Teaching Canadian Labour and Employment Law in the Globalized New Economy: Ruminations of an Aging Neophyte

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Labour, Employment, Globalization, Economy, Instruction, Teaching


These remarks are subtitled "ruminations of an aging neophyte," in recognition of my somewhat odd status as a labour law teacher. On the one hand, I've been at Dalhousie Law School for more than 30 years, teaching full time and conducting research in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, evidence, comparative law and, latterly, restorative justice. On the other hand, while I studied labour law with Innis Christie at Dalhousie using the first edition of the national labour and employment casebook in the early 1970s, I began teaching the subject only four years ago, and feel very much a neophyte. This does not mean that I have no experience in the field of labour and employment law. Having acted part-time as a labour arbitrator in private-and public-sector rights disputes under collective agreements since the early 1980s, and had many years' experience serving on labour relations and employment law tribunals, I have a reasonably secure sense of how our major institutions in that field operate. I also keep up connections with members of the labour relations community across Canada, who represent its disparate and often polarized cultures. But when I recently came to teach labour law, I was forced to come to grips with the "big picture," which can in many ways be avoided by someone "in the trenches."