British Council looking for individuals from across Canada to become a member of their international policy and leadership program

Future Leaders Connect

Hmmm, if only there was a relevant hash tag we could use too …

Are you a Brit in Toronto, aged between 18-35 and want the opportunity to travel to the UK for nine days of advanced policy and leadership development at the University of Cambridge? All expenses paid? Yes? Read on …

The British Council is looking for individuals from across Canada to become a member of their international policy and leadership program.

As a member of Future Leaders Connect you will access a nine-day residential program of advanced policy and leadership development at the University of Cambridge. You will be part of a group of phenomenal young leaders from around the world discussing today’s biggest global challenges in the Houses of Parliament and you will have private meetings with inspirational leaders.

The costs of travel, accommodation and meals are covered by the British Council and the program is fully accessible. As a member of the program you will go on to be able to access a range of international fully funded professional development opportunities.

You must be aged 18-35, have a policy idea that could create change and be able to attend the nine-day program from 22-31 October 22-31.

If you’re interested apply here by Sunday, May 13 (18:59 p.m. EST).

Here’s the video to explain a bit more:

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Ralph Rugoff, Director of London’s Hayward Gallery, coming to Toronto for an International Lecture Series

Ralph Rugoff

The windswept Ralph Rugoff

We got an e-mail from The Power Plant* Contemporary Art Gallery to let Brits in Toronto readers know of an upcoming program that may be of interest.

On Monday, April 16 the gallery will welcome Ralph Rugoff as a speaker in its International Lecture Series. The Power Plant’s long-running International Lecture Series brings some of today’s greatest thinkers from around the world — high-profile artist, curators, and cultural commentators — to Toronto.

Ralph Rugoff has been Director of the Hayward Gallery, a renowned contemporary art gallery at London’s Southbank Centre, since 2006. Rugoff was just announced in December 2017 as Artistic Director of the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. He curated the 13th Biennale de Lyon in 2015, and initiated and co-curated Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast in Contemporary Art, in 2003.

Readers are invited to attend this FREE lecture, taking place at OCADU.

*Brits in Toronto lawyers made us include the disclaimer that The Power Plant should not be confused with The Power Station, and this is not a reunion tour.

The Power Station

Not The Power Plant

The Cavern Bar and Hostelling International Toronto is hiring

The Cavern Bar

Those hands could be yours …

Got an e-mail from Desmond at The Cavern Bar with a request to post some job opportunities. As Brits in Toronto’s tagline is, “The best pubs, curry, JOBS and dental care in Toronto …” how could we refuse?

He said: “I’m an English bloke, that’s carved out a career in Canada. I’m the General Operations Manager at Hostelling International Toronto. We are always looking for good people, and love the hardworking Brits to work at our facility. We are looking for bartenders, front desk agents, cooks and housekeepers. Feel free to share with your network.”

So, there you have it. The job details are below as PDFs.

Bartender

Front Desk Agent

Cook

Housekeeper

Ken Barlow is coming to Toronto in June!

William Roache

Never needed to update his CV since December 9, 1960

The man … the myth … the ledge that is Ken Barlow from Corrie Street — also known as William Roache to his friends and family — is coming to Canada in May, with a visit to Toronto on Friday, June 1.

Just to give you an idea of this actor’s contribution to one of the most famous soap operas in the world, William has played Ken Barlow in Coronation Street since its first episode on December 9, 1960. He is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-serving male television star in a continuous role.

And, if that’s not enough to make you exclaim, “Stick t’kettle on chook, I’m feeling a bit wobbly!” then here’s nearly two hours of pure Barlow to wet your whistle.

This intimate one-on-one onstage interview allows William Roache to give fans a rare glimpse into his personal life. Audiences will be enthralled as he shares stories about his experiences on the famous set, the plot-lines and the actors he has worked with over five decades, many of whom are equally adored by loyal audiences.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an audience with true Coronation Street royalty and no fan will want to miss it.

In addition to show tickets, William will meet and greet a very limited number of VIP fans whose tickets will wrap the best seats in the house and the full show.

This will be a great experience for Ken Barlow fans, so here’s more details and tickets.

Brexit update: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”

Brexit update

We’ll meeeeet again, don’t know wherrrre, don’t know whe — oh, sorry, we probably won’t

Nigel Nelson is a regular contributor to Brits in Toronto, and is a member of the non-profit Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP), and Past Chair of the (also) non-profit International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP).

Here’s his latest thoughts on Brexit and pensioners in Canada who receive the UK State Pension.

I was recently speaking to my octogenarian friend James the other day (you may remember that I first introduced you to James in the Ouch! How Brexit is hurting UK pensioners in Canada and in the later article James and I go to London), and I said to him what a quintessentially European phrase, “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” really is, although its origins seem to come from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2005.

What has this got to do with the UK State Pension which is what James and I always end up talking about? You see, he is a British military chap and he is usually found frothing at the mouth because he has found out that if he had stayed in the UK rather than retiring here to Canada he would be more than £31,000 better off in terms of his UK State Pension; using historic exchange rates, this converts to over $56,000 — not a trifling amount by any means.

If James lived south of the Niagara Falls (in the US) he would have been getting the annual increases to his UK State Pension. Instead, he chose to live north of the Falls, here in Canada and he hasn’t been getting the annual increases, and his UK State Pension has been “frozen.” How unfair is that?

James has been reading about Brexit and that got him thinking about UK pensioners living in Europe. There are 496,000 pensioners living in Europe who are in receipt of a UK State Pension:

Pensioners stats

Source: Dept. of Work and Pensions

Once the UK drops out of Europe, then, technically, the UK government no longer has a legal obligation to continue giving these pensioners the annual inflationary increase. This year the increase is 3%, so, for anyone getting their UK State Pension based on the pre-2016 Pensions Bill, this means an increase of just over £190 per year. Those who have retired after April 2016 will receive up to an estimated £260.

These pensioners are not happy about the possibility of them losing the annual increase, and there are a number of European pension lobby groups who are petitioning the UK Parliament.

The European Parliament and the UK Government have agreed that the UK government will continue to “export benefits” which includes the annual increase to the UK State Pension, and that has been drafted into the Withdrawal Bill which is currently before the UK Parliament. This is fine as long as the Withdrawal Bill is enacted.

However, Brexit negotiations are currently getting bogged down with negotiating a trade agreement. If the negotiations are not all completed by March 27, 2019, then the UK could fall out of the EU, and the Withdrawal Bill could be in limbo. So, where would this leave the pensioners living in Europe who receive a UK State Pension?

There are 540,000 pensioners living in 120 countries who do not receive the annual increase to their UK State Pension (larger image):

Countries affected small

Source: International Consortium of British Pensioners

As you can see, Canada is one of those countries (where there are 144,000 “frozen” pensioners). The pension lobby groups that I represent are watching very carefully to see what Brexit delivers in terms of the annual UK State Pension increase.

Technically, the pensioners living in Europe will be joining all the other “frozen” UK pensioners in the world, and the number would then swell to over one million unhappy pensioners — not a pleasant sight!

The UK Government has said that as part of the Withdrawal Agreement, they will negotiate “bilateral agreements” with European countries such that the pensioners living in Europe will continue to receive their annual UK State Pension increase. What James and many others are asking: “Why them, and not us?”

If you think that you are going to be affected by the UK “frozen” pension policy, and would like to help us in our fight, please check out the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners and they may be able to help you …

Where do you stand on this? Nigel can be reached:

E-mail: nigel AT britishpensions DOT COM

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CABP_News

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011398010359

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nigelnelson7150/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/nigelbritishpensionscom/

Successful Brits in Toronto: Ryan Wheeler

Ryan Wheeler

“Express yourself, create the space, you know you can win, don’t give up the chase. Beat the man, take him on, you never give up, it’s one on one!”

We put the call out for more Successful Brits in Toronto, and what do you know? Ryan Wheeler stepped up.

It took a few days to hear from him … but then the reason became clear with his reply: “Sorry guys, been off sick with some dreaded cold!”

So, after sending our thoughts and prayers to Ryan, we hassled him a bit more and got his answers to our deep questions below and the striking photo you see above. Looks like he’s pretty handy at football.

Let’s find out more …

What made you decide to choose Toronto as a city of choice? Did you plan a permanent move, or wanted to “try it for a while and see how it goes” and it turned out to be longer than planned?

It was a spur of the moment decision. My girlfriend and I had just gotten home from work, we were tired, grouchy and generally fed up of leaving work at 5:00 p.m. Not to mention the perpetual rain and overcast skies to really drive home the misery of a day.

One of our friends had moved here a year prior and we spent a while speaking with them on Messenger about their experiences. After this, we decided Toronto was the only option. Fortunately a week later the IEC visa was opening and we went about applying for that.

We had initially planned to stay for as long as the visa would run with an idea we would stay if we enjoyed our time, but we told family we were wanting to move here for good.

After our first year we decided being here permanently was what we wanted and we applied for permanent residency as soon as we were able to. Next stop, citizenship.

What steps did you take to land your first Toronto job? Did the infamous “Canadian experience” hinder you in any way?

Initially we waited for a month after landing before applying for any jobs. We wanted to take in the sights of the city and surrounding areas without the stress of work lingering over.

Once I had started sending my resume out, it was a slightly tedious process. I applied for several jobs daily. Editing cover letters and countless edits of my CV to match the job role without much reward.

Eventually I talked to a recruitment agency to see if they had anything open to matching my skill set and experience and they secured me an interview for a temporary position with a large insurance company with the chance to make it a permanent role at the end of the temporary period.

After I went on this interview I got two more interviews with recruitment agencies themselves as a consultant. Must have been the British accent that enticed them to take a chance, haha.

I decided to take a position with a recruitment agency, as it was full time and a skilled position. Both of which were needed in applying for the coveted permanent residency.

What’s the best/worst aspects of living in Toronto?

It’s just a lovely city. The areas I’ve lived in and visited are all clean and friendly. There are little pockets of settled nationalities all over the place so you can go and experience something new often and as frequently as you want with a usually very accessible transit service.

The worst aspect of being in Toronto I’ve found so far is the period of time between late February to mid March. It’s a time where the weather goes from 12 degrees one day to -5 degrees over the next few days. So it really plays with my willingness to adapt to the cold. In the depth of winter at -30 degrees I can handle it, I know it’s going to be cold.

In the summer when it’s close to 35 degrees, I can deal with it, because I know it’s going to be warm. It’s just that little void between those dates that mean I can no longer handle it being 1 degree because two days ago it was 10 degrees and I was in shorts.

Do you make an effort to connect with other Brits in the city, or just meet them when chance allows it? Any recommended pubs/eateries/other places for homesick Brits to meet each other and network?

I don’t go out of my way to meet up with new Brits in Toronto. However when I first came to the city I was made aware of a football team looking for new players and I went there in my first week to train with the lads.

For anyone new and interested in football, I’d recommend trying out for a team if you wanted to play to a good standard.

There are also companies like Toronto Sport and Social Club, who advertise a light and friendly atmosphere for all types of sporting activities throughout each change of season, where you can drop in when a team needs a player and meet like-minded groups of people, all welcoming with open arms to enjoy some sports at a recreational to advanced levels and then go for a beer or two afterwards.

Open question/comment: feel free to write anything here/advice/tips on a Brit living in, or moving to, Toronto.

Buy good winter gear and make the most of the summers!

Totally biased product review by me — Dorset Drum

Dorset Drum

You can now buy photography prop stands that look exactly like bathroom towel racks

It’s time for another totally biased review and we have an aged cheddar cheese called Dorset Drum on the podium today.

Wandering around Loblaws, our eye was immediately drawn to the Union Jack on the packaging, a sure sign of potential quality. Unfortunately, we were a bit let down in this instance.

The Brits in Toronto crew like our aged cheddar to crumble as easily as an Arsenal back four, but this one didn’t. It’s kind of rubbery and doesn’t taste that aged at all.

Not a fan so we give it a Brits in Toronto 1/5 stars.