Economics & Finance & Trade

Small business loan forgiveness

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced a short extension of the deadline for small businesses to pay back Canada Emergency Business Account loans taken out during the pandemic. The latest in a series of extensions to a formerly “final” deadline now give companies until the end of 2026 to repay loans in full. [node:read-more:link]

Federal housing GST being cut

Resurrecting a promise in the 2015 election campaign which returned the Liberals to power, Prime Minister Trudeau said September 14 that the Goods & Services Tax will be removed from new rental apartment buildings as part of a long-term plan to increase supply. Explaining that the idea had been shelved because it did not respond to housing market needs at the time, he called on all provinces to remove their taxes on new construction. [node:read-more:link]

National housing plan kicks off

The “first of many” municipal agreements under a federal Housing Accelerator Fund was unveiled September 13 by Prime Minister Trudeau. A step toward addressing a growing issue with housing availability and affordability, the $74-million deal with London, Ontario, is designed to fast-track more than 2,000 housing units over the next three years. [node:read-more:link]

Limited housing progress reported

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation said September 13 that even though there is progress in new housing construction, addressing housing affordability will require 3.45 million new units by the end of the decade. Supply has improved somewhat in Ontario, which is 1.48 million short of its target, but worsened in other provinces such as Quebec and B.C. [node:read-more:link]

Consumer debt levels soar

Canadians carried a record $107.4 billion in credit card debt in the second quarter of 2023 as overall consumer debt, including mortages and other loans, reached $2.4 trillion. Equifax Canada also reports that average non-mortgage debt edged upwards to $21,131 and that fewer consumers were able to pay off their monthly balance. [node:read-more:link]

Putin slams “rotten” West

Russian President Vladimir said September 12 that former U.S. president Donald Trump’s ongoing legal problems “shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others democracy.” Putin also said Trump’s “persecution” would diminish U.S. global standing. [node:read-more:link]

Pipeline route disputed

The Canada Energy Regulator has been asked by the to approve a 1.3km route deviation of the $30.9-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in a bid to void a delay of up to nine months because of extra drilling required by the current plan. However, a B.C. First Nation says the area which would be affected holds “profound spiritual and cultural significance.” [node:read-more:link]

Battery plant costs analyzed

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux predicted today that it will take years longer than expected for the federal and Ontario governments to break even on their $28.2-billion subsidy of two electric vehicle battery plants. The PBO’s audit relied on modelling by a non-profit think tank. [node:read-more:link]

More Canada-U.S. cooperation urged

Ontario Conservative MP Michael Chong told a congressional group today that Canada and the U.S. need to cooperate more against Chinese interference. He said a joint “suite” of measures is needed to protect “our economy, our long-term prosperity, social cohesion, our Parliament and our elections.” [node:read-more:link]

Russia lauds G-20 statement

The G-20 Summit’s avoidance of criticizing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine is welcome news for Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He said September 10 that while he had not expected consensus, the meeting’s final communique, which denounced using force for territorial gain, was “a step in the right direction” in that it did not mention Russia. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian Sikhs worry Modi

Prime Minister Trudeau was told by his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, during the G-20 Summit in New Delhi that India is concerned about the influence of Sikh militants in Canada, which has the highest number of Sikhs outside their home state of Punjab. “They are promoting secessionism and inciting,” the Indian statement said. [node:read-more:link]

G-20 dials back on Russia

In stark contrast to last year’s G-20 Summit in Bali, the multinational group avoided direct criticism of Russia for its invasion of Ukraine at the 2023 summit in New Delhi. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pressed unsuccessfully for condemnation of Russia but the final communique focused on food and energy. “People like Putin mistake being reasonable for being weak,” Trudeau said September 10. “He is dead wrong and Canada will continue to support Ukraine with whatever it takes, as long as it takes.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada highly-ranked abroad

A U.S. study ranks Canada second only to Switzerland as the best country in the world. Factors such as military and economic prowess as well as quality of life were among the factors considered by more than 17,000 respondents who assessed 87 countries. [node:read-more:link]

“Breeding ground” for slavery?

A few weeks after Jamaican seasonal workers were sent home early after allegedly complaining about housing and working conditions, a United Nations Human Rights Council rapporteur says the federal employment programs are “a breeding ground for contemporary forms of slavery.” In his report, Tomoya Obokata of Japan urges the government to step up efforts to safeguard workers’ rights and offer a clear pathway to permanent residency. [node:read-more:link]

Milking victory from defeat?

A trade dispute with New Zealand has ended with a binding negotiated settlement which its trade minister calls “a significant win” for the country’s dairy exports but which his Canadian counterpart considers a “clear victory” on her side. Canada was found by a tribunal to be “inconsistent” in its obligations under a 2018 free trade agreement. [node:read-more:link]


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