October 18, 2021

Should unpaid internships be allowed?

A backlash is brewing against the unpaid internship with many issues against this type of employment coming to light.

It's been recently discovered that if you're an unpaid intern in Ontario, you aren't protected by health and safety laws, according to the Toronto Star. While the provincial government is currently reviewing and reconsidering the law, there's no timeline on when any changes could be made.

This adds to a growing discontent expressed about unpaid internships. In Vancouver, there was a backlash against the Fairmont Waterfront hotel for offering an unpaid internship to bus tables. Another recent Toronto Star story showed that hospitality interns did the job of a cleaning lady during their internship. While two former Bell interns filed a complaint with allegations that the company broke labour laws when they weren't paid for the work they did.

Many young workers taken on unpaid internships with the number of them in Canada ranging from 100,000 to 300,000, according to the CBC. Young people have a tougher time landing a job, especially after the recession, and it's no wonder that they're trying any possible way to gain experience to jumpstart their careers.

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October 08, 2021

Should parents pay their kids to get good grades?

Should parents pay their kids to bring home better marks? It's a question many are struggling with now that school is entering its second month and test results are starting to trickle in.

While incentives do sometimes produce a change of behaviour, it's limited at best, researchers suggest. In fact, says Penn State professor Barbara Marinak, the research on putting forth monetary rewards is quite clear: They don’t work.

"Any type of 'extrinsic' reward, by and large, undermines motivation," she told National Public Radio.

Similarly, Alfie Kohn, the author of Punished By Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s and Other Bribes, says the bigger the reward, the bigger the damage done. 

People who are rewarded tend to pick the easiest possible task, he says. When the rewards are removed, however, they tend to prefer more challenging things to do.

"If some perverse foundation had hired me to try to devise a plan that would destroy what's left of students' interest in learning, it would look very much like this," he maintains.

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September 09, 2021

Freshman entering college lack basic money skills: report

Most parents wish their kids could avoid making the same stupid money mistakes that they did as they head off to college.

The best way to go about that? Get them on the way in, suggests a new study from EverFi, a Washington D.C.-based education technology company.

Researchers surveyed 40,000 college students, most of them freshmen, from across the U.S. about their money habits. They found that nearly 80 per cent of students said that they “frequently” worry about debt and are experiencing debt-related stress in their daily lives.

And, despite the fact that school costs considerably less on this side of the border, Canadian students aren't doing any better.

“A freshman in college may benefit most from education around school loans, budgeting while in school, and credit card behavior, whereas seniors in college may benefit more from education around budgeting for life on their own, retirement planning, and mortgages,” the study says.

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August 13, 2021

What's wrong with Canadian students?

Ask a first-year college or university student to name the Prime Minister of Canada or to identify the Atlantic Ocean on a map.

You might be surprised by the answers.

"Geo-illiterate students", as the Royal Canadian Geographical Society call them, may be more common than you think.

Sociology students at Memorial University in St. John's Newfoundland made headlines this past January when their professor revealed that many of them could not identify world continents -- let alone the body of water that surrounds their province.

Now other university professors have come forward admitting that this isn't an isolated case.

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July 10, 2021

Healthy minds at work

There is a high cost to mental health issues.

Not only for those who suffer personally, but in the workplace with lost productivity due to mental illness.

Allan Ebedes, President and CEO at Excellence Canada, says, "A safe and healthy workplace is the product of committed leadership and strategic planning.

"In every organization, people are our most valuable resource and it is the joint responsibility of employers and employees to foster healthy minds and to safeguard them."

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July 09, 2021

Teach kids about money this summer

Forget summer camps.

Teach your kids about saving money this summer and ignite their entrepreneurial spirit.

Starting a first job or a new job can be an exciting experience for your children.

Earning their own money and learning how to start a savings account or save-up for something they really want all adds up to growing up and being responsible with finances.

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June 25, 2021

Diabetics face discrimination, suffer emotional distress

Diabetes suppliesA new study reports that 15 per cent of people living with diabetes have felt discriminated against due to their disease.

And one in four Canadians with diabetes experiences great emotional distress.

As a mother of two children with Type 1 diabetes (also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) I have to admit it isn't an easy haul for them.

As a matter of fact, it is a tough world out there not only for people living with diabetes, but also for those who are living with other diseases and disabilities.

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June 20, 2021

Obesity on the menu for children

Fast food giants are wowing kids with their enticing marketing tactics including  talking dogs, kooky clowns, and colourful cartoon and crowned characters.

And don't forget, each kids' meal comes with the latest and greatest toy.

The list goes on. And so does the obesity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childhood obesity is not improving.

The organization points the finger at advertising as the main culprit specifically targeting children via television, social media and smart phones.

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June 19, 2021

Smoking ban at work might help employees butt out

Employees need to quit -- smoking that is.

According to a new Conference Board of Canada report, smoking bans on all company property should be part of a comprehensive non-smoking policy in Canadian workplaces.

The report revealed, as well as prohibiting smoking both indoors and outdoors on company property, that additional measures such as smoking cessation programs would also encourage employees to quit smoking.

Statistics Canada 2012 figures show that 20.3 per cent of Canadians still smoke despite warning labels on cigarette packages, hidden packages behind the counter in stores and even clever advertising by the Ontario Ministry of Health aimed at preventing people from smoking.

The Quit the Denial campaign claims social smoking is as ridiculous as social farting, social nibbling and social earwax picking.

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May 28, 2021

Save now for your child's education

1395713_25902915The road to education is an expensive one.

And that's why it is important to make sure you have a roadmap in place for funding your child's education.

If you're worried about how you will fund your child's post-secondary schooling, you're not alone.

According to a new report by BMO Bank of Montreal, two-thirds of Canadians share that same concern.

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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...