Friday, December 30, 2011

Manitoba Agriculture lost a key Player

Beef producers across Manitoba are mourning the death of Major Jay Fox, a 32-year-old farming leader who was killed in an accident last week.
Fox was critically injured on Thursday when he was pinned by a tractor's front-end loader bucket at his farm in Eddystone, Man., east of Dauphin.

Everyday we are reminded on the fleeting nature of life. We are sure about the present moment and nothing more, so let's use time wisely and not wait for tomorrow.

Marcel Williams yielded not to Temptation

Last year DJ Marcel Williams resolved not to have sex for an entire year and kept it. How many of us can say the same. Many of us make resolutions only to break them during the first week. I proud of this young man, with that kind of determination he can do a a lot of good things for himself.  He plans to continue saving himself for the right person well into the new year. Good for you.  I hope  more young folks follow his lead.

Let's try to make it more difficult for thieves by being careful

The thieves in Winnipeg are becoming more brazen. Read on CBC website that there was a carjack in downtown Winnipeg around 1:00 a.m. 
If someone cuts you off in the middle of a street instead of getting out and starting a fuss call 911 or remain in your car - it could be a trap.

After a lone driver was cut off by a while vehicle while driving on Broadway near Carlton Street and four males armed with handgun and a knife got into his car drove a short distance then forced him out and took his vehicles.

Here are a few questions: How did these guys get into  the other person's car. Were the car doors open or did he open his door to find out what happened and then they forced themselves in his car.
It is nice to be trusting but when you're alone on the road or that late at night,  one has to use commonsense and be more prudent.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More Money in your Pockets with Hike increased Tax Exemption

December 29, 2011


– – –
Changes Represent 13th Consecutive Year in Which Major Taxes Have Been Frozen or Reduced: Struthers
The new year will see increases to several tax credits along with an increase in the basic personal tax exemption, putting more money back into the pockets of Manitobans, Finance Minister Stan Struthers announced today.
“Higher tax exemptions mean more savings for all Manitobans.  They also help to make our province an even more attractive and affordable place to live, work and raise a family,” Struthers said.
In 2012, the three basic income tax exemptions will each increase by $250, from $8,384 to $8,634.  They include the basic personal amount available to all Manitobans, the spousal amount for married and common law couples, and the eligible dependent amount for single parents.  With these increases, another 5,200 Manitobans will be removed from the tax rolls and savings will total $19.3 million, said Struthers.  Enhancements to the senior’s education property tax credit will result in an additional $1.6 million in tax savings to bring the total to $20.9 million, he added.
Other personal tax savings include:
  • the new Children’s Arts and Cultural Activities Tax Credit, and
  • a 25 per cent increase to the Primary Caregiver Tax Credit.
In addition to personal tax savings, Manitoba’s entrepreneurs will see an additional $6 million in savings, said the minister.  The refundable portion of the Manitoba Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit, for business in-house R&D, will increase.  Ten per cent will be refundable and 10 per cent will offset Manitoba income tax.
Budget 2011 extended several tax credits that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2011.  Struthers said these credits will generate $36.7 million in tax savings in the new year and include extensions for:
  • the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit,
  • the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit,
  • the Book Publishing Tax Credit,
  • the Community Enterprise Development Tax Credit,
  • the Odour Control Tax Credit, and
  • the Co-op Education and Apprenticeship Tax Credit. 
The minister noted tax cuts delivered since 1999 will save Manitobans over $500 million in 2012  provincial income taxes and $334 million in 2012 property taxes, while businesses will save $424 million annually.
Information on the changes, including basic personal income tax exemptions available to all Manitobans, is available at
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Women gains the right to abortion in Uruguay

A move in the rights direction for women or Uruguay. Senators voted to pass a bill allowing women to abort unwanted pregnancies up to 12 weeks old.
A similar move in 2008 was vetoed by President Tabare Vasquez, but current President Jose Mujica has signalled he will sign the bill into law.

Pray for Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez - Cancer Struck

After a routine examination on December 22nd, President Cristina Fernandez learned she had thyroid cancer.  After the diagnosis, it is reported, that the President went straight back to work. She is scheduled for surgery on January 4, 2012. Please say a silent prayer for this President. We need more women Presidents around the world. We need equity in leadership to bring our world into balance as well. Thank you.  Read more by clicking the link..

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Women become spoils of war in Somalia

Imagine a woman being stoned to death for refusing to marry a thug. Women in war-torn countries  become pawns and are used and abused at will by thugs who call themselves soldiers.
More ought to be done by the United Nations and peace-loving, democratic nations to help women in these countries after the war is over.
It is disheartening to read of the lives some women have to leave. They have no rights, they live in poverty and their dignity is wrenched from them like animals.

Margaret Pidlaski

She always had a smile on her face and you could tell she meant it.  When I read that she was the only survivor in a crash in Mexico 30 years ago and now she's the only one who died in this accident, makes me wonder was this one of those meaningful coincidence or synchronicity happening  or is it just a random thing?
   Thirty years ago was not her time so she lived or did she make a pact with God and told Him to give her some more time, maybe 30 years more and next time she will be ready.  Thirty years to the young Pidlaski would have seemed like a long time and that she'd be ready. But she was still young and vibrant at 57 years. She had so much more to live for and to give to the world. These incidences causes one to pause and think about life as whole.

While it is a sad event, I would say if she was to die anyway, I am sure glad she died doing something she was passionate about. I am glad she did not let fear cripple her from exploring the world again after her first accident. She lived and at the end of the day as I always remind folks it is not the years of life but the life in the years that really matters. From all accounts, Margaret packed a lot of life in her years. RIP my friend and colleague.

Inspiring Website

If you like the simple life, if you like gardening and if you like a passionate individual, you will find this website very inspiring. I saw the interview on TV and I thought, this woman is fantastic. It's another evidence that when you find your calling you cannot go wrong, things just fall into place for you. There are gardenting tips and recipes. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

RIP Margaret Pidlaski

I was shocked to hear the news that Margaret died in an accident while vacationing in Peru. I've know Pidlaski for years as a strong supporter of newcomers. I first knew her as an ESL teacher and then she became the director of the program. She was always with a smile and very welcoming to newcomers. She made them feel at home and I feel she truly believed in our multiculturalism an diversity in Winnipeg and Canada.
The Immigrants here have lost a dear friend.  Our sympathy go out to her family and close friends who will feel the loss more personally.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all of you
with Universal love and connection.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Are the rules different for people with disabilities

Everything with them is, let’s sedate the kid instead of trying to solve the problem,” Ms. Strignano said. “They want to dope her up; they want her to sit there like she doesn’t exist.”
Tens of thousands of powerful pills created to treat serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia are given to developmentally disabled people in the care of New York State every day. .....

This articles speaks to the ways in which the disabled population is treated. It seems that when it comes to treatment few rules apply. Those who work with people with disabilities' main focus is to control the behaviour of their clients and if this means packing them with medication to make them into zombies, so be it. 
  We see the same thing happening to children with behavioural problems  in  our school systems. As soon as the child misbehaves frequently, this is seen as a problem that needs fixing. The problem is seen as being with the child and not with the school system that forces all square pegs into round holes or vice versa.
   People with disabilities are people too and need to be protected from unscrupulous practices that cater more to the provider than the clients. Instead of putting untrained people most of the time to work with people with disabilities, maybe we need more trained staff who can deal with disruptive and abhorrent behaviours in a different manner.
    Although this article speaks about an American situation, here in Manitoba there are many group homes and services for people with disabilities and I am wondering if there are parallels here.

Court Declares proposed federal Securities Act Unconstitutional

December 22, 2011


Finance Minister Stan Struthers has welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada today that the federal government’s proposed Canadian Securities Act is unconstitutional.
“The ruling confirms what we believed from the beginning; the federal government was overstepping its boundaries on this issue,” said Struthers.
The Supreme Court found the proposed federal act is unconstitutional because it would involve a wholesale takeover by Parliament of the regulation of securities trading in Canada.
“The unilateral approach by the federal government is no way to do business.  I hope they will take this ruling as a signal from the high court that we all need to put our heads together and work co-operatively to deal with issues like transfer payments for health care and other key public services,” said Struthers.  “My door is always open when it comes to discussions on how to keep our province moving forward to grow our economy.”
The minister noted the decision says, “a cooperative approach ... remains available and is supported by constitutional principles and by the practice adopted by the federal and provincial governments in other fields of activities.”
In May 2010, the federal government introduced the proposed Canadian Securities Act and sought confirmation from the Supreme Court of Canada that they had constitutional jurisdiction to move forward with it.  The Manitoba government along with other provincial and territorial governments have been working hard to ensure the case was made to highlight the negative effects this proposed legislation would have on local economies, Struthers added.  He also noted the Manitoba government appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in April in opposition to the federal legislation.
The province will continue to work with other provinces through the Passport System in ensuring a strong method for securities regulation across Canada while ensuring it is responsive to modern challenges.
“We’ve been a leader on the Passport System and it has worked well for our country.  It is a highly harmonized system of provincial securities legislations, which enables Manitoba to remain responsive to the local financial industry and the overall needs of our business community,” said Struthers.  “The current securities regulatory system is ranked as one of the best in the world by independent international assessments.”
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another bunch of smokes confiscated

December 21, 2011


Manitoba Finance reports its Special Investigations Unit seized approximately 156 cartons or 31,200 contraband cigarettes in the Pipestone area yesterday.  The RCMP assisted at the search scene and the search proceeded without incident.
There were 55 cartons of cigarettes seized from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop and a further 101 cartons were seized from a vehicle that was at the store.
The cigarettes seized from both the smoke shop and the vehicle did not have Manitoba tax markings or stamps, and therefore are not legal to sell or possess in Manitoba. 
Investigation of this matter continues and charges are pending against those alleged to have possessed or sold the cigarettes.
This is the third such seizure in the past five weeks.  On Nov. 15, approximately 89,550 contraband cigarettes were seized from the Dakota Chundee Smoke Shop.  On Nov. 21, a further 53 cartons were similarly seized.  Five people face a total of 28 charges under the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act for the previous two searches including:
  • possession of unmarked cigarettes,
  • selling unmarked cigarettes,
  • possession of tobacco for sale without a licence, and
  • operation of a business without valid tax authorization.
The Manitoba Tobacco Tax Act and the Tax Administration and Miscellaneous Taxes Act prohibit the possession and the sale of cigarettes in Manitoba that are not marked or stamped for sale in Manitoba.
Not only can a business or individual be charged for selling unmarked contraband tobacco, it is also an offence to possess such tobacco.  People purchasing and possessing contraband cigarettes can face charges under the Tobacco Tax Act and fines between $500 and $5,000, with an additional tax penalty of triple the outstanding taxes.
If anyone has information on contraband tobacco, they are urged to contact their local police, the Manitoba Finance Special Investigations Unit at 204-945-1137 or Crime Stoppers (toll-free) at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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Have your say

December 21, 2011


Manitobans are invited to provide feedback and input on draft action plans to protect boreal woodland caribou populations in the eastern parts of the province, Conservation Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.
“Boreal woodland caribou are a threatened species, and the Owl-Flintstone and Atikaki-Berens caribou populations are particularly vulnerable,” said Chomiak.  “We’ve worked with the Eastern Manitoba Woodland Caribou Advisory Committee to develop plans to protect these populations and are now seeking input from the public to make sure these plans are as complete as possible.”
In 2006, the province released a recovery strategy for boreal woodland caribou.  The draft action plans for the Owl-Flintstone and Atikaki-Berens areas build on this strategy and outline the specific actions the province will take to protect boreal woodland caribou populations and their habitat to ensure the long-term survival of woodland caribou in these areas, Chomiak said.
Currently, management programs for boreal woodland caribou are in place to assess habitat needs and use on each high-risk range in Manitoba.  Proposed developments in any of the identified areas are subject to a strict environmental review process, the minister said, adding results are used to assess and set conditions on work plans, permits and environmental license requests.
The draft action plans will be available on the Manitoba Conservation website for 90 days.  Following the public comment period, additional discussion will be initiated with First Nations and other stakeholders.  The final action plans will likely be released by the summer of 2012.
The minister noted the action plans build on other work to protect caribou populations in Manitoba including:
  • investing almost $2.5 million through the East Side Road Authority to monitor woodland caribou and moose populations on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, which includes hiring local residents and trappers to collect field data to support the decision-making process;
  • hiring two full-time biologists dedicated to researching and monitoring boreal woodland caribou;
  • hosting the 13th North American Caribou Workshop with more than 400 participants from around the world including researchers and international experts on sustaining caribou populations; 
  • becoming the first provincial government to list the boreal woodland caribou as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2006;
  • creating caribou management bodies with First Nations and stakeholders in all caribou areas across Manitoba; and
  • regularly adding to the network of protected areas and committing to protect the boreal forest on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
To review and comment on the draft action plans, visit:
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Poor children to see better in the New Year

December 21, 2011


Manitoba’s new $112,000 Children’s Opti-care program for low-income families is set to be launched Jan. 1 to help cover the cost of prescription eyeglasses for children, Family Services and Consumer Affairs Minister Gord Mackintosh announced today.
“We were excited to unveil this program earlier this year as part of the ALL Aboard poverty reduction strategy and soon families will be able to take advantage of the offer,” said Mackintosh.  “We want to be sure all children have the benefit of good vision.”
Any family receiving the Manitoba Child Benefit will be eligible for the program provided they do not have optical coverage through another provider.  Families can apply to have their child’s eyeglass costs covered once every three years, but additional coverage may be available for children whose prescriptions change or who outgrow their glasses.
Once eligible families have paid for their children’s glasses, they can fill in a Children’s Opti-care program claim form and mail it in with the receipt.  The maximumreimbursement per child would be $84 or 80 per cent of the current Employment and Income Assistance Program optical fee schedule rate for eyeglasses ($105).  Children’s Opti-care program coverage may be higher for children with special vision needs.
ALL Aboard is led by a committee co-chaired by Mackintosh and Housing and Community Development Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross.  The committee oversees cross-departmental work to co‑ordinate efforts to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion.  It is complemented by the Premier’s Advisory Council on Education, Poverty and Citizenship, which engages representatives of the broader community.
Families thatre eligible to receive the Manitoba Child Benefit and do not have optical coverage from another program can apply for the Children’s Opti-care program when it comes into effect Jan. 1.  For more information or to apply for the Manitoba Child Benefit, families can call 1-800-563-8793 (toll‑free) or visit
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Some of Most Fascinating Manitobans

See who else is on Ace Burpee's list.
Ace Burpee's Most Fascinating Manitobans of 2011
Winnipeg Free Press
The Manitoba Association for Rights and Liberties, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Manitoba Human Rights Commission named Rebekah 2011's Sybil ...

Encouraging Social Entrepreneurship

Four Brandon University Business Students Take National Title

posted November 24, 2011
Brandon, MB — Today, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) announced the 2011 national winners of the You Innovate Canada Tournament: four Brandon University students. Stephen Chychota, Stephanie Fung, Jeanette Hudon and Kayvon Razzaghi, all senior BU students, rose to the top with their winning entry entitled Grow Mugs. They now hold the title of Most Innovative Mind(s) in Canada.
“The students have every right to proud with what they have done,” said Michael Malazdrewicz, the faculty member who guided the quartet in their quest. “They got an idea and then, despite challenges, turned their idea into an actual product. They managed to create sales and also a learning opportunity for elementary school children. The end result was a profit that was donated to a charitable organization, some happy customers and excited kids. We can all feel confident that the future is bright with young people, like the Grow Mugs Team, in our community.”
The Grow Mugs Project team used personalized recycled mugs to grow herbs and teach children about plants and healthy eating. To create their product, sell it and make the video that won them this honour took the students an estimated 200 hours. According to Stephanie Fung, one of the winning students, the experience of this tournament was well worth it.
“We’re really excited. We didn’t expect this,” said Fung, who added that the project raised more than $1,800, which was donated to SIFE Brandon for its community-minded projects. “We wanted the money to stay in this community.”
Along with winning a cash prize of $5,500, one of the BU group will attend the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in England, in March.
About The Canadian Youth Business Foundation – Canada’s Entrepreneur Gateway
The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is the ‘go to’ place for youth entrepreneurship. It is a national charity, dedicated to growing Canada’s economy, one young entrepreneur at a time. Character, not collateral, is considered when providing youth, age 18-34, with pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing and mentoring. CYBF helps them launch and sustain a successful entrepreneurial business.
“The YOU Innovate tournament encouraged Canadians to engage with, connect to and see the value of entrepreneurship in their everyday lives,” explains Vivian Prokop, chief executive officer, Canadian Youth Business Foundation. “The extraordinary creativity of the tournament champions is a true demonstration of the inspiring young minds who will soon be driving Canada’s future.”
About Global Entrepreneurship Week Canada
Between November 14-20, 2011, more than 100 countries will come together to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a movement to inspire millions of people to embrace innovation, imagination and creativity. GEW Canada 2011 is hosted by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization that works to connect hundreds of organizations to champion a culture of entrepreneurship and mentoring, through local, national and global initiatives. Visit for more information.
To view the winning video, please visit
For more information, please contact:
Joanne F. Villeneuve
Brandon University
270 – 18th Street
Brandon, MB R7A 6A9
Tel. 204-727-9762

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Egyptian Women mauled by hooligans and violent men

 Warning - graphic image of violence against women by Egyptian military.  The women who bravely support each other are the heroes in this. They will not back down in the face of thugs who call themselves men. 
    The video shows members of the military kicking and beating women for standing up for their rights.

Today, several hundred women gathered for a march to expose the military’s sexual violence against female demonstrators and demand a regime change. Activists used Twitter to organize the rally, with the hashtag#bluebra. Protesters carried pictures of women, elderly people and teenagers who had been beaten up by the police. Many men formed a protective circle around the women marchers so they could not be assaulted.
There is a reason why Time magazine picked The Protester as its Person of the Year–and there is a reason why the protester on that Time cover is a woman. Throughout the Arab Spring, from Iran to Saudi Arabia to Egypt, women have been on the frontlines of the protests, demanding more rights, as well as behind the scenes, shaping their countries’ revolutions.

Holiday Greetings from Premier Greg Selinger

The holidays are a time for family and friends, and a time for generosity, for giving and for sharing.
Manitobans are known for our generosity and, in that spirit, I offer a heartfelt thank you to those Manitobans who have given so much of themselves this year, whether fighting record flood waters or helping those less fortunate.
From my family to yours, I wish all Manitobans a safe and happy holiday and the very best in the new year.

From the Desk of Mary Scott UN Winnipeg Chair

Wishing you Joy and Peace  for the holidays and throughout the year!

And may we continue our work, locally and globally to bring hope and peace for women.
It's been quite a year - we are now officially launched as a Chapter of the Canadian National Committee for UN Women. We have held many interesting meetings - hearing from the Manitoba women who presented at Women's Worlds, and most recently co hosting with Global College the event From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Challenge Militarism and End Violence Against Women as part of the 16 Days of Activism to eliminate gender violence. Our local women continue to inspire us.

We hear great things about what women are doing - the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to three remarkable women, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and human rights activist Tawakkul Karman who were lauded for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women's rights to fully participate in peace-building work. Wangari Maathai (who died 15 days before the Nobel Peace Prize announcement was made) was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, in 2004. “By providing education, access to water and equity the Green Belt Movement empowered people, most of them poor, most of them women and directly improved their lives as individuals and families. As the Sunday Times of London stated, Wangari Maathai demonstrated that one doesn’t need to be in a position of power to start to do something for one’s environment." Do come out on January 31st, 7:00 at the University Women's Club, 54 West Gate to hear more about women and the environment with Alanna Gray and Louise May.

The recent PBS series, produced by Abigail Disney Women, War and Peace highted the affects of war, but also the courageous women who are working to make a difference. News from Egypt and the ongoing Arab Spring show women want and need to be part of the transition. We will have our Local to Global 2012 on this theme, with details coming soon.

We are partnering with Global College, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and the Natural Resources Institute (University of Manitoba) on a series of talks that recognizes Indigenous people’s knowledge and to honor our relationship with Indigenous peoples in Manitoba. Dr. Richard Atleo, Director for the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources is the first speaker on An Indigenous Approach to the Global Crises on January 9th, at 12:30 to 1:30. It will be at the Sinnott Building, 70 Dysart Road. This is free and open to the public, but please rsvp to

Peace...pass it on.  We invite you all to leave your message of Peace on the Winnipeg Chapter's Facebook page -

From all the Coordinating Group, and the Planning Committee for the 2012 Local to Global event, we wish you good health, and happiness this holiday season, and through out the coming year, and we hope to see you out at some of our Chapter events this coming year.



Manitoba Safe School Grant Winners Announced

December 20, 2011


– – –
Projects Building Awareness of Safety, Health Among Manitoba's Youth: Howard
As part of the province’s action plan to keep young workers safe, 10 entries have been selected and will receive $2,000 grants under the SAFE Schools Grant contest, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“The SAFE Schools Grant contest was launched to encourage and educate students and youth on safety and health,” said Howard.  “The grants will help the participants complete innovative projects to incorporate safety in the classroom.”
The contest invited students, classrooms and schools to submit videos, songs, posters and their ideas and proposals to promote SAFE work.  Entries were reviewed in consultation with the Minister’s Advisory Council on Workplace Safety and Health and the Workers of Tomorrow Safety Centre.  Completed projects are to be provided to the province by Feb. 29.  Projects will be shared with other schools to increase awareness of safety and health among Manitoba’s youth and showcased during the 2012 Day of Mourning activities.
“Encouraging young people to think about workplace safety and health while in the classroom will educate them about the importance of safe work practices,” said Education Minister Nancy Allan.
The SAFE Schools Grant contest was launched in April 2011 to engage Manitoba’s youth in the promotion of safety and health.  Grant recipients include the following schools from across Manitoba.
  • Tec Voc High School,
  • Children of the Earth High School, and
  • John Taylor Collegiate.
  • Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School. 
Rural and northern Manitoba:
  • Stonewall Collegiate,
  • one grant to be shared by the Frontier School Division’s northern schools and another by its southern schools,
  • Rossburn Collegiate,
  • Carman Collegiate, and
  • The Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre.
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Caution with Pay-Day Loans

December 21, 2011


– – –
Payday Loans With Excessive Rates Being Offered Over Internet Without a Licence
The Manitoba Consumer Protection Office is cautioning consumers to beware of Internet payday loans that cost more than the allowable rate under Manitoba’s Consumer Protection Act and regulations.
Manitoba law requires that all payday lenders offering, arranging or providing payday loans to Manitobans be licensed by the Consumer Protection Office and comply with the Manitoba regulatory framework.  This includes payday lenders who offer loans to Manitobans over the Internet, regardless of where their head offices are located.
Manitoba law limits the maximum fees that can be charged for a payday loan to $17 per $100 borrowed.  If someone charges more than the maximum allowable fees for a payday loan, the law excuses the borrower from paying the fees and requires the payday lender, on request by the borrower or the Consumer Protection Office’s Director, to reimburse the borrower for fees already paid.  This is in addition to other measures under the act for dealing with payday lenders who do not follow the law.
It has come to the Consumer Protection Office’s attention that not all Internet payday lenders who offer loans to Manitobans are licensed under the act.  Also, some Manitobans have been charged rates that exceed $17 per $100 borrowed for a payday loan obtained over the Internet. 
Manitoba consumers are urged to exercise caution with respect to Internet payday loans including Internet loans they can get through computers set up in licensed payday lending stores or other retail outlets.  In addition to being aware of the maximum fees payday lenders can charge, consumers are reminded that:
  • payday loans can be cancelled within 48 hours without paying any charges;
  • payday lenders can’t require repayment of a loan before the borrower’s next payday;
  • payday loan agreements must list all charges and the terms of the loan; and
  • borrowers cannot be required to buy prepaid credit cards, insurance or other options that may be offered. 
Consumers taking out payday loans should ask questions about anything they do not understand and should not sign any documents or agree to Internet loan conditions that are not clear.
Last fall, the Manitoba government implemented the most stringent payday lending rules in Canada to ensure that consumers are protected from high interest rates and unfair business practices.

Consumers who believe that they may have received payday loans that do not comply with Manitoba’s legislation are urged to contact the Consumer Protection Office at 204-945-3800 or 1‑800‑782-0067 (toll-free).
Manitoba’s payday lending regulations are part of Let’s Make a Better Deal, Manitoba’s five-year consumer protection strategy.
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Monday, December 19, 2011

UNION Stands up for Migrant Workers

A UFCW Canada Human Rights Department Release
UFCW Canada and the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA) are calling on all activists to support an international campaign to stop the Mexican government from reaching across Canada's border to violate our labour laws, our Charter, and the human rights of Mexican migrant workers in Canada.

Here are the facts. There are serious allegations that migrant farm workers in British Columbia are being blacklisted for voicing their support for the union and trying to exercise their basic Human Right to organize and bargain collectively.

Charges have been filed with the B.C. Labour Board  that the federal government of Mexico and its Vancouver consulate conspired with two British Columbia agriculture operations to blacklist Mexican seasonal migrant workers from returning to Canada this season because they were union sympathizers.

The evidence includes leaked documents that indicate blacklisting activity.  The charges were filed by UFCW Canada Local 1518 — the union that migrant workers at Floralia Farms and Sidhu Nurseries voted to join. In addition to the blacklist, the Mexico consulate has also told workers at B.C. farms to stop visiting union-run support centres operated by the Agriculture Workers Alliance.

What does Mexico say to all of this? Mexico and its Vancouver consulate have claimed diplomatic immunity.

But Mexico must listen and you can help.


Changes to Employment Standards Code

December 19, 2011


– – –
Ability to Change Standard Work Week Benefits Employees, Business; Allows More Flexibility to Balance Work-life Issues: Howard
Employees and employers will have more flexibility to adjust daily hours of work to accommodate personal obligations under one of four changes to the Employment Standards Code, Labour and Immigration Minister Jennifer Howard announced today.
“These changes respond to requests from businesses and employees and they are designed to meet the needs of today’s workplace,” said Howard.  “The current economic climate requires flexibility and creativity and the code changes provide options for more flexible hours to balance work needs with home and family needs.”
The changes which take effect Jan. 1, focus on four areas of the Employment Standards Code:
  • individual flex-time agreements,
  • applications for averaging permits from all industries,
  • general holidays in climate-controlled agricultural operations, and
  • changes to termination rules. 
“These changes will help Manitoba’s food services sector to better plan and schedule work times to meet customer needs while at the same time giving our workforce opportunities to spend more time with their families,” said Scott Jocelyn, executive director, Manitoba Restaurant & Foodservices Association.  “The province has made changes that should be helpful for both our food service operators and their employees.”
Both employers and employees have expressed an interest in being able to have a more flexible work day in order to balance work needs with home and family needs, the minister said.  Employees who work more than 35 hours a week with the same employer will now be able to voluntarily enter into an individual flex-time agreement with their employer’s approval.  The written agreement provides a rearrangement of daily hours but no more than 40 hours per week.  While these agreements can be made without permission from the province, should there be problems, Manitoba Employment Standards can terminate current agreements and not allow the employer to enter into any future agreements.
Also starting in January, employers in industries such as retail and hospitality will now be eligible for averaging permits, Howard said.  An averaging permit allows a change to the standard eight hours per day and 40 hours per week to allow longer daily shifts, however, must average 40 hours per week.  When an employer is issued an averaging permit, they are able to schedule shifts to better suit their business needs while providing a benefit to their employees.  Prior to issuing a permit, an employer must show that at least 75 per cent of the affected employees have agreed to the schedule change.  The province has introduced a Simplified Averaging Permit application where the processing times are faster for most applications, the minister said.
Employers in climate-controlled agricultural businesses can chose to pay regular wages for hours worked on a general holiday and give the employee another day off with general holiday pay.  This was previously available only to employers operating a gas station, hospital, hotel, restaurant, place of amusement, continuously operating plant, a seasonal industry or domestic workers, Howard said.
The final change brings Manitoba’s Employment Standards Code language around terminations in line with practices in other provinces, she noted.
The Labour Management Review Committee, which is made up of an equal number of employer and employee representatives, reviewed these amendments and reached consensus.
For more information on employment standards, call 1-800-821-4307 or 204-945-3352 or visit

Upcoming Event - Food Security - February 2012

Please find a link to the Growing Local conference will be held from February 23 to 25, 2012 and is coordinated by Food Matters Manitoba along with many other partners. Please go to the link at

Please feel free to circulate as applicable.

Start Plannin g for Summer - City Jobs on the line

NAME: ______________________________________________

         Wading Pool AttendantRecreation Technician B                           
As per the Manitoba Health Act wading pool attendants must be 16 years or older to operate a wading pool. Over 65% of all summer positions are in the wading pool program.  Position is responsible for the safety, supervision and operation of a wading pool designed for children 12 years of age and under. Other duties include cleaning and maintenance of the wading pool, maintaining accurate records of attendance, chlorine and ph levels, field occurrence reports, leadership and water safety, and the ability to relate well with the public are desirable.  Position includes working evenings and weekends. Many positions extend to the end of August / Labour Day weekend.

         Youth Leader –- Recreation Technician C                              
Youth Leaders are responsible for organizing and supervising activities with preteens and youth (ages 10 -17). Possess knowledge and training related to conflict resolution, program planning, sports, games, arts and crafts, and leisure activities as well as the ability to mentor and relate to youth and pre-teens.  Hours of work are afternoon and evening shifts.

          Pre-School/Children Leader –- Recreation Technician A, B or C
Organizing and supervising children’s activities (ages 3 - 12) at various sites. Possess skills and/or training in planning and implementing a wide range of recreational activities such as arts, crafts, sports, music, drama and games as well as the ability to relate to children.

           Facility Monitor – (Part-Time) Recreation Technician B       
Responsible for the monitoring of a recreation facility and/or weight room. Responsibilities may include answering the phone, opening and locking rooms for programs and ensuring safety in a City of Winnipeg weight room. Where applicable the position includes cleaning and inspecting weight room equipment; enforcing rules, guidelines and safety practices. Must have the ability to relate well with the general public and possess knowledge and training related to conflict resolution. Other duties may include assisting the public with program registration and cash handling. Hours of work vary and may include morning, afternoon, evening and/or weekend shifts.

Recreation Leadership Development/ Training Courses (Specify)                       Early Childhood Education                     _______
____________________________________________________  Sign Language                                     _______
Other    ______________________________________________ Non-Violent Crisis Intervention              _______
Adapted Training Courses (Specify)      ____________________            Babysitting Certificate                           _______
National Coaching Certificate Program              ______________           Water Safety/Lifesaving Certificates       _______
                        Level Obtained & Sport             ______________                                   Level obtained                       _______


Another one for Older Workers who want Respect and one for the Tories

   After two decades of employers trying to force out older workers from the workforce whether they are ready or not, the human rights law has come down on the side of the workers and why not?
I've always said that I do not understand retirement and what is it's purpose? I agree this should be optional. No one should be forced to give up his job unless there is bona fide reason for it such as work performance.
   Many older people retire to a life of poverty both financially, morally and spiritually. There should be a place for everyone to make meaningful contribution to society and his or her livelihood until such time they just can't do it anymore.
Work keeps people happy and involved in life. Our elders have much to teach and should be given the opportunity to do so.
  I am happy to see that forcing an older worker into la la land is now interpreted as discrimination based on age. It is the right and humane decision.
Two decades since Ottawa’s first attempt to kill mandatory retirement, the Conservative government has managed to quietly overturn legislation that has for 30 years given federally regulated employers the right to force workers into retirement because of their age.

The section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that permitted mandatory retirement was officially repealed by the government’s Budget Implementation Bill, which received Royal Assent last week. Now that the budget bill is formally on the books, the country’s 12,000 federally regulated employers will no longer be able to force their 800,000 employees into retirement beginning December 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Massive Spring/Summer Flood took a bite out of Province Finances


Saturday, December 17, 2011

The barefoot diva has passed away

Our African community in Winnipeg who are into music will be mourning the loss of Cesaria Evora a proflic and talented Jazz singer from West Africa. Ms Evora passed away today at 70. The world has lost some one special.

Our Philippine brothers and sisters are hurting again

Another village and hundreds of lives have been lost because of a flash flood in the Philippines . I know the large Winnipeg Philippine community will be working to raise funds and materials for their kin back home and since we are all one people on one planet we all are affected when bad things happen in the world. We have to come together again to help. May God bless them and bless all of us. Let us be grateful for our lives in relative peace and comfort in Canada.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Moment: December 11, 1931

Imperial Conference 1926. (L-R): Hon. Ernest Lapointe, Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King, Vincent Massey, Hon. Peter Larkin. Credit: Aitken Ltd. / Library and Archives Canada / C-001690
The Statute of Westminster is a momentous, yet often overlooked, occasion in Canadian history. Despite being granted the right to self-government in 1867, Canada did not enjoy full legal autonomy until the Statute was passed on December 11, 1931. This year marks the eightieth anniversary of the signing of the Statute of Westminster — Canada’s own declaration of independence.
The Statute of Westminster finds its origins at the Imperial Conference of 1926. Lord Balfour, Britain’s Foreign Minister, suggested that all Dominions be granted full autonomy in their legislations. This would establish equality amongst Britain and the Dominions. These nations included the Dominion of Canada, the colony of Newfoundland, the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, the Union of South Africa, and the Irish Free State.
Prime Minister Mackenzie King and the head of the Department of External Affairs, O.D. Skelton, were determined to achieve autonomy for Canada. In 1929, Skelton attended the Conference on the Operation of Dominion Legislation in London. After two months of negotiations, recommendations were made that would set the resolutions made at the 1926 Imperial Conference in motion. In 1930, the issues were revisited and governments submitted terms of the future Statute to their Parliaments.
It was made clear under the Statute that each of the Dominions would have the right to choose which of the new resolutions it would accept, and which would be rejected in favour of past regulations. All but one of the Dominions chose to adopt every resolution and thus sever all legal ties to Britain; Canada was not fully prepared for complete independence. Government ministers were unable to agree upon a method which could be used to amend the Constitution, so it was decided that Britain would temporarily retain the power to do so. This remained in effect until the Constitution Act was passed in 1982.
Four years after Lord Balfour first suggested independence for the Dominions, negotiations were complete and the Statute of Westminster was signed on December 11, 1931. The act proclaimed that although the Dominions were to remain in allegiance with the Crown, each would be granted full legal autonomy. Britain and its now autonomous Dominions became known as the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Under the Statute, nations were granted the freedom to pass their own laws without the consent of British Parliament, and Britain was no longer able to void or alter laws made in its Dominions. Dominions were also free to amend and repeal their own laws, including ones already in existence. In addition, laws passed by the British government would no longer extend to the Dominions unless the Dominion wished to adopt it. The governments of each Dominion now held the power to build their own legislation without British interference.
It may not be as widely acknowledged as Confederation in its contribution to Canada’s independence, however the Statute of Westminster is arguably a more momentous occasion in Canada’s journey to sovereignty. The Statute granted Canada independence from British regulations and the freedom to pass, amend, and repeal laws within an autonomous legal system. Full autonomy gave the government the independence it needed to build a legislative foundation upon which Canada still stands today.