Brock grads find work in a pile of junk

In this current economic climate, a common fear among university graduates is not being able to find a job. However, three Brock University alumni have shown that a fulfilling career isn’t always about the nature of your degree, but instead, how you use it.JustJunk.com, a Niagara-area franchising company, specializes in removing unwanted items from people’s homes. With new locations opening up across Canada and the U.S., the corporate office has recently opened its door to a team of young, new university graduates who are eager to jumpstart their careers.Steve Adams (BBA ’09), a 24-year-old graduate of Brock’s Business Administration Co-op program, was hired to work at JustJunk.com in a marketing communications role. After only a few months of learning, growing and adapting to the world of junk removal, Adams was promoted to marketing manager — an impressive job description for such a young addition to the team.“Brock provided me with tools necessary to provide great skills to my job,” said Adams. “The business co-op option gave me a great edge after graduation.”A business degree, however, is not a pre-requisite to work with the JustJunk.com franchising team.Shane Wright (BA ’10) graduated Brock last spring with a degree in liberal arts but discovered he was most passionate about his business-related courses, especially sales and marketing. Enthusiastic about the business world, but wanting to remain close to home as a St. Catharines local, Wright calls JustJunk.com, “the perfect opportunity — the best of both worlds.”  Now in his third month on the job, Wright is responsible for customer service, web-page editing, marketing and franchisee relations. “Working for JustJunk.com is second to none, and the sky is the limit,” said Wright.One of the newest members of the corporate team has her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and could not be more excited to utilize her skills in an unlikely way.Aidan Millar (BA ’11), a Brock student who will graduate in June with a psychology degree, says that JustJunk.com has provided her with the chance to learn the ins and outs of a blossoming business. “My education experience at Brock instilled in me critical thinking and organization skills as well as the ability to communicate effectively and practically,” said Miller. Miller views her skills as transferrable, and for JustJunk.com, this means in a public relations capacity. Having not even graduated yet, Millar did not think such a rewarding job would come so easily and quickly. “I couldn’t be happier,” said Miller.JustJunk.com, led by president and founder Michael Thorne, has tapped into the always-needed service of junk removal. “As long as people buy new things, they have to get rid of the old,” said Thorne.Thorne is clear about whom he wants on his team. “We need big-picture thinkers. We want people who care about this business.”The youthful and tech-savvy staff provides a business advantage. “We young people — business degrees or not — have a fresh, out-of-the-box perspective on the business world,” said Adams. “You can’t put a price on that.” read more

Hamilton Police run School Bus Safety Campaign

Hamilton Police are focused on school bus safety as another school year kicks off.Drivers are being reminded to follow safe driving practices.Slow down:  The speed limit in school zones and near playgrounds are 40km/hr. Driver’s caught travelling 20 km/hr over the speed limit could face a $95 fine and three demerit points.Stop for School buses: If a school bus is flashing red lights and an extended stop arm, traffic in both directions must stop. Failing to stop could result in a $490 fine and six demerit points.Yield to Pedestrians at Crosswalks: Drivers must watch and pay attention to pedestrians at crosswalks, especially in school areas. Not doing so can mean a $180 fine and three  demerit points.Impeding Traffic: Consider safety when you stop your vehicle in an undesignated location. You put your child and other children at risk.School Bus Safety Enforcement runs from Sept. 4 to Sept. 15. read more

Political parties urged to commit to policies for datadriven economy

OTTAWA — Chambers of commerce from Canada’s biggest cities will release a campaign wish list Wednesday urging political parties to commit to establishing national data-governance standards, making government research more available for businesses and fully harnessing the value of intellectual property.These issues are likely to draw more attention from politicians than in the past. Experts, however, have doubts any party will go far enough to prepare Canada to compete in the new economy and to fully protect the privacy of its citizens.Four years ago, issues related to data governance, intellectual property and digital privacy received few, if any, mentions in party plans. Since then, there’s been a surge in awareness about the opportunities tied to the fast-growing innovation economy as well as in public concerns about the risks.Parties have sent signals their platforms will include vows in these areas and business leaders from Canada’s urban centres hope to start the conversation at the outset of the campaign, which begins Wednesday.“The permeation of technology in nearly every aspect of our lives mandates the need for new legislation that creates a predictable and level playing field for businesses while ensuring that Canadian interests are protected,” the Canadian Global Cities Council, which is made up of chambers of commerce from the country’s eight largest cities, said in its pre-election release.The document also noted new “serious concerns around privacy and personal control of data.”Jan De Silva, CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade, said the council has been actively discussing the need for these policies with political parties.“I would say there’s heightened awareness on the part of all parties in terms of what’s next with the economy,” De Silva said in an interview. “From my travels, this is a top-of-mind issue in many markets around the world.”The council will also release additional recommendations Wednesday to press parties in several other areas such as diversifying trade, helping smaller companies get government business and conducting a comprehensive review of the tax system.Among its recommendations on the digital economy, the council is stressing a need for the next federal government to improve business access to data and research held by Statistics Canada and to take steps to make it easier for companies to capture the value of IP.It’s also calling for a national data strategy to guide companies on data portability, privacy, security and commercialization.After taking office, the Liberal government said it would work toward a national data strategy. Last spring, it released principles under a “digital charter” that critics say lacked firm policies, regulations or standards. Political parties, for the most part, have yet to say very much about these issues. Last week, however, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said, if elected, he would set regulatory standards for the ethical use of artificial intelligence and to protect the privacy of consumers and their data.Since the 2015 election, the “surveillance economy” has become a bigger public concern for a number of reasons, says Dan Breznitz, co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.For instance, he said more and more of people’s lives are now managed through their smart phones, which has made the issues very personal. He also said there are deepening worries about technological disruption of the labour force and how the inappropriate use of social-media data can alter electoral outcomes.The Liberals, he said, came to power with a realization that the innovation economy was important and they talked about it. Business leaders and public intellectuals fuelled the public debate.Politicians, however, are reluctant to make major changes because innovation policies are longer-term, complex, sometimes hard to explain and attract limited media attention, he said.“On one side, those issues are much more prominent, and business leaders and people … start to realize that those things — data and IP and innovation — will determine whether we can continue to be a prosperous society,” he said.“On the other, there’s still a very … confused understanding of what innovation is all about and, therefore, what should be the IP and data policies involved.”Dan Ciuriak, an innovation-policy expert, said he doesn’t expect serious debate about the data-driven economy during the campaign. He noted the issues cannot be addressed through “sound-bite messaging,” nor will they swing many votes.He recommended Canada adapt its regulations and policies on such an important issue in a manner “free of ideology.”“The federal civil service is really only starting to grapple with the issues,” Ciuriak, a former deputy chief economist of Canada’s foreign-affairs department who now runs a consultancy, wrote in an email.“Change is happening at a speed that is overwhelming the ability to learn about governance from experience.”Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press read more

Judge Tribe may intervene on Dakota Access pipeline plan

BISMARCK, N.D. — A judge is allowing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to intervene on a proposed expansion of the Dakota Access pipeline.Administrative Law Judge Tim Dawson approved the tribe’s petition for status as an intervenor Thursday in the case before the Public Service Commission.Dawson’s order says there was no opposition to the petition.Texas-based Energy Transfer wants to double the capacity of the line to as much as 1.1 million barrels daily. The pipeline has been moving North Dakota oil through to a shipping point in Illinois since 2017.A hearing is set for Nov. 13 in Linton on the proposed expansion.Standing Rock attorney Timothy Purdon has said intervenor status would allow the tribe to cross-examine the company and call witnesses.The Associated Press read more

WatchSNCLavalin slashes dividend 65 reports loss of 16 billion

Reuters/Christinne Muschi Analyst Derek Spronck of RBC Dominion Securities advised investors to “keep calm and carry on.”“There remain lots of challenges ahead for SNC, but none of which we would view as insurmountable and more than reflected in the current share price,” he said in a research note Friday.Spronck held out hope for a remediation agreement — which would allow SNC-Lavalin to avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for fines and other penalties — in spite of the firestorm in Ottawa after the Globe and Mail reported the Prime Minister’s Office pressured former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to steer prosecutors toward negotiations with the company.A criminal case could result in a 10-year ban on bidding on federal contracts. SNC-Lavalin’s ability to bid would remain unaffected, at least directly, “during what could be a multi-year trial process,” Spronck noted.Analysts also pointed to a potential sale of some of the company’s 16.77 per cent stake in Ontario’s 407 ETR highway in 2019. The company has been mulling a partial sale for at least six months, which would hand it a slice of the $2.2 billion some analysts say the stake is worth.The company’s loss for its fourth quarter amounted to $9.11 per diluted share. That compared with a profit of $52.4 million or 30 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2017.Revenue totalled $2.56 billion, down from $2.92 billion.On an adjusted basis, SNC reported a loss of $1.31 per diluted share compared with an adjusted profit of 98 cents per diluted share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected a loss of $1.19 per diluted share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. slashed its dividend by 65 per cent Friday as it reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.6 billion.The troubled engineering and construction giant said it will now pay a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share compared with its earlier payment of 28.7 cents per share.SNC-Lavalin has been at the centre of a political scandal in Ottawa over the company’s desire to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement in connection with fraud and bribery charges linked to business dealings between it and Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya between 2001 and 2011. Let SNC-Lavalin fail, if it must. Canada – and Quebec – will be fine Terence Corcoran: Trudeau’s inner circle was right to try sparing SNC-Lavalin’s life Woes pile up for SNC-Lavalin, company at centre of political storm The company also issued two profit warnings earlier this year related to problems at a mining project in Chile and its oil and gas business in Saudi Arabia.“The year 2018 was a disappointing year, as our mining and metallurgy and oil and gas segments underperformed,” chief executive Neil Bruce said in a statement Friday.Ongoing diplomatic tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia have jeopardized future contracts in the Middle Eastern kingdom, Bruce said last month after announcing a $1.24-billion impairment charge related to SNC-Lavalin’s oil and gas business.The Jan. 28 announcement, combined with news about delays at the Chilean mining project and an arbitration loss in Australia, sent shares plummeting 27 per cent to close at $35.01, their lowest since September 2012.SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has been at the centre of a political scandal in Ottawa over the company’s desire to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement in connection with fraud and bribery charges in relation to business ties between it and Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya. read more

Incomes of Canadas 1 grew faster than everyone elses in 2017 and

OTTAWA — The incomes of Canada’s top one per cent grew at a faster pace than everyone else in 2017 — and, overall, they saw their taxes edge down, says a new study.Statistics Canada has found that in 2017 the average total income of all tax-filers rose 2.5 per cent to $48,400 compared to the previous year. The average income growth of the bottom half of tax filers increased 2.4 per cent to $17,200.But those in the top one per cent saw average income growth that year of 8.5 per cent to $477,700. And biggest surge in income growth was seen by those who made even more money. Tax filers in Canada’s top 0.1 per cent, who made at least $740,300 in 2017, took home 17.2 per cent more income than in 2016. People in the top 0.01 per cent, who made $2.7 million or more, saw their incomes rise 27.2 per cent — making for the fourth-biggest annual increase in the last 35 years.The report’s release comes with the federal election campaign in full swing — and political pledges on taxes and helping regular folks with their finances have been prominent. Robo adviser Wealthsimple targets Canada’s richest families with Grayhawk partnership Taxing wealth might sound like a good idea, but it would be a tragic mistake Five tips wealthy families should follow when building a financial estate plan In 2016, the Liberal government increased the tax rate on income in the highest bracket. But the Statistics Canada report says that, even with the boost, taxes declined for those with the highest incomes because of reductions at the provincial level, especially in Quebec.At the federal level, the report says, those in the top one per cent have been paying higher taxes since the government created a fifth tax bracket in 2016, which nudged the effective tax rate of people making the most money to 18.8 per cent from 18.4 per cent.The overall effective tax rate, however, for those in the top one per cent declined to 30.9 per cent in 2017, down from 31.3 per cent the year before, the study says.By comparison, all individual taxpayers, on average, saw an effective tax rate of 11.4 per cent in 2017, while families paid a rate of 12.2 per cent.Families with kids, with incomes near the median, saw a lower federal rate because of a slight boost from enhanced tax-free child benefits, the report said.The effective tax rate in the study is calculated by tallying the taxes paid at the federal and provincial levels as well as employee contributions to employment insurance and to the Canada and Quebec pension plans.During the election campaign, major political parties have announced packages of tax credits and reductions, mostly directed at families.For example, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer announced a $6-billion plan to gradually lower income taxes — to 13.75 per cent from 15 per cent — over several years for the lowest federal bracket, which is applied on income between $11,809 and $47,630.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau promised to make the first $15,000 of income tax-free for people making $147,667 a year or less.NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has pledged to raise the top marginal tax rate — on income over $210,000 — by two percentage points to 35 per cent. Singh has also vowed to introduce a one-per-cent annual wealth tax for Canada’s “super-rich millionaires” — those worth more than $20 million.When it comes to a breakdown of Canada’s top money-makers, the report said the one-per-cent club had 277,695 members in 2017, and 2,780 tax filers were in the top 0.01 per cent.The vast majority — or 92.1 per cent — of those in the top one per cent in 2017 lived in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec or British Columbia.Women made up 24.2 per cent of earners in the top one per cent, up from 23.9 per cent the previous year — and more than double their proportion in 1982. read more

Five allcandidates meetings in HN

Voters in Haldimand-Norfolk who are interested in hearing from the federal candidates first-hand have five events so far that they can attend.The Simcoe Rotary Club plays host to the first all-candidates forum over the noon hour Monday, Sept. 30, at the Simcoe Legion on West Street.The Rotary event kicks off a busy week for the federal parties as there are three more all-candidates events over the following three days.The second event is an all-candidates debate Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Simcoe Legion. This event gets underway at 7 p.m. and is hosted by the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce.The forum the following night is at the German Home in Delhi. The all-candidates face-off Wednesday, Oct. 2, begins at 7 p.m. Sponsor of the event is the Delhi and District Chamber of Commerce.Thursday, Oct. 3, the focus shifts to Haldimand for an all-candidates event at the Hagersville Legion. This forum also begins at 7 p.m.The last local all-candidates forum at this point involves a debate on agricultural issues Thursday, Oct. 10, at the Agricultural Hall at 1084 Kohler Rd., west of Cayuga. The sponsor of that event is the Haldimand Federation of Agriculture.Some candidates will also be on hand for an informal, one-on-one meet-and-greet at Community Living Access in Simcoe Wednesday, Sept. 24. The event at 89 Culver St. is scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.Seven candidates so far have declared their intention to run in Haldimand-Norfolk in the Oct. 21 election.They are Lily Eggink of the Christian Heritage Party, incumbent MP Diane Finley of the Conservative Party of Canada, Brooke Martin of the Green Party of Canada, Kim Huffman of the Liberal Party of Canada, Ross Mogridge of the Liberatarian Party of Canada, Bob Forbes of the People’s Party of Canada, and Harold Stewart Jr. of the Veterans Coalition Party of Canada.Candidates have till Sept. 30 to file their paperwork with Elections Canada. The local Elections Canada returning office is located in the former Norfolk Board of Education building at the intersection of Hillcrest Road and West Street in Simcoe.MSonnenberg@postmedia.com read more