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‘Here, everything feels much closer’: Entrepreneur says leaving Toronto for Innisfil good for business



The COVID-19 pandemic had devastating effects on many facets of our lives, but there may have been a silver lining for the town of Innisfil on the startup front.

With the proliferation in work-from-home technology and a migration of labour and brain power  out of the GTA toward Simcoe County, the town appears to be well positioned to reap the benefits on the entrepreneur front.

Software designer Fractional SAS is among the startups seeing success.

Owner Andrew Rains, originally from Toronto, said high rental costs had him looking to Innisfil, adding the town gave him the space to shoot for an untapped market: producing software to address government regulation, instead of big, flashy consumer products.

“We want to just test that theory out: producing less attractive ideas. And I think actually living outside of Toronto allowed for that. We have never had to go and look for outside funding. We haven’t had to raise money because our lifestyles don’t require that. Our business needs and our lifestyles don’t require us to do that.”

When asked about Innisfil’s size and amenities compared to his hometown, Rains admits it’s a benefit, as he has better access to town officials.

“Having moved here, I feel much closer to the municipality. Much more aware of what’s going on at town hall that I would if I were in Toronto. In Toronto, I had no visibility, no connection to municipality, and I’m not even just talking about work, you know, as a resident. Here, everything feels much closer.”

Among the steps the town has taken to lure more businesses to the area is forming DMZ Innisfil.

Through a partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University, the town’s economic development department forged DMZ Innisfil to give regional entrepreneurs and startup founders access to a customized mentorship program, resources, networking events, and insight on how to grow and scale a business.

Jelmer Stegink, program director at DMZ Innisfil, said they wanted a piece of Toronto’s action.

“If you looked at job creation in Toronto, the technology sector was booming. The year 2019, we’re looking into this double-digit growth in technology in Toronto, which is significant, and are well-paying jobs for the most part. So we figured, how do we start attracting a little bit of growth up into our community? How do we start establishing a local technology cluster?” Stegink said.

While he concedes Innisfil lacks the same infrastructure as major urban centres, like Toronto, Stegink said that is top of mind for DMZ.

“Thankfully, (the) Internet’s good and improving. Communities across Simcoe County are investing to improve their internet speed, internet access. Startups, like Starlink, in some cases, provide high-speed internet in places where it typically hasn’t been available. But yeah, absolutely, having the resources in place are key.”

He added that a major selling feature for entrepreneurs working where they live is the lifestyle they get to enjoy in Innisfil. A fact Mayor Lynn Dollin heartily agrees with.

“Just the quality of life is a whole different piece. When you have kids that have to go to hockey and soccer camp, and all of those other things, spending three hours commuting every day is a real drain, and it really takes away from family time.”

Dollin also acknowledged urban centres, like Toronto, may have a leg up when it comes to infrastructure, but Innisfil holds its own, she said.

“I don’t know if it’s actually a competition,” she said. “Some people prefer the big city, but we do our best to have job fairs for people who are looking for particular type of staffing, either through our own economic development, through support from Nottawasaga Futures, support from the County of Simcoe and from Georgian College, who are opening up a new centre for skilled trades. We all work together to try to create a place where employers can thrive and also grow.”

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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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