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After complaints, CRA encourages some failed CRB applicants to reapply on Monday – CBC.ca

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After dozens of Canadians complained to CBC News about problems getting the new Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), the Canada Revenue Agency is now recommending that some applicants reapply for the benefit on Monday after 6 a.m. ET.

CBC News first reported Friday on the frustration and despair of Canadians who were certain they were eligible for the CRB but had their applications rejected. The benefit is supposed to replace the Canada emergency response benefit (CERB) for those who are not eligible for employment insurance.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised that the application process would be “simple” and that no one would be left behind in the transition away from the CERB, many complained they received an error message when submitting their application.

“I’ve never felt this hopeless,” Hajar Pittman told CBC News after her application was rejected. 

The mother of two toddlers said she was laid off from her job in the airline industry and forced to borrow money from friends and family while she tried to sort out the confusion, which seemed to stem from her having received parental leave benefits in the last year.

The CRA now says it may have a solution for frustrated Canadians like Pittman.

“Anyone who applied for the CRB before Oct. 16 and received [error] code 026 should try reapplying again on Monday,” the agency said late Saturday in a statement.  

“Their application may be approved if our updated information supports their claim. If the applicant reapplies and continues to get code 026, it’s because the individual may be eligible for EI or applied for EI earlier this year.”

The CRA suggests applicants consult the government’s EI eligibility criteria, available here

Stores sit empty in Toronto earlier this month during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly a quarter of a million Canadians applied for the Canada Recovery Benefit, intended to replace the CERB, on the first day applications opened. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Nearly 600,000 Canadians have been approved for the CRB, which was launched on Oct. 12, according to the statement. 

While CBC News has asked how many Canadians applied unsuccessfully, the CRA has not provided a figure.

System offline until Monday morning

But the CRA warns that for the next few days, it may be difficult to receive help by phone.

“We recognize that many Canadians need to reach us. As a result, our wait times are longer than usual. We expect to return to lower wait times by the end of next week, and we ask for Canadians to be patient until that time and only call if it is a time-sensitive issue.”

In addition, the CRA says some of its services, including MyAccount and its automated phone line, are offline over the course of this weekend and until Monday at 6 a.m. ET.

This is due to “scheduled routine maintenance,” the agency said.

Change in procedure

The CRA also notes that it has changed the way it shares information with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

The two entities are supposed to share information to ensure Canadians are “not mistakenly applying for both EI and the CRB,” the CRA says. Error Code 026 is specifically related to this issue, the statement said.

On Thursday, the day CBC News first asked about the number of people unable to receive benefits, ESDC and the CRA “began a process” to ensure shared information was updated on a daily basis, the CRA said.

“The CRA continues to keep our clients, the individuals who are relying on these benefits for support, top of mind. Our goal is to provide a simple, efficient service experience for Canadians while also taking steps to ensure that benefits payments are going to those who are eligible to receive them.”

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Exxon posts record loss, warns of epic $30bn shale writedown – Aljazeera.com

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Energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp is facing its biggest crisis since the 1970s as the pandemic guts oil and gas demand.

Exxon Mobil Corp. warned it may take up to $30 billion in writedowns on natural gas fields as crashing energy demand and prices spurred a historic losing streak.

Exxon is confronting one of its biggest crises since Saudi Arabia began nationalizing its oilfields in the 1970s. If the company takes the full $30 billion impairment, it will be the industry’s worst in more than a decade, according to Bloomberg data.

The company lost $680 million, or 15 cents a share, during the third quarter, compared with the 25-cent per-share loss forecast in a Bloomberg survey of analysts. The shares fell 1.3% to $32.53 at 9:34 a.m. in New York and are down more than 50% for the year.

That was in stark contrast to Chevron Corp., which disclosed a surprise profit as the company’s oil-production and refining divisions outperformed analysts’ expectations. Chevron’s shares dipped 0.4%. European supermajors Total SE, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc also turned in better-than-expected third-quarter performances.

Blindsided by the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, Exxon Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods abruptly ditched an ambitious rebuilding effort and imposed widespread job cuts that are unprecedented in Exxon’s modern history. His top priority has been preserving a dividend that pays shareholders $3.7 billion every three months.

The firings and layoffs announced Thursday will affect 14,000 workers in the U.S. and abroad. Pandemic-induced lockdowns have crushed demand for oil, natural gas and chemicals, sending Exxon’s finances into a tailspin. Prior to 2020, the company hadn’t posted a quarterly loss in at least three decades.

Woods’s turnaround effort took another hit Friday when the company said an internal assessment is under way to determine the future of its North American gas assets. Much of those fields were added to Exxon’s portfolio a decade ago with the $35 billion takeover of XTO Energy Inc., when American gas prices were almost twice the current level.

Oil Sands

The company may incur additional impairments on assets in Canada, where operations include the massive Kearl oil-sands complex in Alberta. Although third-quarter results outperformed expectations, the company is still struggling to generate enough cash to fund dividend payments and capital projects.

Exxon’s cash flow has all but evaporated, Woods’s aggressive rebuilding plan has ground to a halt, and criticism is growing over the company’s climate strategy. The most immediate question for investors is how long the $15 billion a year in dividends survive.

What Bloomberg Intelligence Says

Exxon appears poised to wait for peers to drop, before it takes the necessary step of cutting its dividend. Regardless of a recovery, its capital structure looks unsustainable, as its portfolio requires significant spending to restore returns.

— Fernando Valle, energy analyst

Meanwhile, Chevron and BP eked out profits after slashing costs. Shell exceeded all analysts’ forecasts by posting almost $1 billion in adjusted profit. The Anglo-Dutch giant also dangled the promise of fattening the dividend that’s dwindled to less than half of its year-ago value. also surpassed estimates.

Exxon stock has underperformed Chevron but outpaced Shell and BP. The drop has sent Exxon’s dividend yield soaring to more than 10%, a level that indicates investors expect the payout to be cut.

To defend the dividend and appease investors, Woods is implementing an extensive internal cost-cutting drive. Exxon cut $10 billion in capital spending in April and said Friday that 2021 spending will fall as much as another $7 billion.

As if its financial performance wasn’t enough to worry about, Exxon is under pressure from critics to reset its climate strategy. Its European rivals have all committed to some form of carbon neutrality by mid-century but earlier this month Woods underscored his faith in fossil fuels. Oil and gas will still make up about half the global energy mix in 2040 and provide the most cost-effective pathway to development in poor countries, Woods told employees in the email.

(Updates share prices in third, fourth paragraphs)
–With assistance from Laura Hurst and Javier Blas.

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North American stock markets tumble in late-morning trading – Business News – Castanet.net

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North American stock markets pared earlier losses but still trended negative in early afternoon trading amid ongoing concerns about rising COVID-19 infection rates.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 148.38 points at 15,522.32.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 291.88 points at 26,367.23. The S&P 500 index was down 50.15 points at 3,259.96, while the Nasdaq composite was down 273.49 points at 10,912.10.

The Canadian dollar traded for 75.08 cents US compared with 74.91 cents US on Thursday.

The December crude contract was down 71 cents at US$35.46 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down less than a penny at US$3.30 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$12.00 at US$1,880.00 an ounce and the December copper contract was down half a cent at US$3.05 a pound.

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2 new COVID-19 cases in N.S. amid exposure warnings on 2 flights and at gas station – CBC.ca

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Nova Scotia reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, both related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

Both cases were identified in the Northern Zone. One individual has been self-isolating as required. The other was not required to self-isolate under the Health Protection Act, but did so once symptoms started to develop, according to a news release.

Essential workers who must enter Nova Scotia for work are exempt from the requirement to self-isolate.

Nova Scotia Health also warned the public Friday of three potential exposures to COVID-19 in the last week.

Two were on recent Air Canada flights to Halifax. The other was at a gas station restaurant just outside Debert, N.S.

Air Canada Flight 7488 on Oct. 25 departed from Montreal at 7:15 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 9:50 p.m. AT.

Public health is advising passengers in rows 21 to 27 in seats D, E and F to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. It’s anticipated anyone exposed to COVID-19 on that flight could develop symptoms up to Nov. 8.

Air Canada Flight 622 on Oct. 27 departed from Toronto at 6:40 p.m. and arrived in Halifax at 9:40 p.m. AT.

According to a news release, the passenger moved throughout the plane, so public health is advising all passengers on that to flight monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, which could develop up to Nov. 10.

Public health also advised of a potential exposure to COVID-19 at the Glenholme Loop Petro Pass Restaurant on Highway 104, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. AT on Oct. 25. Anyone there during that time is asked to monitor for symptoms, which could develop up to Nov. 8.

Six active cases in Nova Scotia

The province also renewed its state of emergency. That comes into effect at noon on Nov.1 and runs until noon on Nov. 15, unless the province extends or terminates it.

Nova Scotia Health completed 950 tests on Thursday. As of Friday afternoon, there were six active cases in the province. No one was in hospital related to COVID-19.

To date, Nova Scotia has had 1,104 positive cases and 65 deaths. 

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic Bubble are:

  • New Brunswick reported one new case Friday. There are 39 active cases in the province.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases Friday. There are three active cases in the province.
  • P.E.I. had no active cases as of Tuesday.

Symptoms

Anyone with one of the following symptoms should visit the COVID-19 self-assessment website or call 811:

  • Fever.
  • Cough or worsening of a previous cough.

Anyone with two or more of the following symptoms is also asked to visit the website or call 811:

  • Sore throat.
  • Headache.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Runny nose.
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