In Waterloo Region More People are Entering the Workforce as the Area Shows Some Signs of Recovery
The Region’s unemployment rate stayed steady at 12.9% in July and August, but that number doesn’t truly reflect the area’s possible signs of recovery. From July to August of 2020, the labour force grew by 7,000 continuing the reversal of the downward trend from March to June. While there has been a slight uptick in the number of unemployed (up 900 people), the Region is seeing its participation rate return to pre-pandemic levels with 68% of the labour force participating. Recent stats also show that there has been an increase overall in the number of businesses in Waterloo Region from December 2019 to June 2020. Construction and transportation and warehousing businesses saw significant staff reductions while accommodation and food services and retail businesses had some stabilization around business numbers but employee levels shifted both up and down with no emerging trend. Professional, scientific and technical services saw employee losses in its small and larger employers. Other industries saw gains in the first part of the year.
People's refocus on their local community in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-term, bringing about the "decade of the home" and forcing retailers and consumer goods companies to tailor their products and services to drive a more local experience, according to findings of a recent global survey. The continuing discomfort with public spaces and travel, coupled with growing financial fears amid widespread decline in household income, will continue to keep people mostly at home, according to the survey of more than 8,800 people in 20 countries. Findings of the survey are presented in two Accenture reports, one for the consumer goods industry and one for the retail industry. ___________________
Professor Nancy Waite at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy conducts research into the influenza vaccine, vaccine decision-making and strategies to encourage vaccination. With flu season around the corner—and Australian pharmacies reporting a 180 percent increase in people getting the flu shot this year over last—Prof. Waite shares what to expect as we move into flu season amidst a global pandemic. What factors influence vaccine decision-making? A lot of people think that you are either pro-vaccination or anti-vaccination. However, vaccine decision-making is seldom that simple. Most of us have questions about one vaccine or the other at some point and we may be “hesitant” until we get that question answered. As a result, it is best to think of vaccine decision-making as being on a continuum. Everyone is somewhere between vaccine acceptance and vaccine refusal, with most people being closer to vaccine acceptance.
When campaigning to become prime minister in 2015, Justin Trudeau was asked what country he most admired in the world. The people in attendance looked on in disbelief when he stated that he most admired China. His reason? Trudeau believed China’s “basic dictatorship” allowed their government to move swiftly to implement their agenda. Trudeau’s obsession with China should not come as any surprise. For decades, many corporate and financial insiders were espousing deeper and closer ties with China at all costs. They were willing to look past the numerous human rights abuses, flagrant trade abuses and security issues because the potential to sell into the massive Chinese market was so lucrative. Beijing knows this and plays on it.
The City of Kitchener is excited to welcome Amazon and its new delivery station, set to open this fall in a repurposed 120, 000 square foot leased building at 100 Shirley Ave. The investment will create hundreds of new jobs including full-time, part-time, and driver positions, all with competitive hourly wages, and those numbers are expected to grow heading into the holiday season. “We’re pleased that Amazon has chosen the City of Kitchener and continues to expand its investment in the Region through the establishment of another delivery station. As a global player in 21st century retail, Amazon’s new delivery station will create both new permanent job growth as well as small business opportunities for local entrepreneurs interested in establishing delivery businesses,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
Food waste creates an invisible bill you must pay every day. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average Canadian household wasted a little more than two kg in food a week. But since March, our lives have changed and most Canadians have spent more time at home. So are Canadians generating more food waste at home? And did the hoarding we witnessed early on generate more waste? Dalhousie University has just given us some answers. A self-reporting survey suggests Canadians may be wasting more food during the pandemic. Survey respondents estimated their household generated about 2.03 kg per week of organic food waste (avoidable and unavoidable) before the pandemic. Now, the survey suggests the average Canadian household generates 2.30 kg of organic food waste (avoidable and unavoidable), an increase of 13.5 per cent. This is consistent with early data released by some Canadian municipalities.
Morneau Shepell released its monthly Mental Health Index™ report, showing a consistent negative mental health score for the fifth consecutive month and a decline from July's score of -10. The findings indicate that Canadians' mental health continues to be affected by the impact of COVID-19, including concerns about a second wave, ongoing economic uncertainties, and the added concern of students returning to school. The Mental Health Index™ score is -11. The score measures the improvement or decline in mental health from the pre-2020 benchmark of 75. The Mental Health Index™ also tracks sub-scores against the benchmark, measuring the risk of anxiety (-12.9), depression (-12.7), optimism (-12.7), isolation (-12.1) and work productivity (-11.1). All sub-scores worsened when compared to the improvements seen the previous month, excluding work productivity, which remains unchanged.
13 southern Ontario-based companies are receiving $30,000 in seed funding and $10,000 of in-kind business support services such as one-to-one professional mentorship under the Accelerator Centre’s AC JumpStart program, aimed at helping technology startups establish and grow their business in the region. Funded by FedDev Ontario and delivered in partnership with Conestoga College, the University of Guelph, the University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University, the program has supported 305 southern Ontario-based businesses since launching in 2015. Former recipients include ApplyBoard, Canada’s newest unicorn company after raising $100 million in Series C funding on a $2 billion valuation, and NERv Technology, winner of the world’s first Entrepreneurship World Cup and its accompanying $500,000 USD prize.
Over the summer BDC Capital created a new intellectual property (IP) development financing envelope to support IP rich companies in Canada. This $160M envelope is the first of its kind in Canada providing customized, patient capital that recognizes the strength and value of a company’s IP strategy and portfolio—a core asset that must be recognized, protected and valued. “Companies offering intangible assets like IP often struggle to access capital,” said Jérôme Nycz, executive vice-president at BDC Capital. “Our goal is to lead by example and fill this gap by providing the capital IP-rich companies need to enable commercialization, increase competitiveness, and expand globally. Our hope is to inspire like-minded stakeholders to work alongside us to support even more companies and make Canada a leader in the IP space.”
The City’s Kitchener Connects program, which supports social connections among older adults, has received $25,000 in funding through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP). This investment is one of several federal measures taken to support seniors in coping with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re grateful for the federal government’s investment in the Kitchener Connects program, which helps to reduce isolation and maintain social connections for older adults in our community,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “By addressing the technology gap, we’re reducing barriers to communication and providing seniors in our community with greater opportunities to stay connected to family and friends.”
Canadians are less economically free than Americans for the second straight year, according to the Fraser Institute’s annual Economic Freedom of the World report just released. “Due partly to higher taxes and increased regulation in Ottawa and among provinces, Canadians are less economically free than their American cousins, which means slower economic growth and less investment in Canada,” said Fred McMahon, Dr. Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom at the Fraser Institute. The report measures the economic freedom—the ability of individuals to make their own economic decisions—by analyzing the policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories. Indicators include regulation, freedom to trade internationally, size of government, property rights, government spending and taxation. The 2020 report is based on data from 2018, the latest year of comparable statistics.
The University of Toronto has launched an online COVID-19 self-assessment tool called UCheck for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. The digital health company behind the software, Thrive Health, is also the creator of Health Canada’s official COVID-19 support app, which has already provided over 10 million COVID-19 risk assessments and is the #1 trusted pandemic response software in Canada. More than 1 million Canadians have downloaded Thrive Health’s Canada COVID-19 App. The University of Toronto is the first post-secondary institution to go live with the Thrive self-assessment platform. This technology is available for any organization, workplace, or educational institution that is looking for better ways of screening employees, patrons, or students for COVID-19 symptoms and to improve timely and targeted communication of important information.
Do you ever come up with your best responses an hour after a conversation has ended? Do you ever say to yourself “I wish I would have said…” or “I wish I wouldn’t have said…”? Do you ever get tongue-tied when you are put on the spot? If you can relate to any of these situations you can improve your confidence by adding a handful of powerful phrases to your skill kit. People who communicate with confidence are calm and in control. They strive to be positive and helpful in order to get a good result that benefits everyone. However, it can be hard to keep your cool if you aren’t equipped with the right tools. You might avoid saying the things you should or say things you wish you hadn’t. Here are 5 of the most powerful phrases to add to your skill kit so you can communicate like a boss in every situation:
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women, with women’s labour participation rate falling to its lowest in 30 years. Existing systemic inequalities have been further exacerbated by recent shut-down measures, resulting in what some economists are calling a “she-cession,” as more women have lost their jobs and fewer women than men are re-gaining employment. As schools begin to reopen, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce releases its latest report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario. This brief lays out a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by offering practical recommendations to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges. “With women’s labour force participation at a record low, decades of progress towards gender equality are at stake,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “This is not only a watershed moment for women but for Ontario’s economy and society more broadly, as women’s participation in the labour market is a precondition to its economic recovery and future prosperity.”
The Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA)’s Supporting Inclusion through Intergenerational Partnerships (SIIP) program is looking to fund projects in Waterloo Region that support older adults living with dementia and their care partners by connecting them with high school and post-secondary aged young adults in meaningful ways. The SIIP project, funded by the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program, is offering funding to organizations and community groups looking to start or expand their intergenerational programming. Over the next four years, the project hopes to work with these organizations, connecting older adults and secondary and post-secondary aged young adults and encouraging them to build connections — sharing skills, expertise and experiences — that will not only benefit older adults, but will also create learning opportunities for youth that contribute to career development and empower them to be leaders and innovators in the community.
Employers have a growing list of concerns lately, including losing their top performers, new research from a global staffing firm shows this development. A majority of senior managers surveyed (82 per cent) said they are worried about their company's ability to retain valued staff, with 34 per cent being very worried. Of those respondents, 41 per cent attribute their concern to salary reductions or planned salary freezes for the near future.The research comes in conjunction with the release of the Robert Half 2021 Salary Guides, which provide starting salary ranges for nearly 400 positions in the administrative, creative, accounting, legal and technology support fields. ___________________
The Earth’s magnetic field is trapping high energy particles. When the first satellites were launched into space, scientists led by James Van Allen unexpectedly discovered the high energy particle radiation regions, which were later named after its discoverer Van Allen Radiation Belts. Visualized, these look like two donut-shaped regions encompassing our planet. Now, a new study led by researchers from GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences shows that electrons in the radiation belts can be accelerated to very high speeds locally. The study shows that magnetosphere works as a very efficient particle accelerator speeding up electrons to so-called ultra-relativistic energies. The study conducted by Hayley Allison, a postdoctoral scholar at GFZ Potsdam, and Yuri Shprits from GFZ and Professor at the University of Potsdam, is published in Nature Communications.
On Tuesday morning student groups from a coalition of over 30 universities, colleges, and high schools across Canada released an open letter to their educational institutions as part of the Divest Canada Coalition. The coalition, including students from the University of Waterloo, is calling on administrators to divest fully from fossil fuels by 2025. “There are over 90 universities in Canada and yet only three have committed to fossil fuel divestment. As a country that claims to be a climate leader, we have fallen far behind and it’s time for us to catch up. Students are demanding action and by working together we just got a whole lot more powerful” says Sophie Price, founder of the coalition and a student at Carleton University. Fossil fuel divestment is the removal of all investments from companies that generate revenue from the extraction, transport, or processing of oil, gas, and coal. This open letter comes on the heels of international campaigns to divest institutions from fossil fuels, as well as the Fridays For Future movement inspired by the strikes of Greta Thunberg.