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Big Three try to Regain Ground on self-driving Cars



In the race to develop self-driving cars, Michigan is suddenly aiming to give Silicon Valley a run for its money.

The Motor City has been the centre of the United States auto industry for more than a century. But as computer chips and software have become increasingly important in automobiles, Silicon Valley has seemed to take the lead, especially in the development of the supersmart cars of tomorrow.

Google and Tesla, for example, have been at the forefront in creating cars with the ability to drive themselves. And many automakers have opened California outposts to become part of the high-tech scene. Uber and Lyft, the app-based ride-hailing services, are both based in San Francisco.

But Michigan is trying to regain the high ground. General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are all engaged in autonomous vehicle projects based in Detroit’s environs. And the state government is laying the ground for even more self-driving development work.

The latest step came this month when Gov. Rick Snyder signed a package of laws to permit more extensive testing of self-driving cars on public roads, while clearing the way for use of autonomous vehicles in trials by ride-hailing services.

“We are opening a new portal for autonomous technology,” Snyder said in an interview. “This helps reinforce the message that Michigan is a place of innovation.”

The passage of Michigan’s new laws come as Uber battles with California authorities over the company’s test of self-driving cars in San Francisco. The state contends Uber has not obtained the necessary permits, although Uber has continued picking up passengers with its autonomous test cars.

Nevada and Arizona are also vying to lure companies that are testing and developing self-driving cars. What’s at stake is a potential economic boost — the millions of dollars automakers and others are spending on research and engineering, and the high-paying jobs they are creating.

The city of Pittsburgh is also intent on competing with Detroit as a self-driving technopolis. Because of some pioneering research in self-driving technology at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh has emerged as a key development site.

Uber is using autonomous cars to provide rides in one section of the city, a project for which Bill Peduto, the mayor, said he was happy to “roll out the red carpet.” Delphi Automotive, a maker of automobile components, is also working on self-driving systems in Pittsburgh.

Even before Michigan passed its new laws, the state was gaining ground. Earlier this year Google’s self-driving car project, now called Waymo, partnered with Fiat Chrysler to develop a fleet of 100 self-driving minivans and opened a technical office in Novi, Mich., near Detroit.

The modified Pacifica vans, engineered in Michigan and assembled at Fiat Chrysler’s plant in Windsor, Ont., just across the river from Detroit, were recently delivered to Waymo. The two companies tested the first prototypes at Fiat Chrysler’s proving grounds near Ann Arbor.

Ontario means to play its own big role in self-driving technology. Earlier this year, General Motors announced that it would create up to 1,000 engineering jobs in the province, many focused on autonomous driving software development. And this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially opened BlackBerry’s self-driving research centre in Ottawa. It is based around a company formerly known QNX Software Systems, which has a long history as a supplier to auto companies.

Back in Michigan, Ford is expanding its autonomous car efforts at its headquarters in Dearborn. It has built 30 self-driving cars and aims to have a fully automated car, with no steering wheel or pedals, in volume production by 2021. Ford intends for those cars to be first used in urban, ride-hailing fleets.

The University of Michigan has created a 32-acre centre for testing self-driving vehicles in Ann Arbor. Called MCity, the 32-acre facility has streets, intersections, traffic lights and road signs that provide a realistic environment where companies can hone autonomous vehicles before putting them on public roads.

The university has also broken ground on a much larger, 335-acre site that was once the home of a Second World War bomber factory.

Michigan’s new laws allow the testing of autonomous vehicles that have no steering wheel or gas and brake pedals. California prohibits testing of such cars on public roads. Michigan is also allowing more extensive testing of autonomous trucks travelling in groups or platoons.

“There’s the wrangling going on between the tech companies and the authorities in California over what is and what isn’t allowed,” said Karl Brauer, a senior editor at Kelley Blue Book, an automotive research firm. “Meanwhile, in Michigan, you get the sense that it’s ‘What can we do to help you?’ ”

General Motors, the nation’s biggest automaker, said last week that it planned to soon begin testing its autonomous vehicles on Michigan roads. The company added that it would also build its first self-driving Chevrolet Bolts — already available as an all-electric car for human drivers — at an assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Orion Township. GM is not saying when self-driving cars will be available for sale, but that it expects the Bolt will initially be for ride-hailing services.

The addition of autonomous vehicles early next year may help secure the long-term future of the Orion Township plant, which makes the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact as well as the Bolt.

GM’s decision to centralize its production of self-driving models in Orion Township is a big step toward making Michigan a manufacturing hub for autonomous cars.

“We expect to be the first high-volume auto manufacturer to build fully autonomous vehicles in a mass-production assembly plant,” Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive, said at Friday’s announcement.

GM has already been testing autonomous Bolts at its technical centre in Warren, Michigan, as well as on public roads in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona.

But Barra said Michigan’s new law would help make the state the centre of its winter-weather tests.

“Being here where we can get the cold, snow and all the different weather conditions,” she said, “is very important.”

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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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