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Canada At A Glance: AM
[November 09, 2012]

Canada At A Glance: AM

Winnipeg, November 9/12 CNS, Nov 09, 2012 (Commodity News Service Canada, Inc. via COMTEX) -- The following is a quick glimpse of the news making the headlines in Canada.

CELLPHONE COMPANIES TO REFUSE SERVICE FOR STOLEN DEVICES OTTAWA - Canadians may soon be better protected against cellphone theft, with the association representing wireless companies preparing to deny service to phones registered as stolen.

Starting Sept. 30, 2013, cellphone customers will be able to register a stolen phone. Canadian companies will then refuse to provide service to a cellphone with a device identifier registered as lost or stolen.

"This new device verification process, which will deny service to any device that is on the GSMA blacklist, is designed to help eliminate the black market for stolen devices in Canada and abroad," said Bernard Lord, head of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.

There are no plans to charge consumers for the service, Lord says, although it's likely to cost the industry $20 million.

"I guess we have to consider this as a cost of doing business and making sure that we're doing what's right for consumers across the country," Lord said.

The plan comes as the CRTC is consulting consumers on a new code of conduct for cellphone companies.

It will be up to customers to immediately report a lost or stolen phone to have their device deactivated, the industry group's news release says. Once the device has been reported, the service provider can then add the device to the blacklist. All instances of personal theft should of course be reported to local law enforcement as well.

The US is implementing the same plan in November 2013, and is considering legislation to make it a crime to tamper with a device identifier. Australia and the U.K. have already adopted laws to make tampering with device identifiers a crime.

The registry will apply to all GSM, HSPA and LTE phones that are sold now or any smartphone currently sold in Canada. (CBC News) CANADA'S NEW PLASTIC $20 BILLS NW IN CIRCULATION OTTAWA - The polymer bill is set to be issued less than a week before Remembrance Day, and pays tribute to the contributions and sacrifices of Canadian military men and women.

The back of the bill features the Canadian National Vimy Memorial.

P.O.V.: Is Canada's new $20 bill too "pornographic" On Tuesday, the new bill will get its official launch at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Hon. Steven Blaney, the minister of veterans affairs, and David Houghton, president of the Vimy Foundation, are expected to attend the ceremony.

The $20 bill is the country's most widely used bank note.

The Bank of Canada began issuing polymer money a year ago, starting with the $100 bill in November and followed with the $50 note in March. The polymer notes are more secure and durable than earlier bills, according to the bank's website, which says they "are easy to check and hard to counterfeit." New plastic $5 and $10 notes are scheduled to be issued by the end of 2013. (The Canadian Press) DISABLED VETERANS, WIDOWS SLAM HARPER GOVERNMENT OTTAWA Disabled veterans and military widows are unleashing a broadside of frustration against the Harper government just before Remembrance Day, saying they're feeling abandoned and left to fend for themselves.

They have gathered on Parliament Hill to paint a stark picture of bureaucratic indifference and red tape that flies in the face of reassurances from the government, which says the care of military families is a top priority.

Few of the government's touted programs meant to help combat veterans find civilian jobs actually help the disabled, complained retired master corporal Dave Desjardins, who is paralyzed from the waist down.

Desjardins said he was proud to serve his country.

"What I'm not proud of, however, is how our government officials and senior military leadership can look directly into the camera (and) speak to the Canadian public about honouring our veterans at this time of year with implied conviction when they've clearly turned their back on us and continue to demonstrate (that) on a daily basis," said Desjardins.

He challenged Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney to look him in the eye "and tell me you really care." The government recently threw its weight behind a so-called "helmets-to-hardhats" program, which aids ex-soldiers get into the construction industry a wonderful resource for someone without physical limitations, said Desjardins.

A number of officials "in expensive suits" are on the record as saying there are a number of opportunities for disabled veterans, but Desjardins said many of the head hunters discriminate in favour of officers, leaving non-commissioned members out in the cold.

"I'm here to ask those suits one simple question: Show me.

Show me where those opportunities and jobs are and I'm not just asking for myself, Im also asking for the hundreds of other disabled veterans across Canada." Tracy Kerr, wife of a triple amputee who fought in Afghanistan, said she and her family have battled for years to get basic needs, such as a lift to get her husband in and out of the bathtub.

"I've travelled seven hours to speak to the public about how we're struggling," said Kerr, from Sudbury, Ont., her eyes filling with tears as she spoke.

"I just want a quality of life, happiness for my family and when we make requests for his needs, to get them." Jackie Girouard, whose husband was killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar in 2006, said the families of many soldiers are denied access to the veterans independence program, which helps with yard work and light housekeeping.

She said policies which set time limits on accepting assistance, such as two years for education and job retraining, are insensitive and unrealistic.

"I was with my husband for 31 years, and I make no apologies for how long it took to me to get this far without my husband," she said.

"They could've said to me: 'Jackie, take your time and when you're ready come see us and we'll work together to help you achieve you and your family's goals.' Those words alone would have demonstrated to me that you care. Those words would have demonstrated to me that you understood and it was not just about money or policies." Ex-soldiers say much of the dissatisfaction can be traced back to the 2006 New Veterans Charter, which overhauled the way ex-soldiers are compensated.

For many of the wounded, the government has moved away from a pension-for-life system into a workers compensation-style lump-sum payment, a process that is now the subject of a class-action lawsuit. (National Post)

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