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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stats Canada recounts and finds 42,000 jobs created last month

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 17/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The numbers just didn’t add up in the recent Statistics Canada jobs report and that resulted in a temporary halt in processing new employment insurance claims.
   The government agency scrambled to fix the mistake in its July Labor Force Survey issued on Aug. 8 that said only 200 jobs were created last month.
   In fact, the corrected numbers released on Friday showed the economy actually gained almost 42,000 jobs in July, not the 60,000 losses originally reported.
   Statistics Canada said the problem was due to a human error in updating the computer programs used for its survey.
   The Conservative government had put all new Employment Insurance claims on hold until the agency fixed the problem.
   That’s because the monthly jobs’ numbers determine regional unemployment rates that impact the number of weeks an unemployed person needs to have worked in order to qualify for benefits.
   There was no change in Canada’s jobless rate of 7.0 percent in July, down a tenth of a point from the previous month.


   A former Conservative party staff member has been convicted of trying to prevent people from voting in the 2011 federal election.
   Michael Sona, 25, of Ottawa is the first person ever convicted of the offense and will be sentenced in October.
   In the so-called robocalls’ scandal, automated phone calls were made to 6,700 people on election day, mainly to Liberal supporters in Guelph, Ontario.
   The calls gave misleading instructions on where to vote, resulting in some people not voting due to the confusion created, the court hearing was told.
   Sona was communications director for Guelph Conservative candidate Marty Burke who finished a distant second to Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote.


    News in brief:
   - People unable to get to community mailboxes once Canada Post stops most home delivery will have to have a note from their doctor. The post office plans to phase out door-to-door delivery over five years in a cost-cutting move. Reports say the federal corporation will ask the elderly and disabled residents for proof to continue receiving their mail at home.
   - The search for evidence in the disappearance and suspected murder of Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their grandson Nathan O’Brien, 5, of Calgary has taken police to Mexico. The Liknes’ had been planning to move there when they were last seen on June 29. Police have arrested Douglas Garland, 54, on three murder counts even though they bodies have not been found.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 91.67 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0907 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,224 points and the TSX Venture index down at 989 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is up at $1.3082 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Aug. 13) 8, 16, 21, 39, 44 and 45; bonus 11. (Aug 9) 2, 12, 30, 32, 37 and 40; bonus 39. Lotto Max: (Aug. 8) 6, 9, 16, 19, 20, 24 and 30; bonus 31.


   Regional briefs:
   - Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has withdrawn his threat of legal action against Mayor Rob Ford’s brother, councilor Doug Ford. Blair had demanded an apology after Doug Ford accused him of leaking information about a police investigation involving the mayor. The issue concerned a report that police were preparing to subpoena the mayor to testify at a preliminary hearing for a friend facing drug and extortion charges.
   - There has been a population decline of 0.4 percent in two years in Canada’s Atlantic provinces. The population has fallen by 9,294 people to 2,364,770 in Newfoundland/Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. The island had the only increase in population by 307 people.
   - A social-media-savvy robot called Hitchbot has completed a 3,800-mile hitchhiking journey across Canada. The three-week trek from Halifax to Victoria was part of an interdisciplinary research project by Ontario-based communications researchers. The robot’s co-creator David Smith of Hamilton’s McMaster University said they are studying the evolving relationship between people and technology.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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