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House passes bill to extend and reform wage subsidy, introduce disability benefits

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Legislation introduced by the Liberal government to change the federal wage subsidy and provide relief to people with disabilities passed the House of Commons today by unanimous consent.

The legislation, C-20, expands the number of companies that qualify for the wage subsidy, changes the amount companies can put toward their workers’ wages and extends the wage subsidy program to the end of the year.

The bill also sends a one-time payment of $600 to people with disabilities and extends some legal deadlines for court cases.

The original version of the wage subsidy covered 75 per cent of wages, up to a weekly maximum of $847, for eligible companies and non-profits. Companies had to show a 30 per cent drop in revenues.

The revised program pays out on a sliding scale based on revenue drops due to the pandemic, with the hardest-hit businesses eligible for a 25 per cent increase to the previous maximum payment.

The Bloc Québécois indicated early on that its MPs would support the bill, giving the Liberals the votes required to ensure its passage.

An agreement between the parties that allowed the legislation to pass today also provided for getting two more House of Commons committees — the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security and the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations — up and running. Conservative MP John Brassard said his party pushed for those committees to re-start.

The Canada-China committee hasn’t met since the pandemic began, while the public safety committee has met just twice.

The one-time disability payment — which originally was only going to benefit Canadians who qualify for the federal disability tax credit — will now also go to those receiving disability benefits through the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan and Veterans Affairs Canada.

The Business Council of Canada welcomed the passage of the bill and the changes made to the federal wage subsidy.

“The revised program — expanding the eligibility requirements, extending the length of the program, and introducing a sliding scale for the wage subsidy — effectively transforms the [Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy] into a broadly based economic stimulus program,” said the council’s CEO Goldy Hyder in a statement.

 

Source: – CBC.ca

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Ford wants more COVID-19 testing at Pearson Airport as hundreds of travellers test positive – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants anyone who lands at Toronto Pearson International Airport to take a COVID-19 test as more than 100 travellers tested positive for the disease after arriving into the country within a two-week time frame.

The premier made the comments at a news conference held Monday afternoon.

“I can’t stress this enough,” he said. “We have to test every person that comes in to Pearson, and any other land crossing. It’s absolutely critical. We need to put barriers up every which way we can.”

“Every time I look up in the sky I’m thinking how many cases are coming in. This has to stop.”

According to the federal government, at least 156 flights have landed in Canada between Jan. 10 and Jan. 23 that had passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the country.

The majority of the flights landed in Toronto (76), Montreal (40), and Calgary (24).

There were also 70 domestic flights that had a passenger later test positive for the novel coronavirus.

The Canada-U.S. border has been closed to non-essential travel since March, with the latest extension set to expire on Feb. 21. Travellers must show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel date, and must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently urged Canadians to cancel all non-essential trips abroad.

“No one should be taking a vacation right now. If you’ve got one planned, cancel it,” Trudeau said last week. “If you are thinking of traveling across the country for spring break – now is not the time.”

The Ontario government also announced a pilot program earlier this month offering voluntary COVID-19 testing for anyone landing at Pearson Airport. It’s not yet clear how many people have used the program.

Despite the regulations and the availability of testing, it appears that COVID-19-positive cases are still being traced back to travel, causing concern by local politicians trying to curb the spread of the disease.

On Monday, the mayors and chairs of the 11 largest municipal governments across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area released a statement calling for stricter travel measures.

“The federal government is urged to adopt increased quarantine enforcement mechanisms including technology which do not rely on local officials who are already hard pressed,” the news release said.

“In addition to the recently instituted three-day advance testing requirement for travellers arriving in Canada, the mayors and chairs urged the federal government to consider additional testing measures at the airports to detect the presence of viral variants.”

Ford renewed that same call for more COVID-19 testing and stricter regulations, adding that he will be going to Pearson Airport on Tuesday.

“Let’s make sure that we test every single person that comes into our country, rather than having 750 people flying into Pearson that are positive.”

“It just doesn’t make sense whatsoever.”

No further details were provided about the reason for the premier’s visit to Pearson Airport.

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Why BlackBerry's stock has been skyrocketing – Yahoo Canada Finance

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GlobeNewswire

GreenBox POS To Acquire ChargeSavvy, A Specialty Retail Payment Processing Company – Update

An All-Stock $31.2 Million Transaction Agreed to at Significant Premium of $2.00 Per Share of GreenBox POS Common Stock Transaction is Immediately Accretive Adding Approximately $14 Million in EBITDA and $500 Million Annually in Processing Volume SAN DIEGO, CA, Jan. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — GreenBox POS (OTCQB: GRBX) (“GreenBox” or “the Company”), an emerging financial technology company leveraging proprietary blockchain security to build customized payment solutions, has entered into a non-binding MOU to acquire ChargeSavvy LLC, a financial technology company specializing in payment processing and POS systems, for total consideration of $31.2 million in restricted GreenBox POS common stock. The transaction, reflecting $2.00 per share of GreenBox stock is expected to be immediately accretive. The all-stock transaction is subject to the completion of an audit of ChargeSavvy’s financial statements and customary closing conditions. The Company believes that ChargeSavvy’s high-margin, state-of-the-art point of sale system and back-end technology perfectly complements GreenBox’s payment solutions, while also bringing a complete agent management portal for streamlined underwriting, onboarding and monitoring of retail and ecommerce merchants. ChargeSavvy’s primary focus is on retail, in-person transactions, but it is also ideally suited for the ecommerce market. In 2020, ChargeSavvy processed payments of over $500 million, generating revenues of over $30 million and an EBITDA of almost $14.0 million. “ChargeSavvy’s large footprint across multiple verticals, most specifically retail, makes for an ideal opportunity to grow together,” said Jeff Nickel, Chief Operating Officer of ChargeSavvy. “Combining GreenBox’s Gen-3 proprietary block-chain technology with our expansive processing portfolio presents significant opportunities for cross-selling our solutions, as well as the ability to further penetrate the massive retail and e-commerce industries.” Based on pre-determined profitability performance metrics over the next 12 months, the total maximum consideration for the transaction could reach $52.0 million. “If completed, this accretive acquisition would mark a pivotal moment in GreenBox’s history by adding over $500 million in processing volume to our Gen-3 platform and propelling us into the massive retail industry, as well as several other industries that we believe are ideally suited for our solutions,” said Fredi Nisan, Chief Executive Officer of GreenBox POS. “By leveraging our stock, which was priced at a significant premium of $2.00 per share, we expect to deliver a significant amount of shareholder value in the immediate term while cross-selling services and moving into other high-value, high-margin markets. We look forward to working together with the entire ChargeSavvy team as our technologies work together to disrupt the entire payment solutions market as we know it.” About GreenBox POS GreenBox POS (OTCQB: GRBX) is an emerging financial technology company leveraging proprietary blockchain security to build customized payment solutions. The Company’s applications enable an end-to-end suite of turnkey financial products, reducing fraud and improving the efficiency of handling large-scale commercial processing volumes for its merchant clients globally. For more information, please visit the Company’s website at www.greenboxpos.com. About ChargeSavvy ChargeSavvy is a global Fintech company focused on payment processing and software within the merchant services industry. The Company’s proprietary point of sale product provides niche retail merchants an all-in-one solution to manage client transactions with added tools to protect against chargebacks and fraud. The company also offers e-commerce and delivery transactions software technology. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.chargesavvy.com to learn more. Forward-Looking Statements Disclaimer This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain as they are based on current expectations and assumptions concerning future events or future performance of the Company. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. In evaluating such statements, prospective investors should review carefully various risks and uncertainties identified in this release and matters set out in the Company’s SEC filings. These risks and uncertainties could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Investor Relations Contact Mark Schwalenberg MZ Group – MZ North America 312-261-6430 GRBX@mzgroup.us www.mzgroup.us

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Ontario reports fewer than 2000 new COVID-19 cases on anniversary of first infection – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario is reporting fewer than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases Monday as the province marks the anniversary of detecting its first infection.

The 1,958 cases mark a decrease from Sunday’s report when 2,417 were logged.

With 35,968 tests for the disease processed in the last 24-hour period, Ontario’s COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 5.5 per cent. 

Monday’s report brings the province’s lab-confirmed case total to 256,960, including 5,846 deaths and 227,494 recoveries.

Forty-three of those deaths occurred in the previous day, 27 of which were residents of a long-term care home.

The province’s seven-day average for number of cases reported is 2,370, down significantly from the 3,034 reported the same time last week. There are currently 23,620 active cases of the novel coronavirus in Ontario.  

A year ago today, Ontario confirmed its first case of COVID-19 after a 56-year-old man arrived at Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto with what appeared to be a mild case of pneumonia.

Doctors made the decision to admit him due to an unusual X-ray and his recent travel to China.

Ontario health officials would confirm its first case of the “Wuhan Novel Coronavirus” on Jan. 25, 2020. 

READ MORE: One year of COVID-19 in Ontario: Where are we now?

A number of public health measures took effect in the months that followed, namely mask wearing, social distancing and some form of lockdown in the province.

On Dec. 26, Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a province-wide lockdown that shuttered all non-essential businesses and prohibited in-person dining at bars and restaurants.

Then, as the number of COVID-19 cases neared 4,000 a day in early January, Ford declared a state of emergency and issued a stay-at home order set to last a minimum of 28 days.

Last week, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said the province would need to see daily COVID-19 cases fall to the 1,000 mark before the lockdown orders can be lifted

Where are the new COVID-19 cases?

Most of the new infections were found in Ontario’s COVID-19 hot spots.

According to data provided by the province, 727 cases were found in Toronto, 365 were found in Peel Region and 157 in York Region.

A handful of other public health units reported case numbers in the medium to high double digits, including Windsor-Essex (85), Niagara (82) and Durham Region (62).

Right now, there are 1,398 patients in hospital with COVID-19, though more than 10 per cent of hospitals usually don’t report a daily bed census on Mondays. Of those patients, the province says that 397 are being treated in an intensive care unit and 283 are breathing with the assistance of a ventilator.

Update on vaccinations

So far, 286,110 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered throughout Ontario.

At least 5,537 of those shots were administered in the previous day.

The province says that 71,256 people have received their required first and second shots and are considered fully vaccinated at this point.

Ford is set to provide an update on the province’s COVID-19 vaccination plan this afternoon. 

With files from Katherine DeClerq

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