• Kids can be expensive – costing more than $240,000 to the age of 18 by some estimates. But there’s money in those gurgling bundles of joy too, thanks to government programs that help parents out with everything from grants towards Liam’s future post-secondary education to money for childcare to tax breaks for Shannon's ballet lessons.

    Funded as they are out of the country’s tax base, there are those without kids who complain they are forced to contribute to programs that only parents can benefit from. They ask, why should they keep paying and covering at work for someone else while yummy mommy’s off on mat leave? That ignores the fact that society as a whole benefits from children who are well-supported as they grow up, says Nora Spinks, CEO of the Ottawa-based Vanier Institute of the Family.

    “From an economic perspective it’s an essential thing to do,” Spinks said.

    “Investing in children and families is an investment in our own collective future … I may have a child I raise and that

    Read More »from All the "free money" Canadian parents get - and why
  • (Photo via CBC)(Photo via CBC)

    We all know that texting behind the wheel is illegal and potentially dangerous or even deadly. So how do you get drivers to realize that the rules apply to them, too?

    The CAA in Manitoba would like the government to make the penalty for distracted driving even tougher for new drivers. Their rationale? It’s easier to teach new drivers to keep their hands off their phones, instead of trying to break bad habits later.

    “It is harder to break a habit than to prevent it from starting in the first place,” says CAA Manitoba CEO Mike Mager. “We can’t just penalize people, we need to do things to get their attention, to understand this is not an acceptable behaviour, and they should stop it.”

    The company says that 96 per cent of CAA Manitoba members would support a zero-tolerance policy for distracted new drivers. Currently Saskatchewan and British Columbia both ban new drivers in their graduated licensing programs from using hand-held and hands-free devices.

    Mager likens distracted driving

    Read More »from Everything you ever wondered about Canada's distracted driving laws
  • A screen shot of a Canadian Tire commercial.A screen shot of a Canadian Tire commercial.

    A television commercial poking fun at potholes in the Quebec town of Pincourt has turned into a $65,000 lawsuit against retail giant Canadian Tire.

    While such legal cases usually involve a person or business being wronged, in this case the lawsuit claims the town’s reputation was damaged because the ad suggested Pincourt is full of potholes.  

    A court will decide in August whether Pincourt was defamed. But one of the side effects of the legal action is fame of a different kind, putting the small town on the outskirts of Montreal on the map.

    The dispute started in the spring because of a French TV ad in Quebec. While Canadian Tire often uses humour in its commercials, Pincourt officials weren’t laughing.

    The commercial opens with the name of the town over a snowy backdrop that includes a shot of Cardinal-Léger Boulevard, one of the town’s main roads. Over and over, the commercial shows the reaction of drivers as they hit potholes.

    “Here, the winters are hard. And that means potholes.

    Read More »from Pincourt sues Canadian Tire over pothole commercial
  • Urban agriculture may nothing new, but these days it can get a lot more complicated than the basil plant on your windowsill.

    Up on the roof of the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, about 300,000 bees bed down each night in six purpose-built hives, their presence hardly a secret, but perhaps something that would be disquieting to the guests asleep just a few feet below them.

    Not far away, there are other hives at Fort York, and the CBC recently installed hives on the rooftops of its headquarters in Toronto and Montreal. On the other coast, Vancouver Police said last month it will build two hives at its headquarters.

    Surely fire stations are next. If you can handle a foul-tempered Dalmatian, surely a few thousand bees can’t be a problem.

    Urban beekeeping has been, to put it mildly, trending.

    It’s tough to peg down the numbers, but local apiarists (bee-keepers) say the ranks of the hobbyists are growing.

    “There’s been a tremendous increase in the last couple of years. It’s unbelievable,”

    Read More »from Urban beekeeping: why there’s so much buzz about it now
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    In March 2013, Alex MacLean was a 21-year-old student at Acadia University studying marketing when he was given a project for his entrepreneurship class. The assignment was to create a business concept.

    Wanting to create a product that would represent what he loved best about Nova Scotia, he bought 30 hoodies and emblazoned them with a sleek, hip-hop-inspired nautical design meant to represent the surfing and snowboarding lifestyle of the east coast. His initial $800 funding came from his father.

    Those hoodies sold out immediately and he used the proceeds to immediately buy another 60. When those sold out, he bought 100 more and began hawking them out of the trunk of his car and from his mom’s front lawn in Halifax.

    Within a few months he had deals to sell his clothes in national chains like Pseudio and Below the Belt.

    Along the way, the class project to sell 30 hoodies to friends transformed into East Coast Lifestyle, a fast-growing fashion brand that has sold more than 500,000

    Read More »from East Coast Lifestyle's latest collaboration coup is with Ghostface Killah
  • Robotics researcher Edgar Simo-Serra before and after working on the algorithmRobotics researcher Edgar Simo-Serra before and after working on the algorithm
    Two computer science professors at University of Toronto may have caused mild panic among stylists last month when they announced the results of their latest research: an algorithm that analyses fashion choices in a photograph and makes suggestions to up a person’s chic factor.

    Sanja Fidler and Raquel Urtasun created the system using two main technologies, graphical modelling and something called deep learning, a subcategory of machine learning, or artificial intelligence, pioneered by University of Toronto professor Geoffrey Hinton. Deep learning allows a computer to “think” for itself using complicated artificial neural networks, or “neural nets”, that function in a similar way to the human brain’s neural connections.

    To school itself in the ways of sharp style, the professors’ prototype algorithm—a kind of “thinking” robot—collected data from more than 100,000 photos posted to the website Chictopia, an Instagram-like digital billboard where users around the world upload images of

    Read More »from The algorithm that judges your fashion sense will soon be an app
  • A Confederate flag is held up by a man at a rally outside the State House to get the Confederate flag removed from the grounds in Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brian SnyderA Confederate flag is held up by a man at a rally outside the State House to get the Confederate flag removed from the grounds in Columbia, South Carolina June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

    Canadian news coverage of the debate over the Confederate flag in the United States constitutes discrimination, a Saskatchewan man says.

    Dale Pippin says he’s filed a complaint with the provincial human rights commission over media coverage.

    “While the U.S. media seems able to routinely trash the Confederate flag, I thought I’d see if we are able to get away with it here in Canada,” Pippin wrote on his blog, SouthSaskSoutherner.

    He says he filed the complaint on July 1. The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission does not comment on complaints and cannot confirm if Pippin’s complaint has been received.

    Citing CTV News specifically and other media in general, Pippin says coverage has been degrading and discriminatory toward today’s southerners, which he counts himself among.

    Pippin says his family moved to Saskatchewan 110 years ago from Tarboro, N.C. His ancestors fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War.

    “I was under the impression that we are in a free country. In this free

    Read More »from Criticism of Confederate flag spurs human rights complaint in Canada
  • Chasing fish the size of monsters on camera is second nature for Josh Jorgensen, a Windsor, Ont., native and star of the No. 1 fishing channel on YouTube.

    The 25-year-old, who’s now based in West Palm Beach, Fla., is the creator of BlacktipH, a popular channel on the video-sharing website. To date, it has 122,763 subscribers and nearly 61.5 million views.

    While it’s technically a fishing show, BlacktipH is a far cry from the docile, local pond fishing programs that air on cable, early Sunday morning. Instead, Jorgensen, fueled with adrenaline and backed by a crew, chases after giant creatures like blacktips and monster bull sharks, which can sometimes rival the size of a car. 

    “They’re strong and exciting,” he tells Yahoo News Canada. “It’s a shark! They eat everything else. They’re the ultimate predator.”

    His obsession for the terrifying fish started in childhood, where he’d draw them in kindergarten class. Jorgensen started fishing on lakes throughout Ontario — Lake Huron, Lake

    Read More »from Windsor native stars in YouTube’s No. 1 fishing channel
  • A provincial elections map of dry and wet communities in Nova Scotia.A provincial elections map of dry and wet communities in Nova Scotia.

    By Glenn Johnson

    The Nova Scotia government wants to open the taps to the 100-plus communities that are still dry, providing additional liquor revenues for the province.

    Although Prohibition was lifted in Nova Scotia back in 1929, there are many places that can’t have liquor stores unless they hold expensive plebiscites to measure local thirst.

    A handful of other rural Canadian places remain dry mostly in Alberta, where the communities of Arrowwood, Cardston, Magrath, Del Bonita and Linden don’t allow alcohol. There are also some northern reserves that remain dry. Nova Scotia was the only province with a wide prohibition that requires plebiscites. 

    Despite the dry designation in Nova Scotia, many residents might not even be aware because restaurants can serve alcohol and residents can drink alcohol that is purchased at a business outside the community.

    Government spokesperson Darcy MacRae said that’s why the government has proposed “amendments to the Liquor Control Act that would make

    Read More »from N.S. wants to end 100-plus ‘dry’ communities
  • The rebranding of Environment Canada's Facebook page has been met with much criticism by users.The rebranding of Environment Canada's Facebook page has been met with much criticism by users.

    The government of Canada is getting the gears online over its decision to rebrand the Facebook pages of several key ministries.

    Most egregious, it seems, the Environment Canada Facebook page was renamed last week “Conserve, Restore, Connect with Nature.”

    The page now incorporates Natural Resources Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

    Reaction on the social media site has not been good.

    “This is so ridiculous!” Facebook user Jackie Chow wrote on the page.

    “Perhaps we should rename Environment Canada, and call it e.g. ‘Ministry for the Exploitation and Destruction of the Environment.’”

    “Wow. Talk about deception,” wrote Jim Ross. “A government agency that does little to conserve or restore the environment changes their Facebook page to gloss over their record on the environment.”

    One user asked if the Environment Canada page had been hacked.

    “Not hacked, hijacked by

    Read More »from Environment Canada Facebook rebrand gets fail from users

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