News briefs

No faith in whistle-blower policy; Women have more to gain from a degree; T.O. police overweight, unhealthy; Atlantic joblessness in single digits; Holiday heightens shortage woes

No faith in whistle-blower policy

Ottawa — Only half of employees of federal public safety agencies are confident their bosses would act on reports of misconduct, said federal auditor general Sheila Fraser following an audit of the RCMP, Correctional Service Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency. Of 400 employees in these three agencies, 80 per cent said they would report a wrongdoing, but they seriously doubted whether a co-worker would do so.

Women have more to gain from a degree

Ottawa — Women have more to gain from a university degree than men, earning $2.73 in 2003 for every dollar a woman with a high school diploma earned, according to Statistics Canada. For men, university degree holders earned $2.13 for every dollar earned by a high school graduate. This higher premium for women explains a large part of why women now fill six out of 10 undergrad spots in Canada’s universities.

T.O. police overweight, unhealthy

Toronto — A health survey of 2,100 Toronto police officers and civilian employees found 87 per cent had poor nutrition habits and 65 per cent were overweight. Two in 10 said they had been diagnosed as obese. The survey was part of an overall strategy to improve health and reduce stress.

Atlantic joblessness in single digits

Ottawa — For the first time in decades, the average unemployment rate in Atlantic Canada has dropped below double-digit levels, according to Statistics Canada. In five of the past seven months, the unemployment rate dropped below 10 per cent. In November, it recorded its lowest level ever at 9.3 per cent. However, the drop is less due to economic growth in the region than to the exodus of workers out of rural areas to Halifax, St. John’s and Alberta.

Holiday heightens shortage woes

Toronto — The holiday season typically finds retailers scrambling to hire seasonal help, but this year retailers are struggling to find people at all levels. The squeeze may mean retailers will have to pay higher wages, said Benjamin Tal, economist at CIBC World Markets Inc. In markets with more severe shortages, retailers are bracing for an increased risk of shoplifting.

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