U.S. job losses surged in January as tech layoffs deepened, report suggests

Tech layoffs: Seek legal advice, negotiate terms if you've lost your job, experts say

Layoffs in the United States hit a more than two-year high in January as technology firms cut jobs at the second-highest pace on record to brace for a possible recession, a report showed on Thursday.

The layoffs impacted 102,943 workers, a more than two-fold jump from December and an over five-times surge from a year earlier, according to the report from employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Companies from Microsoft Corp. to Amazon.com Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut thousands of jobs last month in a bid to ride out a demand downturn as consumer and corporate spending shrinks due to high inflation and rising interest rates.

“We’re now on the other side of the hiring frenzy of the pandemic years,” said Andrew Challenger, labor expert and Senior Vice President of the employment firm. “Companies are preparing for an economic slowdown, cutting workforce and slowing hiring.”

The push to correct pandemic excesses has been most evident in the tech sector, which slashed 41,829 jobs last month, the highest across industries.

Retailers, second after tech, cut 13,000 positions in January, compared with virtually no layoffs a year earlier. Financial firms, meanwhile, shed 10,603 jobs last month, up from 696 roles a year earlier.

With the Federal Reserve expected to continue on its rate-hiking path to stamp down inflation that is still on the higher side after several rounds of rate increases, analysts said more layoffs could be in store for U.S. companies.

“For companies that ramped up headcount over the past few years, they will likely shrink their workforce as the economy is headed towards a rough patch,” OANDA analyst Edward Moya said.

© 2023 Reuters

Rogers 'confident' it can compete with bigger Videotron if Shaw merger goes forward

Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says delivering lower wireless prices for Canadians is his priority in weighing final approvals for the proposed merger between Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications Inc.

The head of Rogers Communications Inc. says the telecom company is ready to face the threat of increased competition born out of its proposed merger with Shaw Communications.

CEO Tony Staffieri made the comments during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday morning.

He said the company is ready to compete with Quebecor’s Videotron in the national wireless market as the company grows with the pending acquisition of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile — the divestiture of which is now a key aspect of the deal between Rogers and Shaw clearing antitrust concerns.

But an analyst on the call asked Staffieri why shareholders should be excited about the deal, given that it would also end up benefiting a competitor.

Staffieri conceded that selling off Freedom to Videotron, which would give the Quebec-based brand reach into the Western Canadian market, would “enhance their competitive ability.”

But he added that there would be “a number of dynamics” in the telecom sector with a fourth player at the table and said any gains by Videotron in the wireless market do not necessarily mean losses for Rogers in the space.

“We have thrived in a competitive landscape in the past,” he said.

“We’re confident we have what we need to be able to compete in a four-player market.”

A more competitive telecom landscape with better prices for consumers is a key condition of the proposed $26-billion merger going forward, according to Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who holds final approvals on the deal.

Earlier this week, the companies collectively agreed to extend the deal’s closing date to Feb. 17, past the Jan. 31 deadline that was previously set.

Champagne has said he will make the decision “in due course” after reviewing a decision at the Federal Court of Appeal last week, which upheld the Competition Tribunal sign-off on the merger granted late last year.

Staffieri said Thursday that he wouldn’t comment on the deal while it’s under government review.

Shaw Communications and Corus Entertainment, the parent company of Global News, are owned by the Shaw family based in Calgary.

Rogers chief financial officer Glenn Brandt said the company has all the funding needed in place to close the deal, and that they have extended the $13-billion funding from issued bonds to the end of the year.

“We have plenty of runway there,” he said. “We are ready for when we receive the final regulatory approval.”

Acquisition aside, the company expects to continue its financial momentum in the year ahead.

Rogers said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings got a boost from higher roaming revenue as travel bounced back and from improved returns from sports advertising and its Toronto Blue Jays franchise as activity normalized.

The telecom giant reported a fourth-quarter profit of $508 million, up from $405 million in the same quarter a year earlier as its revenue rose six per cent.

Rogers expects to see revenue increase between four and seven per cent and adjusted earnings growth before deductions of between five and eight per cent, while capital spending is expected to be between $3.1 billion and $3.3 billion, compared with $3.03 billion last year.

Capital spending last year was focused on investing in their networks, as they look to invest in expanding 5G network access as well as improve reliability, which became all the more important after a high-profile outage last summer.

Staffieri said the company is focused on dependability as critical to holding on to customers.

“Price is always important. The more important factor is the internet reliability, and that’s because even in the consumer space, with a lot of work from home, it’s become so critical.”

Turnover on wireless customers — a key metric in the telecom sector — was up in the last quarter compared with a year earlier but a higher overall number of customers, along with a 140 per cent jump in roaming revenue, helped boost service revenue by seven per cent in the quarter, while media revenue increased 17 per cent, largely from sports-related boost.

Overall revenue totalled $4.17 billion for the fourth quarter, up from $3.92 billion a year earlier. Profit amounted to $1 per diluted share for the three months ending Dec. 31, up from 80 cents per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2021.

On an adjusted basis, Rogers says it earned $1.09 per diluted share in its latest quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 96 cents per diluted share in the last three months of 2021.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ava's Radiothon Story

Ava suffered a stroke while in utero, which significantly impacted her left side and led to her being diagnosed with Cerebral palsy (CP) as a baby. A strong-willed and determined child, Ava was resistant to treatment and things meant to help her mobility development. Despite the support of her neurology and orthopedics team at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Ava did not want to acknowledge that she had a disability – she just wanted to live her life like a “normal” kid.

Last summer, Ava took part in a camp called Stimulation for Perinatal Stroke Optimizing Recovery Trajectory (SPORT) at the Alberta Children’s Hospital – a two-week day camp (which is also a research study!) where kids have their strong arm casted for the first week, forcing them to use their affected arm. In the second week, they use both arms together. Ava was strongly opposed to going, says Sheila “because she would finally have to face her disability.” The first few days were really hard and she wanted to quit, but eventually, Sheila started to see a difference. For once, Ava didn’t feel different from the kids around her and even formed a strong bond with one of the other campers.

At the start of camp, kids are asked to set goals they could hopefully meet by the end of the two weeks. Ava wanted to do three things requiring two hands and that she’d never been able to on her own: Tie her shoes, cut meat on her dinner plate, and use a manual can opener. These are things that people with full mobility might take for granted, but for Ava, they were huge. Over the two weeks, through various activities and exercises to help develop fine motor skills, Ava worked hard to meet those goals and, by the end of camp, she could do all three things!

The camp was transformational both mentally and physically, says Sheila. For the first time ever, Ava was open to talking to her class at school about CP and began working with her teacher on a presentation about it. She was also empowered to use her affected hand for tasks at home. Prior to camp, this arm was a “dead limb” and she relied exclusively on her good hand, says Sheila.

“This was absolutely life-changing for Ava, and for me, too,” says Sheila. “Since the camp, she has come to terms with the fact she has CP and she is like a whole different person than she was a couple years ago. She ended up being really happy she did it. The people who run this program are incredible; they’re miracle workers. I can’t thank them enough.”

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© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

1 person dead in N.S. after apartment above garage engulfed in flames

The online edition of Global News Morning with Paul Brothers and Eilish Bonang on Global Halifax.

One person is dead after a residential fire in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis County.

RCMP, EHS and fire crews responded to the blaze in Granville Ferry, N.S. just after 1 a.m. Thursday.

“When RCMP officers arrived at the scene, an apartment, located above a garage, was engulfed in flames,” police said in release.

“The remains of an adult were located inside the home.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation by RCMP, the Office of the Fire Marshal, and the Nova Scotia Medical Examiner Service.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Are Canada’s military judges truly independent? Supreme Court to rule

Canada’s top court has agreed to rule on whether the military’s judges are truly independent.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced its decision Thursday morning in response to an appeal from several service members whose criminal cases are on hold.

As is customary, the court did provide any reasons or explanation for its decision to hear the case, whose genesis dates back to 2018, when the military’s top judge was charged with fraud.

While the case against Col. Mario Dutil was eventually dropped, it nonetheless set off a series of events that included a standoff between the rest of the military’s judges and then-defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance.

That included four military judges ruling in several cases that they could not be considered independent because Vance had issued an order placing responsibility for their discipline under another senior officer.

The Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case comes as the military justice system is facing significant challenges and repeated calls for reform.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Man charged in Saskatoon investigation into sexual assaults, faith-based affiliations

A 46-year-old Edmonton man has been charged with sexual assault and exploitation of a minor in an investigation into historical sexual assaults with faith-based affiliations.

In August 2022, a victim reported allegations of sexual assault to the Saskatoon Police that occurred between 2008 and 2012.

The victim, a minor at the time, and the accused knew each other through their affiliation with a Saskatoon faith-based institution.

The accused is said to have been in a position of trust or authority.

He turned himself into the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) on Jan. 31, was arrested, and then released on conditions.

He will appear in Saskatoon Provincial Court on March 13.

More information will be provided as investigation updates are released by the SPS.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

'Frostbite can develop within minutes:' Weather warning for Toronto as cold snap expected

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold weather warning for Toronto, and a large swath of southern Ontario, as frigid temperatures are expected to hit late Thursday night.

The weather agency said a strong cold front is expected to plummet temperatures to -30 C with the wind chill.

A blast of cold Artic air will reach southern Ontario Thursday night and last all day Friday and into early Saturday, Environment Canada said.

Friday is expected to see a high of -13 C with a wind chill of -30 C in the morning and -23 C in the afternoon.

“Cover up. Frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially with wind chill,” they warned.

By Saturday, temperatures should begin to ease. Environment Canada forecasts a high of -4 C.

Other areas in Ontario under the same alert stretch from Grey Bruce County, Barrie to Halton and Peel regions, out towards Kingston and Ottawa.

Temperatures in areas such as Ottawa are expected to hit -40 C or -45 C with the wind chill on Friday.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Campbellford Memorial Hospital receives $13M for infrastructure upgrades, resource supports

The Ontario government is providing $13 million for infrastructure upgrades and other supports for the aging Campbellford Memorial Hospital in the Municipality of Trent Hills.

On Thursday morning at the hospital, Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini announced the funding for a number of projects for the hospital which marks its 70th anniversary this year.

He said the funding was among the largest in the hospital’s history and that he has made as an MPP.

Among the major projects will be more than $9.6M allocated for a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air condition) system and generator.

Other funding allocations include:

  • $1,874,929 for reimbursements of the hospital’s COVID-related capital expenses
  • $771,797 in incremental operating funding to support increased pressures related to COVID-19
  • Up to $600,000 in one-time funding to support CMH’s in-year financial and operating pressures
  • $163,000 for pandemic prevention and containment
  • $81,132 through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund
  • $46,884 in health human resources funding

“This incredible announcement today really speaks to the work that has been done here in this community,” Piccini said at the press conference.

He noted that while hospital officials continue to lobby and make “exciting progress” for its new Campus of Care project in Campbellford, the existing hospital’s needs can’t be ignored.

The Campus of Care proposes multiple health-care services along with housing options and long-term care home beds in one location. Last fall resident Jim Curle donated 48 acres of land for the project. Eleven area mayors have also endorsed the project.

“It’s important to recognize and not to leave behind all of you in this facility as we look towards that exciting new campus,” said Piccini. “We need to make those investments today. This team and all of you have rightly and squarely focused on the needs that ensure high-quality patient care.

“And I’m grateful you’ve done that and working with the Ministry we can make the funding investments that are necessary to support this community.”

The hospital notes the existing HVAC system is at least 30 years old. Hospital interim president and CEO Eric Hanna noted the nearly $7 million in work will include replacing air handling units, improving ductwork, air filtration and ventilation systems, as well as upgrading the air distribution system and installing an automated building control system.

“This wing, for example, there’s no fresh air,” he said during the press conference. “(The HVAC) hasn’t worked here for 15 years. These are administrative areas. The concern was it wasn’t working in some of the patient areas either.”

The current backup generator is considered near end of life. Hanna says the electrical system needs to be upgraded as it’s also outdated with current generators.

“This investment will allow us to purchase a new, state-of-the-art generator, as well as upgrade our emergency power distribution, to ensure that when the power goes out, our ability to provide high-quality patient care is not impeded,” he said.

Hospital board chair Kevin Huestis also thanked Piccini for the investments, noting more recent upgrades including a new nurse-call system, kitchen and cafeteria renovations, refresh of the inpatient unit, and CMH Foundation-funded state of the art diagnostic equipment such as a bladder scanner and a digital slit lamp.

Following an on-site survey in December 2022, Accreditation Canada awarded the hospital with exemplary standing — the highest level of designation.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment — from top to bottom they noticed excellence in every department,” he said.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Carson's Radiothon Story

Lyndsay and Jason never expected to need to use the Alberta Children’s Hospital, but they are so grateful it was there for their son Carson when he urgently needed it. One day earlier this summer, Lyndsay noticed blood in Carson’s stool. At first his doctor and her thought he was just having a reaction to some antibiotics he was on for pneumonia and eventually, he got better. A few months later, in November, he wasn’t quite acting himself and nearly fainted in the car. Then, she noticed blood again in his stool. She decided to take him to Emergency at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. There, doctors did blood work and discovered Carson’s hemoglobin levels were dangerously low and he needed an emergency blood transfusion that night.

The next day he was admitted to hospital and specialists, through a scan, learned he had a small, abnormal pocket of tissue in his small intestine causing internal bleeding and needed to be removed right away. They met with pediatric general surgeon Dr. Tito Daodu, whose love and friendship became next level, as Lyndsay says. The minimally invasive operation to remove the tissue was complicated by the fact that it was atypical in appearance and required much more time that normal to complete. Dr. Daodu performed the operation, showing incredible expertise and compassion while communicating the results after.

Carson’s stay in the hospital was complicated by a concurrent pneumonia as well as developing an additional RSV Infection and a bacterial infection in his colon. While he recovered from his operation and the infections, Carson was given antibiotics and fed nutrients intravenously to help him regain his strength. Despite a difficult time in hospital he was discharged in excellent condition. Today, he is doing great, and Lyndsay is so grateful for the fast-acting, compassionate doctors and nurses who saved her son’s life through their incredible skill and dedication.

Lyndsay and Jason are so grateful the Alberta Children’s Hospital was available for Carson when he so desperately needed it, and they can’t say enough about the professionalism and compassion of all staff who participated in Carson’s care.  Thankfully, because of the skilled experts at the hospital, and donors who support it, Lyndsay and Jason didn’t have to find out what would have happened if the Alberta Hospital wasn’t there. They know that community support is needed to advance care and equip experts with the best life-saving equipment possible to be prepared for anything that comes in their door.

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© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Tech sector helps lift S&P/TSX composite, U.S. stock markets mixed

Strength in the technology sector helped lead Canada’s main stock index higher in late-morning trading, while U.S. stock markets were mixed.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 51.40 points at 20,802.45.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 108.61 points at 33,984.35. The S&P 500 index was up 57.21 points at 4,176.42, while the Nasdaq composite was up 333.24 points at 12,149.56.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.12 cents US compared with 75.07 cents US on Wednesday.

The March crude contract was down 17 cents at US$76.24 per barrel and the March natural gas contract was up 11 cents at US$2.58 per mmBTU.

The April gold contract was down US$6.50 at US$1,936.30 an ounce and the March copper contract was up five cents at US$4.16 a pound.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

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