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Canadian Push 10-7-11


2011 Archives

Jen Drake, CFI, Director of Resource Protection, West 49 Inc. On –

Employment Standards and Labour Laws

Canada also has very distinctive employment standards and labour laws. It's not as easy to fire someone in Canada and dismissal of employees can be more costly than in the US; adequate notice or pay in lieu of notice is required unless you have termination for cause. Vacation and Overtime standards are firmly established here. We don't really perform drug tests up here, so for folks who have that as a employment standard in the US, you'll definitely need to brush up on the very limited circumstances it is appropriate to conduct this type of testing in Canada. The process for conducting criminal background checks has become more complex over the past couple of years; many retailers are now strictly limiting this type of check to higher level/sensitive positions. Recruitment can be very challenging, especially in Central Canada. The provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are notorious for the difficulty in recruiting staff for retail. It's been this way for as long as I can remember. Tim Horton's had a hiring campaign which included the promise of awarding the employee with an iPod Nano upon hire to increase their applicant pool in these areas. Any time I have a case which involves the termination of a member of management in one of these Provinces, I know it will be a burden for our HR and Operations team to shuffle their talent around to fill the gap. One time, after a big fraud case was concluded, we had to run a store with borrowed staff working overtime from a neighboring city for over a month before we could establish a brand new management team at the location.

Like their U.S. counterparts Indigo Books & Music, Chapters, is going thru the same issues Borders faced and Barnes & Noble are successfully reacting to.
 And interestingly enough, they've followed the Barnes & Noble path and are now majority stake holders in the Kobo digital book company, Canada's version of the Nook.  Over the last year or so, they have eliminated some jobs and reduced LP headcount.  The chain is also stocking a wider array of merchandise including toys, housewares and other non-book products in its stores.  "The business has evolved into a sort of lifestyle, home decor and gifts store as well as shifting to a real focus on ebooks," and "It's a great Canadian business story," said Paul McElhone, Executive Director of the University of Alberta's School of Retailing.  Consequently, their founder and CEO, Heather Reisman, was just awarded the Henry Singer Award which was established by the Alberta School of Business in 1992 to recognize an exceptional leader in the retailing sector and to honor late Edmonton clothier Henry Singer and in 2009 the Financial Times of London named her one of the top 50 Women in Business globally.  So for any of you thinking the book retailer may go away like some of the others, think again because they have a great woman leading it.  (Source

One U.S. retailer who just entered the market just hired their new Canadian Director of LP
and is one of the first to create a new senior LP position in Canada.  LP job growth is coming to Canada and it's already started.  We'll keep you advised about who this is once everything is made public.  Stay tuned because it also opens a Directorship that has to be filled as well.

Loblaw's grad@Loblaw program is enjoying "tremendous success" and is injecting new life into the organization
at a time when all the new retailers will be struggling to find the talent to staff their new stores.  Getting a jump on it in 2009 with the aim of hiring 1,000 graduates over a five-year period was brilliant and given the tough job market they focused on colleges and offered structured programs for young grads. We are no different from any other company that is facing the crunch for talent,” Kathy Martin, SVP human resources said. “You have got to start building from within, building what we call a pipeline of talent. We recruit new people and teach them about our business and customer base.”  Professional days on College campuses all around Canada, over the next few years are going to be busy places.  Do you have your LP team involved?  And have you really developed a college recruiting program?  Or are you just leaving it up to HR?  (Source

Sears Canada's new CEO, Calvin McDonald, who came from Loblaw himself, appears to be on a mission and it sounds like one that if you're on the team it could be exciting, but if you're not you better get out of the way.  This executive is going to make sweeping changes, from employee execution to un-cluttering stores to focusing on the customer.  And one former Sears Canada CEO Mark Cohen, now a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, wonders:  "Will he have the time and will he have the support?"  Being the first major U.S. retailer to enter Canada back in 1952, they have the established presence and all they have to do now is execute.  (Source

Canada is totally revamping their copyright laws with their Copyright Modernization Act Bill C-11 and the draft legislation is an attempt to balance the interest of consumers who purchased copyrighted material and the creators of that material.  It's a hard balancing act and both sides are giving in, but the legislation will make a difference.  Here's two articles on the subject if you're interested – Source and Source

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