Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 5, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Municipal strike threatens to trash Toronto’s reputation
By Jordan Heath-Rawlings
TORONTO — A massive municipal strike threatens to damage the tounst-friendly reputation of Canada’s largest city as it prepares to greet throngs of summer visitors this month for events like the Molson Indy and World Youth Day.
“We have a great image of Toronto as being a very safe, friendly and clean city,” Triria Hosking of Tourism Toronto said yesterday, the ninth day of the strike. “But the longer (the strike) goes, it does have the potential to tarnish our very clean image.”
In the largest municipal strike in Canadian history, the city’s 18,000 inside workers yesterday joined a walkout by 6,800 outside workers that has left smelly garbage festering in the streets.
The province has drafted legislation that would force workers to return to their jobs if public health officials determine the strike is a health hazard.
But in the meantime, the strike is stinking up tourism prospects.
“(The strike will) definitely hurt. It’s not going to help,” said Lido Chilelli, a producer with the Beaches International Jazz Festival scheduled for mid-July.
About one million people are also expected for this weekend’s Molson Indy race at Exhibition Place, with millions more anticipated later this month for World Youth Day 2002 and the Toronto International Carnival.
Some tourists in Toronto just for a visit are already bailing out.
“(The mess) is getting pretty bad right now,” said Ed Robinson, who came to Toronto from Australia on
Four-year-old Liat swings on a swing set in front of hundreds of bags of garbage dumped at Eglinton Park yesterday in Toronto.
June 30 for a few months’ stay in Canada. He says he’s heading to Montreal until Toronto gets cleaned up.
And Toronto the Good as it’s called — is also fast getting a reputation as Toronto the grimy.
“We usually come up once a year, and we’re always impressed with how clean it is, so this year we really noticed the difference,” said Laura Boulthard, who brought her son from Detroit to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame.
There are also some event casualties that will put a damper on the expectations of out-of-towners.
The annual Toronto Street Festival, scheduled to begin last night and go through the weekend,
was cancelled because of lack of
World Youth Day 2002, from July 22 to 28, is expected to attract up to nearly 750,000 visitors to the Roman Catholic-run papal mass July 28.
But those in the tourism industry are worried about making a good impression if the strike lingers until the Pope’s visit.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to show off the city ... and we’re not going to have our best foot forward,” said Terry Mundell of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association.
Yesterday’s walkout by inside workers closed day-care centres, cancelled restaurant inspections
and shut down public pools as the city also felt the heat of the sweltering weather. The strike also affects family-health services, tours and most city-run events.
The sticking point in negotiations between the unions and the city is job security.
“What they want is jobs for life,” Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman told a news conference. “And the thing is ... once you give it (to them) you can’t take it away.”
Lastman said he felt “sick” about how the stnke has resulted in piles of trash, and parents scrambling to find child-care and swimming spots for youngsters home from school during first week of summer vacation.Canadians taking more time off work for illness and personal reasons
OTTAWA — Canada: a nation of malingerers?
Work absenteeism rose significantly last year, according to a report released yesterday by Statistics Canada.
Employers lost 85.2 million workdays to personal reasons in 2001, up by 8.4 per cent from 78.6 million in 2000 and by 30 per cent from 65.6 million in 1997, the agency estimated.
About 700,000 full-time employees — seven per cent of the total — missed work for all or part of any given week in 2001 for reasons such as illness, disability and personal or family responsibilities, excluding maternity leave.
This was up from weekly absenteeism rates of 6.3 per cent in 2000 and 5.5 per cent rn 1997.
On average, each full-time worker in Canada took 8.5 non-vacation days off for health or family reasons last year, Statistics Canada said. This was half a day more than in 2000, and over a full day more than in 1997.
“Workers in both the public and private sectors, in permanent and non-permanent jobs, in unionized and non-unionized positions, in most provinces, and in most industry and occupation groups recorded rising (absenteeism) trends over the period,” the report said.
Some of the increase can be attributed to more women in the workforce, particularly mothers taking time off for family reasons, although men also took more unscheduled days off, said Ernest Akyeampong of Statistics Canada.
The average number of days lost among men increased to 7.6 per worker in 2001 from 6.3 in 1997. Women lost an average of 9.7 days in 2001, up from 9.1 in 1997.
Health-care and social-service workers were particularly prone to call in sick or take time off, losing an average of nearly 13 days per employee last year, Statistics Canada reported. Clerks and other staff in public administration averaged about IO days.
Professionals in scientific and technical fields tended to take the least amount of time off for personal reasons, averaging roughly five days last year.
Dr. Jay T. Winbum Dr. Jeffrey Bales
Phone 727-0401Ontario, Alberta top destinations
TORONTO — Alberta and Ontario are the most promising destinations for Canadians leaving their home provinces in search of prosperity, replacing B.C. as the province people are most likely to move to, a new study has found.
“There is clearly a perception that B.C. is not performing economically as well as other parts of the country, notably, Ontario and Alberta,” said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies and author of the study.
The findings represent a major reversal in migration trends in Canada — in 1996, for instance, B.C. led the country in drawing interprovincial migrants.
B.C. is now losing many of the residents it gained during the mid-1980s and 1990s. Between 1996 and 2001, B.C. lost 61,670 people, down from a gain of 252,625 from 1981-1996.
In contrast, Ontario led the population decline in Canada from 1991 to 1996, losing 47,000 residents. Since then, 68,000 new residents have moved there, reversing the trend. Alberta has attracted 142,980 new residents between 1996 and 2001, in large part because of its booming economy.
Quebec registered the largest loss of residents from 1996-2001. —CPPHYSIOTHERAPY
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