Finance (Personal)

Alberta benefits from high energy prices

A surge in resource revenues has enabled Alberta to reduce its cumulative public debt by $13.4 billion. Finance Minister Jason Nixon said August 31 that the repayment shows his government's commitment to fiscal rigour but he did not restore social benefits indexation suspended three years ago. [node:read-more:link]

Inflation easing slightly

Canada's annualized inflation rate fell to 7.6 per cent in July, the first time in 12 months that the rate has decreased from the previous month. Statistics Canada said today that lower gasoline pricing was the key factor. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian inflation to remain “painfully high”

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem expects that Canadians can’t expect much relief from inflation, which he said July 19 likely will remain “painfully high” for the rest of the year with annualized rates “probably going to start with a seven.” The bank’s next rate fix is scheduled Sept. 7. [node:read-more:link]

Bad-news “scam” a real message

Legal notices from the federal government which seemed to be a scam, mainly due to fractured English and strange graphics, are the real thing. The emails from Service Canada are calling for repayment of unwarranted benefits to individuals during the initial coronavirus waves but the often skeptical response from recipients has prompted calls for the agency to change how it contacts taxpayers. [node:read-more:link]

Bank of Canada hikes interest rate

In what it calls a move to counter surging inflation, the Bank of Canada today raised its benchmark interest rate by one percentage point to 2.5 per cent and signalled more increases to come. It is the largest single rate increase since 1998. [node:read-more:link]

Tax rollback urged by noted economist

Canadians should be telling Ottawa and the provinces that it’s time to reduce taxes as revenues are “pouring” in government coffers. So says economist Jack Mintz, the President's Fellow of the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary. “With so much meddling in the economy, inefficient governments can’t even deliver good service with the money they have on hand,” he says. “Governments profit from more personal, corporate and sales/excise taxes as salaries rise and goods and services become more expensive. [node:read-more:link]

Bank of Canada interest rate doubled

The Bank of Canada today raised its key interest rate to one per cent from 0.5 per cent, the largest increase in more than 20 years in a bid to contain inflation. Governor Tiff Macklem said rates are expected to remain elevated for longer than previously expected due to the impact on energy and other commodity prices resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He also said he expects rate to continue to rise to “more normal” levels which neither stimulate nor hinder the economy. [node:read-more:link]

Poilievre seeks to shake up banking sector

An Ottawa Conservative MP seen as a leading contender for his party’s leadership, Pierre Poilievre, said March 28 that he wants to normalize cryptocurrencies in order to “decentralize” the economy and reduce the influence of the Bank of Canada, which he said is fanning inflation. “Canada needs less financial control for politicians and bankers and more financial freedom for the people,” he said. “That includes freedom to own and use crypto, tokens, smart contracts and decentralized finance.” [node:read-more:link]

Inflation at three-decade high

Canada’s annualized inflation rate as measured through the Consumer Price Index, was 5.7 per cent in February, up from 5.1 in January and at its highest since 1991. The broadly-based surge reported March 16 puts more pressure on the Bank of Canada to tame the situation with more interest rate increases. [node:read-more:link]

Banks waive Ukraine transfer fees

Canada’s five major banks have agreed to waive or reverse wire transfer fees to Ukraine after a Toronto woman challenged TD Bank’s $50 fee for donating $1,600 to a Ukrainian relief effort. Krystyne Rusek, whose fee was refunded, argues that it was “not right” to be charged for donations during what the UN has condemned as an act of aggression that violates international law. [node:read-more:link]

Bank rate holds steady – for now

The Bank of Canada opted today to hold its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 per cent, where it been since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic in a bid to ensure that low-cost lending would keep the economy afloat. Now the bank, like many of its foreign counterparts, is under pressure to begin raising rates to counter rising inflation. Its next rate announcement is scheduled for March 2. [node:read-more:link]

Nova Scotia minimum wage to rise

The minimum hourly wage in Nova Scotia will rise by 40 cents to $13.35 in April and Premier Tim Houston said Jan. 13 that further increases recommended by a review committee would be discussed. If implemented, those would see increases to $13.60 in October and to $15 by April 2024. A Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives said that while the increase this spring is based on the Consumer Price Index, it is below a “living wage” and should be more than $22 an hour. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau treads lightly on Quebec plan

Commenting on Quebec’s proposed financial penalty for people who remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus without specific medical exemptions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Jan. 12 that “incentives and strong measures” have worked in the past. “Whether it’s vaccine passports, whether it’s requirements for travellers, whether it’s the requirement for public servants to be fully vaccinated, we have taken very strong measures in the past and they have worked in terms of keeping Canadians safe.” [node:read-more:link]

Quebec planning “significant” antivax penalties

Premier François Legault said today that Quebec adults who refuse coronavirus vaccination for non-medical reasons can expect a financial penalty. While he was not specific, he did say $50 or $100 “is not significant” enough. “These people . . . put a very important burden on our health-care network.” [node:read-more:link]

Higher residential property taxes mooted

A University of B.C. think-tank which receives some federal funding is proposing a progressive property tax on homes sold for more than $1 million as part of a plan to subsidize “affordable” housing. Average prices across the country in November were at a record $720,000 but even so, sales also continued at record levels. [node:read-more:link]

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