• Restaurant kitchens and drama seem to go hand in hand, or at least that's how the industry is portrayed on television. Popular shows like "Restaurant Stakeout" and "Kitchen Nightmares" encourage viewers to find amusement in the struggles of this high-pressure work environment. But when it comes to real-life examples of kitchen nightmares, no one is amused.

    Earlier this month, Toronto cook Kate Burnham alleged that she had been sexually harassed at the popular restaurant where she used to work. A Toronto Star article reported that Burnham was “was routinely sexually harassed and abused,” from July 2012 to January 2014.

    The shocking accusations have left many people questioning the culture of restaurant kitchens. While there is no doubt that aggression, harassment and even abuse are happening in kitchens across the country, several industry experts are saying that the work environment in most kitchens has actually improved over the years.

    Todd Perrin, chef and owner of Mallard Cottage

    Read More »from Into the fire? The culture of restaurant kitchens in Canada today
  • Few "Star Wars" afficionados know how close we came to having a Canadian in a pivotal role in the original film.

    Garrick Hagon, born in England and raised in Toronto, had a very small role in the original "Star Wars" as Biggs Darklighter, also known as Red Three in the squadron that attacked the Death Star. But when the movie was re-issued in 1997, Biggs’ role was expanded slightly to include a 32-second scene in the Rebel hangar. Biggs and Luke Skywalker embrace and talk about some past experiences and how far they’ve come, alluding to some long-lost friendship that’s never explained.

    Now, a short documentary has shed light on how that scene came to be, and what it all meant. And the short version is, if George Lucas had stuck to his original filming, Hagon might be famous as Luke’s cool cape-wearing childhood best friend, instead of being relegated to the annals of Wookipedia trivia as a red squadron fighter who got blown up.

    Jamie Benning spoke to Hagon for "Blast it Biggs! Where are

    Read More »from The Canadian actor who was almost a Star Wars star
  • McGill med school put on probation

    McGill's medical school put on probation by an accrediting body this week.McGill's medical school put on probation by an accrediting body this week.

    McGill University’s faculty of medicine was delivered a blow this week when the school was put on probation by the two agencies who accredit North American medical schools.

    Based on a survey in March, the U.S. Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) and the Committee on the Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools (CACMS) found the school deficient in 24 of 132 accreditation standards.

    In another eight criteria, the school was considered compliant but in need of monitoring.

    “The breadth and depth of these findings have seriously compromised the quality of the medical education program,” says a letter sent this week to McGill from the two agencies.

    David Eidelman, dean of the faculty of medicine, was not available for an interview Thursday. The school held a special meeting Wednesday evening to address the committees’ findings.

    “While the final decision is not what we had hoped, this feedback will help drive our ongoing efforts to strengthen the administrative policies and

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  • What did you learn in history class about residential schools? About colonialism? Treaties? The Indian Act?

    For most Canadians, the answer is likely: nothing.

    Changing that is one of the many recommendations to come from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report released earlier this month, and British Columbia says it will introduce a new K-12 curriculum this fall that includes the history and legacy of residential schools.

    But education is a provincial jurisdiction and across the country, there’s a wide range when it comes to aboriginal history in classrooms.

    “In some provinces, they’re doing really well. Others, they’re failing miserably,” says Carlie Chase, executive director of the Legacy of Hope Foundation, an aboriginal charity that aims to get indigenous history into Canadian classrooms.

    In B.C., the new curriculum will include history, culture and First Nations perspectives across subject areas and grade levels.

    For example, kindergarten student will learn about

    Read More »from B.C. the latest province to make aboriginal history and culture mandatory in the classroom
  • The federal government says its websites were under a cyber attack on Wednesday afternoon, which affected email and Internet access.

    Treasury Board of Canada president Tony Clement tweeted, “Confirmed today that Govt of Canada GC servers have been cyberattacked. Until full service is restored please use 1-800-OCanada.” 

    The websites were affected by a denial of service attack, which according to the World Wide Web Consortium is designed to make a computer or network incapable of providing normal services to its users.

    He didn’t say who was responsible for taking sites, including justice.gc.ca, csis.gc.ca, Canada.ca and news.gc.ca, offline shortly after 12 p.m. Nor did he say how long the outage would last. Service for those four sites were restored later Wednesday afternoon. But sporadic outages continued.


    Read More »from Canadian government websites under cyber attack: Clement
  • Kita no Taiko performance at Edmonton's Heritage Days festival (Flickr/Kurt Bauschardt)Kita no Taiko performance at Edmonton's Heritage Days festival (Flickr/Kurt Bauschardt)

    The people of Edmonton can hold their heads a little higher this summer, knowing that their city has been picked by a world-renowned publication as one of the top places to visit this year.

    National Geographic released a list of Best Summer Trips 2015, including several well-known international travel hotspots: Machu Picchu in Peru, Jeju Island in South Korea, and Athens in Greece all make the list of 11 recommendations. And right along with them? Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

    “Edmonton is welcoming the world this summer,” writes National Geographic travel writer Maryellen Kennedy Duckett. “The Festival City is hosting a series of international events, including the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 (June 6-July 4) and the Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August 6-9). Multicultural artworks, crafts, performances, and foods representing more than 85 nations will be featured at the Edmonton Heritage Festival (August 1-3).”

    In addition to the festivals, Duckett highlights the

    Read More »from Edmonton: From Canada’s punchline to top global summer destination
  • Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)Think they look cute? Technically, they're breaking local bylaws. (Thinkstock)

    In a stunning display of policing prowess, Texas law enforcement officials crushed an illicit lemonade-peddling going by the alias “The Green Girls.”

    The ring of two – run by seven-year-old Zoe Green and her eight-year-old sister, Andria – was found street-side near their last known address in Overton, Texas, offering ice cold lemonade for the bargain barrel price of 50 cents and kettle corn for a dollar (purchase both together and it’s just a dollar – what’s the angle here, Green Girls?).

    Sources close to the ring say the preteen culprits were trying to raise $105, to take their dad to a water park for Father’s Day. But health and safety issues under the auspice of the Texas Baker’s Bill – which prohibits the sale of foods requiring time of temperature control to prevent spoilage without an inspection and permit – led police to shut the stand down.  

    Not in this town, girls.

    But then again, what if the lemonade-bootlegging Green girls were in fact just trying to raise the cash for

    Read More »from Yes, bylaw officers are allowed to shut down lemonade stands
  • (Photo via Thinksstock)(Photo via Thinksstock)

    Despite a front-page story in the Toronto Star last week, Ontario jurors have not been granted the right to Google information about defendants in criminal trials.

    Yes, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of two cocaine dealers – Lucas and Leonard Farinacci Jr. – who had appealed after learning a juror in their case looked them up on the Internet, in direct contravention of the trial judge’s instructions.

    But no, that does not mean the way is clear for search-engine justice, media lawyer Iain MacKinnon tells Yahoo Canada.

    “The appeal judges knew what information the jurors had found, and didn’t think it was so significant and material and influential that it had any impact on their verdict,” says MacKinnon, who represented several media outlets – including the Star – in successfully asking that a publication ban on the case be lifted.

    “It wasn’t so prejudicial that it would violate their Charter rights, and therefore would be tossed out.”

    The juror in question was

    Read More »from Five things you may not know about being on a jury in Canada
  • Would you rather smoke a joint than sip a beer? Take a toke instead of a tipple? 

    If you’re wondering what’s allowed in Canada when it comes to marijuana, you’re not alone. 

    Legally, the answer is simple: Possessing or selling weed is a crime, according to Canada’s Controlled Drug and Substances Act, unless you have a prescription from your doctor for medical marijuana. So that's clear enough. But out on the street, things get much blurrier. Here are the questions we had...

    What happens if I’m caught with a small amount of marijuana? 

    “About half the time people are not charged,” says Eugene Oscapella, an Ottawa lawyer who teaches drug policy in the Department of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. 

    About two thirds of all drug offenses reported by police in Canada are marijuana, about half are simple possession, he says, and about half of those turn into charges. The police have discretion to seize the marijuana or ignore it. 

    What the law says...

    A first conviction for

    Read More »from What are the rules around dope in Canada?
  • Pan-Am bonuses a sports industry norm

    News that Pan-Am Games executives will share $5.7 million in bonuses for getting their jobs done on time and on budget is raising some eyebrows.

    Games CEP Saad Rafi says the bonuses - as much as 100 per cent of the annual salary in at least his case – are the norm in the world of major sporting events.

    Indeed, they are, and so is the ensuing uproar.

    Organizers of the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver were called onto the public carpet a year before the Games when they disclosed that $33 million in “retention bonuses” would be paid to hundreds of employees who stayed on track to the finish line.

    John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver organizing committee, said at the time that it would be a significant challenge if staff left as the Games – and the end of their employment – drew near.

    “Other committees have faced that and it’s hurt them,” he told reporters. “We need to protect ourselves from that.”

    Though they likened the bonuses to severance pay, the Vancouver organizing committee ultimately

    Read More »from Pan-Am bonuses a sports industry norm


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