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.
‘Malicious intent’ suspected in wolf escape, Greater Vancouver Zoo says
LANGLEY, B.C. — The Greater Vancouver Zoo said Tuesday afternoon that a number of its wolves were on the loose after the animals were believed to have been released from their enclosure as a result of “malicious intent.”
However, it said there was no danger to the public, and it was working with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service to “contain” the animals, while the Langley RCMP investigated what appeared to be a case of unlawful entry and vandalism.
“GVZoo staff continue to actively search for a small number of remaining wolves un-accounted for,” the zoo said in a posting. It highlighted the posting with a Facebook message at 3.25 p.m.
Earlier, British Columbia’s Environment Ministry had said that only one wolf was still missing at the zoo, located about 55 kilometres east of Vancouver in the community of Aldergrove.
It did not say how many had escaped at the facility, which says it has nine adult grey wolves and six cubs.
The zoo said on its website that a number of wolves were discovered outside their enclosure Tuesday morning, triggering what it said was an “ongoing investigation and is suspicious, and believed to be due to malicious intent.”
It said most of the wolves were back in the care of its animal health and welfare team.
The zoo had announced that it was closed on Tuesday morning via its Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The Environment Ministry said anyone who sees a wolf should keep their distance and report it by calling 1-877-952-7277.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 16, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Ageism: Does it Exist or Is It a Form of ‘I’m a Victim!’ Mentality? [ Part 3 ]
Your age is irrelevant.
This is the third column of a 4-part series dealing with ageism while job hunting.
Career coaches and job search experts claim you can fool employers about your age and beat ageism. The truth is, regardless of your age, nobody can “beat” ageism.
Say you land an interview by concealing your age using experts’ tips and tricks. When you meet the hiring manager, will your age not become evident? Deflecting your age until an in-person or Zoom interview is pointless. At some point during the hiring process, your age will be revealed.
Then there’s the Internet, which “experts” never mention. Employers Google candidates to determine if they’re interview-worthy, which’ll turn up many ways to assess the candidate’s age:
- Your graduating years.
- The years you played minor league baseball.
- The picture your son, who tagged you, posted on Facebook, in August 2004, of you dropping him off at university.
- The whitepaper, Advancing Asian Markets Are Undermining Globalization, you wrote back in 1994 for the brokerage firm you were working at.
- Last March, you tweeted you were celebrating your 25th wedding anniversary.
There’s plenty of information on the Internet, either placed by you or not, that employers can use to determine your age. The Internet has made attempting to hide one’s age from employers futile. Employers can easily determine, even find, your age outside of your resume and LinkedIn profile. Hence, the advice to leave off dates, etc., seems illogical to me. It’s actually telling that you’re trying to hide your age when you leave off dates.
Employers can find almost anything about potential candidates thanks to the Internet. (e.g., age, place of birth, your social media posts). Consequently, employers won’t schedule an interview if they see something they don’t like about a candidate. The Internet allows employers to exercise their biases, right or wrong, before contacting a candidate. When you apply and don’t hear anything, the reason(s) is unknown to you. It’s a guess—a pacifying belief—to say you’re not getting interviews because of your age.
An employer invites you to an interview because you have the skills, experience, and qualifications they’re looking for, and your digital footprint has passed their scrutiny. If you’re not hired, it’s not because of your age. Assuming you didn’t arrive late, dressed professionally, built rapport with your interviewer, and didn’t knock over the picture of their dog, you weren’t hired because (the two most common reasons):
- You didn’t sell yourself as the solution to the problem the position was created to solve, or (brace yourself)
- There were better candidates.
Obviously, candidates get rejected for various reasons, not just the ones I mentioned. However, rejected candidates often use excuses, such as ageism, to justify why they weren’t selected rather than evaluating their interviewing skills.
You’re not owed friendship, love, respect, health, or making a living. Everything in life—everything worthwhile—must be earned. No matter how old you are, you need to earn (READ: prove) why you deserve to be on an employer’s payroll.
Now that you know you can’t beat ageism, what can you do? As regular readers of my columns know, my first advice to jobseekers is to find their tribe. Look for where you belong and will be welcomed. Pursue the right employers! My advice to “find your tribe” applies not just to ageism but to overcoming all perceived “isms.” An undeniable fact: As humans, we prefer to be around people we feel comfortable with.
When you focus on where you belong, your job search will be much more successful.
I’m confident there are just as many employers who value the experience a seasoned candidate will bring to their company as there are employers who prefer less seasoned candidates for what they’ll not bring to their company. (I know, this is a bit of a mind pretzel. Flip it around in your head for a few minutes. Slowly it’ll make sense.)
Regardless of whether you consider yourself young or old, you can make your age irrelevant by:
- Demonstrating your ability to generate revenue, save money, improve processes, improve safety, etc. (Share your expertise and track record of delivering results.)
- Adopt a consulting mindset. (Treat interviews as consulting conversations. Show curiosity and a learning mindset.)
- Communicating your confidence in your ability to hit the ground running. (This isn’t your first rodeo.)
- Show you’re energetic and enthusiastic.
Look at that; I provided ways to negate your age over which “older candidates” have more leverage.
Whatever your age, remember, an interview isn’t about you. It’s about convincing your interviewer you’re the best solution to their problems. Remember, you were vetted before getting the interview; your age isn’t an issue.
Next week, in my final column of this series, I’ll discuss having the right mindset to cope with ageism during job searches.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Canada eyes cash for critical minerals in Biden's big new climate bill – CBC News
A historic climate bill just passed by the U.S. Congress could have implications in entrenching Canada’s role in the shift toward clean transportation.
The legislation that passed last week established preferential tax treatment for electric vehicles assembled anywhere in North America.
That made-in-North-America approach generated some news headlines by bringing an amicable resolution to a months-long Canada-U.S. irritant.
Less noticed in the bill was a pot of money containing hundreds of millions of dollars to jump-start a new domestic industry in components for electric-vehicle batteries.
The ripple-effects could eventually be felt across the border, up into remote Canadian mining communities.
At issue is growing U.S. concern about becoming dependent on its great geopolitical rival, China, for the critical minerals powering future vehicles.
President Joe Biden invoked the U.S. Defense Production Act earlier this year allowing him to fund projects that would lessen dependence on U.S. rivals.
He’s now getting the funds to do it: $500 million US set aside in this incoming law, after another $600 million was tucked into a recent Ukraine assistance bill, atop an older multibillion-dollar loans program.
Those funds are now at Biden’s disposal to enact his stated plan to develop new suppliers for lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese, as well as heat pumps.
An ‘opportunity’ for Canada
Could some of that money create new battery-component projects in Canada? Canadian officials are hopeful it will.
They point to a document recently posted on the White House website, from a binational panel: It explicitly mentions Canada being included as a domestic source under the U.S. Defense Production Act and says that creates potential co-operation opportunities on critical minerals.
“There is an opportunity the way [the bill is] structured — to take advantage of some of that,” Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to Washington, told CBC News in an interview.
“This will spur domestic production [in the U.S.]. It also includes Canada as a domestic source. So we look forward to shared opportunities.”
The broader story of the new bill, which Biden will soon sign, is that it’s by far the most significant U.S. federal action ever against climate change.
It passed with relatively little media coverage last Friday, with the country’s politics distracted by the FBI search of former president Donald Trump’s home.
What’s in that big climate bill
But analysts who’ve studied the bill have predicted a major impact on carbon emissions through its more than $400 billion Cdn in tax credits and subsidies for a wide range of energy projects.
Those estimates project U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions will fall faster now to anywhere between 31 per cent and 42 per cent from 2005 levels, which would take the U.S. significantly closer to achieving its 2030 target under the Paris accord.
The so-called Inflation Reduction Act would remove one billion tons of greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere, says Princeton University’s Zero Lab — that’s equivalent to reducing two per cent of all current global emissions.
But there’s uncertainty in the projections: One reason the estimates vary so widely is it’s far from clear how quickly new energy projects will get started.
Here’s an example of that uncertainty: The much-discussed electric vehicle credit.
For almost a year, it was a festering irritant in Canada-U.S. relations. An earlier version of the bill, previously known as Build Back Better, allowed only U.S.-assembled vehicles to access certain tax credits.
What happened to that EV tax irritant?
That triggered threats of trade retaliation. Ottawa warned that the bill violated the new North American trade deal and would wipe out auto jobs and investment in Canada.
The head of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, Flavio Volpe, called the friendlier language in the new, final, bill a relief for Canadian jobs: “It’s a bullet dodged,” he said.
“Probably more of a missile dodged.”
But wait. There’s an important caveat in the new, friendlier language. U.S. auto-makers are now calling the new credit practically useless, under current conditions.
For an electric car to qualify for the maximum $7,500 US in the new version of the credit, the car’s battery will increasingly need North American components: from 50 per cent of the battery in 2024, to 100 per cent in 2028.
The problem? North America doesn’t make that many battery components.
“[No vehicles] would qualify for the full credit when additional sourcing requirements go into effect. Zero,” said a letter from a U.S. auto industry lobby group.
An analysis for the non-partisan U.S. Congressional Budget Office projected that only a tiny percentage of vehicles will wind up receiving the tax credit.
In a 10-year fiscal forecast for the bill, the CBO estimated the U.S. treasury will wind up paying out just enough to deliver the full credit to slightly over 1 million vehicles over a decade.
The bottom line: Very few cars are expected to have enough North American components to qualify.
That’s where Canadian mining comes in.
A key architect of the final version of the bill, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, has repeatedly stated his skepticism about the original plan.
He said it made no sense to rush into the electric-vehicle age while America’s chief adversary still has a stranglehold on vital inputs.
But after Manchin visited Canada earlier this year, he opined that the two countries should be working more closely together on minerals.
This new bill appears designed to do just that, through the tax credits for North American vehicles, and the cash for critical-minerals projects.
If U.S. mining companies want access to some of that money, they can submit proposals to the American government.
Quebec mining project
One company eyeing U.S. public funds happens to have an important investment in Quebec.
Keith Phillips, president of North Carolina-headquartered Piedmont Lithium, said he’s not yet clear on what conditions the U.S. government will set and what projects it’s looking to fund.
More details about the administration of the bill will be revealed in regulations to be drafted in the coming months.
“I’m not sure anyone’s entirely clear on what the priorities are,” Phillips said in an interview.
His company is a minority investor in a Quebec lithium mine that’s now forecast to begin producing next year.
The next goal is to build a plant in Quebec for value-added processing with the majority partner, Australia’s Sayona Mining.
The project is in its infancy and there’s no site picked out yet.
Phillips said a similar plant would cost $600 million US to build in the U.S. and he said public money is a lifeline for projects that banks have little history of supporting.
“Of course it would be a priority,” he said of figuring out the potential for U.S. federal loans.
“If government assistance could be involved, it’s very helpful.”
Building a North American battery industry
The Canadian government also recently budgeted $4 billion to develop the country’s critical minerals sector.
Yet North America is starting way behind.
Canada, for instance, has a minute share of the world’s discovered deposits of lithium, cobalt and manganese.
Brian Kingston, head of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, said he’s relieved by some of the changes in the U.S. bill.
But he’s still concerned — that auto-makers can’t meet the zero-emissions sales targets set by Ottawa without major improvements, in charging capacity, energy infrastructure and sales incentives.
As for a North American battery supply chain, he said: “[It] won’t emerge overnight.”
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