This profile was part of the Faculty of Public Affairs’ Generation FPA series, which highlighted up and coming alumni who graduated between 2008-2018. The series was published in 2018.
Nick Miller is the Manager of Employee and Labour Relations at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a federal crown corporation that supports development research in developing countries.
Nick Miller wasn’t the first student pursuing a BA in Law who envisioned law school in his future, but he remembers when “the lightbulb came on” and he realized that there were many other fulfilling career paths available to him.
“Bill Cole’s class in labour law” is Miller’s succinct answer.
“He wasn’t a lawyer, but a consultant who had spent much of his career supporting unions as an advisor and spokesperson. He knew the ins and outs of labour law in a practical context, and he taught it through anecdotes from his own experience,” remembers Miller.
Miller’s interest in labour relations was further sparked by the jobs he worked as an undergraduate.
“I was working in the bar and restaurant industry, which is notorious for having precarious employment and poor employee treatment,” he explains. “From this experience, I developed an interest in how we protect people like myself and my coworkers.”
Miller’s first position after university was as a records clerk at the Department of Justice. Not only did it dovetail with his interest in law, but it allowed him the opportunity to become involved with the workplace health and safety committee.
From there, he went on to the Public Service Labour Relations Board (PSLRB), where he later took a year of education leave to pursue a master’s degree in industrial relations. After his time at the PSLRB, he worked in labour relations at Canada Post and the Royal Canadian Mint.
He’s now applying that ample experience to his role as Manager of Employee and Labour Relations at the International Development Research Centre.
“The IDRC just ratified its first collective agreement, so there is a lot of education to be done,” says Miller. “My responsibility is to ensure that everyone knows how it works.”
He admits that among the first things he unpacked in his new office were some of his textbooks from Carleton.
“Carleton taught us a way of unpacking an issue and using critical thinking that was really valuable,” he says. “In the Law program, we went even deeper and learned structured critical methods to understand complex legal issues and problems. The methods I learned at Carleton are still very relevant in my work today.”
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