New law in Canada would ban employers from forcing high heels on women

Lawmakers in Canada are working on legislation that would put an end to high heel requirements for female employees in the workplace.

Christy Clark, the premier of the western province of British Columbia, on Sunday tweeted her support for a private member’s bill put forward by Green Party leader Andrew Weaver that pushes to make it illegal for businesses to enforce footwear requirements based on gender.

She said that she agrees “100%” with the idea of not forcing women to wear heels at work.

“We’ll move to end this,” she added.

Separately, on her Facebook page, Ms Clark wrote: “In some workplaces in BC, women are still required to wear high heels on the job. This isn’t just old-fashioned; in 2017, it’s unacceptable.”

Mr Weaver last week, on International Women’s Day, proposed a bill designed to “prevent employers from setting varying footwear and other requirements based on gender, gender expression or gender identity. “

According to local news reports, Ms Clark told a news conference her government is looking at the “quickest and simplest” way to implement the change.

The Canadian province isn’t alone in taking on the issue.

In the UK, MPs recently debated a ban on employers demanding that women wear high heels in the workplace, in response to a petition started by receptionist Nicola Thorpe.

The petition asked for dress code laws to be changed so women have the option to wear flat formal shoes in the workplace. It came after Ms Thorpe was sent home from work  in December 2015 for not wearing high heels.

Some 152,000 people backed Ms Thorpe’s  call and the campaign prompted the Government’s Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee to conduct a joint review of workplace dress codes.


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Canada Revenue Agency suspends some online services due to threat

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) said on Sunday that it has resumed all its online services after taking down some applications for nearly two days due to a security threat.



“We took this action as a precaution, not as the result of a successful hack or breach,” CRA, Canada’s federal tax agency, said in a statement.



CRA said it took the step after it became aware on Friday of an “internet vulnerability” affecting some computer servers used by websites worldwide. It did not make clear the nature of the threat.



Canadians have until May 1 to file their income tax returns and benefits, which makes the current period a busy one with online users.



CRA said it could not immediately comment on the seriousness of the threat or whether this was the first time its services had been taken off line due to security concerns.



The agency said it worked with other government departments over the past 48 hours to implement a solution. “We are now confident that the solution has been rigorously and successfully tested and services returned online,” the statement added.





(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Sandra Maler and Will Dunham)


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U.S. beats Canada, advances to second round of World Baseball Classic

Nolan Arenado and Buster Posey homered and drove in three runs apiece to help the United States earn a berth in the second round of the World Baseball Classic with an 8-0 victory against Canada on Sunday night.

The Americans finished 2-1 in pool play and bounced back from a tough loss Saturday, when they blew a five-run lead and were beaten by the Dominican Republic 7-5. The U.S. team failed to reach the final in the three previous WBCs.

The Dominicans also advanced to the second round in San Diego by beating Colombia 10-3 in 11 innings Sunday. The Dominicans, who won the 2013 tournament, finished 3-0 in the first round.

Canada went 0-3.

Danny Duffy became the third consecutive U.S. starter to turn in a scoreless outing. He struck out seven in four innings, and the only baserunners against him were Jonathan Malo and Peter Orr on consecutive two-out singles in the third.

Duffy, Chris Archer and Marcus Stroman combined for 12 2/3 scoreless innings in their starts.

The Americans’ relievers combined for five shutout innings after giving up nine runs in 9 1/3 innings in the first two games. Tyler Clippard retired all six batters he faced, striking out four.

The crowd of 22,303 was smaller and more subdued than for the games involving the Dominican Republic, but there was some flag-waving and chanting for the U.S. team.

The home team gave fans something to cheer about from the start. Canada starter Ryan Dempster, who came out of retirement to pitch in the WBC, recorded just two outs and lasted only two-thirds of an inning and was charged with three runs.

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run double in the first inning to put the Americans ahead, and another run scored on Posey’s groundout.

After Adam Jones and Christian Yelich hit consecutive singles in the second, Arenado homered to make it 6-0. It was the first homer for the Americans in the tournament.

Posey hit a solo homer in the seventh. Posey, Yelich, Jones, Hosmer and Brandon Crawford had two hits apiece.


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Canada Revenue Agency resumes online services after 2-day outage

(Recasts with resumption of services)

Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)
said on Sunday that it has resumed all its online services after
taking down some applications for nearly two days due to a
security threat.

“We took this action as a precaution, not as the result of a
successful hack or breach,” CRA, Canada’s federal tax agency,
said in a statement.

CRA said it took the step after it became aware on Friday of
an “internet vulnerability” affecting some computer servers used
by websites worldwide. It did not make clear the nature of the
threat.

Canadians have until May 1 to file their income tax returns
and benefits, which makes the current period a busy one with
online users.

CRA said it could not immediately comment on the seriousness
of the threat or whether this was the first time its services
had been taken off line due to security concerns.

The agency said it worked with other government departments
over the past 48 hours to implement a solution. “We are now
confident that the solution has been rigorously and successfully
tested and services returned online,” the statement added.

(Reporting by Denny Thomas; Editing by Sandra Maler and Will
Dunham)


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Holiday bomb threats target 5 Jewish centers in US, Canada

Story highlights

  • Rochester JCC one of at least five to report threats on Jewish holiday
  • One person has been arrested in connection with a small portion of this year’s calls
None of the threats proved real in the latest wave of intimidating acts targeting the Jewish community.
For some centers, though, it was not their first ordeal.
The Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center in Rochester, New York, was evacuated Sunday morning for the second time in less than a week.
The center was hosting a “warming center” for people whose homes had lost power when the bomb threat came, Executive Director Arnie Sohinki said.
It reopened without incident a few hours later after receiving an all-clear from law enforcement, Sohinki said. he would not provide further details, citing the police investigation.
“We are open. We will remain open. Whoever is doing this doesn’t realize this only makes us #stronger, ” the center said in a Facebook post. “All are welcome to join us at the JCC.”

Threats in the US and Canada

The Rochester JCC was one of several Jewish institutions to receive a bomb threat on Sunday. The threats coincided with the Jewish holiday of Purim, a festive commemoration of the defeat of a plot to exterminate Jews in ancient Persia.
Other locations reporting similar threats included Indianapolis Jewish Community Center in Indiana; the Jewish Community Center of Greater Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada; and The Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All reopened a few hours later without incident.
The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston also received a bomb threat — its second in three weeks, Executive Vice President Joel Dinkin said. The center, which received the threat via email, was not evacuated.
Jewish center bomb threats: What the callers said
The threats were the latest acts in a recent wave of anti-Semitic incidents across the United States. Museums, houses of worship, advocacy groups and cemeteries have been targets of bomb threats and vandalism as federal officials work with state and local authorities to find those responsible.
One person has been arrested in connection with a small portion of the calls. The head of police intelligence for New York City said he believes one person is responsible for most of the nationwide calls and the rest are the work of copycats. CNN was unable to confirm or corroborate his theory. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials have said they believe many of the threatening calls originated overseas.
Sunday’s incidents bring the number of threats since January in the United States and Canada to 154, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

FBI investigation continues

The Louis S. Wolk JCC also received a bomb threat on Tuesday, March 7, the same day another center in Syracuse and the Anti-Defamation League’s New York City headquarters received threats. No devices were found at the locations and the centers reopened soon after.
After the first bomb threat, the Rochester center had opened its doors to those who lost power in a winter storm blanketing the Northeast. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, called the bomb threat “despicable” given the center’s service to the community.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the incident “cowardly,” especially on a holiday weekend celebrating “the resiliency of the Jewish people.”
“Like all New Yorkers, I am profoundly disturbed and disgusted by the continued threats against the Jewish community in New York. As New Yorkers, we will not be intimidated and we will not stand by silently as some seek to sow hate and division. New York is one family, and an attack on one is an attack on all,” he said in a statement.
Cuomo said he would direct state police to investigate the bomb threats in conjunction with federal officials. Last week, Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio increased a reward for information on hate crimes — not just bomb threats — to $20,000.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division vowed to investigate possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner. As this matter is ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time,” the federal agency said.
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Canadian Hadwin claims maiden PGA title

Adam Hadwin celebrates victory

Valspar Championship final leaderboard
-14 A Hadwin (Can); -13 P Cantlay (US); -12 J Herman (US), D Bozzelli (US); -11 T Finau (US); -9 C Schwartzel (SA)
Selected others: -8 H Stenson (Swe); -5 G McDowell (NI); -2 S Power (Ire); Level I Poulter (Eng)

Canadian Adam Hadwin survived a late scare to claim his maiden PGA title with a one-shot win at the Valspar Championship in Innisbrook, Florida.

The 29-year-old, who carded a round of 59 in January, began the final round with a four-stroke lead.

But he put his tee shot into the water at the 16th, made a double bogey and was tied for the lead at 14 under.

However, Hadwin parred in for a level-par 71 and Patrick Cantlay bogeyed the last to finish second.

Open champion Henrik Stenson was the top-placed European, finishing six shots back after a 70.

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell had five birdies in a 67 and was nine shots adrift, while 41-year-old Ian Poulter, playing on a medical extension having missed four months of last season due to a foot injury, finished level for the tournament.

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Female politicians from Africa find common ground with Canadian counterparts

Female political leaders from more than ten French-speaking countries gathered in the Quebec National Assembly for a week-long leadership conference covering everything from social media to gender-based challenges.

The International Women’s Day event featured parliamentarians from Ottawa and Quebec, as well as politicians from African nations including Niger and Burkina Faso. The women say that they found many things in common.

“One of the reasons I went into politics in my country is really is because I realized that women don’t have a voice,” Suzie Barbosa of the National People’s Assembly in Guinea-Bissau told CTV News.

“We had the idea of Canada being such a developed country that women in politics didn’t have any barriers,” Barbosa added. “What we realized in the end (is) all women have barriers in politics.”

Quebec Liberal MNA Maryse Gaudreault said that although the Canadian and Africa leaders have much in common, there are also differences. She said some Africans wake up to constituents in their backyards waiting for them.

Women currently hold 36 out of the 125 seats in Quebec’s National Assembly. That one-quarter ratio is about the same as the House of Commons in Ottawa.

It’s more than most African parliaments, but the fact Canadian members openly spoke of ongoing struggles with sexism and work-life balance came as a surprise to some of the visiting Africans.

“We thought equality was an African struggle,” said one of the overseas politicians. “Women have to negotiate with their husbands before getting into politics. But we see there are still issues in North America too.”

With a report from CTV’s Genevieve Beauchemin

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U.S. security chief in Canada for talks on asylum-seekers

By David Ljunggren
| OTTAWA

OTTAWA Most of the people crossing the U.S. border into Canada to claim asylum had been in the United States legally, and Canada is sharing their information with U.S. authorities to help understand the phenomenon, a top official said on Friday.

Several hundred asylum seekers, mainly from Africa but also the Middle East, have entered Canada. The refugees and migrant agencies blame the exodus on moves by U.S. President Donald Trump to clamp down on immigration.

“We have provided information about the specific documents that were presented at the border because those are American documents,” Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters.

Goodale spoke after meeting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly in Ottawa for talks on the influx, which is putting domestic pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Emergency responders and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are struggling to respond to people defying wintry conditions to cross the undefended border near Emerson, Manitoba.

Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is demanding Trudeau’s Liberal government provide money and resources.

Ottawa says there is a chance the flow of people will increase as the weather improves.

“We obviously have safety concerns on both sides of the border,” Goodale said, adding that he had seen no evidence yet of any profiteering or human trafficking.

Kelly told CTV that he and his Canadian counterparts were “perplexed as to why people who generally, as a group, have come to the United States legally” would make their way north.

Canadian officials caution against the idea that Trump’s policies are solely to blame. Goodale said some of the asylum seekers had been planning their move in early 2016, months before the November election that brought Trump to power.

Goodale said there was little Canada could do, since the “vast majority” of those crossing the border had been in the United States legally and enjoyed freedom of movement.

“No one is suggesting the construction of a wall along the Canadian border, no one is saying the RCMP should line up along the border and join arms and shoo people away,” he said.

Goodale said he and Kelly had agreed officials needed to gather more information to work out what was happening.

Factors to look at, he said, included “who are the people involved in this migration, where did their journey begin … (and) how is the migration being accomplished?”

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by James Dalgleish)


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Folk veteran and politician James Gordon mixes the personal and universal with new album, Sunny …

James Gordon.
Photo submitted.

James Gordon admits it is a bit of a weird double-life: artist and politician.

Since the late 1970s, the singer-songwriter has been a fixture on the Canadian folk scene. While his work has often had a political bent, Gordon made the full plunge into politics in 2011 when he ran for the Ontario NDP in his hometown of Guelph, Ont. He ran again in 2014.

He didn’t win, but later that year he was elected to Guelph’s city council, on which he currently serves. Not long after the election, he told the local press that he no intention of giving up his political activism or his music career. They were pursuits that often overlapped, particularly in projects such as his scathing one-man political satire Stephen Harper: The Musical. In fact, that was touring Canada just before Gordon was sworn in as Guelph’s Ward 2 councillor.

He said it was the late Jack Layton and current federal NDP leadership hopeful Charlie Angus, a former punk and roots musician himself, who convinced Gordon to enter politics as an extension of his work as an artist.

“They both said there are strange similarities,” says Gordon, who will be playing the Ironwood Stage and Grill on Tuesday. “To be effective in each, you have to be really responsive to what people are looking for, to be a voice for them. My musical work, even when it’s not political, is reflective of stories I heard. I like to be a voice for the little guy, musically. But politically I find that’s what I’m doing, too, in Guelph. I’m trying to move forward with issues that matter to the community that I feel deeply connected with. Sometimes I’m up making a speech and wishing I had a guitar, and sometimes it’s the other way round.”

But while the councillor position is ostensibly part-time, Gordon says he was beginning to feel like it was taking over his life, often at the expense of his day job as a songwriter and touring folk musician.

So he decided he needed to get back to his roots with his newest record, Sunny Jim, which included taking it on the road.

“I was letting my part-time councillor gig cut in too much,” he says. “It can take over really quickly. You’re always on duty. I noticed the music side was suffering because of it. In the last six months, I said, ‘Wait a minute, it’s my own fault. I have to make sure I’m balancing those two worlds.’ I’ll be taking some of the council stuff with me when I go, but I’m going.”

Sunny Jim is Gordon’s 40th recording, topping off a prolific output as both solo artist and former member of the traditional folk trio Tamarack. Musically, it returns him to the stripped-back folk sounds he is known for. Lyrically, the songs occasionally enter the political arena, particularly on numbers such as Call to Arms (“How strange they call them arms, those killing machines”) and the quasi-apocalyptic lament Took the Long Way Home (“Rusted cars filling up with vines; signs of our long slow decline”). But there are also tender personal songs such as I Picture You and old-fashioned folk ballads such as Halong Bay.

“As my work has been getting more political, I’ve learned what doesn’t work is hammering someone over the head with a message,” Gordon says. “But it’s more just putting forward human touch stories and experiences that might be advocating certain issues but are mostly inviting people to share that experience rather than me lecturing them. Some of them are reflective of experiences that I’ve had, I want to make sure when I write a song it has a combination of the personal and universal. Why would you care if it doesn’t look like I put myself into it? But also why would you care if you don’t recognize something of yourself in it?”

Sunny Jim also features a recording of one of Gordon’s best-known songs Frobisher Bay, a campfire-ready favourite that dates back to his Tamarack days. It has been recorded by more than 100 artists and was even used as an audition piece for Canadian Idol. 

Gordon has been a mainstay in Guelph’s rich music scene for decades and in the past decade his family has become a bit of musical dynasty. Sons Evan and Geordie have their own impressive resumes in Ontario’s indie-rock scene, having played with acts such as Islands and the Constantines and their own band, The Magic. Evan produced Sunny Jim and both he and Geordie play on it.

“The recording is almost an excuse for dad and the kids to get together,” Gordon says. “Evan has become quite an accomplished producer and engineer and I have a recording studio. Most of us old troubadours are do-it-yourselfers, almost out of economic necessity. So it was nice to have the confidence to give over the production side and get the input from those guys. They nudge me a little bit past the folky side of things and I tend to nudge them a little bit towards that. It’s a nice meeting in the middle.”

James Gordon plays the Ironwood Stage and Grill on Tuesday, March 14 at 8 p.m.

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Three families who helped shelter Snowden seek asylum in Canada

Three families who helped shelter former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in 2013 after his mass leak of information about surveillance programmes have asked Canada for asylum, their lawyer said on Friday.

The families – three Sri Lankan adults, a Filipina, and three stateless children – have had long-pending asylum claims in Hong Kong that they fear may soon be rejected, lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin said in a phone interview from Hong Kong.

Seguin said the families had been thrust into the spotlight after the September release of the Oliver Stone film “Snowden” which referred to their role in Snowden’s flight from the United States in 2013 and, eventually, to Russia.

Seguin said the families and Hong Kong-based lawyer Robert Tibbo, who introduced his clients to Snowden, now face increasingly adverse circumstances in Hong Kong.

They said that they have been “actively sought by Sri Lankan operatives” in recent months and fear for their safety in Hong Kong, Seguin said. Reuters could not independently verify their stories.

A spokeswoman for Canada’s immigration minister said his office does not comment on current or possible cases and could not confirm or deny having received the applications.

Hong Kong authorities have yet to confirm that they are investigating claims Sri Lankan operatives were working in the territory, but a Security Bureau spokesman said it was illegal for foreign agencies to carry out law enforcement action within Hong Kong.

“Everyone in Hong Kong is protected by Hong Kong laws regardless of his or her identity and background,” the bureau spokesman said.

Snowden’s leaks of classified information about government surveillance programmes caused an international furor over the reach of U.S. spy operations. His defenders see him as a whistleblower who exposed the extent of government snooping on citizens. He has been allowed to remain in Russia for another three years and will next year qualify to apply for Russian citizenship, his Russian lawyer was quoted as saying in January.

Reuters


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