Archive for The Canadian Press
Gen Y workers want flexible work spaces
TORONTO, Cananda – A new survey says many Canadians consider the time it takes to get to work as important as the job itself.
The survey by Oxford Properties and Environics Research Group found that 76 per cent of respondents wanted a reasonable commute to the office.
All things being equal, 50 per cent considered commute time to be the No. 1 factor in choosing one employer over another.
The majority of those surveyed said a commute time of less than 30 minutes was the appropriate travel time to work, in line with the average one-way Canadian commute of 29 minutes.
But that commuting time applies to only six in 10 Ontario workers, with commuters in Toronto facing an average one-way trip of 42 minutes.
Atlantic Canada commuters fare better, with nine in 10 workers commuting 30 minutes or less, as do workers in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa.
While some Canadians may change jobs for a shorter distance to work, one-third of workers would be willing to work an extra three hours per week for a reasonable commute, the survey said.
PQ’s Drainville cites “security concerns”
MONTREAL – The Quebec cabinet minister responsible for the government’s proposed charter of values pulled out of a debate on the topic Thursday because of security concerns.
Bernard Drainville said he had no choice but to cancel his presence at Montreal’s Concordia University because there was a real risk it could get out of control.
The Quebec Public Interest Research Group at Concordia had promised to protest outside the event, describing the charter as ”xenophobic.”
Drainville said he decided not to take part in the debate because members of the group refused to commit themselves to keep the peace.
RCMP identify victims
VICTORIA – Two 19-year-old University of British Columbia students have been identified as the victims of a head on crash on the Sea-to-Sky Highway.
The BC Coroners Service says Olivia Robertson of Collingwood, Ont., and Valentine Leborgne of Los Altos, Calif., were in a vehicle that crossed the centre line and slammed into a pickup truck.
Robertson was driving and Leborgne was a passenger in the Jeep Cherokee that was heading north towards Whistler on Saturday morning.
Two other women in the back seat survived the crash, although one of the women was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The driver of the truck suffered minor injuries.
The coroners service and the RCMP are both investigating.
Martin Gingras says site is helping job hunt
TORONTO – It gets dropped without warning and can strike anywhere in the world, laying waste to rational arguments and leaving a trail of offended sensibilities in its wake.
But the linguistic threats posed by the f-bomb on Twitter pale in comparison to its entertainment value, according to a Canadian computer science student who has made it his mission to track the global prevalence of this word-based weapon on the social networking site.
Martin Gingras’s fascination with the popular profanity prompted him to create fbomb.co, a website that tracks the use of the word in real time.
By combining features from two of the web’s most widely used applications — Google Maps and Twitter — the site allows readers to observe where in the world f-bombs are falling and in exactly what context they are being used.
Gingras himself does not track the data for geographical trends, nor does he expect the site to be much more than a source of entertainment to its readers.
Social media connects Canadians to careers
Ignore that request from LinkedIn or Twitter at your peril — it might be a job offer, according to a global study released Wednesday.
The study, commissioned by U.S. human resources firm Kelly Services, found that 39 per cent of Canadians polled have been contacted through a social media website or network in the last year about a possible job opportunity.
Of those surveyed, 14 per cent of Canadians said they were hired after having been contacted via websites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
“Social media is rapidly revolutionizing the recruitment process because it broadens the access to an enormous pool of candidates,” said Michael Webster, executive vice-president of the Americas region for Kelly Services in a statement.
“We are also seeing the impact access to smart technology has on retention as the work and personal lives of today’s employees is more commonly blended together. Suddenly employees have the flexibility to engage socially or accomplish work tasks at any given time.”
Anti-tuition protests became riots
MONTREAL – Quebec provincial police say they underestimated the threat level at a student demonstration that turned into a riot last year.
Marcel Savard, the force’s assistant director, told a commission looking into the student protests of 2012 that police underestimated demonstrators outside a provincial Liberal meeting in May 2012.
He also confirmed fences erected to keep demonstrators away from the gathering in the central Quebec town of Victoriaville were inadequate and there was a breakdown in the communication of intelligence information.
Savard said police have learned valuable lessons from the experience.
He said maintaining the peace is a shared responsibility between police and demonstrators and that such weapons as rubber bullets were not used indiscriminately.
Students protested last year in opposition to tuition fee increases imposed by the provincial government, which argued fees had not been raised in years. Many demonstrations were held in Montreal and some of them turned violent.
After BlackBerry layoffs, career fair attracts more than 700
WATERLOO, Ont. – After BlackBerry helped build its reputation as the epicentre of Canada’s technology sector, Waterloo, Ont., is working against the odds to find jobs for hundreds of employees who have been laid off by the smartphone company.
At a convention centre on the outskirts of the city, nearly 700 people — about half of them former BlackBerry staff — gathered at a technology jobs fair this week where they hoped to find a position at another company.
But the overwhelming attendance suggested that most would face disappointment.
“My goal is to try and meet with prospective employers,” said Mike Holownych, a Kitchener, Ont., resident who lost his job with BlackBerry in 2012 but wants to stay in the region.
“I’ve been looking in the tech sector since August of last year. Most of the interest I’ve been getting has been outside of the area, both in Toronto and in the states.”
Kenney: training funds can’t go to “habitual welfare recipients”
OTTAWA – The federal government’s Canada Job Grant proposals are in trouble, officials and opposition critics are warning on the eve of Jason Kenney’s meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts.
Seven months after Ottawa first proposed the program in its March 2013 budget, the minister of employment and social development can expect a litany of complaints when he sits down with his colleagues in Toronto on Friday.
Quebec has even threatened to opt out of the program.
“They’re out on a branch on this one, a very fragile branch,” Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, said this week.
Provinces and territories are particularly opposed to Kenney’s plan to slice $300 million — about 60 per cent — from the so-called Labour Market Agreement implemented by the Conservatives in 2007.
That initiative provides funds to train unemployed workers not eligible for employment insurance and is aimed at aboriginals, immigrants, women, youth, older workers, people with disabilities and those with low literacy levels.
“They’re planning on funding this Canada Job Grant on the backs of our most vulnerable workers,” said Duguid, adding that the program would leave Ontario on the hook for $232 million.
Academics report trouble getting data
VANCOUVER – A new report says Canada is at risk of losing its world-leader status on ocean science.
The report for the Council of Canadian Academies says funding for ocean science is actually increasing, contrary to perception, but limitations on access to data and information reduce the usefulness of research being done by governments, universities and industry.
David Strangway, chairman of the expert panel and former president of the University of British Columbia, says Canada, with more coastline than any nation in the world, is a steward of the ocean and its activities have an impact on the rest of the world.
The report says Canada has invested in some world-class ocean monitoring, but has an aging research fleet.
This country has been among the top countries for producing ocean research, but that could change.
Strangway says investing in ocean science is an opportunity and a necessity for Canada.
Mounties release sketch of man suspected in six assaults
VANCOUVER – Mounties have released a composite sketch of the man believed to be behind six sexual assaults since April at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. The sketch shows a Caucasian man wearing a hooded sweater, with an olive or darker skin tone, a rounder chin, broad forehead, straight nose and short dark hair.
All six victims were walking alone late at night when they were jumped from behind and groped, and one was punched in the face.
Three of the attacks occurred in October, one was reported in late September and investigators announced last month that separate incidents in April and May are also connected.
UBC President Stephen Toope says the attacks are an extremely unusual occurrence on what he calls one of the safest campuses in North America.
Business school will make $200,000 contribution instead
VANCOUVER – The University of British Columbia’s business school is contributing $200,000 to expand sexual assault counselling and education for students after an undergraduate society at the centre of a pro-rape frosh chant voted not to provide those funds.
UBC President Stephen Toope had recommended in September that the Commerce Undergraduate Society make a $250,000 contribution to fund a new three-year councillor position after the society was implicated in a frosh week chant glorifying the abuse of underaged girls.
The society has already given $50,000. However, about 70 per cent of members who participated voted not to contribute the remaining $200,000 during a referendum, which the society says must be held whenever a large expenditure is involved.
Robert Helsley, dean of the Sauder School of Business, said he was “deeply disappointed” to hear of the voting results, especially in light of six reported incidents of sexual assault on campus which have resulted in heightened security around the school in recent weeks.
“I’m aware this will be very disappointing to our wider community,” he told reporters on Monday. “I’m not prepared to speculate on why the students chose not to support the referendum.”
David Johnston starts My Giving Moment
OTTAWA – Gov. Gen. David Johnston has a proud family history of volunteering — his paternal grandparents, devout and “very poor” Methodists, donated a significant portion of their household income to those in need.
“They tithed 10 per cent of any revenue that came into the family; it went to charitable causes, and that was the first 10 per cent,” he recalled fondly in an interview at Rideau Hall as he prepared to start his My Giving Moment volunteerism campaign.
“That was the top priority, but they were not unusual. Their friends and neighbours were of the same view and they were very happy people.”
The point, Johnston said, is that people from all walks of life can volunteer — not just by opening their wallets, but by giving their time and talents to helping those less fortunate.
My Giving Moment is aimed at encouraging everyone, but particularly youth, to find their “giving moment,” Johnston said.
Hundreds expected at rally after sex assaults
VANCOUVER – Six sex assaults at the University of British Columbia have resulted in an unprecedented police presence on the campus where fear has spread among students, staff and the community, says the facility’s president.
Stephen Toope told a news conference that unlike many other inner-city universities, UBC is situated on a large amount of open space, requiring a different type of response to give people a sense of security.
“This is one of the safest campuses in North America. There is not normally a climate of fear or of insecurity on the campus,” he said.
RCMP’s major crimes section has taken over the investigation and say one man is believed to be responsible for three attacks this month and similar incidents in April, May and September.
RCMP step up patrols
VANCOUVER – RCMP say there has been another sex attack at UBC on the weekend and police have concluded the string of assaults are the work of the same man.
Sgt. Peter Thiessen says a woman who was walking alone on the campus at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday noticed a shadow walking behind her before she was grabbed from behind.
As in the previous cases, the victim flailed her arms and struggled and the suspect ran away.
There have now been six attacks on the campus over the previous weeks and Thiessen says police have put additional resources into solving the case.
UBC officials say they are treating the matter with the utmost urgency and are looking for anyone with tips about the suspect.
The man is described as a Caucasian in his late 20s or early 30s, of slim build and somewhere around six feet tall.
Parents concerned about social promotion
IQALUIT, Nunavut – A world away from the high-tech, high-stakes political campaigns the rest of Canada has grown used to, Ron Elliott looks out the window of his home in Arctic Bay and sees no indication that voters are heading to the polls Monday.
“Here, it’s very low-key,” said the candidate for the constituency of High Arctic.
“I think people like that. It’s not so much in your face.”
Elliott is hoping voters give him the nod for the second time to assume one of the 22 seats in the territorial legislature in Iqaluit. His constituency — which includes the communities of Grise Fiord, Resolute and his home town of Arctic Bay — is the most isolated political jurisdiction in Canada and perhaps the world.
Not so much as a vote-for-me sign clutters the quiet streets of this hamlet high atop Baffin Island. No mailboxes groan with campaign bumpf.
Some say assault response too focused on fear
VANCOUVER – Women at the University of British Columbia are being urged to stay safe, don’t walk alone at night, carry a whistle, ask for a late-night escort.
But some on the campus gripped by worry over the presence of an apparent serial sex attacker are questioning why there isn’t more focus on condemning the crime in the first place.
Despite the good intentions of campus security to inform women of measures to protect themselves, the emphasis seems to be falling on only women, said Anisa Mottahed, manager of the Sexual Assault Support Centre at UBC.
“It’s not speaking to the population in a way that I think it should be,” said Mottahed. “So instead of focusing on the fear piece, looking at the collective responsibility piece is a little more important.”
Bus ads warn females
VANCOUVER – The University of British Columbia is putting extra safety measures in place following several sexual assaults on campus, but the response itself is stirring controversy just a few weeks after scandal erupted over a frosh-week rape chant.
The university is holding emergency meetings to alert students, handing out whistles and says it will install more lighting and step-up its late-night Safewalk program after three reported assaults.
The institution is also running a series of ads on 100 buses that come to the campus warning female students not to walk alone.
The response from one anonymous student is a series of unofficial posters warning males not to be rapists, saying a woman walking alone at night is not an invitation to assault.
Just last month, the Sauder School of Business, where the first-year commerce students involved in the chant attend class, was defaced with graffiti attacking the “rape culture” at the university.
Louise Cowin, vice-president of students for UBC, says practical safety measures are the priority, but she says a wider discussion is necessary and the university is forming a group to look at the issue and report back with recommendations.
Report of racist Pocahontas chant
VANCOUVER – A controversial chant based on the Disney movie “Pocahontas” used by students at the University of B.C. has set off a series of measures to help students better understand First Nations.
The changes were announced in a report arising from frosh events sponsored by the Commerce Undergraduate Society last summer.
“The report released today shows us there is very little awareness of indigenous peoples and their concerns among the students we interviewed,” Louise Cowin, UBC’s vice president of students, said in a news release Monday.
“Clearly, UBC has a role to play in educating students to become more culturally competent.”
The report found that student leaders at the Sauder School of Business selected the “Pocahontas” theme and created the chant.
Students warned not to walk alone at night
VANCOUVER – The RCMP’s Major Crimes Unit has taken over the investigation into a series of late-night assaults against female students at the University of British Columbia as officials work to increase safety measures at the Vancouver campus.
The third attack in three weeks involved a man grabbing the woman from behind, ripping her nylons and punching her in the face as she walked to her residence.
Sgt. Drew Grainger of the RCMP’s university detachment said the latest victim suffered a black eye and that the escalating violence has led police to focus more resources on finding the suspect who’s been described in each case as tall, thin, wearing a black hoodie and being in his late 20s.
Police met Monday with UBC administrators and officials from campus security and student housing to discuss the use of more lighting and video cameras to protect students and prevent other types of crimes.
Parties agree to arbitration
WINNIPEG – A strike by professors at the University of Manitoba has been averted.
The university and its faculty association reached a last-minute deal Monday night about half an hour before professors were to hit the picket line.
As a result, classes will continue as scheduled.
The three-year agreement on all major issues will ensure there will be no work stoppage.
The parties have agreed to have the remaining issues sent to arbitration.