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HANNEN: Province needs to optimize child care investments – Toronto Sun

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BY ANDREA HANNEN

This week, the Provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs received submissions from stakeholder groups offering input on Ontario’s spring budget.

These public consultations allow MPPs and citizens to work together to improve the performance of taxpayer spending.

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The Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario (ADCO) was one of the groups that made a formal submission. ADCO represents Ontario’s independent licensed child care centres — those not run by a public sector organization such as a municipality or a school board, or a quasi-public sector organization such as a YMCA.

Most independent licensed child care centres are small businesses run by women. One of the things that distinguishes these child care providers from municipalities, school boards and quasi-public sector agencies is their ability to create new licensed child care spaces without burdening taxpayers with the cost of expansion.

Both the McGuinty and Wynne governments seemed to see these small businesses as barriers to the growth of institutional child care. That’s what the Full-Day Kindergarten program (FDK) was all about. It also seems to be what prompted the Wynne government to enact the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA), which allows municipalities to limit the supply of licensed child care within their boundaries, so that parents have fewer alternatives to these institutional settings.

A 2019 report by the Ministry of Education reveals that some 2000 of Ontario’s licensed child care centres closed between 2008 and 2018.

In recent weeks, the impact of these closures has been felt by tens of thousands of Ontario parents as they struggled to find alternative care arrangements for their children when strikes by teacher unions shut down not only FDK but also licensed child care centres and before-and-after-school programs located in public schools.

For this reason alone, the Ford government should stop investing taxpayer dollars in school-based child care spaces.

It should also do so for financial reasons.

Currently, municipalities and school boards may receive anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 per space to create more child care. Yet, independent licensed child care owner/operators are able to create similar, if not better, facilities for half this amount and they do it at no cost to taxpayers. All they need is assurance from the Province that it is safe for them to invest in expansion.

The province can provide this assurance by:

– Amending the Child Care and Early Years Act (CCEYA) with an eye to eliminating the provincial red tape and municipal conflicts of interest that make it harder for new independent licensed centres to open;

– Creating an online, self-serve portal where parents can explore, calculate and/or apply for the various child care funding support options available to them without having to consult with a municipal bureaucrat;

– Expanding the CARE tax credit so that more families qualify for it and fewer are forced into the chaos and uncertainty of the Provincial fee subsidy system, which is run differently by every municipality;

– Respecting parental choice by ensuring that fee subsidies follow children to whatever licensed child care programs their parents choose to use;

– Simplifying the Provincial funding formula used to allocate child care dollars to municipalities, so that less taxpayer money winds up being diverted into needless municipal overhead instead of actually helping families.

Currently, the province invests more than $3 billion annually into FDK and municipal child care system management. This investment needs to yield a better return.

At minimum, it should serve more families and be more responsive to their needs. It should also help shield children’s early years from the whims of big labour.

To achieve these goals, the province needs to stop burdening taxpayers with the cost of licensed child care expansion and start focusing on policy reforms that will enhance parental choice by increasing small business investment in the sector.

— Andrea Hannen is Executive Director of the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario (ADCO)

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Security concerns compel Ottawa to make 'most significant update' to Investment Canada Act in a decade – Financial Post

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Legislation would give government more time and authority to address new threats that may rise from foreign investments

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government tabled legislation that would give the industry minister more time and authority to assess foreign transactions that might compromise national security, while also making penalties for violating the Investment Canada Act more severe.

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The amendments would help the government align with the “changing global dynamics” and address new threats that may rise from foreign investments, an allusion to worries in the West about China’s growing influence, the government said in a statement.

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“Geopolitics of the world today has vastly changed in the last few years; that’s why we must be prepared to face the challenges that could endanger our economic security and our national security,” Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said at a press conference on the evening of Dec. 7.

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“We need to be more vigilant and this is going in that direction,” said Champagne, who described the proposed changes as the “most significant update of the law in more than a decade.”

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The Investment Canada Act (ICA) allows for the review of foreign investments in Canada based on a number of factors that include “net benefit” to the economy and national security. The legislation dates to the mid-1980s, a time when free-trade principles were ascendent around the world. That phase of globalization would lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and China’s admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Globalization is now headed in another direction.

A month ago, Canada’s government used the ICA to order three Chinese companies to divest their stakes in Canadian miners, citing results of a multi-step security review. This took place after the federal government in late October said any attempt by a state-owned enterprise to purchase assets in Canada’s critical minerals sector could trigger a section of the ICA that determines whether deals could be “injurious to national security,” requiring lengthy review.

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“We have gone from an era where foreign engagement strategy was centred around trade to an era that security is now the dog that wags the trade tail,” said Carlo Dade, trade director at the Canada West Foundation, a think-tank.

One of Champagne’s proposed amendments would require new filings from businesses in certain sectors prior to the implementation of the investments, giving the government a chance at an earlier stage to involve itself with transactions where there is risk of a foreigner gaining access to sensitive information.

Some of the sectors that the government will be keeping an eye on include critical minerals, artificial intelligence and businesses dealing with personal data, said Champagne.

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The bill also proposes to provide the industry minister with the power to conduct extended national security reviews of investments. Currently an order from the Governor in Council is required for this multi-step process. The change will make the review process more “efficient and flexible,” the government said.

In addition, the changes would bring stronger penalties against businesses that don’t comply with the act, as opposed to the existing ones that were established several decades ago and haven’t been revisited.

The bill also includes a provision that would allow the minister to disclose information about an investor to allies to support their foreign investment and national security reviews. Currently, information about a specific investor cannot be disclosed.

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When asked if the increased scrutiny might discourage Canada’s allies from investing in the nation, Champagne said: “I have no concern. I have been traveling the world recently and everyone wants to invest in Canada.” He added that other countries were also tightening their economic provisions due to the current geopolitical scenario.

“The proposed changes would formalize clearer and stricter processes under the act, allowing the government to more effectively implement them,” said Bob Fay, managing director of digital economy at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, a think-tank.

  1. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne said that following a “multi-step national security review process,” the government has asked Sinomine Rare Metals Resources Co., Chengze Lithium International Ltd. and Zangge Mining Investment Co. to divest from Canada’s Power Metals Corp., Lithium Chile Inc. and Ultra Lithium Inc.

    Ottawa orders Chinese companies to exit three Canadian lithium miners

  2. Brine pools used to extract lithium next to a lithium mining camp.

    Canadian lithium miner ordered to break with Chinese investor finds replacement in Australia

  3. Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, right, with Ontario Premier Rob Ford, left, in Oshawa in April.

    ‘They see stability and calm here’: Canada looks like a good place to invest to some EV producers

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Twenty-four investments were subject to extended national security reviews in the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2022. So far, in the current fiscal year, the government ordered Sinomine Rare Metals Resources Co., Chengze Lithium International Ltd. and Zangge Mining Investment Co. to divest from Canada’s Power Metals Corp., Lithium Chile Inc. and Ultra Lithium Inc., respectively.

Analysts say the move to push China out of the lithium industry is part of a series of steps being taken by the United States, bigger European economies, Canada and other democratic economies to shift their industries’ supply chains away from China, which dominates the EV industry, and towards friendlier nations.

Reflecting on the move, Trudeau said at an event on Dec. 5 that he wants to make sure that Canada is “in control” of its critical minerals so that the country’s allies can rely on the nation at a time when the demand for these minerals have increased primarily due to the rise in sale of electric vehicles globally, as the world looks to shift away from fossil fuels.

• Email: nkarim@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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Porsche retail network continues its investment in Canada

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Five of the brand’s retail operations inaugurated new buildings this year while an entirely new sales point will be added in the Niagara area

Toronto, ON, Dec. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. (PCL) is pleased to recognize the substantial investments by its dealer partners coast to coast in 2022 with the inauguration of five new retail point facilities as well as the ground breaking of an entirely new location in St. Catharines, ON.

“As we look back to 2022, one of the proudest accomplishments will certainly be the enhancement of several of our brand’s retail locations across the country,” said John Cappella, President and CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “The investments by our dealer partners reflect the confidence in our brand and its enduring success in Canada.”

Three existing dealerships opened the doors to new facilities this year: Porsche Centre Edmonton and Porsche Centre Winnipeg, both operated by Go Auto, as well as the Wyant Group’s Porsche Centre Saskatchewan. Moreover, two other new buildings featuring the latest Destination Porsche design architecture were inaugurated. Bookending the country, Dilawri and Open Road Auto partnership Porsche Centre Richmond as well as Steele Group’s Porsche of Halifax now espouse the striking new corporate concept. The new design was first adopted in Canada with the opening of the relocated Porsche Centre Quebec, owned by Drew Tilson, followed by the all-new Lithia-Motors-operated Porsche Centre Markham last year.

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The Destination Porsche concept is characterized by its emphasis on brand experience and inspiration, its flexibility, and the use of digital media for individualized communication. A central idea is that dealerships are intended to become a central gathering place for the Porsche community, appealing to current as well as new customers. Destination Porsche as well as all other Porsche Centres are also ready for the accelerated electrification of the brand’s line-up, with dedicated electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on-site, as well as an EV battery repair room for servicing the Porsche Taycan and the brand’s future electric models.

In addition to the enhancements at existing retail locations, earth works have officially commenced at the future site of Porsche Centre Niagara, an entirely new dealership located in St. Catharines. The Policaro Group will be operating this point along with Porsche Centre Oakville. Furthermore, the group is slated to inaugurate Porsche Centre Kitchener-Waterloo in 2023. The coming year will also see the opening of Mark Motors’ relocated facility in Ottawa. These investments by PCL’s dealer partners will benefit customers and give new momentum to the evolution of Porsche automotive retail in Canada.

About Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd.

Established in 2008, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. (PCL) is the exclusive importer and distributor of the Porsche 911, 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, Taycan, Panamera, Cayenne, as well as Macan. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, since 2017, PCL employs a team of more than 60 in sales, aftersales, finance, marketing, retail development, and public relations. They, in turn, work to provide Porsche customers with a best-in-class experience in keeping with the brand’s 70-year history of leadership in the advancement of vehicle performance, safety, and efficiency. In 2019, a Parts Distribution Centre opened its doors in Mississauga to service the countrywide network of 21 Porsche Centres. PCL is the dedicated subsidiary of Porsche AG, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. In 2021, Porsche delivered 9,141 units in Canada, marking its best-ever sales year.

At the core of this success is Porsche’s proud racing heritage that boasts some 30,000-plus motorsport wins to date.

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Exclusive: Canada’s biggest pension plan, CPPI, ends crypto investment pursuit

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TORONTO, Dec 7 (Reuters) – Canada’s biggest pension fund, CPP Investments, has ended its effort to study investment opportunities in the volatile crypto market, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The reasons behind CPPI’s abandonment of crypto research were not immediately clear. CPPI declined to comment but said it has made no direct investments in crypto. It referred to previous comments on cryptocurrency by its CEO, John Graham, in which he sounded a note of caution.

CPPI’s Alpha Generation Lab, which examines emerging investment trends, had formed a three-member team in early 2021 to research crypto currencies and blockchain-related businesses, with a view to taking potential exposure, the people added.

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But CPPI abandoned the pursuit this year and redeployed the team to other areas, the sources said.

CPPI’s move also comes as two of Canada’s largest pension funds have written off their investments after the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and crypto lender Celsius this year.

Earlier this year CPPI CEO Graham said that the pension plan, which manages C$529 billion ($388 billion) for nearly 20 million Canadians, did not want to invest in crypto merely because of the fear of missing out.

“You want to really think about what the underlying intrinsic value is of some of these assets and build your portfolio accordingly,” Graham said in a June speech. “So I’d say crypto is something we continue to look at and try to understand, but we just haven’t really invested in it.”

It was unclear when CPPI dropped its plan. One of the sources said the team was actively assessing investment opportunities as late as July this year, but the second source said the team ended its work earlier than that.

The details of CPPI’s pursuit of cryptocurrency investment and its decision to end it have not been previously reported.

The sources declined to be identified because the information was not public.

Canadian pension funds’ exposure to crypto sector has come under scrutiny following the FTX debacle. While Canadian pension funds are not prohibited from buying cryptocurrencies, they are known for their risk-averse investing strategies to generate steady returns for pensioners.

While CPPI has avoided crypto investments, some of its peers have been caught up in the sector’s mayhem this year. The Ontario Teachers Pension Fund (OTPP), which oversees about C$242 billion in assets, has written off its investments worth C$95 million in FTX. OTPP said it was “disappointed” with its investment in FTX.

Earlier this year, Canada’s second-largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), said it was writing off its investment of C$150 million in bankrupt crypto lending firm Celsius. CDPQ has initiated legal proceedings against Celsius in bankruptcy court.

The Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), which manages C$121 billion, made three allocations to crypto-linked businesses through its OMERS Ventures business between 2012 and 2018 but exited all investments in 2020.

Another Canadian pension fund, OP Trust, told Reuters that it has investments in the digital asset fund space that is managed externally. The investment is in the underlying crypto technology, it said.

($1 = 1.3650 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Divya Rajagopal in Toronto
Additional reporting by Maiya Keidan
Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis

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