Rotating strike in Toronto will have significant impact, says Canada Post

OTTAWA — Small businesses called for a speedy end to rotating walkouts launched Monday in four cities by Canada Post employees, citing concern that a prolonged strike could chew into their profits ahead of the busy holiday shopping season.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business also urged the post office to rein in spending to reduce costs and warned postal workers that continued job action could hurt them and their employer.

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Thousands walk off the job as union workers enter day two of Canada Post rotating strike

"While a rotating strike may be less harmful than a general strike, it creates additional uncertainty for businesses at a critical time for many small firms," CFIB president Dan Kelly said Monday in a statement.

How do you keep warm while picketing in cold/rain? Burn wooden skids and chant. About 9000 Canada Post workers in GTA walk off job as part of rotating strike. It shouldnt really affect weed deliveries. Only 24 hr walkout. They will be back at work at midnight tonight pic.twitter.com/upr9hmkuWW

"The bad news for Canada Post workers is that every time they even threaten a strike, more small business customers move to use alternatives, many never returning to Canada Post."

About 9000 Canada Post workers in GTA walk off job as part of rotating strikes across country. Its only a 24-hour walkout. Will be back at work at midnight tonight. This Gateway facility in Mississauga handles up to 1-million pieces/day pic.twitter.com/p4vbFKGOXL

Video: Canada Post workers target the GTA on day 2 of rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which represents 50,000 postal employees, launched rotating demonstrations in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Ont., and Halifax on Monday to pressure Canada Post into accepting contract changes.

The two sides have been bargaining separate contracts for rural and urban carriers, without success, over the past 10 months but there has been little progress in resolving critical issues, CUPW national president Mike Palecek said in a statement Monday night.

The union said almost 9,000 workers in the Greater Toronto Area would walk off the job Tuesday at 12:01 am ET.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), which represents 50,000 postal employees, launched rotating demonstrations in Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Ont., and Halifax on Monday to pressure Canada Post into accepting contract changes.

"For us to reach any agreements, Canada Post has to talk about the changing nature of postal work and the issues that stem from the growth of parcels," Mike Palecek, CUPW national president, said in a statement Monday night.

Canada Post said Monday it is committed to bargaining new collective agreements for its unionized employees, noting it has put forward a significant offer that includes wage increases, job security and improved benefits.

"We need to address health and safety concerns and precarious work, as well as gender equality. We will stay at the bargaining table and on the picket line for as long as it takes to get a fair deal for our members."

The unions rotating strike will, therefore, have a significant impact on our operations, spokesman Jon Hamilton said. Canada Post will make every effort to minimize the impact.

Customers across Canada may experience delays for parcel and mail delivery since Toronto is a key processing hub, Canada Post said in a statement Monday night.

"The unions rotating strike will, therefore, have a significant impact on our operations," spokesman Jon Hamilton said. "Canada Post will make every effort to minimize the impact."

The walk-off includes the GTA, and while the strike isn’t taking place all over Canada, it could well have an impact on provinces across the country.

The two sides have been bargaining separate contracts for rural and urban carriers, without success, over the past 10 months but there has been little progress in resolving critical issues, Palecek said.

Almost 9,000 Canada Post workers have walked off the job on the second day of postal disruptions, after Canada Post announced a rotating strike on Sunday.

The union is also asking for gender equality language to be incorporated in any new deal and want an end to forced overtime.

Canada Post said Monday it is committed to bargaining new collective agreements for its unionized employees, noting it has put forward "a significant offer" that includes wage increases, job security and improved benefits.

Small businesses reliant on the agency for deliveries of goods and invoices, and for receiving payments, have already been harmed by ever-increasing costs for Canada Post services, and should not be expected to pay more, Kelly said.

"Its time for Canada Post to bring its spending under control instead of handing growing costs on to consumers and businesses who are already facing postal rate hikes in January," he said.

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While many Canadians have found other ways to deliver letters and pay bills, over half of small businesses still pay each other by paper cheques sent through the mail, the CFIB said Monday, noting that almost two-thirds of firms reported sending more than 20 pieces of mail per month.

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The CFIB recommended its members switch to using e-transfers to send and receive payments, and to consider using alternative shipping services to move their products.

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In Edmonton, local CUPW president Nancy Dodsworth said Canada Post was respecting the sometimes noisy picket lines.

"All the trucks have been waved off and theyve been respecting our lines — much appreciated."

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said Monday she was monitoring the situation but gave no indication the Trudeau government would intervene to end the strikes expected to continue on Tuesday.

"We always have back to work legislation in our tool box, (but) were not anticipating using that in the near future."

Canada Post says a second day of rotating strikes by its workers could cause delays in mail and parcel deliveries across the country.

The series of walkouts began yesterday, involving work stoppages in four cities — Victoria, Edmonton, Windsor, Ont., and Halifax — to back postal employees' contract demands.

But the Canadian Union of Postal Workers turned up the heat today, moving the job action to Toronto, where nearly 9,000 of its members walked off the job a minute after midnight.

In a statement, Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said the Crown corporation would make every effort to minimize the impact on its customers.

But he warned the Toronto walkout will have a significant impact on operations which could result in nationwide delivery delays because the city is a key processing hub.

CUPW, which represents 50,000 postal employees, says it needs Canada Post to address issues that have stemmed from the explosive growth of parcel deliveries, including health and safety concerns and precarious work.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his new carbon tax rebate system puts a price on pollution without breaking the bank for families.

Trudeau is set to unveil the details of the rebates in Toronto later this morning. He gave a preview in two separate radio interviews earlier today.

"The vast majority of families are receiving more money back from this incentive than they pay in extra costs for the price we're putting on pollution," the prime minister told the radio station 1310 News.

A senior source tells The Canadian Press the federal rebates will not be income tested, meaning all families will be eligible for the rebates in any province where the federal carbon price applies.

Four provinces won't have their own carbon tax. That means Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will have the federal version imposed on them and residents in those provinces will receive the federal rebates.

Trudeau has promised many times every penny collected from the carbon price will be returned to families and businesses and other organizations in the province where the money is raised.

The carbon tax is set to be a critical element for debate in the next federal election with the Conservatives promising to scrap it if they are elected and growing push back from premiers. Trudeau believes Canadians will be on the side of pricing pollution in order to ensure emissions are cut and climate change is kept in check.

"We know putting a price on pollution is a fundamentally essential tools to actually fighting climate change," he told 1310.

"But we also know we need to make sure that families are ok and that's why we're going to be compensating families and Canadians in the provinces in which we're bringing in a price on pollution."

Trudeau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are in the heart of Ontario Premier Doug Ford's support base in Toronto to make the announcement. Ford has been among the most critical of the carbon tax and immediately cancelled Ontario's cap and trade system when he was elected earlier this year.

Trudeau applauded the provinces that have a carbon plan, and said the others "have not gotten to the place where they're actually putting a price on pollution so they continue to want to make pollution free."

Ottawa announced two years ago it would require every province to have a price on emissions, and that it would impose one on those who refused. The current requirement is for it to be $20 a tonne by Jan. 1, rising $10 each year until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022.

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday, beating back a challenge from the city's former planner after a campaign marked by unprecedented interference from the provincial government.

Tory, 64, took about 63 per cent of the vote while his main rival, Jennifer Keesmaat, took about 23 per cent.

In all, voters in more than 400 communities cast ballots for their next municipal government after campaigns that had seen everything from legal battles to electoral reform. Candidates in 26 of the province's municipalities ran unopposed and were acclaimed.

In Toronto, Keesmaat and other critics had tried to paint Tory as weak and unwilling to stand up for the city after Premier Doug Ford slashed the number of council seats from 47 to 25 mid-race.

Tory countered by arguing he prefers a low-key approach that allows him to get on with upper levels of government and get things done. A total of 242 candidates vied for a spot on the city's shrunken council.

"Really, what people want to see is that we work together … to get things done," he said earlier on voting day. "That's why they sent us there."

Four years ago, Tory took only 40 per cent of the popular vote to edge Ford, who finished in second place, with 33 per cent.

In Brampton just northwest of Toronto, ousted Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown was running neck-and-neck in his bid to re-enter politics against incumbent Mayor Linda Jeffrey.

Brown was forced to step down from his post as leader of the provincial party amid sexual misconduct allegations he denies.

Elsewhere in Ontario, technical issues with online voting systems prompted a number of municipalities to extend their voting hours, some by as much as a day.

The municipality of Greater Sudbury said residents would be able to cast ballots until 8 p.m. on Tuesday due to what it described as a server problem.

Peterborough, Cambridge, Prince Edward County, Pickering and Kingston were among the other municipalities extending voting hours, though most were only for an additional hour.

Results were also slow in coming from London, Ont., which became the first Canadian municipality to use ranked ballots in a local election — an option no other municipality opted to try. The system allows voters to choose three candidates in order of preference.

Two other cities, Cambridge and Kingston, saw votes on whether to adopt the system for the municipal election in 2022.

According to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, there were 6,645 candidates running in local council races across the province and 9.2 million eligible voters.

In spite of various municipalities' different circumstances, many campaigns were connected by common threads.

Hot button issues such as housing and accessible public transit were campaign issues in Toronto and smaller municipalities alike.

New online maps lets viewers zero in on how climate change will affect the part of Canada's boreal forest where they live.

The maps are part of an ongoing effort at the University of Winnipeg to help Canadians understand how global warming will change their part of the country.

Climatologist Danny Blair says there's little doubt that climate change is already affecting the vast ribbon of green that stretches across the northern reaches of most provinces.

He says scientists are confident that warmer temperatures have already led to larger and more damaging fires, as well as insect infestations.

He says data suggests Canada's forests are already being squeezed between too much heat in the south and poor soil in the north.

The provincial police officer who crashed into a car at high speed and killed a five-year-old boy during a surveillance operation will likely be sentenced to jail time.

The Crown and the defence submitted a joint proposal to the court today in Longueuil, Que. recommending that Patrick Ouellet be given an eight-month sentence.

The police officer addressed the court today, expressing his sympathy to family members of Nicolas, who were in the courtroom.

Ouellet's trial heard he was travelling at more than 120 km/h in a 50 km/h zone when he hit the vehicle carrying the boy.

The federal government is writing off more than $6.3 billion in loans to businesses and students — money it never expects to get back.

The figure, contained within annual public accounts documents, marks a new high for the Trudeau government.

Part of the total for 2017 to 2018 includes a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada.

Separate from the writeoffs, the government is also forgiving other debts and loans to the tune of about $1.1 billion.

The amount includes nearly $344 million that officials don't expect to recover from student loan recipients.

Toronto police have made an arrest in the death of a woman whose body was found by her six-year-old son 25 years ago.

Det. Sgt. Stacy Gallant says 63-year-old Charles Mustard of Toronto was charged Friday with first-degree murder in the death of Barbara Brodkin, who died in March of 1993 when she was 41.

Police say Brodkin's son called 911 when he found her, stabbed in the chest, early on a Friday morning.

"Now, 25 years later, the boy who found his mother murdered in their apartment can have some answers," Gallant told a news conference. "Although there will be a process for this case to work its way through the justice system, at the very least he can know that we never gave up."

Gallant also noted that the first officer to respond to the 911 call, "a young constable named Rob Thomas," is still involved in the case.

"Twenty-five years later, this same officer, now Det. Rob Thomas, the lead polygraph officer in Toronto, once again became part of this investigative team," Gallant said. "He prepared for and became the lead interview officer on the team responsible for conducting the interview of the now-accused."

"Det. Thomas continued to feel a connection to this case over the years, and he never forgot it."

Gallant says police are still hoping to speak to people who knew both Mustard and Brodkin at the time of the alleged murder — particularly someone named Dirk and another person named Linda.

"Up until recently, I thought cold cases were just something that happened in a TV series in the States," he said.

The man charged with murder in a Fredericton shooting spree that left four people dead says he should be "exonerated" immediately because of temporary insanity.

"This has to be settled now, so I will be exonerated today," Matthew Raymond told the judge during what was supposed to be a brief appearance Monday in provincial court.

"I should not have been in prison at all. I am not guilty due to at least temporary insanity. The evidence is all right there, he has every bit of evidence, it shows exactly what has happened. I am not guilty."

The lean, bearded 48-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

The four were gunned down Aug. 10 outside a Fredericton apartment complex in a siege that ended when police shot the gunman.

The case returned to court Monday to set a date for a preliminary hearing, but Raymond interrupted as his lawyer addressed Judge Julian Dickson.

"Your honour, may I interrupt? I have something really important to say, I have a statement to make," Raymond said.

Dickson told Raymond he would have an opportunity "to purse every possible defence available to you," but Monday's hearing was not the time.

"This is a violation of my rights," said Raymond, who ignored defence lawyer Nathan Gorham's plea to sit down.

Gorham said the Crown has revealed most of the evidence against his client, including witness accounts and Raymond's own statements. He said he was trying to help the court move things along quickly.

Raymond, wearing an orange jumpsuit and a grey sweatshirt, told the judge his life has been threatened while in jail, including someone who threatened to cut his head off. And he objected to the clothing he had been given to wear.

"The clothes I have on, I have on every time I come in here. I do not have the proper clothing at all, it's a violation of my rights," he said.

Raymond has not yet made a formal plea. The case will return to court Oct. 29 to set a date for a preliminary hearing on the first-degree murder charges.

Raymond is alleged to have fired upon four people from his apartment window with a long gun, killing two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip, and two police officers who responded to the scene.

Costello, 45, was a 20-year police veteran with four children, while Burns, 43, had been an officer for two years and was married with three children.

Robichaud, 42, had three children and had recently entered into a relationship with 32-year-old Wright when they were killed.

Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

Some business owners have described Raymond as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

An alleged serial killer who is facing trial in the deaths of eight men with ties to Toronto's gay village has waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

Bruce McArthur, a 67-year-old self-employed landscaper, has been ordered to stand trial on eight counts of first-degree murder.

McArthur, wearing a black sweater over a blue shirt with blue jeans, made no eye contact with the alleged victims' families that packed the small courtroom this morning.

McArthur was arrested in January and police eventually found the remains of seven men in large planters at a property where he had worked.

Investigators found the eighth set of remains in a ravine behind the same property in midtown Toronto.

Lead detective Insp. Hank Idsinga has said the probe is the largest forensic investigation in the force's history.

The union representing 50,000 Canada Post employees has begun rotating strikes in four cities across the country.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the 24-hour strikes began Monday at 12:01 a.m. local time in Victoria, Edmonton and Windsor, Ont., and at 1:01 a.m. in Halifax.

Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton said on Sunday that in the event of rotating strikes normal mail delivery would be maintained in all other locations across the country.

The job action began after negotiators failed to reach a new contract agreement before the union's Monday strike deadline.

Hamilton said Canada Post was committed to reaching a deal, and had an offer on the table that included wage hikes, job security, improved benefits and no concessions.

But CUPW President Mike Palecek said the key issues of job security, an end to forced overtime, better health and safety measures and gender equality remained unresolved.

Voters across Ontario will cast their ballots in municipal elections today after a lead-up that's seen everything from legal battles to electoral reform.

Much of the narrative has been dominated by Toronto, where 242 candidates are fighting for a spot on a sharply reduced 25-member council — down from the 47 seats they would have had if not for provincial interference.

Premier Doug Ford introduced legislation to slash the size of Toronto's council nearly in half after the campaign had already begun, leading the city to launch a legal challenge.

A judge initially ruled in Toronto's favour, but that decision was later overthrown and the election continued as Ford envisioned it.

Elsewhere, voters in London, Ont., will also have a markedly different experience at the polls today as the first-ever Canadian municipality to use ranked ballots in a local election.

All of Ontario's cities and towns were given the option to use preferential voting for the first time this year, but only London took the province up on its offer.

When electorates in the southwestern Ontario city head to the polls they will be asked to rank their top three choices of candidates.

People in two other cities — Cambridge and Kingston — will vote on whether they'd like to see ranked ballots used during the next municipal election in 2022.

The former Progressive Conservative leader is running to be mayor of the city northwest of Toronto, months after he stepped down from his post amid sexual misconduct allegations that he denies.

He's going up against incumbent Linda Jeffrey, who has been endorsed by some of the Conservative legislators at Queen's Park.

According to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, people in 26 of Ontario's 444 municipalities won't have to cast a ballot at all because none of their elected officials face any competition.

In those cases, the candidates will be acclaimed in their positions, meaning they're named as winners because no one chose to run against them.

In spite of the municipalities' different circumstances, the campaigns are connected by common threads.

Hot button issues such as housing and accessible public transit have been campaign issues in Toronto and smaller municipalities alike.

Toronto police say a three-month-old girl has died in hospital after being hurt in an alleged assault.

Police say when officers arrived, paramedics were working on the infant, who had obvious signs of trauma.

Matthew Bouffard, 29, of Toronto, was initially charged with aggravated assault and police say his charges will be re-evaluated following the results of the post-mortem.