Provincial News ~ February 2011
Terasen Gas is now FortisBC
SURREY, BC—The Terasen group of companies is being renamed effective March 1, 2011, and these companies and FortisBC Inc. will share a common brand name, FortisBC.
John Walker, president and CEO, FortisBC
“The Fortis companies in BC are known today by several names such as Terasen Gas Inc., Terasen Gas (Vancouver Island) Inc., Terasen Gas (Whistler) Inc. and FortisBC, all of which are separate legal entities and will remain as such.
“However, going forward our customers will know all these companies under the shared name FortisBC,” said John Walker, president and CEO, Terasen Gas and FortisBC.
This change identifies the gas business more fully with other Fortis Inc. operations and reflects its position as part of the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. The companies that will comprise FortisBC account for more than 50 per cent of the total assets of Fortis Inc., a Canadian-owned company headquartered in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
While Fortis Inc. is best known in the hospitality industry for its hotels, the company also owns regulated electric utilities in five Canadian provinces and the Caribbean, and a natural gas utility in British Columbia; plus non-regulated hydro generation assets across Canada, in Belize and in Upper New York State.
ORHMA introduces new Ableworks.ca service
TORONTO—Programs for employment for those with disabilities are advancing throughout Ontario with a new employment service introduced by the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA) in January. Ableworks.ca encourages ORHMA members to recruit, hire and retain disabled workers “to promote and create an inclusive and diverse workplace.”
The program, funded by the ORHMA and the Ontario Disability Support Program Employment Supports, is similar to the Job Opportunity Information Network (JOIN), which was introduced in 2007. The ORHMA became involved in JOIN in 2008.
Through Ableworks, the ORHMA is able to increase the spread of the program to its members further into Ontario, through areas such as the Hamilton, Niagara, Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk regions. Employers can post the job to the website and access a network of 23 local recruiting agencies who will source, pre-screen, and match the employer with the right candidates.
Ableworks also provides on-the-job training, unpaid work trials and information about wage subsidies.
“It’s a win/win situation,” Tony Elenis, president and CEO of ORHMA told CLN in January. “As the economy continues to improve, workforce issues will be a priority for many. Those employers that are making the investment now are being rewarded with a very loyal workforce.”
CRFA wins on credit cards
OTTAWA—The Competition Bureau announced recently that it agrees with complaints by the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) and restaurant operators that Visa and MasterCard rules are “restrictive and anti-competitive.”
CRFA took its complaints about unfair rules imposed by credit card companies to the Competition Bureau in 2009, and in April of that year the Competition Bureau initiated a formal enquiry, which CRFA participated in.
The Bureau has now filed an application with the Competition Tribunal to strike down the unfair rules imposed on merchants, including restaurateurs and hoteliers, who accept credit cards.
“A duopoly in credit cards has led to significantly higher costs for our members who accept credit cards, and many of them have little choice but to pass at least some of those costs onto their customers,” says CRFA president and CEO Garth Whyte.
“[The] announcement is a very significant step toward a more competitive, fair and transparent system that will benefit restaurateurs and consumers.”
The Competition Bureau is challenging the following rules:
o Honour all cards—requiring merchants to accept all credit cards from a specific network including premium cards with higher fees;
o No surcharge—preventing merchants from charging a fee on transactions made with Visa or MasterCard credit cards; and
o No discrimination—preventing merchants from encouraging or discouraging customers from using certain credit cards.
CRFA will participate as needed in the Tribunal Hearings and is hopeful that the Competition Bureau challenge will result in a reining in of practices by credit card companies that force merchants and their customers to pay for reward programs for premium card holders.
Humber College first to offer Master Chef certification
TORONTO—“The interest is huge, and the program’s been a long time coming,” Rudi Fischbacher, Humber Culinary program coordinator and national Canadian Culinary Institute chair told CLN recently about the Certified Master Chef (CMC) certification coming to Canada.
The CMC professional designation—the newest certification under the CCI and also the highest attainable in Canada—is exclusive to Humber College for five years. Prior to this agreement, only residents of Austria, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States could take the CMC course.
The program requires a minimum two-year commitment, with a maximum allowance of four years. Course work begins in April 2011.
For chefs outside of Toronto, online offerings of the theory components of the program and exams will be combined with five-day practical workshops followed by a practical exam.
Fischbacher thinks that this program will give chefs an edge, especially in areas such as corporate hotels or chains.
“A lot of hotel chains are looking at certification levels. A program like this can open doors worldwide to resorts or hotels for a chef. It’s important to be a good chef and business leader,” said Fischbacher. “We’re no longer solely back of the house…we’re out there being business managers.”