Canada; #Finance; #IncreaseOfMaximumWageSubsidyRateTo75Percent; #CEWS; #2ndWaveOfCovi19;
Ottawa/Canadian-Media: Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, announced on Dec 18 the government's regulatory changes to raise the maximum wage subsidy rate to 75 percent for the period beginning Sunday, December 20, 2020, until March 13, 2021 to support workers and businesses through the tough months ahead during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chrystia Freeland. Image credit: Official
This flexibility of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), responsible for protecting more than 4 million jobs, since March has become targeted, allowing employers to access the maximum subsidy rate based on a single month’s revenue decline instead of three months’ decline.
The gives employers support that better reflects their current or evolving needs and will continue to support workers at businesses of every size, across Canada.
The government will monitor health and economic conditions to determine details for subsequent periods.
#Manitoba; #MidYearFinancialReport; #EconomicOutlook; #Covid19Pandemic; #GDP; #$3.2BillionInvestment; #MFSOPSF; #FiscalStabilizationAccount
Manitoba/Canadian-Media: Manitoba's Premier Brian Pallister and Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced on Dec 16 the release of its mid-year financial report and economic outlook for fiscal year-end forecast to March 31, 2021 showing $3.2 billion investment to protect Manitobans during the unprecedented fiscal and public health challenges created by COVID-19.
Image: Brian Pallister. Image credit: Twitter handle
“Our government’s number one priority is protecting our most vulnerable Manitobans from COVID-19 and ensuring our health-care system is there for all Manitobans when they need it, during the pandemic...the first and second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the fall and early winter pandemic, and well after the pandemic...creating unprecedented challenges for our health-care system and the economy...to protect Manitobans and support local businesses," said Pallister in a news release.
A revised deficit of $2.048 billion, highest deficit in Manitoba history, with significant uncertainty in forecasting the remaining months was projected for the 2020-21 fiscal year.
“Our government will continue...to invest when and where it is needed, ensuring the public health response and individual and business supports are in place as we continue to battle COVID-19 and look ahead to vaccine deployment and the longer-term recovery,” said Fielding in the news release.
Scott Fielding. Image credit: Twitter handle
Manitoba has committed $3.2 billion in response to the health, social, and economic impacts of the pandemic and an additional $633 million above originally budgeted amounts to address the pandemic including $522 million for personal protective equipment and additional staffing costs for health-care officials.
More than $585 million was announced by the province in new supports since the first quarter report including Manitoba Bridge Grant; Safe Schools Fund and Safe Restart Contingency Fund; Safe Restart Agreement funding to municipalities, Long-term Recovery Fund; Caregiver Wage Support Program; and Pandemic Staffing Support Benefit.
Provincial revenue is forecast to be $372 million lower than budget as a result of the economic shutdown and supplementary borrowing $5 billion was approved by Manitoba legislature to address pandemic funding needs.
Having access to the domestic and international markets to meet its borrowing and financing obligations, Manitoba was able to maintain the Fiscal Stabilization Account, or rainy day fund, at $800 million, ascertaining additional liquidity reserves should the government be unable to access further borrowing.
Manitoba’s real GDP is expected to decline by 4.6 percent in 2020, then rebound in 2021 by a projected 4.1 percent.
The latest Manitoba Finance Survey of Private Sector Forecasts (MFSOPSF) indicates a strong recovery over the next two years, based on previous results.
#BC; #BCEconomicRecoveryPlan; #StrongerBC; #COVID19; #Agritech
British Columbia/Canadian-Media: British Columbia (BC)'s Economic Recovery Plan, the $3-million agritech grant program, part of Stronger BC outlines the latest steps being taken by the BC government to help people, businesses and communities come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared.
Agriculture in BC. Image credit: bcwi.ca
Besides B.C.-based agritech and agriculture businesses, this program is accessible to international agritech companies that are partnered with B.C.-based businesses.
“This grant will allow Agritech companies to develop technology that will help farmers increase their productivity and economic opportunity,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This year has reinforced the need to support local farmers, now and into the future. With the use of technology, they will be better equipped to enhance B.C.’s food security, strengthen our supply chains and keep people healthy.”
The application of technology, Agritech aims to improve the farming and food-production process by placing a smart sensor in the soil to communicate back to a farmer about soil conditions or using software that tracks satellite imagery to help map and manage farmland.
“Ensuring that farmers have viable ways to produce safe, sustainable food is incredibly important,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. “This program, and its focus on technology, will allow for advancements in farming that build our food security and increase the availability of B.C. foods and economic opportunities in our communities.”
The program will help accelerate the growth of B.C.’s agritech sector and help agritech companies grow and anchor in B.C.
“Agricultural technology is core to helping ensure that B.C. farmers can grow the food that people need,” said Lenore Newman, director, Food and Agriculture Institute, University of Fraser Valley. “Through initiatives like this, we can build a more secure food supply, all while enhancing the province’s competitiveness.”
To be eligible for this the program a company must operate and pay taxes in B.C., employ at least 10 B.C. residents and raise at least 25% of the funding from another source.
Applications close on Feb. 12, 2021, and successful applicants would be notified in early March 2021 followed by the disbursement to recipients by March 31, 2021.
Eligible companies can receive grants of up to $500,000.