Tag Archives: pegasus publications

Big, bold and beautiful

Dorothy Dobbie  Bold Ideas
Dorothy Dobbie
Bold Ideas

Recently, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce proposed a two-block beautification plan to screen backyards along Route 90. Instead of embracing the long-needed idea, the local media and residents went out of their way to pan it.

That’s what’s wrong with our town these days. We’ve lost our ability to see the big picture and to make things work instead of finding objections to every plan.

Let’s take hold of this bold initiative by the Chamber and overcome some of those objections.

First, a couple of residents have worried that the proposed fence would isolate their back alley, making it a haven for criminals. That issue is readily solved by making the back alley an asset for residents, with attractive lighting and plantations of flowering shrubs and vines facing the backyards, as well as on the freeway side of the fence. This could even improve property values, not to mention screening some of the noise from the busy freeway.

City Council is worried about the estimated $7-million cost, which is really not that much in the context of the payback in pride and forward thinking by citizens and investors.

They need to look at the forest and not limit their thinking to the trees. The fact is, the airport route is an eyesore from start to finish and the only thing wrong with the Chamber’s plan is its limited scope.

We need a comprehensive approach that would include:

  • Development of a complete route beautification plan.
  • Creation of a designated airport route.
  • Education of taxi drivers to follow the designated route.
  • Priority expenditure to clean up and repair the route by city streets and parks departments.
  • Buy in (or by-laws) to encourage local businesses to clean up and follow the plan.

This is not only doable, it’s vitally necessary for our city’s pride and our future prosperity.

Dorothy Dobbie is the publisher at Pegasus Publications Inc.

Conservation Officer: safeguarding the planet and its creatures

conservationBy Scott best

Do you want to make your province a safer place to live? Do you also love nature? Are you trying to determine the kind of careers that would suit these natural inclinations and interests?

Law enforcement may seem to be at the opposite end of the career spectrum from work in the natural world. A career as a conservation officer, opens the opportunity of combining these interests. Conservation and fishery officers enforce federal and provincial regulations established to protect fish, wildlife and other natural resources. They also collect and relay information on resource management.

Summer employment is a great way to get your feet wet in this type of work. The more experience you have, the better your chance of progressing to more senior positions. Conservation and fishery officers are employed by the two senior governments.

A large number of positions are in rural and northern areas.

To work in that field, you will need to complete a one- to three-year college program in renewable resources management. The governments provides on-the-job training as well as law enforcement and resource management courses. Depending on where you want to work, you may need a Class-5 driver’s licence, pesticide applicator’s licence and explosives licence.

Keeping the peace in the community

policeBy Scott Best

Serving your community, making your province a safer place to live, dealing with challenging situations, preventing crimes from being committed—these objectives and more can be pursued with a career in law enforcement. Jobs in this field are as varied as they are interesting. You could have a career as a police officer, correctional officer, security guard or private investigator and there are many additional jobs to choose from. Law enforcement can be demanding, but few careers provide as much satisfaction and the ability to make a difference in the community.

Police Officer
Police officers perform diverse duties, ranging from enforcing the law and apprehending criminals to promoting traffic safety and resolving domestic disputes. They also provide testimony in court, prepare reports, assist victims of crime and work with community groups. Because officers maintain law and order and work with a wide variety of people, honesty and integrity, ethics and good judgment, patience and intelligence, good listening and observation skills are all essential for police work, or any type of law enforcement for that matter.

In Canada, police officers work for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as provincial, municipal or First Nation police services. (They are also attached to the defence department and a few private companies, such as CN and CP railroads.)

To be considered for a job with a police force, you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, know English or French and have a high school diploma. You may not be required to have a post-secondary degree or diploma, but education in law and security or the social sciences can increase your chance of being accepted. You must also be physically fit, meet minimum vision and hearing requirements and be in good health. You’ll likely be asked to provide character references and complete some type of psychological testing. Prospective police officers cannot have any criminal convictions or charges pending before the courts. You will also need a valid driver’s licence and a good driving record. The minimum age for applying can be anywhere from 18 to 21.

Following induction, officer recruits complete a basic training program made up of classroom lectures and field training, lasting from three to nine months. If you’re training to be an RCMP officer, you must be willing to relocate to any urban or rural detachment in Canada. With few exceptions, new RCMP officers aren’t posted to Quebec or Ontario.
A municipal police officer starts out as a patroller or constable in a mid-sized municipality, and may move to a similar position in a larger police force, and then to detective or investigative work. Extensive experience gives some police officers access to inspector, chief inspector or commissioned officer positions leading a military unit.

The outlook for this occupation over the next few years varies depending on the province. The number of jobs being created is below average in British Columbia, Alberta and the Atlantic provinces, well above average in Saskatchewan, good for Manitoba and the Yukon Territory (which means the forces are actively recruiting officers) and average for Ontario and Quebec. On a national level, turnover is expected to increase over the next few years, especially for the RCMP, as members of the baby boom generation retire.

Correctional Officer
Correctional officers guard prisoners or detainees and keep order in correctional institutions. If you have the type of character that’s well suited for police work, you may also do well in this type of position.

Correctional officers in Canada are employed by the provincial and federal governments. To work in corrections for the federal government, you must have a valid driver’s license, pass a medical exam — the correctional officer physical abilities test — as well as security clearance requirements, such as fingerprinting. You’ll also need a high school diploma, along with CPR, automated external defibrillator, and first aid certification. Post-secondary education in correctional services, criminal justice, police studies or the social sciences is recommended, and work experience with people in crisis is considered an asset.

When you apply, your skills and abilities are assessed in an interview. If it’s felt that a correctional officer position is right for you, you’re invited to attend Correctional Services Canada’s correctional training program. You will usually be required as well to complete a basic training course to work for provincial or territorial institutions.

Correctional officers are in particularly high demand in British Columbia because new jobs are being created as new facilities are being built and there’s a shortage of officers in the northern part of the province.

Security guards and private investigators
Security guards protect property against theft or vandalism, control access to businesses, maintain order and enforce regulations at public events and businesses. They are hired by private security agencies, retail stores, museums, industrial facilities and other organizations. Private investigators conduct investigations to find missing persons, obtain information, for use in civil or criminal courts or for other purposes. They may also conduct polygraph — lie detector — tests for clients.

To work as a security guard in any province, or the Yukon Territory, you must be licensed by the department of justice and, in most provinces, complete a training course. You will also need a licence to carry firearms if that is part of your job. Employers usually require a high school diploma and may want a college diploma in law and security or police technology.The licensing process for private investigators is often the same or similar to that which prospective security guards must go through. Private investigators are employed by investigation companies and security agencies, which must be licensed by the provincial justice department. Some investigators start their own agencies and must apply for both business and individual licences.

In recent years, electronic surveillance equipment has replaced traditional security jobs, but there is more demand for security personnel in areas such as public transportation, shopping centres, parking lots and foot patrol, in larger urban centres. Security guards and private investigators are both high-turnover occupations. Job opportunities become available as current employees leave for other jobs, self-employment or retirement.

Keeping watch on Hackers

hackerBy Scott Best

With roughly 3.5 million Canadians using mobile banking apps, mobile security company McAfee says the amount of malicious software threatening mobile platforms is growing, too. But smartphone users in Canada aren’t that vulnerable to attack . . . yet.

“In the first quarter of 2012, we had already detected eight million new PC malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware,” says Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter what their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions.”

According to the Toronto-based Solutions Research Group, less than 10 per cent of the population was using a smartphone in 2007. Thanks to the iPhone’s rise in popularity, there are now over 10 million smartphone users in Canada.

Doug Cooke, director of sales engineering for McAfee Canada, says because smartphones and other mobile devices are still so new, users aren’t thinking about security.

“With new toys, you’re mainly concerned with playing with that new toy, not thinking about security,” says Cooke. “Security is something you think about down the road.”

McAfee researchers collected 8,000 new mobile malware samples in the first quarter of 2012, compared to a year ago when there was almost no malware targeting mobile devices. In that period, they colleted nearly 7,000 samples of malware meant for the android platform, a 1,200 per cent increase from the number collected by December of last year.
“The primary reason is that Apple is doing a much better job in terms of monitoring the applications that get into their world,” says Cooke. “The marketplace in the android environment, it’s a little bit more of the wild west. There’s numerous places where you can get apps for the android.”

Mechanisms used by mobile hackers are nowhere near as sophisticated as those targeting PCs, but as the number of users increase, so will the amount of malware. Mobile banking is also on the rise, and Cooke says hackers particularly seek out opportunities to access financial information.

“So much of what the malware writers are trying to do is to be on your system but stealth, so they can gather information about your mobile device and send it out to the Internet so someone can use it.”

Cooke says the main thing hackers are able to accomplish with mobile devices is keystroke logging. If a financial transaction is being completed on a mobile device, the user often enters a personal information number to validate it. A hacker can log the user’s keystrokes, send the pin number to a command and control server, and gain access to the user’s mobile banking account.  Cooke says, however, he’s not aware of any Canadian mobile banking apps being attacked in that way.

“There’s a lot of this activity in Asia, a little bit in the United States, but not much in Canada because we don’t have the same level of transaction activity happening through mobile devices…yet.”

Looming start of post-secondary studies puts young people under STRESS

stress

By Scott Best

No matter what your age or the kind of school and work experiences you’ve had, stress has probably been a part of your life at some point. For students, stress can come from many sources — planning for post-secondary education, parents’ expectations, school projects, grades or exams, just to name a few. However, stress is not impossible to conquer.

Last spring, education and career-planning website, myblueprint.ca, surveyed over 500 middle and high school students to find their key sources of stress. They published the results in the MyBluePrint Canadian Student Stress Index.

“What we found is 81 per cent of students said they had a moderate to high amount of stress resulting from planning for post-secondary,” says Gil Silberstein, president and co-founder of myBlueprint. “We did believe that ‘teens thinking about their future’ would be a number one stressor, and it was interesting to have that verified.”

Carmela Giardini, head of guidance and counseling for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, says students feel this kind of anxiety because they feel they’re facing an uncertain future. “They’re thinking in terms of, What’s out there, what’s the post-secondary experience going to be like?  Will I get in? Will my marks be good enough to get in? Will I like it when I’m there? To some degree it’s the unknown that’s potentially stressful to them.”

Giardini adds the expectations students place on themselves and the need to have the approval of parents, teachers and peers can also be a stressor in their lives.

When asked about their top source of pressure, 75 per cent of the students surveyed on myblueprint.ca cited their own expectations. Parents’/guardians’ expectations came in at 71 per cent, teachers at 66 per cent, friends at 39 per cent and siblings at 22 per cent.

The survey was open to all users of myblueprint.ca across Canada, and the sample was split equally between male and female students.

Myblueprint.ca is an education and career planning website that can be customized to help individual students plan for their future. Students can set goals, plan their courses interactively, track their progress towards graduation, and browse post-secondary options across Canada that match their interests and high school courses.

The survey also asked students  about digital devices and social networking. It found only 43 per cent of teen participants saw the rapid growth of communication channels as a source of pressure, ranking lower than family, post-secondary education and exams.

“Those that think [communication tools] make their lives less stressful are learning to use them judiciously and be in control of them, rather than have the tools control them,” says Giardini. “The more control we have over something, the better able we are in handling the stress.”

Giardini says identifying where stress is coming from, breaking problems and goals down into bite-sized pieces and creating a calendar to help manage deadlines are all effective ways of coping with stress.