Economics & Finance & Trade

No vaccination? Likely no job!

A number of major health care networks in Ontario are among the growing numbers of employers introducing their own workplace COVID-19 vaccination policies which exceed those put in place by the provincial government. The stricter approach means unvaccinated staff could either be suspended or dismissed without severance. [node:read-more:link]

The China challenge going forward

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said Sept. 26 that Canada’s “eyes are wide open” when it comes to normalizing relations with China in the aftermath of the “Two Michaels” standoff. He said the government is now following a fourfold approach of “coexist,” “compete,” “cooperate” and “challenge” as it addresses trade, climate change and human rights concerns. “There was no path to a relationship with China as long as the two Michaels were being detained.” [node:read-more:link]

Did China initiate “Two Michaels” return?

Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., said Sept. 26 that China initiated the dialogue which led to the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor after nearly three years. “Having felt for over 1,000 days incredible pressure from Canada [and] from our allies . . . I think the Chinese government decided that, you know, it was time to put this behind them and move on.” [node:read-more:link]

Biden pressed to reopen border

Four U.S. border-state senators have asked President Joe Biden to lift restrictions that have limited Canadians’ access since March 2020. Pressing for entry by Canadians vaccinated against COVID-19, they expressed concern about “economic and emotional strain in our communities” and question why land-crossings for non-essential travel have been in effect, Canadians still can fly to the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

Some immigrants an issue in Denmark

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark wants some migrants to be required to work for at least 37 hours a week if they want to continue receiving welfare benefits. She says the proposal, immediately criticized by some, is aimed at “non-Western” women in the hope of helping migrants to assimilate. “For too many years we have done a disservice to a lot of people by not demanding anything of them,” she says. [node:read-more:link]

Bank of Canada rate unchanged

As expected, the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate target untouched at 0.25 per cent Sept. 8, citing concerns about the fourth COVID-19 wave. It had announced some months ago that it would stay the course until the economy is ready to handle an increase, which is not expected until the second half of 2022. [node:read-more:link]

Liberals release campaign platform

The Liberal Party today released its campaign platform at roughly the mid-point of their push for a parliamentary majority in the Sept. 20 general election. Costed out by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, it includes a range of new and extended economic support initiatives as well as a commitment to enhanced employment insurance measures and ensuring banks and companies pay “their fair share” of the cost of rebuilding a post-pandemic economy [node:read-more:link]

Municipalities seeking billions

The federal government is being asked by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to provide $2 billion over the next three years – followed by $1 billion annually – to help its 2,000 members to guard against more climate-related events such as wildfires, extreme heat, drought and floods. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Global oil demand slows

The International Energy Agency reported today that growing demand for oil abruptly reversed course last month and is expected to rebound more slowly for the rest of 2021 due to continued outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant. “Restrictions imposed in several major oil consuming countries, particularly in Asia, look set to reduce mobility and oil use,” the IEA said. [node:read-more:link]

Border strike set for Friday

Some 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency employees are preparing to go on strike Friday morning if there is no last-minute contract settlement with the federal government. The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union, having given notice Aug. 3, say that travellers and commercial operators can expect long lineups and delays. [node:read-more:link]

Long-term care costs could double

Needed improvements in long-term care facilities, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, means that government funding would have to be doubled. This is according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux, who says in a report released today that federal, provincial and territorial governments would have to increase annual funding by $13.7 billion and expect costs to rise by 4.1 per cent annually thereafter. Spending in the last fiscal year totalled $13.6 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Pipeline politics heating up again

A pipeline carrying oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is the focus of renewed exchanges between the government of Ontario and Michigan, which wants to shut it down on the basis of environmental concerns. Natural Resources Canada says decommissioning the line would require a shift to “less safe, more polluting and more expensive” truck and train transport. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa bails out major NL project

The financially-struggling Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador is getting federal help. A $5.2-billion package announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau includes $1 billion each in direct investment and loan guarantees with the rest coming in annual transfer payments. The initial cost of the project was $7.4 billion but has ballooned to $13.1 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Car owners underestimate total vehicle costs

Private cars are responsible for about 11% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the greatest share in the transport sector, which accounts for 24% of emissions overall. More than 99% of new passenger cars sold worldwide still rely on fossil fuels. If consumers systematically underestimate total costs, this could make alternative forms of transport — car sharing, alternative-fuel vehicles, public transport, biking or walking, say — seem less attractive. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA contract talks resume

Days after confirming that Canada Border Services Agency employees had voted in favour of strike action as early as Aug. 6, their unions resumed contract talks July 29 with Treasury Board. “The government is clearly concerned about . . . the possibility of major disruptions at the border,” said Public Service Alliance of Canada President Chris Aylward. “They need to bring a new mandate to address major workplace issues.” [node:read-more:link]


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