Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:
An official from the British High Commission in Ottawa will give an update on Brexit and discuss the implications for Canada in Calgary on Monday. Experts told The Canadian Press in November that a post-Brexit United Kingdom will present Canadian business with tremendous uncertainty over billions of dollars worth of trade and investments, as the U.K. represents one of Canada’s top five destinations for investments and top 10 markets for goods and services.
Interest rate decision
The Bank of Canada will make its interest rate announcement and release its monetary policy report on Wednesday. Positive December employment numbers from Statistics Canada have helped convince economists that the central bank will continue to keep its key interest rate on hold at 1.75 per cent, where it has been for more than a year.
Rogers Communications will hold its fourth-quarter conference call on Wednesday. Federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains said last week that expected cuts to wireless rates by mobile-phone service providers must be in addition to price reductions already seen since 2016, a position described by an industry organization as “confusing.”
Statistics Canada will release its consumer price index for December on Wednesday. The agency’s previous report stated that inflation rose 2.2 per cent in November compared with a year ago to end a three-month streak where the annual pace of inflation had held steady at 1.9 per cent.
Statistics Canada will release its fourth-quarter “StatsCannabis” crowdsourced cannabis prices on Thursday. The agency previously reported that the average cost of a gram of cannabis fell 6.4 per cent to $7.37 in the third quarter as the legal price fell for the first time, although illicit weed continued to be significantly cheaper.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2020.
Canada's green agenda not hijacked by COVID-19: environment minister – CTV News
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the pandemic hasn’t hijacked the government’s “big green agenda,” and warned that if left unaddressed climate change will have more of an impact on Canadians than COVID-19.
Wilkinson admitted that the government’s priority is dealing with the pandemic, but said they will be thinking about the investments they must make “in the context of the looming crisis that is climate change.”
“At the end of the day, if we do not address the climate issue, the impacts that we will feel from that will be significantly greater than what we’re feeling from COVID-19,” Wilkinson told Evan Solomon during an online exclusive interview with CTV Question Period.
Speaking to reporters as he announced his intention to prorogue parliament in August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the throne speech will give the government an opportunity to build a recovery plan that allows Canada to “build back better.”
“This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and more fair. This is our moment to change the future for the better,” Trudeau said at the time.
However, insiders have told The Canadian Press that the throne speech will have three main priorities: measures to protect Canadians’ health and to prevent another lockdown; economic supports through the pandemic; and eventual rebuilding measures.
With the focus on the pandemic apparent, questions are circulating about the level of green investment that will actually be borne out of the looming throne speech. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is among these skeptical onlookers.
Speaking to Solomon on Wednesday during an episode of CTV Power Play, May said she’s made it clear to the prime minister that if he plans to leave real climate action out of the throne speech, he won’t be getting her party’s support.
“I made it very clear to the prime minister: without a commitment that we live up to the requirements of the Paris Agreement…we can’t vote confidence,” May said.
“When Joe Biden calls Donald Trump a climate arsonist, I don’t want to be calling Justin Trudeau a climate arsonist. He’s got a little bit of time left.”
Further raising the concern that the pandemic might be putting green initiatives on the back burner, the Liberals have also failed to plant a single one of the two billion trees they pledged to get in the ground over the next 10 years.
When pressed on the delay, Wilkinson admitted the pandemic has been a factor in slowing the tree planting efforts.
“The two billion trees commitment remains, it will be something that we will be looking at doing going forward. As you well know, we didn’t have a budget this year because of the pandemic and we’ve been living with this pandemic for six months,” said Wilkinson.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News’ Rachel Aiello
Why is there a shortage of canned soda pop in Canada? – Global News
You may have been to a grocery store and searched for a 12-pack of your favourite soda pop, only to come up empty-handed.
Like other dilemmas faced by Canadians since mid-March, the coronavirus pandemic is to blame, according to beverage peddlers.
“The beverage industry, like the entire consumer product sector, has been impacted by many new pressures due to COVID-19,” said Jeff Rutledge, a spokesperson for the Canadian Beverage Association.
When the pandemic first began in March, many people switched from purchasing bottles of pop at the store or drinking fountain pop at restaurants to taking home 12-packs to drink with lunch or dinner.
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As the shutdown happened with pretty remarkable speed, it left no time for pop manufacturers to prepare for the sudden shift in consumer demand.
“All aluminum cans are in tight supply due to heavy demand for multi-pack products consumed at home,” said Kristen Jimenez, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola.
Her company has been forced to prioritize which brands it uses due to the limited number of cans.
“We have had to shift our resources toward producing more products with the highest demand,” Jimenez said. “Here in Canada, those brands include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Sprite, Nestea and AHA.“
There may have already been a stockpile in place of certain other brands pre-pandemic so this leaves consumers of products like Diet Canada Dry hunting for their beverage of choice.
Coke is not alone in having to make these choices, though, according to Rutledge, whose organization also includes Pepsi and A&W, among dozens of others.
“While our members are implementing contingency plans to mitigate these challenges, including aluminum can supply, some products will be temporarily unavailable in some places,” he explained.
Coronavirus: 75% support another COVID-19 shutdown if second wave hits, according to Ipsos poll
Rutledge said members he has spoken to have ramped up production in a bid to get more product on the shelves and erase the backlog.
“Our members are working hard to get the products people want on store shelves as soon as the circumstances allow.”
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Doug Ford calls on Health Canada to focus on reviewing rapid COVID-19 antigen tests – Global News
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has called on Health Canada to focus on reviewing rapid COVID-19 antigen tests in the hope that one will be approved and used to alleviate the surging testing demand in the province.
“That should be their number one priority,” Ford said.
“I know Health Canada is doing a great job. They’re extremely, extremely busy but this should be the number one priority.”
Ford made the remarks during a rare Saturday press conference in which he announced that new gathering restrictions would be expanded to the entire province amid a spike in coronavirus cases.
Antigen tests aren’t as accurate as the tests currently used in Ontario, which require processing in a lab, but could deliver results in minutes.
“Is it one hundred per cent? No, but it sure is a lot better than having hours of lineups outside the testing centres. It’s absolutely critical. Health Canada please focus on this,” Ford said.
There have been hours-long waits at some of the province’s 148 assessment centres in recent days.
Ford has already said he will be releasing a plan to open up COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic individuals at pharmacies in a bid to help with the recent spike in demand.
Health Minister Christine Elliott also said Saturday that eight assessment centres across Toronto, Peel Region, and Ottawa have increased capacity. Elliott said additionally, seven pop-up testing sites have launched in the regions and more are coming.
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Ontario’s associate chief medical officer of health, said she understands that Health Canada is currently reviewing six antigen tests and added that they’re “a lot easier” than the current testing kits but can be less accurate.
Meanwhile, NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said in a statement Saturday that the “Ford government was not prepared for this spike in cases, and they should have been.”
Singh cited the long lineups at testing centres as an example.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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