#Canada; #JobMarket; #EconomyContract; #StatisticsCanada; #Covid19
Canada/Canadian-Media: Canada had seen a downtrend in its economy by losing 63,000 jobs last month, the first time the job market contracted since the dark days of March and April, when COVID-19 was just starting, Statistics Canada reported today.
Statistics Canada. Image credit: statcan.gc.ca
It's also the first drop since April, said Statistics Canada, making economic recovery difficult.
About 636,000 fewer people in Canada with a job than there were in February.
It was noted by the Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter 2020 will now officially go down as the worst year for Canadian jobs since 1982.
All of the lost jobs in December were in the service sector, with the food and accommodation sector with 56,700 lost jobs, due to so many restaurants having been shuttered.
"With restrictions broadening and lengthening since the December survey, we may well see another pullback in next month's report," Porter said. "But the good news, such as it is, is that Shutdown 2 is imposing a much less severe economic cost than in the spring, especially in sectors not directly affected."
Economist Brendon Bernard with job-search website Indeed said while the numbers were certainly bleak, they are not the worst-case scenario.
"If there's a silver lining, it's that things could've been worse," he said. "December's drop was nowhere near the scale of the declines we saw last spring, and some areas of the economy, like manufacturing and professional services, still achieved solid gains."
"Nonetheless, it's clear once again that the job market can't recover amid a raging pandemic."
Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Leah Nord's main concern was dropping of the participation rate — the number of working age people who either have a job or want one — by 64.9 percent.
The drop "mostly comprised of male youth and working women, likely frustrated by the job search and staying home to take care of suddenly homebound children, respectively,"
If that trend continues, that's a bad omen for the job market from here on out, Nord said.
"As we look forward, we believe that many of the rebound gains of the last seven months are at risk of being lost, signaling a potential return to darker times for Canada's labor market over the coming months."
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.
#CanadaGovt; #Covid19Challenges; #CanadianBusinesses; #BillC-9, #RoyalAssent
Ottawa, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): Targeted action is being taken by the Government of Canada to support Canadians and Canadian businesses, non-profits and charities that continue to face uncertainty and economic challenges owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Canada Finance. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) received Royal Assent Nov 19, implementing new, targeted support to help hard-hit businesses get through the second wave of the virus so they can protect jobs, continue to serve their communities, and be positioned for a strong recovery.
“I...extend my sincere thanks to Members of Parliament and Senators from all parties for supporting the timely passage of Bill C-9 to ensure workers and employers get the help...in times of crisis we must all work together. Our government will keep taking action to protect jobs, support businesses, and keep Canadians safe and healthy,” Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance said.
The measures adopted as part of Bill C-9 are: Provision of direct and easy-to-access rent and mortgage interest support, through the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19 and those that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 percent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.
Additional 25 percent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada. Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which will continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.
“Across the country, small businesses are the heart of our communities...Our government understands that helping business owners and workers now will ensure that we emerge from these challenging times even stronger,” said Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
#Alberta; #Business; #PetrochemicalProgram; #COVID-19; #AlbertaRecoveryPlan
Alberta, Oct 30 (Canadian-Media): A new program, The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program (APIP) is being launched by Alberta to turn it into a top global producer of petrochemicals with an aggressive industry-driven strategy to promote long-term international investment and thousands of jobs to the province, a news release said.
Image credit: Twitter handle of Alberta Govt
The development of the program was based on best practices in competing jurisdictions, including several American states with large petrochemical industries. The program was also refined with the input of stakeholders and interested companies.
Drawing directly on our abundant reserves of natural gas, APIP aims to attract billions in petrochemical project investments as well as to help and continue to diversify the province’s economy to enable aggressive competition with similar incentives for petrochemical manufacturers in several jurisdictions across Asia, the Middle East, and those in the Gulf of Mexico in the United States to become a global destination for petrochemical investment.
“Today we’re adding another incentive to Alberta’s already world-class opportunities for petrochemical development. On top of our existing petrochemical producers and all the companies that feed in and support them, we have a multi-generational supply of natural gas, an experienced workforce, and one of the lowest tax rates in North America. By launching this program, Alberta moves towards achieving the goal of becoming one of the most attractive investment opportunities for petrochemicals in the world,” said Dale Nally, Alberta’s Associate Minister of Natural Gas and Electricity in a news release.
Being one of the most established petrochemical industries in Canada, Alberta exhibits potential growth in existing centers like Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, Grande Prairie, Joffre, and Medicine Hat.
As one of the key pillars of the Natural Gas Vision and Strategy program, the province’s goal is to become a top global producer of petrochemicals. According to Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association, there is an opportunity to grow Alberta’s petrochemical sector, more than $30 billion by 2030 could result in more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs over the construction and operations of new facilities as well as a revenue of more than $10 billion for the Government of Alberta from corporate and personal income taxes, with its lowest corporate tax rate in Canada at eight percent compares favorably with the lowest tax rates in the United States.
“The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program is a meaningful incentive program...a potential $30 billion in new, diversified, value-add investments by 2030...As an investment attraction tool, APIP will increase our region’s competitiveness and enhance our ability to attract petrochemical investment projects that diversify Alberta’s economy,” said Mark Plamondon, executive director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association in a news release.
Being bold, and ambitious, Alberta’s Recovery Plan with its long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now by building schools, roads, and other core infrastructure benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth.
“Low-cost, low-carbon, and abundant Alberta’s natural gas and natural gas liquids...the Petrochemicals Incentive Program goes a long way to level... opportunity for growth in this sector exists in the province and that is good news for jobs, new global-scale investment, and Alberta’s economy,” said Bob Masterson, president, and CEO, Chemistry Industry Association of Canada in a news release.
To encourage additional investment in the sector, Invest Alberta, Alberta international offices, and Alberta’s industrial associations are all doing their part by courting petrochemical companies and investors by highlighting the many benefits of investing in Alberta’s growing petrochemical industry to share the opportunities available.
Hydrogen-producing facilities will also be eligible for APIP, ensuring continued interest from investors in the province’s nascent hydrogen economy.
“Diversifying our energy industry is key to ensuring Albertans will have good-paying jobs and careers...and we’re putting together a winning formula to ensure Alberta is at the top of their lists, ” said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation in a news release.
APIP offers a direct financial incentive on new petrochemical or fertilizer facilities, or on expansions to existing ones. High-level details include a grant of 12 percent worth of their eligible capital costs incurred by companies once their project is up and running in the final step in the process after verification of details of the scope and expected cost of the project.
While the application window for small projects (between $50 million and $150 million in capital costs) will be open for five years, applications for larger projects will be open for 10 years.
“We have heard directly from companies that they have been looking at...The Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program....will incentivize hydrogen and fertilizer production. These are key growth and diversification opportunities for our province in a lower-carbon future,” said Adam Legge, president, Business Council of Alberta in a news release.
Projects eligible for the program must have a minimum of $50 million in capital investment, consume natural gas, natural gas liquids, or petrochemical intermediaries, create new and permanent jobs in Alberta, and meet the federally set definition of a manufacturing and processing facility.
Although there is no cap to the program, the government will report on expected costs each fiscal year, based on applications received and projects approved.
Being among Canada’s largest hubs for petrochemicals manufacturing, and global demand for petrochemical-derived products, Alberta is expected to continue increasing. The continued need is shown by The COVID-19 pandemic for petrochemicals to support the development of personal protective equipment, plastic food packaging, and cleansing agents.
According to the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, Alberta’s chemicals sector, comprised predominantly of petrochemicals, was valued at $12.1 billion and employed about 58,400 people directly and indirectly in 2019.
#Canada; #Shopify; #TikTok; #Ecommerce
Ottawa, Oct 27 (IBNS): In an attempt to grow its customer base and to facilitate it's one million-plus merchants' ease of advertising their products on the video-sharing app, Ottawa-based e-commerce company Shopify said Tuesday that it will be partnering with TikTok, a viral Chinese video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance.
Transactions done via Shopify's site would accelerate its sales online.
Shopify. Image credit: Twitter handle
"We're thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce, particularly right now, as our merchants prepare for a busy online holiday shopping season," Satish Kanwar, vice-president of product at Shopify said.
With a reach of reaches 100 million U.S. users a month, TikTok said it was always looking for new ways to connect brands with its users.
TikTok. Image credit: Twitter handle
"Shopify is a perfect partner to help us grow and expand our commerce capabilities globally," Blake Chandlee, vice-president, global business solutions at TikTok, said in an emailed statement.
Transactions done via Shopify's site, would accelerate its sales online.
Although financial details were not provided by the two companies about the tie-up, they had decided to collaboratively explore new commerce features over the coming months.
#Alberta; #AHS; #MassiveJobCuts; #Covid19Pandemic
Alberta, Oct 14 (Canadian-Media): Tyler Shandro, Alberta Health Minister said during a news conference Oct 13, that Alberta Health Services (AHS) plans to lay off between 9,700 and 11,000 employees, mostly working in laboratory, linen, cleaning and in-patient food services, by outsourcing these jobs to the private companies.
Tyler Shandro. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the proposed plan to eliminate of up to 10,300 full-time equivalent positions, including hundreds of nursing and clinical support positions, would impact as many as 16,700 full- and part-time employees through layoffs and job displacement.
Vice-president Susan Slade Alberta of Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) -- representing more than 60,000 AHS employees including licensed practical nurses, health-care aides, and housekeeping and kitchen staff -- said that members are already planning the strike action.
The United Nurses of Alberta (UNA), proposal to postpone these layoffs until a new collective agreement was reached, was rejected by AHS.
#Bracebridge; #Ontario; #OntarioTogetherFund; #SmartSafeScience; #FaceMasks
Bracebridge, Sep 5 (Canadian-Media): Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, jointly announced Sept 4 that $2 million is being provided by the Ontario government from the Ontario Together Fund to the Bracebridge-based company, Smart Safe Science, to make lighter, breathable, and more comfortable face masks.
Smart Safe Science. Image credit: Twitter handle
Besides creating 50 local jobs, this investment would help produce 200,000 monthly made-in-Ontario lighter, more breathable masks, with the same filter used in N95 masks to facilitate build up regional personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing capacity to help protect healthcare and frontline workers across the province and ensure they continue their critical work during the outbreak of COVID-19.
"I always say we have the best and brightest minds anywhere in the world right here in Ontario," said Premier Ford. "We're proud to support innovative companies like Smart Safe Science who are making better medical-grade masks for frontline workers. Thanks to their efforts, Ontario will reduce and eventually eliminate our reliance on any other country for these critical health supplies because we can make them right here in wonderful communities like Bracebridge."
The masks are equipped with attachments that monitor body temperature while the person is wearing the mask. The user through this can connect a smart device in the mask to their phone using an app that will transmit critical real-time data about the user's health status. The mask Conforming to the the wearer's facial structure, the mask would provide greater comfort and protection.
"Face masks have become an essential part of our daily lives during these unprecedented and uncertain times. For our healthcare professionals and frontline workers who are battling COVID-19, prolonged use of face masks can bring fatigue and discomfort," said Minister Fedeli. "That's why we are supporting companies like Smart Safe Science so they can provide groundbreaking made-in-Ontario solutions. Through investments like this, we are strengthening our domestic supply chain for vital personal protective equipment and preparing us for any eventuality in the future."
Smart Safe Science is a subsidiary of True North Printed Plastics, a company that makes electronic interfaces for items, including airplanes, military and medical equipment, and plans to purchase equipment and expand its facilities to reach the targeted end-production capacity.
The development of this mask and other safety products entailed the company to tap into technical expertise at several Ontario universities, including Lakehead University, Laurentian University, McMaster University and the University of Toronto.
#Ottawa; #CBSA; #Covid19TravelRestrictions;
Ottawa, Sep 4 (Canadian-Media): Canadians have been concerned about sightings of U.S. licence plates or international flights landing with more than four million people have entered the country since Canada imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions in late March, media reports said.
Canada US Border. Image credit: Flickr
In Alberta, home of tourist hotspot Banff, RCMP reported that between June 17 and Aug 25, officers received 243 complaints of U.S.-plated cars in the province.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) explained that Americans may have entered the country due to many legitimate reasons.
"It should be noted that simply seeing a U.S.-plated vehicle or boat is not a reason to suspect someone of suspicious cross-border activity," said CBSA spokesperson Mark Stuart in an email.
To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, Canada only allows foreigners to enter for non-discretionary purposes including qualifying international students and workers in industries deemed essential such as health, food services and transport. Only in June, the federal government relaxed its rules to allow foreigners to visit immediate family in Canada. But Canadian citizens, dual citizens and permanent residents can still freely leave and re-enter the country subject to self-isolation for 14 days upon their return.
Since Canada's travel restrictions took effect, the CBSA has reportedly denied entry to more than 16,000 people trying to cross from the U.S. by land or air between March 22 and Aug. 19. nearly half of rejected cases they wanted to enter for recreational reasons, such as sightseeing and shopping.
Canada has been asked by the CBSA to keep its doors open to some foreigners so Canadians still have access to essential goods and services. The majority of people currently entering by land are truck drivers, deemed essential workers.