Media Constructs Reality: News Coverage of Ontario’s Minimum Wage Increase Slanted Heavily Towards Business Interests



An analysis by PressProgress (Source) of dozens of news articles covering the province’s recent minimum wage increase reveals Canadian newspapers overwhelmingly privileged the perspective of businesses over the perspective of Ontario’s low-wage workers.



Three-quarters of all news coverage (75%) between December 31, 2017 and January 4th, 2018 greeting the new minimum wage – including news reports, opinion columns and editorials – directly quoted or cited figures from business owners, bankers and corporate lobby groups.



Despite a body of credible research from academic sources showing minimum wage increases have clear economic benefits and 53 Canadian economists endorsing the policy, half of all news articles (50%) failed to list any economic benefits whatsoever from raising the minimum wage.

Instead, headlines were dominated by misleading claims of job losses and anecdotes from small business owners.

Full article  HERE

Keep in mind the Mass Media Principles when evaluating any type of media text , journalism, advertisement, cinema, television, music & video,magazines, novels and factual reportage, and any social media.




Fashion as Mass Media: Dollar Wears




Colin Meredith’s collection includes track pants made from umbrellas, 3 jackets made from Ziploc bags, beach balls and Dollarama plastic bags respectively, and a pullover made out of face cloths and a hanging shoe rack. CBC News

Montreal-based designer Colin Meredith is finding ways to overcome the cost prohibitive hurdles faced by young fashion designers looking to establish themselves. Meredith’s more recent collection,called Dollar Wears, makes use of only products from the dollar store. The thirteen piece collection includes eight tops/ outerwear pieces, two pairs of pants and three Vans shoes (a sponsor of the project), made by hand from Dollarama (Quebec dollar store chain) products.


Beach Ball Jacket in the Montreal Festival Mode & Design installation display.


Keep in mind that this collection is an art exhibition and that included in the materials are used are Dollarama plastic shopping bags. These bags include the store logo. So, besides demonstrating the Colin Meredith’s creativity and effective recycling of materials, this creative exercise in fashion design also is an example of Mass Media Principles.

Dollarama Bag Jacket


Primarily, this demonstrates how Mass Media consumes other Mass Media, turning it into content. In Merideth’s use of Dollarama products, as an artist he was working with physical materials and repurposing them as clothing. Clothing has both practical use and use as art (cultural expression through fashion) . Clothing functions as Mass Medium, conveying cultural messages about a person’s station in society and about their own individual sense of self.

Racegoers at Warwick Farm Racecourse c1934


Hats & Harlem Pants c. 1910-1915

In Western society, the cultural message conveyed by fashion choices can incorporate logos and brand names, as well as icons from the entertainment industry, sports, and national & regional identifiers.

 Missoni Fashions – Photograph: REX/Shutterstock – The Guardian


The Dollar Wears exhibit alters the message of the original products and creates a new context. It both comments on social prestige that is associated with high fashion branding and logos, and it demonstrates how inexpensive materials can be reused in imaginative ways.


Colin Meredith’s creation of a motorcycle jacket made out of duct tape from Dollarama.

Sources:  Montreal designer uses Dollarama materials to make exclusive clothes – CBC News

Colin Meredith  Website


“That’s what you mean, eh?”

Canadians Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis created the Canadian quintessential cultural touch-stones, The Mckenzie Brothers, for SCTV (1980).  Created originally as filler to both satisfy and mock network Canadian content demands, the duo became a pop culture phenomenon in both Canada and the United States. Though initially intended for Canadian TV only, some of the two-minute “Great White North” segments would find their way into U.S. versions of the 30-minute shows due to a shortage of content that week. When NBC ordered the 90-minute shows for the 1981 season, they specifically cited good affiliate feedback on the “two dumb Canadian characters” and requested that the characters be included in every program.

One of the characteristics of the pair was their exaggerated Canadian  dialect, made up of a mixture of  Ottawa Valley and Toronto dialects.  It incorporated real and imagined idiom ( Hoser – false etymology ) to satirize the expectations of Canadian culture &  image. The most famous expression is the ubiquitous “eh”.

“And we thought if we’re going to do these characters, we’re going to slow down our speech a little, certain words we’re going to over-pronounce and we’re going to tag a lot of sentences with ‘eh.’ ” – Dave Thomas


For an more expansive article on this topic see Toronto Star-So you’ve heard all about this Canadian myth, eh?



Ottawa’s Past in Pictures : Photography as Mass Media

A view of the Centre Block in 1884, with its centrepiece the 55-metre-high Victoria Tower. After being destroyed by the great fire of 1916, the Centre Block was rebuilt with a newly-designed and taller Peace Tower. (Library and Archives Canada/PA-003340)

 Photography functions both as a Mass Medium and as content for other Mass Media. It can be used as a means of documenting  events and as an artistic medium to entertain/comment . The CBC News has been running a series of articles exploring Ottawa‘s past through archival photography. As with any form of Mass Media, these pieces of media reveal target audience, values. beliefs & ideologies, and convey intended and unintended messages.

Ottawa’s thin blue line was a lot thinner in 1912, with a much smaller police force for a much smaller municipal population of about 100,000. Back then, bicycles served as equivalent of squad cars. Police officer James Fagan is posing outside C. Poulin’s store at 324 Rochester St. (City of Ottawa Archives/CA001216)


The Anglo-Irish police officer in front of a French Canadian owned store reveal/suggest the cultural-socioeconomic structural lines of Canadian society . To further cement  this image a truly Canadian, note the shop window. Red Rose Tea, advertised for sale in the shop window,  is a classic emblem of Canada.  Red Rose Tea  was a beverage company established by Theodore Harding Estabrooks in 1894 in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. It is considered an iconic part of Canadian culture and many consumers have a strong emotional attachment to the brand  ( Only in Canada, eh ? Pity….. ).

Workers at the Ottawa Car Company plant on Slater Street pose with ‘Lallah Rookh,’ one of the first electric streetcars to ply the streets of Ottawa, in this 1893 photo. The company would go on to build 1,700 streetcar and rail vehicles before closing in 1947. Electric streetcars operated in the capital from June 1891 until May 1959. (City of Ottawa Archives/CA001508)


The white working men pose depict their social class and the style of clothing of the time. Notice the little girls to the left dressed in very adult clothes of young ladies. Childhood was seen as miniature adulthood and girls & women had roles to fill that were as defined as the men posing in the shot.

The young girls  in the following shot, infant Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her sisters, resided in Ottawa during the WW II, they too had roles to play, even as children.  They were emblems of a social structure, a society & people under threat, and the  Yousuf Karsh portrait is intended to portray/represent a mother and her children who have sought sanctuary.


Princess Juliana of the Netherlands holds an infant Princess Margriet at Stornoway (later to become the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition) in Rockcliffe, their home during the Second World War. Juliana and her three girls found refuge in Ottawa after the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands. The Canadian government declared Juliana’s maternity room at the Ottawa Civic Hospital international territory to ensure Margriet would bear only Dutch citizenship. After the war, an appreciative Royal family sent Ottawa 100,000 tulips, spawning the long-standing tulip festival the capital continues to enjoy every spring. (Library and Archives Canada/Yousuf Karsh/PA-192854)

The potential of heroism & compassion can also be portrayed in scenes of tragedy and calamity , as the following images demonstrate.




Theories as to the cause of the Centre Block fire, but to this day it remains a mystery. An official inquiry failed to determine whether the blaze was sparked by arson, a careless smoker or perhaps faulty wiring. (John Boyd/Library and Archives Canada)


Eight people, including two children, all newly-arrived immigrants, died in the derailment. At least 50 more were injured. Many of those on board were Scottish and Irish immigrants who had arrived in Canada only hours earlier. While many residents showed up to watch the spectacle, others helped search for and comfort survivors, and opened their homes to stranded families. (Library and Archives Canada/PA-025114)


Clicking the images will take you( new tab) to original CBC articles which include more images and information.  Consider the values, beliefs & ideologies the that the CBC is trying to convey about Canada, Canadian culture and Ottawa,  in our 150th year.