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  1. I'm going to enjoy the popcorn and watch the whiners come out "http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/air-canada-wants-torontos-pearson-airport-to-be-a-mega-hub-but-high-costs-stand-in-the-way" "Canada has long been an afterthought for the global aviation market, an out-of-the-way destination with taxes and fees so high that some five million Canadians a year trek across the border to fly out of cheaper U.S. airports. But Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) are determined to flip that view on its head by turning Toronto’s Pearson International Airport into a mega-hub on the scale of Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Singapore’s Changi or Dubai International Airport. Pearson is already well on its way to meeting that goal since it attracts more international passengers than any other airport in North America except John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. Toronto’s primary airport is now the fourth-largest entry point by air into the United States, surpassing many large U.S. airports, according to National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen. But to become a true mega-hub comparable in scope and status to the Dubais of the world, a lot needs to change. Pesky taxes and fees make Pearson “the most expensive airport in the world at which to land a plane,” according to a 2012 Senate report. There’s also the problem of congestion — in the airport, on its runways and on surrounding roadways — that will only get worse unless significant investments are made in infrastructure. If these issues aren’t addressed, Pearson could miss out on an opportunity to become part of the exclusive mega-hub club — there are currently only 11 worldwide — and all the attendant economic benefits, including the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in the area. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI AgencyToronto's Pearson International Airport is a hub for passengers coming into Canada domestically and internationally. The GTAA, which manages and operates Pearson, defines a mega-hub as an airport that processes 50 million passengers a year, including at least 20 million international passengers, and connects to 80 per cent of the global economy. Pearson is pretty close to those numbers. In 2015, it moved 41 million passengers, including 25 million international travellers, and connected to 67 per cent of the global economy. It was recently ranked 19th in the world for its connectivity — sandwiched between Philadelphia, which is not a mega-hub, and Frankfurt, which is — by air-travel intelligence company OAG. There’s plenty of potential for further growth at Pearson. Howard Eng, GTAA’s chief executive, said the airport has the largest catchment area — defined as the population within a 90-minute flight — of any airport in North America, bigger than even JFK or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pearson also has an enthusiastic partner in Air Canada, which accounts for 57.6 per cent of the airport’s seat capacity, according to the Centre for Aviation, and has been pursuing an aggressive international growth strategy using its new fleet of Boeing 787s. To support Air Canada, the GTAA has agreed to fix the airline’s fees for 10 years in exchange for agreed-upon passenger growth targets, and will offer rebates if it exceeds those targets. “They want to be a mega-carrier and, as a result of that, they need a mega-hub to work out of,” Eng said in an interview. “We’re both aligned on the concept.” One of Air Canada’s main growth pillars is expanding so-called sixth-freedom traffic, or traffic from a second country to a third country via an airline’s home market. In Air Canada’s case, that primarily means Americans travelling from their home cities via Toronto to destinations in Europe or Asia. The airline’s stated goal is to attract a 1.5-per-cent “fair share” of the U.S. sixth-freedom market, which would add $600 to $700 million in incremental revenue, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu said it can probably do “much better than that.” “We’ve been basically increasing our sixth-freedom flying by mid-to high-teen (percentages) in each of the last two years,” Rovinescu said in a recent interview. He hopes to turn Pearson into a “world-class hub” comparable to Amsterdam, Singapore or Dubai. Related How you can nab premium flights without paying through the nose Air Canada ready to compete with new, low-cost airlines, CEO says “Those countries don’t have a large population base, but they have built very powerful hubs,” Rovinescu said. “Toronto is still relatively speaking underserved in terms of the catchment area and the market potential for it.” But in order to become a truly successful mega-hub, Pearson will need to overcome two major limitations. The first is those exceedingly high costs that drive so many Canadians to U.S. border airports — the equivalent of 64 Boeing 737s every day, according to a 2012 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 124th out of 141 countries on price competitiveness. This is a function of Canada’s “antiquated” national airport model, according to a recent review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) by former federal cabinet minister David Emerson. In 1994, the federal government transferred the management, operation and development of 26 major airports to non-profit airport authorities while retaining ownership of their land and fixed assets and charging them rent. The GTAA pays Ottawa $130 million a year in ground rents for Pearson. Add in government security charges and, in Ontario, a jet-fuel tax that will hit 6.7 cents a litre by April 2017, and the airport is at a real cost disadvantage compared to its competitors. Tyler Anderson/National Post Tyler Anderson/National PostHoward Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Pearson’s landing charges alone are “twice that at Boston Logan, a third more than at Chicago O’Hare,” said David Bentley, chief airport analyst at the Australia-based Centre for Aviation. “You know why that is? It’s because of the ridiculous rents that they have to pay.” Emerson’s review of the CTA concluded that the solution is to move towards a fully privatized, for-profit structure with equity-based financing from large institutional investors. “Will privatization make a difference to Canada? I think it probably would,” Bentley said. “Toronto would become more efficient in terms of its costs to airlines and, therefore, could compete better with the likes of Chicago and other airports in the region.” Eng at the GTAA will not say whether he’d prefer a share-capital structure to the current non-profit system. But he’s quick to emphasize that Pearson is already run like a private entity, paying down $500 million in debt over the past four years and investing $700 million of capital in airport infrastructure and amenities since 2010. Pearson has also frozen or reduced the airlines’ average aeronautical fees per passenger for eight consecutive years, for a total reduction of 30 per cent since 2007. “We run it like a private corporation,” Eng said. “My focus is on how we can generate the revenue in order to pay down the debt, reinvest in the airport and create the facility that’s needed to process the passengers.” The second limitation at Pearson is congestion. The airport’s passenger traffic has grown so rapidly that the airport’s infrastructure — its security and customs checkpoints, runways, de-icing stations and even the surrounding roads — are having trouble keeping up. “A lot of people say there’s no competition for airports because every city has one large airport,” Eng said. “But once you’re into the global hub status, in Pearson’s case almost 35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is what we call transfer traffic, they have a choice.” Passengers who are connecting to another destination are generally looking for the shortest connection time, he said. To that end, Pearson is working to improve the flow of passengers and luggage by offering things such as self-serve baggage drops, automated border kiosks and automatic luggage transfers for passengers travelling from certain global cities to other Canadian destinations. However, Eng stressed that Pearson also needs the government’s help to speed up security and border processing times, which are notoriously slow. Most passengers at Pearson wait 20 minutes for pre-board screening compared to five minutes for 95 per cent of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “We’re not asking for a special favour, (just) that they provide their processes in a manner that is equivalent to what the best airports are doing around the world,” he said. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI AgencyTravellers at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport The GTAA is also working with other airports in southern Ontario, including those in Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, to encourage them to take some of the burden off Pearson by providing more short-haul, private-jet, cargo and charter flights. Another key part of Pearson’s mega-hub strategy is to improve the notoriously bad road traffic around the airport region. According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of Pearson’s passengers arrive on public transit compared to 39 per cent in Amsterdam and 63 per cent in Hong Kong. A recent study by the Neptis Foundation found that there are a million car trips per day in and out of the Pearson region by employees and travellers. The recent launch of the Union Pearson Express rail line to downtown Toronto has helped, but “not enough,” Eng said. “We probably need various domestic lines, special lines, high-speed rail lines,” he said, adding that the GTAA is prepared to help fund the development of a ground-transportation hub at the airport, but it will need government support as well. fp1201_mega_hub_transitIf Pearson isn’t able to lower its costs and improve its infrastructure, it could miss out on a huge potential economic opportunity. According to Frontier Economics, becoming a mega-hub will increase the airport economic zone’s GDP by 75 per cent to $62.1 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030. “Airports are changing from city airports to airport cities,” said John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina. Kasarda devised the concept of the “aerotropolis,” a notion that airports are far more than just transportation infrastructure, but rather anchors of regional business development. “The 21st-century airport is quite different than the 20th-century airport,” he said. “They’re multi-modal, multi-functional enterprises that attract a substantial amount of commercial development.” This can create a virtuous circle of expansion, Kasarda added. “Not only does the better airline connectivity, the route structure, serve as this magnet for business, but as business grows it generates greater volumes of passengers and cargo, which supports more airline connectivity,” he said. “It’s mutually reinforcing.” Smoother connections can also help keep airlines’ costs down by generating more non-aeronautical revenue from retail, restaurants and other services. “It’s a necessity, not an option,” Kasarda said.
  2. Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Citizen 03.17.2015 Ottawa’s share of new immigrants continues to decline as newcomers increasingly opt for the economic opportunities of Western Canada or the cultural diversity of Montreal. A Statistics Canada study released Wednesday reveals that the percentage of immigrants who cited Ottawa as their intended destination has dropped to 2.4 per cent in 2012 from 3.4 per cent in 2000. It means that the actual number of immigrants settling in Ottawa has gone down even as Canada welcomed more newcomers. Annual immigration to Canada rose to 280,700 in 2012 from 227,500 in 2000. “The recession hit Ontario pretty hard and it’s normal that immigrants don’t want to go to someplace where economic conditions are not as good,” said Gilles Grenier, a University of Ottawa economics professor who specializes in labour market and immigration issues. The Statistics Canada research paper, Changes in the Regional Distribution of New Immigrants to Canada, examines the country’s evolving settlement pattern. It shows that new immigrants have started to look beyond Toronto and Vancouver to destinations such as Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, where — at least until the recent crash in oil prices — economies have been booming. Montreal, already a major destination, has also seen its share of newcomers increase substantially to 18.1 per cent in 2012. Meanwhile, Toronto, which attracted almost half (48.4 per cent) of all new immigrants in 2000, saw its share of newcomers fall to 30 per cent in 2012. Still, that city remains the country’s biggest magnet for immigrants. StatsCan analysts suggested that the new settlement pattern reflects changes in regional economic activity and employment. “In short, labour market conditions were better in Western Canada than they were in the rest of the country,” the report concluded. That more newcomers were settling outside of Toronto and Vancouver was also a reflection of Canada’s revised immigration system. Provincial nominee programs (PNPs) allow provinces to select and nominate immigrants to meet their own economic goals and growth targets. “Over the 2000s, the PNPs considerably increased the number of immigrants going to destinations that previously received few immigrants,” the study found. The percentage of immigrants arriving in Canada as provincial nominees increased to 13 per cent in 2010 from one per cent in 2000. The program has been particularly successful at attracting immigrants to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. StatsCan analysts said the distribution of newcomers within Canada has also been affected by shifts in the country’s immigration sources. In the late 1990s, most of Canada’s immigrants came from China and India, and they tended to settle in Toronto and Vancouver. By 2010, however, the Philippines was the biggest source of Canadian immigrants, and they have settled in cities across the country, the report said. Montreal’s growth as a destination city was driven by increased immigration from Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Gilles Grenier said the study shows that Canada’s immigration system is maturing. “It’s a good thing that immigrants disperse in Canada,” he said. “Because Ontario, for many years, was the main destination for immigrants in Canada, especially Toronto, where almost half the population is foreign-born.” The recent drop in oil prices, however, could cause immigration patterns to shift again, Grenier warned, as immigrants chase new job opportunities. BY THE NUMBERS 48.4: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2000 30: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2012 5.5: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2000 9.2: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2010 21.3: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2000 12.8: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2010 14: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that arrived from the Philippines in 2010 Source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/News/ottawa/Ottawa+share+immigrants+decline+newcomers+look+Montreal/10902540/story.html
  3. Bay Street still has Canada’s most expensive office space http://renx.ca/bay-street-still-canadas-expensive-office-space/ Bay Street in Toronto has the most expensive office space in Canada, and no other city comes close to matching the $68.52 per square foot average rent that’s being asked for in the heart of the country’s financial district. JLL Canada recently released its “Most Expensive Streets for Office Space” report, which ranks Canadian cities by their highest asking rents. It shows many companies are still willing to pay a premium for the most expensive spaces, and competition is growing to get into prominent financial, retail and government hubs. “The most significant trend that we are seeing across major markets is that there are a large number of new developments underway,” said JLL Canada president Brett Miller. “Although we have only seen minor changes to the top market rents thus far in 2014, we anticipate that as the new inventory comes to market, overall rents will decrease in the older class-A stock whilst headline rents in new developments may raise the top line rents.” Here are the most expensive streets in nine major Canadian cities 1. Bay Street, Toronto, $68.52 per square foot Bay Street held strong in first place for the fourth year running. It features the headquarters of major Canadian banks and is home to many investment banks, accounting and law firms. Brookfield Place, at 161 Bay St., continues to command the highest office rents of any building in Canada at $76.54 per square foot. The average market rent in Toronto is $34.82 per square foot. (Bay St. looking north from Front St. shown in the image,) 2. 8th Avenue SW, Calgary, $59.06 per square foot 8th Avenue SW again has the highest average gross office rents in Calgary. Large vacancies and availabilities along this corridor typically account for significant activity and command market-leading rates. Large oil and gas companies have historically clustered around the central business district in this area. The top rent on the street is $64.40 per square foot and the average market rent in Calgary is $46 per square foot. 3. Burrard Street, Vancouver, $58.87 per square foot Burrard Street has dropped to third place despite a slight increase in average asking rent from $58.47 in 2013. Approximately 18.3 per cent of downtown class-A office supply is located on Burrard Street between West Georgia Street and Canada Place. The vacancy rate in these six buildings sits at 1.6 per cent, which justifies this location commanding some of the highest rental rates in the city despite the impending influx of new supply that’s putting downward pressure on rents throughout the central business district. The top rent on the street is $66.06 per square foot and the average market rent in Vancouver is $38.81 per square foot. 4. Albert Street, Ottawa, $52.10 per square foot Albert Street remained in fourth position with average rents decreasing slightly from $53.40 per square foot. Albert Street is mainly home to government-related office towers, including numerous foreign embassies, and a few of the largest Canadian business law firms. There seems to be a wait-and-see approach in anticipation of the 2015 federal election regarding the government’s intentions to lease or return more space to the market. The top rent on the street is $53.54 per square foot and the average market rent in Ottawa is $30.90 per square foot. 5. 101st Street NW, Edmonton, $46.71 per square foot The average asking rent dropped from $48.19 per square foot, but 101st Street NW is expected to remain the most expensive in Edmonton with the recent commitment to build the arena district, a large-scale, mixed-use project incorporating the city’s new National Hockey League arena. This is expected to revitalize some of the most important corners on the street. The top rent on the street is $54.15 per square foot and the average market rent in Edmonton is $28.30 per square foot. 6. René-Lévesque W, Montreal, $44.28 per square foot The average gross rent on the street hasn’t changed significantly year over year, but the total value of tenant inducement packages has nearly doubled. The most expensive building on the street (1250 René-Lévesque W) rents for $52.76 per square foot but has seen some downward pressure of two to four dollars on its net rent due to 170,000 square feet of vacant space left behind by Heenan Blaikie. The average market rent in Montreal is $30.38 per square foot. 7. Upper Water Street, Halifax, $36.42 per square foot Upper Water Street has maintained seventh place despite its average asking rent dropping from $36.65 per square foot last year. New construction coming on stream is expected to put downward pressure on rents in existing office buildings. The top rent on the street is $36.62 per square foot and the average market rent in Halifax is $27.44 per square foot. 8. Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, $35.67 per square foot Portage Avenue held strong in eighth place, with its average rent increasing from $35.17 per square foot. The class-A market remains tight and is expected to remain so through 2015. The top rent on the street is $37.32 per square foot and the average market rent in Winnipeg is $23.62 per square foot. 9. Laurier Boulevard, Québec City, $27.50 per square foot Laurier Boulevard held its ninth-place position despite the average rent dropping from $28.14 per square foot. There’s been no notable increase in the average gross rent and the vacancy rate on the street remains low at 5.2 per cent compared to the rest of the market’s 7.8 per cent. The top rent on the street is $28.98 per square foot and the average market rent in Québec City is $21.89 per square foot. JLL manages more than 50 million square feet of facilities across Canada and offers tenant and landlord representation, project and development services, investment sales, advisory and appraisal services, debt capital markets and integrated facilities management services to owners and tenants.
  4. Il faut le souligner quand des compagnies d'ici font des acquisitions à l'étranger, comme quoi tout ne va pas d'un seul bord! Boralex boosts France operations with proposed takeover Montreal-based renewable energy producer Boralex Inc. has sharply boosted its presence in France with a $400-million proposed takeover of wind power company Enel Green Power France. The acquisition of the Enel wind portfolio will boost the generating capacity of Boralex’s existing operations by about 25 per cent, with the addition of 12 operating wind farms generating about 186 megawatts of power. Currently, Boralex has wind farms, solar projects, hydroelectric and thermal operations in France, Canada and the United States, that have a total capacity of about 754 MW. The company said this deal will make it the biggest independent wind power producer in France. Adding a large proportion to the French porfolio is a “truly company-transforming move,” said Boralex chief executive officer Patrick Lemaire. Currently, France makes up about 37 per cent of the Boralex portfolio, but that will expand to almost half after this transaction closes in January. Mr. Lemaire said in an interview that growth in the renewable sector is “clearer” in Europe than in North America, at the moment. Changes in Ontario’s renewable energy procurement program that make it less attractive, and limits to Quebec’s plans to acquire clean energy, have made those two core Canadian markets less attractive, he said. “France still has nice objectives,” he said. Boralex is also less interested in expanding in the United States, Mr. Lemaire said, because most jurisdictions there operate with a spot market for electricity, and thus there are fewer long-term contracts that secure a power price over the long term. The wind farms being purchased in this deal have long-term contracts in place averaging about 11 years. Privately owned Enel also has a pipeline of about 310 MW of new wind projects that are not yet built, and that will add further to the Boralex total in the next few years, Mr. Lemaire said. “Our main goals are to operate what we have acquired in the past, build new projects … and add growth for the next few years.” Boralex will finance the Enel purchase through bank loans, an existing revolving credit facility, and a bridge credit facility. It will also sell about $110-million in subscription receipts through a bought-deal transaction arranged by National Bank Financial. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/boralex-boosts-france-operations-with-proposed-takeover/article22095267/
  5. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  6. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s a myth that millennials hate the suburbs It might not be as cool as living downtown, but a new survey suggests millennials might not hate suburbia all that much. Altus Group, citing its 2015 fall FIRM survey, says 35 per cent of those 35 and under disagree with the statement that they prefer to live in a smaller home in a central area than a larger home in the suburbs. The same survey found 40 per cent do agree with the statement, with everybody else neither agreeing or disagreeing. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — it’s a myth that all so-called millennials are homogeneous in their desires, attitudes and behaviour,” says the report from Toronto-based Altus Group. “While there may be some tendencies that are more pronounced among today’s younger generation, when it comes to the housing sector, segmentation analysis is critical.” The survey, which only considered respondents in centres with populations of more than one million or more, found in almost every age group there was a willingness to trade off the bigger house in the suburbs for a smaller home in a central area. Among those 35-49, like millennials, 40 per cent said they would make the trade-off. <iframe name="fsk_frame_splitbox" id="fsk_frame_splitbox" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px; width: 620px; height: 0px; border-style: none; border-width: initial;"></iframe> Broken into sub categories, 19 per cent of millennials agree completely they are willing to live in that smaller home in a central area versus the larger one in the suburbs. Another 21 per cent somewhat agree. Millennials actually ranked behind those 70 years or older when it comes to strong feelings on the matter. Among those seniors, 22 per cent agreed completely with going for the tinier downtown home. “There is a prevailing view that all millennials in larger markets want to live downtown — even if it means having to settle for a smaller residence to make the affordability equation work. Our research busts that myth,” said Altus Group. The same report finds all those downtown dwellers, many of whom will be settling in high-rise condominiums, are going to need parking sports because they are not ready to ditch their cars. The FIRM survey found that in the country’s six largest markets, defined as Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal, only about one in 10 owner occupants of condominiums built in the last six years does not have a vehicle. That’s close to the average of all households, but condo dwellers are far less likely to have two vehicles. twitter.com/dustywallet [email protected] http://business.financialpost.com/personal-finance/mortgages-real-estate/dont-tell-anyone-but-its-a-myth-that-millennials-hate-the-suburbs Contrepoids à la discussion: http://mtlurb.com/forums/showthread.php/23922-Bye-bye-banlieue%21
  7. "Approximately 53 per cent of the population do not reach the necessary threshold to function properly in a society that each year is becoming increasingly complex. And among that percentage, 19 per cent are unable to read and write." What the heck... I knew that half the population had difficulties reading a single article, but wow... 19% are unable to read and write? Discuss please. link: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/09/08/illiteracy-in-quebec_n_8100450.html
  8. (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail) First stop London, next stop global domination!
  9. Assurance emploi : les chiffres explosent * Presse Canadienne, * 09:31 Au Québec, le nombre de bénéficiaires ordinaires a augmenté de 7,8% en mars. Le nombre de Canadiens recevant des prestations ordinaires d'assurance-emploi a crû de 10,6 pour cent en mars pour atteindre 681 400. Cette augmentation est la plus forte depuis que le marché du travail a commencé à se détériorer, en octobre, a indiqué Statistique Canada. Le nombre de prestataires ordinaires d'assurance-emploi a grimpé de 36,2 pour cent depuis l'automne dernier. Le nombre de demandes initiales et renouvelées reçues en mars a toutefois diminué de 1,9 pour cent par rapport à février, pour s'établir à 318 900. Malgré tout, le nombre total de demandes reçues en mars était le deuxième en importance depuis que des données comparables sont disponibles, soit 1997. C'est dans l'ouest du pays que la situation s'est le plus détériorée. En Alberta, le nombre de bénéficiaires ordinaires d'assurance-emploi a bondi de 32,1 pour cent en mars, alors qu'il a augmenté de 26,7 pour cent en Colombie-Britannique. Dans les deux cas, il s'agit des hausses mensuelles les plus importantes depuis que des données comparables existent. Le nombre d'Albertains et de Britanno-Colombiens qui reçoivent des prestations d'assurance-emploi a crû respectivement de 131,1 et 80,5 pour cent depuis octobre. Au Québec, le nombre de bénéficiaires ordinaires a augmenté de 7,8 pour cent en mars par rapport au mois précédent. En Ontario, la hausse a été de 9,9 pour cent, alors qu'elle a été de 4,9 pour cent au Nouveau-Brunswick.
  10. Vacancy rates keep rising in third quarter for Canada's commercial real estate sector, report shows (CP) – 44 minutes ago TORONTO — The amount of empty office space across Canada continued to rise in the third quarter due to higher unemployment in white-collar industries and excess inventory in some cities, a new report shows. Vacancy rates for commercial real estate are expected to keep rising "well into 2010" as the country works through the impact of the recent recession, CB Richard Ellis Ltd. said in report released Monday. Vacancy rates rose for the third straight quarter to an average of 9.4 per cent, up from 6.3 per cent for the same time last year, said the real estate services firm. "Limited new job creation in Canada's 'white-collar' industries and the addition of new inventory in two of Canada's three largest office markets are cited as reasons for the increase," according to the National Office and Industrial Trends Third Quarter Report. Commercial vacancy rates rose most noticeably Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, the report shows. Calgary's third quarter vacancy rate jumped to 13.1 per cent, from 4.7 per cent last year, due to the impacts of a slowdown in the oil and gas industry. "The city's oil and gas industry and commercial market remained inexorably linked, as players both large and small continue to recognize that even Calgary has not been immune to the country's new economic reality," the report states. In Toronto, the commercial vacancy rate rose to 9.1 per cent from 6.6 per cent last year. The vacancy rate in downtown Toronto is expected to climb further in the coming quarter as space becomes available in newly constructed office towers. In Vancouver, vacancy rates climbed to 8.9 per cent from 5.4 per cent for the same time last year. The report said Vancouver is one of the more stable markets in the country thanks to limited new development. Montreal's vacancy rate rose to 10.3 per cent from 8.3 per cent last year, while Halifax's rose to 10.2 per cent from 8.4 per cent. Vacancy rates also rose in the country's smaller office markets, specifically in suburban areas, but at a lesser rate, the report shows. It said cities with government office space also saw more stability in their commercial real estate markets. Ottawa had the lowest overall third quarter vacancy rate in the country of 5.8 per cent compared to five per cent for the same time last year, while Winnipeg's rate came in at 7.5 per cent up from 4.8 per cent last year. The overall vacancy rate in the Waterloo Region, home to such technology firms as Research in Motion (TSX:RIM), edged up slightly to 6.7 per cent from 6.4 per cent last year. The report predicts vacancy rates to keep rising in the fourth quarter and into 2010, "as Canada continues to grind its way out of the recession."
  11. Middle-class communities disappearing Big increase in poor neighbourhoods in Toronto and more rich districts, according to U of T study February 08, 2009 Daniel Dale STAFF REPORTER "PRIMO PIZZA," the sign reads. "SINCE 1965." Like the store's walls, it is green and white and red, the colours of the Italian flag, and, on the left, there is a cartoonishly mustachioed man carrying a pepperoni pie above his head. This could be any Italian-owned pizza joint in the city. It was indeed Italian-owned until last year. Then a man named Rocky sold it to a man named Abdul. Abdul Malik, a 43-year-old Indian immigrant, kept its name and its oven and its sauce and its dough. He made just one addition to the top right corner of the sign, easy to miss if you're darting in from the cold, above the shop's phone number. "Halal 100%." "Some people, when they see the sign `halal,' they don't come," said Malik, who also drives a taxi. "We're losing some customers. But we're gaining other types of customers." The neighbourhood known to Statistics Canada as Census Tract 354 is changing. A community of 1950s red-brick bungalows, sturdy front-lawn maple trees and long, narrow driveways, it seems the very embodiment of white middle-class suburban Canadiana. But like the rest of Scarborough, it is decreasingly white. And by University of Toronto Professor David Hulchanski's definition, it is no longer middle-class. Later this year, Hulchanski – associate director for research at the U of T's Cities Centre – and a team of researchers will release an update of their 2007 report The Three Cities within Toronto. Their new analysis of data from the 2006 census confirms a trend they found in the first study: the income gap between Toronto's rich areas and poor areas is growing, while its middle-income neighbourhoods are disappearing. Hulchanski's findings, in aggregate, are dramatic. At the micro-level of this individual neighbourhood, however, the impact of relative economic decline is not unlike Malik's change to the pizza shop's sign. Significant, certainly, but subtle. Between 1995 and 2005, the 5,225-person census district, roughly bordered by Lawrence Ave. E. to the north, Knob Hill Park to the south, Brimley Rd. to the west and McCowan Park to the east, gained 1,020 members of visible minority groups. They now comprise more than 55 per cent of the population, up from about a third in the 1990s. Most of the newcomers came to Canada this decade or last from South Asian countries – predominantly India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Like recent immigrants of all types, many of them struggle to make an adequate living. The area's average individual income in 2006 – $29,929 – was 25 per cent lower than the average for Toronto census districts: $40,074. Hulchanski classifies areas 20 per cent or more below the city-wide average as low-income; according to him, this area has been low-income since at least 2000. Yet ask long-time white residents to classify their neighbourhood and they will inevitably call it middle-class. Ask them to describe recent demographic changes and they will think for a moment, then point down the street to a house an Indian family bought from a British couple, or around the corner to another now owned by Sri Lankans. "When we moved in almost 30 years ago – we moved in '79 – there were more Anglo-Saxon people," said Filomena Polidoro, 53. "Now there are more ethnic people. It's more mixed. And it's nice, still nice. We like it." The old-timers' shrugs about its low-income status reflect a key caveat to the discussion of the disappearance of the city's middle-class census tracts: to fall from "middle-income" to "low-income," in relative terms, a neighbourhood need not get significantly poorer. Since the city's high-income neighbourhoods are getting richer, a middle-class neighbourhood that maintains its income level will be relatively poorer. The influx of South Asians has not made this one destitute; it remains largely populated, said Polidoro, by people who work as teachers, nurses, and factory and construction workers, among other unpretentious jobs. But the new arrivals contributed to a decline of about $1,000 in the neighbourhood's inflation-adjusted average individual income between 2000 and 2005. Two local real estate agents said about 70 per cent of people now inquiring about houses in the neighbourhood are South Asian. Many recent buyers, said Coldwell Banker agent Raffi Boghossian, are large extended families who have pooled limited incomes, sometimes "not much more than minimum wage," to acquire property. Local businesses have adjusted accordingly. At Reliable Parts, an appliance parts shop beside Primo Pizza, employee Warren Lastewka has a polite "the price is the price" speech he delivers when cash-strapped customers reared in haggling-friendly countries ask for unadvertised discounts. The Paperback Exchange, a bookstore in the plaza since the 1970s, now stocks elementary educational books with titles like Basic Learning Skills and Parts of Speech near its sci-fi novels. "I'll get a family of Pakistanis in when the teacher says to them, `Your kid's not going to make it if they can't read English.' From now through to June, that's when they usually get the notice," said Joy Ritchie, 64, the mother of owner Troy Ritchie. "I keep those books on the wall there. And I do very good business on that from now to June." Low-income areas sometimes lack proximity to social services and other essential conveniences. This one is served by Scarborough General Hospital, a Royal Bank, a Shoppers Drug Mart, a library and a Price Chopper. "Everything is convenient for us in this area," said Kaushik Maisuria, 28, an India-born auto garage employee who lives with his two uncles and two young cousins. "We can get whatever we want." Including, increasingly, products and services targeted to them, like Malik's halal pizza or the plaza's JD's Market and Halal Meat, where large bags of basmati rice line the aisles and a butcher works out back. Once a Becker's Milk, the location was a standard convenience store until October, when Jaffer Derwish's Afghanistan-born family converted it into a small grocery. In a tough economy, business is slow, said Derwish, 23. So is demand for local real estate. "The market is sort of dead in the area," Boghossian said. Many prospective buyers, he said, "are people with income that is not certain." "Typical Scarborough," said Royal LePage Signature realtor Joan Manuel. "You're not getting multiple offers. And if you do, you're not getting them over (the listed price)." Those people still making offers, however, are drawn to the neighbourhood's increasing ability to meet distinct South Asian needs. About 800 metres from Brimley Rd. is the large new Jame Abu Bakr Siddique mosque, a gleaming white facility whose minarets loom over another halal pizzeria. Prospective buyers have cited the mosque as a key lure to the area, said Manuel. And other attractions abound. Down the street is the bustling Bombay Bazaar grocery store in a Lawrence Ave. plaza so busy people park their cars in the middle of the parking lot, preventing those lucky enough to find spots from backing out. Nearby are a Hindi video rental store-slash-hair salon and a fish market. It is, for some, a sight to behold. "Where there used to be an old mom-and-pop operation," said Joy Ritchie, a touch of wonderment in her voice, "now they're selling saris." http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/584203 Poor neighbourhoods growing across Toronto RENÉ JOHNSTON/TORONTO STAR Newspapers in South Asian languages serve the city's many new immigrants. Toronto's middle class is disappearing. Since 2001, 15 of the city's middle-income neighbourhoods have vanished, according to a yet-to-be released University of Toronto report. The majority became low-income areas, where individual earnings are 20 to 40 per cent below the city average. Hardest hit are the suburbs. Declines in Scarborough and north Etobicoke have continued. Falling income is also affecting parts of Brampton, Mississauga and Durham. In 1970, 86 per cent of 905 neighbourhoods were middle class. In 2005, that number had tumbled to 61 per cent. From 2000 to 2005, the number of city neighbourhoods with very low earnings – more than 40 per cent below the Toronto-area average – grew by almost 50 per cent. Residents in these neighbourhoods live on welfare-level earnings, says U of T researcher David Hulchanski. The report, due out this year, is an update of the groundbreaking 2007 The Three Cities within Toronto report by Hulchanski and a team of university researchers. It analyzed and mapped Statistics Canada census data from 1971 to 2001, finding that not only were middle-class neighbourhoods disappearing, but Toronto was divided into three distinct geographic areas: City 1, which consistently gained income; City 2, which maintained its income but shrunk in size; and City 3, whose residents saw their earnings fall over the 30-year period. Hulchanski says municipal governments are not to blame. "The people of Toronto did not do this to themselves. This is a national trend. What we're showing on these maps is the way federal and provincial policies, as well as the economy, have played out in Toronto's neighbourhoods." He says policies such as universal health care and social assistance helped build the middle class. Cutbacks, including downloading of social services from the province to cities and a lack of affordable housing and job protection, are leading to its destruction. "You didn't talk about McJobs in the 1970s, or even part-time jobs without benefits. Whoever heard of a job that wasn't full-time without benefits?" he asks. "That would be shocking 25 years ago. Now it's normal." Hulchanski's updated study, with another five years of data from the 2006 census, confirms the decline of the middle class and the continued polarization of rich and poor neighbourhoods. From 2001 to 2006, individual incomes in wealthy areas grew 14 per cent, while residents of low-income neighbourhoods made only modest gains. During the 1970s, Toronto was a predominantly middle-class city, with 341 of its 520 census tracts – neighbourhood areas determined by Statistics Canada so that they have roughly 4,000 residents each – in the middle-income category. Poverty was contained in the city's urban core. Thirty years later, it's a city divided. Richer residents live along the Yonge St. corridor, close to services and transit. Individual incomes average almost $90,000 a year. The proliferating poorer communities are located in Toronto's pre-amalgamation suburbs, the middle-class bastion of the 1950s. In 2006 that area included 40 per cent of the city's census tracts. Sixty-one per cent are immigrants. There is little rapid transit and an average income of $26,900. Sandwiched between the two areas is a shrinking City 2, neighbourhoods with static income where the average income is about $35,700. Hulchanski began his research in 2005 with a $1 million grant (spread over five years) from the Social Science Humanities Research Council of Canada. He teamed with St. Christopher House, an omnibus social service agency in the city's west end, to examine how gentrification was changing the neighbourhood. The data was difficult to analyze. Within the 30-year period, census boundaries had changed and some of the information wasn't available electronically. A U of T data analyst took more than a year to get it into shape. By the time Hulchanski began his work, Toronto and the United Way had completed research showing the city's poverty was highest in 13 priority neighbourhoods. "The trend line was clearly there. Researchers saw it and the city's work with the United Way was going on," says Fiona Chapman, manager of social research and analysis for Toronto. "What David's work has done is absolutely confirmed the concerns. And I think why everybody doffs their cap to David is (that) he's been very good at helping the public understand these concerns." BY THE NUMBERS How the income decline affects the outer suburbs $40,074 Average 2005 individual income, all Toronto census districts 61 Percentage of population comprising immigrants in districts where incomes have declined more than 20 per cent since 1970 34 Percentage of population comprising whites in such districts 19 Number of subway stations within 300 metres of such districts, versus 40 for biggest-gaining districts 54 Percentage of 2005-07 homicides in such districts, versus 12 per cent for biggest-gaining districts Source: University of Toronto Cities Centre U of T analysis of census data shows middle class shrinking, especially in Scarborough, Etobicoke February 08, 2009 Patty Winsa STAFF REPORTER http://www.thestar.com/Article/584204 interactive map: http://www3.thestar.com/static/Flash/map_middleclass.html PDF:http://multimedia.thestar.com/acrobat/51/c7/2cc835a5403d8d76478fae97bba0.pdf
  12. Building permits fall for third month Canwest News ServiceFebruary 5, 2009 9:01 AM OTTAWA—The value of Canadian building permits fell in December for a third straight month as a slowdown in the economy continued to temper construction activity in both residential and non-residential sectors. Statistic Canada said Thursday that municipalities issued $4.6 billion worth of permits during the month, a decline of 3.9 per cent from November. Residential permits were down 3.2 per cent to $2.6 billion in December, marking the ninth monthly drop in 2008. “Increases in multi-family permits in Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia,”the federal agency said. The value non-residential permits fell 4.9 per cent to $2 billion, the third straight monthly decline. This drop was mainly in institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in British Columbia, the agency said. Construction permits declined in five provinces and all three territories in December, it said.
  13. CGI profit rises 10.5 per cent The Canadian Press January 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM EST MONTREAL — CGI Group Inc. has reported a 10.5 per cent profit increase in its latest quarter to $79.5-million as revenue rose 11.7 per cent from a year earlier to just over $1-billion. The 25,000-employee international information technology service provider said Tuesday that foreign exchange shifts boosted the top line by 7.4 per cent in its first quarter ended Dec. 31. Pre-tax earnings were up six per cent to $105.2-million. CGI recorded bookings of $775-million in the quarter, down from $1.13-billion a year earlier, while its operating profit margin slipped to 11.4 per cent from 11.8 per cent. The quarter's net income of $79.5-million, 26 cents per share, compared with $71.9-million or 22 cents per share a year earlier, when revenue was $895.4-million. The latest quarter's earnings adjusted for one-time items came in at 22 cents per share, in line with market expectations. The company said it plans to continue a stock buyback which in the past year cancelled 18.5 million shares at an average price of $10.68. CGI ended the quarter with $216-million in cash and $1.3-billion available in a credit line, which CEO Michael Roach said provides “the financial flexibility to execute our profitable growth strategy.” Desjardins Securities analyst Eric Bernofsky commented that investors will likely be concerned about the 31.7 per cent drop in bookings, but noted that year-ago business signings were unusually strong and there is quarter-to-quarter “lumpiness” in new contracts. On the bright side, Mr. Bernofsky wrote in a note, revenue from American clients grew 14.1 per cent on a constant-currency basis, which “should be viewed very positively in light of the current economic climate. As we had anticipated, higher work volumes from the government and health-care verticals contributed to the strong revenue growth.”
  14. City has designs on becoming fashion centre $2.4 million for clothing industry. Quebec, Montreal launch 3-year plan to promote local couturiers The GazetteMarch 4, 2009 Retail sales are declining and people are thinking twice before spending money to renew their wardrobe. But as far as Quebec's minister of economic development is concerned, support for the province's clothing industry never goes out of fashion. "It's clear that consumers are slowing their spending because they don't know what's going to happen to them," Raymond Bachand told reporters yesterday as the Quebec government and the city of Montreal announced plans to promote this city as a centre of fashion design. "But there are still 92 per cent of Quebecers who are at work," he noted. "This is the best timing because what we're doing ... is focusing on our designers, helping our designers ... getting buyers from around the world to come to this fashion show, getting our designers to go elsewhere in the world ... branding Montreal as a city of creation and design and putting it on the world market. "This is not a one-shot deal. ... This a long-term vision of building Montreal. ... We always have to keep in mind where we want to be in 18 months, where we want to be in two years." Bachand and Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay met with reporters during the first full day of Montreal Fashion Week to announce a three-year plan to promote internationally this city's fashion and design industry and the people working in it. During Fashion Week's kickoff Monday night, the province announced a $1.1-million investment in three local fashion enterprises in addition to the $82 million over three years earmarked in 2007 to bolster the industry. Tremblay, who this week confirmed the economic downturn has compelled the city to trim $100 million in costs, shared Bachand's opinion that the $2.4-million set aside for the plan would be money well spent. "Everyone's talking about stimulus in the economic situation we're going through," Tremblay said. "We want to encourage Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians to buy local, to encourage our local designers, the ones that are known and the ones that are less known. "We want to make sure we have better recognition around the world. ... We don't want to copy what is happening in other cities or by being Paris, London or New York. "We want to be different." The local fashion industry employs about 50,000 people and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the exports by Quebec's clothing industry. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  15. http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090815/hockey_popularity_090815/20090815/?hub=MontrealHome
  16. Le port de Montréal a enregistré une baisse de son volume Publié le 12 août 2009 à 14h02 | Mis à jour à 14h04 La Presse Canadienne Montréal Le port de Montréal a enregistré une baisse de 18,4 pour cent de son volume de marchandises conteneurisées au cours des six premiers mois de l'année, par rapport à la période correspondante de l'an dernier. De janvier à juin inclusivement, le volume de marchandises conteneurisées s'est ainsi établi à un peu plus de 5,4 millions de tonnes, a indiqué, mercredi, l'Administration portuaire de Montréal. En nombre de conteneurs EVP (équivalent 20 pieds) pleins et vides, pour le premier semestre, la baisse a atteint 14,6 pour cent par rapport à la même période en 2008, pour totaliser 619 721 EVP. L'administration du port montréalais a souligné, en publiant ses résultats, mercredi, que, bien qu'ils soient baissiers, ils sont cependant meilleurs que ceux des principaux ports concurrents sur la côte Est. Les chiffres négatifs du premier semestre ont, en outre, été en partie compensés par des résultats très positifs dans le secteur du trafic maritime céréalier où le port de Montréal a connu une hausse de 31,1 pour cent par rapport à l'an dernier. L'achalandage total du terminal céréalier totalise plus de 1,2 million de tonnes pour les six premiers mois de l'année. La diversification des marchés du port a également eu un effet favorable, a souligné l'administration portuaire. Le trafic de conteneurs avec la Méditerranée a notamment connu une augmentation de 22,2 pour cent en nombre d'EVP pleins. Tous trafics confondus, la baisse de volume manutentionné au port de Montréal est de 15,4 pour cent par rapport à l'an dernier, pour atteindre près de 10,9 millions de tonnes.
  17. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Quebec+highest+acquittal+rate+Country/3338332/story.html#ixzz0v6w8XDYg Wow, this is not good.
  18. A new survey of Quebecers' attitudes on education shows that two out of three prefer to have the right to send their children to any school in the province they choose, public or private. The poll, conducted for The Gazette by Léger Marketing, asked whether students other than those now allowed, including franco-phones, should have access to English-language schools if they wish. A total of 66 per cent of a representative sample of Quebecers agreed that they should - including a 61-per-cent clear majority of francophones. Non-francophones were even more overwhelmingly in favour, at 87 per cent. Women, at 71 per cent, were significantly more so than the 66 per cent of men who agreed. Overall, 30 per cent disagreed - that is, 35 per cent of francophones and 11 per cent of non-francophones. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Most+back+allowing+choice+schooling/3011261/story.html#ixzz0newGaF9e
  19. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Hear+that+anglo/2557359/story.html#ixzz0fTOymy7v This was a fairly interesting article. It's true that Italian, Jewish, and British anglophone Montrealers tend to speak differently. Being the latter, I tend to find that I don't have any accent whatsoever (in fact, my family from other parts of Canada says it sounds really "clean". I talk exactly like the anchors on Canadian news.) Strangely, this phenomenon is unique to Montreal it seems. Do you have an accent in English that is impacted by your first language, ethnicity, or place of origin?
  20. Six Canadian cities out of 50 have the winning combination that attract migrants * Six Canadian cities out of 50 have the winning combination that attract migrants Calgary, Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver, St. John’s and Richmond Hill have what migrants are looking for when choosing where to locate, according to the Conference Board’s second report assessing the attractiveness of Canadian cities. Read the report here. “Cities that fail to attract new people will struggle to stay prosperous and vibrant,” said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. “These six cities come out on top across all rankings, so they appear to have an overall winning combination that is attractive to migrants. Although it would be hard to imagine a more diverse group of cities, each has particular strengths that make them magnets to newcomers, both from within Canada and abroad.” City Magnets II: Benchmarking the Attractiveness of 50 Canadian Cities, analyzes and benchmarks the features that make Canadian cities attractive to skilled workers and mobile populations. The performance of these cities is compared on 41 indicators grouped across seven categories: Society, Health, Economy, Environment, Education, Innovation, and Housing. The challenge in determining overall attractiveness is that when individuals are choosing a new city, they value attributes of city living differently. Weights were computed for each of the seven categories. For migrants with a university degree, the Education category matters the most (21 per cent) in the decision to locate, followed by Society (20 per cent), Innovation (19 per cent) and Economy (13 per cent). Migrants without a university education consider, in an overwhelming fashion, that the Economy category matters the most (33 per cent) and followed by Society (20 per cent). “In deciding where to live, university-educated migrants prefer cities with higher Education and Society outcomes. Migrants without a university education place more value on a city’s economic strength,” said Lefebvre. “However, the study shows that a city that is attractive to a certain type of migrant ends up being attractive to all, so policy makers must be cautious in crafting policies aimed at attracting university graduates only.” Overall Grades The six “A” performers – Calgary, Waterloo, Ottawa, Vancouver, St. John’s and Richmond Hill, Ont. – range between big and small cities, from the West Coast to the East Coast, and include both urban and suburban centres. Specifically: * Calgary’s strong economic results come as no surprise given its performance over the past decade, but the city also ranked first in Innovation and second in Housing. * Waterloo’s worldwide reputation for high-tech excellence in education and business is well deserved. Ranked number-one in Education, Waterloo also posted strong results in Economy, Innovation and Housing. * Ottawa reaps the benefits of a strong and well-educated public sector. The nation’s capital excels in Innovation and Education, and, apart from Health, scores well across all categories. * Richmond Hill, a fast-growing city north of Toronto, has become the second most diverse city in Canada. A well-educated workforce contributes to its high scores in the Education and Innovation categories. * Vancouver enjoys an enviable climate and a vibrancy that comes from its young, diverse, and multicultural population. * St. John’s has achieved a strong productivity level that even surpasses that of Calgary and Edmonton. It is also a stellar performer in Health and Environment categories. The “B” class includes 14 cities – Edmonton, Victoria, Markham, Vaughan, Kingston, Oakville, and Guelph are consistently in the top half of this group. The City of Toronto also earns an overall “B” grade. Although held back by lacklustre results in the Health and Environment categories (too few physicians for such a large population, and too many days of poor air quality), the City of Toronto leads all cities in the Society category, particularly the proportion of foreign-born population and the proportion of population employed in cultural occupations. In all, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA) obtains five of the top 14 spots. The Toronto CMA attracted 35 per cent of Canada’s immigrants (about 85,000 per year) between 2001 and 2006, but this is partly offset by migrants – 25,000 annually – leaving for other Canadian cities. London, Halifax, Lévis, Regina, Québec City, and Burlington also receive “B” grades. A total of 21 cities get “C” grades, including three of Canada’s largest urban centres: Winnipeg, Montréal, and Hamilton. Although an overall “C”, Mississauga – with its high number of immigrants – gets a “B” in attractiveness among university-educated migrants. Four of Vancouver’s suburbs – Richmond, Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Surrey – earn “C” grades, as does nearby Abbotsford. Generally, Vancouver’s suburbs lag behind in Health and Economy. Sherbrooke, Gatineau, Kitchener, Barrie, Saskatoon, Moncton, Brampton, Kelowna, Thunder Bay, Peterborough, St. Catharines, and Sudbury also get “C” grades. The “D” class includes nine small or mid-sized cities – four in Ontario: Oshawa, Brantford, Windsor, and Cambridge; four in Quebec: Longueuil, Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, and Laval, and Saint John, New Brunswick. Along with struggling economies in most cases, seven of these nine cities have shown little population growth, while the other two posted a decline in population (Saint John and Saguenay). These nine cities are also clustered near the bottom of the Innovation and Education categories. Performance By Category * Society – Canada’s largest cities post the best results, with Toronto and Montreal capturing the only two “A” grades. Toronto’s suburbs rank highly, as do Vancouver and Victoria. * Health – Small and mid-sized cities dominate this category, which mainly measures per capita access to care. Only Kingston and St. John’s get “A” grades. Vancouver and Quebec City are the only big cities to rank in the top 10. Suburban cities, which rely on services located in the urban cores, face the greatest challenges – 10 of the bottom 12 are neighbours of either Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. * Economy – Although the rankings are based on 2006 data and pre-date the recession, the Conference Board expects cities with strong economies back then to rebound and post the strongest showing following the downturn. Calgary, Edmonton and Vaughan earn the only “A” grades in the ranking; Edmonton’s strong economy makes it particularly attractive to non-university educated migrants. Five Toronto-area suburbs make the top 10. Ottawa and Waterloo also rank in the top 10. * Environment – Seven of the eight cities in British Columbia included in this report earn “A” grades and dominate the top 10 rankings, due largely to good air quality and a mild climate. Montreal ranks last and Longueuil is also near the bottom. Mississauga, Burlington, Vaughan and Oakville also earn “D” grades. * Education – The “university towns” of Waterloo and Kingston outclass their counterparts and earn the only two “A” grades. Small and mid-sized cities dominate the results for teachers per student population, with four small Ontario cities (Burlington, Waterloo, Peterborough and Guelph) grabbing all the “A” grades on this indicator. * Innovation – Calgary, Richmond Hill and Ottawa get “As” for Innovation. Cities with broad manufacturing or resource-based economies generally fare less well in this category. * Housing – Small and mid-sized cities generally do the best in this category, thanks in particular to relatively affordable housing. The Quebec City suburb of Lévis leads all cities, and five other Quebec cities rank in the top 10. The opposite is true for all eight B.C. cities, where homes are generally expensive. As a result, these cities fall in the bottom half of the rankings and five of them, including Victoria and the Lower Mainland cities, get “D” grades. http://www.muchmormagazine.com/2010/01/six-canadian-cities-out-of-50-have-the-winning-combination-that-attract-migrants/
  21. http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Gazette+exclusive+EMSB+pitches+tout+fran%C3%A7ais/2414008/story.html This is much needed. And not all of it should be spent on grammar reciting either (as is often the case). I think a big part is just being able to learn to get use out of it. Practice comprehension and conversational skills first, then worry about written skills. Although I had great French teachers in school, how was I (or anyone else) to become fluent by spending only 4-5 hours a week on it? This compared to living the rest of the week entirely in English (except for the Habs/Expos game back in the day). Having said that, English instruction should be toughened up as well. The quality of written English of a good portion of university peers is downright abysmal. They should have to pass a stringent English exam to get accepted into a regular program (if they fail, they should take a year-long mini program designed at teaching them proper written and spoken English). From what I have heard, they offer English-Second-Language courses that are taught by immigrants with heavy accents (notably from Ukraine and China). WTF?
  22. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Good to see we have some talent left in this city
  23. Icon of city's night sky going high-tech The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago The iconic clock atop the Molson Canada brewery tower facing downtown Montreal has gone high-tech. Over the past several weeks, the neon tubing in the clock and company logo were replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, providing an energy-saving source of light that is more direct as well as higher in output and lower in wattage. The switch will allow Molson to save 72 per cent of its energy consumption to operate the largest functioning timepiece in the province at 13.8 metres in diameter. "Our hexagonal clock in the shape of the original label for Molson Export has been an iconic figure on the Montreal landscape helping keep the tempo for neighbours for more than 50 years," said Serge Chevrier, who is responsible for its upkeep. "Every year, in case of a break or during maintenance, many residents of the Ville Marie borough call us to say the Molson clock isn't working and asking when it will be functioning again," Chevrier said. "It seems the clock is essential to their daily lives." Molson spokesperson Marie-Hélène Lagacé said the beermaker is swamped with calls twice a year when the time changes and the clock isn't immediately adjusted. She said it takes up to 48 hours to make the necessary changes to the clock, which was built in 1950. Lagacé said Molson made the change to reduce its environmental footprint. LED lights last six times longer than neon lights, yet consume only 28 per cent as much energy.