Unemployment Down; Minimum Wage Increases

work and smile

Paying workers a reasonable amount of money works out well fro economies. Raising minimum wage is happening in a few jurisdictions throughout North America and the results are coming in that the wage increase for the lowest-paid employees benefits everyone. In Ontario the minimum wage was increased last year and economic growth continued unabated, so much so that unemployment is now at a 18-year low in the province.

“It is tough to find a lot of evidence that employment has been negatively impacted,” said Josh Nye, senior economist with Royal Bank of Canada. “In terms of the minimum-wage hike, it has come at a good time when the economy is able to absorb that. Demand for labour is so strong and labour market conditions are quite tight. Employers don’t have much of a choice,” he said.

The minimum-wage hike has helped boost paycheques. In Ontario, the average hourly rate increased 4.3 per cent to $27.16 over July of last year. Across Canada, average hourly earnings rose by 3.2 per cent to $26.61.

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Reducing Waste in Food Courts

fries

Poor waste management presents more than just food waste in food courts located in mass or offices. The waste of time, money, and energy plague most of these food operations. In yet another example of how being more efficient with waste saves more than the planet, the CBC took a look at how some food courts in Canada are dealing with waste. There are easy solutions like better signage and reducing what restaurants need to hand out with every meal and there are more complex solutions like dehydrating the food waste. Of course, the best way to reduce waste in food courts is to bring your own lunch from home.

The food court at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto used to generate 120 bags of garbage a day. Now it produces just three — despite the fact that it serves noodles, fried chicken, burgers and other fast foods to 24,000 customers a day.

The good news is that far more food court waste is recyclable than you might think. Cromie and his team went through a load of garbage collected at a local food court by CBC News and found 86 per cent of the items in the “garbage” stream could actually have been recycled.

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How the Aral Sea got its Flow Back

ocean shore

Perhaps one of the best examples of human destruction of water resources the Aral Sea, and now it’s becoming an example of how humans can repair the damage we’ve done to our natural bodies of water. We’ve looked a the sea’s restoration before since it’s such a fascinating example. The recovery of the sea from over-consumption of and diversion of water still has a long way to go but we’re seeing progress already and the natural recovery of the northern part of the Aral sea is happening faster than predicted. The next step in the very long process to recover the full sea requires not physical changes but policy changes from its coastal nations.

The return of the North Aral Sea has fuelled a revival of the fishing industry in Aralsk. In 2006, the annual fish catch totaled 1,360 tons, which comprised a majority of flounder – a saltwater species that the Kazakhs dislike. By 2016, the Aralsk Fish Inspection Unit recorded 7,106 tons of fish as freshwater species have returned, including pike-perch – which bring in a hefty price for local fishermen – breams, asp, and catfish.

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How Canadian Cities can Copy Copenhagen

“It’s colder here than anywhere else” is a popular myth that Canadians tell themselves which then leads to Canadians thinking that solutions used in the rest of the world won’t work in the country. This is not a good thing. The good thing is that Canadians are tepidly looking to other northern countries to see how common problems are solved. Copenhagen has similar weather to many cities in Canada and has alleviated traffic through good bicycle infrastructure. What’s most important is that Copenhagen supports their bicycles year-round unlike most Canadian cities.

And it pays off: According to one economic analysis, every kilometre driven in a car costs society 89 cents; by contrast, every kilometre driven on a bike saves 26 cents.

Most streets in the capital have four distinct lanes – a sidewalk, a cycling track, parking and a driving lane. The city notes that every time it adds a bike lane, cycling traffic increases by 20 per cent to 50 per cent along that route.


In fact, commuting time has fallen because the city built a network of “cycle super highways” from the suburbs and adopted a “green wave” policy, whereby traffic lights for bikes are synchronized for bikes travelling at 20 kilometres an hour and, if you maintain that speed, you rarely stop.

Canadians often dismiss cycling as impractical because of the weather. Copenhagen is certainly more temperate than Toronto (or Edmonton) but, when it does snow, bike lanes are cleared first. Copenhagen also gets a lot of rain – 177 days a year – but people dress for it.

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Reduce Your Cancer Risk by Eating Earlier

fries

A new study has concluded that when we eat our supper is an important factor in reducing risk of certain cancers. The researchers monitored people’s eating times and noticed that prostate and breast cancer risk was connected to later dinners. Your final meal of the day should ideally be before 9pm and two hours before you go to sleep. What’s really neat about this research is that doctors may start considering cancer treatment via diet in addition to modern therapies.

“Our study concludes that adherence to diurnal eating patterns is associated with a lower risk of cancer,” explained ISGlobal researcher Manolis Kogevinas, lead author of the study. The findings “highlight the importance of assessing circadian rhythms in studies on diet and cancer”, he added.

If the findings are confirmed, Kogevinas noted, “they will have implications for cancer prevention recommendations, which currently do not take meal timing into account”. He added: “The impact could be especially important in cultures such as those of southern Europe, where people have supper late.”

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