• to what many people may believe, the Canadian music industry isn’t dead, it’s thriving (at least overseas), according to figures from the Society of Composers and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

    Those numbers show that in 2014, Canadian Artists made a $55 million off of international airplay royalties. Approximately $18.5 million of those earnings come courtesy of our neighbours to the south, with France finishing in a distant second, providing our homegrown talent with $6.7 million last year. That $6.7 million is thanks in large part to the province of Quebec, with 25-year-old Beatrice Martin, otherwise known by her moniker Couer de pirate (Pirate’s Heart), Lisa Leblanc, Pierre Lapointe and Robert Charlebois leading the way.

    As far as English-language music is concerned, the usual suspects lead the charge in taking their classic tunes all the way to the bank including: Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, Rush, Sarah McLachlan and Nickleback. Acts from the current generation making a big

    Read More »from Whoever said the Canadian music business is dead…is dead wrong
  • Despite working from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the office as a manager of housewares vendors and then continuing her work in the evening from home, Elizabeth Willet still wasnt doing enough, according to her Amazon colleagues in Seattle. They reportedly criticized the new mom on the companys secret feedback tool for not pulling her weight, and even though her boss had approved her schedule. He wouldnt defend her and she left the company.

    Thats one way to treat your workers, and for its many detractors, there are many others who thrive in a competitive environment. But maybe its not necessary to go to those extremes to motivate employees.

    Amazon was recently outed in a New York Times article claiming that at Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one anothers ideas in meetings, toil long and late,and adds that the company boasts of unreasonably highstandards.

    Steven Green, president of TemboSocial, has a different take on employee recognition. His companys peer recognition

    Read More »from Three ways to keep employees engaged (and two ways to ensure they'll quit)
  • Starting Oct. 6, you'll be able to order an Egg McMuffin or Hotcake Platter any time you want.

    McDonald's (MCD), which has long been under pressure to extend its breakfast hours, has finally succumbed and said Tuesday that it would start selling breakfast all day at its more than 14,300 U.S. stores. The world's biggest burger chain quickly began tweeting the news to its followers who had been pushing for the change with a series of GIFs.

    McDonald's has been testing all-day breakfast in select markets since March. Franchisees approved the change in a vote last week, The Wall Street Journal first reported.

    The company later

    Read More »from McDonald's is finally rolling out all-day breakfast
  • Have You Seen the Duck Vine? You Should Really See the Duck Vine.

    America this morning is no doubt busy at work clicking through all the six-second recaps from Sunday night’s sooo Vineable MTV Video Music Awards.

    But trust us, no matter how great the looping vids of the Nicki-Miley beef or Kanye’s presidential announcement are, neither of those was the best Vine of the weekend.

    This was:

    In fact, the “duck army” Vine is the best piece of media the Internet has produced in the entire month of August — and probably the summer/the year/our lifetimes.

    In just under a day of existence, this thing has over 38 million loops (most coming from Yahoo Tech employees, sure). At this rate, “duck army” will probably be the most looped Vine ever by Monday afternoon. (Vine doesn’t make it easy to identify what the current most looped Vine is, but a May 2015 post by Logan Paul has been played over 40 million times.)

    As for MTV’s dashed hopes of taking its VMA Vines to a level of historic virality: Kanye, we’re happy for you. And good luck in 2020. But “duck army” is

    Read More »from Have You Seen the Duck Vine? You Should Really See the Duck Vine.
  • New song, big bucks: Justin Bieber by the numbers

    The spotlight is on "The Biebs" again. Justin Bieber’s new song, What Do You Mean, has officially dropped. He will perform it live at Sunday’s Video Music Awards. But Bieber has made more headlines of late for his social life and run-ins with the law than for his musical talent.

    Here’s a look at Justin Bieber, by the numbers.

    $80 million

    That’s the amount of money Justin Bieber earned in 2014 despite the fact that he did not release an album.

    21

    That’s how old the pop star is. Justin Drew Bieber was born on March 1, 1994 in Ontario, Canada.

    2007

    Bieber learned how to play guitar and piano at a young age. When he was 13, Bieber’s mother began posting YouTube videos of her son performing for friends and family to see. He covered mostly R&B songs and quickly developed a large online following.

    2008

    One year later, he met singer/songwriter/producer Usher and went on to sign a contract on Island/Def Jam records.

    7

    That’s the number of songs on Bieber's first album, My World. The album

    Read More »from New song, big bucks: Justin Bieber by the numbers
  • A comparison between the Mars Inc. products and the off-brand ones sold by Dollarama. (Aaron Broverman)A comparison between the Mars Inc. products and the off-brand ones sold by Dollarama. (Aaron Broverman)

    Ever notice how some of the off-brand chocolate bars at Dollarama look strangely familiar?

    The packaging of Dollarama's Meteor, Titan and Island Bar chocolate bars looks very similar to the Mars, Snickers and Bounty bars made by Mars Inc. In all cases the Dollarama bars use the same colours and logo design as their more well-known counterparts. That's a violation of Mars Inc.'s trademark says John Simpson, a lawyer and registered trademark agent at Shift Law – an intellectual property and new media law firm in Toronto.

    “The Meteor Bar appears to be an infringement of the Mars trademark and copyright in the artwork and the design. It appears to be a reproduction of a substantial part of their design and I would say the same about the Titan and Island Bar,” says Simpson, who is not associated with or retained by either Dollarama or Mars Inc.

    Trademark vs. Copyright

    A trademark can also be subject to copyright because these trademarks are artistic works and since Simpson believes that

    Read More »from Why Dollarama can sell off-brand versions of name-brand chocolate bars
  • Recovery Agent Amanda Husted (R), returns a vehicle to an owner after he paid for its release. (Getty)Recovery Agent Amanda Husted (R), returns a vehicle to an owner after he paid for its release. (Getty)

    Canadians bought or leased a record 1.8 million new cars and light trucks last year, the vast majority of them financed through loans.

    Now a consumer watchdog organization is warning that the ever-longer terms on auto loans and the use of subprime loans put at least some car buyers at risk of taking a financial bath.

    A report by the Automobile Consumer Coalition produced with funding from Industry Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs says most auto-purchase financing is for terms of more than 72 months (six years), with 84-month periods (seven years) not uncommon. That’s far from the three-year loan your father’s Oldsmobile was probably financed with.

    The longer term taken to pay off a loan not only means buyers are paying more in interest but they also risk being “upside down” on the loan. Depreciation could bite them if they have to replace or dispose of the car before it’s paid off, like if the car had to be written off in an accident, or if their financial circumstances changed due

    Read More »from Increasingly longer-term car loans flagged as growing problem by industry watchdog
  • Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)

    As a kid you’re often told you need to learn the importance of a dollar. You may have even gotten together with the neighborhood children to start a lemonade or Kool-Aid stand, a snack hut with trail mix and cupcakes, or a craft table featuring painted rocks with googly eyes and pipe-cleaner tentacles. For many children and their encouraging families, this is just a typical part of summer fun.

    But what’s a kid to do when faced with adult obstacles?

    There have been cases across Canada of children lacking support from their communities for their small business, because they were missing business permits or paperwork for their summer ventures. And that doesn’t bode well for young kids with big dreams.

    In one recent incident, three children all under the age of eleven had to stop selling worms to local fishing enthusiasts due to a bylaw in Cornwall, Ont. The three youngsters were selling the worms for $2.50 per dozen on a small table and had a sign on their front lawn.


    Related stories:

    Read More »from Kids need confidence, not slaps on the wrist, to become successful entrepreneurs
  • You just came back from summer vacation a week ago and already it feels like a dream. All those relaxed-start mornings and nights that didn’t have to end at 10 p.m. have faded into a stale status update.

    Hang on though. What if your holidays didn’t have to end? What if you worked for a business that gave its employees unlimited time off to kick back, recharge and come back to work fresher and sharper than ever?

    Companies such as Virgin Group, Netflix and Best Buy have garnered headlines over the past few years for so-called “unlimited” paid employee vacation and leave plans. General Electric has also joined the fold with a “permissive approach” to paid time off for nearly half of its 70,000 U.S. employees. Netflix recently reminded us how sweet its vacation policy is by extending the unlimited idea to maternity and parental leaves too (during a child’s first year) – for certain employees in its higher skilled jobs.

    We’re not going to see the majority of employers jumping to this
    Read More »from Extended leave not all it's cracked up to be
  • Running on treadmills next to strangers not doing it for you? Hope you read that fine print. (Thinkstock)Running on treadmills next to strangers not doing it for you? Hope you read that fine print. (Thinkstock)

    “I try to go four times a week but I’ve missed the last 1200 times!”

    For any ‘Friends’ fan, the episode where Chandler tries to quit the gym is a classic. Ross encourages Chandler to quit the gym so he no longer is forced to pay monthly membership fees. And Chandler and Ross both ended up with gym memberships and even a joint chequeing account.

    It isn’t easy to stay motivated towards your fitness goals. And when the going gets tough, it can leave some gym patrons feeling like they no longer wish to keep the gym membership they had anticipated using all the time just a few months prior. But getting out of that contract isn’t always as easy as one may think.

    Former gym user Adam Hudson felt that sting when he tried to leave a local gym because he was planning to move to an area that did not have a facility nearby. Hudson was told that unless he was injured, there was no way to cancel his membership without receiving a hefty cancellation fee.

    “I decided to inform the gym that I was

    Read More »from Cancelling your gym membership: How to navigate the complicated contracts
  •   

    For seven years, Lee Wachtstetter has been living on a cruise ship at a cost of $164,000 a year according to USA Today. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-native sold her 10-acre property after her husband died on the advise of her daughter who suggested she spend her retirement doing what she loved. 

    “The day before my husband died of cancer in 1997, he told me, ‘Don’t stop cruising.’ So here I am today living a stress-free, fairy-tale life,” Wachtstetter says. 

    Wachtstetter’s story may seem like the ultimate fairytale but for most Canadians, a permanent vacation is not the dream. 

    “Many [Canadians] now view retirement as an opportunity for career re-invention,” says a study released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). “Half [of retirees] want to launch a whole new career rather than continuing the same line of work they did in their pre-retirement years,” it adds. The same trend is happening in the U.S.

    The winemakers 

    After working in real estate for the bulk of their

    Read More »from There may be a better way to retire
  • Campfires, sandy beaches, barbeques, lots of laughter and long summer nights. It’s the summer dream for many of us, but we’re often faced with a much less relaxing reality: staff meetings, deadlines and reports as we gaze over our cubical walls, wondering what’s happening in the outside world.

    With moments like these, it’s easy to get distracted at work and lose focus on what’s happening in your office. We start to daydream about the nice weather and summer plans and forget all about that end-of-day deadline.

    “We’re all still kids at heart, waiting for school to be out for summer. It doesn’t matter what our age is, there’s a part of us that imagines everyone else is having a picnic while we’re stuck at our desks,” says employment expert and CEO of The Bagg Group, Geoff Bagg. “On the bright side, we’re all feeling we’d rather be sailing so there’s a heightened sense of camaraderie that happens in the workplace during the summer months.”

    Things can be even tougher for those that are

    Read More »from Tips and tricks to avoid the 'summertime slump' at work
  • Anyone who’s stood on the retail floor for eight hours knows it’s a tough gig. Between the near constant watchful eyes of managers and sometimes irrationally cranky customers, some days can add a little extra weight to your already sore feet. Compound that with bag checks every time you enter and leave – for break, for lunch, for the day – and you can kind of see why Apple employees are looking for a reprieve.

    Last week, a California judge gave the official go-ahead for former Apple store employees to pursue a class action lawsuit against the Cupertino, California-based company, seeking compensation for the time they spend waiting for their bags to be searched at the end of their shifts.

    Despite claims by managers that searches only take a few seconds, employees in the lawsuit, which was initially filed in 2013, say those bag checks can last as long as 20 minutes. While it’s common practice in retail to search bags before an employee leaves to ensure they haven’t accidentally (or

    Read More »from What rights do retail employees have in Canada?
  • It’s summer, and for Canadians thawing out from the harsh winter, that means taking full advantage of the great outdoors. Summer is the perfect time for travel – the kids are out of school, the roads are dry and the destinations are scenic. However travelling, accommodations and souvenirs can come at a pretty penny.

    The cost of gas, flights, food, hotels and “I love P.E.I.” t-shirts can really add up, especially for a family of four or more. So how can Canadians enjoy their summer vacations without feeling the lingering effects of the dreaded “travel-debt hangover?”

    Be Proactive - Pay Yourself First

    Wade Stayzer, Vice President of Sales and Service for Meridian Credit Union says the best thing people can do to prepare for a summer vacation is to “pay yourself first” by being proactive and saving up the funds for the vacation well in advance.

    “When we talk about being proactive that to me suggests that you’re planning far, far ahead,” Stayzer says. “If you know that you’ll be doing a

    Read More »from The secrets to successfully budgeting for a summer vacation
  • The Best Tech Products of 2015 (So Far)

    The signs are unmistakable: The kids are on vacation. It’s hot as Hades out there. We’ve just had the All-Star game. The presidential campaign is in full swing. (OK, it’s the campaign for next year’s election, but whatever.)

    Yep: We’re already halfway through 2015, which means we’ve had six months’ worth of new tech products to look at, play with, and pass judgment on. Among the many, many gadgets, apps, and services we’ve seen this year, we’ve definitely had some favourites. Here’s our top 10.

    Amazon Echo

    Rip the brains of Siri or Android Now out of their respective smartphones, and install them instead in a black cylinder that sits on a shelf, and you’ve got the Amazon Echo, a voice assistant that does a decent job of imitating the effect of the omnipresent Star Trek computer.

    Echo understands your spoken commands from across the room, hands-free, as you’re cooking, reading, doing homework, discussing, living. It knows when you’re addressing it because you precede each command with

    Read More »from The Best Tech Products of 2015 (So Far)
  • How to Watch Worldwide Cyberattacks — Live!

    Adulterers around the world are wetting their collective pants over news that notorious cheating site Ashley Madison has been hacked — with the hackers threatening to leak the site’s user data if it isn’t shut down.

    Of course, that’s not the only digital break-in to make headlines lately. Earlier this month came news that the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management had been compromised, risking the personal data of 22 million people. And before that, it was health-insurance company Anthem, an attack that endangered information on about 80 million people.

    If reports like these have you thinking that cyberattacks are becoming more common, then you should check out the four sites below: They purport to provide real-time maps of the sources and targets of hacking attacks taking place right now all over the world.

    (Of course, these maps just happen to be provided by security vendors who have no reason at all to exaggerate the threat.)

    Norse Attack Map

    Norse is an Internet

    Read More »from How to Watch Worldwide Cyberattacks — Live!
  • Big house on the Prairie: Calgary's most expensive home

    Part three of a five-part series on the priciest digs in Canada, and who lives in them. See Vancouver's most expensive home here and Toronto's here.

    It would be almost unseemly for Calgary’s priciest house to be owned by someone other than an oil industry tycoon. Okay, maybe a hockey player would make sense as well.

    Fortunately, Alfred Balm’s $19.7 million mansion at 27 Pump Hill Close in the city’s southwest fits the bill.

    The 91-room manor isn’t in Calgary’s priciest neighbourhood. Brittania, perched high above the Elbow River with a view of downtown, wins that prize.

    Instead, the 15-year-old house sits among the mansions on tiny Pump Hill Close, fronting more than 250 feet of the street, enough to require three separate driveway gates, private tennis court obscured by trees.

    As mansions go, it may not be the pound-for-pound winner, but it’s got the size.

    “It’s a very large house on a very big lot,” says Re/Max agent Gary Cronin, who’s sold a few houses in the neighbourhood.

    The

    Read More »from Big house on the Prairie: Calgary's most expensive home
  • What Is Adobe Flash, and How Can You Get Rid of It?

    (Adobe)

    Google and Mozilla each announced this week that their Web browsers will be dropping default support for Adobe Flash, citing the plug-in software’s newly discovered vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. These moves came only a few days after Facebook’s chief of security called for Adobe to set an “end of life” date for the oft-exploited 20-year-old platform.

    Even if you don’t exactly know what Adobe Flash is, this is important news. Whether you know it or not, odds are pretty high that Adobe Flash is on your computer right now, possibly putting your system and your personal information at risk.

    Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and read our Adobe Flash security threat guide. We’ll help you figure out why it might be best to banish Flash from your life, just like Google, Mozilla, and Facebook want you to do. And we’ll tell you how to go about doing exactly that.

    So what is Flash, exactly?

    Adobe Flash is a software platform that runs video, animation, and games inside of Web pages. Flash was born at the dawn of the Web in 1996 and quickly became the standard for Web video, especially after a little startup called YouTube began using it in 2005. But now it’s largely obsolete, as most Web sites and apps use different technologies for the same purpose.

    Why is Flash a problem?

    The very thing that made Flash so popular — its ability to run complex scripts from websites you visit — can also be used for malicious purposes. 

    Computer scripts written in Flash can directly access the memory on your computer, which is just inviting attacks, or “exploits,” says Chase Cunningham, a cyberthreat expert at security company FireHost. “Anytime a site is able to access your computer’s memory, it’s able to make changes on the local machine itself [your PC]. That’s when you run into exploits.”

    Flash has long been one of the biggest attack methods of choice for cybercrooks and spying governments, as security vulnerabilities turn up on an almost daily basis. Just this month, Adobe put out security alerts and fixes for 38 vulnerabilities in Flash Player. Last week, it came out that a company called Hacking Team had been using previously unknown flaws in Flash to create spyware that it sold to oppressive governments in countries such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

    Flash also uses up a lot of computing resources and can bog systems down. “We … know firsthand that Flash is the number one reason Macs crash,” wrote Steve Jobs in an Apple blog post from April 2010.

    Do I have Flash on my computer?

    You probably do — especially if you are using a Windows PC, rely on an older browser, or were prompted by a Web site to install it. 

    In October 2010, Apple announced that it would no longer install Flash Player on its computers — including its Safari Web browser — although users could install it on their own if they wanted to.

    (BBC)

    The latest version of Mozilla Firefox launched with a block for Flash Player (though after an update Tuesday by Adobe, Mozilla has re-enabled use of the plugin in its browser). Google’s Chrome browser comes with Flash, but it is disabled by default.

    However, you may have installed or enabled Flash Player if a website prompted you to. “I would say probably 97 to 98 percent of systems out there have some version of Flash running on them,” said Cunningham.

    You can visit this page on Adobe’s website to see if the computer you’re using has Flash installed.

    What about my phone?

    Chances are good that Flash is not on your smartphone or tablet.

    Apple completely banned Flash from its mobile devices running the iOS operating system, such as the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Apple’s rejection of Flash helped spur Web and software developers to use other technologies for delivering video or animating games.

    Google’s Android mobile software briefly supported Flash, but it was generally choppy and used up more battery than other formats. In 2012, Adobe dropped support for Android, and Flash has been absent since Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which came out that same year. (Adobe also dropped support for BlackBerry and Windows Phone.) If you have an iPhone, or any other smartphone bought in the past couple of years, you don’t have Flash.

    Don’t I need it on my computer?

    Generally not. Most websites have switched over to another video format, called HTML 5. It’s the default on both YouTube and Vimeo, for example. So unless you know you need Flash for a specific site, it’s best to uninstall it or block it.

    How do I get rid of this nasty thing?

    For Internet Explorer, follow Microsoft’s instructions for how to turn off or remove add-ons.

    Read More »from What Is Adobe Flash, and How Can You Get Rid of It?
  • Imagine getting hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for 56 cents - and being upset about it. That’s exactly what happens when we meet Angelique, a pregnant mother profiled on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing.” Ten hours and 23 transactions later, Angelique’s abundance of coupons and store points don’t quite total her grocery bill out to zero, and it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to her. While this example is not typical even for the extreme of the extreme, it can be exhilarating to save a few bucks of your hard-earned cash off the receipt.

    It’s scenes like these that got Lindsay Nassler, 26, interested in the art of extreme coupon savings. A self-proclaimed “rookie” of the craze, Nassler has been living the uber-frugal lifestyle for about a year, when due to student debts and aspirations to buy a house she realized she didn’t have a lot of extra money to play with. That’s when she decided to do something about it.

    “When I first started watching [Extreme Couponing] I thought

    Read More »from Extreme couponing for Canadians is possible, with a little ingenuity
  • Anyone who’s bought a house knows about the little things that can affect its value: a marble countertop adds a few grand; a lack of parking takes back a bit more. Unfinished basement? See ya.

    But, there’s another class of value killers that can eat up hundreds of thousands of dollars, or make a home essentially worthless. And with our wealth increasingly tied up in our homes, finding out you just bought a “stigmatized” home can be ruinous.

     A potential nightmare example emerged last week with an Antigonish, Nova Scotia house that saw its assessed value drop to $1 from $365,000 after the owners found Mi’kmaq artifacts on the property and reported them. If the goal was to reduce property taxes, it was shrewd. But selling the place could be nearly impossible if potential buyers worry they won’t be able to do anything with the property.

    Real estate laws in Canada can be murky on this stuff, as sellers are only required to disclose material defects to the property, such as a crack in the

    Read More »from Home value killers: Problems that could make your property near worthless
  • Why you’re not getting any calls about your resume

    Hunting for a job? Want to move up the corporate ladder? Before you send resumes or press your suit, clean up your social media profile. Those drunk party photos from your university days? Trash them. Hilarious jokes that could possibly be misconstrued? Delete, delete.

    If you wouldn’t say it to the hiring manager during an interview, you don't want it appearing anywhere near your name online. And if your account isn't locked down, it’s fair game for recruiters and anybody else looking to snoop into your life.

    Do employers Google applicants?

    Short answer: Duh. “It is very easy to do a Google search on a name, and all sorts of information and hits can come up, says Christian Codrington, Human Resources Management Association in Vancouver. But he cautions that the information may not always be reliable.

    “I think most employers want to avoid false decisions, i.e. either false negatives or positives,” he explained. An employer could be impressed by a candidate’s online activity, “but the

    Read More »from Why you’re not getting any calls about your resume
  • Seven things to avoid when buying a new car

    It kills me how some people buy cars.

    A few years ago, an elderly family friend in Florida decided she should trade in her car, even though there was nothing wrong with it. She paid the full sticker price for a new version of the same car, and I can’t even imagine what she got for a trade-in on that low mileage, perfectly maintained sedan.

    Please don’t do that.

    Here are few other things to consider before you buy a new car:

    Don’t impulse buy

    First things first - do you really need a new car? If your current vehicle still suits your needs and is in good working condition, consider this question carefully. Don’t be swayed by that new car next door or those high-octane ads on TV. Remember, professional driver, closed course. You're not going to be driving in the surf or salomning solo down B.C.'s Sea to Sky highway.

    But if you do buy....

    Get the car you need, not the one you’re fantasizing about. If you live in a condo in the city, or in an urban area with little in the way of parking,

    Read More »from Seven things to avoid when buying a new car
  • Hey moron, don’t leave your dog in the car or else...

    You’d think that everybody -- and their dog -- has heard how dangerous it is to leave pets in the car in the summer, right?

    As obvious as it sounds, there are some people who still don’t understand how dangerous this practice is for their animals.

    In fact, earlier this month, a community relations police dog in Alabama died after being left in a patrol vehicle by his handler, Cpl. Josh Coleman. The three-year-old yellow lab named Mason was taken to a veterinarian, but died from respiratory distress. Coleman was disciplined by the police force, but criminal charges won’t be laid.

    Unfortunately that incident isn’t as rare as you’d hope. Last year the Washington Post reported that at least three police dogs died in hot cars during that summer.

    Toronto media relations officer Victor Kwong said that Toronto Police Service has some neat features for their service dogs, including cars that have automatic air conditioning that regulates the temperature “even if the officer is not there or the

    Read More »from Hey moron, don’t leave your dog in the car or else...
  • The summer money mistake 1/3 of Canadians make

    It’s summer, the time to bury your toes in the sand, enjoy the warm breezes and forget about your finances, right?

    Or is planning for the future on your to-do list, along with booking a hotel, packing the car, and picking a trashy novel?

    Maybe it should be.

    A whopping 83 per cent of Canadians admit that their increased spending in the summer affects their ability to put money aside for a rainy day, according to a recent survey by Tangerine.

    The survey found that two thirds of Canadians blow more on food, drink and entertainment in the summer, with weekend trips and vacations also taking an increased bite out of their household budget.

    Only 12 per cent of Canadians see summer as a time for saving, compared with 47 per cent who think of saving during the colder months. In fact, 33 per cent of Canadians don’t contribute to their savings over the summer, according to a survey by Tangerine, the bank that was ING Canada, before being bought by Scotiabank. 

    Another survey, this one

    Read More »from The summer money mistake 1/3 of Canadians make
  • GM Owner Warned Feds About Deadly Defect — And Was Ignored For 9 Years

    Relatives of people who died in GM vehicles linked to faulty ignitions gather on Capitol Hill. Photo: AP

    The agency charged with spotting deadly defects in vehicles has spent the past decade ignoring consumer complaints, misunderstanding many that it chose to highlight, and burying other problems in a bureaucratic blizzard that leaves no one responsible but everyone in danger, according to a new report.

    The report from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Inspector General’s office, released today in the wake of the General Motors’ ignition problems last year, found that all too often, NHTSA took a “hear no, see no, speak no evil” approach to potential defects.

    GM’s failures to understand how millions of its own vehicles worked — and that turning the key off while a vehicle was in motion meant the air bags wouldn’t deploy — has now led to 474 reports of deaths linked to the problem and 3,868 injury claims. (GM has only “accepted” 117 death reports and 237 injury claims as ones it

    Read More »from GM Owner Warned Feds About Deadly Defect — And Was Ignored For 9 Years
  • Canadians reveal their worst travel habits in new survey

    Being on vacation is the perfect time to relax, kick back, and let yourself get a little crazier than you usually would. Unfortunately, it's also the time when many Canadians (and other travellers from around the world) indulge in some bad habits.

    Travel Zoo conducted a survey of nearly 10,000 travellers from Canada, U.S., Germany, China and the U.K., and found that we're all pretty guilty when it comes to breaking social rules while on holiday.

    That's just gross

    Ahh, peeing in the pool: people talk about it, but no one claims to have done it. Obviously that colour-changing chemical is just a myth, because 58 per cent of Canadians surveyed admitted to tinkling while swimming in a pool or the ocean. On the bright side, Canadians aren't the worst offenders here: 64 per cent of Americans surveyed have done it, too. We're still worse than the Brits, Germans and Chinese though: only 46 per cent, 44 per cent, and 41 per cent respectively admit to it.

    Help yourself?

    When it comes to getting

    Read More »from Canadians reveal their worst travel habits in new survey
  • Five best cars picks for new grads

    So you’re a smart young grad, with the ink barely dry on your diploma. Now it’s time to start acting like an adult and get a job, a place to live, and a car.

    The sensible advice is to take public transit if you’ve got student loans to pay off, but that doesn’t work for everyone. If you don’t live in a large city with a reliable network, or if you need wheels for a new job, then adding a car loan to you monthly expenses may be the only option. Welcome to adulthood, isn’t it great?

    It’s easy to fixate on price - and you should. After all, you’re going to be paying for this car long after the new-car smell is gone and you’ve given up vacuuming the interior. But there are a few other considerations: New or used, financing terms, not to mention options, packages, and rebates.

    Used versus new

    You can get a cheap used car, but the reliability of that car could be questionable. With low interest rates and long-term financing, new cars can look appealing to buyers who don’t have money set aside

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  • Honoring My Father By Swapping A $100 SUV

    Like a lot of surprises in life, this all started with some spare cash floating around in my pocket and a few too many drinks.

    I was up well past midnight and in front of my computer.  Surfing had turned into browsing. Browsing had turned into shopping, and pretty soon I was looking with rose-colored glasses at a bunch of old government cars that had either been seized, smashed up, or mothballed.

    There was one in particular that caught my eye.  

    This 1994 Ford Explorer that seemed to have more dirt on it than paint. The description from the City of Roswell didn’t help matters.

    1994 FORD EXPLORER WHITE WITH GRAY INTERIOR, 4.0 L V-6 AUTOMATIC, AC, MINOR SCRATCHES AND DENTS ON EXTERIOR, NO CRACKED GLASS, DEAD BATTERY, DRY ROTTED TIRES, NEEDS SHOCKS, NO KEYS

    A lot of room for the imagination about the Explorer’s true condition turned into one dangerous thought, “There is something nice about this one!" 

    I’m not much for SUVs, but the terms and restrictions for the sale made it look like

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  • Why women still pay more for cars

    Am I a typical female car buyer? When I bought a new car last year, I had one in mind after admiring a newly designed model on the street. I read about the car on the auto maker’s website. I compared similar models, making sure this one suited my needs. I crunched the numbers every which way. It wasn’t until I was 99% sure I wanted this car that I set foot in a dealership to test drive it.

    The current research says yes, that makes me typical in today’s car buyer market. The car I purchased, a compact hatchback, was exactly what I set out to buy, down to the trim level and colour.

    Women are the primary decision makers for 75 per cent of households when it comes to selecting the make, model and colour of the vehicle, says Radek Garbowski, COO of Unhaggle.com.

    But even if they’re buying a new car for themselves, 69 per cent of women will still bring a man to help with negotiations, says Garbowski, recounting a story of a real estate agent, well versed in the art of negotiation in her

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  • Gender and sexual orientation can both influence what someone sees on their paycheque. (Thinkstock)Gender and sexual orientation can both influence what someone sees on their paycheque. (Thinkstock)

    Canada’s wage gap has been well established. Researchers have uncovered wage disparities based on gender, race, immigration status and visible minority identities. But until now, little attention has been given to the relationship between wages and sexual orientation.

    Nicole Denier and Sean Waite aim to change that. In their report, “Gay Pay for Straight Work: Mechanisms Generating Disadvantage” published in Gender and Society, the two McGill University Ph.D. candidates set out to understand in the economic lives of gay and lesbian Canadian.

    Their initial findings match findings in other areas of the world: gay men make less money than straight men, and lesbians earn more than straight women. Denier and Waite wanted to take things further, though. By comparing the earnings of lesbians to heterosexual men, they found a hierarchy, where straight men earn the most, followed by gay men, lesbians, and finally straight women.

    For many, the apparent benefits of being a lesbian in the

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