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Proposed labour laws affect rural businesses differently

The proposed changes to Ontario’s labour laws and employment standards will have a profound affect on local business and workers because of the fragile nature of the region’s economy as compared to major urban centres. The most significant changes to Ontario’s labour laws and employment standards are expected to be announced very shortly, overhauling a system brought in the 1990s under Premier Mike Harris, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said last week. Both union leaders and business organizations are holding their collective breath, as each will have its criticisms, as well as praise. Under the current proposals, the provincial government are looking to make paid sick days mandatory, boost the minimum required paid vacation, lower the overtime threshold, abolish the lower minimum wage for students under 18 and those who serve alcohol. Most important are the changes for precarious workers, a growing part of the workforce. Continue Reading →

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Input should be sought for business incubator in Cobourg

A business incubator to assist entrepreneurs starting up new ventures is gaining momentum in Cobourg over the past week, but it is already facing some negativity. The $1.6 million Venture 13 is moving forward after council gave its blessing. It will be home to some existing public services, as well as provide space for small start-ups in an unused building within the Northam Industrial Park on Darcy Street across from the Cobourg Community Centre. The empty building represents $70,000 in lost revenue, compared to the $90,000 it will generate when the project is running. The Cobourg Police will occupy the second floor, using it to house its business services division, which does background checks for communities across Canada. Continue Reading →

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Loss of Sears signals changing retail landscape

The closure of Sears in the Northumberland Mall provides a good reason to pause to think about the future of retail in the rural Ontario. A Sears spokesperson said the company’s motives were based on lack of surplus stock for an outlet-style store, as well as a poor bottom line. When the doors close in March, it ends an era spanning decades, as Sears had a catalogue pick-up in Cobourg for many years prior to a full-line store in the mall. And while many may argue the loss of such a major retailer is a sign of the weak local economy, it is also a reflection of major changes taking place in Canadian retailing. A recent article in, an online retail and consumer trend site, says the future of large anchor stores in malls is under scrutiny. Continue Reading →

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Voter’s guide to elections economics courtesy of Jim Stanford

Economist Jim Stanford provides economic basics for voters during Consider This Live, part of the Drive Time with Dave Glover on Northumberland 89.7 FM. Jim Stanford is a Canadian economist and founder of the Progressive Economics Forum. He holds a master’s degree in economics from Cambridge University and a doctoratefrom the New School for Social Research. He is author of a column for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail and a regular panelist on CBC. Continue Reading →

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