Economics & Finance & Trade

Cabinet meeting for two days

With little more than a week left before the second session of the 43rd Parliament begins 23 September, the federal cabinet is meeting for two days to address the ongoing challenge of COVID-19 and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s commitment to “a detailed vision for the future and a plan to keep Canadians safe while we rebuild a stronger Canada that works for everyone.” [node:read-more:link]

Border to remain closed

The Canada-U.S. agreement to limit cross-border traffic is being extended by another month, to 21 August, and government officials indicate that further extension is likely due to the sharp resurgence of COVID-19 in most U.S. states. “We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said after he and President Donald Trump had discussed the situation 13 July. “Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing.” [node:read-more:link]

Boeing layoffs due to COVID-19

Some 400 Winnipeg-based employees of Boeing are to be laid off due to the impact of COVID-19 on the manufacturer's global supply chain. The workers were told May 22 about the plan, which is part of a company-wide response to the pandemic and affects mainly the production of parts for Boeing commercial aircraft. [node:read-more:link]

Arctic a global bellwether

In what is described as “the first overall assessment of Canada's Arctic Ocean”, dozens of federal scientists and Inuit observers have concluded that the region may be changing faster than any other body of water on the planet, with economic and strategic implications. “As the Arctic changes, the rest of the ecosystem is going to track with those changes,” says the project's lead scientist, Andrea Niemi of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “There isn't going to be a delay.” [node:read-more:link]

Airlines suspend more services

A Canada-U.S. agreement to extend restrictions on cross-border travel has prompted Air Canada to suspend all commercial service to the U.S., effective 26 April and until at least 22 May. WestJet also has extended its original suspension until at least 4 June 4 as well as shutting down some domestic services. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: the campaign intensifies

Effective Feb. 1, Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat are suspending operations to the Caribbean and Mexico and all incoming passengers must be tested for COVID-19 and pay at least $2,000 to cover quarantine costs. “Now is just not the time to be flying,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Jan. 29 in announcing the latest measures to contain the pandemic, particularly the emergence of more contagious variants of the coronavirus. [node:read-more:link]

Canada-U.S. dairy scrap might end

A coalition of U.S. labour and farming groups has asked the new federal administration to drop a trade action against imports from Canada. “The U.S. government has been trying to dismantle Canada's federal and sub-federal supply management systems for years, not to benefit U.S. farmers or workers, but rather corporate dairy interests,” they say. “Continuing to pursue this complaint is clearly out of step with the new administration's stated commitments to reform the U.S. trade agenda.” [node:read-more:link]

Government about-faces on CERB

Self-employed Canadians who claimed the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) based on misleading information from the government will not need to repay the funds. Initial guidance was that applications should have been based on gross income but the government later amended that to net income, resulting in the Canada Revenue Agency stating that “overpayments” had to be repaid. [node:read-more:link]

India-Pakistan flight ban

A 30-day ban on commercial and private flights from India and Pakistan has been imposed by the Canadian government. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said 22 April that the decision is prompted by growing numbers of passengers with positive COVID-19 test results at a time when Canada is wrestling with variants. [node:read-more:link]

Supreme Court backs federal carbon tax

The constitutionality of the federal government’s carbon tax was upheld today by the Supreme Court of Canada in a split decision. Several provinces had challenged the policy but the majority of the nine judges agreed that climate change is “a threat of the highest order” and a “threat to the future of humanity.” [node:read-more:link]

Bank of Canada rate holds steady

The Bank of Canada opted today to keep its benchmark interest rate at the record-low 0.25 per cent which has prevailed since March 2020. It explained that the COVID-19 response “continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support” and that the rate is unlikely to change until possibly the latter half of 2022. [node:read-more:link]

“Buy American” nothing new

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland apparently is not fazed by President Joe Biden’s new “Buy American” initiative, says that Ottawa knows “how to deal with” protectionism. “This is not a new thing for any Canadian government,” says Freeland, who also is Finance Minister. “It is something we know how to deal with, we know how to push back on.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: vaccine supplies

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can be reassured that vaccine supplies will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens restrict exports by its manufacturers, requiring them to seek EU permission. “Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business,” says Ursula von der Leyen, German president of the European Commission. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau chats with Kamala Harris

In her first call to a foreign leader since taking office, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has reassured Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about perceived U.S. protectionism in the new U.S. administration. Trudeau’s office says there was consensus on the need to avoid “the unintended consequences” of President Joe Biden’s “Buy American” policies. A White house readout of the conversation reiterated Canada’s “deep importance . . . as an economic and strategic partner.” [node:read-more:link]


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