McMaster Establishes Canada's First Labour Studies School

February 2, 2010, 3:43 PM EST

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Hamilton's McMaster University will be the first Canadian university to run a fully autonomous labour studies school, following an announcement made on campus January 26.

McMaster pioneered the development of university labour studies programs in Canada, establishing the first in 1976.

Since then, labour studies programs focusing on issues of work, trade unions, globalization, equity and labour market restructuring have been formed in universities across the country - usually under the umbrella of the social and political sciences departments.

Expanding the scope of the program into its own school at McMaster, will offer professors and program administrators more flexibility in determining curriculum, programs, and enhanced graduate study opportunities for students.

This move is significant because it comes at a time when Canadian business schools have become common place among post-secondary institutions, said CAW Work Organization and Training Director David Robertson.

"Hopefully this ground-breaking work at McMaster will strengthen Canadian labour studies programs elsewhere in the country in the face of these current academic trends," Robertson said. 

McMaster University has maintained a long-standing relationship with the CAW, partnering on a landmark non-degree labour studies certificate that was launched over 10 years ago. Each year over 200 students participate in after-hours labour courses focused on everything from politics to the environment, and labour history to the economy.

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