Canada in Brief

Graphic by Adele Palmquist
Graphic by Adele Palmquist

Consumer debt at its highest
By the end of 2012, Canadian consumers saw their average debt load climb to its highest ever – $27,485. Only British Columbia did not experience an increase from the previous year’s figures. Installment load debt, debt on lines of credit and credit card debt were also higher than in previous years. Auto loans were also up by 8.93 per cent. Installment loans had the highest delinquency rate at 1.18 per cent.

Federal court makes ruling on child-care issue
The federal court decision which came from Justice Leonard Mandamin, mandates that employers will have to accommodate reasonable child-care requests made by employers. This decision referred specifically to parents who have to adjust child-care schedules to irregular work shifts, but it is possible that the case could open up future discussions on the relationship between families and the workplace.

The case came from a complaint filed by Ottawa resident Emily Johnstone, an employee of the Canada Border Services Agency. Johnstone and her husband worked rotating shifts at the agency, and asked to be switched to more stable shifts to accommodate her child-care needs. In 2010, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal took up the complaint and ruled in Johnstone’s favour.

Smoking causes emergency plane landing
A family from Cape Breton was allegedly caught smoking on a Sunwing Airlines flight last week , an action which ultimately caused the plane to have to make an emergency landing. The plane was travelling from Halifax to the Dominican Republic and had to make an unexpected stop in Bermuda, costing the airline approximately $50, 000.

The three family members were charged with disobeying lawful commands and are now on their way home. Two were sentenced to a $500 fine or ten days in prison, while the other was allowed to go free.

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