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Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Canada's dollar bills going synthetic; government acting to end postal strike/lockout

   Canada column for Sunday, June 26/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s colorful folding currency is going polymer.
   The switch to “plastic-like” dollar bills starts with $100 notes in November, 50s by next March and 20s, 10s and 5s by the end of 2013. (Canada replaced its $1 and $2 bills with coins earlier.)
   The new notes probably won’t light cigars as easily as the paper ones, are more durable and laundry-friendly, and paying with plastic will take on a whole new meaning.
   The Bank of Canada expects the new smooth-feeling bills will last 2 1/2 times longer than the current paper and cotton notes.
   It should also thwart counterfeiters, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said, adding “there’s simply no other currency” like these synthetic bills.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Government plans to end postal strike; Air Canada strike resolved

   Canada column for Sunday, June 19/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government plans to legislate an end to the postal workers strike/lockout within days in one of two high-profile labor disputes.
   The other was a short-lived strike by Air Canada’s 3,800 sales and service agents and 600 call center workers who reached a tentative agreement with a nine-percent pay raise over four years.
   Labor Minister Lisa Raitt had threatened back-to-work legislation before the Air Canada strike ended on Friday in its third day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Canada postal service cutting back on staff hours, switching to three-day delivery as rotating strikes continue

   Canada column for Sunday, June 12/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada Post is cutting staff hours and restricting mail deliveries in urban centers to three days a week as postal workers continue their rotating strikes.
   Due to the job action by 54,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, mail volume has been cut in half, said Canada Post spokesperson Jon Hamilton.
   “We need to take action now to avoid significant losses that would harm our financial self-sustainability,” he added.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Postal strike means brisk business for couriers, problems for businesses as rotating walkouts begin

   Canada column for Sunday, June 5/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Courier companies have called in extra staff while businesses fear the worst as Canada’s postal workers are on strike.
   So far, the 54,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers are holding rotating strikes, which started with Winnipeg on Friday and Hamilton, Ontario on Saturday, as they remain far apart on terms for a new contract.
   A continuing or national strike could cause “significant” harm to the cash flow of small businesses, said Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.