Posted in family

What the heck do little boys keep in their pockets, afterall?

So lately I have noticed that my youngest boy, Stewie, had been shlepping around stuff in his pockets much like his older brother used to do.  The other day I found his jeans full of stuff.  The left pocket was fully loaded with sand and the right pocket had a dinosaur in it… Not just any dinosaur, however, but one that stands on its hind feet, hence a meat-eater, or carnivore.

But this picture below beats that.

My wife emptied his pockets today and this is what she took out;

Take a good look.

3 lizards, 3 bears, 1 piece of Lego, 2 marbles, 1 T-Rex, 2 stegosauruses, 1 triceratops, 1 eraser and some smutchie.


And just now take clothes out of the washing machine, I rescued one marble, 3 stickers and some coins.

Did we do this as kids???

Posted in government, Life

New rules and regulations for nannies in Canada took effect April 1st, 2011.

In case you were not aware, there are new rules and regulations governing live-in caregivers and temporary foreign workers in Canada – with a twist, as these rules also target the people who sponsor them in Canada and those who hire them.

These new rules clearly outline the government’s agenda going forward – after tightening the rules for the caregivers last year – the focus this year is on the families who sponsor, bring over to Canada and hire through the live-in caregiver program.

Effective April 1, 2011, the government will apply a more rigorous assessment of jobs for foreign workers to ensure that offers are legitimate to consider whether employers have followed the rules in the past before they can hire a nanny or temporary foreign worker. A bad track record could lead to a denial of the necessary permits to hire foreign workers.

Employers who fail to meet their commitments to workers with respect to wages and working conditions will face a two-year prohibition on hiring foreign workers.

There will also be a four-year limit on the amount of time a foreign worker can be employed in Canada. Once that limit is reached, the workers must return home and wait four years before they can work in Canada again.

That limit does not affect eligibility for permanent residence.

“The government is taking action to protect temporary foreign workers, including live-in caregivers, from potential abuse and exploitation,” explained immigration minister Jason Kenney.

The exploitation of the live-in caregiver program led to a first round of changes that took effect in April 2010 and mandated that employment contracts must spell out wages, benefits, accommodation, duties, hours of work and holiday and sick leave entitlements.

Those changes also added some flexibility to the amount of time given to live-in caregivers or nannies to meet the requirements needed for permanent residence status.

Under the law, caregivers can apply for permanent status after two years of regular full-time employment. With the changes, that time frame can be sped up if the person works a lot of overtime or can be extended if they work less than full-time hours or need time off because of illness or factors.

Once the two years are completed – and al the payroll made to the CRA, nannies can expect to wat up to 10 months for their permanent resident status.

So here is what you can expect to be asked if the government suspects you are doing something illegal;

They will ask for receipts to see if you paid for the flight to bring the nanny over. Failure to do so will put you on the unable to sponsor list.

Sponsoring then releasing nannies once in Canada is also a no-no.

Not having the correct paperwork – not signed contract, or failing to remit to the CRA monthly is a definite no-no.

Abusing their rights – making them work longer than allowed hours – refusing to let them have free time to go out or relax – if reported is a bad move, and yes there are some people who think a live-in caregiver is on call 24/7. So NOT true. They work regularly scheduled hours and must be paid overtime if those hours are exceeded.

And on the nannies side, failure to live-in when in Canada through the live-in caregiver program can result in them not being allowed to apply for permanent residency.

So play it safe, be respectful, and good luck.  Here is the link to the new requirements;

In addition to the standard requirements to apply for a labour market opinion (LMO) under the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)/Service Canada will also evaluate the following criteria starting April 1, 2011:

  1. All employers hiring a live-in caregiver must use the new LMO application form specific to the LCP and provide:
    • the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number
    • an explanation of how hiring a temporary foreign worker (TFW) meets the employment needs of the employer; and
    • a signed statement attesting that the employer will abide by the LCP requirements.

    In addition to the above mentioned requirements, the following documentation must now be submitted along with the new LMO application:

    • Proof of age or disability for the person requiring care:
      • Child – long-form birth certificate or official adoption documents or medical doctor’s note confirming the pregnancy and due date of the child. The parents must submit a long form birth certificate after the child’s birth. Failure to do so may result in a refusal by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to issue a work permit. If these are not available, any other official document issued by a government authority demonstrating the child to parent relationship (e.g. original birth certificate for children born abroad translated into English or French).
      • Senior – birth certificate, Old Age Security Identification Card, passport or any other official documents showing the date of birth of the senior requiring care.
      • Disabled person – medical certificate – (PDF 27KB)stating that the disabled person requires care (but not the nature of disability).
    • detailed description – (PDF 38KB) of the private accommodations provided to the live-in caregiver.
    • An Option C-printout that any taxpayer can obtain from the CRA by calling 1-800-959-8281. The Option C-printout provides information on declared income from a variety of sources. In exceptional cases where the person is not required to submit taxes in Canada, the employer can submit: paystubs, bank statements, the employer- employee contract or any other official documents proving that the employer has the income necessary to pay the live-in caregiver.

    Employers may also be required to provide, if requested by HRSDC/Service Canada, a provincial workers compensation clearance letter or other appropriate provincial documentation.

  2. The genuineness of the job offer made to the live-in caregiver will be assessed based on whether the employer:
    • demonstrates a reasonable need for a full-time live-in caregiver to provide child care, elder care or care for a disabled person;
    • can provide adequate, private accommodations to the live-in caregiver;
    • has sufficient financial resources to pay the live-in caregiver.
    • the employer, or the third party representative who recruited the live-in caregiver on behalf of the employer, must be compliant with the relevant federal-provincial/territorial employment and recruitment legislation.
  3. All returning employers must demonstrate that they have met the terms and conditions of employment set out in previous LMO confirmation letters and annexes (if applicable). In addition, some employers may be required to submit documentation to support a more detailed employer compliance review, including any or all of the following documents:
    • payroll records;
    • time sheets;
    • job descriptions;
    • copies of the employer-employee contract;
    • receipts for private health insurance (if applicable);
    • provincial workers compensation clearance letter or other appropriate provincial documentation;
    • receipts for transportation costs; and
    • information about accommodations provided by the employer.

    If it appears that the employer did not fully uphold the terms and conditions of employment set out in the LMO confirmation letter and annex (if applicable), the employer will have the opportunity to provide a rationale. In this case, HRSDC/Service Canada will work with the employer to implement the appropriate corrective action, which may include providing compensation to the live-in caregiver. Employers may be found non-compliant if they refuse to provide a rationale and/or provide only partial compensation to the live-in caregiver.

    If the employer is found to be non-compliant:

    • HRSDC/Service Canada may issue a negative LMO and revoke all positions on confirmed LMOs for which work permits have not yet been issued by CIC
    • CIC may deem the employer ineligible to hire TFWs for two years. The employer’s name, address and period of ineligibility may also be published on a list of ineligible employers posted on CIC Web site.

So in a nutshell, it is going to be that much more difficult to hire a live-in caregiver on your own.  Spend the money and go through a registered agency and make sure you have everything you need, or prepare to be banned.

Posted in Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen

This weeks Thursday Thirteen is not my brilliance alone. It is also a result of a conversation over beer, wings, suckers and some playoff hockey.

So here are 13 suggested Thursday Thirteen topics which did not cut the mustard for today’s post.

(PS Let me know if there is a topic you think might fit, or if you want to guest post one). Thanks.

13. Thirteen Things to do before you marry a Jewish girl
12. The 13 worst superheroes – nominees include; Captain Caveman, Captain Canada, Mighty Mouse (although I disagree about that one)
11. The 13 worst sports names; Including Homer Bush, Lance Pitlick, etc.
10. The 13 best months for sex… Errr, yeah.
9. The 13 best porn sites (you got me there, guys…)
8. The 13 stupidest search terms that Google comes up with when it offers suggestions to finish off your search. Suggestion was to type, “I hate the smell of…” and see what Google comes up with.
7. The dumbest search terms people use to get to my blog
6. The 13 best players who wore #13 in sports
5. Thirteen things my father told me that came true, ie/ You suck at accounting.  Give it up.
4. Thirteen things I have learned about being 40 years-old.
3. Thirteen things that make me feel old; like hair in the wrong places, a belly, not like today’s music, not understanding today’s fashions, knowing what a VCR is, and a record…
2. Thirteen ways my kids dis me each and every day at the ages of 6,4 and 17 months

and the number one suggested Thursday Thirteen topic was…
1. Thirteen things I would do if I had hair on my head, and not just growing out of my ears, nose and beard.

So what are your suggestions?

Honourable mention goes to;

13 Reasons to vote Conservative

13 Reasons to fear a NDP led Canada

13 Things you can do while sitting on the toilet

13 Best hidden swear words in songs (Alanis Morisette – Are you thinking of me whern you “fuck” her).

13 Animals the Wonder Pets have saved (like the Beatles who were stuck in a yellow submarine)

Posted in Life, politics

How do you know it’s election time in Canada?

How can you tell it’s election time in Canada? 

For me, it’s quite easy… My wife won’t let me discuss politics with her.  You see, we have that kind of relationship where I’m right and she’s wrong about voting, hence the reason she never tells me who she votes for – although I suspect it’s a wasted vote on, like the Green Party or something like that.  It drives me crazy that she won’t let me educate her… I’m sure once she hears my side, she’ll want to vote Conservative for ever and ever. I mean who wouldn’t want to vote Conservative to get that nanny tax credit they are proposing… Seriously. We have a nanny, the credit is really nice. Thank you Stephen!

I can also tell for sure that Joe Volpe is NOT running in my riding. How can I tell? I opened my mailbox and I had a flyer for the Green Party.

For those of you who had not heard, Volpe is in a tough fight against Conservative Joe Oliver – a super nice guy I met while living in that riding and one of Volpe’s staffers was caught taking the Green Party literature out of mailboxes of houses and recycling them. Sure it’s really wrong, but he was recycling them… That’s awfully Green of him, no?

Also going on anti-Liberal is the fact that in my riding, St. Pauls, some wack-job is keying cars and cutting brake lines of people who have Liberal signs on their front lawns. Scary, and one of the reasons we don’t put up lawn signs (OK, that’s not the reason. I’d have the largest Conservative sign allowed by law if possible but Urban Mummy would want one and that would tip me off on the way she votes).

Does the name, Prime Minister Jack Layton scare the living shit out of anyone like it does to me? This party has no finance minister…

Layton, who I predicted is dying to get his ego into power, will do and say anything to get elected. I hope people in Ontario remember the Bob Rae NDP government and how it destroyed economic prosperity in Ontario. It even chased Rae to the Liberals.

Fringe parties like this have no real platform as they have no real expectation of getting in to power.

I fear a Liberal – NDP coalition with Jack Layton as the PM, however if this does happen and the economy goes into the shitter, at least I could turn to those of you tree-huggers who love Jack’s quips and give you the big, “I told you so”.

If left-leaning folks who are smart enough to have great jobs, raise children, and prosper in Canada choose to vote for the NDP because they dislike Stephen Harper – then they get what they deserve! The Canadian economy is in the best shape of all the G8 countries in the world, there is no denying that. Like him or not, it’s because of the Conservative policies, and Stephen Harper’s leadership.

And speaking of stupidity – what’s up with those idiots hanging around subway stations in Toronto trying to get people to vote for a party / leader other than Harper’s Conservatives. Do these knobs not realize that Toronto has ALWAYS been Liberal red no matter the issue – scandal or no scandal.

Go back to the old folks home and stop wasting our time… Stupid protestors… They are as dumb and misguided as the Liberals are for bring in the living fossil, Jean Chretien, our former – full of scandal – PM to Toronto to campaign with Iggy. Again… Toronto = Liberal Red. Go to Quebec with him Iggy. not Toronto. Geez.

Jack Layton… Prime Minister… YIKES.

And what’s up with the Liberals? Stephane Dion was a joke (Celine Dion would have had a better chance), Michael Ignatieff – who never attended parliament – was hard to connect with and now Justin Trudeau is speaking out about the troubles the Liberals are having connecting to voters. How about throwing your party leader under the bus, eh Trudeau?

Yes, Iggy was a poor choice and yes, forcing an election when people didn’t want it, nor could afford it – and with the country moving so well was a huge gamble for the Liberals and they stand to be punished for it, like they have never been punished before. Imagine falling below the NDP in the polls. LOL.

Also noted my MP, Dr. Carolyn Bennett likes to stay away from Parliament as much as her leader does…

Yes, it’s time for a change, folks.  Out with the old, in with the new. We surely can’t get worse service in our constituencies…

But let’s put it all in perspective and vote for the best platform, not the funniest candidate.

Posted in politics

A mish-mash of parenting and politics…

I’ve got a lot of stuff on my mind and since I’m all over the place I thought instead of making a bunch of smaller posts, I would toss them all in here together and let you, the reader, enjoy this free for all consisting mainly of parenting and politics.

  • Why are there not special road police who can drive around all day on city streets and highways and whose sole job it is to locate the really stupid drivers, pull them over, ticket the crap out of them and force them to be re-tested.  I’ve seen enough cars crossing solid lines, racing through red lights, trying to drive when there are people on the cross-walk, and ignoring stop signs.  Forget ticketing the guy going 8 over the speed limit, or the family that parked for an extra minute for longer than the parking slips says… Help make the streets safer by removing those incapable of driving.  It is a privilege, not a right.
  • Do advertisers think that men are stupid?  Do they think that when we see a commercial for razors and in that commercial men are pulled on the street, or in a mall, or somewhere else and asked to shave on the spot that for even a second we believe that is real?  I mean, come on… You take a clean shaven guy with perfect skin, apply shaving cream to him and with your 6, 7 or 8 bladed razor pretend to have him shave on the spot.  For all I know there is no blade in the razor.  Who buys that crap?  It’s insulting.  I would never buy a razor that way… 
  • Prince Charles has been heir to the British throne a record 59 years – since he was 3 years old… Damn.  His mom, the Queen, is 85 years old.  Her mother lived to 101.  Good luck, Chuck…
  • Where is George Smitherman’s donor list???  This may be insignificant to most now that the Toronto Mayoral elections are over, but since Georgie came from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s cabinet, I think this tells a huge tale about who donated to George’s campaign, and the integrity of the Liberal party in Ontario. 
  • Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is again talking about a coalition.  I honestly feel he’s just trying to find a way to get elected, not matter what cost.  Vote for him and he can be PM, vote for anyone else and her forms a coalition and gets to be PM.  I guess his plan blows up in his face if the NDP pass them, eh?  I think Iggy’s going to regret telling Jack Layton on the English debate to essentially keep quiet as the NDP have never and will never be the official opposition, let along the ruling government… Oops.
  • I also think that NDP leader Jack Layton is now trying to bring the NDP to runner-up this election.  He has turned his campaigns focus from trashing the Conservatives towards trashing the Liberals… I mean, really Jack?  So what if Iggy only made it into work for 30% of the votes in the house of commons?  Maybe he’s just more popular than you are and had better things to do… But if you need that to move your campaign forward, take it and run.  You win Jack, you are there all the time… But I still wouldn’t trust you to run the country into anything but a massive deficit.  Unions would be SO proud.
  • Bring your travel mug to Starbucks on Saturday April 22nd and get a free cup of tea or coffee… Something about being good for the earth.  🙂  We went, but I forgot my mug.
  • I don’t usually bash the Conservatives but I’m going to do it here.  For a party that wants to reach out to all the people… Why hold a pub night on the 3rd night of Passover?  On Passover the Jewish people do not eat yeast in honour of the fleeing from Egypt where they were slaves (without having time to let their bread rise, so for 40 days and 40 nights they are unleavened bread, called matzoh).  Any chance there is beer without yeast?  Don’t think so, unless the pub has “He-brew”.  Boo GTA Conservatives!
  • I find it VERY interesting that Jack Layton and his wife, Olivia Chow, were campaigning in Toronto during the municipal election on behalf of their son – in an attempt to get him elected.  Knocking on people’s doors, and essentially selling the family as the package.  Too bad Olivia and Jack work in Ottawa. 
    So Mr. hypocrite can chastise the Libs and Conservatives for not being in parliament to vote, but what about being paid to be in parliament and instead taking your kid around to get him elected.  I can’t wait to hear your soundbite on this one, Jack-o. I call bullshit. Hashtag (#) fail, indeed.
  • Take Thursday in Toronto, for example. Layton, quickly quipping his way to votes called Stephen Harper a “Commodore 64 in an iPad world” who “thinks an app is something you order before dinner.” I think he’s getting so much play on his jokes and wise ass comments that he thinks its going to get him elected either as Prime Minister straight up or through a coalition. Then we can all watch Happy Jack joke his way through summits and G20’s… Canada’s funny PM.  I hope and pray people see through this, however, I guarantee downtown Toronto will embrace his playfulness as a good thing for Canada.
  • While eating matzoh yesterday, my 6-year-old, while taking wild crazy bites, managed to get half in his mouth and half on the floor, to which his almost 17-month-old sister seized the moment to show off her talent…  She walked over to the pile of cloth diapers while saying “tow-wel” (towel).  She grab one of the pile, toddled back over to the offending pile of matzoh crumbs, squatted beside the pile, then proceeded to wipe the floor while she sang “clean up, clean up”…  Then she got up and toddled over to the fridge where she proceeded to wipe down the door and handle.  LOL.  Awesome!
  • I’ve decided to change Linus’ name from Linus to NO Linus as all I hear from Stewie is “NO Linus” 30 times a day.  He’s changed his name, now its our turn.
  • Also decided to start calling Stewie “Goodwill” because with the way he is out growing his clothes and all his “pants” have holes in the knees coupled with the fact he dresses him self – odd matching clothes, different colour socks – my son looks like he got dressed in the Goodwill.
  • When Linus was a boy we could keep him busy for an hour in a restaurant by placing him on the floor, or leaning up against the high-chair and he would clip up the clips over and over again, each success was accompanied by the word, “clip!”  So as I write this post, my daughter Berry (or Be Be as she has started calling her self) is doing just that.  “Clip”.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Easter Weekend and a wonderful binding Passover.