News Briefs

CPP posts $7.2-billion gain; More WSIB coverage for volunteer firefighters; Sask. has lowest unemployment rate for fifth month; Send pregnant teachers home: Nova Scotia union; Alberta grads given apprenticeship scholarships

CPP posts $7.2-billion gain

Ottawa — Rebounding stock markets led to a $7.2-billion gain for the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s assets in the second quarter. The fund ended the quarter with $123.8 billion in assets, up from $116.6 billion at the end of the first quarter. Investment income accounted for $5.4 billion, reflecting a 4.6-per-cent rate of return. Another $1.9 billion was added from CPP contributions that weren’t needed to pay for current benefits. The majority of the fund’s holdings are in equities, followed by public and private stock, fixed income and real estate.

More WSIB coverage for volunteer firefighters

Toronto — Volunteer and part-time firefighters, as well as fire investigators, in Ontario will have easier access to Workers’ Safety and Insurance Board coverage for cancer and heart injuries. The province’s new regulation presumes eight types of cancer, as well as heart injuries sustained within 24 hours of fighting a fire or a training exercise, that are suffered by these workers are work-related unless proven otherwise. The same presumptions currently apply to full-time firefighters in the province. The regulations will apply to cancers diagnosed, or heart injuries sustained, on or after Jan. 1, 1960.

Sask. has lowest unemployment rate for fifth month

Regina — Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent in October was the lowest in Canada for the fifth straight month, according to Statistics Canada. The national unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent and Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest rate at 17 per cent. Saskatoon and Regina had the lowest unemployment rates among Canadian cities at 4.4 per cent and 5.1 per cent, respectively. There were 520,600 people working in Saskatchewan in October, a decrease of 1,000 compared to the same month in 2008. Canada, as a whole, lost 361,300 jobs during that same period.

Send pregnant teachers home: Nova Scotia union

Halifax — The Nova Scotia Teachers Union is calling on the province’s minister of education to send all pregnant teachers home until they can get the H1N1 vaccine. Pregnant teachers should be reassigned to work at home with no loss of salary and benefits until the vaccine has reached its full effectiveness, said union president Alexis Allen. While children under 15 aren’t a high priority group because they aren’t at risk of dying from H1N1 flu, they do present a serious risk for pregnant teachers who may contract the virus from them. Since the H1N1 outbreak, 93 pregnant women in Canada have been hospitalized with the virus and four of them have died, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Alberta grads given apprenticeship scholarships

Edmonton — More than 400 apprentices from across Alberta will receive scholarships to further their apprenticeship training. The Registered Apprenticeship Program’s scholarships, established in 2001, will provide $1,000 scholarships to 406 high school graduates who participated in the program, which allows them to earn on-the-job training hours during high school. The money is to support students with training at the post-secondary level. “Skilled tradespeople will shape Alberta’s future, that’s why it’s important students know about the career opportunities in the trades,” said Brian Bickley, chair of the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board.

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