how new generations will affect the workplace culture and mentality going forward. It’s truly an exciting year ahead that we hope you will join us for, and of course weigh in on.

Let me make a point, however, about a philosophical fork in the road occurring between the Ontario government and the federal government. At press time, the Pay Transparency Act was still a go. The purpose of the Act is to promote gender equality and equal compensation between men and women through increased transparency around compensation. Its implementation is in jeopardy as the Ford Conservatives in Ontario have not committed to a timeline and according to Labour Minister Laurie Scott the Act is being reviewed “to see how it fits with businesses and how we can make it work.” At the same time, the Ontario government is freezing minimum wage at $14 per hour for another two years.

And up the highway from Queen’s Park, the Trudeau Liberals have introduced a pay equity plan for employees of federally regulated sectors. The Pay Equity Act gives companies three years to evaluate their compensation practices and make sure pay gaps are eliminated. These are two very different approaches to workplace issues, pay, compensation and fairness. If the modern workplace of this still-young century is to progress, it will certainly have to shed the past of pay gaps and inequality. And if the Ford government really wants to “open Ontario for business” it needs to recognize that good business practices start with a workforce that is not only well paid but receiving fair pay for equal work.

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