#Manitoba; #ManitobaEconomy; #Covid19Pandemic
Manitoba, Jun 30 (Canadian-Media): Manitoba's Premier Brian Pallister and Manitoba's Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced June 30 Manitoba government's release of the economic and fiscal update assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports said.
Brian Pallister. Image credit: Twitter handle
The release cited an expected deficit for 2020-21 in the range of $2.9 billion, with a downside risk of a deficit of up to $5 billion in the event of a prolonged economic downturn or a COVID comeback.
“The COVID-19 pandemic generated unprecedented public health and economic impacts in our province, which continue to be magnified by the global nature of this crisis,” said Pallister in a news release. “Growing our way out of this pandemic financial hole is the only way forward, which is why our government is focused on getting Manitobans back to work, and restarting our economy.”
$2.1 billion is being invested by the province to fight COVID and restart the economy, which is the second-highest proportion of spending of any province as a percentage of GDP.
$932 million would be targeted to protecting Manitobans; $477 million would be used for protecting livelihoods; and $774 million would go towards restarting the economy.
Three economic scenarios are being planned by Manitoba Finance: a quick economic rebound or ‘V’, a gradual economic rebound or ‘U’, and a long, limited recovery or ‘L’.
Under the ‘V’ impact scenario, the 2020-21 summary net debt is projected to exceed $29 billion, up from 34.2 percent forecast in Budget 2020 with a net debt to GDP ratio at nearly 41 percent.
$70 million more per year would go towards interest costs alone on this new debt which is equal to building three new schools each and every year going forward, Fielding added.
“Thanks to the government’s effective fiscal management and targeted investments in emergency preparedness prior to the pandemic, Manitoba was better prepared to face this crisis,” said Fielding in a news release. “However, the impacts of COVID-19 will take several years to address, and should we have a COVID comeback and the global economy fails to grow, we will wind up with higher projected deficit and debt levels.”
Approximately five percent decline in Manitoba’s economy is expected this year with an expected loss of revenues in the range of $1.5 billion this year and over $1 billion next year.
Due to this year's unanticipated spending to combat COVID, a rapid restart to the economy will be required or the province’s financial problems will deteriorate further, said Fielding
Pallister said two strategies being adopted by Manitoba in its road to recovery are continued investments in public health preparedness, and increased investment in jobs and growth.
“There is only one way out of the global economic and public health crisis, and that is to keep our COVID curve flat and grow our economy,” said Pallister. “Beating COVID creates jobs.”
#BritishColumbia; #Canada; #Cow-op; #CowichanGreenCommunity
British Columbia, Jun 23 (Canadian-Media): A Job Creation Partnership project funded by the provincial government of British Columbia (BC) people in the Cowichan Valley and Victoria will have better, fresh, and safer access to locally grown produce and products delivered to their homes, media reports said.
Cow-op. Image credit. Twitter handle of BC Farmers Market
A funding of nearly $100,000, would be received by Cowichan Valley Co-Operative Marketplace (Cow-op), a non-profit farmer and food processor co-operative, to develop a contactless home delivery system while supporting farmers and processors in the region.
The funding is being provided to Cow-op by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction through the Job Creation Partnership stream of WorkBC’s Community and Employer Partnerships (CEP).
The Cow-op, an initiative of the Cowichan Valley Co-operative Marketplace in partnership with Cowichan Green Community, has been providing since 2014 an online marketplace for locally grown and harvested food.
Two local eligible job seekers will be given the opportunity to build transferable skills in logistics, operations and community engagement until May 2021.
“The past few months have highlighted the importance of food security, as well as adaptability to deliver food from farm to table during COVID-19,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction in June 23 news release. “Looking forward, Cow-op’s innovative contactless home delivery system...a safe way to deliver fresh, healthy food to buyers and supporting farmers to grow and sell their products sustainably.”
Sonia Furstenau, MLA for Cowichan Valley, said in June 23 news release: “I’m pleased to see that the Cow-op marketplace will continue to build on their model of providing fresh local food from field to front door. This service directly supports the health and well-being of families in the agriculture business and those who enjoy their products, and helps build food security and resiliency in Cowichan.”
#Canada; CanadianEconomy; #CanadaLife; #Covid19Pandemic
Ottawa, Jun 23 (Canadian-Media): COVID-19 pandemic has affected every facet of Canadian life, from how and where we live, to how we shop, eat and work, media reports said.
COVID-19 Pandemic. Image credit: Twitter handle
While COVID-19 had drastically affected Canada's economy, the pandemic has also brought some positive effects.
The housing market which has been strongly hit by the pandemic with mortgage delinquencies are projected to rise, while prices are forecast to drop.
The Physical distancing requirements on the real estate industry due to the pandemic introduced in March, the retailers could not host open houses, and buyers were concerned about the future proving this year to be the worst April for home sales in almost 40 years, and May was only slightly better.
Although the sellers were badly affected by the lower price of the housing market, it provides an opportunity for buyers to take advantage of this.
Lenders were prompted by the COVID-19 to cut mortgage rates to record lows which were also a welcome development for buyers.
Moreover, current owners are also being benefited by the current lower rates. Interest is skyrocketing right now as is evident from Lowestrates.ca, a comparison website for mortgages, insurance, and loans
As regards the commercial real estate, there has been a small shift away from the standard downtown office towers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are reconsidering if they want to live and work in dense urban areas if they don't have to.
The effect of the pandemic on public transit is seen in its rapid decline in ridership. But on the other hand, there had been a significant surge in bike sales and bike lanes are experiencing a boost.
Even car ridership has increased due to a partial recovery of oil prices as well as the safety and security felt by consumers in their own self-contained travel bubbles. This has given rise to higher demands for cars.
Yet another or Canada's sector, the real estate sector that has been hit hard by the pandemic, According to new numbers released last Friday retail sales had fallen by more than a quarter in April, their biggest plunge on record.
Pandemic's biggest success as far as Canada's economy is concerned, is visible in online shopping, with online sales have been more than doubled in April, and now makeup almost 10 percent of everything sold in Canada, the biggest proportion on record.
Montreal, Jun 20 (Canadian-Media): Quebec's Prime Minister François Legault has been urged by the elected members of the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) to intervene and bring order to the file of the Quebec experience program (PEQ), media reports said.
Quebec Experience Program. Image credit: Facebook page
PLQ is concerned about new the processing time introduced in the new version of the PEQ as well as also lengthened the experience required to be eligible for the program which can be from 12 months to 36 months
This may complicate the lives of both students and employers. Similar concern is shown by oganizations such as the Employers' Council, Manufacturers and Exporters of Quebec, CEGEPs, universities via the Interuniversity Cooperation Office.
PLQ is demanding the reversal of the the new version of PEQ.
#Alberta; #Support; #Covid19; #ReopeningBusinesses
Alberta, Jun 18 (Canadian-Media): Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, proposes measures to support Albertans as the province continues to reopen.
The bill proposes amendments to 15 acts across seven ministries. The amendments are being proposed now that the state of public health emergency has ended.
The proposed amendments will allow some pandemic response efforts to continue and introduce new measures to support the safe and successful reopening of Alberta’s economy.
“Bill 24 allows us to continue to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic to protect public health and ensure Albertans have access to the services and support they need as Alberta moves forward with reopening our economy, ” said Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
Highlights of the bill include extending existing measures, such as:
Tyler Shandro. Image credit: Twitter handle
COVID-19 pandemic#Canada; #Finance; #CEBA; #Covid19; #EDC; #CECRA
Ottawa, Jun 15 (Canadian-Media): Canada's Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced June 15 that as of Friday, June 19, 2020, applications will be accepted so that more small businesses can access the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), media reports said.
Bill Morneau. Image credit: Twitter handle
Through Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, government of Canada supporting Canadians and businesses, particularly owner-operated small businesses facing difficult challenges as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
Previously being ineligible for this program, these small businesses are now eligible to apply this week for this program.
“Our government is providing support to small businesses...We want businesses to know that we are there for them, and that we are listening to their concerns. Based on the feedback we have received on the CEBA, we are pleased to make adjustments to the program and expand it so that it can help more small businesses,” said Morneau in a statement.
Launched on April 9, 2020, CEBA plans to assist the small businesses by providing zero-interest, partially forgivable loans but face ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and employment costs to facilitate the post-COVID resumption of normal business operations.
To qualify under the expanded eligibility rules, CEBA applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 will need: a business operating account at a participating financial institution; a Canada Revenue Agency business number; a 2018 or 2019 tax return; and eligible non-deferrable expenses of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.
Eligible businesses will qualify for financing of up to $40,000, with 25 percent of this being forgivable based on the current terms of CEBA loans. Businesses can contact their primary financial institution for more information or can apply directly to CEBA.
Delivered by Export Development Canada (EDC), CEBA will be working closely with participating financial institutions in coming days to ensure the delivery of loans to their existing business banking customers as early as June 19, 2020.
When first launched, CEBA rapidly deployed credit to businesses with 2019 payroll between $50,000 and $1 million, but this range has been now expanded to between $20,000 and $1.5 million.
Since CEBA’s launch, more than 669,000 loans have been approved, representing a total of more than $26 billion in credit disbursed.
Additional support provided by the government to Canadian businesses through the COVID-19 outbreak includes providing a forgivable loan through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses to qualifying commercial property owner; support for COVID-19 hardest hit eligible employers through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), in place from March 15 to August 29, 2020 eligible to employers of all sizes with certain exceptions including public sector entities.
Small businesses, including self-employed individuals, would be deferred from all Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) payments, as well as customs duty payments owed for imports, until June.
They would also be deferred to pay income taxes until after August 31, 2020. No interest or penalties will be levied on these amounts during this period.
Ottawa, Jun 15 (Canadian-Media):
Several workers of a high-profile company say they were pressured into giving up paid vacation days, then told to lie about it on their timecards — or risk job losses during the height of the pandemic.
In an internal company video provided to Go Public, Franklin Holtforster — president and CEO of Ottawa-based Colliers Project Leaders — asks employees to "surrender" vacation time if they want to save their own jobs and those of their coworkers. "I'm asking everyone to work a full week and to record an additional eight hours of vacation onto your time sheet every week in April and May," Holtforster says in the video released to employees on April 24.
"This reduces our compensation costs and permits us to avoid mass layoffs…. Now if we all surrender a bit of future vacation, we can keep our co-workers and ourselves employed.
"Holtforster tells Go Public the project management company tried other ways to cut costs — reducing expenses and compensation for dozens of managers by up to 20 per cent — before asking workers to voluntarily give up vacation days.
Go Public spoke with a number of employees; all had similar experiences and all say they don't believe it was voluntary. Go Public is not identifying the workers who contacted us, as they fear losing their jobs.
One employee tells Go Public workers who refused to give up vacation days were pressured by managers to change their minds — and their timecards — receiving frequent calls from higher-ups, asking if they planned to comply."It's not a choice … there's so much fear that if you don't do this, you're going to lose your job," said the employee, who works on infrastructure and revitalization projects for the company.
"The scary part is if you're going to get fired, say next week, you have no vacation time to show."
According to two employment lawyers Go Public spoke with, it's against provincial labour laws to take away or reduce vacation time that's required by law and to produce false or misleading vacation time records.
The company has since apologized, and offered to return those vacation days after Go Public's inquiries. Read more on this story here.
#Montreal; #Quebec; #SQDC; #Cannabis; #Health&Safety
Montreal (QC), Jun 11 (Canadian-Media): 2019-2020 fiscal year on March 28, 2020 was concluded by the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC) with a net profit of $ 26.3 million, exceeding its budgetary objective by almost 30 percent, media reports said.
SQDC. Image credit: Twitter handle
The SQDC is a Crown corporation, mandated to ensure safe distribution and sale of cannabis in Quebec by prioritizing customers' health and safety measures.
Compared to previous year's $ 71.3 million, SQDC's total sales of $ 311.6 million for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was made possible by the operational efficiency and the flexible business model of the company.
This was remitted in the form of a dividend to the Ministère des Finances and reinvested, for prevention and in cannabis research as well as in the fight against the harms linked to the use of psychoactive substances.
In addition, the tax revenue from its operations estimated at approximately $ 93 million ($ 66 million in Quebec and $ 27 million federal), enabled the SQDC returns of approximately $ 120 million to the two levels of government.
Due to the deployment of 28 new branches bringing the total number to 41 points of sale with a customer serviced based on advice and support, the SQDC was able to capture more than 30 percent of previous illegal sales, and fulfills its mission of moving consumers to the legal market.
During the fiscal year, the SQDC developed its 2021-2023 Strategic Plan to ensure the deployment of a responsive network and proposing a competitive offer.
The company also developed its first Social Responsibility Plan, linked to the main directions of strategic planning.
The Company's 13 objectives are linked to 4 main categories of actions, namely health, ethics, community and the environment.
Being hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, SQDC identified as an essential service, the Company's employees have maintained efficient service and responsible support for customers by providing a safe environment.
#Ontario; #Phase2Reopening; #PublicHealthMeasures; #SocialDistancing
Ottawa, Jun 8 (Canadian-Media): Ontario government announced Jun 8 that in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, it is moving forward with a regional approach to Stage 2 of reopening the province and getting more people back to work and more recreational activities open, media reports said.
Ontario Government. Image credit: Twitter handle
Details of the Stage 2 reopening in Ontario were provided by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development
"We are able to make this announcement today because of the extraordinary effort of our frontline workers...Entering Stage 2 means parts of the province will see more people back on the job...I urge everyone to exercise caution and continue to follow public health advice as we are not out of the woods yet," said Ford.
Easing restrictions in communities is being done by the government of Ontario where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.
Phase 2 of Ontario's plan of reopening would allow Ontarians to gather in groups of up to 10.
Many more businesses and services will be allowed to start in some areas later this week.
Only twenty-four of Ontario's 34 public health units will be allowed to move into Phase 2.
Rest of the 10 public health units, concentrated mainly in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) and near the U.S.-Canada border, will be required to wait until they reach a consistent decline in their daily new cases.
Ontario's Phase 2 reopening would include places of worship with permission to welcome congregants again with a 30 percent capacity limit.
These changes would take effect on Friday, June 12, at 12:01 a.m.
An assessment of the situation would be done by the government at the beginning of each week, to determine whether these businesses are ready to move into Stage 2 at the end of the week.
"Our regional approach recognizes that different regions in the province are experiencing COVID-19 differently and can safely and gradually ease restrictions and reopen local businesses. We will continue to monitor any shifts in the spread and take decisive action to contain any outbreaks," said Elliot.
Businesses and services permitted to reopen with proper health and safety measures in place in regions entering Stage 2 include:Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars, including patios, curbside, parking lots and adjacent properties; Select personal care services including tattoo parlours, barbershops, hair salons and beauty salons; Shopping malls including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only;Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries and distilleries; Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools; Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks; Camping at private
campgrounds; Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing; Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions and cultural appreciation, such as art installations; Film and television production activities, with limits to enable physical distancing; and Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.
More details on Child care; Summer camps; Post-secondary education pilots to help people graduate; Training centers; and Public transit, would be soon released, said the province.
Manitoba; #Canada; #StatisticsCanada; #13000JobsAdded; Covid19Pandemic
Manitoba, Jun 7 (Canadian-Media): The latest economic indicators from Statistics Canada show an increase in Manitoba’s employment from April to May, a sign the province’s careful, measured approach in Phase One of its Restoring Safe Services is working, Finance Minister Scott Fielding and Economic Development and Training Minister Ralph Eichler announced today.
“Last month, we saw historic declines in Manitoba’s employment numbers as the COVID-19 pandemic affected the global economy,” said Fielding. “Now, as Manitoba slowly and safely reopens for business and restores services, our job market is beginning to rebound as Manitobans return to work and revive the economy.”
The latest report from Statistics Canada indicates Manitoba fared better than the national average in key categories. Total employment in Manitoba increased by 13,100, a 2.3 per cent increase. This follows a decrease of 64,200 positions the previous month and surpasses the nationwide May increase of 1.8 per cent. Manitoba’s labour force increased by 13,800 people.
Manitoba saw a large 10.3 per cent increase in part-time jobs by 10,000, compared to the national rate of 2.8 per cent. Full-time employment was up 3,100, a 0.6 per cent increase.
The private sector, which includes the self-employed, increased by 22,400, a 5.4 per cent gain from April to May. The national rate increased by 2.5 per cent.
Overall, the provincial unemployment rate edged down to 11.2 per cent, the lowest across the country and below Canada’s rate of 13.7 per cent. Manitoba youth unemployment decreased 1.8 percentage points to 22.8 per cent, ranking second lowest in Canada.
“We are seeing promising growth in the private sector compared to the rest of Canada as Manitoba’s small businesses begin to rebuild and recover,” said Eichler. “Our government continues to find ways to support employers and employees so we can get more Manitobans back to work.”
The wholesale and retail trade industry saw the largest level change from April to May, while the largest changes by occupation occurred in trades, transport and equipment operators, as well as sales and service.
Within the provincial government, the province worked with government unions, their members and non-unionized employees to modestly reduce workforce expenses and avoid public sector layoffs, Eichler noted.
The ministers noted the Manitoba government will continue to bring in policies and programs designed to help those who need support through this time. More than 5,000 Manitoba businesses have received assistance through the Manitoba Gap Protection Program, which has paid out approximately $30.5 million. The Summer Student Job Recovery Program has seen more than 1,000 employers apply for a wage subsidy for more than 2,300 student positions. The Manitoba Economic Support Centre has spoken with more than 100,000 businesses, not-for-profits, charities and other community groups. The province announced a $500-million Manitoba Restart Program to boost the economy and put even more Manitobans back to work.
Statistics Canada. Image credit: Twitter handle