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Newsletter. Issue 2004-07. April. 03, 2004
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Newsline Canada

Toronto mourns the loss of Cecilia Zhang
Excerpts 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 is no.

As investigators attempt to determine who took Cecilia and why, how she died and when, there's little sense to be made from this awful crime.

Cecilia's 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.

As the 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.

That 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.

In an 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.

Hope 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.

Cecilia would have been 10 years old today. We mourn her loss.

Who are the working poor ? -
From: http://www.cbc.ca/paidtobepoor/
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 by 2001.
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 organizations."
-Taken from Low-paid Employment and "Moving Up."

How do minorities fare in corporate Canada?
Canadian Business magazine (in partnership with OMNI Television) reveals first-ever look at 50 great workplaces for visible minorities
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 product."
"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:

- Call-Net 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 Canada)
- 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.

The methodology:
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.

The first-ever "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.

About Canadian Business:
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, suneel.khanna@publishing.rogers.com

Oh 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 needed.
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

Ontario's 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 price."
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
1-888-668-4636.
"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 Energy
The McGuinty 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 reactor.

- 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 baseboard heaters.

- 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 and garages.

- 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
year.

- 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 at home.

- Consider 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 . www.energy.gov.on.ca


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