Insight
  • The suburbs already get a bad rap for their uninspiring streets and distance from both the excitement of the city and calm of the country.

    Now a new study is challenging the main argument many homeowners use to justify their decision to live in suburbia: cost.

    A new report from Sustainable Prosperity, a national research and policy network, claims to expose the hidden costs of suburban sprawl.

    The report highlights the economic and environmental costs of expanding suburbia across Canada.

    “Sprawling, suburb-dominated municipalities are now common worldwide – and overwhelmingly predominant in North America,” says the report released Monday.

    “However, it is important to bear in mind that suburban sprawl is still in the experimental stage. As with other experiments, we don’t know how it will work out, and what the unintended consequences will be.”

    The report argues city taxpayers, including homeowners and businesses, are directly and indirectly paying the price of pushing people to live further

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  • Canada is regaining lost ground when it comes to gender equality but has much room for improvement compared to other countries, says a new survey.

    The World Economic Forum’s latest Global Gender Gap Index report places Canada 20th among 136 countries studied. That’s up from 21st last year but down from 18th spot in 2011. In fact, Canada is back in the same spot it was in 2010. It ranked as low as 14th in 2006 and as high as 31st in 2008.

    The best performers were the Nordic nations – Iceland in the top spot, followed by Finland, Norway and Sweden – then the Philippines in 5th. A number of European countries ranked ahead of Canada, but those outside of the region include Nicaragua in 10th, Cuba in 15th and South Africa in 17th spot. For those keeping score between Canada and the U.S., America came in 23rd spot, up one from last year.

    Of the 100 countries that have been part of the review since 2006, 85 per cent have seen increases since 2009, while 14 per cent are getting worse, according

    Read More »from Canada ranks 20th in world for gender equality: WEF
  • As some of the 39,400 Canadians who lost their jobs this past July can attest, the experience is right up there with divorce and the death of a parent when it comes to stressful life events. Whether it’s a sudden firing or a dismissal that’s been in the works for a while, it still hurts. There’s the obvious financial toll, not to mention the potential impact on a person’s self-esteem. The good news is there’s lots of help for the former.

    “Losing a job means losing income,” says Lucie Tedesco, commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, which has just released a free online guidebook to help people deal with the fallout called Losing Your Job . “Depending on the circumstances, those who’ve lost a job will likely need to reduce expenses and also manage their debt, savings and any severance pay or early retirement offer they may receive. They may have to look at ways to replace their income by claiming benefits and insurance and finding new sources of income.”

    Canada’s

    Read More »from What to do when you’ve lost your job
  • Forget Florida, moving into a cramped condo or that dreaded retirement residence; a great majority of Canadian Baby Boomers plan to stick it out in their own homes when they retire – even if that means paying for someone to come and take care of them.

    A new poll by RBC says more than 80 per cent of retired and non-retired Boomers over age 50 would rather stay put as they age, findings which could have wide-sweeping implications for Canada’s housing market.

    The RBC “Retirement Myths & Realities Poll” says 88 per cent of retired Boomers would prefer to stay in their current home and pay for home care as needed, while 83 per cent of those yet to retire feel the same way.

    That number rises to 91 per cent for both groups when asked if they would prefer staying in their current home or one nearby near family and friends.

    "Remaining in familiar surroundings - in a home of their own, in their current neighbourhood and close to family and friends - is definitely how Canadian Boomers wish to live

    Read More »from Less housing sales ahead as seniors stay put
  • Western Canada is driving Canada’s entrepreneurial spirit, accounting for six of the top 10 communities in which to run a small business, a new survey shows.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the Calgary area, followed by the city of Saskatoon, are among Canada’s top entrepreneurial cities in 2013.

    The study was released during Small Business Week, now taking place across Canada, and is a tribute to both the people who start their own shops, as well as the government policies that help support them.

    “Small business development is extremely important to the long-run health of a community. It’s why these communities started in the first place,” says CFIB chief economist Ted Mallett and author of the report with colleague Simon Gaudreault.

    In many instances, it was the regions around major centres such as Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver that scored highest on the list, Mr. Mallett noted.

    For instance, communities in the Greater Toronto Area and Greater Calgary were

    Read More »from Calgary, Saskatoon best cities to start a business: survey
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has huge impact on productivity in Canada and governments need to pay closer attention to the significant negative economic impact, a new study suggests.

    Canada loses an estimated $6 billion to $11 billion each year through loss of workplace productivity linked to the disorder, according to research from the Centre for ADHD Awareness Canada (CADDAC).

    “Some adults with ADHD are high functioning and financially successful. However, in general, untreated ADHD impedes the attainment of human and social capital, resulting in major socioeconomic costs for the Canadian government,” the report says.

    The study puts the cost of illness from the disorder at more than $7 billion, more than major depressive disorders, which are also an issue in Canadian society, and cites a correlation to increased health care costs.

    “The impact of ADHD on Canadian social services continues to escalate,” says the paper released as part of ADHD Awareness Week.

    People with

    Read More »from Adult ADHD a huge drain on Canada’s economy: report
  • Women are standing in their own way when it comes to career advancement, focusing too much what they think is holding them back and not enough on what they have to offer, a new study suggests.

    The Ipsos-Reid study, conducted on behalf of Randstad Canada, says many women are being bogged down by appearance and family status as potential barriers to getting ahead at work, when their own perceptions of these factors could truly be to blame.

    For example, 90 per cent of the more than 500 female respondents to the survey said that they believe that overall image, including looks, have a substantial impact on a woman's career progression. Only 37 per cent thought it could have the same effect on a man's career.

    Three-in-five women said managing work and family was the most challenging obstacle and nearly half believed it was having an impact on career progression. Another 24 per cent said going on maternity leave prevented them from getting a promotion.

    The study says these factors can’t be

    Read More »from Are women to blame for lack of career success?
  • When you’re in grade 11 or 12, prepping for a calculus final is about as much fun as conjugating French verb. Je suis, tu es, il… remember that? Yeah, me too, sort of. Sadly though it’s become increasingly clear that blowing off that advanced math class, or physics course, which let’s admit, is just as painful, is a really bad idea; and not just for you, but for the country as a whole.

    Not that any right-thinking, high-school kid is worried about the macro-economic impacts of their course load next term, but they should be marginally concerned about their immediate future, that is if they want any chance of landing a top-paying job.

    Whether it’s medicine, engineering, finance, IT or dentistry, they will need a proven understanding of science and math. That’s according to a recently released report by Let’s Talk Science, an important if regrettably named charitable organization that’s focused on providing science-based programming throughout the school system.

    Unsurprisingly, the

    Read More »from Lack of science, math grads hurting Canada’s economy: report
  • Toronto may be the city others across Canada love to hate, but the rest of the world appears to feel differently.

    Canada's largest city ranked as the 8th best in the world by brand image, up from 13th place two years earlier and surpassing such international favourites as Vienna and Melbourne.

    Toronto was also labelled the second friendliest city in the world among a list of the top 50, and the fourth safest.

    The biannual Anholt-GfK City Brands Index measures the “power and appeal” of each city’s brand image.

    Mark Keida, senior research director on the City Brands project, says Toronto scored particularly well among Americans and people from India, followed by those from the United Kingdom and France.

    The index is meant to represent the full picture of a city, from how it looks and feels to visitors, to its education, culture and economic opportunities, and it’s global contribution.

    “It’s hard to get the right mix, and Toronto managed to get into the Top 10,” says Keida.

    What held Toronto

    Read More »from Toronto ‘brand’ cracks top 10 among global cities
  • NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 18: Kathleen Taylor of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts onstage at the Conde Nast Traveler Celebration of "The Visionaries" and 25 Years Of Truth In Travel Awards Show at Alice Tully Hall on September 18, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Conde Nast Traveler)In August, when the top 25 most powerful people in business were ranked in the pages of Canadian Business the usual names appeared: Jimmy Pattison, Jim Flathery, Jim Leech, as well as some Bay Streeters not named Jim. But yes, the list was almost exclusively white and nearly entirely male; Heather Reisman and Julie Dickson being the exceptions to the rule.

    In fairness, the rankings are a reflection of what is, not what should be, or may soon be. If it were Kathleen Taylor would surely figure highly. In January, Taylor will become chair of this country’s biggest bank, RBC, becoming the first woman ever to lead the board of a major Canadian financial institution.

    And if that wasn’t a big enough gig, this week Flaherty appointed her as a director of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the organization that invests the nearly $190-billion that is the Canada Pension Plan.

    For good measure, Taylor is also on the board of Toronto’s Sick Kids hospital foundation.

    If the 56-year-old is not a

    Read More »from Kathleen Taylor: Canada’s most powerful woman you’ve never heard of

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