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Report on Small Business Newsletter - New Ontario emergency-leave rules creating challenges for small businesses

Albert Lam will be the Toronto chapter head of Gaingels, an LGBTQ-focused angel investing group from the United States that is moving into Canada.

J.P. MOCZULSKI/The Globe and Mail

New Ontario emergency-leave rules creating challenges for small businesses

New Ontario labour laws that allow employees to take up to 10 personal emergency-leave days a year, two of them paid, have business owners scrambling to cover shifts at the last minute – and some say that's putting their operations at risk.

Business owners across the province say employees are using – and potentially abusing – the new rules that took effect Jan. 1. The changes, part of Bill 148, apply to all businesses in the province and any worker that has been on the job for at least a week.

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Previously, the legislation applied only to businesses with 50 or more workers and employees had the right to take up to 10 days each year due to illness, injury or personal emergencies, but they were all unpaid. The new rules also say employees need to provide "evidence reasonable in the circumstances" but don't have to provide a note from a doctor, nurse or psychologist to explain why they couldn't work, which business owners argue make staff less accountable. Full story

Sun Life to add medical-marijuana coverage to group benefits plans

Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada will become the first major insurance company to add medical marijuana to its group benefits plans for Canadian companies, a pivotal move in the insurance industry that will help ease the financial burden for medical-marijuana users, and a sign of the growing acceptance of cannabis in the Canadian workplace. Full story (Globe subscribers)

LGBTQ-focused investing group Gaingels coming to Canada

"I know what you are." An investor said this to San Francisco-based entrepreneur Anthony Venus nearly 20 years ago, during one of his early dot-com-era ventures, and it has stuck with him ever since. Full story

'Time is the No. 1 enemy,' Toronto cleantech exporter says

Off-grid power has the potential to bring renewable energy to devices from street lamps to cellphone towers and WiFi hot-spots. However, making equipment run properly on solar and wind energy is critical. Full story

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Chatbot maker needs humans to sell product abroad

When I listen to an automated answering system and its recorded voice, I also hear another voice. It's my father's, inside my head, and he's saying, "Just get me a real person." Full story

Dragon's Den Rebels got Target deal through a surprise connection

As a business catalyst, CBC's Dragons' Den has put its fair share of aspiring companies on the map. However, it can often push aspiring entrepreneurs out of their comfort zones, and into a business mode for which they may not be ready. Full story

Nine years after Canada Line debacle, Cambie businesses still in limbo

Angela Maida never thought it would end this way. The owner of Pronto Caffe opened her business on Cambie Street seven years ago. She envisioned passing on the quaint Italian dinner and cocktail bar to one of her children. Full story

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Ontario's processing vegetable growers in new regulatory reality

The only way is forward. That's what Ontario's processing vegetable growers heard at their annual meeting from the chair of the group that regulates farm marketing in the province. Full story

'It's a tough pill to swallow': Penticton small business owner decries minimum wage hike

A Penticton small business owner said the looming minimum wage increase to $15.20 an hour by June 2021 is a "tough pill to swallow." Diana Stirling is the owner of the LocoLanding Adventure Park and Peach Ice Cream Shop. Full story

Residents in the town of Pelham complain about marijuana smell

Even though the country is months away from recreational pot being legalized, some are already getting their first whiff of it. The town of Pelham says it's been receiving complaints from residents about a marijuana odour from nearby grow-ops. Full story

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