Ontario labour-reform bill passed, and increase in minimum wage

Photographer: Rob Bye

Photographer: Rob Bye


“Ontario will implement a $15 minimum wage on Jan. 1, 2019, and enact other new worker-focused rules even sooner, as lawmakers passed a series of revised employment laws at Queen’s Park on Wednesday after years of research and debate,” wrote Josh O’Kane for The Globe and Mail on November 22, 2017.

O’Kane continued, “The labour reforms put in place by the Liberals include requirements that employers pay part-time, casual and temporary employees the same rate as full-time employees for the same job; that employers must pay workers three hours’ wages for shifts cancelled with fewer than 48 hours’ notice; and that all workers be eligible for 10 days of emergency leave, two of which must be paid.

The province’s business community has broadly and vigorously opposed the reforms since the process reached the legislature last spring, arguing the measures will raise costs so much that they’ll have to hire less and raise prices for consumers to make up for those costs. Toronto-Dominion Bank researchers said in September the minimum-wage increase alone could cost the province as many as 90,000 jobs through reduced hiring and greater automation.”

Read the full article here. 

Half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure according to new guidelines

Photographer:  Rawpixel.com

Photographer: Rawpixel.com


“New guidelines lower the threshold for high blood pressure, adding 30 million Americans to those who have the condition, which now plagues nearly half of U.S. adults,” wrote Marilyn Marchione for The Associated Press, posted by The Globe and Mail on November 14, 2017.

Marchione continued, “High pressure, which for decades has been a top reading of at least 140 or a bottom one of 90, drops to 130 over 80 in advice announced Monday by a dozen medical groups.

The change means an additional 14 per cent of U.S. adults have the problem, but only an additional 2 per cent will need medication right away; the rest should try healthier lifestyles, which get much stronger emphasis in the new advice. Poor diets, lack of exercise and other bad habits cause 90 per cent of high blood pressure.

“I have no doubt there will be controversy. I’m sure there will be people saying ‘We have a hard enough time getting to 140,”‘ said Dr. Paul Whelton, a Tulane University physician who led the guidelines panel.”

Read the full article here. 


Canadian property market still hot

Photographer: Andrzej

Photographer: Andrzej


“It isn’t just Canadians waiting to see tomorrow’s latest real estate numbers,” wrote Don Pittis for CBC News on November 14, 2017/

Pittis continued, “On Wednesday when the Canadian Real Estate Association releases the latest sales statistics and prices for resale homes, it will feel like the whole world is watching.

At the end of last month the Swiss banking giant UBS put both Toronto and Vancouver in the top five of its international bad boy list.

Toronto had the distinction of placing number one on the company’s worst global bubble risk, beating out Hong Kong, London and Amsterdam. Vancouver wasn’t far behind.”

Read the full article here. 

Complaints about CRA freezing and emptying accounts with no notice

Photographer: Wilfred Iven

Photographer: Wilfred Iven


“Canada’s Taxpayers’ Ombudsman is investigating what seems to be a problem with the federal tax agency freezing and emptying accounts without warning,” wrote Sarah Smellie for CBC News on November 8, 2017.

Smellie continued, “It’s a problem that shut down a small business in St. John’s last month.

In early October, CBC News reported that Fixed Coffee and Baking owner Jonathan Howse had to close one of his locations when, according to Howse, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) emptied his business’s bank account without warning.

The office of the federal taxpayers’ ombudsman, which aims to improve the CRA’s accountability, read the story, and contacted the St. John’s newsroom.

“What interested us in this is that we were getting complaints from people who were saying the CRA’s frozen my bank account or they’ve taken these actions and they didn’t give any notice to me,” said Sherra Profit.

Profit said her office has received enough calls to “identify this as a systemic issue and determine that this was something that had to be examined.”

Her office notified the minister of national revenue in February that it would be preparing a report.”

Read the full article here. 

Tanker trucks exploded on Highway 400

Photographer: Lorenzo Cafaro

Photographer: Lorenzo Cafaro


“A fatal, 14-vehicle pileup that killed at least three people and left Highway 400 about an hour north of Toronto littered with “tangled, twisted metal” may have been caused by an inattentive transport truck driver, police said Wednesday,” wrote CBC News on November 1, 2017.

CBC News continued, “The chain reaction of collisions started around 11:30 p.m. ET Tuesday, when a transport truck slammed into the back of another large truck that was stopped at the end of a long line of traffic in the northbound lanes. Two fully loaded tanker trucks, three other commercial vehicles and multiple cars were involved in the crash that ensued.

Immediately following the initial collision, a series of explosions sent fireballs into the night sky, witness video shows. 

“The vehicles are completely destroyed, melted into the asphalt,” said Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police’s highway safety division.

Early indications are that “potentially, an inattentive vehicle — potentially a fuel tanker approaching northbound to slow or stopped traffic, smashed into the back of the queued traffic,” Schmidt said.”

Read the full article here. 

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