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November 2015

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Wish the Minister of Status of Women good luck. She may need it!

In an act that is sure to have journalists abuzz with excitement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his Minister Mandate Letters to the public.

Mandate letters are meant to outline the Prime Minister’s expectations and priorities. They have always been private documents, but today, Canadians were treated to an inside look at the Liberal party’s platform.

“Today we are demonstrating that real change in government is possible. For the first time in our country’s history, we are making these letters public, so Canadians can hold us accountable to deliver on our commitments. We are ushering in a new era of openness and transparency in Canada,” Trudeau said in a statement.

The general theme, which was expressed regardless of position, is the need for openness and transparency. The letters almost read like a message from a teacher—lets all get along, listen to each other, and respect each other’s opinions. It was a fascinating read.

The Minister I was most interested in was the Minister of Status of Women. Below are a few highlights from her mandate letter, and I have to say I don’t envy the amount of work she has on her plate:

As Minister of Status of Women, your overarching goal will be to ensure government policy, legislation, and regulations are sensitive to the different impacts that decisions can have on men and women.  During our time in government, I expect to make meaningful progress on reducing the wage gap between men and women and to encourage an increase in the number of women in senior decision-making positions and on boards in Canada, as well as make progress towards better representation of women where they have traditionally been under-represented, such as in the skilled trades.

In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities:

  • Work with experts and advocates to develop and implement a comprehensive federal gender violence strategy and action plan, aligned with existing provincial strategies. You will be supported by the Minister of Justice to make any necessary criminal code changes and by the President of the Treasury Board who will develop strategies to combat sexual harassment in federal public institutions.
  • Work with the Privy Council Office to ensure that a gender-based analysis is applied to proposals before they arrive at Cabinet for decision-making.
  • Support the Privy Council Office as it develops monitoring and reporting processes to ensure that the government’s senior appointments are merit-based and demonstrate gender parity.
  • Support the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in ensuring that no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn by growing and maintaining Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.
  • Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in reviewing current gender- and culturally-sensitive training policies for federal front-line law enforcement officers to ensure that they are strong and effective.
  • Support the Minister of Employment, Workplace Development and Labour and work with your ministerial colleagues in taking action to ensure that Parliament and federal institutions are workplaces free from harassment and sexual violence.
  • Support the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to develop a process and mandate for an inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

Read the full letter at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-status-women-mandate-letter#sthash.bcj6CS09.dpuf

Let’s just hope this new transparent government hasn’t bit off more than they can chew.

Is there anything in this mandate that you feel was looked over? Let us know in the comments below!

“To-die-for” Newfoundland fish chowder

In Toronto, it’s cloudy, rainy, and cold. It’s the type of weather that makes you hide under the blankets and dream of summer. The cure? A warm bowl of fish chowder.

Newfoundlanders are used to this type of weather. In fact, they probably make fun of the rest of the country when we complain about a drizzle or a light snowfall. What’s even more amazing is that the government itself provided the recipe below. They understand that even the most native Newfoundlander craves the warmth of this dish. It’s everything you could want in a single bowl: seafood, cream, and wine. The perfect combination of comfort foods.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Serves 6 – 8

  • 2 oz. butter
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 oysters
  • 8 oz. white fish
  • 8 oz. shrimp
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) brandy

SAUCE:

  • 4 oz. butter
  • ½ cup (125 ml) flour
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
  • 4 cups (1 L) milk
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) tomato puree
  • ½ cup (125 ml) white wine
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) prepared mustard
  • 9 oz. cream
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) chopped parsley
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Melt butter in a deep pan. Add vegetables and brown. Chop seafood and add to pan. Add brandy and flambé. Make white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan on low heat, stirring in the flour and salt and gradually whisking in the milk. Add the tomato puree, wine, mustard and white sauce to the seafood and vegetables. Bring to a boil. Add cream and parsley, garnish with a sprinkle of cayenne. Salt, pepper and lemon juice may be added to taste.

Repost from Tourism New Brunswick:   http://www.tourismnewbrunswick.ca/See/FoodAndDrink/Recipes/To-Die-ForFishChowder.aspx?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=owned&utm_campaign=tnb%20social 

Lest we Forget: remembering and thinking about the future

Cosmo DeClerq, my grandfather, Canada-Belgian SAS
Cosmo DeClerq, my grandfather, Canada-Belgian SAS

My grandfather was a paratrooper during the Second World War. He never spoke to us about his experiences—and, frankly, we never asked. I was too young to understand what he had gone through. I never really knew he was in the military until he passed away and I met some of his colleagues at the funeral.

That’s why it was refreshing to see so many young faces at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony.

Queen’s Park was crowded with young students and families with their children. Most were wearing black overcoats and the bright red of their poppy pins could be seen despite the drizzling rain. There were no whispers among this crowd; no snickers or horseplay. It was the most silent and respectful crowd I’ve seen in a while. The exception was the young girl behind me, who was quietly explaining what was happening for three international University of Toronto students who decided to attend the ceremony. Why? They wanted to learn more about Canadian culture and heritage.

These ceremonies are meant to give us time to remember the past—the men and women who served our country both at home and abroad, who died to protect our freedom and our way of life. But, maybe it can do more. Maybe, it can help us look into the future.

I spent a few minutes after the ceremony speaking with groups of students, most of whom weren’t native to this country. They were all fascinated by the ceremony, and all could relate to this idea of “remembrance.” Some came from war-torn countries, others from Europe, South America, or Asia. One young man was from Japan, and he spoke of the atomic bomb. He felt compelled to come to Queen’s Park and listen to the words spoken by our politicians and military leaders.

And really, what better place to learn about what it means to be Canadian? Our military forces—at least our current military forces—are so diverse. There were men, women, and people of various ethnic and religious values, all marching together as one unit. That’s Canada.

When I decided to write a piece about Remembrance Day for Women’s Post, I automatically thought of the women in service. I think Brigadier-General Lowell Thomson, Commander 4th Canadian Division, said it best when he gave homage to his military upbringing. He said his father was a long-time soldier, but then went on to say that he was the son of a woman who had served “during a time when her service wasn’t recognized.” That’s when I noticed there were very few women in uniform sitting in the crowds. About 600 WWII veterans die a day around the world, so this isn’t surprising. Perhaps most of them ventured to Ottawa to partake in their larger ceremony by the War Memorial. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. As Managing Editor of Women’s Post, I was hoping to speak with them and share their stories.

2015-11-10 16.55.35Instead, looking around the crowds, I noticed the number of young women taking part in the ceremony, specifically a young girl who was leading the cadets through the parade. She was independent, kind, commanding and strong. “If you feel cold, wiggle your toes and fingers. If you feel sick, let me know,” she said slowly while her fellow cadets looked at her nervously. Throughout the ceremony, she addressed her group, told them to stand tall, proud, and smiled when appropriate. She was the prime example of the type of woman younger girls could look up to.

I didn’t understand what Remembrance Day meant until I was a teenager. And even then, I feel like it was my circumstance—the death of a loved one—that suddenly gave me the desire to remember all of those who gave their lives in service. These young people, the cadets, students (international or Canadian native), and children who attended today’s ceremony, are all ahead of the game. I can only hope they truly take away the meaning of remembrance.  Just because the WWII veterans are fading, doesn’t mean their memories should be lost. There will always be war or conflict—it’s the nature of human beings and the sad reality of living in a world where people don’t always agree. But, if we forget where it all began, if we ignore our own history and heritage, there is no way to understand how OUR Canada was shaped. And that understanding is crucial to the future of not only this country, but the world.

And that’s worth a minute of silence, don’t you think?

2015-11-10 18.22.10

 

Woman of the Week: Johanne Mullen

“I’m so glad you didn’t ask me about my work-life balance.”

Johanne Mullen would much rather talk to the media about the work she is doing than adhere to the stereotypical questions asked of women in positions of power.

What’s unique about Mullen is her confidence and her experience in a traditionally male-dominated infrastructure world. Despite her impressive range of titles — National Infrastructure and Project Finance Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC) , director of the Institut pour les partenariats public-privé du Québec, director of the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships — she is down to earth and can speak as easily to one person as she can to a crowd. Her passion for her work is obvious and her knowledge and professionalism is impressive.

Women’s Post sat down with Mullen before her panel discussion on transit with Metrolinx’s CEO Bruce McCuaig at the annual National Conference on Public-Private Partnerships last week. The discussion ranged from Mullen’s background in finance to the future of public-private partnerships, and with each question her passion for project finance and infrastructure became obvious.

Mullen began her academic career at Concordia University, where she studied Commerce in Finance, before completing her Master of Business Administration in International Business at McGill University. She has over 20 years of experience in capital project and procurement advisory, as well as in project and structured finance.

In 2000, she started to work with the PWC, and fell in love with advisory and project finance. Some of her more notable accomplishments include acting as procurement and financial advisor for Saint-John’s Safe Clean Drinking Water program; advising the government of Nunavut on procurement and financing of the Iqaluit airport expansion; acting as an independent financial advisor for Nalcor Energy; and advising Infrastructure Ontario on the Pan Am Athletes Village.

“I love the advisory bit because I feel like I’m helping people develop something that is important to them, to the community,” she said. “I like the tangible aspect of the job—when I project is delivered you get to see it, you see the benefits.”

Mullen works with P3s, better known as public–private partnerships. These partnerships allow for a performance-based approach to procuring public infrastructure, which means the government does not pay for an asset until it is operational. This puts pressure on the private sector to remain accountable and to produce results. What’s unique about these projects is that the government is making a long-term investment. The cost of the asset includes 20 to 30 years worth of maintenance, depending on the contract.

According to Mullen, about 98 per cent of P3 projects are built on time and on budget.

“The reality is that if you understand the contractual model, the cost of delivering late is significant and obviously every cost overrun (the private sector) are picking up,” she said. “So they can’t afford to get it wrong.”

Right now, a lot of P3 projects are federal or provincial; however, they are trying to break into the municipal sphere. Mullen is already working on a project in Saint-John’s, and she would recommend that big cities such as Toronto look into P3 projects to help solve issues such as affordable housing.

“Personally, I think it’s been ignored more than it should be,” Mullen said of social housing.

In the meantime, Mullen has been working with municipalities such as Toronto to see how P3s can make a difference with public transit. The panel discussion she moderated at the National Conference on Public-Private Partnerships was a huge success, and promises to be a topic of discussion for Toronto’s future transit goals. At least we know there is a qualified, capable, and passionate woman leading the way.

 

What we can learn from 18-year-old Instagram Star, Essena O’Neill

We’ve all been known to exaggerate on social media once in awhile, especially as a millennial. With the use of an Instagram filter and the right caption, we now have the ability to make a slice of cheesecake look glamorous. The question is; why do we do it? Is it for the likes or the affirmation? Or is it, in fact, to have a life beyond our 9-5 jobs and textbooks?

Eighteen-year-old Instagram star (apparently that’s a thing) Essena O’Neill may not have found the answer to this question, but what she did realize was that social media is not worth it. The realization went so far as to provoke the Australian teen to delete her Instagram account. In turn, she launched a website called Let’s Be Game Changers where she now posts videos – on Vimeo – ranting about the problems with social media and the beauty of becoming vegan. Cute. O’Neill then went on to challenge her followers to go without social media for one week. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other website ”where you can see others online”.

She has since created a so-called “social revolution,” which has gone viral. Obviously, O’Neill’s project has garnered positive feedback, but the question arises as to whether or not her and her followers have responded to this realization too dramatically. With millions of accounts on Instagram today, it is unfair to come to the conclusion that everyone on the social media site is unauthentic.

Despite her intention of creating ”social change”, O’Neill was criticized as a fame-grabber: for deleting her account for reasons other than sending an important message—but to get more attention. The accusations don’t seem like they are too far from reality. The fact of the matter is, if your Instagram account is making you feel miserable, you are not using it properly. As an 18 year old with over the half a million followers, O’Neill was bound to get a little overwhelmed trying to impress her fans.

So instead of deeming her a social media queen or a hoax in the making, it’s best just to commend her for her efforts in taking control of her mental health. However, we hope that O’Neill takes this opportunity to learn not to get too involved with virtual reality. Of course, it’s not for us to judge whether deleting her social media account is the right solution. In fact, all we can do is yearn for a time where Generation Y can find a balance when it comes to using social media platforms.

It’s a fun challenge to take on—to stay off of social media for a few days. In a world where we get our daily news from our Twitter feeds and lust over actors and actresses while we scroll down on Instagram, cleansing ourselves from social media can make us see the beauty of the outdoors. Remember what grass feels like? Bottom line; don’t dismiss O’Neill because she’s 18. Celebrate her because she is.

She may be a special cause—not every 18 year old has 500 000+ followers — but it is a good indication of the challenges Generation Y faces in terms of distinguishing social media from just being social. We hope O’Neill finds happiness and contentment in her new project. Good luck to everyone!

Who is the new Conservative Interim leader?

download (2)On Thursday, Rona Ambrose, was elected as Interim leader for the Conservative Party.

In terms of qualifications, Ambrose has held numerous cabinet positions including those of Environment, Intergovernmental Affairs, Western Economic Diversification, Labour, Public Works and Government Services Canada, Receiver General, Status of Women, and Health. Essentially, Ambrose has little bit of experience in everything. Her political career began in 2004, when she was elected as a Member of Parliament for Edmonton–Spruce Grove. She has since grown into a well-known representative in the House. I have no doubt that Ambrose  will be a strong voice of opposition to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

This year looks like a dynamite year for women in Canadian politics. First, there is a record number of women elected into the House of Commons. Then, the Liberal Party announces that their cabinet will consist of 15 women. Now, the interim leader of the official opposition just happens to be a woman.

I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

What’s the Hotline Bling for charities that work?

What is the value of a charitable donation?

Greg Thomson is director of research with Charity Intelligence, an organization that analyzes charitable investments and provides donors with information about their return. According to him, the issues concerning most donors surrounds where their money is going. What is that dollar being used for? While these are important questions, Charity Intelligence is urging donors to start thinking about charitable donations in a new way: specifically in terms of something called “social return”. 

“Social return on investments instead asks: for every dollar we give, how many dollars worth of social value are being created for the clients of the charity as well as society in general,” explained Thomson on CBC Manitoba on Nov. 4.

The average charity produces two dollars worth of social value for every dollar donation. But, what if we could make more of an impact? That is the idea that Thomson and Charity Intelligence is trying maximize through the Canadian Charity Impact Fund (CCIF). This mutual fund will pool donations together and deliver them to 10 high-impact charities.

“The 10 charities we’ve put together in the Canadian Charity Impact Fund, we believe will generate at least 9 dollars worth of social value for every dollar donated. This is a significant difference,” said Thomson.

To listen to Greg Thomson speak with CBC Manitoba, click on the soundcloud recording below. This is not an original interview and the full CBC newscast can be found here.

North American society is a little obsessed with how their money is spent. We want to physically see the results of our charitable donations—we want to make sure our money is being used “right.” However, this idea of a social return is much more important. It’s great if the five dollars you donate goes directly to the cause, but if it can create even more change, if the impact of your donation is higher, than it is more worth doing.

Let’s hope we don’t shy away from this way of thinking just because we aren’t used to it.

 

The 10 high-impact CCIF charities

Boundless School
Calgary Food Bank
East York Learning Experience
Eva’s Initiatives
Fort York Food Bank
Fresh Start Recovery Centre
Inn From The Cold Society
Second Harvest
Youth Fusion
Youth Without Shelter

The women in cabinet: qualified and capable

The promise was kept: 15 of the 31 Members of Parliament (MP) chosen to serve on Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony occurred Wednesday late morning, and was attended by over 3,500 members of the public. It was a historic affair, and not only because it was open to “regular” Canadians. It is the first time the Cabinet has been made up of an equal number of men and women.

During the election campaign, the newly sworn-in Prime Minister promised that half his cabinet will be formed of women. Since women make up over 50 per cent of the Canadian population, Trudeau argued they should be represented as such in government.

In 2015, it’s sad that a statement like this one had to be made into an election promise.

Over the last three days, there have been a number of columns written in the media arguing that the cabinet should be chosen as a meritocracy, and not by gender. It was enough to make me snort in my coffee. First of all, there are 50 female MPs to choose from in the Liberal Party, and all are qualified in some way seeming as they were elected by the people of Canada. Second of all, Cabinet appointments have always been political, and it’s naive to think of it any other way. The columns were, by the most part, written by male political pundits. The irony was not lost on me.

As of Wednesday, I firmly believe that these Cabinet positions were chosen based on merit, experience, and trust.

To prove it, here are the women chosen to represent the Liberal Government in the Cabinet and their qualifications:

Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs

Carolyn_Bennett_at_podium-CropBennett was first elected to the House of Commons in the 1997 general election and  has been re-elected since. During the SARS outbreak, Bennett served as the first ever Minister of Public Health, where she set up the Public Health Agency of Canada. During the last four years, she has served as Critic for Aboriginal Affairs and Chair of the National Liberal Women’s Caucus.

 

Jody Wilson-Raybould,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

Jody_Wilson-RaybouldAs a former crown prosecutor, treaty commissioner and Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Wilson-Raybould is more than qualified to hold this position. She has 10 years experience as an elected official, representing Indigenous people in British Columbia. Wilson-Raybould is the first Aboriginal person to hold this position.

 

Judy Foote,
Minister of Public Services & Procurement

downloadFoote has served as MP since 2008 and previously held the position of Liberal Whip and Deputy House Leader of the Opposition. She also spent 11 years in public service with the Newfoundland and Labrador House of Assembly, acting as Minister of Development and Rural Renewal, Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology, and Minister of Education.

 

Chrystia Freeland,
Minister of International Trade

200px-Chrystia_Freeland_-_India_Economic_Summit_2011Freeland is a former journalist who held editorial positions within the Financial Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, and Thomson Reuters. She reported on business and global affairs from the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, and Russia. Over the past year Freeland held the position of Liberal Critic for International Trade.

 

 

Jane Philpott,
Minister of Health

download (1)Before being elected into the House of Commons, Philpott served as Chief of the Department of Family Medicine at Markham Stouffville Hospital from 2008 to 2014. Before that she was a family physician. She was also an associate professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. Philpott is the founder of Give a Day to World Aids, which has raised over $4 million to help those affected by the disease in Africa.

 

Marie-Claude Bibeau,
Minister of International Development and La Francophonie

20151021KFI293_460A federal rookie, Bibeau has a lot of experience in community business and local politics. Before running for office, she worked at the Canadian International Development Agency in Ottawa, Montréal, Morocco and Benin, and in Africa. She is also a business owner of 15 years, has served on numerous museum boards, and held a position on the Compton revitalization committee.

 

Melanie Joly,
Minister of Canadian Heritage

10604730_10152619476411713_208595624510881686_oBefore getting into politics, Joly worked with two separate law firms in Montreal. She later moved to communications and founded of the party Le Vrai Changement pour Montréal. Joly is on a number of art and museum boards, including the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Governnor General’s Performing Arts Award and Business for the Arts.

 

 

Diane LeBouthillier,
Minister of National Revenue

4bQfs8VwLeBouthillier spent more then 23 years working with as a social worker at the Rocher Percé Health and Social Services Centre. She serves on the Board of Governors of Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, and chairs the boards of directors of Réseau collectif Gaspésie Les Îles and Transport adapté et collectif des Anses.

 

 

Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment & Climate Change

027ce2bMcKenna is another rookie to the federal arena. She co-founded the executive director of Canadian Lawyers Abroad, a charitable organization based at the University of Ottawa, and was the executive director the Banff Forum, an organization that brings together young Canadians to discuss key public policy challenges. McKenna has also worked as a legal adviser for the UN in East Timor and in Indonesia.

 

MaryAnn Mihychuck,
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Labour.
CSa2-PfWcAECQWNMihychuck is a former member of the Manitoba Legislator and is the founder of both Women in Mining Canada and Women in Mining Manitoba. She was elected provincially in 1995, and has served for nine years, holding the positions of Minister of Industry, Trade, and Mines and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. 

 

Maryam Monsef,
Minister for Democratic Institutions

-dCgAcvNMonsef has a truly colourful resume—she has worked for Trent University, Fleming College, Peterborough Economic Development, the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough and the New Canadian Centre. She has represented Peterborough at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City, and is a co-recipient of the YMCA’s Peace Medallion. Monsef is also the first Afghanistan-born MP appointed to the Cabinet.

 

Carla Qualtrough,
Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities
carla-qualtroughQualtrough is not only a successful lawyer, but a four-time world champion Paralympian. She chairs the BC Minister’s Council on Employment and Accessibility, and is an adjudicator with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal. Qualtrough has also been President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Chair of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada. She is on the Board of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, and Vice-Chair of the Delta Gymnastics Society.

 

Kirsty Duncan,
Minister of Science

DuncanKirsty_LibDuncan is a Canadian medical geographer. Until 2000, she taught meteorology, climatology, and climate change at the University of Windsor. She started studying influenza strains, an interest which led her to perform a ground survey in Longyearbyen, Norway. Duncan was also an adjunct professor teaching both medical geography at the University of Toronto and global environmental processes at Royal Roads University. She also served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 

Patty Hajdu,
Minister of Status of Women

Patty-Hajdu1-540x540New to politics, Hajdu was the executive director for Shelter House, Thunder Bay’s largest homeless shelter. For nine years, she worked with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit where she chaired the Drug Awareness Committee of Thunder Bay and authored the city’s Drug Strategy. In her free time, she volunteers as a board member with Alphacourt Mental Health Services and the Ontario Literacy Coalition.

 

Bardish Chagger,
Minister of Small Business & Tourism

BardishChagger-2-250x200Chagger has worked at the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, an organization that assists new Canadians as they transition into the community. In this role, she planned and coordinated events for the community, including the annual Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Festival. She was executive assistant to Hon. Andrew Telegdi, former MP. She was also a board member with the Workforce Planning Board of Waterloo, Wellington, Dufferin, and MT Space.

 

To all the naysayers and meritocracy-obsessed column writers, I see your point. How could any of these women be qualified for the positions they now hold?

All I have to say after today is this: Thank goodness our new Prime Minister rose above the commentary to create a cabinet that is actually representative of the population it works for. Thank goodness he saw the value and experience of the women who were elected into the House of Commons. And thank goodness he didn’t assume that men are more qualified than women to run this country.

And shame on those who thought anything different.

5 boots to keep you warm and stylish this winter

Don’t be fooled by the warm weather this week. It’s fall, almost winter, and it’s time to start dressing like it. Get ready to throw away the light scarves in exchange for the thick-knitted one your mom made you. It’s time to store those sandals in the back of your closet and buy some fuzzy socks.

But, don’t worry. We know that it’s important to look presentable, even if the temperatures starts to drop. To help, here are five of the top boot trends for 2015:

 

The ankle-boot: I’m thrilled that the stylish and professional ankle-boots are back in style again. Nothing looks better with a good pair of skinny jeans and a blouse then the ankle-boot. They are also undeniably more comfortable than those black wear-every-day-to-work pumps.

ALDO, $145
ALDO, $145

The suede heel: You can’t go wrong with a good pair of knee-high boots, especially in this chilled weather. Not only do they add an extra layer of warmth to your legs, but they look amazing with both jeans and tights. Just make sure you buy some protective spray for the material. We all know how wet these Canadian seasons can be.

Le Chateau, $119.95
Le Chateau, $119.95

Knit insides: Canada knows how to make warm and stylish boots. Most of the 2015 designs will have a knit layer inside the boot, and then pair it with lace and zippers to make it as stylish as it is weather appropriate. They are also the perfect casual boot—pair it with jeans and a light knit sweater, and you are weekend ready.

Call it Spring, $59.99
Call it Spring, $59.99

Fringe: We always seem to come back to the fringe-style: in the 60s, then the 90s, and now in 2015! I’ve always loved fringe, the way it swishes as you walk. Turns out, I’m not the only one. Most stores carry a few stylish and trendy fringe options, and they are worth checking out.

Nine West, $295
Nine West, $295

The totally Canadian winter boot: Come December, our cute boots may not be able to cut through the slush and snow. This boot, however, was made for a Canadian winter. A hearty waterproof sole, a plaid knit top, and a maple leaf on the back—just in case it’s not clear that we are Canadian.

Cougar Boots, $160
Cougar Boots, $160