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A historical curiosity: A little piece of New Brunswick is in Nova Scotia –



New Brunswick has had its share of boundary disputes over the years, almost going to war with the state of Maine in 1839 then squabbling with Quebec over Lake Temiscouata a few years later.

But along the Missaguash River between Aulac, N.B., and Amherst, N.S., there’s nary a whisper of contention over a five-hectare historical curiosity.

No farmers fluster. No politicians bluster. No militias muster.

The Missaguash is a narrow, murky channel regulated by dikes and aboiteaux that keep the Bay of Fundy from flooding the soil here with salt water.

It’s also the boundary between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia — except at one lot, PID No. 70395462.

Local farmer John Atkinson pointing at the little piece of New Brunswick beyond the Nova Scotia border. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

That parcel has an official New Brunswick land registry number, though it sits on the Nova Scotia side of the river.

Fredericton engineer Rob Hoadley noticed the anomaly last year, when provincial boundary shutdowns got him poking around maps of the area.

“I’m just that kind of guy to get curious about that kind of stuff,” he says. “At a time when we couldn’t physically cross the border, here’s a spot that may or may not be in New Brunswick.”

A federal government atlas shows the boundary running down the river, which would put the land in Nova Scotia. Election New Brunswick’s official map of the riding of Memramcook-Tantramar does not include the property.

A new channel was dug in the 1950s. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

But a Nova Scotia online map shows the border deviating from the river to wrap around the parcel of land, placing it in New Brunswick.

And that map is the correct one, says its owner.

“We own the property and we pay taxes on it,” says Edie Helm, who grew up on her family’s farm on the New Brunswick side of the river.

Helm lives in Amherst but the property taxes for the land are levied by, and paid to, New Brunswick.

But how can that be?

The Missaguash has been the boundary between the two provinces since King George III approved carving New Brunswick out of what used to be a much larger Nova Scotia on June 18, 1784.

Hank Kolstee, a retired agricultural engineer who worked at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, says the anomaly is a product of drainage needs. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

The order-in-council said the boundary would be established by “drawing a line of separation from the Mouth of the Musquat [Missiguash] River” to its source.

The two provinces confirmed that almost a century later when they passed legislation identifying the Missaguash as the boundary.

But that was then.

“The river would have had a different routing in its earlier days,” says local farmer John Atkinson.

The farmers at that time were more concerned about getting proper drainage than worrying about on what side to the border their land was going to be on.– Hank Kolstee, retired agricultural engineer.

In 1949 the federal government took over maintenance of the dike system here under the Maritime Marshland Reclamation Act. 

The river’s meandering watercourse featured an oxbow, a U-shaped bend in the river that wrapped almost entirely around this teardrop-shaped parcel of land. 

That presented a drainage problem.The dike system was designed to let the river’s freshwater current out without allowing salt water in. 

“That could cut the distance in that particular area by about a third, so you could get much better water flow in that area,” says Hank Kolstee, a retired agricultural engineer who worked at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College and worked on marshland projects.

In this case, a new channel shifted the river to the north of the five-hectare parcel of land.

It also produced this jurisdictional anomaly.

“I don’t know what their thinking was way back then, as to the legalities of the Nova Scotia or New Brunswick land registry or whatever,” Atkinson says.

“If you look at the old marsh plans, it will show where the old channel was, and what was actually the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,” Kolstee says.

“The farmers at that time were more concerned about getting proper drainage than worrying about on what side to the border their land was going to be on. But it just looks a little odd right now because they consider that the new channel is the border.”

The piece of New Brunswick that lives on the Nova Scotia side

5 hours ago

This marshy notch was once an oxbow on the N.B side of the river — but not anymore. 4:02

‘Complex web of agreements’

Service New Brunswick spent several days looking into the “complex web of agreements, precedents and conventions” that apply to boundaries before they could explain the property’s legal status.

According to spokesperson Jennifer Vienneau, a boundary defined by a natural geographic feature like a river can move only by “slow and imperceptible” natural causes such as accretion or erosion.

If a river is altered artificially, by human engineering, the boundary does not move.

The new channel dug in the Missaguash “would have caused the watercourse to be relocated, but the original river bed would continue to be the legal boundary,” she said.

So the issue isn’t as murky as it seemed.

The situation here is as calm and quiet as Fort Beauséjour, a monument to long-ago battles for this territory, standing at ease on the horizon.

There’s one last issue: you can’t get to this stranded piece of New Brunswick without crossing into Nova Scotia, or wading across the mucky, marshy river.

But that’s hardly a pressing concern.

Edie Helm, the owner of the property, wouldn’t agree to an interview, but in a brief telephone conversation made it clear no one needs to worry about access.

“It’s not for sale,” she said.

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RBC hiking dividend, buying back shares despite Q4 profit miss – BNN



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Royal Bank of Canada announced a dividend hike and plans to repurchase tens of millions of its shares on Wednesday despite also reporting quarterly profit that trailed expectations. 

In a release, RBC said it will raise its quarterly dividend 11 per cent to $1.20 per share. The bank said it’s also seeking approval from the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) to buy back up to 45 million of its common shares.

It’s the second such move this week, after Bank of Nova Scotia similarly announced plans for a buyback and dividend hike on Tuesday. Both banks are doing so after OSFI recently lifted its pandemic-era prohibition on share repurchases and buybacks. 

RBC also said on Wednesday its 2021 fiscal year profit climbed 40 per cent year-over-year to $16.1 billion. In the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 31, the bank’s net income rose 20 per cent to $3.89 billion. That bottom-line performance was helped in part by a release of $227 million from funds that were previously set aside for loans that could go bad. It’s the third consecutive quarter that RBC moved cash out of its provisions for credit losses and funneled that money into its profit stream. 

On an adjusted basis, the quarterly profit worked out to $2.71 per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting $2.81. 

“Our overall  performance  in  2021  reflected  strong  earnings,  premium  shareholder performance,  and  highlighted  our ability to successfully  navigate  a  complex  operating  environment  while  continuing  to  invest  in  talent  and  innovations  to  support  future growth,” said Dave McKay, RBC’s president and chief executive, in a release. 

RBC’s bread-and-butter personal and commercial banking unit was the primary profit driver in the latest quarter, as net income in that division rose 35 per cent year-over-year to $2.03 billion, in part thanks to the release of $208 million that was previously provisioned for potentially sour loans.  

Royal Bank’s domestic banking business also benefitted from double-digit growth in its mortgage book. Indeed, in a supplemental release Wednesday, RBC said it had an average Canadian mortgage balance of $329.5 billion in the fourth quarter; that represents year-over-year growth of almost 13 per cent compared to the balance of $293 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2020. 

Fourth-quarter profit from the bank’s capital markets unit rose 10 per cent to $920 million, with RBC attributing some of that to a rise in mergers and acquisitions activity. 

Meanwhile, earnings from RBC’s wealth management business inched up two per cent year-over-year to $558 million.

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Ontario passes new rules aimed at work-life balance for employees – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



The Ontario government has passed new laws it says will help employees disconnect from the office and create a better work-life balance.

On Tuesday, the government said it passed the “Working for Workers Act,” which requires Ontario businesses with 25 people or more to have a written policy about employees’ rights when it comes to disconnecting from their job at the end of the day.

These workplace policies could include, for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working, the government says.

According to the act, between January 1 and March 1 of each year an employer must ensure it has a written policy in place for all employees with respect to disconnecting from work.

“We are determined to rebalance the scales and put workers in the driver’s seat of Ontario’s economic growth while attracting the best workers to our great province,” Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said in a statement Tuesday.

The act also bans the use of non-compete clauses, which prevent people from exploring other work opportunities and higher salaries at other jobs.

According to the government, Ontario is the first jurisdiction in Canada, and one of the first in North America, to ban non-compete agreements in employment.

McNaughton says the new laws not only protects workers’ rights, but also will help to attract top talent and investments to the province.

The act also removes “unfair” work experience requirements for foreign-trained immigrants trying to work in their professions. 

It also introduces a mandatory licencing framework for temporary help agencies and recruiters to help prevent labour trafficking.

“This legislation is another step towards building back a better province and cementing Ontario’s position as a global leader, for others to follow, as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family,” McNaughton said.

A government spokesperson told CTV News Toronto that while the act has not yet received royal assent, it is expected to later this week.

Timelines for when each law under the Working For Workers Act will come into effect have not been announced yet and the government said it there will be a initial grace period for businesses.

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Asian factories shake off supply headaches but Omicron presents new risks



Asian factory activity grew in November as crippling supply bottlenecks eased, but rising input costs and renewed weakness in China dampened the region’s prospects for an early, sustained recovery from pandemic paralysis.

The newly detected Omicron coronavirus variant has also emerged as a fresh worry for the region’s policymakers, who are already grappling with the challenge of steering their economies out of the doldrums while trying to tame inflation amid rising commodity costs and parts shortages.

China’s factory activity fell back into contraction in November, the private Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) showed on Wednesday, as soft demand and elevated prices hurt manufacturers.

The findings from the private-sector survey, which focuses more on small firms in coastal regions, stood in contrast with those in China’s official PMI on Tuesday that showed manufacturing activity unexpectedly rose in November, albeit at a very modest pace.

“Relaxing constraints on the supply side, especially the easing of the power crunch, quickened the pace of production recovery,” said Wang Zhe, senior economist at Caixin Insight Group, in a statement accompanying the data release.

“But demand was relatively weak, suppressed by the COVID-19 epidemic and rising product prices.”

Beyond China, however, factory activity seemed to be on the mend with PMIs showing expansion in countries ranging from Japan, South Korea, India, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Japan’s PMI rose to 54.5 in November, up from 53.2 in October, the fastest pace of expansion in nearly four years.

South Korea’s PMI edged up to 50.9 from 50.2 in October, holding above the 50-mark threshold that indicates expansion in activity for a 14th straight month.

But output shrank in South Korea for a second straight month as Asia’s fourth-largest economy struggles to fully regain momentum in the face of persistent supply chain disruptions.

“Overall, with new export orders flooding back to countries previously hamstrung by Delta outbreaks and the disruption further down the supply chain still working through, there is plenty of scope for a continued rebound in regional industry,” said Alex Holmes, emerging Asia economist at Capital Economics.

India’s manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in 10 months in November, buoyed by a strong pick-up in demand.

Vietnam’s PMI rose to 52.2 in November from 52.1 in October, while that of the Philippines increased to 51.7 from 51.0.

Taiwan’s manufacturing activity continued to expand in November but at a slower pace, with the index hitting 54.9 compared with 55.2 in October. The picture was similar for Indonesia, which saw PMI ease to 53.9 from 57.2 in October.

The November surveys likely did not reflect the spread of the Omicron variant that could add further pressure on pandemic-disrupted supply chains, with many countries imposing fresh border controls to seal themselves off.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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