Milan menswear designers dispel gloom over euro-land with a bright summer 2013

MILAN – Casual and colorful is the message sent out by designers of menswear for summer 2013.

After four days of preview shows ending Tuesday, it is clear that the Italian designers – and others showing in Milan – want to project good vibes for next summer, despite European economic gloom.

The current round of menswear had a happy feel to it, whether it was offering suits with Bermuda shorts for the office or a fuchsia summer raincoat to outshine even the darkest cloud.

The myriad of big and brightly colored weekend bags, in materials ranging from simple canvas to precious crocodile, and the abundance of loafers, sneakers and running shoes, show that the designers are into the good life.

Shorts-short as well as knee length are the stars of the season, moving between resort and workplace with incredible ease.

The blazer also makes a huge comeback, cut close to the body, colorful and worn with a pair of shorts or a trouser cropped at the ankle. Lightweight coats are another summer favourite.

Although some designers threw in a tie for old times sake, the more popular piece to go under a suit was a white open-collared shirt or a classic polo shirt.

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This round, designers used organza and other see-through materials-usually relegated to womenswear for special transparency on pullovers and patterned jackets.

But no matter what the style, summer 2013 is all about colour, from red to green to yellow to deep blue. Different colours may appear in the same outfit, such as a green lapel on a yellow jacket or blue pockets on a red coat.

Even minimalist designer Jil Sander chose to mark her return to the eponymous label she left eight years ago with a collection dipped in colour. And that should say it all.

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ARMANI

For next summer, Giorgio Armani is back to doing what he does best – tailoring gorgeous jackets.

Indeed, it all started with a jacket for the Milanese designer who turns 79 next month. The first was lining-less, but it wasn’t long before an Armani suit was a wardrobe must and an Armani tuxedo a red carpet favourite.

The Armani show on Tuesday was an ode to the jacket, from soft cardigan cuts to blazers and more structured city jackets, all in super-refined lightweight fabrics.

The overall look was of a well put-together man whose cut of clothes is casual. A cardigan jacket could be worn with a pair of pleated trousers, while a navy suit had Bermuda shorts but also a shirt and tie.

The season’s silhouette is comfy and slightly elongated. The jacket has four or six buttons and the shoulder is unpadded. The pleated trousers are soft around the hips and brush the ankle.

The latest leather jacket – either bomber or blazer – is made of leather worked to look like seersucker, a tribute to Italian craftsmanship.

Armani is not in the habit of following the pack. While most of Milan is screaming colour, Armani quietly stuck to his longtime favourites: sandy beige, pebble grey, coffee brown and ink blue.

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Dsquared2

The Dsquared2 man is a creature of the night.

Even after dark he wears his “easy rider” shades, and his style is strictly black.

The transgressive 2013 summer menswear collection presented Tuesday by the fun-loving Canadian designing twins Dean and Dan Caten came as a surprise after four days of preview showings characterized by a sporty but conservative look.

High-top animal print shoes with black soles and metal tongues as large as shin guards, abundant use of metal chains and tight-fitting leather scuba jackets all contributed to a very dark look. The only bright light in the collection was a series of white embroidered or studded shirts.

Like many designers showing their summer collections during this round of menswear, the Cates paired Bermuda shorts with jackets for a contemporary suit look. But the DSquared version has a panel across the front, making it the only wraparound Bermuda for men seen to date, and not only in Milan.

St. Albert goes green at record speed

St. Albert has exceeded its waste diversion target eight years ahead of schedule.

One year since the introduction of the automated curbside solid waste program, residents in St. Albert are one of the leaders in the country in recycling, composting and sending less garbage to landfills.

“St. Albert is proud of its environmental stewardship, which is reflected in the many parks and trails and the river valley,” says Mayor Nolan Crouse. “Through collaboration between City staff and residents, St. Albert has become a regional and national leader in its commitment to the environment, and we will continue to look at ways of improving this City service as one of the ways of preserving and sustaining our environment.”

St. Albert has several green programs in place, including a ‘pay-as-you-throw’ solid waste system, in which residents pay more when they produce more waste. The city also has curbside recycling, curbside organics recycling through its green cart composting program, as well as recycling and compost depots.

One of the goals of St. Albert’s Environmental Master Plan was to reduce solid waste to 125 kilograms per person per year and the amount of waste sent to landfills by 65 per cent by 2020.

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The City of St. Albert has now met and exceeded this target with its residential waste diversion of 65.9 per cent and waste generated per person per year at 114 kilograms.

“We are very pleased that we were able to meet and exceed our targets and the implementation went well, and overall residents are satisfied with the program. As with any new service we anticipated some challenges and are monitoring the program and concerns residents raise and are working to address them on an ongoing basis,” says Glenn Tompolski, director of public works. “We have made some improvements such as, enhancing services at the recycle depot and better options for fall leaf collection. We will continue to listen to residents and continue to make improvements to the program in the future.”

The City also implemented a number of initiatives and improvements to help reduce waste sent to landfill. Residents can now bring certain household hazardous items such as paint, motor oil, as well as extra garbage and scrap metal to the recycling depot. The first “Large Item Drop-off” event was held in October 2011 and helped nearly 450 people dispose of unwanted big household items. Another event is planned for July 28, 2012. A complete A-Z Waste Wise list of proper options for disposing household items was recently developed and distributed to all households and is also available online.

Click here for a complete copy of the one-year report on the solid waste program.
 

Sources say Germany’s Merkel told lawmakers Europe won’t have full shared debt liability

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday told a caucus meeting that there won’t be a full shared debt liability in Europe “as long as I live,” according to a lawmaker from Merkel’s governing coalition.

Merkel’s comments came as a sharp rebuke of jointly guaranteed debt for the eurozone, so-called eurobonds, which some see as a necessary step in fighting off the 17 nation currency zone’s debt crisis.

Merkel briefed lawmakers from her junior coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democrats, ahead of this week’s EU summit. A participant confirmed Merkel’s remarks to The Associated Press but declined to be named because of the meeting’s confidential nature.

Another official from the Free Democrats’ told the AP that the caucus “reacted with applause to hearing that the chancellor does not want a joint debt liability.”

Previously, Merkel had ruled out eurobonds as a quick fix solution to the debt crisis, but always maintained that they were a long-term policy option as one of the final steps of the bloc’s integration. Saying that it won’t happen in her lifetime, however, appears to imply that Merkel, aged 57, thinks that eurobonds won’t become a reality for decades.

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The lawmaker – whose party has been skeptical on bailing out ailing southern European nations – said Merkel’s comments were greeted by one participant shouting: “We wish you a long life!”

A German duty government spokeswoman declined to comment on Merkel’s reported remarks, noting that she was at the caucus meeting in her capacity as party leader and lawmaker, not as the Chancellor.

Despite her strong words, Merkel has during the course of the European crisis accepted measures she had previously ruled out. She had opposed having a permanent rescue fund for Europe, for example, before then accepting it.

Jochen Blind, a spokesman for Merkel’s party, the Christian Democrats, said he could not comment because he was not present during the meeting.

Merkel is set to address Parliament in Berlin Wednesday, a day before the summit of EU leaders in Brussels is set to debate new strategies to tackle the bloc’s debt crisis.

Her comments Tuesday also coincided with the publication of a roadmap for a closer European integration by four of the bloc’s top officials – Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi – who also called for the introduction of eurobonds.

Top 10 gay wedding destinations

TORONTO – The steadily increasing stream of states and countries legalizing gay marriage has dramatically changed the lives of LGBT people and their loved ones in recent years.

In honour of the growing number of places to celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender nuptials, online travel adviser Cheapflights杭州夜网 has come up with its top 10 list of gay wedding destinations.

Washington, D.C.
Although gay marriage was only first legalized in D.C. on December 18, 2009, the U.S. capital has long possessed a large LGBT population. As such, Washington has no dearth of gay-friendly neighbourhoods and hotels for your wedding festivities. Imagine a rooftop reception with panoramic views of the city – you and your beloved a part of the history of America beginning to make good on its promise of “equality and justice for all.”

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Montreal
Since Paris has yet to legalize gay marriage, Montreal is the next best thing. With beautiful parks, fantastic cuisine, a raucous nightlife and an unrivalled atmosphere of convivialité, Montreal is a perfect place to say, “I do.” In fact, it’s so charming you might even want to stay on for your honeymoon. Plus, the city’s proximity to Mont Tremblant and the Laurentians is an added bonus if you’d like to get away for skiing in the winter or exploring the great outdoors in summer months.

Amsterdam
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage – on April 1, 2001. With a plethora of beautiful churches, five-star hotels, international cuisine and charming streets and canals – to say nothing of the museums, galleries and monuments – your guests will be in the palm of your hands if you invite them to your big day in Amsterdam.

Madrid
Considering the country’s strong ties to the Catholic Church, Spain’s legalization of gay marriage in 2005 surprised many. Nonetheless, the lively whirlwind of Spanish culture, art and architecture sets an inimitable backdrop for the big day. From jaw-dropping cathedrals to top cuisine and drink to the sexy roll of the Spanish “r” in the streets, few other cities light up romance like Madrid.

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Provincetown is the Fire Island of Massachusetts. With quaint bed and breakfasts dotting the coastal town’s narrow lanes, fantastic restaurants and gay nightlife, “P-town” is a must-visit destination year-round. Add gorgeous beaches and a vibe of utter acceptance.

Stockholm
Sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the North” because of its location at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, Stockholm is renowned for its natural beauty and clean air. Waterways, parks and green spaces make up a large percentage of the city’s space. It is also a highly sophisticated city with many classy restaurants, bars, shops and hotels. Though the winters are cold, the city’s beauty is breathtaking – there’s even an ice hotel if you really want to stay cool on your wedding day.

Buenos Aires
Home of hip Latin beats and merrymaking, it’s is a bustling city that combines a modern skyline with the ornate architecture of the past. With a great deal of flair and style to be found on almost every corner, a culture that imbues even the mundane with great passion, and no shortage of great clubs and restaurants, your guests will not soon forget your “I do” in Buenos Aires.

New York City
“Finally!” many thought when New York State legalized gay marriage in July 2011. What better destination can you imagine for getting married and celebrating afterward? Imagine being high atop the city that never sleeps in any number of marvellous hotels, toasting your husband or wife and family? And when it’s time to boogie down and celebrate, you’ve got the entire Big Apple to roam about in. (And with the New York subway, guests needn’t fret about driving and transportation after a few glasses of bubbly!)

Reykjavik, Iceland
Often referred to as the “nightlife capital of the north,” Reykjavik is like nothing you’ve experienced. The city also has a well-cared-for outdoor environment, with many geothermal-heated outdoor pools, beautiful parks and green spaces. However, if it’s an enchanted wedding you really crave (and as long as you and your guests are clad in parkas), it’s Reykjavik’s Northern Lights that will make your special day truly one of a kind.

Oslo, Norway
As in other Nordic gay wedding destinations, in Oslo you are very close to nature. Hiking, skiing, boating and swimming are all within a stone’s throw of the city. And within the city centre, you have your pick of beautiful, modern hotels, sidewalk cafés and one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. Even here, though, nature is all around with an abundance of trees, parks, fountains and green space.
 

 

Artists collaborate to design welcome arches on Churchill Square

The gates of the Works aren’t graffiti – though they sing with similar rhythm.

Found at the north and south ends of Churchill Square as part of the Works Art and Design Festival, En Masse’s emerging temporary welcome arches are beautifully tattooed by a pair of Montreal artists, Jason Botkin and Fred Caron, and a handful of locals called up from Edmonton’s in- and outsider art scene.

Huge faces, Q-bert pyramids, animals and political commentary flow with the confident gravity of lava into one another, a process of filling up the white vinyl which took about a week as spectators watched and hashtagged #enmasseproject on Instagram.

“Its boundaries are pretty simple,” founder Botkin explains of the ongoing initiatives, which have popped up at music festivals and even inside corporate offices out east. “It’s collaborative drawing of any number of people above two or three, always in black and white. Beyond that there’s no other rules.”

Now Edmonton is part of that giant, expanding canvas – no turning back, Dad.

In the En Masse projects Botkin encourages participating artists to play well with others, drawing just the body of a dinosaur, for example, leaving the head incomplete for someone else to finish up.

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The process is similar to a well-known surrealist art and late-night party practice known as “exquisite corpse,” a form of creative tag where hidden drawings are collectively assembled in progressive stages. With just two people playing, one artist might fill half a page, the next continuing based on just the edges of the first half they’re allowed to see. The finished products are often surprising and hilarious.

While En Masse’s evolving organisms are exposed for the artists to see as they riff off each other, the lack of exquisite corpse surprise creates something more musical, as images harmonize and snap together like perfect jazz. Monday afternoon as a light rain came down, a half dozen artists worked on the side facing city hall, stepping back to see each other’s monochrome styles.

Though Botkin says what he calls local “graff kids” were leery of showing their faces given our political climate regarding street art, stencils were passed along to ensure representation.

Botkin, who went to school at ACAD in Calgary, was never a graffiti artist himself. But given a gallery space to fill up in Montreal as an early project, he solicited street artists to cover its walls.

“It was a giant experiment and it turned out really well,” he explains. “We approached it with some trepidation, not knowing how these big egos might react – the street art community is notoriously politicized and rich with big ego, so we wondered, what happens when there are no more political boundaries?

“But the En Masse process really dissolved that.”

On the lower right of the north skin, the word “confiscated” appears over and over, aimed directly at a city hall with strict policies which in some cases is behind the times, especially when it comes to differentiating between vandalism and the sort of alleyway art studios that brought Basquiat and Banksy into the mainstream. And we still punish business for being tagged.

When police controversially seized DP’s gallery art a few weeks ago from Paint Spot they pried open a conversation other cities – including Montreal known for its spectacular street art – have already been through. Though some of the zero-tolerance status quo in Edmonton might feel violated by even the suggestion of this, unsolicited art of (importantly) a certain caliber is actually protected and recognized by cities like New York and London.

The recent swirl around the Rollie Miles mural – vandalized, then quickly and unofficially replaced with a fantastic new tribute to the legendary Edmonton Eskimo which is now being institutionally recognized – are baby steps along this path.

“It’s really crazy in Edmonton,” Botkin laughs. “I’m really amazed and shocked. It’s quite amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it. Montreal’s pretty liberal. It’s not a battleground.

“Do we have a problem with graffiti? The city certainly does,” the artist notes, “and we try to address that, because it’s everywhere. I’m not a graffiti artist, but there’s the good and the bad with everything. There’s a lot of bad graffs out there and frankly it boils down to vandalism, a lot of the graff artists I know think so, too. But these graff kids are often just lacking public tools.

“You need to give these kids this concept that art is something extremely powerful as a tool for social, political and economic change, but only when you take responsibility for it, and understand the implications of what the practice is, historically referenced, and just expanding oneself.

“You need to feel safe to venture outside of your own territory. I don’t mean to pick on graff kids, you can find it in tattoo, illustration, the fine arts – anywhere across the board you find people with a myopic view.

“One of the things the En Masse project challenges is that narrow vision. What happens when you are forced to work with someone with a very different approach to style, and how do you learn form them, and what do you learn from them?”

Botkin isn’t just talking about art here: “How do you push each others’ boundaries and find a more nuanced perspective on the whole issue of street art versus high art? Or street art versus the public, who see it all as vandalism?

“How do you break that down?”

En Masse’s answer is obvious: let’s work it out together.
 

Obama learns about messing around with Red Sox nation; Youkilis line becomes campaign fodder

WASHINGTON – Were they booing the president? Or were they “Youuuk-ing” him?

In a sensitive campaign season where every headline matters, it depends on who is doing the construuu-ing.

Let’s start with President Barack Obama, who was working for votes on Monday in Boston, the home territory of Republican rival Mitt Romney.

As he was just getting warmed up in a campaign speech, Obama uncorked something of a wild pitch.

He jokingly thanked the city for trading Kevin Youkilis – a gritty, beloved, core player for the Boston Red Sox for years – to Obama’s hometown Chicago White Sox this week.

The crowd began booing, in a loud but seemingly good-natured, defend-our-team kind of way.

“I’m just saying,” a smiling Obama told the audience at Symphony Hall. “I didn’t think I’d get any boos out of here. I guess I should not have brought up baseball. My mistake.”

When Obama ended the riff by conceding, “You’ve got to know your crowd,” he was rewarded with some laughter.

Someone helped him recover by shouting from the crowd, “We still love you!”

Not so fast, according to Romney’s camp.

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In a daily email blast to reporters on Tuesday, Romney press secretary Andrea Saul led off by accusing Obama of having taunted Red Sox fans. She lumped it in with some of the most gut-wrenching setbacks in Red Sox history.

“Maybe the president should have congratulated the team for winning the World Series in 2004 and 2007,” she wrote. “Instead, he chose to mock them for trading away one of its favourite players at a time when the team is struggling.”

(Actually, the team has a winning record and has won seven of its last 10 games.)

Lest a negative story go unchallenged, enter Jay Carney, the White House press secretary and a big Red Sox fan.

Unprompted, Carney told reporters travelling with the president that there had been some “really silly reporting” about the episode.

He commended his boss for refusing to cater to Red Sox Nation and gently chided those who couldn’t tell a diss of the president from the calling of a player’s nickname.

“Anyone who knows Boston, and anyone who was in that room last night knows that the preponderance of people shouting in response to what the president said about Kevin Youkilis were saying ‘Yoooouk’ and not ‘Booo,’ for God’s sake,” Carney said.

As the debate moved to Twitter, the White House was not letting go.

Let’s have some clarity, Carney tweeted: “Some booed. Others, like me, cried ‘Yoooouk!’ in sad memoriam.”

White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer couldn’t resist taking a shot at the media about the whole incident.

He said the general reaction from the press was to depict the moment as a gaffe for Obama when in fact, he said, the president stood by his team – the White Sox – and refused to pander to the home crowd.

“True sports fans understand loyalty,” Pfeiffer tweeted.

Oh, and Youkilis?

The new White Sox third baseman told reporters that he and his family got a kick out of Obama’s comments.

“It’s probably a better way to get mentioned by the president than other ways,” he said. “So that’s a good thing.”

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AP sports writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis and Associated Press writer Ken Thomas in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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Follow Ben Feller at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛twitter杭州龙凤/BenFellerDC

Grey Cup anniversary in spotlight as CFL returns to TSN for the 2012 season

Grey Cup, Grey Cup and more Grey Cup.

CTV and TSN will be pulling out all the stops this CFL season to mark the 100th anniversary of Canada’s three-down football championship.

The historic season kicks off Friday with Saskatchewan at Hamilton and Winnipeg at B.C.

TSN will carry all 2012 regular-season games while the French-language service RDS will air all games featuring the Montreal Alouettes, with a few other selected contests airing on RDS2.

Whether it’s the Grey Cup or la Coupe Grey, the anniversary will be front and centre.

“You’ll see a consistent kind of Grey Cup messaging throughout the season,” said Mark Milliere, senior vice-president of production at TSN. “We’ll have the docs coming out in the fall, we’ll have an enormous presence Grey Cup week . . . with all the activities going on in Toronto.”

Last month, the network announced eight hour-long documentaries featuring Grey Cup stories called “Engraved on a Nation: Stories of the Grey Cup, the CFL and Canada.”

“These are probably unlike anything done in sports television in terms of quality and scope,” said Milliere.

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They’ll air on TSN, CTV and RDS as the Nov. 25 game approaches but the exact schedule hasn’t been finalized.

The first Grey Cup was also awarded in Toronto in 1909, when the University of Toronto Varsity Blues defeated the Parkdale Canoe Club at Rosedale Field. This is the 100th anniversary because the cup wasn’t awarded for three years during the First World War.

Also celebrating its 15th anniversary this year is TSN’s “Friday Night Football,” which is getting a new theme song and some new animation this season.

“I’d call it a high-energy, good time, rocking party anthem,” Milliere said of the song written by California musician Doyle Bramhall II, who has toured with Pink Floyd.

The network is also enhancing its halftime studio show and adding a social media segment.

Milliere says it will feature Kate McKenna, the daughter of Sue Prestedge, one of the pioneers among female sports broadcasters at CBC.

“Kate will be featured once a week throughout the season on one of the shows and kind of bring us up to speed on the buzz and chatter on Twitter and Facebook about the league,” he said.

The main panel remains the same with host Dave Randorf and former CFL players Chris Schultz, Jock Climie and Matt Dunigan, plus guest appearances by former Blue Bombers star Milt Stegall.

This year, Stegall’s former teammate Doug Brown will also be making guest appearances and Climie will take over the host chair when Randorf is at the London Olympics.

Milliere says they also plan on introducing a feature much like the Wednesday Night Hockey Quiz segment put on by their NHL panel. The working title is “Three Downs.”

TSN is entering the second-last year of its deal to carry all CFL games and the network is anxious to keep the franchise for the future, said Milliere.

“We’ve had talks already ongoing and are looking forward to pursuing this and getting a deal done,” he said. “It’s a very important property. It’s one of the pillars of our schedule.”

TSN won the exclusive rights in late 2006 for the season starting in 2008, leaving the CBC on the sidelines. The dollar figure has never been confirmed but it has been estimated the deal is worth around $15 million each season to the CFL.

Frequently Asked Questions: ‘Bath Salts’

• “Bath salts” are not salts that go in your bath, but is rather the street name for a number of synthetic amphetamine-type stimulants that look like salts (i.e., they are a white powder).
• The general public, especially youth, should be aware that although bath salts are often identified as “legal highs” or “not illegal” this does not make them safe.
• People taking bath salts report hallucinations, paranoia, chest pain, blurry vision and increased body temperature, and can be agitated and combative.
• Bath salts are sold by dealers via the Internet or in “head-shops.”
• As of May 2012 the use of bath salts in Canada appears to be mainly limited to the Maritime provinces.

What are “bath salts”?

Bath salts is a name used for a class of products containing synthetic stimulants sold by dealers via the Internet or in drug paraphernalia shops (“head-shops”). Bath salts are frequently labelled “not for human consumption,” presumably in an attempt to circumvent drug laws in the jurisdictions in which these products are purchased.

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These products are in no way related to the salts that are sold to put in the bath (e.g., Epsom salts or other perfumed skin softening agents). Rather, they contain amphetamine-type stimulants, such as methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), methylone or mephedrone. These substances are part of the group of drugs known as synthetic cathinones. Synthetic cathinones are prepared in illicit laboratories and are chemically similar to naturally occurring cathinones found in the Khat plant, a shrub native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

Individuals under the influence of these substances report hallucinations, paranoia, chest pain and blurry vision, and appear agitated and combative. Because of this agitation, there have been some reports from the United States that these individuals can pose a danger to themselves and others.

Street names:
 

Ivory Wave, Vanilla Sky, Pure Ivory, Cloud Nine, Whack, Bolivian Bath, Purple Wave, Charge+, Ocean Burst, Ecstasy, Gloom, Purple Rain, Salt, Fly, Hurricane Charley, Crash, White, Rush, Plant Food, Bubbles, Meow Meow, Explosion, Monkey Dust, Monkey Mess, Monkey Mash, Pixie Dust, Rave On.

 

-Information courtesy The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse
 

Appeal Court allows bank overtime lawsuits to go ahead as class action cases

Class-action lawsuits against CIBC and Scotiabank seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for unpaid overtime can go ahead, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in a pair of decisions Tuesday.

The suits allege thousands of workers were denied overtime pay even though they were assigned more work than could be completed within their standard hours. The cases come amid a slew of similar cases over wage and hour issues south of the border.

“The proposed common issues raise the requisite degree of commonality for purposes of certification,” Chief Justice Warren Winkler wrote in the decision on the Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) case.

“I also agree that a class proceeding is the preferable procedure for resolving these issues.”

A lower court had denied class action status to the CIBC (TSX:CM) case, while a different court had allowed class action status be granted to the Scotiabank lawsuit.

However, the Appeal Court felt both cases, which have not been proven in court, should be handled the same way.

In the CIBC case, teller Dara Fresco filed a lawsuit in June 2007.

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Fresco launched the case on behalf of more than 31,000 tellers and other front-line customer service employees working at more than 1,000 CIBC branches across Canada, including assistant branch managers, financial service representatives, financial service associates and branch ambassadors.

Cindy Fulawka, a personal banking representative at Scotiabank, filed her class-action lawsuit against the bank in December 2007 seeking to represent some 5,000 Scotiabank personal or senior bankers, financial advisers and small business account managers.

“We are gratified by the court’s decision in respect to the CIBC and Bank of Nova Scotia cases,” Louis Sokolov, a lawyer with the firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, which brought the bank cases with the firm Roy Elliott O’Connor.

“For five years, the plaintiffs in those cases have been attempting to get access to the courts so that they could have their claims resolved on their merits and today the court said unequivocally that they are entitled to have the same kind of access that corporations have.”

David O’Connor, co-lead counsel in the case, said Fulawka, who lives in Saskatchewan, told him that she was very encouraged by the Appeal Court decision.

“She also added that she was sure her co-workers would feel exactly the same,” O’Connor said. “She said it was a great way to start her day.”

Scotiabank said Tuesday it was disappointed by the ruling.

“We are reviewing this decision and are keeping all options on the table,” the bank said in a statement.

“We are confident that the bank’s employee policies have been applied fairly and consistently and we will continue to put that case forward while defending ourselves vigorously.”

CIBC declined to comment Tuesday.

Despite the ruling to allow the bank class-action lawsuits to go ahead, the Appeal Court found a similar lawsuit against Canadian National Railway Co. (TSX:CNR) lacking.

The court overturned a lower court decision and ruled a lawsuit seeking unpaid overtime in that case may not go ahead as a class action.

“The absence of commonality is fatal to the certification of this action,” Winkler wrote.

The bank cases were heard by the same three-judge panel, while the CN case included Winkler and two different judges.

Privacy commissioner says Saskatchewan needs to protect whistleblowers

REGINA – Saskatchewan’s privacy commissioner says the province needs to create whistleblower protection rules.

Gary Dickson said every year about half a dozen public-sector employees contact his office to report possible breaches.

Dickson said in his annual report Tuesday that in some cases, it is covering up a loss of personal information of clients or patients. In others it may be destruction of records to frustrate a possible access to information request, he said.

But those workers aren’t protected and Dickson said his office has to tell them to proceed at their own risk.

“Usually they’re quite anxious because there’s huge consequences if their employer finds out that they’re raising these things with an independent officer (of the legislature),” said Dickson.

“And we’ve had to say ‘You need to know, we can do everything we can to protect your identity, but at some point, sometimes in an investigation, we need to reveal identity to be able to get to the bottom of it and you’re not protected under the labour relations legislation.’”

The commissioner said Saskatchewan needs to protect whistleblowers from being fired or demoted if they act in good faith.

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He recommended a whistleblower provision be included in privacy legislation similar to provisions in British Columbia, Alberta and Prince Edward Island.

Dickson said the purpose of whistleblowing is identify wrongdoing and that may not happen without protection.

“I don’t for a moment mean to suggest it’s common. I don’t think it is,” he said.

“The people we deal with take their jobs seriously and privacy and access rights seriously. But I think what happens is, if they’re not able to do that in a safe fashion, they’re not going to raise it and that may mean that there are breaches of Saskatchewan law that go unaddressed.

“And there may be no consequences when there well should be some consequences for wrongdoers.”

Dickson also said it’s time for the province to develop a new private sector privacy law. He noted that grocery store, car dealership, dry cleaner or other private business workers don’t have the same kind of privacy protection as workers in the public sector.

The commissioner said it’s time for Saskatchewan to follow the lead of Alberta and British Columbia and protect employees in the private sector.

“It would be actually a very simple matter to actually take that, Saskatchewanize it with some tweaks and it’s a model set to go,” he said.

Finally, Dickson said the 2011-2012 year has been a particularly challenging one for the health information file.

In March 2011, Dickson and two assistants had to wade through a massive recycling garbage bin behind a Regina mall to recover medical files. They found 180,169 pieces of personal health information, including approximately 2,682 patient files, in the recycling bin.

Dickson said the doctor involved lost track of the records before they were thrown into the recycling bin by two employees of a contracted maintenance company for the shopping centre.

The commissioner recommended nearly a year ago that justice officials prosecute Dr. Teik Im Ooi under the Health Information Protection Act.

The Saskatchewan government said Tuesday that the case is still with prosecutions branch and no decision has been made.