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Produce Farmers Get a Reprieve From Push to Free Market: Wells



Wednesday was a good day for Dave Epp.

The tomato farmer was at the Highbury Canco growers’ field day, the harvest kickoff for the tomato season. It’s an old Heinz tradition and one that Highbury has now taken up, hosting a barbecue for the 20-some southwestern Ontario growers who will start delivering their tomatoes to the processing plant on Monday. There was lots of discussion about new tomato varieties being tested, viscosity, flavour, field yield, that sort of thing. “It’s a nice tradition,” Epp says.

The capper was the late afternoon news that Ontario Agriculture Minister Jeff Leal is calling a halt, pending thorough discussion and analysis, to a plan to amend a key regulation of the Farm Products Marketing Act. Epp has been up in arms about the proposed change, which would remove the negotiating authority of the Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers in favour of a “free market system.”

Epp feared that local farmers could get squashed if the change went through with the balance of power shifting to large processors. He cautioned that Ontario could end up like Australia, where the number of tomato farmers collapsed to a handful after a similar change. Collective bargaining has since been returned to Aussie tomato farmers.

What really galled Epp was the lack of transparency around the whole affair and questioned what amount of research the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission had undertaken to support its regulatory change, which was filed in June. The comment period closed a week ago.

Commission chair Geri Kamenz has maintained a stony silence. What analysis went into the policy proposal? Not a word.

Well that’s about to change. In a dressing-down directive to the commission, Leal notes that “concerns have been raised about an apparent lack of both adequate and sufficient information and consultation with interested parties.. . . Without a more open and transparent dialogue on this proposal, it is not clear to me how it may serve the broad policy objectives of the Government of Ontario.”

“This is about engagement for a very important sector of Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry,” Leal said in an interview, later adding that there are 52,000 family farms in the province. “So this really is a partnership between producers, processors and ultimately the consumers of Ontario who appreciate high quality food on their table each and every day.”

“Partnership” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when considering the commission’s agenda. Leal has ordered the commission to produce a thorough economic analysis of the proposal and has stipulated that information be posted on the provincial regulatory registry for a minimum 60 days and that such information be “sufficiently detailed so that any policy and economic objectives” are clearly articulated. “We want to make sure that going forward we have robust engagement and consultation with interested parties and stakeholders,” he says.

This is all good. “At least there’ll be some due process,” Epp says, expressing relief that “something isn’t going to get jammed through here.”

Here’s an important statistic: The agri-food sector accounts for one in every nine jobs in the province. And Leal reminds that Premier Kathleen Wynne set an audacious goal of creating 120,000 new jobs in the sector by the year 2020. It was in support of the premier’s agri-food challenge that the commission pursued “modernizing how prices between growers and processors are established or negotiated” by replacing the marketing board with an advisory committee.

True, it is the commission’s job to develop policy related to regulated marketing in Ontario. But it is also the commission’s mandate to uphold the public trust as it exercises its duties and as Leal’s directive makes clear this process has been neither collaborative nor consultative.

Nor well timed. “This is prime time in terms of agricultural activity in the province of Ontario,” Leal says.

Few know that better than Dave Epp.

Or Sam Diab, president and CEO at Highbury Canco. As a processor, Diab won’t weigh in on the current dispute except to say that “it’s important to look at things all the time and make sure they are progressive.”

There’s change and then there’s thoughtful change. Dave Epp hopes that the new open environment will mean that “we all come out of this stronger.” Diab emphasizes that Highbury’s relationship with its growers is “extremely strong, they’re partners of ours. . . It’s paramount for us from a social, personal and community perspective that that relationship stays strong.”

In the meantime, it’s tomato season, starting now. “Everybody is getting geared up here for five or six weeks of long hours and hard days,” Diab says of the harvest.

Dave Epp is hoping for dry weather, not too hot. “We’ve got a lot of fruit ready to go,” he says.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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