Economics & Finance & Trade

B.C. firms backtrack on cocaine

Two British Columbia companies did not as claimed have Health Canada authorization to commercialize cocaine. What Adastra Labs of Langley and Sunshine Earth Labs of Victoria actually had were federal licences for “scientific and medical purposes only.” [node:read-more:link]

G20 consensus undermined again

Foreign ministers from the G20 countries ended a March 2 meeting without consensus on the war in Ukraine as China and Russia refused to support a call on Russia to cease hostilities. However, India’s host foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, said that there was agreement on most other issues such as climate change and counterterrorism. A finance ministers’ summit late last month also failed to reach consensus over Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Duclos pushes back on allegation

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is refuting reports that he and a senior departmental official interfered with the work of the Patented Medicines Price Review Board of Canada by asking it to delay reforms designed to reduce drug costs. “PMPRB is a totally independent organization,” Duclos said March 1, adding that he had only suggested that they “do the right amount of consultation.” [node:read-more:link]

B.C. expects $7.8-billion reversal

The New Democratic Party government of B.C., planning to spend its way through an anticipated economic downturn, expects to have a $4.2-billion deficit this year after posting a $3.6-billion surplus in 2022. Healthcare, housing, affordability and public safety are among the top budget priorities. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta’s pre-election budget

Three months ahead of a scheduled general election, Alberta’s United Conservative Party government is loosening the purse strings after several years of restraint. Its new budget would ramp up spending health care, education, highways and dozens of other projects at a projected cost of $70 billion. [node:read-more:link]

A law with unintended consequences

Federal legislation designed to improve housing affordability is causing more harm and good, according to the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Benjamin Tal, its Deputy Chief Economist, says that The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, which took effect January 1, is blocking investment in new housing stock because of how it is worded. [node:read-more:link]

Lobbyist registry a simple fix?

As the federal government continues to struggle with the concept of a legal registry of foreign agents in Canada, it’s suggested that it should “copy and paste” Australia’s five-year-old legislation. This is the advice offered by a former Privy Council Clerk and a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. [node:read-more:link]

Dental care advice for Ottawa

As the federal government continues to wrestle with the notion of universal oral care, the Canadian Dental Association said today that it should preserve private dental programs and using existing clinics. The recommendations are included in a policy paper after consultations with Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos as well provincial and territorial associations and dentists themselves. [node:read-more:link]

Feds return-to-work protocols

A month before federal government employees return-to-office mandates take effect, several departments are dropping requirements to wear masks and practise physical distancing. Despite union resistance, many employees must attend their workplace at least two days a week or 40 per cent of their pre-pandemic presence. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian economy stumbles

Statistics Canada reported today shows that the economy stalled in the fourth quarter of 2022 after five consecutive quarters of growth, mostly due to reduced investment by businesses and consumers. It actually shrank by 0.1 per cent in December from November, potentially setting up the Bank of Canada to freeeze interest rates. [node:read-more:link]

Major pharma research expansion

The British-Swedish biotechnology company AstraZeneca has announced an expansion of its Toronto research and development hub with plans to add 500 jobs. The company said February 27 that the hub has doubled in size since 2019 and is leading more than 120 oncology and biopharmaceutical studies involving patients in more than 50 countries. [node:read-more:link]

Getting ahead of climate change?

British Columbia ostensibly will be better prepared to deal with natural disasters related to climate change though a program announced by Premier David Eby. “The last few years have taught us a hard lesson,” he said, citing wildfires, floods, a lethal heat wave and infrastructure damage. Accordingly, his government is adding $180 million to its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta signs health deal with Ottawa

Alberta has become the six province to sign an agreement-in-principle with the federal government on health care funding and is scheduled to see $24.2 billion in new money invested over the next 10 years. Premier Danielle Smith called the February 27 deal “a productive first step” as her province and the others as well as the territories press for even month funding. [node:read-more:link]

Aid agencies want more funding

As Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland prepares to deliver a budget within the next month or so, 75 of Canada's international aid agencies are lobbying for more financial support. In a letter to the minister, they say they want to see the $8.15 million pledged in her 2022 budget to ramp up to $10 billion by 2025. [node:read-more:link]

China’s “no limit” support for Russia

In the year since Russian invaded Ukraine, a broad spectrum of western economic sanctions has undermined the Russian economy, but China is stepping in to fill the breach. It has declared “no limits to its friendship” as manifest by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s recent visit to Moscow and the prospect of a meeting between their presidents this spring. [node:read-more:link]


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