mourns the loss of Cecilia Zhang
from Toronto Star
A community that came together in its fear is united
once again in sorrow. The discovery of Cecilia Zhang's
remains in a wooded area in Mississauga on the weekend,
more than five months after she disappeared, dashed
all remaining hopes that the 9-year-old would return
safely to her family.
Still trapped in a nightmare, Raymond Zhang and Sherry
Xu can stop asking only one of the myriad questions
that have tormented them since their daughter went
missing: Is she still alive? Tragically, the answer
attempt to determine who took Cecilia and why, how
she died and when, there's little sense to be made
from this awful crime.
mother discovered her missing from her North York
bedroom the morning of Oct. 20. Within hours, photocopied
images of the little girl's smiling face and her description
were on television screens and on posters in store
windows across the Greater Toronto Area, urging citizens
to keep an eye out for her. An intensive search failed
to turn up any clues.
days passed, neighbours rallied at vigils, praying
in Mandarin and English. Reaching out to an immigrant
community that might resist getting involved with
police was a significant gesture. "We're here
to show support - and to say to the neighbourhood
and the rest of the city and whoever is going to see
this - that we care," said one participant.
sense of caring crossed cultural boundaries, but so
did the suspicions. People were perhaps too eager
to embrace the theory that Cecilia had been kidnapped
for ransom. The scenario that she was snatched by
a person known to her family was somehow less unthinkable
than her abduction being the twisted work of a predator
who picked his victim at random. An anxious city held
its breath and clung desperately to the possibility
she had not been harmed.
effort to prompt tips that could bring the girl home,
community members offered a reward that grew to $165,000.
It was to no avail.
is a fragile thing, as delicate as the 1,000 paper
cranes made by Cecilia's classmates and teachers at
Seneca Hill Drive Public School. They folded the origami
symbols of hope, wishing for her happy return.
would have been 10 years old today. We mourn her loss.
Who are the working poor ? -
According to the 2001 census data, the average income for
a Canadian working all year at a full-time job is $43,231.
According to that same data there are 1.4 million Canadians
working full-time jobs who make less than $20,000 a year.
According to a study
released March 26, 2004, by Statistics
Canada, less than one half of Canadian workers who had
a low-paying job in 1996 had managed to climb out of it
The study, which used
data from the Survey
of Labour and Income Dynamics, showed that in December
1996, nearly one-third of Canadian workers, or about 1.7
million people, were in low-paying jobs.
"The 53 per cent
of workers (around 900,000) who remained ‘trapped’
in low-paid work in 2001 tended to be older women and those
who had only high school education or less. Such individuals
were more likely to be working part time for small, non-unionized
-Taken from Low-paid
Employment and "Moving Up."
do minorities fare in corporate Canada?
Canadian Business magazine (in partnership with OMNI Television)
reveals first-ever look at 50 great workplaces for visible
TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/
- Canadian Business magazine, in partnership with OMNI Television,
today released the first list of top workplaces for visible
minorities. There are approximately four million visible
minorities in Canada, and they are important players in
the workforce. While it may be expected that many companies
are embracing diversity, the reasons for doing so surprise.
Diversity in the workplace remains a touchy issue. When
Canadian Business began to contact several dozen of this
country's top corporations to see if they would provide
data to do a ranking, many claimed not to track it, or were
unwilling to share what they had. Despite a compelling -
and mounting - business case for workplace diversity, there
are still those who equate it with quotas, affirmative action,
intrusive legislation, red tape and hiring people based
on race rather than merit.
But according to the experts Canadian Business spoke to,
developing a diverse workforce simply makes bottom-line
sense. "Smart Canadian companies are embracing diversity
for the sake of survival," says Scott Steele, Executive
Editor. "Diversity gives you a competitive edge by
reflecting the needs of your customer base. If you understand
the needs of who you're selling to, you're better suited
to offering them - and matching them up with - the right
"Businesses are realizing that if they don't diversify,
their competition will."
Thirteen of the greatest:
Thousands of bits of data were crunched to deliver a revealing,
first-of- its-kind report card on the state of visible minorities
in corporate Canada. Here are the 13 top-scoring companies:
Enterprises Inc. (Sprint Canada)
- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
- TD Bank Financial Group
- Bank of Nova Scotia
- Bank of Montreal
- HSBC Bank of Canada
- Tele-Mobile Co. and TM Mobile Inc. (Telus Mobility)
- Canadian Western Bank
- Citizens Bank of Canada
- Westcoast Energy Inc. (now Duke Energy Gas Transmission
- Intesa Bank Canada
- EGL Eagle Global Logistics
- ING Bank of Canada
The big picture:
- Typically better educated
than other Canadians, according to the Toronto-based Canadian
Race Relations Foundation, visible minorities make up almost
13% of labour-market availability.
- In addition to the four million visible minorities in
Canada, 1.3 million claim aboriginal ancestry. Together,
the population of these two groups exceeds that of British
Columbia and Manitoba combined.
- Another 220,000 or so newcomers arrive to Canada each
year. Of those, 70% to 80% are visible minorities.
Because data were not available - or were not made available
- for a ranking, Canadian Business took a different tack:
the magazine turned to companies that, because they are
federally regulated, are obliged to report workplace data
under the Employment Equity Act. Using a panel of four experts,
numbers were crunched and points assigned in such categories
as percentage of employees that were visible minorities,
percentage of senior managers that were visible minorities,
percentage of employees earning over $100K that were
visible minorities and percentage hired that were visible
minorities. Each company was then assigned a final score.
For a detailed
explanation of the methodology, go to www.canadianbusiness.com.
"Why diversity pays" issue of Canadian Business
magazine hits newsstands today. It also features profiles
of employees who are making a difference, a list of some
of Canada's most inclusive workplaces for aboriginals, a
feature on employer marketing to visual minorities and a
feature on why many Muslim Canadians say prejudice is affecting
their role in the workplace.
Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving,
best-selling and most trusted business publication in Canada.
Canadian Business stands alone as the business magazine
in Canada with 100% paid circulation. With a readership
of more that 1.1 million, the magazine is published every
second Monday except in January, July and August when monthly
issues are published. Special annual issues of Canadian
Business include the Investor 500, the MBA Guide, the Rich
100 and the Best and Worst Boards. Visit www.canadianbusiness.com.
For further information:
please contact: Suneel Khanna, (416) 764-1219, (416) 816-4244,
Canada! Study Reveals that Toronto's Working Poor Fare No
Better than in the U.S.
- Daily Bread Food Bank Releases Startling Report on Canada's
Working Poor -
TORONTO, March 29 /CNW/
- A report released by The Daily Bread Food Bank at the
launch of their annual Spring Food Drive shows that American-style
social problems are now creeping into Canada's largest city.
The report "Working to be Poor: Employment and Food
Bank Use in the GTA" shows that the percentage of food
bank clients in Greater Toronto with at least one family
member in the work force is virtually identical to numbers
reported by food
banks in the United States. It also shows that the problem
of working adults being unable to afford basics such as
food is far worse than food banks originally thought.
Excerpt of Findings
The percentage of food bank clients with at least one working
member in the household has increased 90% since 1996, to
38%. The U.S. figure is comparable at 39% (America's Second
Harvest). The median annual household income of working
Food Bank users is $15,120, compared to the Toronto median
of $49,345. 64% of working poor households have children,
while 33% of households cannot afford medical care when
For further information:
a complete copy of "Working to be Poor:
Employment and Food Bank Use in the GTA" or to schedule
a media interview with one of Toronto's working poor, please
contact: Tiffany Bourré: (416) 504-3977; Michael
Oliphant: (416) 203-0050, X 256
new interim electricity prices take effect April 1
OEB to take over pricing mechanism by May 1, 2005
QUEEN'S PARK, ON, March 31 /CNW/ - The Ontario government's
new interim electricity pricing structure, which will replace
the current 4.3 cent per kilowatt hour (kWh) price cap,
goes into April 1 , 2004 Residential, low-volume and other
designated consumers will pay 4.7 cents per kilowatt hour
(kWh) for the first 750 kilowatt hours (kWh) consumed per
month, and 5.5 cents per kWh for consumption above that
level. This structure will also apply to consumers in condominiums,
apartments, co-ops and other multi-unit premises.
"The Tories' electricity price freeze did not reflect
the true cost of electricity, and so far has cost Ontarians
close to $1 billion. That's a lot of teachers, textbooks,
doctors, nurses and medical procedures," said Minister
Duncan. "The 4.3 cent price cap effectively returned
prices to 1993 levels, which was not realistic, and ultimately,
Ontario taxpayers have been paying
The new prices, which better reflect the true cost of electricity,
apply to electricity consumed on and after April 1, 2004.
They will remain in place until the Ontario Energy Board
implements a new structure, to take effect no later than
May 1, 2005. If the revenue from the interim price plan
exceeds the true cost of the plan, all eligible consumers
will receive a credit for the difference after the OEB implements
its pricing mechanism.
The government is taking steps to empower consumers to conserve
electricity and save money, and will soon announce a bold
and innovative plan for energy conservation in Ontario.
Consumers interested in learning more about energy conservation
can visit the Ministry of Energy's website at www.energy.gov.on.ca,
or call the ministry's toll-free information line at
"Conservation is a top priority for this government,"
said Minister Duncan. "The fact that Ontarians have
been shielded from the true cost of electricity has encouraged
consumption instead of encouraging conservation. The pricing
structure we've put in place gives people a real incentive
to reduce their electricity use and keep their bills lower."
The McGuinty government is committed to protecting the interests
of Ontarians by making positive changes to Ontario's electricity
sector. These changes are aimed at creating a conservation
culture and a cleaner Ontario, while ensuring a reliable,
sustainable and diverse supply of competitively priced power
for the province. www.energy.gov.on.ca
Tips On Conserving
government's approach to electricity pricing includes a
strong incentive to conserve energy, which will help consumers
save money, and help protect our environment. The fact that
Ontarians have been shielded from the true cost of electricity
has encouraged consumption instead of encouraging conservation.
Consumers can limit the impact of the price change on their
bills by reducing their electricity consumption. The Ministry
of Energy's website at www.energy.gov.on.ca
can help, with conservation tips, an energy calculator,
and a growing number of other conservation resources. There
are dozens of ways homes and businesses can reduce their
electricity and overall energy consumption. Below are a
few good conservation actions that consumers can take to
save electricity and money.
- Using compact
fluorescent bulbs in place of four incandescent 60 watt
bulbs that are used four hours a day can save 16 kilowatt
hours each month. In fact, if each of the approximately
4.5 million Ontario households reduced their power use by
the equivalent of just one 100 watt light bulb, Ontario
would save 450 MW of power, which is equal to one Pickering
- Use a programmable
thermostat to turn your furnace down at night or when you
are away. Lowering the temperature by six degrees Celsius
for eight hours daily can cut your heating bill by 10 per
cent. For those with electric heat, that's 1,200 kilowatt
hours a season. Also, make wise use of space heaters or
- In the summer,
raise the air conditioner temperature setting a few degrees.
You likely won't notice a difference in your comfort, but
you will on your energy bill. Turn your air conditioner
off when you are away. Setting air conditioners back 2 degrees
Celsius can save 100 kilowatt hours a season.
- Change or
clean your furnace filter regularly; and if you have central
air conditioning, change it regularly every winter and summer.
Even if you have a gas or oil furnace, the electric motor
that runs the fans has to work harder and longer if the
filter is not clean.
- Make sure
your refrigerator is not working harder than it needs to.
An easy way to check the seal on your refrigerator door
is the "paper test". Close the refrigerator door(s)
over an ordinary piece of paper
- if you can
pull it out easily, you need to adjust or replace the door
seal to keep the cold in and use less electricity. A faulty
seal can consume hundreds of kilowatt hours a year. Also
remember to keep the coils on the back or bottom of your
fridge clean. This will also extend the life of your refrigerator.
- You can
save 50 kilowatt hours a year simply by disconnecting the
largely unused second fridge found in many Ontario basements
- Turn off
your computer monitor when you're not at your computer,
and be sure to use the energy saving mode if your computer
has one. Turn the whole system off when the computer doesn't
need to run. A continuously running computer system can
use 2,500 kilowatt hours a
- Make wise
use of hot water. People with electric water heaters can
save between 200-1,400 kilowatt hours a year by simply fixing
leaky taps, insulating their water heater, and switching
to low-flow aerators and shower heads.
- When considering
garden or decorative lighting, use solar powered LED or
low wattage lights. LEDs reduce consumption by over 90 per
cent, and energy cost savings are 100 percent in the case
of solar. Solar lights are automatic. For others, use a
timer, or turn the lights off when you are sleeping or not
modernizing your major appliances or changing your heating
system. This is a costly option, but a modern refrigerator
uses less than half the electricity of a 12-year-old one,
saving 25 kilowatt hours a month.
- Buy products
that have an Energy Star rating. An Energy Star rating means
that the appliance provides higher energy efficiency than
other models. The government has proposed to further extend
the retail sales tax rebate program for purchases of certain
Energy Star rated appliances. More information on retail
sales tax rebates can be found on the Ministry of Finance
web site at www.trd.fin.gov.on.ca.
- Have an EnerGuide
audit done on your home. You will receive a report detailing
the current efficiency rating of your home, specific measures
to improve the rating, and an estimate of how much each
measure could save you. Depending on such things as the
size and condition of your home and the type of heating,
an EnerGuide audit can show you how to reduce your energy
consumption by up to a third. You also may be eligible for
rebates from the government of Canada that are based on
reductions you achieve by following the advice from the
audit. For more details, check www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca