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Christmas may be slim as Canadians lose jobs

Hundreds of Canadians find themselves out of work just in time for Christmas, as several major companies have slashed jobs.

Rogers Communications is cutting 900 management jobs, about 3 percent of its work force, to reduce costs as it faces intense competition in the telecommunication market.

Bombardier Aerospace will lay off 715 more workers at its Montreal-area facilities because of fewer orders for its CRJ regional jets.

And, the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper, will contract out newsroom production and some editing work in cutting 121 jobs to save $4 million a year.

The job losses come as a Conference Board of Canada survey finds more Canadians are concerned about their jobs and pessimistic over the strength of the economic recovery.

Even though economists say the recession has ended, the survey found "just how fragile the perception of an economic recovery is at this time," the board said.

In the past year, more than 400,000 workers have lost their jobs across Canada, including 43,000 last month.

H1N1 puts more police on alert for Olympics

Concerns over another wave of swine flu has resulted in contingency plans putting an extra 750 police officers on standby for the forthcoming Winter Games in British Columbia.

This is in case the H1N1 flu thins the ranks of the 6,000 officers already being deployed.

"We would bring them in on short notice … if the threat level changes and if we had a requirement because of illness," said Mountie Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer.

Canada is finding the number of flu cases dropping in this second wave, and some public vaccination programs are being ended.

Health officials stress the vaccine is safe although 172,000 doses were recalled after more than normal numbers of serious allergic reactions occurred after some shots were given.

News in brief

• A raid on the Toronto Humane Society resulted in the arrests of president Tim Trow, chief veterinarian Steve Sheridan, general manager Gary McCracken and two other staff members for animal cruelty. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals obtained search warrants leading to the arrests. The society said there was a "lack of disease and pathogen control" along with chronic understaffing of the facility.

• The British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that Rogers Communications cannot continue to claim it has "Canada's most reliable" wireless network without qualification. The ruling is a victory for Telus Corp. that sought to prevent Rogers from continuing to make the long-standing boast in its ads. Telus argued that its new networks along with Bell Canada's have made it impossible for Rogers to claim superiority.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar has advanced to 94.08 cents U.S., while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0630 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent, while the prime lending rate is 2.25 percent.

Stock markets are mixed, with Toronto's composite index lower at 11,511 points and the TSX Venture index up at 1,409 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 5, 10, 16, 19, 33 and 47; bonus 24. (Nov. 21) 18, 25, 35, 43, 46 and 47; bonus 4. Lotto Max: (Nov. 20) 2, 8, 28, 30, 36, 39 and 42; bonus 24.

Regional briefs

• Displaying some artistic freedom, three topless women protested outside the British Columbia Legislature against funding cuts for the arts. They joined an organized rally by about 300 clothed people calling on the Liberal government to restore recent cuts to arts funding. The topless, chanting women were painted green and had messages such as the Naked Truth and Bare Minimum scribbled on their bodies while wearing black tape and loin cloths.

• A deal has ensured the survival of the 125-year-old Montreal La Presse newspaper. Editorial staff at North America's biggest French-language broadsheet agreed to a salary freeze for three years, 2 percent raises in the following two years and an end to their four-day workweek to return to five days.

• Let it snow, say motorists in Atlantic Canada who consider themselves to be good winter drivers. Ninety-two percent said they are good in winter conditions compared with 88 percent of those polled across Canada. The TD Insurance Winter Driving Poll also found Atlantic Canada's women are the most confident female drivers at 89 percent compared with 82 percent nationally.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Christmas may be slim as Canadians lose jobs 11/28/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:08pm]
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