Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Companies looking to update substance-use policies"/ "Millenials become CEO for a day"

Feb. 8, 2017 "Companies looking to update substance-use policies face tricky task": Today I found this article by Brenda Bouw in the Globe and Mail:

Companies are being urged to create or update their drug and alcohol policies in light of the growing use of pot for medical purposes and the pending legalization of marijuana in Canada.

The recent incident of an allegedly impaired Sunwing Airlines pilot, who was removed from the cockpit of a plane as it was getting ready to fly out of Calgary, also served as a reminder to organizations why it’s important to have a policy on how to deal with employees who are drunk or high on the job.

“My recommendation is to have one policy which deals with the use of drugs and alcohol; the thrust of it is usually that you’re not supposed to be using or under the influence at work, and then a sub-aspect that deals with prescription medication,” says Stuart Rudner, an employment lawyer with Toronto-based Rudner MacDonald LLP.

While it’s common for companies to have drug-and-alcohol policies for employees operating heavy equipment or machinery, organizations across industries are also establishing policy to help maintain workplace productivity. Substance abuse cost the Canadian economy about $40-billion in lost productivity as far back as 2002 (the latest statistics available), according to a 2006 report published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.
Since being founded more than three years ago, Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest cannabis producer, has laid out some ground rules around how employees with medical marijuana prescriptions can use the drug on the job.

Employees can’t medicate at their desks (the company has private areas for that) and they must let a supervisor know if they’re feeling unwell after medicating. Managers must also ensure the employee doesn’t operate any heavy equipment or machinery while impaired, which could put them in danger.

“For a company like ours, it goes both ways; we need to respect and encourage that the right policies are in place to allow people to medicate at work,” says Mark Zekulin, president of Smiths Falls, Ont.-based Canopy. “But we also can’t fall into the stereotypical cannabis company. There can’t be people smoking joints at the front door. As leaders, we wanted to have [the policy].”

It’s tricky for employers to balance employees’ rights and well-being, including possible addiction issues, with the company’s need to operate a safe and productive workplace.

“Employees can’t automatically be fired for showing up drunk or high at work,” Mr. Rudner says. Companies can take disciplinary action, he says, especially if employees pose a risk to themselves or others.

“Just because you don’t have a policy doesn’t mean you can’t take action, but you’re going to be in a stronger position if you have a very clear policy that has been communicated to employees,” says Mr. Rudner, who also wrote the book, You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada.

Employers dealing with an employee who is drunk or high on the job need to document a conversation on the problem and outline steps that include how the employee plans to handle the issue, Mr. Rudner says. If the employee suffers from an addiction, they will need to be accommodated.

“You can’t discriminate against people who have a disability, and having a substance abuse problem is a disability,” says Jennifer Newman, a Vancouver-based workplace psychologist with Newman Psychological and Consulting Services.

Having a policy is important, but Ms. Newman says it needs to be properly communicated to employees. Managers should also receive some training on how to use it.

Niki Lundquist, a lawyer with Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, says employers need to be strict with their policies, but also compassionate when dealing with employees, which includes accommodating any medical issues or addictions.

“If someone is coming to work drunk, it’s usually indicative of a pretty serious problem,” Ms. Lundquist says. “Employers should deal with these issues as we would any other kind of issue that requires us to respond in a humane way to a problem that may well be related to a disability.”

Policies should also vary depending on the workplace, Ms. Lundquist says. For instance, a company that uses heavy equipment would likely have a different, stricter policy than a technology startup.

“There isn’t one type of workplace and the result of someone being impaired is different from workplace to workplace,” Ms. Lundquist says

Feb. 24, 2017 "Millennials become CEO for a day": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail

As Nabaa Alam neared the end of his chemical engineering program at the University of Alberta, he was still unsure what path he would take following graduation.

“In previous generations, people stayed with the same company, or they kind of had a career mind-map of what they wanted to do,” said the 23-year old, who graduated last April. “When I came out of engineering, I worked a lot in the oil and gas industry, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.”

Everything changed for Mr. Alam in February, 2016, when he earned the chance to shadow one of Canada’s most powerful chief executives, Dave Mowat, who leads Alberta-based financial institution and Crown corporation ATB Financial.

“Dave told me not to really focus on that career mind-map, and instead follow my passions,” Mr. Alam said, adding that Mr. Mowat advised him that, “as long as you love what you do, you’re going to succeed in the end.”

With that advice, Mr. Alam decided to organize a small campus team to answer a request from the Alberta Government calling on students to help develop sustainable energy resources in the province.

“We came up with the idea of taking canola oil and making marketable fuels such as diesel, jet fuel and gasoline,” said Mr. Alam, adding that Alberta’s government liked the idea enough to dedicate $10-million collected from the carbon levy to design a renewable-energy biofuels pilot plant. If successful, the province plans to build a larger facility in 2018 that can process 200 million litres of canola oil annually, which could save 112,000 tonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions by the year 2020.

“Dave really inspired me to take on that project, because I saw it as an opportunity to really help Alberta and Canada and the world through renewable-energy development,” Mr. Alam said.

The job-shadowing experience that paired the two was part of an annual program by executive recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson. Now in its fourth year in Canada, the CEO-for-a-day program matches students with executives to help bridge the gap between millennials and business leaders.

“Every generation has an almost built-in resentment or criticism of the generation that follows,” said Eric Beaudan, the global head of Odgers Berndtson’s leadership practice, adding that this reflex can be counterproductive and even damaging to employer-employee relationships. “One of the statistics we better get used to is that by 2020 the global work force will be 50 per cent made up by millennials.”

As the millennial generation continues to expand within the Canadian work force, it is bound to cause major disruptions to the way workplaces have historically operated, according to Mr. Mowat.

“I think we will be less hierarchical in our organizations, and much more horizontal,” said the ATB Financial CEO. “Information is kind of king, so making information more broadly available compresses the hierarchy, lets people connect and learn and lead and be inspired and do their best work.”

Mr. Mowat adds that millennials also demand more recognition based on merit, moving away from traditional methods of advancement such as seniority and company loyalty. Another CEO participant, CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge, adds that the CEO-for-a-day program is a prime example of how millennials are gaining access to information that may not have been available to previous generations.


Wendy Taylor3
2 days ago

Finally. Somebody gets that this is the best and only fit between the millennial and the company. And the best place for any millennial to start their brand new career! Signed: the Millennial's Parents.


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