Easier said than done: tips to handle stress

Burnout feels inevitable this time of year, as do tips to help avoid it—but do those “helpful tips” actually work?

It’s 4 a.m. and I’ve just finished my fourth cup of coffee. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—burnout season. Exams are somehow just around the corner, but you’ve barely recovered from the last exam season. You’re running on fumes and wondering where all the hours in a day go. Inevitably, you’re burnt out. 

And somehow, burnout really does seem inevitable. Harvard Business Review puts it well, saying that this exhaustion “can stem from the demands of an always-on, 24/7 organizational culture, intense time pressure, or simply having too much to do, especially when you lack control over your work, dislike it, or don’t have the necessary skills to accomplish it.” 

(Felt that.)

Our world seems to just be built this way. School prioritizes results over learning, and work prizes productivity over well-being. That realization begs the question: is there anything we can do about it? 

With the end of semester burnout comes a staple of the season: tips and tricks to handle the stress. The issue is that many of these tips are much easier said than done and don’t address the inherent issues within our education system, workforce, and productivity culture. 

To delve deeper, I considered common advice and asked students from various universities and CEGEPs for their thoughts on burnout to find out whether these so-called “helpful tips” are actually helpful at all, and to discover their own personal strategies to manage stress. 

Get more sleep? This is the one I struggle with the most. My roommate, on the other hand, has no trouble prioritizing her sleep schedule. “All-nighters are a scam,” said Georgia C. Leggett, a McGill anthropology student. “I found I did my lowest quality work late at night, so I started making sleep my main priority. It makes me feel better, I get more done, and I buy less concealer.” 

Eat healthy? Nobody prioritizes their health more than Francesca Foy, a McGill finance student who only knows two food groups during exam season: RedBull and Couche-Tard sandwiches. She claims it’s an absolute must for “the grind,” but she does notice a big difference when she makes the time to eat right. She enjoys meal prepping with friends as a social activity: “That way you’re having a good time but also being productive and doing something good for your health. Plus, I suck at cooking, so this is a sneaky way to let my friends do all the work.” 

Stay active? “The problem is that when you’re approaching burnout, every technique feels like a chore,” said Nicolas Lachapelle, who is studying engineering at UOttawa. He and burnout are good friends, so he tackles the issue by going on long stress walks. Personally, I’m a big fan of multi-tasking—listening to your lectures while going for a run, or even doing a reading on a stationary bike can help integrate some movement into your study grind. 

Make studying fun? You can usually find Dylan Badke-Ingerman in the Concordia library (though she’s a Dawson student), distracting me with gossip and suspicious Bulk Barn jelly beans. We’ve taken to hosting regular study sessions, and though we don’t get very much done, the study parties at least make us feel like we’re in it together. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, ” Badke said. “I actually get lots done when we study together.” Well, that makes one of us. 

Find what works for you! Ultimately, you need to find methods and tricks that make sense for who you are and the life you lead. I may never have a proper sleep schedule or a diet that isn’t 95 per cent stolen leftovers (sorry Georgia), but I do have floor naps and Bulk Barn. And when all else fails, I try to remember: school does matter, but not more than health and well-being. So even though I have three more assignments to finish, I think it’s time to call it a night. 


Master your Photo Skills with the Concordian

Photography is as easy as one, two, three!

Are you ready to switch out the average camera on the phone in your pocket for a more professional camera? The team at the Concordian put together a simple guide to help our fellow photojournalists out with some advice based on journalistic situations you would find yourself in.

To start things off, before you even start fiddling with your camera settings, set your camera to Manual mode. This will give you full control of the camera versus other default settings where the camera might automatically adjust settings based on the situation.

Understanding the basics of your camera – 

Now that your camera is in Manual mode, you have to understand the interaction between light and the camera, also known as the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle balances three elements: your shutter speed, ISO, and aperture. 

Think of shutter speed as curtains for a window. Your shutter is the curtains that close inside the camera when you press the button to take the picture. It essentially opens and closes the shutter to either slow down or freeze movement. 

Imagine you open and shut the curtains at 1/500 of a second. Not a lot of light can get in during the short time it was open, right? You maybe get one brief glance out your window due to how fast the curtains shut, but not the whole scene. However, if the curtains closed at 1/30 a second, think of how much more you could see. The longer the shutter stays open, the more information the camera takes in. Longer shutter speeds can lead to motion blur, while faster shutter speeds freeze motion.  

Up next is your ISO, which is essentially light sensitivity. This concept goes back to the film days—each film had its own level and amount of light it was able to process. Think of it as a scale of light with 100 being a full sunny day and 3200 being nighttime. You can use this as wiggle room on your shutter speed or aperture. 

One more thing to keep in mind is higher ISO also comes with a bit more noise, or grain, and the camera would work harder to capture the scene.

The final component of the exposure triangle is the aperture. A camera is basically a hole that opens, lets light in, and then captures it in its simplest form. The aperture allows you to decide the size of that hole—it can either be wide open and let lots of information in, or tiny and only let a little bit in. This determines how much of your image will be in focus. 

Let’s say you just want to capture the foreground—whatever element is closest to your camera. You would use a smaller aperture of around F/2.8. For something like landscapes, where you would want everything in focus, we would suggest a wider aperture of F/14. 

Different journalistic situations –

As long as these three elements balance, you can conquer a lot of the photojournalistic scenarios you’d find yourself in. Are you on the news beat? In a lot of situations, you’ll be taking portraits of your subjects for a visual. In these types of situations we would suggest:

  • Shutter Speed: 1/100 or faster
  • Aperture: F/1.8 – F/5.6
  • ISO: 100-400
  • Focus: Auto (AF)
  • Focus Type: Continuous/Servo
  • White Balance: AWB
  • Drive Mode: Single Shot

Student leading the climate protest in downtown Montreal on September 23, 2022. Photo by Dalia Nardolillo/THE CONCORDIAN.

Do you like to capture the action of athletes on the field during a game? We would suggest the following settings for sports photography:

  • Shutter Speed: 1/500 at a minimum to ensure the movement is captured
  • Aperture: F/2.8 – F/5.6
  • ISO: 400
  • Focus: Auto (AF)
  • Focus Type: Continuous/Servo
  • White Balance: AWB
  • Drive Mode: Continuous/Burst 

Photo by Catherine Reynolds / The Concordian

Maybe you prefer to photograph the emotion and excitement of a concert. This can be a little trickier with all the crazy lighting typical to shows. One important thing to remember is that red light is the hardest to photograph in. Here are some settings that we would suggest to elevate your concert experience:  

  • Shutter Speed: 1/250 or faster (pro tip: try lower for some artsy motion blur) 
  • Aperture: F/1.8 – F/4 ( preferably as low as it can go!)
  • ISO: 1600 – 3200
  • Focus: Auto (AF) as well as spot-metering 
  • Focus Type: Continuous/Servo
  • White Balance: AWB
  • Drive Mode: Continuous/Burst

Photo by Catherine Reynolds / The Concordian

Long story short, this little guide does not cover every situation you’ll be faced with. It takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you and we hope above all that this is a good start for your photography adventure!


Six Tips for a successful Semester

Fear the semester no more!

The fall semester might be challenging, but with the tips below, you’ll be ready to conquer the semester.

You must first be mindful of what is expected of you in a course. Read the syllabus carefully to understand what you will learn and what your assignments look like. Write down all the due dates in a planner and organize your time accordingly.

Use the office hours on the syllabus to meet with your professor or TA. You can ask them as many questions as you want, and they will happily help you. The Student Success Center also offers a wide range of learning services that you can find on Concordia’s website. Countless workshops are crafted to help you better navigate your semester. 

Volunteering on campus is a rewarding experience that allows you to make connections and improve your confidence. Say you’re in journalism, you could join Concordia’s radio station, but if you are a JMSB student, you could be part of one of the committees at John Molson. Volunteering will allow you to get hands-on experience in your program of studies. You can find all student clubs on Concordia’s website under Student Life and find the best match for you. 

Regular physical activity can improve your memory, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boost your self-confidence. I find exercising to be a form of self-love, because you get to challenge yourself to push through, spend time alone and improve your overall well-being in the long term. In the EV building downtown, Le Gym offers both online and in-person fitness classes. If you are interested in martial arts, aerobics, dance or yoga, among others, now is your time to sign up!

Many students struggle to balance classes, social life, volunteering, working and paying bills. After a hectic day, you might feel a little overwhelmed and drained. It’s essential to spend time looking for a relaxation technique that helps soothe your anxiety. That could be mediating, breathing exercises, or practicing mindfulness. Sleep is another vital aspect—insufficient sleep can affect mood and intensify stress. It is recommended for adults in our age range to get at least seven hours of sleep. 

If you have concerns regarding your mental health and need professional help, Concordia offers counseling and psychological services. You can book an appointment online on Concordia’s website under Health & Wellness. 

The last thing you want to experience is going through all the course material a night before the due date. Find yourself a study space that will keep you motivated and focused. Concordia’s Webster Library, downtown, is open 24 hours. Make sure to be consistent and plan your study time. Also, turning your phone off for a while can be a game-changer. 

Have a successful semester!



No Living Wage? Here’s a toonie

Why we should all be tipping well.

Fifteen percent is the bare minimum. No seriously, it is.

Have you ever gone out to eat and found yourself wondering why the tip ends up costing you maybe as much as an appetizer? Well, that’s because, in Quebec, servers are not paid a living wage.

A living wage is basically a fair amount that allows you to afford the cost of living in your area. While I believe that the required minimum wage isn’t even a living wage nowadays, that’s for another article. 

As someone who works in a restaurant, I know for a fact that servers are paid below the minimum wage. The average hourly salary of a server in Quebec is $12.20 while the minimum wage is currently $15.25. Except, it’s not just servers, it’s most tippable jobs. I don’t mean the cashier with a tip jar (we’ll talk about that later) but any job where a tip is expected.

So, with inflation and the cost of living constantly on the rise, shouldn’t the people being paid less than a living wage be given a little more consideration? 

With that said, here’s my guide to tipping:

As I mentioned, 15 percent is the bare minimum. The rule I go by is, that if you can’t afford to tip at a place, you can’t afford to eat there. If you’re budgeting yourself ahead of time, the tip should be factored in. If you don’t tip, servers quite literally end up paying to have served you. It’s messed up, but it’s true. Servers are required at the end of the night, to “tip out.”

If you don’t know, “tipping out” is when the server pays out a percentage of their sales to “the house” (the house is just the restaurant). That percentage then goes to helping pay the salaries of the kitchen, bussers, and hostesses, as well as going to the manager’s and owner’s pockets. 

To recap, if you don’t tip, servers are still required to tip out to the house as if you did tip— so it ends up being money out of their own pockets. 

Now, how do you tip properly? Well, cash is usually the best way to tip because they don’t have to declare as much of it in sales. That means they won’t be as taxed on it, and they won’t have to tip out as much of it at the end of the night.

In a world where nobody carries cash anymore though, just tip well. 

Moreover, you shouldn’t only be tipping at restaurants. A general rule I follow is if I pay cash, I tip all the small change I get back. If you’ve ever worked in the service industry you know it can be soul-sucking and draining. The people in these industries deserve some love and appreciation too, especially since tips are scarce and usually split among staff.

Really, we should all be conscious of the fact that these people are running around to serve us while barely being paid fairly. Everyone deserves a living wage, and while it shouldn’t be our responsibility to compensate for unfair salaries, we do it (or at least should).


The life and hard times of a Concordia student

Here are some tips on how to become a better version of yourself this semester

Welcome all Concordians, old and new, to the fall semester! As a new academic year kicks off, the campuses are buzzing with students as we swarm the halls and classrooms. Some of us are back to conquer yet another year, and the rest of you are beginning your journey as a Concordian. Either way, after a long summer off from school, we all need some time to mentally prepare and readjust to student life.

I don’t know about you, but even after a few weeks, I’m still having trouble accepting the busy semester ahead. But denial won’t get me anywhere. The semester is here; there is no stopping this train. After five years of experience as a Concordia student—I’m finishing my master’s in environment—the best advice I can give you is to dive in head first.

Now, some of you might be afraid to do this. You may be wondering if you’ll sink or swim. That is a valid question, but my answer is simple.

How can you sink when you’re surrounded by life preservers? If you’re struggling to stay afloat and on top of your academic work, just reach out and grab one. We’re surrounded by so much support, you just have to know where to look.

First thing’s first: Get with the program, literally. We may dread, at least a little bit, the idea of starting another semester, but at the university level, we’re here because we want to be. And if you’re going to do anything, do it right! It’s important to remember we signed up for this life of learning, and we’re so lucky to be in an environment that allows us to grow intellectually, socially and personally.

To take advantage of a full Concordia experience, here are some tips on how to excel as a Concordia student and tap into your inner nerd.

Start by balancing your social and academic lives. You need to be able to do both in order to stay sane. Detach every so often and redirect your energy so you can perform better when you return to  your studies. Try joining a student club or association, attend campus events, or volunteer. These are great opportunities to learn new skills outside of the classroom. Get involved in something you enjoy.

Take care of your physical and mental health. As students, it’s easy to live off of coffee and Timmie’s bagels for extended periods of time. But a healthy body and mind will help you with your studies. Be mindful of what you eat and how much you’re sleeping.

As for dealing with the inevitable roller coaster of emotions, stress and anxiety that come with being a student, know that you’re not alone. We’re all going through the same thing, and what you’re experiencing is normal. You can also check out Concordia’s Counselling and Psychological Services for more tips or if you want to speak with a professional.

But before all else, to excel as a student, you must adopt a student mindset. Get back on track, stop procrastinating and do those readings. Be the best student you can be. Be curious and dare to ask the questions no one is asking. Think outside the box and challenge your professors. Understand that they are people too, and they’re not always right. Be open to other student’s perspectives; you can learn a lot from your peers. And take advantage of the services available to us for help in all areas of student life. If you’re not sure what help you need or where to find it, stop by the Welcome Crew offices on either campus and a student mentor (maybe even me, if I’m on shift) will be happy to help.

Lastly, make the right friends for the right things. Who you hang out with and when is key to being a good student. Form study groups for your classes, and find like-minded people to motivate you through your studies and push you to do better. When studying, embrace your inner Concordia nerd. Remember that sometimes (not always) there needs to be a distinction between the friends you have for your academic life and the people in your social life. Your study friends are your study friends and your Reggies friends are your Reggies friends, but you’ll need both to kill it at Concordia.

Graphic by Wednesday Laplante


Student Life

My personal experience having a YouTube channel

How YouTube taught me life skills and how to be confident

I started my YouTube channel four years ago. In the beginning, the purpose was basically to post random music video covers of some of my favourite songs. Now, my YouTube channel has evolved and completely shifted focus—I now film and post videos about beauty, food as well as lifestyle-type videos. I’ve also recently started filming videos of my travel getaways and story-time videos. I plan on expanding on more aspects of myself for others to see.

When I started out, I was definitely nervous about filming videos and having them posted on a platform as big as YouTube. However, I knew that, if anyone could do it, I could. I’ve always had the courage in me to do anything I want. I’ve never really been afraid of what other people think.

However, I faced some disapproval when I first started out. My mom and sister judged me for the videos I posted on my channel. They called them stupid and useless. For a while, I felt discouraged about this negative feedback. Recently, I saw insulting comments posted on my videos. I deleted them and pretended they never existed. Of course, deep down, it hurts.

When you film videos and post them online, you need to be prepared for any comment that may come your way—the good, the bad and the ugly. You need to shrug off the hateful comments and keep moving forward. This is my current mindset for my YouTube journey, and it feels good. I have gained enough self-trust and confidence through YouTube— I know I am doing this for nobody else but me.

My YouTube channel means a lot to me. It’s the place where I can truly express myself with people around the world. Filming videos has definitely boosted my confidence. I can see myself evolving and becoming more “social” online by reaching out to people from all over. It makes me feel free to say and do whatever I want.  It has also helped me practice speaking aloud and in front of a camera. These skills translate well in my academic life. My channel has also forced me to be more socially-active with friends and when meeting or talking to strangers.

I also like the idea of helping people through my YouTube videos. I want to be a role model for others. Making these videos has made me want to help others overcome the same struggles I’ve dealt with in my life, including bullying and issues with self-image. I also want my YouTube channel to be a light, fun environment where I can also post funny skits, travel adventures and videos about makeup.

If you’re thinking about starting a YouTube channel, be yourself and do not be afraid to express yourself and branch out. This will help you develop a thick skin and ignore hateful comments because, at the end of the day, you are doing what makes you happy. There are always going to be people online hating on your channel, but use it as motivation to make your content better and take more risks through your videos. As Walt Disney once said: “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Graphic by Thom Bell

Student Life

Some handheld help for school

Three apps to help you through that final end-of-semester push

It’s that time of the semester when you feel like you might be drowning. As university students are forced to juggle adult responsibilities, end-of-semester deadlines and exams, time management becomes more important than ever.

For us students, it sometimes feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in a day to tick off every item on our to-do lists.  Luckily, the app store is never short on useful apps to help guide us through our studies, and help us survive the end of our semester.

Get Revising

Screenshot courtesy of Danielle Gasher

This app and website allow you to quickly create a schedule tailored to your individual study needs. The app lets you fill in information about the classes you’re taking, your target grade and the classes and assignments you deem a ‘priority.’

Get Revising also allows you to block off time slots when you are not available to study. These blocks of time can include hours during which you have class, work or other important commitments, and the app essentially helps you work around those commitments. Deadlines and exam dates can also be added to the schedule.

Students can then choose the time they want to begin their study sesh, and set a target for the number of hours they want to dedicate to that session. The site then combines the student’s priorities, deadlines and available study time to create coherent and realistic weekly study schedule.


It can be difficult to set aside time for breaks during your study sessions without feeling guilty.

Sometimes, a spontaneous, 10-minute break is all you need to power through the rest of an essay that’s due tomorrow.

Here’s where the Headspace app comes in handy.  You can have access to 10 free meditation exercises, and each session is 10 minutes long and guided by the soothing British accent of former Buddhist monk, Andy Puddicombe.

The sessions guide students through the process of deconstructing, decluttering and, eventually, reorganizing their mind in a more orderly manner. This app is perfect for when students need to take a step back from homework.

The sessions are organized by levels, allowing you to work your way up to more independent meditation sessions with less guidance.  It also creates a sense of achievement as users move up through the levels. Headspace allows listeners to reap the benefits of meditating without possessing the intellectual discipline of a Buddhist monk.



Screenshot courtesy of Danielle Gasher

Even when you’re sitting at a desk with every intention of getting work done, it can be difficult to actually focus. Some people study most efficiently in complete silence. Others need a little white noise. The myNoise app and website offer a plethora of realistic soundscapes and noise generators to fill the silence in a way that won’t distract you.

Among countless others, these include natural noises, such as rain on a tent, streams or the sounds of a rainforest.  You can also choose the calming sounds of a winter walk, an exam hall or a coffee shop, or synthetic noises, such as the classic white noise generator.

Additionally, each noise is highly customizable, allowing users to manually adjust which particular sounds they want to enhance.

With a strategic schedule, a clear head and a stimulating environment, the final weeks of the semester are sure to be more bearable thanks to these helpful study apps.

These free apps are available on iTunes for both android and apple phones.  


How to record your band’s first EP

A 10-step guideline for those entering the recording world

If you’re a musician looking to record your first EP album, here is some advice that could benefit you. I’ve been there and have made many mistakes that I want to share so you can avoid making them yourself. This is a general guide aimed at those who are entering the recording world.

1. Write lots of songs

Get into the habit of writing everyday. Even though most of your songs will get tossed, you’ll come across a few gems worth working on. Play those songs to your band, entourage or the public as a busker. See what the reaction is.

2. Write a band agreement

The agreement will ensure everyone is on the same page before you spend any time or money on the project. Make sure these elements are crystal clear with all parties before moving forward: who wrote the song and who owns the copyright to it, who owns the copyright to the sound recordings, who will pay for the recordings, mixing and mastering, what the credits will read on the website and physical albums, and the division of royalties.

3.  Practice, practice, practice

It’s cliché because it’s true. Your band needs to be confident enough with the songs you want to record for your EP. Make sure everyone knows exactly what their parts are. Arrange the songs so there’s a change in dynamics, and don’t overplay. I sang, played guitar, bass and synth on my band’s first EP, and it was a bit messy because I was riffing too much on each instrument. Let each instrument take turns in the lead and rhythm parts.

4. Setting up for recording

Figure out which electronic device or recording software you will use to record. I recommend “Reaper” software. Once you’re recording, every signal coming into your computer should not be over -9 decibels. Anything louder than that can cause clipping. Make sure to have a metronome set for each song, to ensure a professional sound recording.

5. Recording instruments

For drums, I suggest going to a studio and having a professional help with this—it will make an enormous difference on the overall sound of the recording. Drums are the most technically challenging instrument to record. For bass, having fresh strings are a must. A real amp is preferable over a simulation. Use a compressor placed between the guitar or bass and amp to get a constant signal level.  For synthesizers, use a compressor placed between the synth and the audio recording interface.

6. Recording vocals

Rent a few mics to see which one suits the singer’s voice best. Next, put together a vocal booth, either by building one or using mattresses/moving blankets or duvets. You don’t want to hear any of the room’s reverberation in the mic. Have three sides that block the outside sound and sing towards the open area. Suppress the sound area above you, as sound will bounce off the ceiling. Use a pop filter and place yourself about a foot away from the mic.

7. Comping

Record four takes of each instrument and even more for vocals. Comping means using the best of each take to create the best version of the song. Isolate each individual instrument and play it with the metronome. Listen to the track in eight bar sections and use the take most closely played to the metronome. For vocals, you want to listen to the vocal track much louder than the other instruments. What you’re listening for is the right pitch and emotional delivery.

8. Mixing and mastering

I highly recommend finding professional engineers to mix and master your EP for you. Be ready to spend between $600 and $1500 on mixing and make sure you get three full revisions of each song included in the price. When you receive the first mix, listen to it on a variety of speakers and headphones, and write a list of what you want changed in each song. An agreement or contract here is vital to protect your band and the engineer from any misunderstanding or fraud. Sign a work-for-hire agreement, which states that the engineer shall not receive any royalties from the music, and also, that they do not own the sound recordings. For mastering, expect to spend between $200 and $500. The goal of mastering is to get each song at the same volume and as loud as they can be.

9. Release

Book a venue for your EP release show a few months in advance, on a Saturday night if possible. You want to have as many people present at your release, as well as press, bloggers and music reviewers. Hire someone who can take good pictures, and find an opening act that will warm up the crowd before you headline. Post your music on Bandcamp the day of the show, and have download coupons ready to sell to your fans, friends and family. Typically, an EP goes for $3 to $5, so you can include this in the cover charge—when people pay $5 to see your show, they get a download coupon for your EP.

10. Promote

Create an electronic press kit full of professional band photos, logos, biography information, recordings, stage plot and contact/booking info. Send it to radio stations, music review sites and booking agents. Aim to book one or two shows a month.

Student Life

The perils of working for tips

TORONTO (CUP) — While you’re sitting comfortably in a restaurant, the service will cross your mind. Maybe the drinks took too long to arrive or your appetizer was missing a sauce. But when your server arrives with your meal, smiling and asking if there’s anything else they can get you, your mind turns to your food.
When you finally assess that tip, you might want to consider that your server hasn’t eaten for the last eight hours or so.

Skipping your breaks
Virginia Connors, 19, is a second-year child and youth care student at Ryerson. She works part-time as a waitress at Joey at the Eaton Centre.
She regularly goes four to seven hours without a break in the one-inch heels that are a mandatory part of her uniform.
“It’s too busy during the night shifts to take a break,” said Connors.
Connors usually chooses to skip her breaks to avoid losing her tables to another server.
“They don’t offer breaks, you just know that you’re entitled to them. I’ve gone almost 10 hours without a break, and that’s at my discretion,” she said. “While I’m working I don’t notice it so much, as compared to after work and I realize I haven’t eaten — then I’m tired.”
According to Ontario’s employment standards act, an employee is to work no more than five hours straight without a break of at least 30 minutes.
Jennifer Savage at the Ministry of Labour said, “It’s not the choice of the employee, it’s law.”
According to Savage, if employees aren’t getting their minimum 30-minute breaks, the employer can be fined.
“The employer has to ensure they [take their break].”
The inability to take proper breaks is a common problem for servers. Natalie Rineshore, whose name has been changed, is a Ryerson student who works in a sports bar on King St. West.
“If it is a busy night, like a 14-hour shift, you really don’t get a break unless you plan ahead and take one at 4 o’clock before the 5 o’clock rush.”
But Rineshore’s main concern isn’t breaks — it’s the required uniforms.

Dressing the part
For Connors at Joey, the heels are a hindrance, but her uniform is otherwise comfortable as long as the air conditioning isn’t too cold.
But Rineshore is more upset by her company’s dress code.
“Low cut shirt, very low cut, to the point where bra is exposed. The cup of the bra, and the wire, everything’s exposed. And mini skirts and knee high boots,” she said.
Rineshore said the knee-high boots need to have at least a one-and-a-half to two-inch heel.
According to Rineshore, some guests don’t like the uniforms and have filled out comment cards about how revealing they are. One guest wrote an online review saying the bar was more akin to “an upscale gentlemen’s club.”
“Our managers are all men. So obviously they’re enjoying it and it’s helping to promote the image of the restaurant that they want, but these comment cards have been filled out, handed to a manager, the manager reads them, laughs at them, rips them up and throws them in the garbage,” said Rineshore.
“So they don’t get sent to corporate. No one finds out about this. And even if they did get sent to corporate, who knows what they would do about it,” she said. “People have said we make Hooters look like Chuck E. Cheese’s.”
Regardless of the clothing, Rineshore’s main concern is the boots.
“I had to host on the patio in boots, and it was 30 degrees and my legs are sweating, and they get mad if you have a cup of water on the host stand, because they don’t want that image to be portrayed of you just sitting and drinking and socializing,” she said.
“They want you to look like you’re professional. But I’m sweating in my boots, literally.”
Rineshore said people have wiped out on the restaurant’s cement floor which has very little friction.
“People could get injured just by falling,” she said. “Waiting hot plates? You could burn a guest.”
According to Rineshore, the serving staff of about 30 employs only two men and one male bartender. The male servers are not required to wear equally provocative uniforms.
Jennifer Ramsay, communications coordinator for Toronto’s Human Rights Legal Support Centre, expressed some concerns over Rineshore’s situation.
“If only the women are being asked to dress provocatively, then that could be [discriminatory],” she said
There have been legal cases throughout Canada of female employees fighting against revealing uniforms. The 1982 Ontario case of Ballentyne v. Molly N’ Me Tavern favoured Susan Ballentyne who was offered a serving job with a topless dress code. A 1997 case in Quebec favoured female employees when the establishment imposed a uniform of short skirts, tight tops and high heels, similar to the uniforms at Rineshore’s restaurant.
But the human rights commission doesn’t take action against offensive dress codes without a complaint.
“If the employer could argue that it’s absolutely necessary for them to wear this uniform then that’s that,” said Ramsay. But she said she finds it difficult to believe an employer could argue that successfully.

Injury reservations
Kristine Norris, 20, is a fourth-year dance student who was a waitress at Cedarhill Golf and Country Club in Ottawa in 2009.
Once, while setting up for a banquet, she was asked to set up a nine-foot table by herself. It fell on her toe as she tried to take it down.
She had to ice her foot for about 45 minutes, and she said no report was filed for her injury.
While that was her only instance of getting hurt at work, like her fellow servers, she often went without her breaks.
“I would work 14-hour shifts on the hot dog cart … I couldn’t go to the washroom ever, because I had a cash box,” she said.
In order to go to the bathroom, she would wait for the beverage cart worker to drive over and watch her station, but that wasn’t often.
When Norris was working weddings, she would start at 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. and work until 4 a.m. if she was closing. She said she would get one 30-minute break if she was lucky.
She was warned about the hours and the breaks when she applied for the job, but she took the position anyway.
“Anytime you’re in an interview, you’re just going to [nod] your head and say yes,” Norris said.
“You want a paycheque at the end of the day.”

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