The history of the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) comprises three main periods.
During the 1990s, a dozen labour law and industrial relations specialists collaborated on various projects, several of which dealt with the evolution of labour regulation in the era of globalization. Whether about union renewal, the evolution of labour law, public policy and collective bargaining, new models of work organization, or human resource management, these collaborations stood out in many ways: they were interdisciplinary and multi-faculty; they mobilized diverse theoretical currents and traditions of empirical research; they brought together researchers from several universities in Quebec (Université de Laval, Université de Montréal and HEC Montréal, in particular); they were internationally oriented and include several collaborators from abroad. Many of the projects on which these collaborations were built landed support from Research Councils in both Quebec and Canada. Eventually, these efforts received initial structural funding in the early 2000s under the FCAR Fund’s Soutien aux équipes de recherche program.
A remarkable aspect of this history is that many of the researchers from this period are still active in the Centre. The launch – in 2021 – of the Jacques Bélanger and Pierre Verge fellowships will make it possible to underline the pioneering work of these researchers who, unfortunately, left us prematurely.
2003 – 2016
CRIMT’s foundation as a research center responds to two impulses: first, the effort to imagine an interdisciplinary research program on the evolution of work in the era of globalization; second, this effort coincided with the launch, by Research Councils in both Quebec and Canada, of new funding initiatives aimed at supporting this type of project. Following demanding competitions, CRIMT obtains initial funding in 2003 as a start-up center under the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture’s Strategic Cluster program. At the same time, the team received initial funding under the Major Collaborative Research Initiatives (MCRI) program of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). This marks the start of the second period.
By then, CRIMT had become a hub for interdisciplinary and inter-university collaborations on work and employment in the era of globalization. The cluster then counts about thirty researchers in Quebec and approximately the same number outside the province. In addition, it seeks to develop an open architecture that allows – through the diversity of its scientific activities – to maintain collaborations beyond the boundaries of the cluster.
The Centre’s establishment was rapid and was followed by a consolidation phase that lasted until the end of the 2000s, when it obtained a renewal of its funding until 2016 as a Strategic Cluster, this time as a continuing centre. Proof of the solid foundation it has created, the team received a second round of funding under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada‘s MCRI Program in 2008, renewing funding for its scientific program until 2016.
The Centre’s scientific and training activity is abundant during this period. CRIMT organizes dozens of scientific animation activities, including ten major international symposia, and long before video-sharing sites became popular, makes available hundreds of hours of video capture useful for training and knowledge mobilization purposes. As well, its researchers are editing close to thirty special issues of scientific journals and publishing hundreds of scientific articles, which accelerates the transfer of project results and gives the project a very high profile. In addition, some thirty doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers trained at the Centre will enter the academic career during the 2003-2016 interval, thus ensuring the renewal of a significant portion of the faculty in Quebec in labour law and industrial relations.
For those who wish to learn more about this period in CRIMT’s history, we invite you to consult our archives, which can be found on the many pages of our former Website.
The most recent period in the Centre’s history begins in the spring of 2017 and continues to the present day. It is a time of expansion, as well as increased internationalization of its activities. With the renewal of its funding as a Strategic Cluster until 2024, CRIMT is laying the groundwork for an ambitious project to establish an international research partnership dedicated to the study of institutional experimentation and its potential for better work. Funded under the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada‘s Partnership Program in 2017, CRIMT is joining forces with an international network of partner centres to better understand the conditions that underlie social innovation and are likely to produce better work, rather than worse. More than 180 researchers, including 50 in Quebec and 130 in Canada and a dozen other countries, are involved in this large-scale project.
The project pays particular attention to the actors who engage in social experimentation (both organizational and institutional) and what enables them to influence its course. Through the analysis of cases of organizational or institutional experimentation and their iterative re-examination in order to refine understanding, the project intends to provide – in the form of a Virtual Observatory of Experimentation – a unique tool for apprehending change and the way in which actors respond, through innovation, to the challenges it raises. This will be the main research product of the Project, whose impact and scope will continue well beyond the limits of the current grant.
This site provides an overview of the project, as well as of the scientific activities and publications resulting from it. During the period 2021-2022, the Virtual Observatory will be launched and will give free access to a first set of commented experimental cases.