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Found 100 results

  1. (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail) First stop London, next stop global domination!
  2. 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.
  3. 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."
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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
  8. http://montreal.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090815/hockey_popularity_090815/20090815/?hub=MontrealHome
  9. 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.
  10. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Quebec+highest+acquittal+rate+Country/3338332/story.html#ixzz0v6w8XDYg Wow, this is not good.
  11. 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
  12. 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?
  13. 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/
  14. 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?
  15. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Good to see we have some talent left in this city
  16. 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.
  17. Builders face financing squeeze 'We can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future' TERRENCE BELFORD From Friday's Globe and Mail September 5, 2008 at 12:00 AM EDT Remember how A Tale of Two Cities starts? Charles Dickens writes, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Stretch that theme a bit and you might be describing what is about to happen in the Toronto-area condominium market. First, the best of times. According to Urbanation Inc., which tracks condos from the Burlington border to Ajax and Whitby, there were a record 295 projects for sale at the end of June. Of these, 147 were under construction and another 38 new ones were ready to break ground. Behind those projects stood 151 different developers, and for many of them it was their first shot at building a condo. Those first-timers were mainly house builders who could no longer find building lots. Their choice was either to move into condos or fold their tents. So on the plus side, prospective buyers have never had greater choice. Now on to the worst of times. That impressive number of projects may prove to be the Greater Toronto Area's version of a Potemkin Village by the end of the year. Veteran market watchers say that up to a third of them are likely to be pulled from the market. Along with them, up to 50 developers may bite the dust. The reason? They are unlikely to find financing, says Barry Lyon. He is a 40-year veteran of the Toronto area real estate market. His company, N. Barry Lyon Consulting Ltd., provides research, marketing and project management to the condo and commercial sectors. "The U.S. credit crunch means the money to build just is not there," he says. "The tap has run dry." So, what determines who gets the money to build? In large part, GTA condo buyers. Developers need to presell about 60 per cent of the units in any project before lenders will take a look at providing the money to build. Equally important, they have to do it within reasonable time frames. As their marketing and sales teams scurry to sell suites, construction and carrying costs for high-priced land are ticking upwards. Mr. Lyon says he would not be surprised to see some developers pulling projects out of the market because those costs have risen to such an extent that they simply can't make a buck going ahead. "In some cases, even with 60 per cent sold, some developers are still going to have a hard time finding financing," he says. It is not that there is any lack of demand. It remains strong, says Jane Renwick, executive vice-president of Urbanation. But it is nowhere near the levels seen in 2007, which was a banner year for the industry. Thanks to record sales in 2007, 76 per cent of the 66,310 suites on the market at the end of June had already been snapped up. "I think a lot of last year's sales went to first-time buyers," she says. "I also think that most of them have now been absorbed so we are looking at a return to a more stable market — less of a gold-rush mentality." Again on the plus side of demand is the lure the GTA holds for immigrants. Ms. Renwick points out that of the 150,000 people who immigrate to Ontario in any given year, 100,000 of them make their way to the Toronto area. "If that trend continues, if we continue with high employment and if the economy continues to expand, we can expect a solid demand for condominiums well into the future," she says. That demand will continue to be strongest within the old city of Toronto. That is where 70 per cent of today's projects sit, says Mr. Lyon. It is also where prices are highest — an average $461 a square foot, versus $418 a year ago, according to Urbanation. Compare that with $294 in Scarborough, $254 in Pickering, $287 in Ajax and $313 in Aurora. Much of the difference is simply the cost of land to build on. But in that area Mr. Lyon suggests the coming shakeout may bring positive benefits to buyers. He says the loss of about a third of the developers today jockeying for land and bidding against each other to arrange construction crews likely means less competition for available resources. Less competition means lower demand and lower demand usually leads to, if not lower prices, then at least a much slower rise in prices. "It is going to be an interesting year," Mr. Lyon says. "By the end of 2008, the GTA's condo market may be a quite different place." Terrence Belford is a veteran journalist covering the Toronto real estate market.
  18. Mediocre job performance is better than the alternative JAY BRYAN, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago Canada's job market is in mediocre shape, we discovered yesterday, and when you look at the alternative, this is wonderful news. For the past few weeks, many economic forecasters have been nervously asking themselves if Canada could resist the powerful recessionary undertow from a slumping U.S. economy or whether we'd fall into a downturn similar to the one that's under way south of the border. The final answer might not be available for a little longer, but yesterday's August job reports out of Ottawa and Washington make it clear that, for now, Canada is doing much better than the U.S. and is certainly nowhere near recession. In Canada, employment grew by a solid, if uninspiring, 15,200 jobs, returning to growth after two months of declines. That left the unemployment rate at 6.1 per cent, just above its record low of 5.8 per cent in February. So far this year, the Canadian economy has created 86,900 jobs. In the U.S, by contrast, August proved to be the eighth month in a row of shrinking employment, with 605,000 jobs lost (divide by 10 for a rough equivalence to Canadian numbers) since the beginning of this year. Unemployment south of the border jumped to a five-year high of 6.1 per cent - which sounds low to Canadians, but because of differences in measurement methods, is approximately equivalent to a Canadian unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent. Canada's modestly good job report reinforces the rationale for the Bank of Canada's decision to hold interest rates steady this week. The bank's targeted rate is already quite low at three per cent, and there's no clear need to pump emergency stimulus into the economy. Indeed, one of the the country's weakest sectors in recent years, manufacturing, has shown surprising resilience this year. As of August, factory employment was down by just 14,000, or 0.7 per cent, for this year. That's quite an accomplishment, given the plunge in car purchases by U.S. shoppers, who are the key market for Ontario's giant auto industry. In fact, Ontario has done quite well for a manufacturing province heavily dependent on U.S. customers. So far this year, it has created 51,900 jobs and its unemployment rate has actually edged down to 6.3 per cent from last December's 6.5 per cent, thanks to strong employment in construction and service industries. Ironically, Quebec, another big manufacturing province, hasn't done nearly as well, even though its big aerospace industry is much healthier than the auto industry, helping Quebec's factory sector create some jobs this year. Still, Quebec is one of the few provinces not to have enjoyed overall job growth so far in 2008. In fact, employment has shrunk by 25,200, while the unemployment rate has risen to 7.7 per cent from 7.0 per cent at the end of last year. Montreal's unemployment rate is up just 0.1 per cent so far this year, to 7.3 per cent in August, but this doesn't reflect any better performance than Quebec's on the employment front. The city actually lost 15,700 jobs in the first eight months of the year, but this was mostly offset by the 13,000 workers who abandoned the Montreal job market, making them disappear from the unemployment calculation. They might have found better opportunities elsewhere, gone back to school or simply stopped looking after a tough job search.On the provincial level, Quebec construction employment has been lukewarm and consumer-oriented service industries like retailiing have been shedding jobs, notes economist Sébastien Lavoie at Laurentian Bank Securities. As well, education employment has shrunk in Quebec as it grew in Ontario. Lavoie suggests that Quebec consumers may feeling worried enough to be cutting back on spending, while in Ontario's bigger, more diverse economy, there are still enough areas of growth to offset the auto industry's distress. Nevertheless, Ontario's ability to shrug off the U.S. economy's distress could be living on borrowed time, warns economist Douglas Porter at BMO Capital Markets. There are layoff announcements and factory closings that have yet to go into effect, he notes. And as for Ontario's boom in condo and office construction, "I have to wonder how long it can hang on."
  19. Le café d'Halifax a décidé d'abolir la pièce d'un cent afin d'alimenter le débat sur l'utilité de cette pièce de monnaie. Pour en lire plus...
  20. Desjardins financial grows outside Quebec The Gazette Published: 1 hour ago Desjardins Financial Security, the life and health insurance arm of the $152-billion Desjardins Group, said yesterday that business growth outside Quebec was strong in the second quarter. Premium income was up 6.1 per cent from a year earlier in Quebec, where it already has a large market presence, and rose 16.8 per cent in the rest of Canada. Desjardins Financial has been working hard to build market share outside Quebec, especially for group business. Desjardins Financial also sells group and individual retirement savings products, including mutual funds, and growth in this business came mainly from its new guaranteed investment contracts. "We continue to gain ground in an extremely competitive insurance market," chief operating officer Richard Fortier said. Second-quarter net income was $59.3 million vs. $68.4 million a year earlier.
  21. CAE wins military training contracts The Gazette Published: 32 minutes ago Montreal flight simulator builder CAE Inc. said today it has won a series of military training contracts worth up to $106 million and including $71 million in firm orders. The contracts are with Canada's Department of National Defence, L-3 Communications of the U.S., the U.S. Navy, Eurofighter Simulation Systems and contractor C2 Technologies. CAE said it sees strong opportunities ahead in the global military market- normally more stable than the civil aviation sector. CAE also said earnings for the first quarter ended June 30 rose 19 per cent to $46.1 million or 18 cents a share from $38.7 million or 15 cents a share a year earlier, because of strong Asian and European civil aircraft training business and rising military orders. Revenue climbed 9.4 per cent to $392 million.
  22. Les Américains voyagent à l'étranger autant qu'auparavant, sauf au Canada La Presse canadienne Édition du lundi 11 août 2008 Halifax -- Les organismes de l'industrie du tourisme aux États-Unis affirment que les Américains voyagent à l'étranger autant qu'auparavant, cet été, sauf au Canada. Selon eux, la faiblesse de l'économie et du dollar américains n'a dans l'ensemble pas incité les Américains à renoncer à leurs projets de voyage afin de demeurer à la maison. Les résultats d'un nouveau sondage effectué auprès de 2230 Américains, rendus publics vendredi par l'Association de l'industrie touristique des États-Unis, révèlent que seulement neuf pour cent des adultes projettent de passer leurs vacances au pays. Ce sondage succède à une autre étude dévoilée plus tôt cet été par l'Association automobile américaine (AAA), selon laquelle les réservations pour des voyages organisés en Europe ont chuté de cinq pour cent cette saison, tandis que les voyages au Canada ont diminué. Mike Pina, porte-parole de l'AAA, a affirmé que «le Canada n'est pas l'aubaine que les gens croyaient qu'il était auparavant», expliquant la situation par la vigueur du dollar canadien. Il a ajouté que, avec l'entrée en vigueur prochaine de nouvelles réglementations au chapitre du passeport pour les Américains souhaitant se rendre au Canada, davantage de gens se procurent le document et envisagent de voyager plus loin pour la première fois. «Il y a davantage de concurrence à une période de l'année qui est importante pour [le tourisme canadien]», a-t-il indiqué. Une chute d'un million de visiteurs Les voyages effectués par les Américains à l'étranger ont fortement augmenté, après avoir été en chute libre à la suite des attentats du 11 septembre 2001. Leur nombre est passée de 56,2 millions de voyageurs en 2003 à un chiffre sans précédent de 64,1 millions l'an dernier, selon le ministère américain du Commerce. Pendant la même période, le nombre des Américains qui ont voyagé au Canada a chuté d'environ un million de visiteurs, alors que celui des Américains qui se sont rendus en Allemagne, au Japon, en Espagne et en Inde, entre autres destinations, a augmenté d'au moins 10 pour cent. Le président de l'Association de l'industrie touristique du Canada (AITC), Randy Williams, affirme ne pas être étonné. «Le dollar [canadien] valait habituellement 65 cents [américains] et les coûts de l'essence étaient peu élevés, c'était donc facile et nous étions gâtés, cela ne fait aucun doute», a affirmé M. Williams, selon lequel les touristes américains ont longtemps été perçus comme des «fruits prêts à être cueillis».
  23. Prosperity gap to widen, Conference Board says Growth in Quebec expected to hit 1.4% DAVID AKIN, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Booming Saskatchewan will lead all provinces in economic growth this year, while Ontario and Quebec will suffer through a difficult year, said forecasters at the Conference Board of Canada. The widening prosperity gap between the West and those in central and eastern Canada presents federal policy-makers with some unique challenges. The West may need policies that slow growth and curb inflation, while central Canada has few inflationary worries but needs some economic stimulus to encourage growth. In its semi-annual provincial outlook, the Conference Board says Saskatchewan's economy is booming thanks to surging commodity prices, particularly oil and potash, and as a result, the provincial economy there will grow by 4.2 per cent this year. In fact, the Conference Board said workers are leaving Alberta and heading to Saskatchewan to make their fortune. The report says that, as a result, retailers in Canada's flattest province may be in for a particularly good year. "The positive labour outlook, combined with lofty wage gains, is spurring a spending spree. Retail sales are expected to soar by 12.2 per cent in 2008," it said. Meanwhile, in Quebec, things will be a bit better this year, where growth of 1.4 per cent is expected. "Since the middle of 2007, the Quebec economy has been at a near standstill. The weakness in the manufacturing sector has eroded economic gains made in other industries,' the report said. Next door in Ontario, where manufacturers had particular trouble coping with the one-two punch of a fast-rising loonie and skyrocketing energy prices, economic growth will be just 0.8 per cent, the Conference Board said. Only Newfoundland and Labrador will see slower economic growth than Ontario this year. After a stellar year in 2007 with double-digit economic growth, the Conference Board said the pace in Canada's most eastern province is stalled. It predicts growth there of just 0.2 per cent this year. Overall, the Conference Board believes Canada's economy will grow by 1.7 per cent. The forecasters at the independent think-tank are much more optimistic than the Bank of Canada, which said last month it believes Canada's economy will grow by one per cent.