WATCH ABOVE: Calgary police have charged two men in a bizarre incident that includes a man being held against his will in a home in northeast Calgary. Global’s Jill Croteau reports.
WARNING: This story contains graphic content. Discretion is advised.
CALGARY – A 19-year-old man and a young female have been charged in connection to an unlawful confinement and robbery that took place in Calgary’s northeast Wednesday.
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Police were called to the 100 block of Coventry Road N.E. at about 4 p.m. after a “partially bound, injured man” ran out of the house. The victim, a man in his 30s, was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries, according to police.
Police said a female youth, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, has been charged with one count of robbery, common assault and unlawful confinement. Calgarian Samuel Chase has also been charged with one count of assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and unlawful confinement.
The victim met the young female on a bus, exchanged contact information, then went to the home intending to meet with her. Police said further details are under investigation, but are searching for two additional suspects.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be identified, told Global News she called 911 after she saw the victim run out of the front door of the home, screaming he was going to be robbed.
“I saw him run out the front door screaming, ‘help me, help me,’” she said. “I have never heard anybody scream like that in my life. …He had duct tape around his throat and around his wrists, and he was bleeding from the nose and his toe, and said they took pliers to his nose and his toes.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
WATCH ABOVE: The United States has come a long way in its acceptance of same-sex marriage, but not everyone is on board. In Kentucky, a county clerk was sent to jail for digging in her heels and refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples. Aarti Pole has the story.
ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) – A federal judge ordered a defiant county clerk to jail for contempt Thursday after she insisted that it would violate her conscience to follow court orders to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis and her deputy clerks were summoned to appear before U.S. District Judge David Bunning after she repeatedly denied them marriage licenses, cited her religious beliefs and “God’s authority.”
The judge said his only alternative was to jail her because he did not believe she would comply with his order even if she were fined. She was escorted out of his courtroom by a deputy, although not in handcuffs, to be turned over to the custody of federal marshals.
WATCH ABOVE: Demonstrations continue as County Clerk refuses to issue same sex marriage licenses
Hundreds of people outside the courthouse chanted and screamed, “Love won! Love won!”
Kim Davis testified about 20 minutes and was very emotional. She described how she became a Christian and said she is unable to believe anything else.
April Miller, one of the women trying to obtain a license, also testified. She said she voted for Kim Davis in the election and that this was only about getting her license, not about trying to change Davis’ beliefs.
More supporters, protesters come forward in Kentucky clerk’s refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Kentucky country clerk comes out in support of refusal to issue same-sex marriage license
Judge calls to court Kentucky clerk refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples
Kentucky clerk still refuses to issue marriage license to same-sex couples
Kentucky clerk confronted by same-sex couple, still refuses to issue marriage license under “god’s authority”
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In front of the federal courthouse, demonstrators shouted at each other, sang hymns and waved signs, which ranged from the violent – turn to Jesus or burn – to simple statements of support. A small plane flew over the courthouse, carrying a banner that said: “Stand Firm Kim.”
Davis stopped issuing licenses to all couples in June after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage. Despite rulings against her, she’s turned away couples again and again.
The couples who originally sued in the case asked Bunning to punish Davis with fines but not jail time.
Davis, an Apostolic Christian, said earlier this week she never imagined this day would come.
“I have no animosity toward anyone and harbor no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God’s word,” her statement said.
Her critics mock this moral stand, noting that Davis is on her fourth husband after being divorced three times.
Davis served as her mother’s deputy in the clerk’s office for 27 years before she was elected as a Democrat to succeed her mother in November. Davis’ own son is on the staff.
As an elected official, she can be removed only if the Legislature impeaches her, which is unlikely in a deeply conservative state.
Judge Bunning is the son of Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies who served two terms as Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator. Former Republican President George W. Bush nominated David Bunning for a lifetime position as a federal judge in 2001 when he was just 35 years old, halfway through his dad’s first term in the Senate.
But Bunning has been anything but a sure thing for conservative causes. In 2007, he was part of a three-judge panel on a federal appeals court that overturned Michigan’s ban on partial-birth abortion. The panel ruled the state’s law was too broad and would outlaw other legal forms of abortion.
In 2003, Bunning ordered the Boyd County School District to allow the student club Gay-Straight Alliance to meet on campus.
TORONTO — Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr is asking a Canadian court to ease his bail conditions to allow him to fly to Toronto to visit his family, has learned.
Among other things, Khadr also wants to be rid of his electronic monitoring bracelet, arguing it’s embarrassing and intrusive, and his curfew eased.
“My release and reintegration into the community have been going great,” Khadr says in a supporting affidavit.
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“I have not gotten into any trouble of any kind with the authorities.”
An Alberta judge granted Khadr bail May 7 pending his appeal in the U.S. against his 2010 conviction for war crimes – including the murder of an American special forces soldier – by a widely discredited military commission at Guantanamo Bay.
He transferred to Canada in 2012 and remained incarcerated until winning bail and tasting freedom for the first time since his capture as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan in July 2002.
However, bail came with stringent conditions – including that he live with his lawyer Dennis Edney in Edmonton and not leave Alberta – except to stay at Edney’s vacation home in B.C.
READ MORE: Judge awards U.S. soldiers $134M by default in lawsuit against Omar Khadr
He was also required to communicate with his family – some of whom expressed pro-al-Qaida views in the past – only in English and under the Edneys’ supervision.
“I am now an adult and I think independently,” Khadr, 29, says in the document.
“Even if the members of my family were to wish to influence my religious or other views, they would not be able to control or influence me in any negative manner.”
Khadr’s maternal grandparents live in Toronto. He says his grandmother is ill and his grandfather barely speaks English. As a result, he says, he wants to be able to visit them and converse in another language without the Edneys present.
He also says he wants to see his mother, siblings, and other relatives during a two-week visit to Toronto either this month or next.
READ MORE: U.S. court ruling adds ammo to Omar Khadr appeal
“None of my family members are involved in any illegal activity,” he states.
There was no immediate word on the government’s response to Khadr’s application to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, which is expected to hear the matter Sept. 11 in Edmonton, according to legal filings.
However, the Conservative government has frequently denounced any attempt by Khadr to “lessen his punishment” for what it called “heinous crimes.” While Ottawa is appealing the fact he was granted bail, it has yet to request a date or file supporting documents.
Alberta’s Court of Appeal has previously decided the eight-year sentence the commission gave Khadr as part of his plea bargain amounts to a youth sentence – something the federal government is appealing to the Supreme Court of Canada. That means he would have been eligible for statutory release Aug. 19, according to Correctional Service Canada.
READ MORE: Is Omar Khadr a child soldier? Explaining the murky debate
Khadr says it’s time to take off his electronic ankle bracelet, which he calls uncomfortable.
“It has also gone off several times and made noise all the time, even when I am in full compliance with my conditions,” he says. “This can be particularly embarrassing.”
He says he wants to be able to attend early morning prayers – but needs to be allowed to leave home at 5 a.m. to do so, or to take a walk or ride his bicycle.
“The original conditions are no longer necessary or in the public interest,” Khadr’s lawyer Nate Whitling writes in the bail-variance application.
WATCH ABOVE: It was supposed to be a celebration, but the Metro LRT Line to NAIT is just days away from opening under a cloud of controversy. Vinesh Pratap explains.
EDMONTON — The city’s new Metro LRT Line – which offers transit service west from central Edmonton with stops at MacEwan, Kingsway/Royal Alex and NAIT – will officially open Sept. 6, but not without significant traffic and transit delays.
The $755-million project came in about $90 million under budget, for a total cost of $665 million.
“I’d like to thank the people of Edmonton for their patience, and welcome everyone aboard the Metro Line,” said Transportation Services GM Dorian Wandzura.
“While this project has faced many challenges we are opening Edmonton’s new LRT extension to public service in time for the start of the 2015-2016 school year.”
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Significant delays to key routes surrounding Metro LRT Line: Report
City manager takes blame for Metro LRT delays
Communication breakdown, project mismanagement cited in Metro LRT Line audit
On Wednesday, the city’s transportation committee heard there could be “significant” traffic delays on key routes during peak rush hours and that some delays could be permanent.
READ MORE: Drivers could be stuck at LRT crossing for up to 16 minutes: Metro update
At some crossings, a report estimates drivers might wait only two minutes while LRT trains operate on a 15-minute frequency. However, for two specific intersections – Princess Elizabeth Avenue/106 Street and 111 Avenue/Kingsway Avenue – the wait could be as long as 16 minutes.
“Motorists are being advised to expect delays and be patient as during peaks hours it may take up to four cycles for a vehicle to have the opportunity to clear one of these intersections and that means up to 16 minutes waiting in a queue that extends multiple blocks,” the report said.
“This is very disappointing,” said Mayor Don Iveson. “I didn’t expect the numbers to be like this.”
Every third northbound train leaving from Century Park to Churchill Station will be a Metro Line train, turning northwest after leaving Churchill Station. LRT passengers are asked to give themselves more travel time to make connections.
Due to the ongoing challenges integrating the new signalling system, the Metro LRT Line will be opened in stages. At first, Metro trains will offer service on a 15-minute frequency between Churchill and NAIT stations. They will also be running at a slower, 25-kilometre hour speed limit. Once that limit is lifted and the signalling system is fully operational, Metro trains will travel faster and operate on a 10-minute frequency.
Map of the LRT system from the City of Edmonton.
Credit: City of Edmonton
Because of the staged implementation of the Metro Line, LRT service between Churchill and Clareview stations will be reduced. During peak periods, the north part of the main LRT line will operate on a five or 10-minute frequency. To offset the reduction in frequency, the city added more capacity by using five-car trains.
Transportation officials expect traffic wait times at Metro LRT-impacted intersections will go down as drivers adjust to the changes and others choose other routes to avoid those intersections.
“The Metro Line brings a significant change to Edmonton’s urban landscape as well as its transportation, and it will take some time for everyone to adjust to the new LRT operations,” said Wandzura. “Over time, and with patience from everyone, people will adapt to the change as Metro Line service improves.”
However, the transportation committee heard Wednesday that even when the Metro Line is operating normally, there may only be a 15 per cent improvement to traffic flows in some areas.
That is raising concerns when it comes to emergency services. The Royal Alexandra Hospital is right at the heart of where the lengthy traffic delays are expected. The Alex is a major trauma hospital with a lot of ambulance traffic.
The union representing paramedics described the situation as “boondogglish.”
“In emergency medicine, they talk about ‘time is heart muscle, time is brain, time is life.’ Any delay is going to be unwelcome,” said Elisabeth Ballerman with the Health Sciences Association of Alberta.
“It’s going to add stress and potentially delays to patient care. It’s going to add stress to our members who are the EMS practitioners.”
WATCH: There are concerns that the traffic delays caused by the new Metro LRT line could impact people’s lives. Fletcher Kent explains.
The chief paramedic for Alberta Health Services said he’s also concerned about any situation leading to delays on the road but added he’s confident paramedics will find ways around problems. AHS also said it would be open to looking at new options like stopping trains in an emergency.
“There’s no specific protocol in contacting ETS at this point, although that’s certainly something we’d look to entertain some dialogue on,” said AHS Chief Paramedic Darren Sandbeck.
In a motion late Wednesday, the committee asked city administration to:
report on the feasibility of moving the NAIT LRT Station to east of 106 Street;bring a report on other possible measures to mitigate issues identified with the Metro Line;report on the feasibility of grade separating the Princess Elizabeth Avenue crossing as part of the next phase of NW Extension through Blatchford and beyond.
“This council needs to take control of these projects and that the info we’re getting can be relied upon,” said Iveson, stressing problems like this cannot happen again.
WATCH: GM of Edmonton’s Transportation Services Dorian Wandzura joins us to talk about the delays associated with the new Metro LRT Line.
BERLIN – Gadget makers have been showcasing their latest gear at Europe’s flagship technology show, the IFA in Berlin, this week.
With the exception of Apple, all major manufacturers have been announcing new devices in time for the holiday shopping season.
Here are five highlights and one teaser for tech enthusiasts.
Pc on a stick
Tiny PCs powered by Google’s Android have been around for a while, but Windows is increasingly entering that market.
The ASUS VivoStick PC is among the most impressive of its kind to feature Windows 10 in a stick the size of a dongle. Plug it into any modern TV and you can use it as a computer. Aside from Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4, 2GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage, it sports the latest Intel Cherry Trail chip, two USB ports and an audio jack.
The VivoStick will be available for $129 when it hit stores.
Acer is taking the traditional PC apart so users can put it back together again.
The Taiwanese manufacturer launched Revo Build, a module computer starting at under $200 and shipping this quarter.
Users can add to the black base unit by attaching a dedicated graphics card, a sound block, a portable hard drive and even a power bank to wirelessly charge certain smartphones.
Acer manager Sherlock Cheng says the idea is to provide a “mini-PC on demand.”
Weights for it
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Huawei launched its Mate S, billed as the Chinese smartphone maker’s first top-range handset with prices starting at $650 – though initially not available in the United States.
Along with some impressive specs comes an unusual feature: Huawei says the phone can be used as a scale to weigh objects.
This is made possible by the phone’s Force Touch capability, something Apple is expected to put in its next iPhone.
Japanese electronics giant Sony has updated its much-lauded Xperia Z line with three new models: standard, compact and premium. The latter features what Sony says is the world’s first 4K display.
All Z5 models have an impressive 23 megapixel camera with a 0.03 second autofocus so users will hardly ever miss a shot. The camera also has better low-light settings and algorithms which allow users to zoom in without losing too much picture quality.
Like the iPhone and Samsung’s latest Galaxy S handsets, the Z5 will feature a fingerprint sensor.
Polaroid is going back to basic with its latest instant camera.
By stripping away the LCD screen found in the previous models and halving the price to $99, Polaroid hopes to boost sales of its new Snap camera in time for the holiday season.
Each click will instantly print a photo, with 50 sheets of special paper costing under $30.
When Panasonic ditched the Technics brand in 2010, disk jockeys were aghast. Technics turntables, particularly the MK2 launched in 1979, had long been a favourite among professional DJs for their reliability and speed control.
A petition prompted Panasonic to announce last year that it would revive the brand.
At the IFA fair Panasonic teased the motor for a new Technics turntable in Berlin, but the needle is still being developed and the final product won’t be ready till next year.
WATCH ABOVE: Nova Star Crusies says it will take at least 3-years before the service is financially viable which caused some heated exchanges. Global’s Marieke Walsh reports.
HALIFAX – Nova Star Cruises made its case to continue as the ferry service that links Nova Scotia to Maine on Thursday, saying it believes it can become financially viable within the next three years.
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CEO Mark Amundsen told the legislature’s economic development committee that his company expects to meet the 80,000 passenger threshold to make the company viable within that time.
The goal had been to reach that target this season, but figures released earlier this week show passenger traffic is down over this time last year and projections are for the ferry to hit the 60,000 passenger mark — a figure similar to last year’s total.
READ MORE: Nova Star numbers worse than last year
“The inconvenient truth is the ridership hasn’t been up,” said Amundsen. “We have to build collectively and collaboratively with Nova Scotia Tourism to get the ridership up.”
To make the service sustainable, Amundsen said Nova Star is working on a long-term cost plan that includes a switch to natural gas as fuel and is also increasing its marketing efforts in New England.
He acknowledged the importance of finding winter work and said the company is still negotiating to land a route between England and France, and has a back up plan if that falls through.
Amundsen said the service would still need help from taxpayers, but that the amount would be less in future years.
However, when pressed about how much would be needed by NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald, Amundsen didn’t have an answer.
“We have not factored for 2016, but it will be less,” he said.
In its initial season, the ferry received $28.5 million in provincial subsidies. The province committed $13 million for the service this year and so far has given out $9.6 million of that amount.
READ MORE: Government needs to show upside of keeping Yarmouth ferry: Consultant
The Transportation Department is assessing the service and is looking at three other potential operators for the 2016 season.
Alan Grant, the executive director of policy and planning for the department, said Nova Star is still in the mix.
“We’re not aware at this point of whether there’s a better boat out there or a better operator,” said Grant.
Deputy transportation minister Paul LaFleche told the committee that determining a reasonable level of subsidy is also part of the considerations, although he couldn’t give an exact dollar figure.
“We want to hear a realistic story about subsidy and benefit and passenger numbers, not sort of a dream,” he said.
The officials said a decision on an operator for 2016 would likely be made following the end of the current sailing season in mid-October.
ANKARA, Turkey – Two Vice News journalists who were arrested in Turkey on terror-related charges have been released from jail, a Turkish government official said Thursday. Their assistant will remain jailed pending the conclusion of an investigation.
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The two British journalists, correspondent Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury, were detained last week in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast, after filming in a neighbourhood where Kurdish youths frequently clash with Turkish security forces. Also detained was their Turkey-based assistant and translator, Mohammed Ismael Rasool.
The arrests prompted strong protests from media rights advocates, the U.S. and the European Union.
READ MORE: Vice News journalists arrested to deter foreign coverage of Kurdish conflict
A government official told The Associated Press that Hanrahan and Pendlebury were freed on Thursday but the official did not know if they would be allowed to leave Turkey or were required to remain in the country pending trial. The state-run Anadolu Agency said the court agreed to a petition for the two British journalists to be released pending trial but ruled that Rasool remain in custody.
A lawyer representing the journalists could not immediately be reached for comment. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with Turkish government rules that bar government officials from speaking to journalists without prior authorization
Vice News welcomed the releases but called on Turkish authorities to free Rasool as well.
“While we are grateful that they have been freed, we are deeply worried by reports that our other Vice News colleague, Mohammed Ismael Rasool, has had his appeal of release rejected by the Turkish government,” Vice News said in a statement. “We call on the Turkish authorities for a swift end to this unjust detainment and to grant his immediate release.”
READ MORE: Egypt sentences Mohamed Fahmy, 2 other Al-Jazeera journalists to 3 years
Rasool is a Kurdish Iraqi national who moved to Turkey to attend college. In addition to working with Vice News, he has worked in recent years as a freelance assistant and translator for journalists from a number of media organizations, including the AP and Al-Jazeera.
There has been confusion over the charges levelled at the journalists, and a lawyer has said the exact accusations won’t be known until the prosecutor submits an indictment.
Court officials had initially said the three were detained for filming without first obtaining media accreditation from authorities. The court later accused them of vague charges of helping armed groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its youth wing, and accused Rasool of having encryption software on his computer.
All three have rejected the accusations.
READ MORE: Egypt summons British ambassador to protest comments on Fahmy verdict
The news of their release came a day after the journalists were transferred to a high-security prison in Adana more than 500 kilometres (300 miles) away from their lawyers and the courthouse in Diyarbakir where they face trial.
Vice News is a New York-based news channel that produces documentaries, breaking news reports and investigative pieces.
Tahir Elci, who heads the Diyarbakir lawyers association, has denounced the detentions as a government attempt to deter foreign media from reporting on the conflict with Kurdish rebels. Scores of people – soldiers, police, rebels and civilians – have died since July in renewed fighting between Kurdish rebels and Turkey’s security forces. The simmering unrest and violence in the area has derailed a 2 1/2-year-old peace process.
SASKATOON – The city is taking the next step in building two new bridges in Saskatoon. City officials have announced they have found a contractor for its largest construction project ever.
The city is prepared to award Graham Commuter Partners with the contract for the North Commuter Parkway and Traffic bridges project.
A special city council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 8 to approve it.
Graham will then have two months to figure out the financials and report back to council.
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Meewasin approves parameters for new bridges in Saskatoon
Saskatoon looks for private sector partner to build 2 bridges
READ MORE: Three teams short-listed to build new Saskatoon bridges
The project includes a six-lane bridge linking the Marquis Industrial area with University Heights as well as a new Traffic Bridge into the downtown core.
“Graham Commuter Partners will build the bridges based on approved technical requirement and project design parameters, as well as finance and maintain both bridges for a period of 30 years while the city retains ownership of the bridges,” said Dan Willems, the city’s special projects manager.
The estimated cost of the project is $252.6 million. The federal government is providing up to $66 million for the project through the P3 Canada Fund, with the province contributing $50 million.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2018.
OTTAWA – A refugee advocacy group says two young boys who drowned off the coast of Turkey could be alive today if Canada had responded better to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Aylan Kurdi, 3, and his brother Galip, 5, died with their mother while fleeing to Europe after their application to resettle in Canada was denied.
The Canadian Council for Refugees is calling for Syrians with family in Canada to be allowed entry immediately to complete processing in safety.
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The council wants flexible measures – such as temporary resident permits – for Syrians with relatives in Canada.
READ MORE: Aunt of drowned Syrian boy tried to bring family to Canada
It notes the boys had an aunt in Canada and likely would have been able to get a Turkish exit permit if they were leaving to reunite with family.
The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers accused the Conservative government of turning its back on desperate people. “This Syrian refugee crisis is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies of the past century and this government has utterly failed to respond in any meaningful way.”
The Conservatives have said their approach balances humanitarian assistance with a military effort against radicals rampaging through Syria.
In January, the government promised 10,000 Syrian refugees a home in Canada over the next three years.
READ MORE: Grieving B.C. relatives of drowned boy slam Canada’s refugee process
They say that, as of late July, 1,002 people had resettled in Canada as part of that commitment. That’s in addition to 1,300 Syrians settled under a pledge made in 2013.
The council for refugees urges an immediate commitment to a minimum of 10,000 government-assisted resettlement places for Syrians, in addition to Canada’s regular resettlement numbers.
Current Canadian promises to take in Syrian refugees are made within existing commitments, so the numbers simply displace other refugees, the council said.
WARNING: This below image contains content some viewers may find disturbing. Discretion is advised.
In past refugee crises Canada responded quickly and decisively, the council said Thursday. “In 1999 Canada took extraordinary measures to evacuate thousands of Kosovar refugees. The same level of commitment is needed now.”
The council also wants elimination of barriers to the private sponsorship of refugees, including restoration of full interim federal health coverage and lifting of document requirements for groups who offer to sponsor refugees.
“These small boys could be alive today, if Canada had responded more appropriately to the Syrian refugee crisis,” said Loly Rico, the council’s president.
“We shouldn’t need to wait for a tragedy like this to realize we must open our doors. We don’t want to see any more children die in this way.”
Like many other workers in the United States during their long recovery from the Great Recession, incomes for employees in fields such as retail and food services have lost ground against a relentless rise in the cost of living.
A feature published Thursday in The New York Times suggests real incomes for U.S. sales clerks, cashiers, waiters, cooks – even home health aides — have fallen in recent years.
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Sorry Walmart Canada workers, no raises for you
Those fields also happen to be among the biggest employers in Canada, according to Statistics Canada, and are the most accessible for workers to land a job.
It begs the question – have real incomes been eroded for the millions of Canadians in those occupations as well?
MORE: The 10 occupations with the highest vacancies in Canada
The short answer is no, at least in the case of retail and food services workers. In fact, wages for workers in those fields have outperformed inflation-adjusted average wage growth in the broader economy for the past decade, according to labour union economist Jim Stanford.
“Real hourly wages in retail have grown in Canada since minimum wages began to be significantly hiked in the mid-2000s,” Stanford said in an email.
Click here to view data »
But Stanford, who is the chief economist for the country’s biggest private-sector labour union in Unifor, added: “That doesn’t mean their real incomes have grown, however.”
In response to provinces raising minimum wages, employers have resorted to limiting hours for staff in a juggling act designed to save them labour costs. It’s pressured real income gains for those workers in the process and created unstable working schedules – what economists are now calling “precarious” employment.
The “real problem in this line of work is precarious employment: part-time work, where you can’t get enough hours to get by,” Stanford said. “And in fact, [you] don’t even know your hours, in most cases, until just a few days before.”
MORE: Sorry Walmart Canada workers, no raises for you
It’s a problem for workers both in Canada and the United States. But pressured by labour advocates and unions – and in response to an improving labour market in the U.S. — some companies are changing their policies.
The Canadian arm of Gap Inc. said last week it was joining its U.S. counterpart in ending the practice of keeping workers on call for short-notice shifts. Gap spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson said the changes apply to all four of the brands operated by the company in Canada – the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Intermix.
Unifor’s Stanford said a new collective agreement with supermarket chain Metro Inc., has yielded similar results.
“On top of some good wage increases, we made some breakthroughs in new practices around scheduling reliability, notice, and a commitment to make more full-time jobs,” he said.
“Addressing these issues, as well as lifting hourly wages, will be crucial to improving the lives of these workers.”