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Archive for Canada

Shooting from The Tragically Hip

Photo Credit: Dave O, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dave O, Flickr

Ask any person who has resided in Canada for at least ten years and chances are that this Saturday you’ll find them somewhere in contact with a Tragically Hip event:

     **Schlepping out to Kingston to see their final performance

     **At a party at home, watching the CBC

     **Standing in front of one of dozens of Jumbotrons in communities all over Canada

The Tragically Hip is Canada.

And Canada loves The Hip.

And the rest of the world has absolutely no idea what the fuss is about.

To explain, The Hip is on a farewell tour. Their lead singer, Gord Downie, has terminal brain cancer.  We’ve collectively decided to have his wake while he is still alive, and raise money for cancer research.  The party, which has been going on most of August, has eclipsed the Olympics in terms of interest here. The final concert is in their hometown on August 20th and the CBC is broadcasting it.

That’s right, some rock band from Kingston, Ontario that has had virtually no airplay on U.S. regular or satellite radio is having their farewell concert broadcast live nationwide in Canada, on regular television.

One of my nephews, a literal walking library of music and lyrics, has never liked The Hip.  It’s OK, he lives in the United States and doesn’t understand the music.  I find it funny though that every time I see him, he has to make some comment about whether I’m still listening to the Hip or not. He says that when he thinks of me, he thinks of them.

He once told me that Gord Downie sounds like he’s got a goat in his throat, which is true, but beside the point.

Ok, so this is an HR blog, why The Hip?

I find it to be the coolest thing that we have something that we all love together. The Hip is our music.  It tells the story of Canada, of a place that can be in the middle of everything and far away at the same time, of a place that is beautiful and natural, and commercialized.  It is a place of its own history, with what would be otherwise forgotten stories like a hockey player who dies in a plane crash or a major prison break. Or, a place where it is so calm and quiet that you can get lost in your thoughts.  It is the culture of the north, being performed by the generation after Gordon Lightfoot.

One thing The Hip are known for is mishmash; evolving a new song from an existing one, from experimentation, often done live.  In their honour, I spent a little time and created my own Hip story, using lyrics from fifteen Tragically Hip songs.    I encourage you to try this with your favourite Hip lyrics and see what you come up with.  Feel free to post it in comments.


Watch the band through a bunch of dancers
Quickly, follow the unknown
With something more familiar
Quickly, something familiar

It gets so sticky down here
Better butter your cue-finger up
It’s the start of another new year
Better call the newspaper up

Twelve men broke loose in seventy three
From Millhaven Maximum Security

Looking for a place to happen
Making stops along the way

Late breaking story on the CBC
A nation whispers, “We always knew that he’d go free”

You just hit me where I live
I guess it looked quite primitive

I had this dream where I relished the fray and the screaming filled my head all day.

Then I found a place it’s dark and it’s rotted
It’s a cool, sweet kinda place
Where the coppers won’t spot it
And I destroyed the map, I even thought I forgot it,
However, everyday I’m dumping the body

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored
Won the Leafs the cup
They didn’t win another till 1962
The year he was discovered

I come from downtown, born ready for you
Armed with will and determination, and grace, too

Sometimes I feel so good I gotta scream
She said Gordie baby I know exactly what you mean

And that’s when the hornet stung me, and I had a feverish dream, of revenge and death

If I die of vanity, promise me, promise me,
They bury me some place I don’t want to be,
You’ll dig me up and transport me, unceremoniously,
Away from the swollen city-breeze, garbage bag trees,
Whispers of disease and the acts of enormity
And lower me slowly, sadly and properly
Get Ry Cooder to sing my eulogy

It was in Bobcaygeon, I saw the constellations
Reveal themselves one star at a time

And the rest of the world
Becomes a gift shop


CASL–It is the End of the World as We Know It

angrySorry to be all gloom here at The EO List today. It is the eve of my vacation and you would think that I would be excited but I am not. I’ve just spent a week dealing with CASL compliance, and I’m spent!

Let me first say I hate SPAM. You have no idea how much unsolicited SPAM I get and I am looking forward to the possibility of freeing my mind (e.g. my in-box) of stuff I never asked for in the first place. Literally, I’ve had a daily barrage of consent requests to deal with. I’ve thought about every request carefully and hope that after July 1st what remains coming into my inbox is BACON rather than SPAM. It feels like there’s been a hoarder counsellor at my door and 1-800-Got-Junk is now taking away the offending material. On the positive, I am going to be able to be more efficient! I am going to be able to manage my own connections better.

But there is a sad reality here. Most of the SPAM I receive is not from Canada, so I really don’t know how this is going to help.

I’m worried about the future. Is e-mail-based social networking in Canada that has any business context about to bite the dust? Further down the road once implied consent has expired, what happens when this week, in the flurry of inbox activity, I don’t accept your request to continue connecting, or to receive your newsletters or seminar invitations? What happens if you don’t accept mine? Did we just disengage? If I want to reconnect a few years from now, will you view my e-mail as SPAM and report me to the authorities?

I write about this in the context of, or for the benefit of The EO List. We are a network. We learn about HR jobs through friends. We share them. In the spirit of connection, some send their Friday e-mail to dozens of their friends. Bear in mind though, EO is supported through commercial activity. Given our previous informality (which was actually quite formal but didn’t have a double opt-in) that means we have to re-gain consent now of our current members and have to be clear about ensuring that our circulation doesn’t make it to unintended persons. This is so strange! But, we the folks at EO are HR Professionals, and law abiding citizens (and terrified of being fined over good intentions), so this just got a whole mess more complex.

Do you have any idea how much time and effort it has taken for us to get compliant? I’m not asking for a pity party, but seriously!

I have this vision of the future. You think someone is annoying and you lie in wait for their newsletter, and then you report them to the authorities and enjoy seeing them fined. We just gave jerks new ammunition.

Again, I really look forward to the possibility of a better-managed inbox, but we all ought to be careful what we wish for because the side effects are super strange.

I’m going to write about this again in another month or so. Maybe there’ll be greater clarity.

In the meantime, please, if you’re a network member, take the time to consent (pretty please with sugar on it!). We can’t continue e-mailing you if you don’t give us permission.

CASL Compliance and HR

EO cautionCASL stands for “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation”. CASL comes into force on July 1, 2014. If the concept of CASL is new to you, you can read up on it at CASL has the potential to have a profound impact on how we connect and market in the workplace.

Lots of organizations connect with HR Professionals. They invite them to seminars. They distribute newsletters and they send information and promotional material about products and services. They offer membership. They offer benefits. They do so through email, LinkedIn In-mails and other electronic means. These activities may be considered “commercial activity” and fall within the parameters of the legislation.

According to the website of the overseeing body, when the new law is in force, it will generally prohibit the:

  • sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone.
  • alteration of transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent.
  • installation of computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an authorized employee.
  • use of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services.
  • collection of personal information through accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the Criminal Code of Canada).
  • collection of electronic addresses by the use of computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission (address harvesting).

Anyone who does actively markets to HR Professionals should be gaining express consent to be contacting those individuals via electronic means or risk a violation of the legislation. Given the level of potential fines, not making the investment in confirming that indeed your target audience actually wants to hear from you could be a very costly mistake.

What will life be like after CASL comes into force? I wonder about this. There are some folks who are so fed up with SPAM today that the minute they receive their first offside message, they are going to report it. There are going to be employers who designate individuals as being responsible for being the acceptor of general sales messages, making consent easier to address. There may be increased opportunity for websites who hold relevant news or industry data to increase their site advertising. The telephone may make a comeback. Or maybe, all of this legislation is just too little, too late, in a world where the senders of SPAM could be thousands of kilometers away and out of the reach of the enforcers.

HR Professionals likely have a load of work to do to establish internal policies that are CASL compliant. I recently saw an “Acceptable Use” corporate policy for sending e-mails that was 7 pages long and it was full of more don’ts than do’s.

CASL even has implications for The EO List. While the EO List itself does not focus on marketing, there is a commercial nature to our e-mail content. For that reason, we have gone the route of obtaining express consent of the network to send our Friday distribution. We’ve also upgraded our systems to make opting in and unsubscribing clearer and easier to do. You will see all of these changes implemented by the time of our July 11th distribution.

CASL has a side-effect that perhaps not everyone has thought of–cost. Use EO as an example. A long time ago, The EO List was small and there was no cost to distribute and it took little time and effort to put an e-mail together to send to our network members. Today, it actually costs to use our existing method, and will cost substantially more once we move to a more-compliant methodology. We have to figure out how to pay for that.

To a certain extent, CASL is an impetus to change. We’ve been doing things the same way for a long time. We are going to have to rearrange our website to be more attractive to sponsors and advertisers so that we have sufficient funds to keep this going. In turn as a member you will see continued improvements including e-mails that work better on a variety of devices.

Stay tuned. The storm is on the horizon.