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What the World can learn from Canada

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As a relatively young nation, Canada is certainly still learning from its elders, but that doesn’t mean the country hasn’t figured out a thing or two about how to live well. Known globally as a polite, apologetic people, Canadians shouldn’t be perceived as meek — in fact, quite the opposite. Their strong values and wide borders encompass a population that is willing to stand up for what it believes in.

Here are lessons the rest of the world could learn from Canada:

Be Nice. Period.

Learn from Canada

It might be an international (and national) joke that Canadians apologize for absolutely everything, but there’s a value to be learned from people who aren’t afraid to take the blame when it’s warranted, or who just want normal life to progress easily. Studies have shown that Canadians use the word “sorry” as a way to “have smooth, norm-abiding, harmonious interactions,” according to psychologist Karina Schumann.

Families Come First 

Learn from Canada

With a growing population, Canadians need reassurance that they’ll have support as they start their own families, and they can find that directly from their own government. Canada’s parental leave policy is one of the best in the world, offering 52 weeks of leave (17 weeks for mothers, and 35 for the parents to split if they’d prefer) for eligible parents of newborn or adopted children. Parents receive 55 per cent of average weekly earnings, to a maximum of $48,600 as of January 1, 2014. Jobs are also protected by this policy, ensuring parents have the same role to return to when and if they decide to go back to work.

It Pays To Be Funny As Hell

Learn from Canada

All those American comedians you love so much? They’re really Canadian, or at the very least, have learned from a Canadian. Famous funny exports include Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels (and former cast members Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Martin Short and Dan Akroyd), comedian Jim Carrey, and stars Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel and Will Arnett. Even the Barenaked Ladies infuse a healthy dose of jokes into their songs. What is it about Canada that creates a hotbed of hilarity? Not taking themselves too seriously is likely the key, as is a combination of the handed-down British self-deprecation coupled with a proximity-learned American sense of showmanship.

Equality Isn’t Just For Straight People

Learn from Canada

For all of Canada’s politeness, it isn’t afraid to make waves. As the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage (in 2005), Canada has staunchly supported the rights of two people in love to be wed, regardless of gender. Those rights extend to social and tax benefits, such as income tax deductions, Criminal Code charges and old age security. In Canada’s largest cities, gay pride celebrations make up some of the biggest parties of the year. Every major city in the country holds an annual parade, with Toronto having hosted WorldPride in 2014. A large number of politicians, regardless of party, take part in the festivities, as do citizens of every sexual orientation and culture.

Strength Through Diversity

Learn from Canada

By the same token, Canadians hold up their differences proudly, never attempting to blend into the crowd. As a country of immigrants, with almost 200 countries represented in populations across the nation, it’s easy to find smaller versions of countries from around the world in Canada’s cities and towns. These cultures are honoured and celebrated in festivals throughout the year (and attended by people from all backgrounds), as well as shown symbolically everywhere from street signs to advertisements written in non-official languages.

Bigger Is Better When It Comes To Nature

Learn from Canada

The sweeping landscape of Canada can’t help but be impressive, and showcase how one country truly can have it all when it comes to nature. Dramatic mountain ranges, traditional Aboriginal communities, surf-friendly beaches, ultra-modern cities, remote fishing villages — the size of Canada means it encompasses every lifestyle imaginable, set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. It’s tough to compete with 9,984,670 km².

Stars Are Literally Just Like Us

Learn from Canada

Canada is home to dozens of movie shoots per year, drawing in American studios with tax breaks and lookalike locations. It’s also the birthplace of globally massive musicians like Arcade Fire and Drake. That means there are tons of A-list celebrities roaming the streets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver at any given time — but you wouldn’t know it from hanging around their homes or hotel lobbies. Aside from the Toronto International Film Festival, paparazzi is at a minimum in Canada, and stars like Rachel McAdams can actually live normal lives without worrying too much about the public’s intrusion into their lives.

Two Languages (At Least) Are Better Than One

Learn from Canada

With two official languages (English and French), Canadians are well-versed in bilingualism, with the majority having received education in the language of minority for their province or territory in school. Add to that the multicultural aspect of most cities and towns, and you have a population that’s primed for speaking multiple languages in the community and at home, which has benefits for intelligence, as well as health.

The World Is Bigger Than Your Country

Learn from Canada

There’s a reason why Canadian flags are easy to find displayed on backpacks and luggage around the world — Canadians love to travel, whether it’s to their southern neighbour of the United States or overseas (the United Kingdom is the fourth most popular destination). No matter where they’re headed, Canadians love to learn more about the rest of world, which in turn gives its citizens a larger perspective on everything from global conflicts to international cuisines.

Don’t Let The Weather Get You Down

Learn from Canada

If life hands you a country filled with snowy drifts and pouring rain as well as the occasional sunny day, make underground tunnels that allow you to move freely without being impeded by freezing temperatures. Shopping centres, office buildings and university campuses throughout Canada boast extensive underground cities that let citizens walk to and from home and work, allowing for an option outside of cars and shivering wildly throughout the winter.

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Canadian News

Ontario to reopen province, guiding principles unveiled

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Ontario to reopen province, guiding principles unveiled

THE Ontario government on Monday released A Framework for Reopening our Province, which outlines the criteria Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to advise the government on the loosening of emergency measures, as well as guiding principles for the safe, gradual reopening of businesses, services and public spaces.

The framework also provides details of an outreach strategy, led by the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, to help inform the restart of the provincial economy.

Details were provided by Premier Doug Ford, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

“Our top priority remains protecting the health and safety of the people of Ontario and supporting our frontline heroes as we do everything in our power to contain and defeat this deadly virus,” said Ford. “At the same time, we are preparing for the responsible restart of our economy. This next phase of our response to COVID-19 is designed to help us map out what needs to be done, and when, to get us back on the road to recovery.”

The government is planning a stage-by-stage approach to reopening the economy to ensure there are appropriate measures in place so workplaces can open safely. Public health officials will carefully monitor each stage for two to four weeks, as they assess the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak to determine if it is necessary to change course to maintain public health.

  • Stage 1: For businesses that were ordered to close or restrict operations, opening select workplaces that can immediately modify operations to meet public health guidance. Opening some outdoor spaces like parks and allowing for a greater number of individuals to attend some events. Hospitals would also begin to offer some non-urgent and scheduled surgeries, and other health care services.
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces, based on risk assessments, which may include some service industries and additional office and retail workplaces. Some larger public gatherings would be allowed, and more outdoor spaces would open.
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

Throughout each stage, continued protections for vulnerable populations must be in place, along with the continued practice of physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and significant mitigation plans to limit health risks.

“Recent public health indicators show us that we’re beginning to turn a corner in the COVID-19 outbreak, while economic data, feedback from businesses and insights from our communities are outlining how we need to plan for economic recovery,” said Phillips. “Turning on an economy after an unprecedented shut-down is not as simple as flipping a switch. We need to plan this out carefully to ensure we do not spark a sudden outbreak, undo the progress we have made and put the safety of the public at risk.”

To reopen the economy, the government will consider factors such as the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and the ability to implement protective measures to keep workplaces safe. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will provide advice to the government about easing public health measures using a range of set criteria, including:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases;
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment;
  • Approximately 90 per cent of new COVID-19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread; and
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly.

“It is because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19 that we are able to consider plans to move into the next phase of our battle against this virus,” said Elliott. “The Chief Medical Officer of Health has outlined some criteria he will use to advise government on when we may begin to slowly and safely ease public health measures and restart our economy. To be able to do so, w e need everyone to continue their extraordinary efforts so that we can meet these thresholds and begin to move forward.”

Supporting the next phases of Ontario’s Action Plan, the new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee, chaired by Minister Phillips, will be consulting with key sectors in all regions to assess the impact of COVID-19 on the provincial economy and develop a plan to move forward. The government and Members of Provincial Parliament will lead discussions with business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, the postsecondary sector, corporate leaders, small business owners, community and social service providers, Indigenous partners, Franco-Ontarians, entrepreneurs and others.

The work of the committee will build on Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19, the first phase of the government’s $17 billion response, that is delivering targeted relief for businesses and families across Ontario.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has had far-reaching economic impacts for businesses and communities across Ontario,” said Fedeli. “In the face of these challenges, businesses and individuals have stepped up to support our frontline workers, produce essential equipment and keep our supply chains moving. Our plan to carefully and methodically reopen Ontario’s economy will ensure that businesses are supported on our path to renewed economic prosperity.”

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Stephen Lecce, Ontario education minister appoints investigator to examine Peel District School Board

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Ontario education minister appoints investigator to examine Peel District School Board

ONTARIO’S Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, on Tuesday announced he has appointed Arleen Huggins to conduct an investigation into the Peel District School Board’s compliance with the Minister’s binding Directions to the Board issued on March 13.

“We expect our school leaders – trustees, senior administration, and educators – to ensure all students are learning in safe and inclusive classrooms,” said Lecce. “This is why effective, transparent, and accountable school board governance is essential to the success and well-being of students in Ontario’s publicly funded schools.”

Huggins is a practising lawyer with 30 years experience in employment law, human rights law, workplace harassment and discrimination investigations and commercial litigation. She is a former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and a Former Chair of both the Canadian Bar Association Standing Committee on Equity and the Ontario Bar Association Equal Opportunity Committee.  Huggins was also on the founding Board of the African Canadian Legal Clinic and has served on the Doctors Without Borders Human Resources Committee and the federal Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAAC) for the GTA.

With the issuance of 27 binding Directions to the Board on March 13, the minister provided clear direction with specific timelines and deliverables to address systemic discrimination, particularly anti-Black racism, as well as dysfunctional governance, leadership and human resources practices within the PDSB.

“When it comes to confronting racism and discrimination, I will not accept delay or inaction,” added Lecce. “The message I am sending is — do better. Our kids deserve better. And I will do whatever it takes to ensure these issues are addressed immediately and effectively.”

The Ontario Government said it is committed to ensuring PDSB complies with the minister’s binding directions so that parents, students and the community get the positive change that they need and deserve.

Huggins will deliver her report to the minister on or before May 18.

The PDSB is responsible for 257 schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, and over 155,000 students representing a rich array of racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds.

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COVID-19″ More Indo-Canadians returning are from India

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More flights carrying Canadians leave India

CANADIAN High Commissioner in New Delhi, Nadir Patel, tweeted on Wednesday morning that the 15th special flight from India to Canada – had left Mumbai, bringing home more Canadian travelers stranded in India.

He added: “More special flights taking place in the coming days, thanks to all for your patience while we work through the complexities.”

On Tuesday, the 14th special flight with Canadians took off from Kolkata and Patel tweeted: “Huge thanks to our colleagues Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell & his team for collaborating to make this happen.”

The 13th special flight with Canadians had departed from Bangalore on Monday, covering six states in the south.

And last Sunday (April 26) the 12th special flight from India departed from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, with nearly 300 Canadians aboard.

More flights carrying Canadians leave India

More flights carrying Canadians leave India

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