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Job-placement centre for GM workers set to open in Oshawa, Ont.


About 3,000 workers lost jobs due to manufacturer shuttering long-running assembly plant

A new centre to support auto parts workers affected by the assembly line closure at the General Motors (GM) Oshawa plant with skills retraining and employment services is set to open.

In October, Unifor and the Ontario government announced the opening of an action centre for GM employees.

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Toronto Uber drivers apply to unionize


‘Like all workers, we deserve the right to form a union and bargain collectively’

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Canada has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board to unionize more than 300 Uber Black limousine and SUV drivers in Toronto. With the application, the drivers could become the first ride-sharing workers in Canada to gain union representation.

The drivers are hoping to be paid for all hours worked and have a guaranteed hourly wage. They also want to secure just cause protection and a legally binding grievance procedure, and to compel Uber to abide by Ontario’s Employment Standards Act and recognize drivers as employees rather than independent contractors.

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Office plants help boost workers’ mental health: study


Greenery ‘can reduce psychological, physiological stress’

A new study has found that the presence of small plants at work can help boost the mental health of employees.

“Having opportunities to gaze intentionally at nearby plants on a daily basis in the work environment can reduce the psychological and physiological stress of office workers,” says the study done by Masahiro Toyoda, Yuko Yokota, Marni Barnes and Midori Kaneko of the Graduate School of Landscape Design and Management at the University of Hyogo, in Awaji, Japan.

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CEO of company that fired employee over tweet admits ‘overreaction’


But says he’s not going to second-guess staff’s decision

The CEO of a U.S.-based company that fired a Canadian employee who complained on Twitter about the company’s Christmas gift admitted that his staff may have overreacted — but he stands with their decision, according to the Star Tribune.

Dan Florness, CEO of industrial supplies company Fastenal based in Winona, Minn. said his company fired 27-year-old Hussien Mehaidi from Burnaby, B.C. after the latter tweeted his outrage at receiving a bottle of barbecue sauce and a wooden scraper from his employer. Mehaidi was working as a branch manager at the company.

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Nova Scotia opens helpline for workers affected by mill closure


‘It’s vitally important that support is available to those who need it’

Nova Scotia is partnering with Morneau Shepell to open a confidential, toll-free helpline for those affected by the pending closure of the Northern Pulp mill in Ambercrombie.

“The impact of this situation reaches beyond those directly employed in the forestry sector and it’s vitally important that support is available to all those who need it,” says Premier Stephen McNeil. “This dedicated line is one place people can turn to for support.”

Callers will receive professional counselling support or a referral to resources in their community, says the government.

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Starbucks provides mental health app to employees


‘Eliminating the mental health stigma is about more than just starting the conversation’

Starbucks is now providing Canadian employees with a free subscription to the meditation app Headspace.

The tool offers guided meditations, informative videos, articles and animations on topics such as sleep, focus and anxiety to help users “live a happier, healthier life, more restful life.”

The announcement came after the coffee chain brought together 12,000 store leaders for a session on mental well-being and emotional first aid last fall.

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Researchers tout auto-enrolment to employer-sponsored emergency savings


‘Rainy-day savings arrangements at the workplace could help attract and retain valuable employees’

Automatically enrolling workers into an employer-sponsored payroll deduction rainy-day or emergency savings account could be a cost-effective means of helping people accumulate liquid savings to meet urgent pre-retirement expenditure needs, according to a new study.

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