Absence makes the (shopper’s) heart grow fonder

Alan Middleton, professor of marketing at York University’s Schulich School of Business, says the popularity of online shopping combined with the strength of the Canadian dollar has made customers expect to see the same prices (if not better ones) when they buy from foreign brands, wrote The Globe and Mail Aug. 30, in a story about tourists’ favourite stores losing their cachet once they open in Canada.

Consumers are more comfortable shelling out the big bucks when they buy those items when travelling, because social cachet is included with the purchase. "When you wore something special that wasn’t readily available in Canada, it communicated your commitment to shopping, your experience in travelling, your good taste," he says.

Sino-Forest case comes at crucial time for OSC

The Ontario Securities Commission’s investigation into troubled Chinese timber company Sino-Forest Corp. comes at what may be a crucial time for Canada’s top securities regulator, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 30.

The federal government’s long-standing plan to create a national securities regulator, as well as the potential for a merger involving the Toronto Stock Exchange have renewed the debate over the need for a local, highly visible stock market watchdog.

The now-defunct merger deal with the London Stock Exchange was another factor in stirring a new debate over the need for a local regulator for the Toronto exchange.

"There’s an argument that financial markets are global these days and it wouldn’t make sense for Toronto to keep a relatively small stock exchange," said Dirk Matten, professor of strategy at the Schulich School of Business at York University. "It makes the relevance of a local regulator more evident."

Feds urged to share health info

Health Canada is too secretive with clinical trial info about drugs and medical devices, says an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, wrote QMI Agency Aug. 30.

Health Canada doesn’t disclose the data because biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical firms maintain it’s confidential.

Dr. Joel Lexchin, a York University professor [School of Health Policy & Management, Faculty of Health], says clinicians aren’t getting the full picture. "It leaves us making decisions on how to use those drugs with inaccurate information," he said.

Social media startup helps couples reignite flames

Karla Stephens-Tolstoy knows mobile, wrote the National Post Aug. 30, in a story about tokii.com [which she launched] in March with her husband Alexander Tolstoy. The Toronto-based website leverages social media to help busy couples improve their relationships and is the first of its kind. It targets couples aged 20 to 35 – digital natives – who live online.

Tokii isn’t just using social media – its product is social media, says David Phipps, director, Research Services and Knowledge Exchange at York University.

“This is a new business model that will require a new way of thinking about what your product is. If it is continually evolving, how do you talk about it?” he asks. “The challenge is how do you keep up? How do you filter those responses? How do you prioritize? If it is experiential, then that customer experience is always going to be changing, especially if men see one thing and women another. One of the things social media has done is taken us into uncharted waters.”

A new school year, lots of new offerings

With an emphasis on experiential learning, Osgoode Hall Law School has added new clinical programs to its curriculum, including an intellectual property law and technology intensive program and an anti-discrimination intensive program, wrote Canadian Lawyer Aug. 29 in its “4 Students” blog.

Professor Faisal Bhabha, who recently joined the faculty, says Osgoode is making experiential learning a mandatory part of its JD program by requiring all incoming students to take at least one clinical or experiential learning course.

Osgoode is also gearing up for the launch of its renovated building in October.

New executive director named for regional tourism agency

Karen Theriault [MBA ’89] is the new executive director of Regional Tourism Organization 8 (RTO8), the agency’s board of directors recently announced, wrote The Lindsay Post Aug. 30.

The appointment is effective Sept. 7 and comes after an extensive search, officials said.

Before joining RTO8, Theriault held senior management positions at Queen’s School of Business, Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the Ontario Centres of Excellence, where she was responsible for enhancing graduate profile and creating business development strategy for corporate recruiters, career and entrepreneurship training strategies, and mentorship programs.

With more than 20 years experience developing multi-stakeholder partnerships, Theriault brings expertise in corporate relations, project and event management, business development and professional development training. She has an MBA from York University [Schulich School of Business].

Goodbye Jack

York grad James Ede [MA ’07] considers himself lucky to have met Layton a few times, wrote the Oakville Beaver Aug. 29, in a story about a memorial held in Oakville Aug. 26. He first met Layton last year in Toronto during a reception for all of the Ontario NDP federal candidates. "I was just mingling with one of the other candidates there, having a beer, when a party staff member came over and said ‘would you like to meet Jack?’ and brought me over," said Ede.

Ede said he was very nervous when he first met his party’s leader. "I’m here having a beer with Jack. It was a very impressive moment for me, but Jack was so-down-to-earth, friendly and warm that I quickly loosened up and we just talked for like 20 minutes," said Ede. "We talked about graduate studies and political science, (since) we both (had) gone to York (University) for that. He gave me some great insights for my thesis, and also some excellent tips in terms of how to campaign effectively.

The second time he met Layton was at a NDP fundraiser dinner in Toronto. It would also be the last time Ede would speak with him. "He thanked me for running in Oakville and the last thing he told me was to finish my thesis, which unfortunately, I continue to neglect, in terms of giving my time to the party," said Ede. "I’m sort of torn between following his advice and following his example."

Oddly enough for Ede, his last encounter with Layton where they did not speak, was his favourite among them, he said. He was in Toronto for a candidate training session waiting in the hallway after Layton’s speech. "I don’t think anyone noticed I was there, when Jack came out of the room with one of his assistants. The assistant was trying to get him to meet all the candidates as it was a really big deal for them," said Ede. "Jack said ‘nope,’ he was going to see his family and the assistant said, ‘Jack this is really important for you to see the candidates,’ and Jack very simply said, ‘grandchildren are more important,’ and he just walked off.

Gap between haves and have-nots is growing

A new anti-poverty movement is developing in Belleville, wrote The Belleville Intelligencer Aug. 30.

The campaign is being backed by a growing list of community agencies with varied interest in the fight against poverty in the Friendly City. Informal discussions about poverty issues among a handful of agencies has evolved into the formation of the Poor No More committee.

David Langille, course director at York University [Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies], is the executive producer of Poor No More and founding director of the Centre for Social Justice.

Foley’s all set for Lion-hunting season

The old Ricky Foley is back for the Argonauts and that can’t be good news for his former BC Lions teammates and quarterback Travis Lulay, wrote the Toronto Star Aug. 30.

Since the Argos put Orlondo Steinauer in charge of the defence two games ago, Foley has been back at defensive end – a position where he earned the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian honours in 2009 as one of the league’s premier pass rushers – instead of often dropping back into the role of middle linebacker during the earlier part of this season.

"I’m more myself now and I appreciate Orlondo and coach (Jim) Barker for recognizing that and letting me be me," said Foley, who has 39 tackles and two QB sacks this season, including one sack in the Argos’ 24-18 win over Saskatchewan on Aug. 18, the Boatmen’s last game.

For now, the former York University player is trying to keep his emotions in check as the team prepares for what he says is "a must-win" series of three games – back-to-back against the Lions and then a return match against the Riders in Regina.

Therapist reflects on volunteer experience in Africa

This past June, Joan Wilson [BA ’91] travelled to the city of Jos, Nigeria, where she spent 11 days volunteering her skills as a child and family therapist, wrote the Haliburton Echo Aug. 29.

Wilson, 61, has spent the last 30 years working with children, youth and parents as a therapist and team leader with Point in Time and the board of education.

With an undergraduate degree from York University and a master’s degree in psychology from University of Toronto, Wilson has been calling Haliburton home for the past three decades. "I wanted a different pace of life and a more wholesome environment for my kids," said Wilson, a mother of four and grandmother of seven.

Knowing nothing about the culture prior to her trip, Wilson spent time researching Nigeria before she left for her adventure. Stationed in the city of Jos, with a population of approximately two million, Wilson spent her time training staff from an orphanage in a type of therapy that is centred on child and parent relationships.

On air

  • Alexandre Brassard, director of research at York’s Glendon College, spoke about Tim Hudak and the provincial Conservatives’ election strategies, on Radio-Canada Aug. 29.
  • Fred Lazar, economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about Air Canada’s difficulties in launching a new low-cost air carrier, on CBC Radio Aug. 30.
  • Roger Keil, director of the City Institute at York University, and Ute Lehrer, professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies, spoke about efforts to study the growth of suburbs around the world, on CBC Radio Aug. 30.