The General Motors assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont., shuttered this week, ending an era for the motor city. Experts say the closure of the plant, which led to layoffs affecting thousands of workers, signifies more than just that.
Craig Alexander, chief economist at Deloitte Canada, told Global News the Canadian labour market is “doing well,” but technical changes are affecting workers.
“A lot of workers are being affected by technical changes that are disrupting business models as a result.”
“We have a lot of workers that are ultimately going to need to be retrained, develop new skills, so that they can move into the industries that are experiencing the strongest job growth in the future,” he added.
GM announced in November last year that it would wind down production at the plant, which has been in operation since 1953, while the company first started producing vehicles in the city east of Toronto in 1918. The closure means about 2,600 unionized employees will lose their jobs, though about 300 are being saved through a $170-million investment by GM to turn part of the operation into a parts plant.
Alexander said having workers who are losing jobs and need to retrain can be “detrimental” to the Canadian economy.
“We’ve actually seen globally in things like Brexit and the rise of Trump … that when people get left behind, they become frustrated that the system, the establishment isn’t working for them, they want political change — and sometimes those changes are not healthy,” he said.
While technological changes in the economy have always been present, increasing global competition for business makes it more difficult for workers to keep up, the economist noted.
“I think what we’re seeing is fundamental change in the structure of the Canadian economy,” Alexander said. “When we look at industries driving growth, it isn’t the industries that drove growth in the past.”
GM prepares to shutter Oshawa plant after more than 100 years in the ‘Motor City’
Greig Mordue, an associate engineering professor at McMaster University, highlighted the change that’s occurred specifically with the Oshawa GM plant.
“At one point in time, Oshawa made a million cars a year. It was responsible for about a third of the automotive production at its peak year,” he said. “Oshawa has had a long, slow, difficult come-down from those peak years.”
Mordue noted Canada’s auto industry doesn’t necessarily have to get left behind.
“You can build electric vehicles, once you decide how you want to build them, in any location,” he said, noting the same is possible for autonomous vehicles.
However, Mordue acknowledged that laid-off workers will have difficulty adjusting to the change, retraining and finding jobs.
Roy Eagen is one of those parts workers. Walking out of the plant on Wednesday, his eyes welled with tears, both from the biting cold wind and the emotions of the day.
“It was rough, it was pretty depressing,” he said of watching the last truck frame go down the line.
GM has been working to help employees find other jobs, while about 1,200 of the employees qualify for full retirement packages.
GM Canada VP looks ahead to future of company in Oshawa
“The employee base that we’ve had over the years has accomplished so much, and we owe it to them to help them transition as best we can,” said David Paterson, vice-president of corporate affairs at GM Canada.
He said it was a sad day, but with Oshawa only operating at about a third of capacity and no vehicles ready to assign to it, the company felt it had to wind down production.
Along with the parts conversion, GM is also building a track at the Oshawa facility to test electric and autonomous vehicles as part of a major transition in the auto industry.
The auto giant said this month that several employers have identified about 2,000 jobs that will become open in Durham Region in 2019 and 2020 — many of them related to the refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear power plant southeast of Oshawa.
The company has also identified 300 openings for auto technicians at GM dealerships in Ontario and 100 jobs that will be open at other GM facilities in Ontario.
Paterson said the company would ensure its employees get retraining. Durham College is expected to establish a confidential internet portal in the new year to help auto workers identify job openings and begin plans to take retraining courses offered by a consortium of colleges.
GM employees reflect on the day the company announced the closure
Don Lovisa, the president of the college, explained that several companies have reached out saying they need employees.
“Companies approach us and say we need people, train these people, tell them about our jobs, we’ll hire them,” he told Global News.
He acknowledged, however, that it will be a challenge for older workers to retrain or in some cases return to school, and then settle in to new jobs.
— With files from Global News’ Jeff Semple and the Canadian Press
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
International students still need quarantine plan at Canada border – Canada Immigration News
Although Canada has begun easing border measures, having a quarantine plan is still required at the border — even if you don’t actually use it.
Fully vaccinated travellers no longer have to quarantine for two weeks. Starting August 9, if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need an on arrival test unless you get randomly selected. Canada currently only considers you to be “fully vaccinated” if it has been 14 days since you got the final dose of a vaccine that has been approved by Health Canada. These currently include: Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, and Janssen. Otherwise, you are still considered unvaccinated.
The ninth of August also marks the end of hotel quarantine, where travellers have to pay to stay in a government-approved hotel.
All that being said, you still have to show up to the border with a suitable quarantine plan in case the border officer determines you do not meet the exemption. The federal government issued a presser specifically for international students coming to Canada this fall, reminding them of what they need to do in order to travel to Canada.
Who can enter Canada to study
There are two things you need to come to Canada as a student:
Students coming from India will have to navigate the ban on direct flights. Canada has suspended direct flights between the two countries until at least August 21. Those travelling from India can take an indirect route, but will need a pre-departure COVID-19 test from a third country before coming to Canada.
Your should already have a plan to manage the quarantine period for international students as part of its COVID-19 readiness plan. They should also allow you access to food and medicine during your stay. Contact your school for help in developing your quarantine plan before you depart for Canada.
After that, you have to submit your plan to border officials through the ArriveCAN app. This app has been used throughout the pandemic for officer-traveller communication, and it is where you submit all the documents you will need for travel.
Again, you still need a quarantine plan even if you are considered fully vaccinated. Your proof of vaccination must be in English or French, or else you need a certified translation.
Rules subject to change
Health officials are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation in Canada and around the world. Any change to border measures falls under Health Canada’s responsibility. Other departments, such as the Canadian border, works to implement the health department’s recommendations.
While international travel restrictions fall under the federal governments purview, provincial governments are responsible for their own healthcare systems. The federal government offers a list of each provincial government’s website, which include measures for travellers. Your learning institution will also have its own COVID rules and regulations.
© CIC News All Rights Reserved. Visit CanadaVisa.com to discover your Canadian immigration options.
Mary Simon to be officially installed as governor general today – CBC.ca
Join CBC News for live coverage Monday of the installation of Mary Simon as Canada’s first Indigenous governor general.
Mary Simon officially becomes Canada’s first Indigenous governor general today in a ceremony at the Senate building in Ottawa.
Simon — an Inuk from Kuujjuaq in northeastern Quebec — was tapped by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fill the role earlier this month.
The swearing-in ceremony will, for the first time, be conducted in both English and Inuktitut and broadcast in eight Indigenous languages on CBC Radio.
Viewers can also follow the event on CBCnews.ca and on Facebook. CBC Indigenous Facebook is hosting the English stream, CBC Nunavut Facebook is hosting the Inuktitut stream, and CBC North Facebook is sharing both.
Following the ceremony, Simon will visit the National War Memorial to inspect a guard of honour and lay flowers in honour of Canada’s war dead — her first act as the Queen’s representative in Canada.
Simon took her first step into the official role Thursday when she spoke with the Queen.
In a short clip of the online conversation that was posted on The Royal Family’s Instagram account, the Queen said it was good to speak with Simon and told her she was “taking over a very important job.”
“Yes, I’m very privileged to be able to do this work over the next few years,” Simon said. “I think it’s vitally important for our country.”
“To see somebody like Mary Simon, who is an unquestioned Indigenous leader in this country and has been for decades, be recognized for her leadership and her service in taking on this new responsibility as governor general was something that was really powerful,” Natan Obed, the president of the national Inuit group Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), told CBC earlier this month.
But concerns have been raised about Simon’s ability to speak French.
While she is fully fluent in English and Inuktitut, Simon is not fluent in French. Typically, the governor general is expected to have a complete command of both official languages.
Despite Simon’s promise to continue taking French lessons while serving as governor general, hundreds of French speaking Canadians have written complaints to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
The complaints prompted Commissioner Raymond Théberge to launch an investigation into the process for nominating the governor general.
Despite growing up in northern Quebec, Simon said she never had an opportunity to learn French at an early age because it was not taught at the federal day school she attended.
Day schools operated separately from residential schools but were run by many of the same groups that ran residential schools. They operated from the 1860s to the 1990s.
WATCH | Languages commissioner says he’s received almost 600 complaints about next governor general’s lack of fluency in French
The government has maintained that Simon is an exemplary candidate despite her lack of fluency in French.
Simon brings an extensive resume with her to Rideau Hall, following a career that included various positions as an advocate and ambassador.
She helped negotiate the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, a landmark deal between the Cree and Inuit in Quebec’s north, the provincial government and Hydro-Québec.
Widely seen as the country’s “first modern treaty,” the agreement saw the province acknowledge Cree and Inuit rights in the James Bay region for the first time, such as exclusive hunting, fishing and trapping rights and self-governance in some areas. It also offered financial compensation in exchange for the construction of massive new hydroelectric dams to fuel the growing province’s demand for new energy sources.
Simon was also an Inuit representative during the negotiations that led to the patriation of the Constitution in 1982 — which included an acknowledgement of Indigenous treaty rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
WATCH | Mary Simon challenges Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1984
In 1986, Simon was tapped to lead the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC), a group created in 1977 to represent the Inuit in all the Arctic countries. At the ICC, she championed two priorities for Indigenous Peoples of the north: protecting their way of life from environmental damage and pushing for responsible economic development on their traditional territory.
In 1994, former prime minister Jean Chrétien appointed Simon as Canada’s first ambassador for circumpolar affairs.
During her time in that role, she helped negotiate the creation of an eight-country group known today as the Arctic Council. She would later be appointed as Canada’s ambassador to Denmark.
Beginning in 2006, Simon served two terms as president of the ITK. In that role, she delivered a response on behalf of Inuit to the formal apology for residential schools presented in the House of Commons in 2008.
WATCH | ᑕᑯᒃᓴᐅᕙᒌᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᑕᐅᑐᒃᓯᐅᒃ: ᐊᕙᑎᒃ ᖁᓕᓪᓗ ᐊᑕᓂᐊᓘᑉ ᑭᒡᒐᑐᕐᑎᖓᑦ
Maggie Mac Neil swims to Canada's 1st gold medal of Tokyo Olympics – CBC.ca
Maggie Mac Neil won Canada’s first gold medal of these Olympics, capturing the women’s 100-metre butterfly in a Canadian record of 55.59 seconds on Monday morning in Tokyo.
China’s Zhang Yufei (55.64) took the silver and Australia’s Emma McKeon (55.72) claimed bronze.
Mac Neil, from London, Ont., is competing in her first Olympics and already has two medals.
“I can’t believe this moment happened,” she said after becoming an Olympic champion.
Her time of 55.59 is the third-fastest time ever. Seconds after touching the wall inside the Tokyo Aquatics Centre, Mac Neil squinted up at the scoreboard in disbelief at seeing her name in the No. 1 position.
“It was more than I was hoping for at this point. I really just wanted to have fun, which I think I did today,” Mac Neil said. “I’m really proud of that and am just trying to swim my best.”
Bring on the cheers
Find live streams, must-watch video highlights, breaking news and more in one perfect Olympic Games package. Following Team Canada has never been easier or more exciting.
At the turn, Mac Neil found herself in seventh position but then put forward a memorable closing 50 metres to touch the wall first.
WATCH | Maggie Mac Neil wins gold in 100m butterfly:
“I’m not usually out fast,” the 21-year-old said. “I like to have time to get going, stay smooth and strong. The second 50 metres is always my sweet spot and where I feel most comfortable.”
Just a day earlier, Mac Neil was part of the Canadian women’s 4×100-metre freestyle relay team that won silver.
“We haven’t shown the world what we’re here for yet. We’re the underdogs and it’s working to our advantage,” she said.
At the 2019 world championships, Mac Neil also won gold in the 100-metre butterfly and set a Canadian record at her first world championships. She admitted she was feeling the pressure being the reigning world champion coming into the Olympics.
WATCH | Mac Neil receives gold medal:
“Coming in with a target on your back is hard in so many ways. Going into worlds I was relatively unknown so I had that to my advantage,” she said. “That added pressure makes it a little more challenging, so I was just focusing on having fun.”
In other events Monday, Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh finished fourth in the women’s 400-metre freestyle, as did the Canadian men in the 4×100-metre relay. Kylie Masse advanced to Tuesday’s final by finishing second in her 100-metre backstroke semfinal, but Taylor Ruck failed to advance.
Mac Neil, like many of the Canadian swimmers, had a curveball thrown into her journey to the Olympics.
Normally she trains in the United States, swimming at the University of Michigan. At the 2021 NCAA championships, she won and set an NCAA record in the 100-yard butterfly, becoming the first woman in history to go under 49 seconds in that event.
But she had to change up her preparation leading into the Games because of COVID-19.
Mac Neil was forced to leave her coaches and training program in the U.S. because of all the changing pandemic-related public health restrictions and start fresh with the team at the high-performance centre in Toronto — not an ideal situation just months before the Olympics.
WATCH | Breaking down Mac Neil’s golden race:
After two weeks of quarantine Mac Neil got to work with the national team and coaches at the beginning of April. She said that while the change wasn’t optimal, she actually ended up improving on a number of different disciplines.
“I was quite nervous about how it was all going to turn out. Switching so close. It worked out for the best,”
McIntosh, 14, in her first Olympic final, was going up against some of the best swimmers in the sport’s history in American Katie Ledecky and Australia’s Ariarne Titmus.
For most of the race McIntosh held her own, swimming strong behind the two powerhouses. But in the closing 100 metres McIntosh was passed by eventual bronze medallist China’s Bingji Li. Titmus won the gold and Ledecky took silver.
WATCH | Summer McIntosh 4th in 400m freestyle:
McIntosh finished fourth in the race, breaking her Canadian record she set a day earlier with a time of 4:02.02.
In the men’s 4×100-metre final, Canada’s Brent Hayden, 37, blasted off the blocks and put the team in a strong opening position in the opening leg. Canada was in third going into the final leg, but anchor Markus Thormeyer was passed by Australia’s Kyle Chalmers in the last 50 metres.
The United States grabbed gold, 3:08.97, Italy finished in second place, 3:10.11, while Australia finished with bronze in a time of 3:10.22.
Canada’s time of 3:10.82 is a Canadian record.
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