Crosscountry: Canada at a glance – February/March 2018

The mayor of Saint John, NB, is urging big-city commuters to move east, while Canada’s workforce is showing a decline in literacy and numeracy skills.


Go East!

Are you sick of all those dreary Toronto and Vancouver commutes? Move to Saint John, NB. That’s what Saint John Mayor Don Darling urged big-city commuters to do in a social media post that has generated a flood of responses, reports the Vancouver Sun.


After Statistics Canada released data showing that commute times in Saint John are shorter than in most cities, Darling posted: “Hey Toronto and Vancouver, move to Saint John, NB, we have jobs, you can buy a house for well under 200K and our commutes are measured in minutes.”


The post jumped to the front page of Reddit with more than 1,000 comments. While some praised the city’s relaxed lifestyle, others pointed out that they couldn’t find jobs there.


Darling conceded the city isn’t for everyone. But he said that if even a small percentage were to “give us a shot,” he was con dent they would love it.



Skill slide


Student studying and lying on bed


Despite higher levels of education, Canada’s workforce shows a troubling slide in literacy and numeracy skills, according to a recent C.D. Howe Institute study.


In the report, “Talkin’ ’bout my Generation: More Educated, but Less Skilled Canadians,” author Parisa Mahboubi compares results of international surveys from 2003 and 2012 to show that Canadians’ skill levels declined across all age groups studied. The decline, she says, can be largely attributed to aging and generational differences, such as education quality and work environment. But since skills erode with age at an accelerated rate and low-skilled workers exhibit a steeper decline with age, an aging population has a greater impact on average performance.



Investing as art

There are parallels to be drawn between art and investing, according to François Rochon, a portfolio manager who heads Giverny Capital in Montreal. In a presentation on Talks at Google, Rochon, who is both an engineer and art a cionado, said that a true investor doesn’t operate as a scientist, but as an artist. The ordinary investor concentrates on stock prices and a short-term horizon, while the “artistic” investor looks at the intrinsic value of companies and the long term.


Ordinary investors have an opinion on everything and strive to identify the right time to buy, said Rochon, whereas “artists” consider they have a lot to learn and strive to find the best stocks to buy.



Nuclear unpreparedness

Even though southwestern Ontario is home to the world’s largest operating nuclear plant, the Bruce nuclear power complex in Kincardine, the province is unprepared for nuclear emergencies, reports the Stratford Beacon Herald.


Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley was one of many to speak out about Ontario’s lack of emergency plans after the latest report from Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk concluded the province is not ready for a large-scale emergency.


The report pointed out Ontario’s emergency preparedness and nuclear response plans have not been updated in nearly a decade, and emergency management staff has been trimmed by budget cuts.


However, initiatives to correct the situation are underway. Community Safety Minister Marie-France Lalonde announced, for example, that a dedicated chief of emergency management would be recruited.