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Labatt Cuts Off Employees From Retirement Perk: Free Beer For Life



OTTAWA, Ontario—For decades, a job at Labatt, one of Canada’s two major breweries, came with an unusual perk: free beer for life. But now, the company’s retirees have been cut off.

In a memo to employees, the brewer, which is owned by the beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, said it would gradually turn off the retirees’ beer tap over the next two years.

“It’s been around, I think, since the breweries have been around,” David Bridger, the president of the Service Employees International Union local that represents workers at Labatt’s brewery in London, Ont., said this week. He predicted that the loss of the bottomless keg would further undermine morale.

“It’s certainly not the way it was in the past, when there was fanatical devotion to the brand and the company,” said Bridger, who is also chairman of the Canadian Brewery Council, an alliance of brewery-related unions. “Today it’s just a job.”

The controlling shareholders of Anheuser-Busch InBev, a multinational company based in Belgium, are 3G Capital, a Brazilian private equity firm, and some of its executives. Starting with a Brazilian brewery, 3G took over breweries big and small, including Anheuser-Busch in the United States, to become the world’s biggest beer-maker, owner of brands including Budweiser, Corona, Beck’s, Stella Artois and Michelob Ultra.

As with all of its holdings, 3G began extensive cost cutting at Labatt, which it acquired in 1995, including lower wages and reduced benefits. The end of beer for life, announced in late October, appears to be its most recent measure.

Charlie Angelakos, a spokesman for Labatt, said in an email that the company made the “reluctant decision” to cut off its retirees after looking at the retirement benefits offered by other Canadian breweries and consumer packaged goods companies. “None of the companies we surveyed offered free product to retirees,” he said.

Routine free beer for retirees was ended at Molson Coors, Canada’s other large brewery, several years ago. But Gavin Thompson, a spokesman for the company, said it still provided beer to pensioners “who are hosting a special event, like a family reunion.”

How much free beer Labatt retirees can lug home each year depends on where they live, although it easily exceeds the 99 bottles of musical fame. At the plant in London, which slakes all of Ontario’s thirst for Labatt’s Blue and Budweiser, Bridger said retirees were getting about eight 24-bottle cases — what Canadians sometimes call a “two-four” — a year.

Current employees, by contrast, get a free case every other week and bonus cases at Christmas, apparently in lieu of a turkey, and for Canada Day. Their free beer will continue as long as they are employees.

Retirees in Edmonton, Alta., get a free case every week. In most of the country, Bridger said, the retirees are given gift cards which allow them to pick up their free beer at retail stores.

Why free beer became an entrenched perk of brewery work is unclear. Labatt said its labour agreements did not require it to keep retirees’ refrigerators filled. Bridger said the Labatt brewery in London once included an in-house pub where employees drank for free — after their shifts ended.

Tamar Nersesian, a Labatt spokeswoman, said the program for retirees now being wound down was introduced during the 1970s.

In its letter announcing the cut-off, Labatt cited the “rising overall cost” of retiree benefits, including health care.

“That’s a bit rich,” said Larry Innanen, a retiree from Oakville, Ont., who was involved in a class-action lawsuit after Labatt cut health benefits. Innanen, who was an executive vice-president and general counsel at Labatt, said the settlement of that lawsuit reduced the company’s costs while lowering health benefits to former employees.

Innanen said the end of free beer for life was not a surprise. But he is still disappointed.

“It’s a loss to a class of former employees,” said Innanen. “It means something, it’s material to them.”

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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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