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Found 15 results

  1. Provinces to clear way for workers MARIANNE WHITE, Canwest News Service Published: 7 hours ago Canada's premiers and territorial leaders reached a deal yesterday to remove labour mobility barriers across Canada beginning next year. The agreement, inked at the Council of the Federation meeting in Quebec City, will make it easier for workers trained in one province to do their job in another province. "We believe working people and their families want to have a situation where they do not have to go through 13 separate accreditation processes, but rather one accreditation process," Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said at a news conference. "We believe that a nurse is a nurse, a teacher is a teacher, a welder is a welder," he added. Quebec Premier Jean Charest said it is important for professional qualifications to be recognized across the country as provinces face worker shortages. "There are serious mobility constraints in about 25 per cent of jobs in Canada, so our task is to smooth away those last difficulties to create the most stimulating market," said Charest, who hosted the meeting. The provinces expect full labour mobility to be effective on April 1, 2009, but will still have to work out how to harmonize professional credentials among provinces at a future meeting. And certain professions will be exempted. Provincial labour ministers are to meet at a later date to develop a list of the exempted professions. It could, for example, include pharmacists, who are allowed to write prescriptions in Alberta but not in other provinces. "We're very pleased with the significant progress we made this morning on labour mobility," said Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach. "This is a bold step forward." Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said the agreement makes the country more competitive. "I'm not worried about Alberta and B.C., I'm worried about China, India, the U.S. and Europe," he said. "Also, I've got 100,000 jobs in Ontario that I can't fill." The premiers and territorial leaders also expressed worries about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). "We feel it's very important as provinces and territories to do our share to nurture this relationship (NAFTA) and defend what is the most important trade relationship in the world," Charest said on behalf of his counterparts. "There is a shared concern about the future of NAFTA, and we feel the federal government needs to be very vigilant in defending NAFTA and making it very clear that if Americans choose to question this trade agreement, everything will be on the table." Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has said he might want to renegotiate NAFTA if he is elected Also yesterday, the premiers approved a new mechanism to resolve internal trade disputes that will include an enforcement tool. The old dispute system is based on consensus and contains no binding settlement mechanism or penalties. "The former mechanism was weak, anemic and without effects," Charest said. The new formula also provides for penalties of up to $5 million for failure to comply with the terms of the agreement. The dispute mechanism will be implemented as of Jan. 1.
  2. La Presse threatens union with closure By Mike King, The Gazette September 4, 2009 La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. La Presse newspaper employees talk during preparations for a meeting for employees at the Palais des congrès in June 2009. Photograph by: Phil Carpenter, Gazette file photo MONTREAL – La Presse, North America’s largest French-language broadsheet, will stop publication Dec. 1 if its 700 employees don’t give up $13 million in concessions between now and that date. Caroline Jamet, the 125-year-old newspaper’s vice-president of communications, confirmed publisher Guy Crevier sent the staff an email yesterday informing the workers they have three months to reach an agreement to avoid suspension of both the paper and its website, cyberpresse.ca. In acknowledging La Presse’s current business model “has no chance of surviving,” Crevier noted how management has cut its share of the $26 million needed to be reduced this year to continue operations and that contract negotiations must be sped up to get the other half from the 600 unionized workers. “We have to reduce our cost structure and the only missing link is the contribution of the employees,” Jamet told The Gazette. She said the main issue is the 32-hour, four-day work week that the company wants changed to 35 hours over five days because of the expense of extra staff for that fifth day. That move would likely result in the loss of about 100 jobs, but Jamet added retirements and voluntary departures could reduce the number of layoffs. Crevier, also president of Gesca Ltée – the Power Corp. of Canada subsidiary that owns and publishes La Presse and other French-language papers in the province and Ontario – listed what was done to cut $13 million: • Ceased publication of its Sunday paper June 28 • Reduced the size of the paper to reduce paper costs • Put a voluntary departure program in place • Concluded agreements with financial institutions for new financing, including to cover the “seriously underfunded” pension plan. He first announced to employees in June that, facing an anticipated $215 million deficit by 2013, the paper was seeking to cut costs by $26 million annually over the next five years. It was at that meeting the decision on the Sunday paper was made known. Union leader Hélène De Guise said the longer work week is one of the items being negotiated as well as the possibility of trimming employees’ vacation time. But she added the bargaining team wants to further analyze Crevier’s pronouncement before making any further comments. The last collective agreement expired Dec. 31. Crevier ended his missive stating: “The future of La Presse, your future, is in your hands. It’s up to you to decide.” Jamet, also spokesperson for Gesca, said the measures being taken at La Presse presently have no effect on the chain’s other dailies: Le Soleil in Quebec City, La Tribune in Sherbrooke, Le Nouvelliste in Trois-Rivières, La Voix de l’Est in Granby, Le Quotidien in Saguenay and Le Droit in Ottawa. It is up to the publishers at each of those papers to identify how to cut their costs, she added. In July, the Boston Globe’s union approved a package of $10 million in wage and benefits cuts after owner The New York Times had threatened earliler this year to close New England’s biggest paper unless major concessions were made. The same thing happened at the San Francisco Chronicle in March in order to avoid being closed by the Hearst Corp. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  3. Montreal urged to attract more skilled migrants 27 September 2007 • Media Center » Video Immigration News Montreal International (MI), an organization devoted to promoted the economic well-being of the Montreal, Canada, presented a paper recommending that measures be implemented aimed at attracting and retaining skilled migrants from abroad. The paper was presented as part of the National Assembly's Committee in Culture on planning immigration levels between 2008 and 2010. "The presence of skilled, talented and creative workers is the primary success factor for urban centres with knowledge-based economies, and these workers allow a region like Greater Montréal to increase its competitiveness and ability to attract foreign companies and investment," said Pierre Brunet, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Montreal International. "Given the intensified global competition and the resulting challenges in attracting 'brains,' it is imperative for our current and future prosperity that governments adopt measures that encourage the most qualified candidates to move, work and live here," he added. Latest news To facilitate this goal, MI proposed a series of initiatives to attract and retain skilled foreign labor in the Metropolitan Montreal region. The region has a particular need for high-technology workers, including people skilled in Information and Communications Technology, Aerospace, and Life Sciences. The initiatives include simplifying procedures in obtaining work permits, getting help from the government of Quebec in recruiting overseas workers, and promoting permanent residency over temporary migration. They would also like to see Quebec simplify its selection procedures for temporary workers. Currently, candidates from abroad are asked to hand in the same documents as candidates who live in Quebec, even if they have already handed in the documents required to obtain a work permit. MI also proposed an immigration agreement with France to promote maintaining the "francophone nature of Quebec". It suggested that the Quebec and Canadian governments initiate dialog with the French government to reach an agreement on the free movement of professionals.
  4. DRAXIS To Construct Second Facility In Montreal Area November 27, 2007: 10:14 AM EST DOW JONES NEWSWIRES DRAXIS Health Inc. (DRAX) has initiated construction of a 77,000-square-foot secondary packaging and warehousing facility in the Montreal area to help it meet its obligations under its contract to produce a broad portfolio of multiple non-sterile specialty semi-solid products for Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). DRAXIS said it expects the new facility to be completed by mid-2008. The new facility is being built by Montreal developer Broccolini Construction Inc. specifically to meet the needs of DRAXIS with respect to this major contract. It will be owned by Broccolini Group of Cos. and leased to DRAXIS under a seven-year agreement with options to renew. Initially, DRAXIS plans to have about 50 employees at this second Montreal- area facility, part of the 80 to 100 employees that it will hire for this contract. The contract to produce semi-solid specialty products calls for commercial production to start in 2009 and initially run for five years to the end of 2013. DRAXIS, Mississauga, Ont., is a pharmaceutical company. -Carolyn King; 416-306-2100; [email protected]
  5. The Ugly Canadian at global trade talks in Geneva Jeffrey Simpson Editorial - The Globe and Mail mardi 29 juillet 2008 When is failure a success ? For the Harper government, as for previous Canadian governments, failure in international trade negotiations means political success. Failure prevents the government from having to face the ire and political retribution of Canada’s supply management groups, which govern the production, sale and pricing of eggs, poultry and dairy. These are the lobby groups Canadian politicians bow down before. In 2005, the House of Commons unanimously passed a resolution instructing negotiators to defend the existing supply management arrangements. Any change, according to the Commons, would be unacceptable. This from a group who couldn’t agree today is Tuesday. Canada’s negotiators at the last-gasp meetings in Geneva this week are taking a position to defend supply management that will in effect lead to failure at the talks. After all, how do you negotiate in good faith when your negotiating instructions are that no changes must be made, ever, under any circumstances to the status quo ? Whenever International Trade Minister Michael Fortier and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz appear in public in Geneva, they are questioned, badgered and otherwise verbally accosted by the legions of supply management representatives who have descended on the city. Back home, these organizations issue threatening press releases at the hint of change to their cozy arrangements. On Saturday, when it looked as if progress was being made at the talks, Quebec’s farmers’ union denounced an "agreement concocted in secret" and demanded that Canada repudiate it. What are the supply management arrangements ? In part, they allow tiny levels of imports, after which tariffs are imposed at 299 per cent for butter, 246 per cent for cheese and at astronomical levels for other dairy products, turkeys, chickens, eggs. Every other advanced industrial country, including the United States and European Union members, are proposing cuts to subsidies and other barriers. Only Canada is against any change in its domestic arrangements. Predictably, Canada is completely isolated at Geneva. Canada stands hypocritically before the world. Canada’s negotiators demand that other countries lower their subsides and protection for agricultural products that we export (grains, pork, cattle and the like), while insisting that whole sections of Canada’s agricultural market remain effectively closed to imports. This hypocrisy has been widely noted abroad, but it apparently causes no ripples in Canada, where people either do not know about it or believe that Canada, being a moral superpower in its own mind, can afford the occasional lapse from unsullied virtue. An early text of a possible agreement would have lowered tariffs gradually by 23 per cent, thereby still leaving them for many products in the range of 150 to 225 per cent - still astronomically higher than for any other products. This possibility sent the supply-managed groups into paroxysms of anger. Dairy, poultry and egg producers jointly said such proposals would "destroy our farms by allowing Canada to be flooded with imported food." Such grotesque hyperbole is the stock and trade of these groups, but it frightens politicians of all stripes. Stephen Harper’s government is supposed to be a free-trading group, proposing new deals with Colombia, Peru, the Caribbean and the EU, and waxing indignant at any threats to NAFTA. But when it comes to supply management, it nervously eyes seats it must win in rural Quebec and Ontario and acquiesces to the demands of farmers. Quebec is the greatest beneficiary of supply management, since 47 per cent of the quota for industrial milk used to make butter, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products belongs to Quebec farmers. Half of Quebec’s production is therefore "exported" to the rest of Canada, which under supply management cannot import the same product from cheaper suppliers. It’s an across-the-board, across-the-country racket. Political will being completely absent in Canada, the only hope for trimming supply management lies in success at the WTO. If international trade talks succeed, Canada could never walk away from the entire agreement. If Canada tried, it would be outside the entire framework of international trading rules, a disaster for a trade-dependent economy. So what Canadian ministers must do, as they are doing now, is put forth a position on supply management designed to prevent success while publicly insisting on striving for it. It is the Ugly Canadian position.
  6. Montreal shopkeepers told to put brooms away Graeme Hamilton, National Post Published: Saturday, July 19, 2008 A labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates the city's collective agreement.Dave Sidaway, Canwest News Service File PhotoA labour arbitrator has ruled that sweeping sidewalks in Montreal is the exclusive domain of the city's blue-collar unionized employees. The arbitrator found a bylaw on keeping Montreal tidy violates ... MONTREAL - A bylaw adopted last year obliging shopkeepers and apartment owners in downtown Montreal to sweep in front of their properties has spruced up the city. Fewer cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers litter the sidewalks, and garbage bags are no longer left out for days before the trucks pass. But acting on a complaint from the union representing Montreal's blue-collar employees, a labour arbitrator has ruled that the bylaw violates the city's collective agreement with its workers. Sidewalkcleaning is the exclusive domain of the blue-collars, arbitrator Andre Rousseau concluded, and the city has no business enlisting "volunteers" to do the work. The decision effectively means that city sidewalks and streets are a closed union shop, so anyone taking a broom in hand had better watch out. The blue-collars are notoriously jealous of their turf. In 2003, workers waged a campaign of intimidation against private contractors who had been hired by the city for such jobs as cutting grass and repairing sidewalks. Jean-Yves Hinse, Montreal's director of professional relations, said the city will appeal the ruling to Quebec Superior Court. "If it is interpreted broadly, not a minute goes by that we are not breaking the collective agreement," Mr. Hinse said. "Someone is picking up some paper, someone is sweeping his balcony." Mr. Hinse also worried that the ruling undermines efforts to foster a sense of civic responsibility in Montrealers. "We don't want Montreal to become a dump," he said. "Everyone has their responsibilities. We want citizens to have the responsibility of keeping their surroundings clean and safe. It's an appeal to their civic virtues." The cleanliness bylaw was introduced in 2007 after city officials despaired that Montreal was becoming overrun with garbage. Fines range from $125 to $2,000 for individuals, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Companies can be fined up to $4,000. Benoit Labonte, Mayor of the downtown borough of Ville-Marie, boasted last month that 2,700 tickets had been issued in the first year of the bylaw's application, with fines totalling more than $1-million. "I congratulate all citizens, because during the past year we have seen a clear improvement in the cleanliness of the borough," he said. But the bylaw had been in force less than a month when Michel Parent, president of the blue-collar union, filed a grievance complaining the city was assigning blue-collar work to "volunteers or non-profit groups," which is not permitted under the collective agreement. The city countered that it was simply imposing duties on property owners, who are not volunteers in the sense of the collective agreement. Mr. Rousseau concluded that sweeping the streets and sidewalks customarily falls under the blue-collars' jurisdiction. The bylaw, he said, "patently aims to give citizens responsibilities similar to those that are usually given to blue-collar employees." He ordered the city to ensure cleaning of sidewalks, roads and laneways was done by its employees. Mr. Parent said the city should hire more workers if it wants a tidy city. "If this is work that was done by blue-collar employees, it should continue to be done by blue-collar employees," he told Radio-Canada. "We are fighting to save those jobs." Peter Sergakis, an outspoken property owner who was initially critical of the bylaw, acknowledged that the city is now cleaner. "The blue-collar workers wouldn't bend to pick up a cigarette butt. They're spoiled," he said. "I don't have much faith that they're going to clean the sidewalk. I think we're going to go back to the dirt." The case is unlikely to help the union's image problem. Union members were suspected of vandalizing private contractors' equipment during a labour dispute and dumping pig manure in the apartment building of an elected city official. In the winter of 2006, as potholes cratered Montreal streets, an internal city investigation secretly followed three work crews. The 10 workers enjoyed marathon lunch breaks but only managed to fill nine potholes over three days. [email protected]
  7. Toronto : OMERS grabs rest of TD Tower LORI MCLEOD From Saturday's Globe and Mail July 25, 2008 at 8:34 PM EDT Brookfield Properties Corp. has sold its stake in one of the two Toronto skyscrapers that make up its flagship Brookfield Place, a surprise deal that set a new price record for Canadian office space. Brookfield said Friday it sold its half-interest in the TD Canada Trust Tower to co-owner OMERS Realty Corp. for $721 a square foot. OMERS, part of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, acquired full ownership after triggering the shotgun clause in its partnership agreement with Brookfield, a commercial property company based in New York. The move led to rumblings that friction between the partners may have sparked the deal, but this wasn't the case, said Tom Farley, president and chief operating officer of Brookfield's Canadian commercial operations. “Absolutely not. Brookfield and OMERS have a terrific relationship. The building was and is 100-per-cent leased, OMERS decided they wanted to own 100 per cent … and we found the price to be attractive,” Mr. Farley said. If Brookfield had not wanted to sell its stake, it would have had the option of buying OMERS' stake under the partnership agreement, he added. The record price paid for the 51-storey tower built in 1990 suggests demand for top quality buildings remains strong despite fears of a spreading real estate slump, said Michael Smith, analyst at National Bank Financial. “This sets a new benchmark price for rare, trophy assets, which simply don't come on the market that often,” he said. The next highest recorded price paid for a large office building was $625 a square foot for the Harry Hays Building in Calgary in 2007, according to data from CB Richard Ellis Ltd. Friday's purchase comes at a time when Canada is experiencing its greatest shortage of office space in 10 years. However with 3.7 million square feet in development in Toronto alone, vacancy rates in the city are expected to pop to 10 to 12 per cent in the next two years from 4.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2008, according to CB Richard Ellis. The market will still have strong fundamentals, and the deal confirms Brookfield Place's position as a premier asset in the downtown core, said Paul Morse, senior managing director of office leasing at Cushman & Wakefield LePage. Brookfield still owns 100 per cent of Brookfield Place's larger Bay Wellington Tower, 50 per cent of the complex's shared retail space and 56 per cent of the parking, Mr. Farley said. “If in fact we had sold out our entire interest in the property I would have had mixed feelings, but we still have a significant ownership interest in one of the best properties in Canada, if not North America,” he said. Brookfield's gross proceeds from the sale of $425-million could be used for a variety of purposes, including acquisitions in North America, Mr. Farley said. The funds could also be used to buy back shares or pay down debt, he added. Mr. Smith said the purchase makes sense strategically for OMERS, which has already been doing extensive renovations at the Royal Bank Plaza across the street from Brookfield Place. Representatives from OMERS weren't available to comment on the deal. http://www.reportonbusiness.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080725.wtdcentre0725/BNStory/Business/home
  8. Quebec funds effort to build $130M river turbine farm on St. Lawrence River BECANCOUR -- The Quebec government is helping to bankroll a $130-million project by RER Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Boeing to generate clean energy on the St. Lawrence River in what officials say would be the world's largest river-generated turbine farm. The three-phase project could eventually culminate in nine megawatts of renewable power being generated in Montreal from 46 riverbed turbines, with installation beginning in 2016. The province could contribute up to a maximum of $85 million in equity and loans. That's on top of the $3 million it has already provided RER Hydro Inc. for its initial $230-million prototype testing phase that lasted three years. Quebec, which is a leader in production of hydroelectricity, hopes that the technology will take off and support the manufacture of about 500 turbines annually and some 600 direct and indirect jobs at RER Hydro's plant in Becancour, near Trois-Rivieres. Premier Pauline Marois said at the plant's official opening on Monday that the government is actively helping new industries that hold promise for the Quebec economy, such as its strategy to support the electrification of transportation. "Our participation in this partnership agreement will promote the development of the industrial sector of turbines, which has great economic potential for Quebec, particularly because of the significant export opportunities," Marois said, while also stressing the job creation potential of the project. The technology has global market potential and could supply electricity to isolated communities in Northern Quebec not currently connected to the provincial power grid. The second phase of the project, estimated to cost $51.5 million, would install and test six turbines generating three-quarters of a megawatt of power near the Pont de la Concorde bridge near the Montreal Casino on Ste Helen's Island. About 25 jobs would be created in Becancour and Montreal. It would mark the first commercial sale of RER Hydro's technology. If results are successful, about $81 million would be spent to install a demonstration fleet of 40 turbines beginning in 2016. That would create 90 direct jobs and 80 indirect jobs from various suppliers. Unlike dams, the "hydrokinetic" turbines generate clean power without disrupting the river flow or the natural habitat of fish or other marine life, said RER Hydro CEO Imad Hamad. "This new industry will help to further transform Quebec's natural resources for the benefit of Quebecers," Hamad said. RER and Boeing (NYSE:BA), the U.S. aerospace and defence giant, signed an agreement last year giving Boeing exclusive rights to market and sell the turbines around the world. Boeing is providing program management, engineering, manufacturing and supplier-management expertise, in addition to servicing the turbines. "This agreement between industry and government will deliver renewable power while protecting the environment," said Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "It also builds on Boeing's long-term, strategic partnership with Canada, supporting customers from aerospace and defence to clean energy, generating high-quality jobs and making a difference in the community." Boeing says it works with 40 suppliers in Quebec, contributing to the $1 billion in economic activity the company generates annually across Canada. Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/quebec-funds-effort-to-build-130m-river-turbine-farm-on-st-lawrence-river-1.1539132#ixzz2kRX062Vp
  9. Let us decide its own cultural priorities, Charest says Quebec premier calls for reversal of arts funding cuts KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 8 hours ago (The Gazette)
  10. Charest will help push for more French at Olympics KEVIN DOUGHERTY, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Premier Jean Charest will be in Beijing on Aug. 9, the day after the official opening of the Olympics, at a rally of heads of government and ministers from the 55-member Franco-phonie, lending support to the use of French at the Olympics. Amadou Diouf, secretary-general of the Francophonie, and Jacques Rogge, Belgian doctor and president of the International Olympic Committee, will co-chair the event. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will also attend the opening ceremonies, will be at the rally, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not. Clément Duhaime, who seconds Diouf as administrator of the Francophonie, told reporters yesterday that while French and English are the two official languages of the Olympics, in recent Games, the position of French has not always been respected. This time, in addition to the rally of Francophone leaders, the Francophonie has an agreement with the organizing committee for the Beijing Games to ensure French is used in announcements. The agreement also calls for translation of Olympic documents and the hiring of 40 translators and French-language journalists, as well as training for "several hundred" Chinese volunteers as guides at French cultural shows during the Games. "This is the first time we have gone so far," said Duhaime, a former Montrealer who was previously Quebec's representative in Paris. [email protected]
  11. Agreement includes connections and non-stops from Mexico City to Montreal. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/aeromexico-and-westjet-sign-code-share-agreement-565110761.html