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How a barber's small gesture is making a big local difference during the COVID-19 downturn –



Andy Dinner stares out the window of his barbershop and contemplates what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the neighbourhood he loves.

“I have seen some businesses close here, and it’s tragic. It’s absolutely tragic,” Dinner said.

Dinner, 33, is as local as a person can be. He lives six blocks from his barbershop and he was born just up the street.

Forget Paris and London — to Dinner, the strip of stores along Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto is the most beautiful place in the world.

“I have been fortunate to do a little bit of travelling overseas, but I don’t want to live anywhere else,” Dinner said. “This neighbourhood means literally everything to me.”

During the summer, as the pandemic raged across the globe, Dinner took a chance — a big chance. Even though businesses were going bankrupt and shutting down because of the economic turmoil, he opened one.

“I knew this specific spot was vacant for about two years before I contacted the landlord and was able to negotiate some cheaper rent,” Dinner said.

Dinner started a promotion in his Toronto neighbourhood to try to help local businesses. If you bring him a receipt that proves you shopped locally, he’ll give you $5 off your haircut. (Nick Purdon/CBC)

At that time in July, when Dinner first took over the lease, barbershops in the city of Toronto were still closed because of the pandemic.

Dinner says it cost him $22,000 and took 45 days of renovations to get the shop up and running.

“Me and my dad became best friends making this shop, and that’s one of the most beautiful things that ever happened in my life,” Dinner said.

  • Watch the feature about Andy Dinner’s buy-local initiative Sunday Nov. 1 on The National at 9 p.m. ET on CBC News Network and 10 p.m. local time on your CBC television station. You can also catch The National online on CBC Gem.

“Every single day I have people walking by and coming into the shop and saying thank you for putting something beautiful here. Thank you for putting something beautiful in our neighbourhood. And that brings a tear to my eye,” he said.

“This is what I wanted to do. I have wanted to have a store on this street forever.”

‘Staying local will save us’

A new study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that half of small businesses in Canada are losing money during the second wave of COVID-19.

In places like Toronto and Peel Region, both areas under stricter provincial restrictions, that number is as high as 70 per cent. Restaurants and bars have been hit particularly hard.

Barbershop owner Andy Dinner describes how the pandemic has affected the businesses in his Toronto neighbourhood. 1:08

Dinner says he’s seen the devastation first hand. After work one day recently he was in his favourite neighbourhood bar when he witnessed the staff being told the place had to close because of restrictions related to COVID-19.

“I saw their posture, their body language, their demeanour. It was sad,” Dinner said.

“I said to myself, ‘I gotta do something about this.’ That’s when I came up with the idea. If you go to a local business, local restaurant, local bar, bring the receipt to my barbershop and I’ll give you five bucks off a haircut.”

Dinner announced his promotion on Instagram — and the idea took off.

“The number of bar owners and restaurant owners reaching out to me and expressing their gratitude has been really emotional, it’s been really overwhelming for me,” Dinner said.

Dinner talks with local restaurant owner Mike Yaworski outside his Double D pizza place. ‘My concern right now is making a living for my family … if this continues, I will probably have to close the restaurant,’ Yaworski said. (Nick Purdon/CBC)

At lunchtime he takes a walk up the street, his barber towel hanging from his back pocket like a flag. A block away Dinner meets Mike Yaworski outside his restaurant — Double D’s, specializing in Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Yaworski greets Dinner with a pretend bow. “I mean, it’s cliche to say ‘support local,’ but you really are local, you are like the king of Lakeshore.”

Yaworski said COVID-19 has almost destroyed his business.

“My concern right now is making a living for my family,” he said. “I am married, I have a seven-year-old, and I have to pay the bills. And if this continues, I will probably have to close the restaurant.”

He says all the businesses in the neighbourhood are aware of Dinner’s idea and they love it.

“If you can drive a little bit of traffic here, and in return my customers can save $5 getting a haircut and drive traffic that way, oh man, it really helps.”

Mike Yaworski describes how Andy Dinner’s initiative to promote shopping at local businesses in the Toronto neighbourhood has helped keep his restaurant open during the pandemic. 1:06

Yaworski explains that it’s not just about the money, and tears fill his eyes.

“Sometimes I sit and I don’t get many orders, and it’s like maybe I got to call it quits. It’s kind of tough, man. It’s kind of tough. So he gives you hope, makes you wanna come to work, because sometimes you feel alone and nobody is caring. I can’t believe I am tearing up, but that’s the type of guy he is.”

Starved for good news

Dinner finishes trimming Dave Vanderstoep’s hair, checks the young man’s receipt, and gives him his discount.

Vanderstoep, 26, is a local tattoo artist.

“I think it [Dinner’s promotion] kind of reminds people that it’s not just individual shops here, it’s a neighbourhood,” he said.

As Andy Dinner cuts a customer’s hair at his Toronto barbershop, they discuss the shop’s efforts to help support other local businesses during the pandemic’s economic slowdown. 0:54

Dinner sweeps up and gets ready to shut the shop for the day.

He says he now understands why his small idea has had such a big impact in his neighbourhood.

“People need good news. The world is so starved right now for positivity, everything is so dark right now. We are going to get through this and we’re gonna come out stronger by little things like this. By doing our best.”

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AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life



Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.

The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.

“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.

“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”

The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.

AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.

Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.

AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)

(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)

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Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon



Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada. 

Usable Across Various Markets 

It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account. 

Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores. 

Source: Unsplash

Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized. 

A Reflection of Modern-Day Society 

In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases. 

Source: PxHere

There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology. 

Consumer Habits are Changing 

There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.

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Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements



After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile. 

Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.

Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”  

Education background information you should provide:

  • Degree/certification obtained 
  • School’s name
  • Location of school
  • Period of attendance
  • Relevant coursework
  • Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning

When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.

Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):

BS Biomedical Science

University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996


  • Principles of Human Genetics
  • Organismal Biology
  • Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
  • Advanced Bioinformatics

PMP® Certification

Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003


  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Leadership in Project Management
  • Project Cost and Procurement Management
  • Project Risk and Quality Management

As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.

You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.    

I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag. 

If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.

Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.

One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.

Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.


Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at

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