Public Release: 

Can we construct workplace citizenship under globalization?

International conference on global changes to the rights and dignity of workers

University of Montreal

New frontiers for citizenship at work are being explored at an international conference organized by the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT - Université de Montréal, HEC Montréal, Université Laval). It's taking place at HEC Montréal (3000 Côte Sainte-Catherine, Monréal) from May 12 to 14, and will bring together 300 labour experts and leaders from around the world, who will be giving 65 sessions in English and French (many with simultaneous translation). A Community Forum is scheduled for Tuesday May 13.

Labour specialists and leaders will be made available to the media. "As the world of labour is transforming profoundly, we must find ways to reconstruct workplace citizenship in order to ensure the wellbeing of workers as well as organizational efficiency. Currently, it's the logic of flexibility that always seems to prevail," said Gregor Murray, Professor at Université de Montréal's School of Industrial Relations and director of the CRIMT. "Workplace citizenship was both an aspiration and a reality for many workers in advanced industrial economies. It included a variety of rights linked to employment, protection at the workplace, dignity and a body of rights related to the collectivization of social risks incurred throughout work life. Employment should provide dignity and security throughout one's work life, but this ideal is everywhere under challenge."

The conference will offer participants a unique opportunity to discover local, national and international experiences. World leading researchers will present their experiences as they confront a wide range of current challenges, including work-life balance, migrant employment, income security, improving workplace equality, labour conditions in the developing economies, and the future of "green" or "sustainable" goods and jobs. Workplace citizenship must be reconstructed, and it must be understood within the context of the challenges on the horizon.


Conference Schedule:

Contacts for information, Interviews and further media resources:

Supplementary media resources

The following statements are made available to the media for use in reports. These are non-official courtesy translations of statements made originally in French. The French versions are available upon request:

Income security/Unemployment insurance/Retirement regimes (Forum 2.4, Tuesday 13 at 3:25 pm: How can we reconstruct income security?). "Rethinking income security is not just a short-term issue for the protection of employees, the efficiency of labour market also a long-term issue in terms of social cohesion.". Jean Charest, Professor , School of Industrial Relations, Université de Montréal

Temporary and permanent migrant labour (many sessions): "Immigration programs targeting temporary workers are no longer able to meet the challenges raised by the globalization of labour. We must balance access to migrant workers with and their rights as workers." France Houle, Professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Montréal.

Labour conditions in developing economies (Plenary 2, Tuesday May 13) : "According to Kalpona Akter, a union activist from Bangladesh who will be attending the conference, 'justice for workers begins with their safety.' An increase in international awareness is noticeable one year after the Rana Plaza catastrophe. However, Canadian and foreign investors continue to benefit from a workforce where workers outnumber safety inspectors by more than one million to one, where 100 new unions were accredited but only 3 collective agreements are actually in force, and where an industrial police force continues to hinder workers' freedom of association and human rights." Jeffrey Hilgert, Professor , School of Industrial Relations, Université de Montréal

Workplace Diversity (Forum 2.4, Tuesday May 13) : "Diversity is source of richness for today and tomorrow's organizations. However, many obstacles continue to hinder the life plans of the targeted groups - indigenous peoples, women, handicapped people and visible minorities. This happens through professional segregation or by keeping them in sectors with the most precarious working conditions. Isn't it time for our society to take up the challenge of labour equity and give these groups true workplace citizenship?" Urwana Coiquaud, Associate Professor, Human Resources Management Training Service, HEC Montréal.

"Green" jobs : "Is a good job necessarily green? We could turn the questions back-to-front and ask if a green job should offer good labour conditions? What type of growth do we foresee for the future and how should we go about achieving it?" Martin Dumas, Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, Université Laval.

About the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT)

CRIMT is a multidisciplinary interuniversity research centre that brings together international researchers interested in globalization and the practical and theoretical challenges of institutional renewal with regards to labour and employment. CRIMT includes researchers from the School of Industrial Relations and the Faculty of Law. Université de Montréal is one of the founding institutions of the CRIMT and its director holds the Canada Research Chair on Labour and Globalization at the university's School of Industrial Relations within the Faculty of Arts and Science.

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