• A human rights lawyer says it is a “complicated question” whether or not Airbnb could be held liable in Canada for racial discrimination.

    The issue has gained prominence in the U.S. after a class-action suit was filed in May against the online home-rental service. The chief-plaintiff, Gregory Selden, a 25-year-old African-American, claims Airbnb violated civil rights law, which forbids housing discrimination, when a host denied him accommodation last year based on his race.

    A paper by Harvard researchers also found “widespread discrimination” by hosts against users with names that sound African-American.

    The study used fictional names, such as Lakisha or Rasheed, and found that they were 16 per cent less likely to be accepted as guests when compared to users with Caucasian-sounding names.

    However, legal action against the San Francisco-based company could prove difficult because it has a clause that requires users who reside in the U.S. to waive their right to a trial by jury or to

    Read More »from Airbnb's obligation to prevent discrimination falls into legal grey area
  • Canadian fintech startup Borrowell has opened up another avenue for Canadians to check their credit score, setting aside the usual $24 fee and offering a free credit check via a partnership with consumer credit tracker Equifax Canada.

    “In talking to consumers everyday, we came to realize that many Canadians don’t know their current credit score, or how to improve it,” said Andrew Graham, the CEO of Borrowell in a statement. “By providing Canadians with their scores and educational resources on how to improve them, Canadians will have better options when it comes to accessing credit.”

    As part of the free service, Borrowell, a Toronto-based online loan service, will keep users updated at quarterly intervals on their credit scores. You don't need to sign up for one of their peer-to-peer loans in order to qualify for the free checks.

    The partnership is in step with fellow online lender Mogo’s offer of a free credit check for signing up and neither require any immediate obligations.

    Read More »from There’s a new way to check your credit score for free, but is that smart to do?
  • On Monday, Yahoo Finance Canada looked at how companies are adapting to a more visible LGBTQ client base and workforce. Today, we take a deeper dive into one of the companies known for its LGBTQ-friendly policies.

    Tim Thompson has worked at TD Bank for nearly three decades.

    But it wasn’t until 2007, 17 years into his tenure, that he felt “safe enough” to come out at work.

    What changed is that Thompson, current COO of TD Asset Management, received a promotion and started working closely with the company’s executives, including the CEO at the time, Ed Clark.

    Clark was at the helm two years earlier when the TD became the first major financial institution to sponsor Toronto’s Pride festival and established its LGBTA Working Group in Canada. A year later, it also launched its LGTA Employee Pride Network.

    “That’s when I learned that when Ed Clark talked about this stuff he wasn’t just reading something someone handed to him, Ed Clark from his heart he meant what he was talking about,” said

    Read More »from How one bank is trying to make their workplaces more LGBT-friendly
  • You’ve heard the saying that there’s a greeting card for just about every conceivable occasion?

    Not so much in this case. At least not for Toronto entrepreneur Daniel Malen, who with his friend, Toronto artist and performer Mark Uhre, decided to crowdfund their very own line of LGBTQ inclusive greeting cards. The success of their project, Mark It Proud, is turning heads so we spoke with Malen to find out the secret to their success:

    Yahoo Canada Finance: You managed to hit your targeted goal of $3,600 on Kickstarter in just five days. Why were you so successful so quickly?

    Daniel Malen: I love wasting hours in Chapters and Indigo looking at cards. But it always bothered me that there was no selection of gay and lesbian cards. There might be one card in among the aisles with thousands. The idea actually crystallized after my wedding last summer. My husband Aaron and I received eight identical wedding cards.

    A less conventional wedding greeting card. (Mark It Proud/Kickstarter)A less conventional wedding greeting card. (Mark It Proud/Kickstarter)

    YCF: Your business is a partnership with Toronto artist and performer Mark

    Read More »from Mark It Proud: Toronto men launch LGBTQ-inclusive greeting cards
  • When did you learn about the value of a dollar?

    Did you have the guiding hand of a parent or relative? Was it something you picked up in school? Or did you learn through making mistakes and adapting your own personal techniques? 

    Well, a U.S. dad is getting widespread props on social media for the teaching methods that he is using with his family.

    A post last Sunday on the popular Facebook page Humans of New York shows the father sitting with his two young sons with a baseball glove in a park. 

    The caption, which is a quote from one of the boys, explained the edifying nature of his allowance.

    The boy said that when he receives his weekly sum of $1, he is given the option of investing, saving, donating or spending. 

    If he puts a dollar in the investing category, his parents give him two extra pennies at the end of every month.

     He said he has “way over” $10 invested and he has only spent his monthly allowance twice.

    “I used to have more, but I took some money out and put in my ‘donate

    Read More »from Facebook post of dad teaching kids about charity and saving goes viral
  • Auckland is cutting cheques of up to $5,000 New Zealand dollars, or about CA$4,557, for residents who are willing uproot and move elsewhere as a means to stem overcrowding in the city.

    The relocation grants were made available Monday, for people who live in social housing, are on its register or are eligible.

    In a statement on government’s website, New Zealand’s Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett said more than 130 people had already expressed interest in the grant. 

    For those people who may want to move to cheaper regions, where they may have family and other support networks, this grant will remove the cost barrier that may be preventing them from making the move,” she said in a press release.

    Auckland has become one of the most expensive cities in the world to buy a home, with property prices rising 77.5 per cent over the last five years. The average home in New Zealand’s largest city, which is home to nearly 1.5 million people, fetches on average NZ$940,000 or CA$856,891,

    Read More »from This city in New Zealand is paying people to move out
  • With Britons set to vote this Thursday on whether to leave the European Union, there has been no shortage of speculation of how a British exit – or Brexit – would impact the economies of the UK and its trading partners.

    Last week, Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau added his own dire prediction to the pile, predicting that a “leave” vote could put at risk tens of thousands of UK jobs at Canadian companies with operations in Britain.

    It’s not unusual for politicians to make hyperbolic statements ahead of referenda that have the potential to shift the economic map. Just ask the head of Unilever, who said last week Britons could see ice cream costs rise by as much as 50 per cent if Britain leaves the union.

    But while “tens of thousands” is a pretty broad range, the claim follows a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers that the UK economy as a whole could lose 950,000 jobs if the Brexit goes through, so Morneau’s not alone is seeing significant fallout. And experts agree a “leave” vote

    Read More »from A Brexit would cost UK jobs at Canadian firms — at least in the short term
  • How a real estate bubble burst in Toronto, Vancouver could affect the rest of Canada

    Despite record high housing prices last month, four Canadian cities are actually seeing housing prices go down.

    Saying Canada’s housing market is at a record high is somewhat misleading because the truth is, the real estate market is weakening in at least four major cities.

    Buoyed by red-hot markets in Vancouver and Toronto, the country’s overall housing market may appear to be on fire but in reality real estate is slumping in Quebec City, Halifax, Calgary and Edmonton, where houses prices are down.

    The reason is their economies are incredibly flat and you will see housing really start to slow down,” says Don Campbell, a senior analyst with the Real Estate Investment Network. “It’s simple economics that explains why they’re underperforming.”

    A Teranet-National Bank house price index released last week showed massive double-digit gains in house prices in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Hamilton, a sharp contrast with the other seven regions covered in the index, where house prices barely budged.

    The index noted gains of over 10 per cent in Toronto, Hamilton, Vancouver and Victoria, which when

    Read More »from How a real estate bubble burst in Toronto, Vancouver could affect the rest of Canada
  • The skills women need to find jobs in the technological revolution

    Women are at a notably higher risk of losing jobs in the next 10-20 years, but certain skills will make it much easier to weather that storm

    In the next 10 years a significant percentage of Canada’s labour force – up to 42 per cent – is at risk of being bumped off the job by automation, according to a new report this month by the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship (BII+E). Although the male-dominated transportation sector is expected to take a big hit, the rise of the machines adversely impacts women more than men, as female workers will lose their jobs in customer service, office support, sales and administration.

    According to another recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) women could also miss out on tomorrow’s new jobs in computer, technology and engineering-related fields because the new and emerging roles are outpacing the rate at which women currently enter those fields.

    Opportunity amidst the rise of the machines

    And yet, experts say there’s opportunity amidst the technological tumult.

    “Canadians shouldn’t regard technological advances as the enemy,” said Armine Yalnizyan a senior

    Read More »from The skills women need to find jobs in the technological revolution
  • Canadian businesses are increasingly adopting practices that promote LGBTQ equality in the market and workplace, says Darrell Schuurman, co-founder of the Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC). He should know; he’s been working with small, medium, and big businesses since 2003 promoting diversity.

    “It’s become important for a corporation to not just try to buy the pink dollar by going after the consumer base,” said Schuurman, who is also CGLCC vice-chair. “They really need to do what they’re preaching by supporting the entire LGBTQ community.”

    It’s been 10 years since companies started to realize the buying power of the LGBTQ market, which in the U.S., was pegged at US$884-billion by Washington, D.C.-based Witeck Communications. The CLGCC puts Canada’s LGBTQ purchasing power between C$84-billion and C$90-billion.

    The travel industry was ahead of the curve and the first to see the untapped capital in the LGBTQ market, beginning to heavily advertise in trade publications

    Read More »from For businesses, LGBTQ-friendly means more than just sponsoring Pride
  • In case you’ve been living under a dusty old Nintendo Wii console over the past couple of years, you’ve no doubt been hearing a lot about virtual reality.

    Initially targeted to video gamers who want a next-generation interactive entertainment experience, virtual reality (VR) is enjoying its “coming out” party in 2016, with a number of headsets commercially available.

    “After years of false starts, VR finally works like it's supposed to,” says Toronto-based author and journalist Pete Nowak. “If you actually get a chance to experience it, it's pretty mind-blowing. It's one of those few technologies where you immediately start to imagine all the possibilities.”

    If you haven’t yet tried it, you might be asking what all the hoopla is about.

    And so consider this primer a look at what VR is, who it’s for, what you need, some of the non-gaming applications for the technology, and if it’s the right time to jump in (or jack in, if you want to feel like you're a character from "Neuromancer").

    A man plays a game using the new Sony VR headset during E3 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)A man plays a game using the new Sony VR headset during E3 2016. (REUTERS/Mike Blake)


    Read More »from VR isn't just for gamers: here's what you need to know
  • Canada’s biggest and most diversified marijuana company is one step closer to graduating from the TSX Venture exchange to the big leagues. You heard that right: provided Canopy Growth Corporation meets the TSX’s conditions, Canadians will likely be able to buy stocks in a marijuana company before they’re allowed to buy marijuana for recreational use.

    The Smith Falls, Ont.-based marijuana company, which currently sells medical marijuana through subsidiaries Tweed, a Snoop Dogg-hyped lifestyle brand and Bedrocan, the 20-year-old clinical, standardized pricing brand – a.k.a. the older cousin who’s apt to talk about strains and medical benefits as opposed to suggesting you throw on 1993’s Doggystyle on repeat – isn’t the only one currently listed on the venture exchange. Brands like OrganiGram Holdings Inc and Aphria Inc have also made it to the publicly-listed stage. But listing on the TSX could prove to be a coup for the Canadian marijuana company as the Liberals push forward with plans

    Read More »from You could be investing in marijuana before you can buy it
  • The issue of suicide prevention made national headlines in Canada earlier this year, following an outbreak of attempts in the Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat.

    And in response to the prevalence of the issue in Canada and around the world, Facebook is rolling out new tools to help its users offer support to their friends who they believe may be suicidal or self-harming.

    Kevin Chan, head of public policy at Facebook Canada, told Yahoo Canada Finance that with 21 million users in Canada alone, the company is in a position to help.

     “This is something that we know that friends and family members are best in a position to notice things that are perhaps slightly off about people that they care about,” he said.

     “And so, we really thought that this is something that we can and should do to keep our community safe, and try to be proactive, and try to avert some of the more difficult and tragic things like (what happened in) Attawapiskat.”

    In an announcement made earlier this week, the

    Read More »from Facebook offers new suicide-prevention tools worldwide
  • image

    [Sailing towards the Pitons. (Photo: Scott Ward)]

    Not having been in the Caribbean before, I just assumed that certain things went together. Like, ocean breezes and endless beaches, or lush rainforests with snakes and monkeys. Not so, apparently. In St. Lucia, you have the flora, not the fauna, the gorgeous coastline but not the sandy shoals. It’s a geography thing, having everything to do with the origins of the island and the waters that surround it… but more on that in a minute.

    You can be forgiven for being a little vague on the specifics when it comes to St. Lucia. It’s a tiny country, and not tiny compared to Canada, no, it’s miniscule next to P.E.I. or Cape Breton. From tip to tail, it measures scarcely 43km. If they held a marathon here, you’d almost have to start in the water. Though of course, you wouldn’t chart it out as the crow flies.

    St. Lucia doesn’t do straight lines. Saskatchewan it is not. Indeed it’s so far from flat that before we arrived we were strongly encouraged

    Read More »from Escaping to the warmth of St. Lucia
  • Does your mood swing up and down with the TSX? Does the price of oil keep you up at night? If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the business news scene in Canada, then this quiz on the week’s top business stories should be a breeze. Find out how savvy you are about Canadian and international financial news.

  • [Writer Summer Fanous, right, grew up around cars thanks to her father, who owned the auto repair business pictured on the left. (Supplied)]

    Ah…that distinct smell of car grease. It’s the scent that always lingered in my dad’s work clothes.

    My dad would come home late from working a 14-hour day and still make time to talk shop. As a mechanic and business owner for over 30 years, my pops has a plethora of knowledge piled up in his brain, especially when it comes to automobiles. As a mechanic’s daughter, I’ve learned some valuable lessons throughout the years that are worth passing on to those who weren’t lucky enough to have a dad in the industry.

    1. Your car is a machine

    Driver’s permit in my purse, I sat behind the wheel, car in park while my dad explained to me that automobiles don’t have emotions. They rely on the driver to wisely operate and maneuver. In order to avoid accidents, one must always pay attention to the road and its conditions. Even in the current day and age where

    Read More »from Lessons I learned being a mechanic’s daughter
  • Well, everyone’s fears can be put to rest: Mark Zuckerberg is not a lizard person.

    Or can they?

    The Facebook CEO did exactly what you would expect a lizard person would do when asked if he was part of a shape-shifting reptilian alien race who is seeking to take over the world. 

    During a Facebook Live Q&A at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Tuesday, as part of an event for Oculus Rift, one commentator questioned the tech giant’s founder about his true origins: “Mark, are the allegations true that you’re secretly a lizard?”

    To which Zuckerberg replied, “Um … I’m gonna, I’m gonna have to go with ‘no’ on that. I am not a lizard.”

    Before adding sarcastically: “But keep the high quality comments coming in please, this is surely on track to be a great Live Q&A if we continue getting stuff at that level of quality.”

    According to Public Policy Polling, 12.5 million Americans, yes 12.5 million, believe that shape-shifting lizard people control politics.

    British conspiracy

    Read More »from ‘I am not a lizard’: Mark Zuckerberg denies rumours about alien origins


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