1. It’s spraying time again in Nova Scotia, and that makes one cancer patient in the province “incredibly angry”

Stacey Rudderham (contributed)

Joan Baxter talks with a cancer survivor who’s “incredibly angry” with the news the Nova Scotia Environment Department issued three new approvals to companies for aerial spraying with the goal is of killing hardwood species that would compete with conifers.

The companies awarded the permits are Century Forestry Consultants of Amherst and New Brunswick’s J.D. Irving. They have until the end of the year to spray using herbicides Belchim Crop Protection Canada’s Timberline and Dow AgroScience’s VP480, which both include glyphosate.

Stacey Rudderham, a mom and blogger in Fall River, tells Baxter that five years ago the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Rudderham is also is in the early stages of remission from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that has been widely linked with exposure to glyphosate. In a phone interview with Baxter, Rudderham says she doesn’t work in industries that use glyphosate, she avoids using it at home and buys organic. Still, she developed a cancer associated with exposure to glyphosate. Says Rudderham:

Lymphoma usually shows up in your lymph node as a primary presentation. And sometimes it’ll show up elsewhere, just like other cancers do. That’s how they figure out if you’re stage one or two or three or four, depending on where it presents itself. And mine did not present itself in any of my lymph nodes or my lymphatic system. It showed up in my scalp and grew through my skull. And when you research my particular kind of presentation, you find it is extraordinarily rare.

And it grew so rapidly, like in eight months, it went from being the size of a slice of an orange or a small tangerine, to being the size of an orange, a full orange on the outside of my scalp. And then by the time I did get some good medical attention to it, eight months later, it had started forming inside of my skull outside of the liner of my brain and it had gone right through the bone of my skull. It was a very aggressive, and very rare. I heard over and over again from all the different doctors I was dealing with how rare my situation was and how atypical everything was.

Baxter is always so incredibly detailed in her research. Here she chronicles Rudderham’s fight with cancer, but also looks at how glyphosate affects wildlife, and reviews the discrepancy between WHO’s classification of glyphosate and how regulatory bodies in Canada classify it.

Baxter’s article is behind the paywall, so it’s only available to subscribers. Please consider subscribing, though. You can do that here.

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2. Union leaders: Schools could be ‘match that lights the second wave’

Bicentennial School in Dartmouth closed abruptly in the spring because of the pandemic. Photo: Halifax Examiner

The Halifax Examiner is providing all COVID-19 coverage for free.

Yvette d’Entremont reports on the concerns of unions representing public education system workers with the back-to-school plan, just a few weeks from the first day of class.

At a media conference on Wednesday, Jason MacLean, Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) president, asked some of those questions himself:

What happens if a student gets sick? What happens if a worker gets sick? What are the processes and protocols that will protect workers and their families if there is an outbreak in the school where they work?

These are basic questions that as of today there are no clear answers for. What our schools need more than anything else is clear direction and guidance. They just can’t be told to be creative. They need specifics.

CUPE Nova Scotia (Canadian Union of Public Employees) president Nan McFadgen called the details of the plan “sketchy” and like MacLean had more questions for her members:

How will cleaning procedures be implemented to reduce contact between workers and students? What is the minimum standard for cleaning buses, common areas, and classrooms? What types of cleaning products will be used? What if a child is symptomatic on the bus? What is the procedure for reporting and dealing with such an incident?

Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney says there are still pieces missing in the plan and it’s not as thorough as back-to-school plans from other provinces. He says students and staff who have underlying health conditions are at risk and there are still questions about what will happen if someone in a school tests positive for COVID-19. Wozney warned that without the right safety protocols in place, the province could have another situation like those in long-term-care facilities.

We’ve got 150,000 people going back to class under substandard safety protocols and who are at risk…If we have an outbreak in schools, it’s not going to simply happen in one tiny spot that can be isolated where we’re going to have an unfortunate tragedy like we did at Northwood.

This stands potentially to tip us over the edge and be the match that lights the second wave in our province. This is for the greater good of Nova Scotia as well and that cannot be stressed enough.

Click here to read d’Entremont’s entire article.

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4. LPNs in Nova Scotia get pay equity

(l to r)Nan McFadgen, president of CUPE Nova Scotia; Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director of Unifor; Jason acLean, president NSGEU; Cathy Retieefe, president of SEIU Local 2; Janet Hazelton, president of the Nova Scotia Nurses’ Union. Photo: Tim Bousquet / Halifax Examiner

On Wednesday, the province announced it will pay all licensed practical nurses (LPNs) the same rate. In a statement released Wednesday, Labour Relations Minister Mark Furey says, “All LPNs do the same important work, and deserve the same rate of pay, wherever they are employed. This is the fair and appropriate step to take, and we wanted to move forward without delay.”

A full-time LPN at the top of the regular salary scale will now be paid $58,634. That’s up from the current $52,707.

Tim Bousquet reported on this last month when the five unions that represent LPNs asked for pay equity. Bousquet writes:

The call comes a month after an adjudicator awarded LPNs working at the former Capital District Health Authority a 12% pay increase, retroactive to 2014. But that award applies only to nurses working at the hospitals managed by the former Capital District Health Authority — the QE2 in Halifax, hospitals and health centres in Dartmouth, Sackville, Windsor, and Musquodoboit. The award did not apply to nurses working at the IWK, or in other health facilities across the province.

Nurses are paid differently depending on their place in the wage scale, but the 12% increase is $3/hour.

The unions say that back in 1998, the provincial government recognized that pay equity should apply to all nurses across the province: no matter where they worked, the same wage scale should apply. But the McNeil government refuses to apply the recent award across the province.

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5. Non-profits want review into HRM public consultation process

Flagged pathway in the Halifax Common, marking a legal route for active transportation. Photo: Erica Butler

According to this report in Halifax Today, the non-profit group Friends of Halifax Common wrote to the municipality’s auditor general asking for a review of the HRM’s public consultation process. Peggy Cameron, co-chair of Friends of Halifax Common, tells Halifax Today the group has had negative experiences with the public consultation process over the years.

It feels like a number of things go wrong where citizens are ignored, there is a pre-determined agenda, or for whatever reason the best interest of the citizens that are directly affected are not being represented by the decisions being made by staff and council.

Cameron says they’ve gathered case studies from other groups, like Young Avenue District Heritage Conservation, Halifax Military Heritage Preservation Society, Development Options Halifax, and Willow Tree Group, who’ve had similar experiences.

Cameron says they haven’t yet heard back from the HRM.

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 Capturing the stories of autistic people in rural Nova Scotia

Taylor Linloff lives in Port Hawkesbury and is an advocate for autistic people. Two years after getting their own late-life diagnosis of autism, they started working on a documentary called A Strong Name, which will share portraits of autistic people in rural Nova Scotia. Photo: Taylor Linloff

Taylor Linloff is an autistic advocate and a filmmaker in Port Hawkesbury looking to share the stories of other autistic people in rural parts of the province. Linloff (who uses the pronoun “they”) is in pre-production for a film, A Strong Name Documentary, where those stories will be shared. Linloff’s already interviewed a few autistic people from around the province, but they’re still looking for others, including those from the Black and Indigenous communities.

Linloff started working on the documentary only a couple of years after their own diagnosis. Linloff got what is a called a late-life diagnosis of autism at the age of 24 after they experienced a mental-health crisis. They say the diagnosis was a relief.

“The person who diagnosed me outright knew there was something different about me when I was three years. As it turns out, it’s not common for three-year-olds to analyze Edgar Allan Poe. So, that was a big check that something was different about me. It was a huge relief when I was diagnosed because it showed I wasn’t broken, I wasn’t fatally flawed. I tried all my life so hard to fit in and no matter what I did, I just couldn’t. I even had teachers and people in authority over me as a child  aside from my parents, who were very supportive — say that I had to try harder to fit in, or I had a hormonal imbalance. It was my fault I didn’t fit in and if I didn’t want to be bullied anymore, I had to force myself to fit in, but I couldn’t.”

Still, Linloff says they have resulting traumas of not knowing who they were. “The amount of bullying and stigma I faced for so long. I am one of the two in five autistic people who have a co-occurring anxiety disorder as a result.”

A couple of months after the diagnosis, Linloff was cast for CBC’s You Can’t Ask That, a docuseries that looks at stereotypes and stigmas around various disabilities. The series had an autism episode. When Linloff heard about the program, they decided to audition, were cast, and went to Montreal to record the show. (Click here to watch that episode).

“That’s what launched me into autism advocacy,” Linloff says.

Linloff started online advocacy work in 2019 to try to teach people what it was like to be autistic and what it was like to get a late-life diagnosis. “I figured out who I am since then,” Linloff says. “I realized a lot of people probably haven’t found themselves or their stories haven’t been told, so I decided to turn outwards to film, to learn about these experiences and bring them to light so other people can learn and understand what it’s like.”

So, who is Linloff now?

“I am me. I am someone who’s proud of myself. I’m an autistic advocate. I’m a queer person. I’m not someone who lives in boxes anymore. I tried to fit myself in boxes for so long because I didn’t know who I was, but now I’m just Taylor.”

Linloff wanted to work on films, even when they were a kid, but cameras were too expensive. They took a film course in high school. Linloff says they shared the same taste in films as their mother, so they’d watch them together. The experience with CBC’s You Can’t Ask That inspired them, too.

“It stuck with me because it was such an interesting experience,” Linloff says. “I have the opportunity to do this now, so let’s do this.”

Still, there are challenges in making a documentary, especially during a pandemic. Linloff lives in a rural community and doesn’t drive, so getting around is tough. They use Zoom and Facebook to do briefings with guests and the BaRyKin Café and Bistro in Port Hawkesbury lets Linloff use their space to meet to record interviews. Linloff is paying out-of-pocket from their part-time job so they can buy a camera and laptop. Right now, they’re using a phone and iMovie to record.

“It’s extremely difficult to get funding as a first-time filmmaker, especially when you’re disabled in such a way that your disability affects your communication,” Linloff says. “With grants you have to be so precise and articulate and you have to have the ability to network, but when you’re rural and disabled with autism it’s so difficult to do that. Even if I have to pay out-of-pocket, it’s worth it for these stories.”

So far, Linloff has stories from people around the province, including many women.

“The stereotype for autism is that it’s very much a boys’ club, so for the number of autistic women to come forward to say, ‘I want to share my story’ is absolutely amazing,” Linloff says.“It’s been overwhelming the amount of support and people who want to share their stories, who want to say ‘we’re here, we exist, we’re struggling, we’re having our own personal victories.’ It shows the autistic community in rural Nova Scotia is surviving. We’re here and our stories need to be told.”

Linloff says medical professionals like Dr. Harmon Singh at Breton Abilities Centre will also be part of the project.

One of the common themes Linloff is hearing in the stories is about mental health.

“Many of us don’t get a diagnosis until we have a mental health crisis,” they say. “Parents of autistic people talk about how social isolation has affected their mental health. That is the biggest one, especially with the doctor shortage we’re facing. So many people can’t get their diagnosis because of it. People are experiencing mental health issues because they can’t get the mental health resources they need.”

Linloff is also speaking with caregivers so they can paint a picture of what the autistic community in rural Nova Scotia looks like. They want to learn about experiences that aren’t their own, including those autistic people who are Black or Indigenous.

“I know their experiences are going to be so different than mine” Linloff says. “I’m a lower-income queer autistic, but I also have white privilege.”

The title of the documentary, A Strong Name, has a touching story itself. Linloff says whenever they and their mother were experiencing hardship, including when Linloff’s father passed away earlier this year, and they were upset, their mother would ask, “Why did I give you that name? Why did I call you ‘Taylor’?” Linloff says their answer was always the same: “Because it’s a strong name for a strong woman.”

“When I knew I was going to be painting portraits, that’s the name that jumped out at me and I automatically knew I wanted to go with,” Linloff says. “Autism is so stigmatized — it’s a strong name in itself.”

Linloff says they’re still struggling with her anxiety and depressive traits. They also wants to go to university but can’t afford it right now. Their eventual goal is to study occupational therapy so they can help others with autism.

“Autistic people are human, we have autonomy, and we need to be better supported and respected in society,” Linloff says. “We’re so much more than the stereotypes and stigma people put against us. We’re not just statistics. We’re stories, we’re living people, and we need the support of people in authority — whether it’s policymakers or people in healthcare or even just family — to better understand and support us so we can live our best lives.”

And Linloff says they’re working on living their best life.

“I’m trying to do what I can, until I get to university, if I manage to get to university. I’m highly intelligent, I know, but if I can’t afford to get into university, I don’t know if I ever will. It’s hard being an autistic person and not having avenues you know you could be doing but you can’t access them. Eighty-five to 90% of autistic adults are unemployed or underemployed. So, do I think I’m living my best life? Definitely not. But am I accepting where I am in life and doing the best I can? One-hundred per cent.”

You can learn about Linloff and A Strong Name Documentary at Facebook here. Or follow Linloff on Twitter here.

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Live, love, laugh, and lean on your assistant to do everything else. Photo: Emma Matthews/Unsplash

Last night, a couple of people alerted me to this job posting from Kiji. And wow, it’s a doozy.

A couple from White Hills in Hammonds Plains is looking for an assistant, a “go getter,” someone who can “do it all.”

And they’re not kidding when they say “do it all.”

No salary is listed, but the hours of work are six days a week, 9 am to 3 pm. The candidate must have a car and a cellphone. Oh, you don’t even need a resume; they just want someone who’s “hardworking, honest, and competent.” They’re willing to work with someone with no experience.

You know what, I won’t make you go click on the ad, so here’s the full list of “potential” responsibilities:

  • Do weekly grocery shopping runs.
  • Help cook for a big party.
  • Pick up dry cleaning, alterations or clothing repairs.
  • Wash the car.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Write thank you notes.
  • Organize the garage.
  • Set up for a yard sale.
  • Clean the pool and empty the skimmers.
  • Organize photo albums (digital or paper).
  • Take the trash to the dump.
  • Assemble furniture (no more IKEA instructions for you!).
  • Put lights up for the holidays.
  • Move furniture.
  • Shovel snow.
  • Mow the lawn.
  • Weed the garden.
  • Clean out the attic/basement.
  • Paint a room.
  • Write holiday cards.
  • Water the plants.
  • Serve food at a house party.
  • Return unwanted purchases.
  • Fold laundry.
  • Clean the fridge.
  • Organize contacts and email addresses.
  • Sync computer to devices.
  • Organize the pantry.
  • Wash dishes.
  • Return library books (and get new ones).
  • List unwanted furniture on sites like Craigslist or eBay.
  • Drive kids to soccer practice.
  • Hand out flyers around town for a new business.
  • Prep and cook meals to freeze.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Set up for a birthday party.
  • Scan and digitize your child’s artwork.
  • Water the lawn and garden.
  • Help at a child’s birthday or pool party.
  • Bake for a bake sale.
  • Clean out the gutters.
  • Housesit while you’re on vacation.
  • Clean up after a party.
  • Prepare a guest room before family visits.
  • Pick-up and deliver anything you need.
  • Set up electronics around the house.
  • File and organize your recipes.
  • Clean the boat.
  • Take your elderly mother grocery shopping.
  • Drive elderly parents to doctor’s appointments.
  • Organize the shed.
  • Create and stuff goodie bags.
  • Stock up on essentials at a big box store.
  • Paint nails and do hair at a party for little girls.
  • Set up for an event (chairs, food table, drinks).
  • Schedule appointments.
  • Use a “Pooper Scooper” in the backyard.
  • Teach basic computer skills.
  • Organize a library of books.
  • Enter data into an Excel doc.
  • Address and mail cards.
  • Practice dances before an event.
  • Assist with estate sorting after a death.
  • Provide personal shopping.
  • Help with interior decorating.
  • Lead a craft project at a birthday party.
  • Edit a resume.
  • Organize CDs or records.
  • Make reservations.
  • Rehearse a job interview.
  • Set up outdoor furniture after the winter.
  • Hold a sign for an event.
  • Direct traffic in a parking lot during an event.
  • Tend the campfire at an outdoor party.
  • Grill at a barbecue.
  • Edit college essays.
  • Prepare for a wedding speech or a presentation.
  • Play music at an event.
  • Organize a closet.
  • Set up a website or blog.
  • Guide a tour around a new town.
  • Plan a vacation.
  • Organize and file papers.
  • Wrap presents around the holidays.
  • Chop firewood.
  • Clean and organize gardening and yard tools.
  • Bartend at a party.
  • Spread mulch on flower beds.
  • Open and close the pool.
  • Set up yard toys (trampoline, swing set, etc.).
  • Polish and buff a shoe collection.
  • Participate in a focus group or experiment.
  • Organize office documents.
  • Pick up from the airport or train station.
  • Collect mail, newspapers and packages while you’re on vacation.
  • Buy tickets for an event.
  • Pack and unpack after a move.
  • Organize and assist a busy professional.
  • Deliver car for maintenance and inspections.
  • Assist with daily routine after an injury.
  • Respond to letters and emails.

I did a Google search of some of the list items and it turns out this couple used the same list posted here at 101 jobs you can hire someone else to do. 

I contacted the couple who posted the ad and one of them, Trevor Bailey, replied. I asked if the job was real, if it was reasonable to expect one person to take care of all those tasks, and about the salary. Bailey didn’t respond with salary details, but I’ll share his response in its entirety:

The job is real and honestly I completely agree that this seems like a job for more than one person. Which is why we’re hiring someone to help us.
Just to set the record straight we don’t have any kids “yet” and the pool is also hypothetical.
We found the list elsewhere and thought it was hilarious but also painted a picture of what we wanted in a candidate. And that was someone who could handle normal day to day duties.
Almost everything on this list are things that people are expected to do in their normal lives. We are self-employed individuals that are just looking to optimize our work life balance.
We figured that if we could hire someone to do the forty hours of tasks we do between us at home on a weekly basis  that would help us focus on our business and ultimately create more revenue for our family.
We wouldn’t ask anything from anyone that we aren’t currently doing or would be doing ourselves.
I’ve seen a couple of people repost the Kijiji ad and mention that it seems like slave work.
I think that point of view is a little disturbing because everything on that list is something that most average people have to be responsible for at some point or another in their lives.
We have been overwhelmed with resumes and have interviews lined up.
Surprisingly there are many people interested in this line of work and I think we will see more busy families look for similar help in the future.
For Elle and I we believe it’s a wise financial decision and are excited to meet the potential candidates.
In a second email, Bailey sent me a link to this video:
YouTube video

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No meetings.

In the harbour

05:00: MOL Modern, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Norfolk
05:30: Julius-S, container ship, arrives at Pier 41 from Setubal, Portugal
06:00: Oceanex Sanderling, ro-ro container, moves from Pier 41 to Autoport
11:30: Nordloire, bulker, sails from Pier 28 for sea
13:00: NACC Newyorker, cement carrier, arrives at anchorage from New York
14:30: NACC Newyorker sails for sea
16:00: Julius-S sails for sea
16:00: MSC Rochelle, container ship, moves from anchorage to Pier 41
16:00: Taipei Trader, container ship, arrives at Pier 42 from New York
16:00: Ortolan Gamma, container ship, arrives at Fairview Cove from Liverpool, England
22:00: MOL Modern sails for Dubai


On Tuesday, I saw someone wearing a shirt that said, “This year is mine.” Given everything that’s happened so far in 2020, I am lovin’ that attitude.

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Suzanne Rent is a writer, editor, and researcher. You can follow her on Twitter @Suzanne_Rent and on Mastodon

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  1. It’s notable that an LPN now makes $15k/yr more than a top-level Early Childhood Educator with 20 years experience. And an ECE (with a degree and a diploma) with 20 years experience working with 4 & 5 year-old children makes $10k/yr less than a BEd program graduate getting a kindergarten teaching job with zero years experience.

    1. The difference, btw, is buried in the “for profit” aspect of daycares versus hospitals and schools.

      1. All child care centres in the Province of NS who receive government funding, whether commercial or non-profit entities, must ahere to the same minimum wage floor based on qualification and are subject to a fee cap that limits parent fee increases to 1-3% per year. For this reason, salaries within the sector are generally the same across the board whether deemed commercial or non-profit. Low wages are a result of insufficient public funding and low wage foor and/or the inability to increase fees to pass costs to parents. It has to be one or the other. So no, its not buried in the “for profit” aspect of daycare at all. There are larger centres that operate without funding and therefore do not need to meet wage floor and fee cap requirements (and generally offer very low wages and low quality programs), but the majority of centres in the province operate relatively the same way regardless of commercial or non-profit status.

        1. Hmmm… must be looking at day care owners who drive different vehicles than I’ve seen. Ya, the non-profit’s managers don’t, but the private day care owners I’ve known certainly drive damn nice vehicles….and that’s my “index” for profit made in businesses…the cars that people drive.
          I’ve also crunched #’s for the couple of day cares where I’ve known people working, and I’m comfortable with my contention that salary differences between those professions are buried in the profits for the owners. Yes, btw, there is a “minimum wage floor” all right, but nothing stops an owner paying more for their senior employees, but they don’t. But hey, that’s not the culture of early childhood care now is it? It’s fairer to say that the culture is an exploitative one.

      2. Without representation by a union willing and able to take the injustice of the LPN wages to arbitration, there’s no wage increase to talk about. If more Early Childhood Educators were unionized, they could mobilize and campaign for across-the-profession improvements in wages and working conditions. Collection action is the answer.