Canadian Auto Workers, Local 1520, Pre-Layoff Course (2011)

Case study

This case study looks at an eight-hour adjustment course designed by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union to help workers prepared for the impending closure of Ford’s assembly plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, in 2011.

The goal of adjustment is to help workers make the transition towards whatever is next, and that varies from one worker to another, the authors note. For most, a new job is an urgent priority, but others may be looking at retirement, while many will consider retraining. Access to services and information well before the actual closure can help workers make better choices.

The course, delivered on paid time to all workers, covers the fundamentals of plant closures and adjustment in the current labour market. Key components include a review of the closure agreement and its provisions; information about the labour market; and a review of both regular and special Employment Insurance benefits, as well as services available through Employment Ontario.

In addition, the course is designed to help workers recognize the skills and abilities they have already and could transfer to future jobs, and to understand and deal with the impact of the layoff on social, emotional and physical health.

The course also includes a “snapshot” of workers’ needs to help the adjustment committee and action centre prioritize and plan programs and services.

CAW members at Ford St. Thomas were also able to take advantage of the Labour Market Readiness Certificate, a program offered by the union in partnership with the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University in Hamilton. The program includes a series of after-hours courses designed to sharpen such basic skills as writing and computer use; enhance understanding of the local labour market; and explore supports to manage the transition into training and re-employment.

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APA citation
Centre for Workplace Skills (CWS). Canadian Auto Workers, Local 1520, Pre-Layoff Course 2011. Web. 28 May. 2022 <>
Centre for Workplace Skills (CWS) (2011). Canadian Auto Workers, Local 1520, Pre-Layoff Course. Retrieved May 28, 2022, from
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