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Google signs 5-year deal to pay for news from AFP

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Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin paying Agence France-Presse for its news content as part of broad five-year partnership announced Wednesday that marks one of the biggest licensing deals struck by a tech giant under a new French law.

News organizations, which have been losing ad revenue to online aggregators such as Google and Facebook, have complained for years about the tech companies using stories in search results or other features without payment.

New laws in France and Australia – fueled by media lobbying and public pressure – have given publishers greater leverage, leading to a slew of licensing deals around the world collectively worth billions of dollars.

The AFP accord follows France enacting a copyright law that creates “neighboring rights,” requiring big tech companies to open talks with news publishers that want a licensing payment.

Google declined to disclose financial terms of the deal, but confirmed it would run for five years. The companies said in a joint press release that they also will collaborate on projects, such as fact-checking.

“This agreement is a recognition of the value of information,” Fabrice Fries, Agence France-Presse’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Google earlier this year agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers, not including AFP, Reuters previously reported. But the deal has been on hold, pending the outcome of an antitrust proceeding in which France’s competition regulator has accused Google of failing to negotiate in good faith.

Sébastien Missoffe, managing director of Google France, said the AFP deal showed the tech company’s “willingness to find common ground with publishers.”

The deal does not bring AFP into News Showcase, a feature that Google launched last year that promotes content from over 1,000 publishers that have agreed to license content for a fee.

Reuters signed a News Showcase agreement https://www.reuters.com/article/rpb-googlenewsshowcase/reuters-becomes-first-global-news-provider-to-offer-content-on-google-news-showcase-idINKBN29Q2SV with Google in January, and Wall Street Journal owner News Corp closed a similar deal a month later.

Facebook last month signed a neighboring rights deal with a French alliance including dozens of publishers such as Le Figaro.

 

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Why employers may need to bend toward a more flexible future to stay competitive – CBC.ca

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You don’t have to convince Ross Simmonds about the benefits of remote work.

The founder and CEO of Foundation Marketing has been leading the way on that front, running his business as “remote first” since it started in 2014.

While the company may officially be based in Halifax, it employs team members as far away as Ireland and Nigeria.

“I like to say we’re based on the internet,” said Simmonds, whose 30-plus staff also includes people in the U.S. and a half-dozen Canadian provinces.

The long-term provision of more flexible work will remain a key draw for employees in Canada’s future economy and also for organizations looking to retain their services, employers and experts say.

It’s already the case in a COVID-altered work world that millions of Canadians are used to doing things differently and don’t necessarily want to go back to the way things were.

“Workers, at this point, who work online have come to expect to be able to continue to work online,” said Eddy Ng, the Smith Professor of Equity & Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

Talent retention

Some Canadian employers are factoring this reality into their thinking as they shape their approach to their business.

Megan Smith, the head of HR for SAP Canada, says organizations that want to attract the best talent are going to have to offer some degree of flexible work arrangements for their employees. (Submitted by Megan Smith)

At software giant SAP Canada, the organization is bending toward a more flexible future — one that many employers will have to contend with as they compete for talent, said SAP Canada vice-president and head of HR Megan Smith.

“Most talent, at this point, expects some degree of flexibility in where and when they work,” Smith said. “So organizations that really want to attract the best talent are going to want to offer some degree of that.”

WATCH | The momentum toward more flexible employment: 

Flexibility expected to be key to return to work

11 days ago

With more people returning to their offices, many employers are acknowledging that flexibility and a few perks will be needed to entice workers back to their desks. 2:01

Simmonds said it’s already clear people are moving toward jobs that provide that.

Foundation Marketing has been fielding inquiries about job opportunities from people at other companies who have been told they are going back to the office.

“That’s when we see a spike for the number of applicants applying for our roles,” said Simmonds.

Binod Sundararajan, the interim director of Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, said companies are weighing what they are going to get by bringing people back to the office, including the impact on corporate culture. (Submitted by Binod Sundararajan)

Binod Sundararajan, the interim director of Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, said companies are weighing what they are “going to get by bringing people back,” including the impact on corporate culture.

But that consideration is taking place amid an awareness that they have workers who want more flexibility, he said.

Varying preferences

Canada has more than four million people working at home, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey. That group would include many people whose remote work experience began with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Janet Candido, the founder and principal of the Toronto-based Candido Consulting Group, has observed a shifting set of employee preferences over the course of the pandemic.

Janet Candido, a Toronto-based HR consultant, says that at this point in the pandemic, there’s a demand for flexibility in work arrangements among those people who have been working at home. (Submitted by Janet Candido)

At the start, Candido heard employees expressing a strong desire to be able to work at home. Then some people found the home-work environment tough to adjust to, she said.

“Now that pendulum seems to have swung back, where people really do want not necessarily to work remotely all the time,” said Candido. “They want the flexibility now.”

But Candido, too, notes she has seen people leaving their jobs in recent months because they found a new employer that permits remote work.

Meanwhile, Simmonds said he’s seen organizations that are trying to implement a blend of office and remote work — a development he views as “a good step forward.”

When flexibility is offered to workers, Simmonds said, it’s key to convey to people they won’t be “viewed negatively” for preferring a remote setup, if that’s what works best for them.

“Don’t be afraid to go hybrid, but in doing so, don’t discipline those who do not embrace fully coming back to the office,” he said.

Less commuting, more options

The more traditional a company’s working arrangements, the more limited its hiring choices may be — at least when compared to organizations offering more flexible options.

WATCH | Are we seeing the new normal with remote work? 

Working from home ‘the new normal’ now, hiring expert says

2 days ago

Tanya Gullison with human resources consultancy LHH says companies that insist on having everyone in the office five days a week are going to be left behind in the job market, even after the pandemic is over. 1:14

“If you need everybody to come into the office, they need to be [living] within commuting distance,” said Candido.

That lack of a commute is one of the reasons Simmonds favoured remote work for Foundation Marketing. He thought others would feel the same way.

“I had a hypothesis that there was a lot of other people out there in the world who would get a lot of value for not having to do the commute and not having to work in an office building,” Simmonds said.

He said he also believed “it would be a competitive advantage to be able to be fully remote, because you would be able to attract some of the brightest and greatest minds, with no limit to their location.”

What about those left behind

There are, however, many workers for whom remote work won’t be an option in future — and not only because of the jobs they currently have.

Because to move to a job that can be done remotely, a person has to have a certain set of baseline digital skills that may not be easily acquired outside of a work or school context.

Eddy Ng is the Smith Professor of Equity & Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University. (Submitted by Eddy Ng)

“If they want to be part of the remote economy, they have to have new skills,” said Ng, noting this is a long-term problem that policy-makers have failed to solve.

And while some may see remote work as having potential to help alleviate some barriers for these workers, Ng said the reality is very different.

“The availability of workers who are underrepresented is simply not there,” said Ng, explaining these same people are often in jobs that do “not permit them to actually retrain or retool.”

There’s a need for employers to take a long-term view, Ng said, and be willing to invest in people to help them gain the broader skills required to move toward new employment.

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Ontario man who accidentally transferred $19000 to stranger's account left for weeks without solution – CTV Toronto

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An Ontario man says he has been fighting to get back $19,000 for months after making a “simple mistake” while trying to transfer money between two of his bank accounts.

Milton, Ont. man Roberto Guardado said he had just purchased a new home and in September was trying to transfer money from his Bank of Montreal (BMO) account to his CIBC account so that he could make the down payment.

He said he called BMO to arrange the wire transfer, figuring it would be the easiest way to move the funds to CIBC.

Guardado said he has two bank accounts with CIBC, one for his personal savings and one for business. He was trying to transfer the money into the savings account.

He said while making the transfer, he correctly read out his CIBC savings account number, but mistakenly gave the transit number of his CIBC business account.

The five-digit transit number helps the bank identify which branch the money is being sent to.

The mistake resulted in Guardado’s money being sent to a stranger’s CIBC account, he said.

CIBC

“I noticed the money went out but it didn’t go into my CIBC account,” Guardado told CTV News Toronto. “So I went home that day and I started looking on my computer and then I realized I gave the wrong transit number.”

He said he immediately called BMO, who told him they would launch an investigation. 

Despite calling the bank every few days for an update, he said it took five weeks before he got any answers.

Guardado said he was told that his $19,000 was deposited into someone else’s account and the person had withdrawn it. 

He said both BMO and CIBC told him nothing further could be done to retrieve his money.

“I couldn’t believe I made the mistake,” Guardado said. 

Guardado said he called the police, but was also told that because he initiated the transfer there was nothing to investigate.

BMO

“The police told me that because it’s not considered fraud they can’t do anything about it,” he said. 

‘JUST A SIMPLE MISTAKE’

Guardado said that while he fully admits the error was his fault, he doesn’t understand why the bank couldn’t help him quickly reverse the transfer.

“It was just a simple mistake and my money ended in someone else’s account,” Guardado said.

Because of the lost money, Guardado said he had no choice but to back out of the sale of his new home. 

Shortly after CTV News Toronto contacted CIBC and BMO about Guardado’s situation, he said he received a call from the banks telling him his $19,000 would be returned to his account. 

CIBC spokesperson Trish Tervit confirmed on Saturday they had resolved the issue with Guardado. 

“It’s important that when transferring funds between financial institutions that the sender ensures the recipient account number is correct as misdirected funds may be difficult to recover,” Tervit added. 

Guardado said CIBC told him this is a “unique situation” that is being resolved on a one-time basis. 

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from BMO said they had a “good conversation” with Guardado, but couldn’t comment further for privacy reasons. 

While this stressful two-month chapter is now over for Guardado, he said banks “have to come up with a better system” for when people make mistakes.

“It was a stupid mistake on my part, but the process to fix it has to be easier,” he said. “I was so stressed that I lost weight and I couldn’t sleep. It was bothering me so much.”

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Cargill beef-processing plant in High River, Alta. narrowly avoids strike action – CBC.ca

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Employees at Cargill’s beef-processing plant in High River, Alta., have voted in favour of a new labour contract, narrowly avoiding strike action and a possible lockout.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 (UFCW), which represents workers at the plant, said Saturday that workers chose to accept the new contract offer, with 71 per cent voting in favour.

In a statement, UFCW said it was not an easy decision for staff at the plant, and called the contract vote a “bittersweet victory.” 

Workers had raised safety concerns after a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant in 2020 affected more than 900 people. The outbreak, which forced Cargill to temporarily close the plant — one of Canada’s largest — is linked to three deaths.

The union says the new contract includes procedures to ensure worker health and safety, benefits, and new rights for sick employees. 

After the two sides held talks on Tuesday, UFCW’s bargaining committee agreed to recommend the new offer to its members, Cargill spokesperson Daniel Sullivan said. Workers voted between Thursday and Saturday.

The union released parts of the proposed offer to CBC earlier in the week. The contract included $4,200 in retroactive pay for many Cargill union members; signing, holiday and COVID-19 bonuses; and a $5 wage increase.

Workers prepare beef to be packaged at the Cargill facility near High River, Alta. The plant is the site of what became the largest COVID-19 outbreak in North America last year. (Name withheld)

UFCW had said the plant’s roughly 2,000 workers would strike Monday unless an agreement was reached.

The union also they brought in tents, floodlights and heaters for the possible strike, while nearby fields were levelled to provide parking.

Cargill had also planned to lock out all UFCW union staff as of 12:01 a.m. Monday, according to a statement from the company’s vice-president of labour relations, Tanya Teeter, which was obtained and made public by the union.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is comprehensive, fair, and reflective of their commitment to excellence at Cargill and the critical role they play in feeding families across Canada,” Jarrod Gillig, the company’s president of business operations and supply chain for North America protein, wrote in a statement to CBC Saturday.  

“As an organization that leads with our value to put people first, we truly believe this ratification is in the best interests of our employees and we are eager to move forward to build a stronger future – together.”

Reforms still needed: Union

“We also look forward to the citizens of Alberta joining with us in calling for reforms and restructuring in the meatpacking industry,” UFCW President Thomas Hesse wrote in a statement Saturday. 

“Workers have been ripped off. Ranchers have been ripped off. And we’ve all been ripped off at the supermarket counter. Government failed to protect these workers, as well as failing to protect Alberta ranchers and consumers. Change must occur.” 

The Cargill plant processes up to 4,500 head of cattle per day, accounting for about one-third of Canada’s beef.

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