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BIAs Plead For More Funds, Flexibility



The city’s 82 Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) want Toronto to double a $2.3 million annual fund that matches public money to the investments the businesses make in their neighbourhoods — and give them more flexibility in how they spend the money.

BIAs beautify and animate neighbourhoods with murals, banners, anti-graffiti wraps on posts and other street improvements.

They are considered city agencies. But in addition to asking for more funds, the BIAs want more flexibility on the rules that govern the way they spend the 50-50 capital cost-sharing program, worth about $4.6 million collectively.

That amount no longer makes sense, said John Kiru, executive director of the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA).

It wants Toronto to double its $2.3 million capital funds, phasing the increase over five years.

Although the capital matching program has more than doubled since the program began in 2000, so has the number of BIAs. The amount they collect from about 40,000 member businesses and professional offices, has actually climbed to about $35 million a year.

“The city is leaving a lot of money on the table when (it) is getting 50 cents on the dollar to improve the city assets because BIAs can only improve municipal property,” said Kiru. “They can’t do anything on private property so it’s not like the city’s putting money out there that some individual developer or property owner is going to benefit from.”

BIA levies go to paying some staff. But much of the matching capital funds pay for planters, seasonal decorations and local merchant marketing — initiatives many residents mistakenly believe are paid by the city, he said.

They are the touches that can mean the difference between a neighbourhood that looks drab and tired, and one that has an air of prosperity.

“It’s been proven that assessed property values of BIAs increase (5 to 7 per cent) above average,” said Kiru, who, nevertheless, praised the city and its Economic Development Committee for creating the matching capital program that other jurisdictions have since adopted.

The city will also give BIA member businesses up to $10,000 in matching funds to renovate the facade of their shop or office. Corner properties are eligible for up to $12,000.

A review by the city’s BIA office is expected this fall, said Mike Major, the manager in charge.

“We’re looking at what’s the magnitude of the potential. BIAs do have a lot of money in their reserves that they would like to do cost-sharing projects with us,” he said.

But, citing the city’s tight finances, Major said, “The problem’s not necessarily a monetary one.”

“A lot of their projects aren’t shovel ready. What we’re looking at is how we can encourage BIAs to take more comprehensive, long-term visions for their street so when they do make a request we know it’s ready to go and can be delivered within the time frames,” he said.

TABIA says there are other reasons that the BIAs aren’t maximizing their potential.

It wants Toronto to lift the $300,000-per-project limit for the matching capital funds and it wants the city to provide multi-year funding commitments, something that isn’t now available.

Because the BIA projects have to abide by city procurement practices, BIA projects that are tied to city construction can be at risk if the city work doesn’t take place in the same year, said Kiru.

He also wants an end to municipal project management costs. The city charges additional overhead when its transportation department or other services are required for a BIA project — up to 29.5 per cent compared to 7.5 to 12.5 per cent if the BIAs were to contract the work outside.

That means the 50-50 projects are no longer evenly split, he said.

The majority of BIA members are small mom-and-pop type businesses. BIA levies are based on property tax assessments and each BIA board decides annually on the amount its members will pay.

A levy of about $500 to $750 annually is typical for a 1,000-sq. ft. business, Kiru said.

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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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