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September 2009

September 23, 2021

When is it ok to call in sick?

According to the most recent Stats Can numbers, absenteeism rates in Canada have been rising over the past 10 years, jumping from roughly seven days lost per worker annually to more than 10 currently.   

Workers in the federal public service continue to top the list. Last year, federal employees were absent more than 16 days on average, between sick leave, family demands, and other personal reasons but excluding vacation days, maternity leave and other scheduled time off.

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September 22, 2021

The world's most expensive shopping districts

Most Canadians don’t need an extra reason to hate Toronto.

In the majority’s eye – as discussed before – the traffic sucks, the streets are dirty and there’s so much crime the city might as well be post-Katrina New Orleans, 24/7. This is nothing fresh.

But a new study gives the country’s elitist hub another reason to dwell on its hoity-toityness, and it could be enough to send plenty of Canucks over the edge.

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September 21, 2021

What do your underwear say about the economy?

Every guy has that pair of underwear on its last legs.

Whether those gotchies are ripped, skidmarked or no longer quite able to meet in the undercarriage, it takes a lot for a man to part with a tried, trusted carrier of his – um – goods. 

But who knew the way we treat our skivvies was such an economic barometer?

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How to keep your boss from driving you crazy


As a psychologist, I’ve been shrinking heads and consulting with businesses for more than thirty years.  Every day people tell me that their bosses are driving them crazy, and ask me what they have to do to stay sane.  Here’s what I tell them:

The secret to dealing effectively with difficult bosses (and all other difficult people for that matter) is to approach them from their point of view rather than yours.  Here are four of the world’s most crazy-making bosses, with a few tips on how to use this strategy to keep their craziness from driving you insane.

Micromanaging Control Freaks – Control Freaks offer a perfect example of what I mean by approaching difficult bosses from their point of view rather than yours. Your inner teenager gets irritated when people tell you what to do.  You may think they do it simply because they like to be in control.  Actually, control freaks are terrified of making mistakes.  To keep them from driving you crazy, it takes reassurance rather than recrimination.  Let them know that the project is as important to you as it is to them.  Listen attentively to their lectures and take notes.  Give far more progress reports than you think anyone would need.  If you respond their fear rather than your irritation, they are likely to go and micromanage someone else.  

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Parents of twins snag double EI benefits

An Ottawa couple has set a precedent that could extend benefits for parents of multiple-birth children, doubling their entitlement to Employment Insurance leave to care for their twin girls.

Last week, EI’s Board decided to allow Christian Martin to claim 35 weeks of parental benefits for one newborn daughter after his spouse had already made a successful claim for 35 weeks for the other child.

Both parents work for the federal government. When they learned they were having two babies, they both applied for EI benefits, but Martin was turned down.

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September 18, 2021

Express grocery checkout NOT the fastest lane, study says

If you’ve ever shopped at Price Chopper, you know just how awful their express lane is.

The checkout is always the one backed up like a Taco Bell toilet, and never has such mish-mash collection of tampons, yogurt and weird people congregated in one queue.

But, we still brave the express lane because – well – it’s the express lane. It’s faster than the rest, right?


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Are men better at paying bills on time?

Men are more likely than women to keep a close eye on their spending and to pay their bills on time, claims Financial Finesse, a California company that provides financial education programs to corporations and municipalities.

Only 51% of women claim they have a handle on their cash flow so they spend less than they make each month compared to 71% of men, Financial Finesse reports.

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September 17, 2021

Can social media be used to fight the big, bad banks?

“You are evil, thieving bastards. You have reaped ungodly profits in your behemoth casino scams - then lost - only to turn around and usurp the wealth of this great nation by the outright rape and pillage of middle-class Americans whose sweat and toil built it … every last one of you should be rotting in prison.” – Ann Minch on banks, and bankers, in the U.S.

Now, I know what you’re asking yourself: who the hell is Ann Minch?

Good question.

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September 16, 2021

Inside Bernie Madoff's $7.5-million Ponzi pad

To think, in 150 years Bernie Madoff will have no place to call home.

Finally, after months of packing and cataloguing the arch-fraudster’s possessions and personal affects, Ponzi master Madoff’s $7.5-million-plus Manhattan penthouse is now for sale.

And come on inside. The U.S. Marshals invite you to take the guided tour.

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Take a pay cut to land a job?

All told, some 1.5-million people are unemployed right now, and roughly 20% of them have been out of work for six months or longer, according to Stats Canada.

Between the increase in job seekers and the reduction in the number of positions available, competition for even the least desirable jobs has become much steeper.

And it seems that many of these job seekers are willing to accept as little as half of what they were making before, as long as it gets them in the door. 

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...