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Anyone at 3 Halifax locations during possible COVID-19 exposure asked to get tested – CBC.ca

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A Halifax bar has closed while staff await their COVID-19 test results, after Public Health in Nova Scotia updated some of its possible COVID-19 exposure warnings and added two new ones.

The province reported three new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the total active cases to 20. There are three cases no longer considered active since Saturday’s update.

The new cases are in the central zone, and all three are under investigation.

On Sunday, Public Health warned of the following two possible exposures:

  • All Nations Full Gospel Church worshiping at Saint Andrew’s United Church on Coburg Road., Halifax on Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.
  • Montana’s BBQ and Bar on Chain Lake Drive in Halifax on Oct. 25 from 6 p.m. to close. 

It is expected anyone exposed to the virus at these locations may develop symptoms up to, and including, Monday Nov. 9.

The earlier notice for the Bitter End Martini Bar and Restaurant on Argyle Street in Halifax on Nov. 2 has also been extended to include all patrons and staff who were at the bar between 9 p.m. and closing.

Anyone present at any of these locations during these times is asked to call 811 to arrange for COVID-19 testing even if they have no symptoms.

Premier weighs in on recent cases

“I am concerned about the recent increase in both the number of cases and public exposure notices,” Premier Stephen McNeil said in a release Sunday.

“We cannot become complacent about this virus. That means we all must continue to follow public health protocols.”

Contact tracing and testing are important aspects of public health during a pandemic, Dr. Strang, chief medical officer of health, said in the release.

As positive cases are investigated, he said public health might learn that someone spent time in settings like a restaurant while infectious or potentially infectious. 

If they are unsure that they’ve found all the contacts, Strang said they use public exposure notices to ensure everyone that may have been a close contact is aware and monitoring their health, or getting tested if need be.

Both Strang and McNeil will hold a COVID-19 media update on Monday at 3 p.m.

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang are shown at a news conference. (Communications Nova Scotia)

The Bitter End has closed to allow staff to take COVID-19 tests on Sunday and await results, owner Mike Leigh said Sunday.

He added that Public Health did not direct them to close, but only that all staff working on Nov. 2 couldn’t come back to work until they had a negative result.

Since most staff worked on Nov. 2 anyway, Leigh said the business will not reopen until all staff tests come back negative. He said the results are supposed to come back by Monday morning with a reopening possible that night.

Leigh said he knows nothing about the possible exposure other than it originally related to a customer, not an employee. 

“They want to be able to officially eliminate us as a possibility,” Leigh said. “They’re being hyper-vigilant on this, which is fine … I’d rather err on the side of caution.”

Other recent exposures

Another two possible exposure sites have been corrected.

There was one on Nov.1 at the BMO Soccer Centre at 210 Thomas Raddall Dr. in Halifax from 6-9 p.m., not the BMO Centre on Gary Martin Drive as Public Health had previously reported.

For WestJet Flight 254 on Oct. 30 from Toronto to Halifax, the exposure relates to passengers in rows 15-21, seats A, B, C, not rows 39 to 45 in those seats as had been previously stated.

Other recent public exposure notices include restaurants, Halifax Transit, flights, sports facilities and stores and can be found here.

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs completed 722 Nova Scotia tests on Saturday.

So far, Nova Scotia has had 1,128 positive cases and 65 deaths. No one is currently in hospital.

Due to a technical issue, a number of “completed tests and negative test results” from labs outside of the Central Zone are not included in Sunday’s testing number. The numbers will be updated when that information is available.

The latest numbers from around the Atlantic bubble are:

  • New Brunswick is reporting one new case Sunday. It now has 24 active cases.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador reported one new case Sunday. It has seven active cases. 
  • P.E.I. reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, both related to travel outside the Atlantic bubble. It now has two active cases.

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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3 Cheap TSX Stocks I’d Buy for the 2021 Bull Run – The Motley Fool Canada

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Canadian equity markets have made a robust recovery after bottoming out in March, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index rising over 55% and is trading just 3.4% lower from its all-time high. The strong upward momentum could continue next year, driven by the pent-up demand as the vaccine’s availability inches closer. Goldman Sachs projects the global real gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by 6% next year.

Meanwhile, the pandemic took a severe toll on some of the Canadian stocks. Despite the last month’s recovery, these companies are trading at a discount and are offering excellent buying opportunities for long-term investors. So, here are the three TSX stocks that you should buy for higher returns during the 2021 bull run.

Air Canada

Amid the pandemic, the governments worldwide had imposed travel restrictions, severely impacting the passenger airline industry, including Air Canada (TSX:AC). With several of its aircraft grounded, Air Canada’s passenger volumes fell 96% and 88% in the second and third quarters on a year-over-year basis. It incurred net losses of $2.45 billion and burnt $2.54 billion of cash during the same period.

Meanwhile, the buying in Air Canada’s stock has been returning slowly amid the vaccine hope, with its stock price rising over 75% since the beginning of November. The vaccine could prompt the governments to ease restrictions, potentially boosting its lucrative international travel. Further, Air Canada has taken several initiatives to lower its expenses and cash burn, which is encouraging.

Although it could take a couple of years for the passenger demand to reach its pre-pandemic levels, Air Canada, a market leader, could bounce back more quickly. Despite the recent surge, Air Canada is still trading over 45% lower for this year, proving an excellent buying opportunity for long-term investors.

Enbridge

The oil prices have surged since Pfizer made the encouraging announcement on the vaccine on November 9, as investors grew optimistic about life and business returning to pre-pandemic ways. The surge in oil prices has brought some relief to the energy sector, including Enbridge (TSX:ENB)(NYSE:ENB), which rose over 13% since the beginning of November.

The rise in oil prices could boost its liquid mainline throughput driving its financials. Further, Enbridge continues to make advancements with its $11 billion secured growth projects, with approximately $5 billion left to spend by 2022.

The company’s management hopes that these projects and organic growth within its various segments to generate 5-7% DCF-per-share annual growth until 2022. So, the company’s growth prospects look healthy.

Besides, at 7.8%, Enbridge’s dividend yield looks attractive. Given its stable cash flows and healthy liquidity position, its dividends are safe. The company has consistently hiked its dividends for the past 25 years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%.

Cineplex

The pandemic-infused lockdown and the following restrictions have weighed heavily on Cineplex’s (TSX:CGX) financials. The company, which owns and operates 164 theatres across Canada, has incurred net losses of $98.9 million and $121.2 million in the second and third quarters. Its high cash burn and rising debt levels are also a cause of concern.

Cineplex has currently opened all its 164 theaters but operates them at a limited capacity, as per the local government restrictions. Meanwhile, the vaccine could increase customer footfalls and also aid the company to operate at full capacity. Further, many distributors have shifted the release dates of major movies to next year, which could contribute to the next year’s increased footfalls.

Cineplex has also taken several initiatives to reduce its expenses and cash burn, which is encouraging. Its valuation also looks attractive, with its forward price-to-earnings standing at 17.4.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for high-growth stock to invest, the following report would be of great help.

This Tiny TSX Stock Could Be the Next Shopify

One little-known Canadian IPO has doubled in value in a matter of months, and renowned Canadian stock picker Iain Butler sees a potential millionaire-maker in waiting…
Because he thinks this fast-growing company looks a lot like Shopify, a stock Iain officially recommended 3 years ago – before it skyrocketed by 1,211%!
Iain and his team just published a detailed report on this tiny TSX stock. Find out how you can access the NEXT Shopify today!

Click here to discover how!


The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Enbridge. Fool contributor Rajiv Nanjapla has no position in the companies mentioned.

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Canadian bank bonuses climb 3.9% as virus stops 'crazy' payouts – BNN

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Canada’s biggest banks set aside 3.9 per cent more for bonuses, a relatively small increase in a year when record revenue from trading and dealmaking helped firms weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s six largest lenders set aside $16.2 billion (US$12.6 billion) for performance-based compensation in the 2020 fiscal year. The increase improved upon the previous year’s 2.5 per cent gain — the smallest in nine years — though it fell short of the 6.3 per cent average for the past decade.

“This year is going to be very challenging when it comes to bonuses,” said Bill Vlaad, president of Vlaad & Co., a Toronto-based recruitment firm that monitors compensation trends. “The rest of Canada has had a really challenging year, so the banks can’t then go out and pay investment bankers crazy bonuses. They just can’t do that optically.”

Toronto-Dominion Bank and Royal Bank of Canada, the two largest lenders, had the biggest increases to their bonus pools, while Bank of Nova Scotia — which sold businesses and operations through the year — was the only company to shrink its reserves for performance-based pay.

Banks saw a 22 per cent surge in annual revenue from their capital-markets operations, to about $31.1 billion collectively for the year ended Oct. 31. Underwriting and advisory fees rose 23 per cent to a new peak of $5.66 billion, and trading revenue soared 41 per cent to a record $16.5 billion.

Overall, the Big Six banks had $41.2 billion in annual net income, down 12 per cent from the previous year’s record.

Canada’s bonus reserves may hint what’s ahead for U.S. and European banks. Wall Street traders are poised for handsome bonuses in their best year in a decade, though their investment-banking peers may be less fortunate. Traders at JPMorgan Chase & Co. may see a 20 per cent bonus boost.

In Europe, Deutsche Bank AG signaled in October that it’s planning bonus increases for top-performing investment bankers. UBS Group AG plans to raise fixed salaries for some employees by as much as 20 per cent, allowing the company to lower its bonus pool.

The Canadian banks pay bonuses based on performance, with most of the variable compensation going to capital-markets employees such as investment bankers, research analysts and those in sales and trading. Variable compensation reflects the amount reserved, not paid out, and doesn’t include base salaries. Bonuses are typically distributed in December.

“There aren’t a lot of bonuses to go out when you divide it by the number of people that are still on at the firms,” Vlaad said. “The banks have an unnatural, invisible hand that is coming in and has restricted them from having any material layoffs, so they haven’t been able to be as efficient as they’d like to be because of their promises to the Canadian public.”

The six banks’ workforce totals about 378,400, down 3 per cent from last year, with Scotiabank shrinking the most after selling operations in the Caribbean and winding down other businesses. Bank of Montreal’s and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s ranks also shrunk after the two companies announced cost-reduction measures before the pandemic. Job cuts across the industry could have been higher if not for COVID-19, with chief executive officers vowing that employees wouldn’t lose their jobs due to the pandemic.

Embedded Image

Here’s a bonus breakdown by bank:

Toronto-Dominion

Canada’s largest lender by assets set aside $2.89 billion for incentive compensation, with its 6.2 per cent increase the highest since 2017. The pool reflects employees’ ability to keep the bank serving customers and running efficiently throughout the pandemic, Chief Financial Officer Riaz Ahmed said in an interview.“Bonuses are linked to performance, and overall some of our businesses have done very well,” he said. “We’ve also made sure we’ve continued to look after all of our people through the pandemic.”

Royal Bank

Royal Bank, which has the biggest capital-markets division among Canadian lenders, set aside $6.04 billion for variable compensation, a 5.9 per cent increase and the highest total for the Big Six.

“We take a very balanced approach to compensation with consideration of the external environment in the long-term interest of both our employees and our shareholders,” CFO Rod Bolger said in an interview. Market-driven businesses such as wealth management and capital markets will see rates “according to what the market pays, and both of those businesses had strong performance this year.”

Still, overall earnings at Canada’s second-largest lender were down, “so a lot of our employees will see lower variable compensation this year,” Bolger said.

Scotiabank

Scotiabank’s performance-based compensation pool fell 1.3 per cent to $1.74 billion, its first decline since 2015, even as Canada’s third-largest lender posted record revenue from its capital-markets operations as trading reached an all-time high.

“It’s not all about ‘eat what you kill’ because we want them to be good corporate citizens,” CFO Raj Viswanathan said in an interview. “We want to compensate them appropriately when they have a good year,” but employees won’t necessarily receive a specific percentage of the business they generate.

Scotiabank’s compensation calculations take into account the company’s performance relative to its projections, and that’s weighing on compensation this year because of how the pandemic hurt business, he said.

“The overall variable compensation of the bank is down because the bank’s performance has been lower” in the second and third quarters, Viswanathan said.

BMO

Bank of Montreal raised its set-asides for variable compensation 0.8 per cent to $2.63 billion, its smallest increase in at least eight years.

“We’re committed to the principles of paying for performance and providing market-competitive compensation for our employees,” CFO Tom Flynn said in an emailed statement. “This year, we are comfortable with how well we have adhered to those principles, for both bonuses and total compensation.”

CIBC

The fifth-largest Canadian lender allocated 4 per cent more for performance-based pay, reserving $1.95 billion, a reversal from the previous year’s 4.7 per cent contraction.

“We believe in paying competitively and paying for performance, and that philosophy is applied,” CFO Hratch Panossian said in an interview. “This year, the level of compensation we’ve landed on we believe reflects the performance of the bank both from a financial perspective as well as doing the right thing for our clients and supporting clients through a very tough environment.”

National Bank

National Bank of Canada set aside 4 per cent more for bonuses, with the Montreal-based lender allocating $990 million for variable compensation, rebounding from a 1.3 per cent contraction in fiscal 2019.

“We’re trying to balance a good year with the fact also that our loan losses did go up during the year and that has to be reflected,” CEO Louis Vachon said in an interview. “In the context of a pandemic, I think our approach to compensation does need to remain relatively sober. So that’s how we’re balancing things out.”

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OPEC Finally Reaches Deal On 2021 Oil Output Cuts – OilPrice.com

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OPEC+ Finally Reaches Deal On 2021 Oil Output Cuts | OilPrice.com

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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After much debate, the OPEC+ group has finally reached an agreement on oil production for next year. Or at least for January.

OPEC+ will, as a group, add in 500,000 barrels per day in January to its oil production quotas, which currently calls for a production cut of 7.7 million bpd. The total production cut in January will now just 7.2 million bpd.

Future assigned quotas could rise or fall, and to determine those levels of oil production beyond January, OPEC+ ministers will hold additional meetings—one each month.

The agreement is being touted as a win for all parties, although behind closed doors, it is unlikely that all ministers feel that way, as some ministers were vocally opposed prior to the meeting to adding in any production out of fear that oil demand would not be able to sustain any added production.

In addition to the agreement for adding 500,000 bpd of production back in, OPEC+ members that are laggards in sticking to their production quotas will have to make up the difference between now and March, one delegate said.

Additional things we know:

  • Russia’s share of the 500,000 bpd additional January production is 125,000 bpd.
  • Countries can either use their part of the 500,000 bpd increase by increasing production outright or—for the laggards—they can “use” their share of the additional allowance to offset any additional compensatory cuts they must make.

The fact that the agreement only covers January could mean that there were some heavy concessions that had to be made to reach a consensus. But the January-only deal is being sold as a flexibilie that will allow the group to react to demand swings.

The January-only agreement should have a considerable effect on oil price volatility in the months to come. With fresh OPEC announcements every month, the market will hang on every word, and oil prices will respond in kind, regardless of their actual effect on oil prices.

In a presser following the meeting, OPEC chairman HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud chastised the media for their “imaginative” star wars they have been perpetuating in recent weeks, referring to reports that the UAE and Saudi Arabia were spatting over the way forward.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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