Workplace Policies and Governance | Arts and Science ONLINE

Workplace Policies & Governance

EMPR 240/3.0

The accelerating pace of market, economic, and technological change present many challenges to the contemporary Canadian workplace.  This course examines how employers, employees, and governments seek to resolve workplace problems.  By enacting workplace policies, it is hoped that workplaces maximize productivity while delivering fairness to its workforce.

This course is part of the Queen’s Undergraduate Certificate in Employment Relations. The Certificate focuses on core elements of the field of work and employee-management relations, while taking account of social science perspectives from economics, law, management, and history. The Certificate provides a broad foundation in the field of employment relations, including the areas of labour/employment law, labour-management relations, conflict management and negotiations, human resources management, and labour policy. Taken together, these courses and the resulting Certificate form the basis for a recognized university credential that will support students who are seeking entry level jobs in labour relations and human resources management after leaving Queen’s.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be better equipped to:

  • Describe the evolution and roles of workplace policies in Canada over the past century;
  • Critically evaluate the main features and elements of contemporary workplace policy in Canada, including the major legislation and government programs that relate to employment relations and work;
  • Interpret the main types of employment legislation and their core elements, and explain how they affect employees, employers, and employment relations;
  • Identify the main types of government labour market and workplace programs and analyze their main features, intended purpose, expected effects; and
  • Apply the key principles of workplace policies and governance that are relevant to employment relations and work.


How do we ensure that resources are channeled to their most productive uses, while reducing the impact that such adjustment might have on displaced workers?  How do we enable employers to organize their workplaces to increase efficiency while safeguarding workers from the potential occupational hazards and injuries of production?  How do we ensure that workers are not discriminated against based on immutable characteristics given that the Canadian workplace is more diverse than ever?

Topics at a Glance

Module 1 - Introduction to Public Policy & Workplace Policy
Module 2 - The Main perspectives on Evolution of Workplace Policy in Canada
Module 3 - Combatting Inequality & Unfirness: Wage Regulation in Canada
Module 4 - Working Time & Dismissal Regulation
Module 5 - Health, Safety & Injury in the Canadian Workplace
Module 6 - Human Rights in the Workplace
Module 7 - Passive Labour Market Policy - (Un)Employment Insurance
Module 8 - Activer Labour Market Policy - Adjustment & Training
Module 9 - Labour Relations Policy in Canada
Module 10 - Constitutional Rights: The Charter and it's Impact on Labour Policy
Module 11 - Workplace Policy


Winter 2020
Course Dates: 
Jan 6 - Apr 3, 2020
Exam Dates: 
Apr 9 - 25, 2020


0% - Self-Assessment Quizzes
0% - Game-Based Learning (Synchronous)
30% - Case Analysis
30% - Weblogs
40% - Proctored Final Exam

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

Live Sessions

This course has required live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class.

Final Examination
Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


Professor Bradley Weinberg (

Instructor message

Over the past century, the Canadian economy has undergone and continues to undergo drastic changes, much of which have greatly impacted Canadian workplaces and the Canadian workforce.  Forces such as globalization and technological change have placed increased pressures on Canadian employers to maintain their competitiveness through flexible, productive and efficient workplaces.  In many cases, what these pressures have meant for workers is a deterioration in pay and benefits, unsafe working conditions, nonstandard work arrangements, and even potential displacement from their employment.  In addition to these competitive pressures, a number of other changes in Canadian society and the economy present new challenges for the workplace.  New entrants into the workplace from previously underrepresented groups means that the Canadian workforce is more diverse than ever.  Technological change has made some forms of work obsolete while creating other new forms that test the boundaries of the employment relationship. And, income inequality has continued to grow as workers’ wages have not kept pace with productivity and union representation continues to decline.  How do we deal with these problems?

Labour policy seeks to resolve or at least mitigate problems in the labour market and the workplace.  Occasionally, employers and employees (and their representatives in unionized workplaces) are able to achieve this on their own through the development of policies that represent workplace rules and norms.  Where the parties to the employment relationship have been unable, or perhaps unwilling, to tackle workplace issues, the government may intervene in the employment relationship or labour market to ensure that outcomes are both efficient and equitable. This course examines how these issues (some longstanding) have been dealt with in the past, but also will examine new and potentially innovative ways of dealing with them today and in the future.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 10 hours a week (120 hours per term) in study, listening and online activity for this course.

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

Computer Specifications

  • Windows 8.1 or newer
  • OSX 10.13 (High Sierra) or newer
  • Dual Core 2 GHz processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Soundcard
  • USB Headset
  • Webcam

Supported Browsers

  • Chrome (preferred - latest version)
  • Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ
  • Edge is not recommended as it causes several known issues in onQ

Internet Connection

  • Wired high speed access: Cable or better
  • Wifi is not recommended


  • Latest version

Media Player

  • Flash (latest version)

Adobe Reader

  • Latest Version


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
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Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.