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Fiscal Update 2022: Ottawa to permanently eliminate student loan interest

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Ottawa plans to make permanent its pandemic-era pause on student loan interest in an effort to reduce some of the current financial pressures on young Canadians as the cost of living rises.

As part of its fall fiscal update tabled Thursday, the federal government outlined plans to permanently eliminate interest on all federal student loans and apprentice loans including loans currently being repaid.

Interest rates will still apply on the provincial portion of a student’s loan.

While this move is helpful for students graduating, said Rebekah Young, director of fiscal and provincial economics at Scotiabank, it is ultimately relief for interest payments on debt rather than money toward tuition or other post-secondary school expenses.

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“In the bigger picture, they’re still confronting elevated expenditures across the board,” she said.

More than 1.8 million Canadian students owe the federal government a total of $20.5 billion, based on 2019 data from the Government of Canada website, with the average loan balance at about $13,367 at the time of leaving school.

The average undergraduate tuition fee is $6,482 for an academic year as of 2022, according to Statistics Canada, while the average graduate tuition fee is $7,053 as of 2022.

The Liberal government suspended the accumulation of interest on student loans in 2021 due to the effects of the pandemic on graduating students as they entered a unique job market. The measure was set to expire in March.

The elimination of interest will begin April 1, 2023, the fiscal update said.

An average student loan borrower will save $410 per year as a result of their loan being interest-free, the government said in the fiscal update. (Student loan interest is calculated either at a fixed rate of 2 per cent plus prime, or a variable rate equal to the prime rate.)

The elimination of interest on these loans is estimated to cost of $2.7 billion over five years and $556.3 million ongoing, the federal government said.

The permanent elimination of interest on federal student loans was a Liberal campaign promise during the last federal election.

Young said some may fear the decision could stoke inflation, but that it isn’t be a particularly strong argument as the measure is a relatively small, contained one.

Ottawa said graduating students will still be able to use its repayment assistance plan, allowing them to pause student loan repayment until they are making at least $40,000 per year, and reducing payments for those earning slightly above that amount.

Earlier this week, the zero-payment income threshold for student loans increased from $25,000 to $40,000 for a household of one. The threshold increases based on the size of the household.

This move to tackle student loans comes just a few months after U.S. President Joe Biden announced a decision to cancel $10,000 for most student loan borrowers, and up to $20,000 for those borrowers who received a federal Pell Grant. It has received significant pushback.

The White House said Thursday that it has already approved 16 million requests. Close to 26 million Americans have applied for student loan forgiveness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 3, 2022.

 

Adena Ali, The Canadian Press

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Why Investors Are Buying Copper Today for a Green Energy Future

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Many countries have now set ambitious goals for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. The goal was first discussed at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. Several signed the agreement at the conference stating that they would work to reach net-zero emissions.

Now, we have the technologies to make it happen. Electric vehicles, solar power, and wind turbines are all on the rise, and they will only get cheaper and more efficient. It’s important that we make the switch to clean energy sources now before it’s too late.

One big reason investors are buying copper today is that it’s an essential element in many green energy projects. Copper is used to building electric vehicles, power grids, and more. It’s also an important part of solar panels and wind turbines.

However, according to a recent S&P Global report, many authorities including the US government, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have expressed concern as to whether there will be enough minerals to meet the requirements of the emissions targets. The move to a mineral-intensive energy system will set up the current supply shortfalls in metals like copper for further squeezes.

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The industry scrambling to cover those shortfalls, mining, has seen major changes in the past decade. A focus on green energy as well as a tech industry that continues to grow has meant soaring demand for minerals such as copper. It has also meant rising valuations for projects that could contribute to the future of the copper market.

Projects like the Warintza copper project in southeastern Ecuador, owned by Solaris Resources (TSX:SLS) (OTCQB:SLSSF) have received significant interest from investors as it continues to advance its world-class greenfield development project. The company has already defined a 1.5Bt inventory in an open pit with a low strip ratio at the Warintza Central deposit, and within that a high-grade starter pit driving really robust economics. Warintza Central is one of four discoveries made within their porphyry cluster representing multiple times growth potential beyond the initial 1.5 Bt mineral resource.

The Warintza Project is one of many copper projects that investors are buying into today for a greener future. Copper is an essential part of green energy projects, and investors are betting that the demand for copper will continue to grow.

Copper’s historical role has shifted quite a bit. In the past, copper was only used to build things like electrical wires and the infrastructure needed to support green energy projects. Today, copper is an essential part of solar panels and wind turbines. Copper is also an important part of electric vehicles and the power grids that support them.

Infrastructure projects in the United States to build a stronger, bigger electrical grid also require copper. Initiatives to build charging station networks for EVs have begun in many major cities in the United States. Copper is also an essential part of these charging station networks, delivering the electricity needed to power the EVs that continue to grab more market share every year.

Unfortunately, the shortfall of copper and other critical minerals threatens to stall the switch from an emissions-heavy energy system to a more sustainable one. Rising copper prices and valuations for copper mining assets are sure to be part of the future of the industry. For Solaris Resources, continued progress at its flagship Warintza Project is more than just business – it’s a bet on the future of the world’s energy system.

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Canada is a possibility for those looking to work abroad

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Canada is a country with a very good reputation regarding of living standards. It is one of the countries with the best quality of life available. It offers many possibilities for Canadians and foreigners looking to start a life in its territory. It offers many things to those who decide to undertake the adventure of leaving their home country to work abroad.

In Canada, many job opportunities are available thanks to the development in all sectors. In addition, their immigration policy is regarded as one of the best in the world. Showing open arms to welcome for all those who wish to explore labor options in their cities. Their immigration policies are something of which they are very proud of, as shown by the statements of their minister, Sean Fraser. Their work conditions are also very favorable when residing in the country for an undetermined period of time for work. So much so that Canada has welcomed thousands of foreigners over the years, and statistics show that the country expects to welcome 1.4 million migrants over the next three years.

These numbers certify that Canada is a very attractive country for people looking to go abroad to work. For the Minister of Immigration, Sean Fraser, this is a boon for companies looking for new business employees.

Moreover, there are opportunities in practically all sectors. Although Canada is not as big as the United States, many job opportunities are available. In big cities like Toronto, Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa, you can find work in big, medium-sized and small companies. Also, regardless of whatever sector you are prepared for, whether primary, secondary or tertiary, there is an opportunity waiting for you in Canada. However, this does not mean everything is handed to you on a silver platter: you need to actively look for a job and fight for it.

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Certain jobs are modernized and performed remotely. For example, nowadays, the casino sector has increased and can be accessed very easily from the net in the country. These sites offer a great variety of games as well as free spins no deposit Canada. Many online casinos in Canada offer signup promotions in the form of a deposit bonus, a no deposit bonus, free play credits or free spins. Various promotions accumulate funds and increase them. It is also possible to play for free, but only with real money, you can take advantage of these bonuses. In addition, more and more people want to bid live dealers, so you can always apply for this job.

 

But then why are there so many job vacancies if there are workers?

One of the contradictions is that there seem to be jobs available for people who want to work, but unemployment rates are not decreased. According to studies, over one million people cannot find work. However, there are actually more than 900,000 open vacancies. This leads one to think that perhaps the native Canadian population does not meet the requirements set by that companies are looking for newly qualified workers, a possible reason as to why there are so many foreigners. Another reason could be that people do not live in the cities where these vacancies are available and do not want to relocate.

Unlike other countries such as the United States or England, Canada does not control the number of migrants entering the country each year to stay and work. The border is open to anyone who wants to try their luck. This may indicate that companies prefer to hire foreigners because they are willing to sacrifice living in their own countries for job opportunities in Canada.

Finally, some jobs might be more enticing to foreigners. It is clear that Canada has an open-gate policy concerning foreign workers, and they are constantly looking for various new profiles. There is a wide variety of offers for professionals, ranging from the medical sector to construction, entrepreneurs, hoteliers, and tourism. Although the most requested offers come from within the health sector, for example, there is also a gradual increase in jobs requiring software engineers.

If you are looking to work abroad, Canada is a good option. It is a country of primarily western values, although with its own cultural traditions. The weather can be another abrupt change one will have to get used to over time. However, their immigration policy is quite enticing, alongside an outstanding rate of quality of life. It’s a combination of all these that make it an attractive destination. So if you plan to work abroad, consider Canada.

 

 

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King Charles’ three-day visit to Canada cost taxpayers at least $1.4 million

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King Charles’ three-day 2022 Royal Tour of Canada cost Canadian taxpayers at least $1.4 million, according to documents obtained by CTVNews.ca.

The whirlwind May 17 to 19 trip saw the then- Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit Newfoundland, Ontario and Northwest Territories over approximately 57 hours, at a cost of more than $25,000 per hour.

The $1.4 million does not include government, military and police salaries, or normal operational costs, which would make the true bill higher. It also does not include costs covered by local governments and police forces.

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It does include overtime, fleets of vehicles, VIP flights and armed security paid for by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Department of National Defence and Canadian Heritage, the federal department that oversaw the trip and its planning.

The figures are based on a pair of access to information requests filed with Canadian Heritage, as well as data provided by the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other government departments and agencies. The Canadian Heritage figures should be considered preliminary, and are very likely to increase when official data is released in March 2023.

“The accounting process for the 2022 Royal Tour is still ongoing,” a Canadian Heritage spokesperson told CTVNews.ca. “For all Royal Tours, costs are shared between federal and provincial/territorial governments, based on the duration and the number of events taking place in each region.”

 

Charles became King and Camilla became Queen Consort following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022. Their May 2022 visit to Canada was meant to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee, which marked a historic 70 years on the throne.

National Defence footed the bill for Charles and Camilla’s air transportation to, from and within Canada aboard what’s commonly known as Can Force One: the bedroom-equipped VIP Airbus CC-150 Polaris jet that frequently shuttles the prime minister and dignitaries overseas. In total, the trip would have covered over 12,000 kilometres.

According to a National Defence spokesperson, the $568,000 is approximate and includes the costs of flying the plane “and associated support services to transport members of the Royal Family, along with personnel for the Royal Tour as identified by Canadian Heritage.” Approximately 450 Canadian Armed Forces personnel participated, including roughly 100 who supported air transportation and at least 100 for the honour guard at a May 17 welcoming ceremony in St. John’s, N.L.

The RCMP was primarily tasked with security. Outside of salaries, the RCMP spent $172,175 on overtime and $189,156 on travel expenditures like meals, accommodation and transportation for a total of $361,331. An RCMP spokesperson said additional costs may still be processed.

According to two access to information requests filed by CTVNews.ca, the more than $509,714 spent by Canadian Heritage included at least $221,634 on travel and hospitality costs like flights, accommodation, meals and per diems; more than $11,453 on fleets of rental cars, taxis and buses; more than $11,496 in overtime for just three employees; $6,404 in fees to Ottawa’s historic Lord Elgin Hotel; at least $5,287 for scores of COVID-19 rapid tests; $3,550 for image copyrights; $2,945 for printing services; and other costs like flowers, medical personal protective equipment, “VIP Agency Services” and gifts. Canadian Heritage also footed the hospitality bill for 20 to 30 members of the British delegation, who included staff from Clarence House, which is King Charles’ London residence. A breakdown of the preliminary Canadian Heritage costs can be found at the bottom of this article.

“It is customary for hospitality costs, including those for Clarence House staff, to be assumed by the host country,” an April 2022 memo prepared for Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez states. “As the lead federal department for the planning and delivery of the 2022 Royal Tour, the Department of Canadian Heritage will assume hospitality costs.”

Canadian Heritage also covered $140,685.64 in costs from Services and Procurement Canada, which included overtime for 20 employees, and $35,718.91 from the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, which went towards planning work, accommodation and meals for royal visitors and support staff, and a reception at Rideau Hall, which is home to the Governor General, the monarch’s appointed representative in Canada.

Additional costs were likely absorbed by other departments, police forces and levels of government.

In statements to CTVNews.ca, the Ontario government and the cities of Ottawa, Yellowknife and St. John’s reported incurring no costs due to the 2022 Royal Tour. The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador and Northwest Territories said numbers are not yet finalized. Ottawa Police Service and Royal Newfoundland Constabulary did not respond to requests for comment, and Ontario Provincial Police stated figures would only be released through a freedom of information request. The National Capital Commission, a Crown corporation that oversees federal properties in and around Ottawa, reported spending $283.40 on audio-visual services for an event at Rideau Hall. The $1.4 million also does not include costs covered by British taxpayers.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla’s last Royal Tour of Canada, which spanned three days in the summer of 2017, cost Canadian Heritage $487,660. Since 2010, there have been eight official Royal Tours to Canada by members of Royal Family, which have come at a price of more than $7 million to Canadian Heritage alone. The late Queen Elizabeth II’s final nine-day visit to Canada in 2010 was the most expensive of all, costing Canadian Heritage at least $2.79 million.

 

Visits like these represent just a fraction of what Canada’s ties to the throne cost Canadian taxpayers each year.

According to the Monarchist League of Canada, our constitutional monarchy cost the government almost $58.75 million in just the 2019 to 2020 fiscal year, which includes costs associated with operating the Governor General’s Office, their overseas trips, the salaries and expenses of provincial lieutenant governors, and royal tours. That’s approximately $1.55 per Canadian a year – slightly below the nearly $2.10 the Crown costs each citizen of the U.K.

The Monarchist League of Canada believes that represents good value for Canadians.

“The Queen and now the King, together with members of their Family, do not come to Canada to benefit Britain or indeed any of the other Commonwealth Realms,” the league’s dominion chairman, Robert Finch, told CTVNews.ca. “The purpose of these homecomings is to highlight Canadians, their achievements, yes – their challenges and problems being worked on – and to celebrate important events in the life of the nation.”

The Monarchist League of Canada was recently awarded a $187,500 grant from Canadian Heritage to distribute 70,000 educational booklets to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee this year. Finch explains that all Royal Tours come on invitation of the host nation, and that there are also many private visits, such as by members with hospital patronages or honorary military ranks. He describes Canadians’ relationship and attitude to the monarchy as “deep and abiding.”

“Canada’s polity is one of democratic institutions and freedom under the Crown,” Finch said. “To change that polity would demand the unanimous agreement of the ten provincial legislatures and Parliament – and the complexity would not merely centre on why such a change should be made, but what new institution would replace it, and be demonstrably better.”

Tom Freda, director of the Citizens for a Canadian Republic advocacy group, believes that Canadian support the monarchy is “declining,” partially because of the large costs of hosting visiting royals.

“We don’t see much purpose at all, really,” Freda told CTVNews.ca. “Obviously, state visits in general are a necessary part of international relations and diplomacy. As a host country, we cover the costs of all visiting dignitaries.”

The group, which wants to replace the British monarch with a Canadian head of state, has used access to information requests to uncover data on the costs of past Royal Tours.

“Canada does seem to go overboard on royal visits,” Freda said. “Near as we can tell, they’re designed to bolster support for the royals (ironically, it does the opposite by raising attention to their presence and the cost), and to allow political and business elites the opportunity to socialize with royalty.”

Obtained through two access to information requests, the above documents outline costs incurred by Canadian Heritage during King Charles’ 2022 Royal Tour of Canada.

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