• Whether you’re a smoker yourself or not, you can probably appreciate that many people just can’t handle the smoke. Some worry, and rightly so, about the effects that being exposed to smoke may have on their long-term health, others feel like they can’t breathe around it, and others still don’t like the smell it leaves behind.

    None of those are good reasons, though, to spray a smoker in the face with a can of air freshener.

    69-year-old Hamilton resident Ed Steel is alleged to have sprayed Glade air freshener at smokers outside of Dundurn Place Care Centre in Hamilton recently and found himself charged with two counts of assault with a weapon.

    While his approach is quite the wise crack in action, Steel actually had a strong reason for allegedly busting out the air freshener. His first wife died of a smoking-related illness, and because of that, he didn’t want to have to wheel his current common-law spouse through smoke at the front entrance, blighted by residents choosing to light up

    Read More »from Man charged for spraying air freshener at smokers
  • Danielle Chabassol and Mat Dubé in front of their van, and home. (Supplied)Danielle Chabassol and Mat Dubé in front of their van, and home. (Supplied)

    Danielle Chabassol and Mat Dubé aren’t off the grid. If you send them an email between the regular nine-to-five work hours, you’re apt to get a response. And like many freelancers, the coffee shop or library equates to home turf, a movable office space available on demand.

    But while the average Canadian nine-to-fiver take their place in the transit or rush hour queue and points their nose towards home when the work day is done, “home” to Chabassol, 31, a curator at online marketplace Vegan Cuts and her husband Dubé, 38, a mixed media artist, is more of a general term.

    “We have been exploring alternative lifestyles for the past few years and we’re always challenging ourselves to live with less and still try to do everything we love,” explains Chabassol. “Living in a van is something we always wanted to do and we love it because it allows us to travel but still sleep in our own bed, to work in a new city each week and then relax in a new place each weekend.”

    They’re minimalists – you

    Read More »from Van-dwellers share the perks and challenges of being 21st-century nomads
  • Canada Post letter carriers union is on a cross-country tour to save home delivery service ahead of the federal election.Canada Post letter carriers union is on a cross-country tour to save home delivery service ahead of the federal election.

    The union head representing 54,000 Canadian postal workers is currently on a cross-Canada road trip in an RV that doubles as a billboard.

    The 32-foot mobile trailer has the message Stop the Cuts! Save Canada Post emblazoned across it, as it visits cities and towns across the country to protest the cuts to Canada’s mail service that were announced in December 2013. The cuts involve installing community mailboxes in lieu of door-to-door service in many communities.

    Mike Palecek, the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) says the message behind the tour is to get people out to vote ahead of the federal election, and to make the changes to Canada Post an election issue. 

    “We want to make sure exactly who to blame for these cuts, and that’s Stephen Harper and the Conservative government,” he told Yahoo Canada News.

    Palecek says there’s been a “rising tide” of opposition to the cuts, mainly from senior citizens and people with mobility issues. He says the cuts

    Read More »from Canada Post union on ‘Stop Harper’ RV cross-country tour
  • When you think of a rainbow, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s the natural beauty of having one appear among the clouds at the conclusion of a rainy day as the sun pierces through the clouds. Maybe it's those little marshmallows found in a box of Lucky Charms cereal. Or perhaps it's the diversity and strength it exhibits as the universally known symbol of gay pride and the freedom to express one’s sexual orientation.

    No matter which way you split it, most people view rainbows as something to embrace. Kelowna, B.C. resident Nancy Enns is not one of those people.

     Just over two weeks ago, rainbow-coloured crosswalks were spotted at the intersection of Pandosy Street and Lawrence Avenue in Kelowna after city workers completed a utilities upgrade at the intersection.

    The city of Kelowna put out a press release shortly thereafter

    Read More »from Woman wants Kelowna to remove its rainbow pedestrian crosswalks
  • The Ontario government begins on Friday the first of five public meetings on police carding, the controversial practice of stopping, questioning and collecting information from residents who aren’t under arrest.

    The public consultations are part of the province’s efforts to review and legislate street checks.

    But Toronto law student and activist Knia Singh said he’s worried the conversation has already gotten off on the wrong foot. The Police Association of Ontario, which supports carding, released a survey a day earlier that suggested 40 per cent of Ontarians supported carding when specific cases were cited.

    Singh and other critics say carding is an excuse for police to target and harass black and First Nations people.

    In June, Singh filed a court challenge to the use of carding by the Toronto Police Service under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The following is an edited transcript of a conversation between Yahoo News and Singh.

    How many times have you been stopped and carded?

    Read More »from Q&A with Knia Singh on carding as Ontario public consultations begin
  • Fire Station 424, on Runnymede Road, has been permanently closed.  Fire Station 424, on Runnymede Road, has been permanently closed.

    We all love firetrucks: giant red road-locomotives with a cool siren and a ladder on the back. When you’re a kid, you yearn for the chance to wear that back-billed helmet and sit up high, pretending you’re on your way to stamp out urban destruction.

    But with modern structures built nearly fireproof, good wiring installed in old houses, and the industrialized world generally a safer place than it’s ever been, do we really need a fire hall around every corner?

    Sure, it’s a heck of an adrenaline rush when one of those trucks roars past you on the street, jarring you away from sports talk radio. But city figures show that there’s a nine out of ten chance that truck won’t be going anywhere near a fire on that call. In all likelihood, that truck is racing to a medical emergency that could probably just as easily be handled by an ambulance (though the fire trucks typically get there first; more on that later).

    According to the Toronto Fire Services annual report, less than 8 percent of
    Read More »from With so few fires in cities these days, do we need so many firetrucks?
  • A technician strips back an ethernet cable at a Utah home as part of Google Fiber services. (Reuters)A technician strips back an ethernet cable at a Utah home as part of Google Fiber services. (Reuters)

    If you're tired of waiting for your TV shows or movies to finish downloading, you can now take advantage of Canada's fastest internet.

    Released last week, Bell has started to roll out its premium Gigabit Fibe internet service which promises up to 940 megabits per second now and up to 1000 megabits per second or faster in 2016. To put that into perspective, you'll be able to download a 3 GB high-definition movie in about 25 seconds, your favourite music album in half a second or a 500 MB TV show in less than 5 seconds.

    “Gigabit Fibe is tomorrow’s technology, offering consumers the Internet access speeds that will enable them to take full advantage of online advancements into the future,” wrote Rizwan Jamal, President of Bell Residential Services, in a press release.

    In short, it's four times faster than its closest competition but it's also a service that could burn a hole in your wallet. As of now, existing Bell Fibe customers in Ontario and Quebec can upgrade to the newer speed for

    Read More »from Super-fast gigabit Internet service finally coming to (some) Canadians
  • Peel police officer facing child pornography charges released on bailPeel police officer facing child pornography charges released on bail

    Craig Wattier, a 30-year veteran of Peel Regional Police and a supervisor in the Technological Crime Unit, was charged this week with fraud and child pornography. The officer has been suspended but he will continue to draw a paycheque as required under current provincial legislation, Peel police chief Jennifer Evans said in a statement.

    Just how long Wattier will remain on suspension — and how many months of salary he’ll accumulate while he does so — remain unknown. The news has brought the controversial issue of officers suspended with pay once again to the fore.

    Several high-profile cases of cops suspended for serious offences who then continued to receive their salary and benefits for months – and sometimes years – have angered the public and police chiefs alike.

    In 2009, David Doel, a high-ranking officer with the Hamilton Police Service, was suspended and soon after charged with having sex on duty, keeping pornography on his work computer, using police cameras to spy for personal

    Read More »from Ontario to review rule guaranteeing suspended cops full pay
  • Larry Horwitz will not seek Conservative nomination in Windsor WestLarry Horwitz will not seek Conservative nomination in Windsor West

    A group of street people in Windsor, Ont., are banding together to prove that what they do is valid. The Street Labourers Of Windsor, a.k.a. SLOW, is a union for panhandlers, vendors and street performers.

    Potential members are asked to sign membership cards for the Industrial Workers of the World. The 110-year-old union emphasizes grassroots democracy and doesn’t require its members to have a job.

    Andrew Nellis, a tarot reader who was once the spokesperson for the Ottawa Panhandlers’ Union, organized the group. He told the Windsor Star that the union doesn’t have a hierarchy and that its purpose is to protect each other.

    SLOW holds monthly meetings, in which they develop a code of conduct and address concerns like changing the public’s perspective of them. The union will also act as a liaison between businesses that have problems with particular street workers.

    The union currently has friction with the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (BIA), which paid to erect

    Read More »from Windsor panhandlers, street performers unionizing
  • The co-owner of FBI Pizza in Toronto says he has retracted a job ad that triggered furious debate online and in the local media yesterday, because, in his words, “the wording could have been misconstrued, and I apologize for that.”

    In the ad, Sean Tanha had specified that applicants for a customer service representative—someone who would take pizza orders by phone—have “no audible accent.”

    On Reddit and Twitter, the owners of FBI Pizza (FBI stands for Full-blooded Italian) were immediately accused of being discriminatory, a label Tanha says he found offensive, even laughable because “it’s so not true.”

    His new job ad will list “strong English skills” as opposed to “no audible accent,” Tanha, tells Yahoo Canada.

    “Listen,” he adds. “I would absolutely consider you if you’re from the UK and you have a very thick British accent, as long as you’re able to take down street names correctly and there are no spelling mistakes or confusion.”

    He insists that his intention was (and still is) to

    Read More »from Pizza job applicants must have “no audible accent”: Is that even legal?

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