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Small Business Report on Small Business Newsletter: It’s illegal, but many restaurants still ask job seekers to work unpaid trial shifts

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It’s illegal, but many restaurants still ask job seekers to work unpaid trial shifts

At a recent job interview for a Toronto kitchen manager position, the chef interviewing James Suttar asked if he would work a four-hour unpaid trial shift. He refused. Mr. Suttar, who has been working in kitchens for 11 years, is well aware that it’s long been tradition for prospective restaurant staff to work unpaid trial shifts before getting job offers. However, he not only feels it’s just not right to ask prospective employees to work for free, he also knows it’s illegal. Story

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Clean start: Syrian refugee rebuilds his fourth-generation soap business in Canada

It’s a cold December day in Calgary – “very nice weather for making soap,” says Abdulfatah Sabouni, the owner of Aleppo Savon. The fourth-generation soap maker spent a quarter-century in business in Syria, making renowned Aleppo soap in the product’s namesake city. The hard soap, traditionally produced in wintertime, is distinctive for its use of laurel oil. Story

Small businesses losing revenue amid ongoing U.S. government shutdown

Baked by Yael isn’t getting its usual flow of customers who stop in after visiting the nearby National Zoo; the popular Washington, D.C., tourist spot remains closed by the government shutdown. Owner Yael Krigman gets half her business from the three-year-old store, and the shutdown that began Dec. 22 is taking a toll. Story

Winnipeg app maker Bold Commerce raises $22-million after success on Shopify’s platform

With Shopify Inc. now grown from a startup e-commerce platform to one of Canada’s most valuable technology companies, its fortunes have spilled over into the ecosystem it created – bolstering its partner companies such as Winnipeg’s Bold Commerce. Story

Vention Inc. of Montreal raises $17-million in financing led by Bain Capital Ventures

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Vention Inc., a rapidly-growing Montreal startup that enables industrial manufacturing professionals to create, design and order custom equipment with a few mouse clicks, has secured $17-million in venture financing led by Bain Capital Ventures and backed by previous investors White Star Capital, Bolt Innovation Management and Real Ventures. Story

Love affair with Toronto helps hat retailer stand out from the pack

Snapback caps and fedoras line the shelves in neat, colour-co-ordinated rows at Brimz, a downtown Toronto store in the city’s hip Queen Street West neighbourhood. It’s a small space with a big following that includes Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors and Auston Matthews of the Maple Leafs, as well as the musicians Karl Wolf, Jazz Cartier and Belly. Story

WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

It’s never been a better time to find a new job — but do employers realize it?

Job prospects in Canada are the best they’ve been in decades, employment experts say, but many businesses seem to have missed the memo. According to an annual salary survey, 63 per cent of employers expect the flourishing economy to boost their bottom lines in 2019, but less than a quarter plan to raise salaries more than three per cent. CBC

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Canadian businesses blast Yellow Pages' ad practices

Yellow Pages Ltd., once the country’s largest publisher of telephone directories, has taken aggressive steps to reinvent itself as a digital advertising platform – but current and former customers say this strategy includes locking them into contracts they did not agree to and threatening them with lawsuits and collection notices until they pay for services they do not want. Business in Vancouver

Sluggish internet slows growth, frustrates businesses in small-town Alberta

To run her small-town business, animal trainer Colleen McCarvill needs a reliable internet connection. But for two-and-a-half weeks, starting just before Christmas, she had no wireless connectivity on her acreage outside Onoway, Alta. It taxed her patience, and cost her money. CBC

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