en-US Ontario Government Changes To Disability Payments Should Be Reconsidered: Advocates TORONTO — Advocates are calling on the Ontario government to reconsider its plan to narrow eligibility requirements for provincial disability payments and potentially cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the social services ministry in future years. “There’s been a number of indications from this government that following pressure, they’re willing to reconsider certain decisions,” Nick Churchman, a staff lawyer with Community Legal Services of Ottawa, told HuffPost Canada. “We are encouraging social assistance recipients and their supporters to have these conversations with their local MPP about why these cuts and why changing what a disability means, under ODSP, would be so bad.”Some cuts reversed in latest updateThe 2019 Ontario budget said it would cut $1 billion from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services by 2021/22, starting with a cut of $300 million this year. But after backtracking on a number of controversial cuts, the government’s latest economic update said it had increased spending in the area $637 million over what it had previously planned to spend in 2019. That number includes $310 million to reverse some changes to the Transition Child Benefit, child welfare agencies and social assistance, and another $279 million to nearly double the budget for the Ontario Autism Program after its overhaul caused outrage.So instead of being down $300 million this year, the government is actually investing more in the ministry. It’s unclear whether the cuts outlined for future years are going ahead.The most recent financial update said the government is “deferring changes in social assistance while transformation is underway.”Watch: Finance minister delivers Ontario fiscal update. Story continues after video. But one cut that’s still on the table is the planned change to eligibility requirements for the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Churchman said the change, which would align Ontario’s definition with the federal government’s view that a disability must be “severe and prolonged,” would disqualify many people served by his legal clinic. His organization and other groups like food banks, housing cooperatives, as well as city councillors and Opposition MPPs, sent a letter asking Minister Todd Smith to revisit the idea. “Changing the ODSP disability definition as your government has proposed will plunge many persons with disabilities into further poverty,” the letter said. “If enacted, those who do not qualify medically for ODSP will have to rely on Ontario Works. A single person on OW receives a meagre maximum benefit of $733 per month. Meanwhile, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Ottawa is $1,310.3. Most social assistance recipients in Ottawa do not live in social housing, as the wait time can exceed 10 years, and over 12,000 households are on the wait-list.”Changing the ODSP disability definition ... will plunge many persons with disabilities into further poverty.Letter to Minister Todd SmithNo one from the minister’s office has responded to the letter, Churchman told HuffPost. A spokesperson for Smith said that a response is on its way. “Our government is focused on delivering on our key commitments to the people of Ontario,” Christine Wood told HuffPost by email. She would not say whether the government is reconsidering its change to the definition of disability, or when it plans to introduce legislation to do so.“We are constantly reviewing government programs, with a focus on improved delivery and better outcomes for all,” Wood said. “We are focusing on the broader plan to improve social assistance and employment programs by transforming a broken, costly and patchwork system, into simpler, more effective supports so that everyone can contribute to the success of our province.”Churchman said the change would mean fewer people receive ODSP.“We envision that even more applicants will be denied,” he said, “particularly those with recurrent or episodic disabilities, like addiction, mental health problems, [multiple sclerosis], chronic pain, arthritis, chronic fatigue, and certain forms of cancer that can be treated within a couple years.”Everything is a challenge.Bobbi AssounBobbi Assoun, a 48-year-old Ottawa resident who has MS, said it was already too hard to qualify for ODSP. She was initially told she wasn’t “disabled enough,” she told HuffPost. It wasn’t until she lost some use of her right leg that she was able to qualify. “Everything is a challenge,” on ODSP, she said. Assoun said she’s not sure how she would have survived if she had never received ODSP. Even on the program, she spent a year homeless, living in shelters and hotels, because she couldn’t find affordable housing. “Honestly, I think it was the hardest thing I ever went through in my entire life,” she said. “It was only a year and it was only in a hotel. But it was just … ” she trailed off. “I’m still taking anxiety medication over that year that I was homeless.”One mental health organization also said it expects that the new definition of disability would preclude many of its clients who live with mental illnesses. ‘ODSP is working’Living on Ontario Works instead of ODSP has the potential to worsen people’s mental illnesses, said the CEO of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ontario branch, Camille Quenneville.“ODSP is working and it is keeping many people with mental illness in a much healthier state, in its current form, than they would be otherwise,” she said. Her organization has had many “very respectful” conversations with this government, which she says has shown “exemplary” dedication to investing in mental health. “We don’t go out of our way to take issue. If anything, it’s quite the opposite,” Quenneville said.“The reason we raised the ODSP issue — and truthfully, it’s really quite rare for us to be publicly taking issue — is because we do see that as having a critically negative impact on clients. It is incumbent on us to point that out.” Thu, 14 2019 22:40:06 GMT L#039;arrivée de Henry fait un heureux chez le CH BROSSARD, Qc - L'onde de choc causée par l'annonce de l'embauche de Thierry Henry comme entraîneur-chef de l'Impact de Montréal s'est rendue jusqu'à Brossard, jeudi matin, dans le vestiaire du Canadien au Complexe sportif Bell. Un joueur était particulièrement heureux de cette nouvelle: l'attaquant Artturi Lehkonen, qui a toujours été un ardent partisan d'Arsenal, le club de longue date de Henry en Premier League anglaise. « Je suis vraiment content. J'ai son chandail accroché chez moi en Finlande », s'est exclamé Lehkonen, les yeux pétillants. « Mon père est aussi un énorme partisan d'Arsenal et il est peut-être encore plus content que moi. (Henry) est son joueur préféré de tous les temps. C'est vraiment spécial », a ajouté Lehkonen. Henry a fait la pluie et le beau temps pendant huit saisons au sein du club londonien. Il est le meilleur buteur de l'histoire des 'Gunners', avec 228 buts en 377 matchs, toutes compétitions confondues. Lehkonen a appris la nouvelle en arrivant au centre d'entraînement de la bouche de Tomas Tatar, qui est un partisan du Bayern Munich. « J'ai vu ça sur Instagram en me levant, a raconté Tatar. Je me suis dit: 'Wow! C'est énorme d'aller chercher une étoile comme lui'. Il est une vraie légende et représente une grosse acquisition pour l'Impact. « Il a eu un impact important sur le soccer. C'est fou! Il a tout gagné et il est l'un des meilleurs attaquants de tous les temps. C'est énorme de compter sur quelqu'un comme lui à Montréal. » Comme joueur, Henry a aidé Arsenal à remporter deux titres de la Premier League et trois coupes d'Angleterre. Il a vécu plusieurs triomphes avec le FC Barcelone, incluant un titre de la Ligue des champions en 2009. Il a aussi connu la gloire avec l'équipe de France à la Coupe du monde de 1998 et à l'Euro en 2000. Lehkonen était à une semaine de son 12e anniversaire de naissance quand Henry a quitté Arsenal pour rejoindre les rangs du FC Barcelone en juin 2007. Son plus beau souvenir du parcours de Henry avec les 'Gunners' a donc eu lieu pendant son court retour en 2012, quand il portait les couleurs des Red Bulls de New York, mais qu'il avait dépanné pendant la saison morte de la MLS en jouant quelques matchs pour Arsenal. « Il avait marqué un but crucial dans un match de Coupe anglaise. C'était vraiment un beau moment », s'est remémoré Lehkonen, en référence à un but contre le Leeds United en janvier 2012 lors du troisième tour de la Coupe anglaise. Le parcours de Henry comme entraîneur ne s'est pas fait sans heurt, jusqu'ici. Toutefois, cela n'empêchera pas Lehkonen de tenter de croiser l'une de ses idoles au stade Saputo cet été. « C'est certain que je vais aller voir un match », a-t-il admis. Thu, 14 2019 19:11:00 GMT Saskatoon est un beau tremplin pour Tokyo Afin de se préparer pour la Coupe du monde de la FINA à Tokyo en 2020, les plongeuses canadiennes ont bien l’intention de profiter de chacune des opportunités qui se présenteront à elles. Dans cet ordre d’idées, Jennifer Abel et Meaghan Benfeito voient d’un bon œil la tenue des championnats nationaux d’hiver. Ces derniers se dérouleront du 12 au 15 décembre du côté de Saskatoon. « J’ai vraiment hâte d’y aller. J’ai moi-même pris la décision d’y participer afin d’évaluer où je me situe comme je n’ai pas pris part à la compétition depuis les jeux panaméricains », a mentionné Abel. « Chaque compétition sera en prévision de la Coupe du monde. Il faut tout de même que nous ouvrions une place pour le synchro, donc on va se concentrer sur cette facette. C’est certain que je veux aussi grimper sur le podium du côté individuel », a indiqué Benfeito. La compétition au Japon se tiendra quant à elle du 21 au 26 avril 2020. Thu, 14 2019 18:33:54 GMT Singh Says NDP Has Leverage Because Bloc Isn#039;t A Nationalist Party OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s only options to pass legislation in a minority parliament are to work with his New Democrats or the Conservatives, dismissing the idea the Liberals could work with the Bloc Quebecois because the Bloc isn’t concerned with national interests.Singh met with Trudeau in Ottawa today to try to leverage his party’s position in a minority government. The Liberal leader is meeting opposition leaders one by one to assess what he’ll have to do to gain and maintain the confidence of the House of Commons.It appears part of Singh’s strategy is to suggest that the votes of Bloc Quebecois MPs aren’t enough, even though they and the Liberals together hold more than half the seats in the Commons.Speaking to reporters following the meeting, the New Democratic leader said he believes his party is in a good position to get Liberal buy-in for NDP priorities in part because of the two parties’ shared progressive perspective on many key issues.But he also suggested Trudeau does not have many other options.Watch: Singh meets Trudeau on Parliament HIll. Story continues below video. “If they want to pass something national that really benefits all Canadians, they’ve got really two options for a national party. They can choose to work with the Conservatives or they can work with us,” he said.“If they want to pass a bill they need to work with a party. If they want to pass a bill that’s progressive, that puts in place something that’s national, something that benefits all Canadians, they have to work with New Democrats.”When asked why he doesn’t believe Trudeau could seek support from the Bloc Quebecois, Singh said he believes that is simply not an option for the Liberals, because the Bloc is not a national party.“Mr. (Yves-Francois) Blanchet has made it really clear that he’s not interested in working on national programs that benefit all Canadians. That’s not his goal, that’s not his party’s goal, and frankly that’s not his job. He was elected in Quebec, for Quebecers, and that’s fine,” Singh said.“If Mr. Trudeau wants to pass something that’s national, something that’s national and progressive that benefits all Canadians, he’s got really just two choices, he can work with us or the Conservatives.”RELATED Bloc Leader Has No Advice For Separatists Who Want To Create An #039;Oil State#039; PMO Releases Rare Lengthy Readout Of Closed-Door Meeting With Premier House Of Commons To Reconvene Before Holidays, PMO Confirms During their meeting, Singh listed the top three priorities he hopes will make it into the throne speech laying out the Liberals’ governing plan in December, the primary one being the immediate creation of a universal, single-payer pharmacare program. He also pressed Trudeau to drop the government’s legal challenge of a recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered Ottawa to pay $40,000 each in compensation to Indigenous children who were wrongly placed in foster care after 2007, as well as to their parents or grandparents.He mentioned dental care, affordability and housing as other topics that were discussed. In addition, he said Trudeau acknowledged that Singh would continue to oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline project, but Singh would not say whether Liberal backing for the Alberta-B.C. pipeline could lead him to vote against the Liberals in a confidence vote.During a photo-op before their official meeting, the two leaders shared a warm handshake and appeared friendly and at ease with one another.Trudeau said it was a pleasure to welcome the NDP leader to his office, adding that it would offer “an opportunity to talk about the many things we have in common in our perspectives.”“Canadians expect us, as always in the House, to work together to serve them according to their priorities and desires and that’s really something we’re very much focused on, working with all parties in the house,” Trudeau added.I have no interest in blindly working with the Liberals.NDP Leader Jagmeet SinghSingh has said he’s not issuing ultimatums, but his party would be willing to vote against the throne speech if it doesn’t acknowledge the NDP’s requests somehow.He reiterated those sentiments following his meeting with Trudeau Thursday, saying he will be looking for concrete commitments that show the Liberals are willing to work toward shared goals if they want NDP support.“I have no interest in blindly working with the Liberals, if they want to deliver on the real things that help Canadians out, absolutely we’re going to work together,” Singh said.“I want to be constructive, but by no means does that mean I’m beholden in any way to working with the Liberals. I have a job, which is to fight for Canadians, and that means fighting for better health care, fighting for better housing, fighting for Indigenous communities. I’m going to do that and I’m not worried about having to do something because of any political exigency, I want to do this because it matters to people and I’m ready to do that.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 14, 2019. Thu, 14 2019 18:11:38 GMT Zach Collaros ressent une motivation accrue Ne manquez pas dès 16 h 30 dimanche à RDS et RDS Direct la finale de l'Ouest de la LCF entre les Blue Bombers de Winnipeg et les Roughriders de la Saskatchewan. L'AVANT-MATCH WINNIPEG - Zach Collaros ressentira de la motivation dimanche, et pas seulement parce qu'il participera à un match éliminatoire. Le quart partant des Blue Bombers de Winnipeg mènera sa nouvelle équipe contre les Roughriders de la Saskatchewan, un adversaire qui s'est débarrassé de lui plus tôt cette saison, lors de la finale de la section Ouest de la Ligue canadienne de football. « Je ne pense pas que je serais humain si je n'admettais pas qu'il y aura une plus grande motivation, c'est certain », a déclaré Collaros après l'entraînement des Blue Bombers, mercredi. Le meneur de jeu de 31 ans amorçait sa deuxième saison avec les Roughriders lorsqu'il a été victime d'une commotion cérébrale lors de la première série à l'attaque de l'équipe dans une défaite face aux Tiger-Cats de Hamilton, le 13 juin. Il a été échangé aux Argonauts de Toronto vers la fin de juillet sans prendre part à un seul match. Les Blue Bombers ont acquis ses services à la date limite des transactions, le 9 octobre. Collaros se voulait alors une police d'assurance derrière Chris Streveler après que Matt Nichols, le quart régulier, eut subi une opération à une épaule qui a mis fin à sa saison, tard en septembre. Collaros a eu l'occasion de relancer sa carrière lors du dernier match des Blue Bombers en saison régulière contre les Stampeders de Calgary, le 25 octobre. Selon ce qu'avaient rapporté des médias, Streveler avait subi une blessure à une cheville et une fracture à un os d'un pied la semaine précédente. Collaros, un vétéran de huit saisons, a mené sa nouvelle équipe vers un gain de 29-28 pour permettre aux Blue Bombers de conclure la saison avec un dossier de 11-7. Puis, dimanche dernier en demi-finale de la section Ouest, il a contribué à une victoire de 35-14 à Calgary. Lors de ce match, Collaros a complété 11 de ses 21 passes pour des gains de 193 verges et une passe de touché à Darwin Adams. Streveler n'a pas tenté une seule passe, mais il a effectué 13 courses pour des gains de 82 verges, incluant une poussée de 24 verges pour un touché qui le faisait boiter encore un peu après la rencontre. « S'il y a quelque chose que j'ai appris dans cette ligue, c'est que les choses peuvent changer rapidement. Voilà où je me trouve en ce moment, et il s'agit d'une merveilleuse opportunité pour nous. » Lorsqu'il a été invité à commenter la motivation additionnelle que peut ressentir Collaros, l'entraîneur-chef Mike O'Shea, des Blue Bombers, a dit comprendre d'où elle venait. « Tout les joueurs veulent gagner et ils veulent gagner tout le temps. Mais je ne sais pas si on peut fuir ou nier le fait qu'il existe des sentiments particuliers chaque fois que vous affrontez une ancienne équipe », a exprimé O'Shea. L'affrontement de dimanche sera le premier en finale de la section Ouest entre les deux clubs depuis 1972. La formation de la Saskatchewan avait arraché une victoire de 27-24 grâce à un placement de dernière seconde de Jack Abendschan, après que le quart Ron Lancaster eut orchestré une remontée qui avait permis d'effacer un recul de 24-7. « C'est un match d'une grande importance, a déclaré Collaros au sujet du duel de dimanche. Mais d'un autre côté, il faut le traiter comme n'importe quel autre, en faisant de notre mieux pour mettre le plan de match en application et laisser les choses tomber où elles doivent. » Thu, 14 2019 13:33:00 GMT Alberta Independence Ideas Would Come With #039;Increased Costs#039;: Nenshi CALGARY — Ideas that could give Alberta more independence from the federal government are getting a tepid reception from one of the province’s big-city mayors and a chamber of commerce boss.Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative government has formed a panel to examine ways for Alberta to get what he calls a ``fair deal″ in Canada. They include establishing a provincial revenue agency, withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan and replacing the RCMP with a provincial police force.Any of those would have to be endorsed in a referendum.“The way I work and the way we’ve operated the city is really to be as efficient as possible and to deliver services as efficiently as possible,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday following a speech to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce ahead of his city council’s upcoming budget talks.“And when I look at the things that panel is looking at, I see increased costs.”He noted the creation of the panel comes after a tough provincial budget that ended inflation indexing on assured income payments to people with severe disabilities, increased the interest rate on student loans, scrapped a funding agreement with Edmonton and Calgary, and reduced support for some seniors.“The benefits really had better be there ... We really have to make that justification I think.”Resentment and calls for separation have been roiling in Alberta since the Liberals were re-elected in last month’s federal vote, but with a minority mandate. Kenney, who says he does not support full-on separatism, has lambasted the Liberals for policies he says have hurt the provincial oil and gas industry.Sandip Lalli, CEO of the Calgary chamber, said the ideas the panel will weigh don’t offer much to a city that faces a property tax crunch as businesses empty out of the downtown core.“It’s not adding greater certainty or clarity to what we’re doing here in Alberta to be more competitive.”And she said she’s not sure withdrawing from the CPP would be worthwhile.“Is it better managed where it is and are the returns adequate where they are? Or is there a performance issue?” she asked.RELATED Bloc Leader Has No Advice For Separatists Who Want To Create An #039;Oil State#039; Singh Says NDP Prepared To Vote Against Throne Speech Kenney Still Silent On Alberta Bill Reopening Conscience Rights Debate In his speech, Nenshi sought to dispel what he called lies or myths about the city’s finances — that spending and property taxes are out of control, civil servants are overpaid and the UCP’s inaugural budget last month did not hurt Calgary’s bottom line.He and Lalli expressed skepticism in the Kenney government’s view that lowering corporate taxes to eight per cent from 12 per cent by 2022 would be enough to jump-start the economy. The UCP has done away with targeted tax incentives, brought in by the previous NDP government, to diversify revenue sources beyond oil and gas.“It’s not a point of pride that we are the lowest tax regime ... if it’s not making us competitive to grow and reach more customers,” Lalli said.Nenshi said while companies may set up a branch office in Calgary, it’s his experience that it’s rare for them to move their entire headquarters — so the tax drop is likely to make little difference.The city’s quality of life, availability of talent and affordable office space could still beckon new investment, he said.“There’s lots of tools there, but certainly we have fewer than we did six months ago.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2019. Wed, 13 2019 21:25:40 GMT Refugees Coming To Canada Want To Contribute, Hiring Fair Shows Ameer and his partner Romteen* have only been in Canada for about two months, but their journey here was a long one. Now that they’ve arrived, they just want to get started on their new lives — and for them that begins with one major thing: a job.The couple left Iran and spent four and a half years in Turkey waiting to be granted refugee status. Initially they were planning to go to the U.S. but they say their case file was abruptly closed when the Trump administration came into power. The U.N. High Commission for Refugees told them they’d missed their chance, they said. But before they lost all hope, they were privately sponsored by a family in Toronto to come to Canada.We are keeping their last names anonymous because Romteen’s family doesn’t know he is gay, and going into detail about his and Ameer’s identities could out him.“In Canada, it’s been quite good, I have to say. But you have some sort of things that you have to sort out in Canadian working environments. So that has been a rough ride,” Romteen admitted.Watch: Danny, a Syrian-Canadian author and public speaker, talks about his identity as an LGBTQ+ refugee. Story continues below. Both men needed jobs in Canada, and thanks to a refugee hiring event on Oct. 31, they now have a number to choose from.“You need a job in real life because it’s not just the money. You need a job for your being, feeling productive and involved and included in everything,” Ameer said.The event, co-sponsored by Starbucks Canada and the Tent Partnership for Refugees, brought together approximately 550 refugees and over a dozen Canadian employers, successfully reaching its goal of at least 100 candidates receiving job offers before the day was over. Jobs ranged from engineering, marketing and financial services to customer service, manufacturing and managerial positions. Prospective hires were equally diverse in what they did in their home countries — candidates included former engineers, accountants and retail workers.The event also featured a “Coach’s Corner” where candidates could prep for their interviews and get advice, and even refugees that left without job offers were given detailed feedback about what they need to improve on to lock down the next opportunity.Refugees bring a lot to the tableIndependent Sen. Ratna Omidvar, who heads the Refugee Jobs Agenda Roundtable, which played a major role in putting the event together, emphasized that hiring refugees makes sense for both the newcomers and employers.“Refugees bring one personal quality to the table that I think comes from their experience, and that is resilience. You know, I met people who had been in a refugee situation for two to three years or longer, and you know, you learn to overcome one hurdle at a time,” she said.The roundtable works to match the skills of refugees to the needs of employers to help newcomers integrate successfully, Omidvar said, and that is the kind of effort that made the hiring event so successful for jobseekers like Ameer and Romteen.Luisa Girotto, Starbucks Canada’s public affairs vice-president, told HuffPost Canada that the company has learned how to work with government and community agencies to find diverse talent for its stores.The coffee chain has a history of community involvement. In 2017, it pledged to hire 1,000 refugees by 2022, and they’ve already hired about 500, Girotto said. They also make it a priority to hire “opportunity youth” — young people that are not employed or in school and face barriers to employment — in Toronto and several other Canadian cities. Girotto said they used this experience to help other employers at the hiring event.“I think Starbucks has always been what we call now diverse and inclusive. I think we always called it humanity,” she said. “I think we just spend a lot of our time taking care of people who need a fair shot.”Girotto also said that the event was so successful that there will definitely be more in the future. Ileana Cruz-Marden, the Tent Partnership for Refugees’ senior manager of private sector partnerships, said Canada’s high number of refugees combined with its active business community made it the perfect place for a hiring fair like this one.Tent is a U.S. organization and was created by Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of the multibillion-dollar Chobani yogurt company. Ulukaya, a Turkish migrant, employed many refugees when he started his company and found the experience so positive, he wanted to help other companies tap into this underutilized talent pool, Cruz-Marden said.“We understand that businesses are not charities so we want to encourage companies to go beyond kind of the philanthropic model of providing support and really using their business models to help refugees out. And Hamdi always says kind of once a refugee gets a job, they stop being refugees,” she added.Unique challengesIn just 2018, Canada took in 28,100 refugees, according to the U.N., and they face unique challenges when job hunting in a new country. Along with language barriers in many cases, refugees often lose their documentation and educational credentials, and don’t know the business culture that Canadian employers look for. All the while, they’re dealing with trauma from the situations that displaced them, and have to wrangle transportation, childcare and financial resources.“Things are done here differently. Resumes for one, are crafted differently. The language you use on paper and in interviews, you have to actually understand it’s a different way that Canadians have of understanding you, which may be very different from the country you’ve come from,” Omidvar said. “But even before you get an interview, you have to, it’s actually extremely hard to get through the door.”These barriers are why specialized approaches to training and hiring refugees can be helpful. The job fair was successful because social agencies were able to bring skilled and prepped refugees to employers that may not have encountered them otherwise, Girotto noted, and acted as both a networking opportunity and a hiring event.“More than half of refugees displaced globally will remain displaced for over 20 years. And so that’s why an economic integration is really important. You know getting that first job, finding a way to kind of integrate into the economy where you’ve been resettled is critical because it’s likely it’s going to remain your home country for a long time,” Cruz-Marden added.Amira Halperin, a University of British Columbia sociology research fellow and lecturer, focuses her research on refugees and their integration. “They really want to be Canadians. They want to integrate. They don’t want to… look back, because they know that they don’t have anywhere to go to. So they really would like to integrate to stay in Canada and therefore they like to find employment,” Halperin said, adding that many just need a helping hand to integrate.I think the systemic issues facing newcomers in the job market continue to exist. It’s really hard to find a job that is commensurate to your qualifications and to your experience.Senator Ratna OmidvarShe said most refugees that flee to Canada from conflict zones, especially in the Middle East, are young — between the ages of 25 and 40 — and so were either finishing their studies or were already in a career. Many have a lot of skills to offer. But outcomes are highly dependant on a number of factors including gender, home country and whether they were sponsored privately or by the government.“If you look at the privately sponsored refugees, this is a very big group that I spoke with and I spoke with the people that sponsor them, you know, the churches and all these people that sponsor them. So they help them and they help them to find a job. And they help them to learn English. They help them in training,” Halperin said. More room for progressThere is still a long way to go. Omidvar says things have gotten better for refugees, and that events like the hiring fair are a good start, but there is more to be done.“I think the systemic issues facing newcomers in the job market continue to exist. It’s really hard to find a job that is commensurate to your qualifications and to your experience,” she acknowledged. Misconceptions persist and many employers are wary of interviewing people with “foreign-sounding” names.Anita Caroll, ACCES Employment’s vice-president of corporate and donor engagement, said there is employers can exhibit unintended ignorance,,  even some of the companies that came to the event.ACCES is a non-profit that aims to connect prospective employees to employers and emphasizes working with diverse communities“[Employers say] ‘we don’t think they can speak English. We didn’t think they would be able to dress properly,’ whatever the case may be. So it was eye-opening for some employers, too, which is nice,” Caroll said.Racism is a big issue for many refugees, too, Halperin said.“They face problems where people say that they are not welcome in Canada. And it’s not only because people look at their credentials and say they’re not educated. This is not the reason,” she said. “It’s easy for people to look at refugees and say that they actually are a problem. You know, that they create problems in Canada because of employment [or] take employment from others.” Their credentials not being accepted puts another barrier in their paths, and instead of finding help through many of the organizations that pulled the hiring fair together, they end up underemployed or don’t find work at all, Halperin said.Along with the humanitarian aspect of putting newcomers to work, it makes sense for employers, too, Cruz-Marden said. Refugees are often a company’s hardest working, most creative and most loyal employees — and also attract others who are looking to work somewhere that aligns with their personal ethics, she said.“[Refugees] have better engagement, longer engagement, longer tenure, which is great to some employers… More importantly than that, we really need to start thinking about refugees as people who have potentially incredible work experience. They have companies back home. They ran businesses back home,” Girotto added.“They’re here by themselves or with their families. And they want to be here and they want to stay here and they want to succeed. The last thing they want to do is be on social assistance… They want to prove themselves. They want to provide,” Caroll said.“The majority of people we serve are people who come from other places in the world, often very, very highly accomplished, multiple degrees, speak multiple languages, and we help them to connect to opportunities here that are commensurate with their experience,” Caroll said, adding that they didn’t want people to work in “survival” jobs like driving cabs or working as cashiers if their experience was beyond that.This is a vulnerable community that they’re seeking to hire. That’s not something we want to shy away from.Ileana Cruz-MardenAt the hiring fair, employers were also trained to know what to expect from the people they were interviewing.“This is a vulnerable community that they’re seeking to hire. That’s not something we want to shy away from. We want definitely to make employers aware that you might have to change the structure of a question or maybe a kind of talk about certain experiences in a good way and make sure that they are fully understanding what the position is that they’re interviewing for,” Cruz-Marden said.Halperin said the government can do more to help refugees integrate into the Canadian job market, like making credentials from other countries more easily transferable and doing a better job of advertising job-seekers services, like the ones provided by ACCES and other employment groups.Fair helped couple find jobs that suited their skillsetsPrior to attending the hiring fair, Ameer said he and Romteen hadn’t had much luck applying for jobs on their own.After the fair, they were courted with offers from Starbucks, McDonald’s, IKEA and Metro. Starbucks was their top pick, though — the pair ran a cafe together back in Iran so they can bring skills they already have to the table.They attributed their success to the fair and its organizers for helping them overcome many of the barriers that keep newcomers out of employment.“I think I think if the name ‘refugees’ is lifted off of a person and then they are looked at in terms of communication, language skills and work-background experience, these things are international,” Ameer noted. “It doesn’t really make a difference where you come from. [If] you have the skill, you can do the job.”RELATED ‘Go Back To Your Country’ Is A Phrase That Hits Home In Canada, Too Canadian Challenge To Safe Third Country Agreement Begins In Court Newcomers To Canada Buying 1 In 5 Houses: Report Recertifying themselves is the next step. Like many newcomers, their degrees from Iran aren’t accepted in Canada, so the couple hopes to gain the certifications they need to build careers here.Ameer has one piece of advice for others like him and Romteen: work hard and don’t be afraid to ask for help.“Work on your language, because once that barrier is gone, you give the confidence to the employer to look at you as a skilled person,” he said.“I think they have to never have to give up. They have to just make connections, check places, go to employment services, immigrant services. That’s what we have been doing every day … When you need help, ask for it.*We are only using Ameer and Romteen's first name because their families back in Iran don't know they are gay. Wed, 13 2019 19:55:20 GMT Jagmeet Singh Says NDP Prepared To Vote Against Throne Speech OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday, when he will lay out his priorities in the hopes of using his party’s position in a minority Parliament to get policies and laws that reflect New Democrat platform commitments.Speaking on Parliament Hill today, Singh said he has three key priorities that he hopes to see in the Liberal throne speech, which will be delivered when Parliament resumes on Dec. 5.The No. 1 ask from the NDP will be Liberal support for the immediate creation of a national universal pharmacare program.“That means a timeline, a framework, that means making sure that we’ve got some clear steps that are going to be indicated in the throne speech,” Singh said.“We know that people are worried about health care. This is something that would unite Canadians across the country.”Watch: Pharmacare, Indigenous kids, Singh’s priorities in new Parliament. Story continues below video. Singh said he wants to see an “openness” from the Liberals to public dental coverage. He will also push Trudeau to drop the government’s legal challenge of a recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling that ordered Ottawa to pay $40,00 in compensation to Indigenous children who were wrongly placed in foster care after 2007, as well as to their parents or grandparents.The New Democratic leader said he’s not issuing ultimatums but he did say his party would be prepared to vote against the throne speech — the first confidence vote that Trudeau’s minority government will have to pass to hold power — if it doesn’t acknowledge the NDP’s requests somehow.“I’m keeping an open mind and I’m not drawing any lines in the sand, but I’m making it really clear I’m prepared to vote against, our party is prepared to vote against, if it doesn’t reflect the important things that Canadians sent us here to do.”The NDP was reduced to fourth place in the House of Commons behind the Liberals, Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois after winning just 24 seats in the recent election, down from the 39 it held before the Oct. 21 vote.RELATED More Than 100 NDP Campaigns Won’t Be Reimbursed For Election Expenses PMO Releases Rare Lengthy Readout Of Closed-Door Meeting With Premier The Liberal Survival Story: How Trudeau Didn#039;t Lose The 2019 Election But despite these losses, party and caucus members were cheering on election night and have since been viewing the upcoming re-opening of Parliament as a positive for the party.Returning MP Peter Julian points to past minorities that saw the NDP negotiate progressive initiatives, such as universal medicare and the Canada Pension Plan.“It’s a lot easier to get things done in a minority Parliament, as I think historically minority Parliaments have proven, than it is in a majority Parliament where the (Prime Minister’s Office) decides everything and often makes decisions just in the interests of lobbyists rather than in the interests of Canadians,” he said.“In this case it’s not only the politically smart approach to take, to work with us, it’s also in the best interests of Canadians.”Trudeau has been meeting with all federal party leaders and with a number of premiers over the last week, getting a laundry list of requests and demands as the other leaders flex their muscles against the weakened Liberals. The opposition leaders want spending or policy commitments from Trudeau in exchange for support to keep his minority government afloat.Trudeau has shunned a formal coalition with any of the other parties, but has indicated willingness to work with parties on a case-by-case basis.Julian said he sees many similarities in Trudeau’s recent moves to the approach taken by Paul Martin when his Liberal government was reduced to a minority in 2004. At that time, Martin initially tried to govern as though he had a majority, Julian said, but eventually had to walk back a proposed suite of corporate tax cuts and instead work with then-NDP leader Jack Layton to increase spending on post-secondary education, transit and housing.Julian believes the NDP is a particularly well-positioned to work with the Liberals now because of their shared progressive ideologies. He noted the Conservatives and Bloc Quebecois have “very right-leaning priorities” and that even if Trudeau might not want to play ball with the NDP just yet, this could very well shift.“I think with minority governments they sometimes, particularly when they’ve had a majority government before, don’t necessarily understand that the dynamic has changed, and I see that as posturing,” Julian said.“But I know that Jagmeet will be putting forward the priorities that he very clearly put out during the election campaign. Ultimately, we’re just going to keep pushing and working hard, the way we do, and ultimately I think the reality of a minority government is something that will be very clear to Mr. Trudeau and to the Liberal government.”This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2019. Wed, 13 2019 20:30:22 GMT Why Is The Cost Of Daycare In Canada So High? Lisa Fockler wanted to keep working. She’s a store manager at Indigo, a job she enjoys and is good at, and where she has a tight-knit group of co-workers. But once she got pregnant and she and her husband started looking at daycare options, it was soon clear that staying at work just didn’t make financial sense. “The cost is insane,” Fockler told HuffPost Canada. “We don’t make enough to be able to afford daycare.”They were looking at a minimum cost of $50 per day in their area of Keswick, Ont., a small community north of Toronto. But their situation was complicated by the fact that neither Fockler nor her husband work typical 9-to-5 hours. She either works early in the morning or until nighttime, while her husband works 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. doing jobs for the city, and is on call 24/7 during the winter for snow plowing work. The one daycare she found with flexible hours was even pricier — $70 per day. Now that her son is eight months old, Fockler has decided to stay home with him. The annual cost of daycare would be just slightly less than her salary.“I know there are a lot of people financially worse off than us, but to only break even — it’s scary,” she said.Costs vary, but most of the country is very expensive...“Child care is necessary for modern families to function,” Martha Friendly, the founder of the Childcare Resource and Research Unit, told HuffPost Canada.Yet, for most parents, it’s an incredibly costly venture.A 2016 study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development found Canada to be among the most expensive countries in the world for child care-costs. The average two-income family in Canada spends about 22.2 per cent of their net salary on child care, higher than the world average of 15 per cent. Single parents, meanwhile, spend nearly a third of their income on child care.Daycare costs vary across the country, and depend on the age of the child, and usually decrease as children get older. (The one exception is Quebec, where fees remain the same.)Infant care is most expensive in Toronto, where the average monthly cost is $1,758, which amounts to an annual fee of $21,096, according to a 2017 ranking. It’s followed by nearby cities Mississauga and Vaughan. Vancouver, Kitchener, Burnaby and Calgary come after, with monthly costs between $1,250 and $1,360.Watch: Child care costs for this Canadian dad are twice his mortgage payments. Story continues after video.The same geographical trends persist for toddlers and preschoolers, with Ontario and B.C. at the higher end of the cost spectrum. Care for these older kids can range from $1,000 to $1,354 per month in these provinces, according to the report.It’s worth noting that these Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives figures were calculated before Ontario’s minimum wage hike in 2018, which further increased daycare fees across the province. The Toronto Star reported that some parents in the city saw their fees rise as much as 24 per cent.Aside from Quebec, the country’s most affordable daycare is in Manitoba and PEI, where the government covers some of the operational costs like building fees. The average annual cost of 2017 child care in Winnipeg is $651, and $738 in Charlottetown.... except for QuebecQuebec is the only province with universal daycare (although many provinces do offer subsidies based on certain criteria. For instance, New Brunswick offers significant subsidies for low-income families). Care in Quebec is on a sliding scale depending on family income, and costs somewhere between $146 and $400 a month, according to the 2017 report. This is a far cry from the quadruple digits in the areas around Toronto.The program in the province was introduced in the late ’90s as a way to increase women’s participation in the workforce. Since then, 85 per cent of Quebec women between the ages of 26 and 44 work — the highest rate in the world, according to CityLab.That increase in income tax more than pays for the amount of money the government puts in, Université de Québec à Montréal economics professor Pierre Fortin told CityLab.But Quebec’s model is far from perfect, Friendly added. As in many other parts of the country, there’s more demand than there are spots. Private daycare centres have stepped in to fill the gaps, and the quality of care they offer is significantly lower, she explained. Because they’re private, they don’t have to adhere as strictly to educational standards.But while there are lots of issues that need to be worked out in Quebec’s system, “it changed the dynamics entirely to make it much more affordable,” Friendly said.So, why are costs so high?There’s essentially a philosophical difference in the way we think about child care in Canada versus countries like Sweden, in Friendly’s view. Here, child care is generally seen as an individual responsibility: you had a kid, it’s your job to finance their care. But in the European countries that consistently rank highest for meeting early childhood education standards, child care is a societal responsibility that is seen to benefit everyone, she said.Child care is one of the building blocks of a healthy society, Friendly said. “You can’t build a new community unless you put sewers in, or schools, or roads. What about child care?” she said. “It’s something that families really need.”Currently, child-care centres open depending on the market — not depending on need. They’ll open when a private group, or a business, or concerned parents decide to open a child-care centre, she explained.“That’s a serious barrier to developing a system, even if you have political will and you have the money.”As a result, there aren’t enough spots for the babies and young children who need them, and limited availability drives costs up. Nearly half of young children in the country live in “child-care deserts” where the number of children surpasses the available spaces.“Without a public, universal system of education for young children, affordability is an issue for many Canadian families, but availability is also inequitable,” Unicef wrote in a 2018 guide.Has anyone ever tried to institute universal child care? Universal child care was initially proposed in 1970 in the Royal Commission of the Status of Women. “The care of children is a responsibility to be shared by the mother, the father and society,” the report read. “Unless this shared responsibility is acknowledged and assumed, women cannot be accorded true equality.”In 1984, a task force ordered by the governing Liberals suggested a national child-care plan. But the Liberals lost power before the group finished their work.Twenty years later, the Liberals under Prime Minister Paul Martin put forward a universal child-care plan, but it was cancelled when the Conservatives won the 2006 election. Stephen Harper’s government replaced the plan with a child-care benefit.Years later, Martin told the Toronto Star that he’s still frustrated that the plan was never implemented. “The Conservatives cancelled an existing, operating child care plan that had been signed by all 10 provinces and was under way,” he said.So is universal child care in Canada actually possible?Maybe, but not everyone agrees that that’s where Canada should go. Laura, a mom of two living in one of the less expensive cities in southern Ontario, said she’s willing to pay a high price because she wants child care workers to receive decent wages.“I believe if I choose to have kids and go to work, it is my responsibility to pay for daycare,” she told HuffPost Canada. (Laura asked that her last name and location not be used in order to protect her family’s privacy.)And she doesn’t think it’s fair or feasible for child care to be subsidized. “The government paying for daycare is ludicrous,” she said. “Our schools and our healthcare are in such desperate need of more funding, our extremely over-crowded hospitals are getting to crisis points.”RELATED Doug Ford#039;s Child Care, Public Health Cuts Expected In January 2020 I#039;m A Farmer And Mom. Lack Of Rural Daycare Makes It Hard To Be Both Women#039;s Workplace Success Begins And Ends With Affordable Child Care When asked if universal child care will ever be a reality for Canadian parents, Friendly laughed, and said she’s been pushing the issue for 45 years.“I think it will happen, but I think it’s by its very nature incremental,” she said. She points to the fact that it was addressed by three of the major parties during the recent federal election as a sign of progress. “At the national level I think there is political will, and there’s certainly a demand for it,” she said. Each province should develop a strategy, figure out how to make it affordable for parents, and work on maintaining a well-educated work force, Friendly said. “You can only do that and maintain affordability by publicly funding it, because otherwise you’re playing the parents off the work force.”And Canada is in a relatively good position on a global scale, in that we have lots of success stories of other countries to look into. “This is an area where there’s a lot known, and in a sense Canada is in a position to capitalize on what other people have learned,” she said.Also on HuffPost: Tue, 12 2019 14:10:07 GMT Facing ‘certain death,’ boy with vaping injury gets double lung transplant in Detroit The patient’s lungs were scarred, stiffened, pocked with dead spots and extremely inflamed, said Dr. Hassan Nemeh, who led the surgical team. Wed, 13 2019 02:49:17 GMT