Mother tongues wag in the workplace

If there is any truth in the ancient saying that birds of a feather flock together, it certainly applies to Canada’s workplaces, reports the Toronto Star Feb. 12. Lucia Lo, a York University economic geography professor in the Faculty of Arts, said the trend reflects settlement patterns. In a recent study on ethnic entrepreneurships, Lo found that all five sampled communities – Polish, Korean, Caribbean, Portuguese and Somalian – tended to hire people of similar background. “It is just natural for some employers whose first language is neither English nor French. They want to feel comfortable communicating with their employees,” she said.

Can Tim’s stay Canadian?

Canada’s coffee house has lost its Canadian connection, says marketing expert Alan Middleton of York University’s Schulich School of Business, in a Toronto Star story Feb. 12 about Tim Horton’s expanding into the United States. After all, it is owned by an Ohio-based company, even though its headquarters remain in Oakville, he says. But if stateside operations overtake Canada’s, he foresees the possibility of the head office heading south. But such a move isn’t likely to happen soon. “They’ve shown themselves to be a very thoughtful strategic and smart company over the years and I think they’ll want to stay close to their money maker.”

York building sets new standards for “real air”

Playful visionaries are rethinking everything from toilet paper to tea bags and setting new standards for designers everywhere, writes Lisa Rochon in The Globe and Mail Feb. 12. She cited York’s Computer Science and Engineering Building as an example of “a more rigorous standard for air — real air” set by Architects Alliance, Toronto, in joint venture with Busby + Associates Architects, Vancouver. “The building provides 50 per cent more energy efficiency than other university buildings at York; fresh air circulates through massive ducts or plenums into the interior atrium. Slots that cut into seminar rooms and offices allow for the air to penetrate deeply through the facility. As well, windows can be manually or automatically opened, an important departure” from hermetically sealed buildings.

Variable-payout annuities revive retirement funds

The recent introduction of variable-payout annuities, or VPAs, to Canada by two major life-insurance companies is breathing new life into the retirement-income marketplace, reports The Edmonton Journal Feb. 12. Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, and one of the country’s leading experts on retirement-income concepts, said the variable-payout annuity is “certain to revolutionize retirement planning in Canada.”

Finding the Real You intriguing

The Globe and Mail business writer Harvey Schachter Feb. 12 reviews Finding the Real You: Meeting the Most Important Person in Your Life,  by Neil Agnew, a retired York University psychology professor, and John Brown of the University of Alberta. He says it is “an intriguing look at how the so-called ‘real you’ is a mixture of interests, attitudes, habits, and rhythms which mingle together in good and bad ways with the interests, attitudes, habits, and rhythms of the people around us.”