Canada in Brief: June 14, 2011


Student unemployment improving since recession

This past May, Canada’s unemployment rate took an unexpected turn, dropping to 7.4 per cent. Unemployment for the summer students sits at 15 per cent, according to the Globe and Mail. Last May, it sat at 16.5 per cent and hit students between 20 and 24 harder than most. The rate of employment in that age bracket is currently 8 per cent below pre-recession level.

This is a problem that has become global and youth around the world are in a pinch trying to find jobs. In Spain, the unemployment rate among those 16-24 year old is 45 per cent.

Nancy Shaefer, president at Youth Employment Services in Toronto, says that it’s
looking sluggish for student seeking jobs. Graduated students, who usually don’t
want a summer or seasonal job, are taking anything they can get at this point.

This puts a toll on high school students who are working towards paying for University.

Pedro Antunes, the director of economic forecasting, says that the numbers released on Friday clearly show that students need to invest in their education.

CFS annual meeting discusses increased spending

OTTAWA (CUP) — At a semi annual National General Meeting in Gatineau, QC on May 31 to June 3, Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), discussed the direction they will be taking over the next six months.

The four day long meeting allowed everyone to collaborate and approach various
issues and discussions mentioned during the meeting. According to Roxanne
Dubois, it was an overall success.

One item discussed was the University of Victoria Student Society and their
decertification from the federation. The outstanding membership fees for the 2010-11 academic year are still pending.

The budget committee report created some discussion around the litigation and
referenda expense lines. Expenses for the year 2011 have increased significantly
since the $25,392.43 amount in 2010. The 2011 year-to-date expenses are now

Out of the $567,000 set aside for the 2011 budget, $338,756.53 has been spent.

A change to the CFS membership referendum rules was passed as well as a motion created to eliminate the referendum oversight committee and replace it with a chief returning officer. The York Federation of Students presented this.

A previous oversight committee, composed of two people from the campus student association, was struck each time a referendum was held.

Discussions around a CRO concluded there would be a structure very similar to
most student unions. The CRO will now be declaring materials that are misleading, defamatory or false during a campaign.

A National Day of Action is now implemented for the 2011-12 academic year. A
second meeting was set to be held in November.

Originally reported by Briana Hill, Ottawa Bureau Chief

Green heating system to be installed at UBC

University of British Columbia (UBC) is providing opportunities to advance clean energy research and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by installing an $85 million direct energy system, according to a press release from the university.

The five-year project, beginning on July 4, will be replacing the Vancouver
campus’s aging steam heating system with a hot water based system. This will have the ability to heat more than 100 buildings on the campus.

The energy on campus will be reduced by 24 per cent and the green house gases (GHG) will be reduced by 22 per cent. Their goal is to reduce the levels of GHG that were present in 2007, by 33 per cent by 2015 and then 100 by 2050.

This system will, in the long run, save UBC $4 million in energy costs annually.

The new advanced system will allow students, staff and researchers to develop new technologies as well as best practices in areas such as ocean thermal energy and waste heat recovery.

Because of partnerships with the government, the outgoing system has lived beyond it’s expected lifespan, being built between 1922 and 1966 and is being diminished now, in 2011.

This project has already been put into action in several European countries, but the project beginning at UBC will be the first and largest of it’s kind in North America.

The project will occur in nine phases and is set to open in 2012.

Canada Post reduces delivery due to strike

Canada post is forced to make adjustments in the delivery schedules and reduce the costs. Postal strikes are continuing across the country and in order to avoid harming the company financially, they must make these changes.

To reduce the labour costs among staff, the mail volumes at each facility will be
reduced. Letters and Admail will be delivered three days a week and only priority
items will be delivered five days a week.

These particular changes will not be applied to the following product and service
offerings: Delivery of mail to rural mailboxes and community mailboxes will
continue being delivered five days a week. The post office hours will also remain
unchanged. Pick ups and mail collection at street letter boxes on major streets will continue and the delivery of parcels will stay the same.

Daily mail volumes have reached 50 per cent since the strikes began rotating on
June 3rd. Companies have since been forced to find ways to reduce costs. An annual top wage of $26 an hour with continued job security has been proposed.

For employees hired in the future, a new wage and benefits package is now
available. This includes a starting wage of $19 that rises to $26 an hour over a 7 year period. Six weeks of vacation is included as well and a fully indexed defined benefit pension by age 60.

Being a Crown Corporation, Canada Post is funded by the revenues generated from it’s services, not by taxpayer dollars. It is a financially self-sufficient company that wants to continue to provide Canadians with a postal service they can count on.

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