TORONTO – Greeting card retailers Carlton Cards and Papyrus are closing their doors, including 79 stores in Canada.
A Papyrus store employee at Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton says employees were told that stores will close in four to six weeks.
Alyssa Scott says the closure doesn’t come as a surprise.
She says employees saw it coming because business has been very slow.
The Schurman Retail Group owns and operates Carlton and Papyrus stores, which in turn buys branded products that are available in thousands of Canadian retailers including Shopper’s Drug Mart, London Drugs an Indigo.
Media reports in the U.S. said 254 stores employing 1,400 people will close in North America, including 178 locations south of the border.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2020.
Bylaw officers told to crack down on Uber: Surrey city councillor – Global News
A Surrey city councillor says she was told that the city’s bylaw officers were directed to target ridesharing vehicles over the weekend.
Linda Annis told Global News that Surrey’s general manager of corporate services Rob Costanzo informed her at a morning meeting of the initiative.
Annis said bylaw officers were instructed to book Uber vehicles and when the drivers arrived, to issue them a warning along with a $500-per-car fine to the company.
“To call a car that you are not wanting to use to issue a warning, to me, is totally inappropriate, and their time should be used for better things in terms of doing bylaw enforcement in Surrey,” said Annis.
Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum is slated to speak to the media at 3 p.m. Monday. The mayor has previously said the ridesharing regime is unfair to taxi drivers, who must operate within smaller zone boundaries and with fleet size restrictions.
On Friday, Surrey sent Uber a notice warning it to cease operations in the city or face fines.
Surrey threatens to fine ride-hailing drivers found operating in the city
Surrey has so far refused to issue municipal business licences to any ridesharing companies.
Speaking on CKNW’s The Simi Sara Show, Surrey Coun. Jack Hundial said it was unfair to be targeting workers operating the Uber vehicles, adding he’d pay the first $500 fine issued to any Uber operator.
“We can’t be penalizing the drivers,” he said.
“If you want to issue a fine as a city, then you address it with Uber, not with individual drivers. These guys and girls are just trying to make extra money to support themselves,” he said.
Surrey had a council meeting scheduled for Monday night, and Hundial said that while ridesharing wasn’t on the agenda, it would likely be discussed.
Uber, which launched with a service area including most of Surrey, has said it won’t stop operating in the city.
B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation says Surrey does not have the authority to ban ride-hailing companies.
Under the province’s Transportation Network Services (TNS) regulations, cities can set the requirements for a business licence, but cannot stop companies from operating within the region if they’ve won a licence from the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB).
Metro Vancouver is currently working on region-wide business licences for ridesharing companies but said there will be no significant movement on the initiative until February.
Uber currently has a municipal licence to operate in Delta, Richmond and Vancouver.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Pregnant Canadian woman stuck in Wuhan, China, coronavirus epicentre – Times Colonist
A teacher who is living with his pregnant wife and child in a city that is at the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak is hoping to get his family out safely.
Tom Williams is a British expat who has been living and working for about five years in Wuhan, which is the capital of Hubei province in China.
His wife Lauren, who is from Langley, B.C., is about 35 weeks pregnant, he said in a telephone interview from Wuhan. He also has a two-and-a-half-year-old son, James, who was born in White Rock, B.C.
“We are quarantined in the city,” he said.
While he said things are “pretty calm” and “under control” he noted the road closures have added a “little bit of worry” for when they will have to get his wife to the maternity hospital. She is due in the middle of February, he said.
“We’re due to give birth in Wuhan. That’s becoming a little bit more risky as time goes on,” Williams said. “It’s a changing picture. It’s changing everyday. New stuff and new guidelines going on.”
He contacted the emergency hotline for the Canadian embassy over the weekend, he said.
Staff there put him through to Ottawa and he said he was told that he and his family should stay put.
“There’s no imminent plans to evacuate Canadians from the city,” Williams said, adding that he would like to get out of Wuhan “as soon as possible,” but was prepared for the alternative.
“If I have to stay behind, so be it. As long as my wife is guaranteed a safe birth.”
Other countries need to follow the lead of the United States, which has had a flight approved while working with the Chinese authorities, he said.
“Particularly for people who are at higher risk.”
China has now reported more than 2,700 cases of the new virus with at least 80 deaths, and officials say the rate at which it’s spreading is accelerating.
In a news conference in Ottawa Monday, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said 167 Canadian citizens in the affected region have registered their whereabouts with the federal government, a voluntary move that helps Canada keep track of them and get them information.
Eight of those have requested some form of “consular assistance,” he said.
Canada doesn’t have a standing diplomatic presence specifically in Wuhan. Some of its allies, such as the United States, have large consulates, which they’re evacuating. They’re taking some particularly vulnerable citizens with them on charter flights, where there’s room alongside the diplomatic staff.
Canada does have a hotline for Canadians to call if they need help.
“We are also liaising with our international partners to ensure options to ensure the safety and well-being of all Canadians who need consular assistance in China,” Champagne said.
In Wuhan, Williams said local shops are still open and well-stocked, however, some of the roads are allowing only approved vehicles.
“If you are more central in the city or closer to the epicentre of the virus then there are only approved vehicles allowed on those.”
People have to wear masks according to guidelines and local authorities are checking peoples’ temperatures, he said.
Williams and his family are not in the central part of the city, so cars are still allowed but there’s very little traffic, he said.
Although the situation is “sad and upsetting,” Williams said he’s quite peaceful about it.
“It is what it is. You can’t control these things sometimes,” he said. “We’re trying to have hope instead of fear.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2020.
GRT talks to resume Tuesday – KitchenerToday.com
The region and Unifor Local 4304 will resume bargaining talks on Tuesday morning, to try and end a strike by Grand River Transit workers.
That announcement was made Monday morning by the region.
The region’s CAO says they are pleased talks are resuming.
“That’s the only way that this is going to get resolved. The parties get together face-to-face at the bargaining table … try to understand what the outstanding issues are and try to find ways, if we can, to resolve them … get the strike done and get transit up and running again.” Mike Murray told Kitchener Today with Brian Bourke on 570 NEWS.
“I’m convinced the two teams, face-to-face, they’ll find ways to work this out.” he added.
The over 700 drivers, mechanics, vehicle service attendants and dispatchers have been on strike since last Tuesday morning.
“Just like on the first day of this strike, we remain committed to bargaining the best possible collective agreement on behalf of Unifor Local 4304 members,” Tim Jewell, Unifor Local 4304 President said in a release. “Transit workers deserve a safe and respectful work environment.”
The two sides have not met since Wednesday.
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