Flying south? 5 tips to get you back into Canada smoothly

CBC News

Summer-Start-Virtual-Classroom-BLOG-183

At this time of year, plenty of Canadians head south for a winter getaway. For the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the season that started this week is busier than Christmas. Of the 90 million travellers who entered Canada in the past year, many were Canadians travelling back from the Caribbean and the southern United States during “charter” season.

At the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, a peak day during charter season means 12 additional flights.

“So it’s a lot busier than our regular days throughout the rest of the year,” said Jill Williamson, a border services officer at the airport.

Officers are on guard for contraband like illegal weapons, drugs, restricted food or agricultural products, or animal parts.

To ensure a smooth trip through customs and immigration, CBSA offered a few tips.

– Make a full declaration to the officer upon arrival. If you are not sure what to declare, declare all items and then discuss with the officer. Look up your personal exemptions.

– Carry proper identification, which includes a birth certificate, a Canadian passport, a permanent residence card, a citizenship card, or a certificate of Indian status.

– Do not pack prohibited items, which include switchblades, brass knuckles, replica handguns, tasers and pepper spray.

– Animal, food, and plant products, such as some fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy products are not permitted into Canada. This includes souvenir items made from animals that are protected under endangered species legislation.

– Wooden items with bark or which may contain insects are not permitted. A common souvenir from Cuba, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic are wooden sculptures decorated with small red and black beans called jequirity beans. These beans are toxic if ingested and are banned by Health Canada.

Source: Yahoo

Travel woes continue in Maritime provinces following winter storm

Travel woes continue in Maritime provinces following winter storm

By Keith Doucette and Aly Thomson

THE CANADIAN PRESS

HALIFAX – Travelwoes continued across the Maritimes on Monday as crews worked to clear roads and to free several motorists stranded on a stretch of highway in Nova Scotia.

Sunday’s storm hit the region hard, bringing high winds and as much as 70 centimetres of snow to areas of northern Nova Scotia, eastern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Environment Canada said.

The treacherous conditions made the Cobequid Pass, a 45-kilometre toll highway in northern Nova Scotia, impassable by late Sunday.

RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc said 13 vehicles became stranded around 7:30 p.m. Sunday about three kilometres from the highway’s toll plaza in Great Village near Truro.

LeBlanc said about 30 people who spent the night at the toll plaza were escorted by a plow to Oxford, N.S., around 1 p.m. on Monday.

Kevin Mitchell, director of operation services with the Transportation Department, said a truck and a tow truck became stuck in the initial attempt to free the motorists on Sunday. Extra equipment was sent and plows were eventually able to get them to the toll plaza, he said.

“Today, once we got the road opened up enough, they were able to travel on to Oxford where they could get food, shelter and gas.”

Mitchell said conditions remained extreme and Highway 104 and the Cobequid Pass remained closed to traffic.

“Everything that we plow right now in some of those areas is drifting and closing up fairly quickly so it’s been challenging to keep roads open,” said Mitchell.

He said officials had also closed the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton to all traffic because of drifting snow and poor visibility.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Linda Libby said the snow changed to rain in some areas and was followed by a drop in the temperature, leaving behind a frozen mess that grounded flights and closed major highways across the region.

“It’s a little tough getting good measurements of the snow, given the amount of drifting and blowing that was going on,” said Libby, adding that parts of the Maritimes experienced blizzard conditions early Monday.

The Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and P.E.I. was shut down around 4:30 p.m. Sunday and remained closed Monday afternoon.

The Nova Scotia government was urging people to stay home as crews worked to clear icy, snow-covered streets.

That decision was easy for some, given that Nova Scotia, as well as P.E.I., both observed provincial holidays.

“Improvement today for the eastern part of the Maritimes is going to be very, very slow,” said Libby. “There’s poor visibility. Nothing is going to be moving very fast today, even in areas that are already cleared.”

Thousands of people across the Maritimes also woke up in the dark Monday morning, with roughly 3,800 Nova Scotia Power customers without power and the roughly the same number without power in New Brunswick, where a warming centre was opened by the Red Cross in Moncton.

Sunday’s storm hit the region hard, bringing high winds and as much as 70 centimetres of snow to areas of northern Nova Scotia, eastern New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Environment Canada said.

The treacherous conditions made the Cobequid Pass, a 45-kilometre toll highway in northern Nova Scotia, impassable by late Sunday.

RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc said 13 vehicles became stranded around 7:30 p.m. Sunday about three kilometres from the highway’s toll plaza in Great Village near Truro.

LeBlanc said about 30 people who spent the night at the toll plaza were escorted by a plow to Oxford, N.S., around 1 p.m. on Monday.

Kevin Mitchell, director of operation services with the Transportation Department, said a truck and a tow truck became stuck in the initial attempt to free the motorists on Sunday. Extra equipment was sent and plows were eventually able to get them to the toll plaza, he said.

“Today, once we got the road opened up enough, they were able to travel on to Oxford where they could get food, shelter and gas.”

Mitchell said conditions remained extreme and Highway 104 and the Cobequid Pass remained closed to traffic.

“Everything that we plow right now in some of those areas is drifting and closing up fairly quickly so it’s been challenging to keep roads open,” said Mitchell.

He said officials had also closed the Canso Causeway to Cape Breton to all traffic because of drifting snow and poor visibility.

Environment Canada Meteorologist Linda Libby said the snow changed to rain in some areas and was followed by a drop in the temperature, leaving behind a frozen mess that grounded flights and closed major highways across the region.

“It’s a little tough getting good measurements of the snow, given the amount of drifting and blowing that was going on,” said Libby, adding that parts of the Maritimes experienced blizzard conditions early Monday.

The Confederation Bridge between New Brunswick and P.E.I. was shut down around 4:30 p.m. Sunday and remained closed Monday afternoon.

The Nova Scotia government was urging people to stay home as crews worked to clear icy, snow-covered streets.

That decision was easy for some, given that Nova Scotia, as well as P.E.I., both observed provincial holidays.

“Improvement today for the eastern part of the Maritimes is going to be very, very slow,” said Libby.  “There’s poor visibility. Nothing is going to be moving very fast today, even in areas that are already cleared.”

Thousands of people across the Maritimes also woke up in the dark Monday morning, with roughly 3,800 Nova Scotia Power customers without power and the roughly the same number without power in New Brunswick, where a warming centre was opened by the Red Cross in Moncton.

canada-press

21 things you never say to a flight attendant

You know how miserable it is to fly? The crying babies, the perpetual delays, the fistfights breaking out over reclined seats. Now imagine you did that every… single… day. And you didn’t get paid much for it either.

Welcome to the life of a flight attendant, where you may get to travel the world, but you have to do it with all the people who make the world such a miserable place.

Since we’ve already learned what we’re doing to piss off the flight attendant, this time we thought it’d be fun to find out what we’re saying to make them equally as irate. We talked to an army of air hosts and uncovered the 21 passenger questions that will absolutely send them off the rails.

1. “Am I going to make my connection?”

Well, let’s see… we just collected your empty cup, it’s 1:15 p.m., and your connecting flight leaves at 1:20 p.m. Let’s shake the old Magic 8 Ball here aaaaaaand … signs point to “No.”

2. “Why can’t I use the first-class bathroom?”

Because if we let anyone just use it, it wouldn’t be the first-class bathroom.

3. “Why do I have to check my bag?”

Simple. This entire plane if full of jerks who stuffed the overhead bins with winter coats and pet rock collections. Maybe they’ll all chip in for your bag fee.

4. “Do you know if this meal is gluten free?”

The answer to this question is always “yes.” That “sensitivity” to gluten, it’s in your head.

5. “Why isn’t there a movie, Wi-Fi, or entertainment?”

Because there’s not. If you take a look at our inflight magazine, however, you’ll find a lovely list of America’s best steakhouses and a flattering profile of Wichita. We hear Kansas is beautiful this time of year.

6. “Why are we delayed?”

Look out the window. See how the tarmac resembles Lambeau Field in January? MAYBE that’s why. Maybe.

7. “So, are you in the mile-high club?”

Right now, I’m strangely jealous of the women at the bar who you use such stupid lines on. At least they can smack you.

8. “What are we flying over?”

Brown stuff. Or blue stuff. Or black stuff with yellow dots. One of those.

9. “Will you help me lift my bag?”

Because of workers comp rules we’re not allowed to, but a word of advice to help you avoid this problem in the future: CHECK YOUR LARGE BAGS! It only costs $25, and from the smell of your breath, it’s clear you just dropped at least that much at the airport bar.

10. “Do you have anything for my child to eat?”

When you booked the flight, did you somehow forgot that your small child needs to dine around this time? Stellar parenting, well done. Have some cheddar stick snack mix.

11. Where is my seat?

You’re in 21A, so we’d say right under the placard that says “14” on the side marked “DEF”. It’s a fun little game we like to play with passengers.

12. Will they hold the plane?

We’re gonna almost always say yes, mostly so that you calm down and don’t ask our other favorite question: “Can we get off the plane first?”. But the truth is, unless there’s a large group of you connecting to the same flight (or it’s crazy expensive to rebook you), they’re not inconveniencing 200 other people just for you.

13. “Will my bag make it?”

That would be a great question if we were large dudes dressed in coveralls and fluorescent yellow vests, and working on the tarmac.

14. “When will the weather improve?”

We’ll take it as a compliment that you think we could pass for the weather women on your local FOX affiliate, but as it stands, we possess neither meteorological training nor extra silicone.

15. “Is there something more appropriate for my child to watch?”

Yes. The back of his eyelids.

16. “Why isn’t there a meal on this flight?”

We’re sorry, have you not been on a plane since 2002? The last time we served meals in coach, Justin Bieber was seven. Now, can we interest you in a cold $10 sandwich?

17. “Can you check to see if I got an upgrade?”

That app, which I can clearly see open on your phone, says you’re number 45 on the upgrade list for a flight with 20 first-class seats. It isn’t lying to you. But I might.

18. “Do you have any blankets?”

If you’re that hellbent on getting Chlamydia, there are much funner ways.

19. “Do the pilots know how to land this thing?”

No, we actually just took a couple of Hare Krishnas from baggage claim, dressed them up like Captain Stubing, and prayed for the best. That’s cool, right?

20. “Do you have any empty seats in business class/first class/exit row i can sit in?”

Do you have a debit card with at least $89 on it? Then yes.

21. “Are we going to be safe flying over Cuba?”

The last thing a country that can’t afford road construction wants to do is shoot down an American passenger jet. Please: sit back, relax, and enjoy some totally gluten-free pretzels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is a child ready to travel solo? Maturity levels and street smarts are key!

TORONTO _ “Free range” parents who believe in raising self-reliant kids have made headlines and generated debate for allowing their children to commute on their own.

Lenore Skenazy – who spearheaded the Free-Range Kids movement _ was dubbed “America’s Worst Mom” after writing a column about letting her then-nine-year-old son, Izzy, ride the New York subway alone.

Maryland parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv are being investigated for neglect after allowing their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter to walk home alone from a neighbourhood park, about two kilometres away.

Permitting kids to travel without adult supervision may help foster independence, but how can parents determine if they’re ready for the responsibility?

“Age is one factor, but it’s actually a small factor when you compare what else you need to take into account. Really, it’s more about the individual child,” said Sara Dimerman, a Thornhill-Ont.,-based psychologist, author and parenting expert.

Parents should know whether their child has a good sense of their surroundings, as well as the maturity and street smarts needed to travel solo, she noted.

“You can find some 10-year-olds who are like walking GPS’s and they’re like: ‘Oh, yes, is the direction to my house and you turn left here and you turn right here.’ And other kids may not have a clue where you are – even if they’re teenagers.”

Parents should be talking to kids as toddlers about road safety, and gradually teach them more as grow up, said Pamela Fuselli, vice-president of Parachute Canada, a charitable organization dedicated to injury prevention and saving lives.

“You can engage them in discussion as you walk and as you cross the street about what they can be doing or what kind of hazards (they) may see as they’re walking,” Fuselli said.

It’s also important that parents adhere to the same practices they want their kids to follow, Fuselli noted.

“By being a good role model, crossing the street at a light, not talking on your cellphone when you’re walking _ those kinds of things will communicate the correct behaviour to your children.”

Rebecca Cuneo Keenan grew up in Toronto in the 1980s and didn’t go anywhere on her own until she was at least nine. The mother of three said her eldest child – an eight-year-old son – “really isn’t chomping at the bit for independence.”

“I do try to push him a little bit, but most of the places he would want to walk to would involve crossing a busy street in Toronto,” said Cuneo Keenan, 36, a freelance writer and mom blogger at playgroundconfidential.com

“I think that is (the fear) for me, more than any kind of stranger-danger, or abductions, or fears of that nature, is just (concern about) traffic…. and kids getting hit by a car, which does happen.”

Cuneo Keenan – who also has two daughters, aged six and three – started teaching her kids about road safety early on, and will sometimes have her son lead the way as the family commutes home. There’s a little parkette at the end of their lane, and she will allow her kids to ride ahead as she follows. She’ll also hang back and observe their interactions with store employees as they make a purchase.

“To have those independent experiences is worthwhile, absolutely _ but you do ease them into it,” she said.

Dimerman and Fuselli agree the transition from supervised trips to solo commutes must be gradual.

“You want to wean your child off of you and monitor, watch, observe how he or she handles themselves in certain situations before you gradually let go of that umbilical cord,” said Dimerman.

Parents should also ask questions and pose scenarios to determine how kids may handle unexpected situations.

“Kids’ brains are not often ready or developed enough to think these things through, and it’s not because they’re unintelligent or they don’t know what they’re doing,” said Dimerman, “it’s just because they don’t have ability to reason things out as we do as adults. They don’t have the ability or the life experience.”

 

BC Travellers warned after measles outbreak at Disney Land

CTV Vancouver

Unhappy news at the “Happiest Place on Earth” has sparked warnings for B.C. travellers.

Vancouver father-of-two Graham Barron planned to take his family to Disneyland in February, but a measles outbreak traced to the popular family destination has forced them to abandon their plans.

“Our daughter’s just too young to get vaccinated – you have to be a year old,” Barron said. “We just felt that it wasn’t worth the risk to go, so we cancelled our trip.”

Dozens of recent measles cases have been linked to Disneyland, and health officials in the U.S. and Canada warn anyone who’s not vaccinated to avoid the theme park, at least for now.

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said the disease, which until recently was all but eradicated thanks to vaccines, is very contagious, and people can be infectious for days before symptoms appear.

“The measles still seems to be spreading,” Kendall said.

“We really want anybody who’s thinking about going to [Disneyland] with their children to be sure that their immunizations are up to date.”

Flight Centre said travellers who do decide to go need to understand that the situation could affect their ability to get insurance.

“Now that people know that there’s this measles outbreak, you’re not able to get insurance to cover you for that,” spokeswoman Allison Wallace said.

Barron was able to get a credit for their vacation package, and said his family will plan another Disneyland trip once the outbreak is over.

 

Canadians plan to spend more money on their vacations this holiday season

TORONTO | CNW

Fewer Canadians will be travelling for the holidays this year, with those who are taking vacations planning on spending more money, finds a new CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) poll.

Just over one in five (22 per cent) Canadians are planning to travel on vacation during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, down slightly from 25 per cent last year. Those who are traveling – primarily to visit family or friends or bask in warmer temperatures – plan to spend an average of $1,509 on their trip, up 3 per cent from last year. As many as 40 per cent of vacationers will be travelling outside of Canada.

“Whether you’re travelling within Canada for the holidays or heading south for a vacation, it’s helpful to make a checklist of everything you need to do or take with you before you go,” says Steve Webster, Vice President, Travel Cards, CIBC. “There are some easy things that you can do before you travel to help make sure your vacation is worry free – like letting your credit card provider know you’ll be on vacation or making sure your credit card provides the travel medical coverage that’s appropriate for you.”

Key findings of the poll include:

22 per cent of Canadians are planning a holiday vacation in December, down from 25 per cent last yr.

Within this group:

  • They plan to spend on average of $1,509 on their trip, including transportation, accommodation, meals, and other activities, up from $1,462 last year
  • Half (53 per cent) of travellers this holiday season plan to stay within Canada; 34 per cent will say closer to home in their own province, 19 per cent will travel outside their province
  • Four in 10 (40 per cent) will vacation outside of Canada, including 20 per cent travelling to the US and 20 per cent heading to travel spots beyond Canada or the US
  • Visiting family or friends was the top reason for travelling for half (50 per cent) of the group; another 21 per cent indicated their primary reason to travel is to get warm

Top travel concerns

The top concerns cited by Canadians who plan to travel this holiday season include:

  • Getting sick or injured on their vacation (33 per cent)
  • Losing their money or credit cards (10 per cent)
  • Losing their luggage (8 per cent)

“Peace of mind while on vacation is important,” says Mr. Webster. “It’s always important for you to review the protection offered by your credit card before you leave for your vacation, in the event you need medical assistance while travelling, or if your card is lost or stolen while you are away.”

Vacation checklist to ensure peace of mind:

  • Make sure you understand and update your travel protection. Many credit cards offer insurance to protect you and your family, such as travel medical, trip cancellation or interruption, flight delay, lost baggage, or car rental collision/damage.
  • Keep your passport, cash and cards secure, and have a back up form of payment. Carrying a back up payment card or cash can help if you lose your primary method of payment. Be sure to keep them separate and in secure locations, and have important phone numbers written down separately in the event you lose a credit or debit card.
  • Provide Vacation Alerts to your credit card company before you go. Advance notice to your credit card company on your travel plans can help ensure your credit card charges go through and you have use of your credit card for your vacation.
  • Access benefits and rewards from your credit cards to stretch your vacation budget further. For example, your credit card may have features such as reward points to pay for flights, hotels and other travel-related expenses, and discounts on travel-related items such as car rentals.
  • Utilize free budgeting and tracking tools. For example, the CIBC Mobile Banking App lets you track purchases in real time and with the CIBC CreditSmart tool on most credit cards you can set and track your spending, and set up Alerts that remind you when you get close to your limits.

KEY POLL FINDINGS

Among Canadians surveyed, plans to travel on vacation during the December holiday season, by region:

National Average 22%
BC 26%
Alberta 25%
Man/Sask 21%
Ontario 21%
Quebec 21%
Atlantic Canada 17%

Among Canadians surveyed who are planning to take a vacation this December holiday season, average amount they plan to spend, by region:

National Average $1509
BC $1767
Alberta $1487
Man/Sask $1654
Ontario $1599
Quebec $1416
Atlantic Canada $490

Among Canadians surveyed who are planning to take a vacation this December holiday season, primary reason for travelling:

To visit family or friends 50%
To get warm 21%
To get away from the hustle and bustle of the holidays 11%
Timing works for my schedule – the kids are off school / I’m off work 9%
Other 9%

The results were gathered through a Web survey conducted by Leger from November 24 to 26, 2014 among a representative sample of 1,572 English- or French-speaking Canadians, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.47%, 19 times out of 20.  Using data from Statistics Canada, the results were weighted according to gender, age, region, language spoken at home, education and whether or not children are present in the household to ensure a sample representative of the entire population under review.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with nearly 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale Banking – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, branches and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. You can find other news releases and information about CIBC in our Media Centre on our corporate website at www.cibc.com.

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