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KPMG survey finds support for continued investment in the economy ahead of federal budget, but Canadians want stimulus focused on long-term economic growth – Canada NewsWire

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“The vast majority of Canadians want government to launch a major stimulus program to get our economy moving again,” says Mary Jo Fedy, National Leader, Enterprise, KPMG in Canada. “But they also want those investments centred around areas that will drive sustained health and prosperity in the country. The areas they would like targeted are, not surprisingly, healthcare and domestic manufacturing – two key sectors whose importance to the country was highlighted during the pandemic.”

Key Survey Findings:

  • 77 per cent believe we need government to step in with a major stimulus program to get our economy back to pre-Covid levels, down from 82 per cent in a January poll conducted by KPMG
    • 25 per cent want investments in healthcare/health sciences, down 9 per cent
    • 24 per cent want investments in domestic manufacturing, up 2 per cent
  • 89 per cent say future spending must be prudent, targeted and focused on initiatives that will grow our economy
  • 88 per cent say small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada have been the economic victims of the pandemic and government needs to do more for them, up 1 per cent from January

93 per cent want government to create incentives to “buy Canadian” to restart our economy and ensure we build necessary domestic capacity to supply our critical needs, up 1 per cent.

Vaccine rollout brings optimism, but questions about Canada’s economic recovery remain 

Canadian confidence that the economy will recover this year has slipped a little, with those very confident of a rebound in 2021 falling 4 per cent since January. But the recent ramp up in vaccine rollout has the nation more optimistic that we will see sustained growth in the latter half of the year.

“Now that vaccine programs are gaining momentum, we are seeing growing optimism that better days are ahead,” says Ms. Fedy. “But many individual Canadians and businesses still have a big hole to dig out of and will need further support. The last year has seen unprecedented challenges to our health, communities and economy, and most Canadians believe government will need to continue playing an active role until we’ve crushed Covid and our economy finds its feet again.”

Ms. Fedy notes that no matter what is contained in the upcoming federal budget, the pandemic has reshaped the Canadian economy, placing pressures on companies across all sectors to operate digitally – in both the way they create and sell their products and services.

“Some companies have been able to adapt and make this change effectively, but others have struggled and will need support to build their digital capabilities and workforces,” adds Ms. Fedy. “The Canadian economy has an opportunity to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient that ever with the right kinds of investments and leadership.”

While Canadians are optimistic that vaccines will get their lives and the economy back on track soon, one thing they are not ready for is a reopening of the border with the United States. Barely one quarter of Canadians said it is time to start thinking about resuming normal traffic between the two nations.

Other poll findings

  • 64 per cent of Canadians are very confident the overall Canadian economy will recover in 2021
  • 91 per cent are hopeful widespread vaccinations by July will boost the economy in the latter half of the year
  • 84 per cent believe our economy has been forever changed – all businesses, no matter how small, need to be able to operate online
  • 91 per cent say the pandemic has shown a real need for Canadian businesses to improve their online presence and service
  • 28 per cent say it in now time to think about reopening the border with the U.S.

KPMG’s professionals are available to provide insights and commentary on the upcoming 2021 federal budget.

About KPMG in Canada’s Outlook Survey / Confidence Survey

KPMG surveyed 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ from March 17 to 20, 2021 to discern changes in the public’s confidence in and attitudes toward the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows a survey of over 4,000 Canadians in January 2021 examining public sentiment on the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. For each study, KPMG leveraged the AskingCanadians panel by Delvinia through its methodify online research automation platform.

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP, a limited liability partnership, is a full-service Audit, Tax and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians. For over 150 years, our professionals have provided consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services to Canadians, inspiring confidence, empowering change, and driving innovation. Guided by our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better, KPMG employs nearly 8,000 people in over 40 locations across Canada, serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently ranked one of Canada’s top employers and one of the best places to work in the country.

The firm is established under the laws of Ontario and is a member of KPMG’s global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a private English company limited by guarantee. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information, see home.kpmg/ca

SOURCE KPMG LLP

For further information: Nancy White, National Communications, KPMG in Canada, (416) 777-3306, (416) 777-1400, [email protected]

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China Vows Better Policy Support to Economy as Headwinds Mount – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — Chinese policy makers reiterated the need to fine-tune economic policies as the world’s second-largest economy faces increasing headwinds from virus outbreaks and high commodity prices. 

Policy should be preemptive and coordinated across cycles, the State Council, the equivalent of China’s cabinet, said in a statement after a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday. Governments at all levels should maintain the continuity and stability of macroeconomic policies and enhance their effectiveness, while also do a good job in preventing and controlling virus cases, it said.

Efforts are needed to better coordinate fiscal, financial and employment policies in order to “stabilize reasonable expectations by the market,” it said. 

China again vowed to make sure the economy is operating within a reasonable range, with further measures to boost consumption, guiding private capital to play a better role in expanding investment, and ensuring stable growth in foreign trade and foreign capital, according to the statement. While the employment situation is stable this year, efforts are still needed to maintain employment and help companies, it said. 

The economy took a knock in August from stringent virus controls and tight curbs on property. While China’s Covid zero approach helped to quickly quash the infections, retail sales growth suffered, slowing to 2.5% in August. 

Facing the continued commodity boom, the State Council also pledged to use more market-based measures to stabilize commodity prices and ensure supplies of power and natural gas during the winter. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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UAE Says It's Unwinding Pandemic Stimulus as Economy Recovers – Bloomberg

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The United Arab Emirates has begun winding down an economic support program launched in response to the coronavirus pandemic as the economy shows signs of gradual recovery, the central bank said in a statement.

The reduced reserve requirements for banks won’t change for now and neither will the lower loan-to-value ratio required for first-time home buyers seeking mortgage loans, the bank said. The loan deferral component of the Targeted Economic Support Scheme will expire by the end of 2021 with financial institutions able to carry on tapping a collateralized 50-billion-dirham ($13.6 billion) liquidity facility until the middle of 2022, in line with earlier guidance.

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The Caregiving Economy – The Atlantic

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Care work has long been indispensable and invaluable. Indispensable: It is the work that makes all other work possible. Invaluable, quite literally: Our society is incapable of valuing it properly.

The sector of the American economy devoted to care—of children and the elderly and people with disabilities—is valued at $648 billion. That’s larger than the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. And yet most individual caregivers are criminally underpaid. That’s because caregiving is viewed either as a “labor of love,” in which case it can never be priced without destroying its essence, or as a service so basic that anyone can do it, in which case it is priced lower than dog walking or waitressing.

Recognizing the true value and potential of care, socially as well as economically, depends on a different understanding of what care actually is: not a service but a relationship that depends on human connection. It is the essence of what Jamie Merisotis, the president of the nonprofit Lumina Foundation, calls “human work”: the “work only people can do.” This makes it all the more essential in an age when workers face the threat of being replaced by machines.

When we use the word in an economic sense, care is a bundle of services: feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting, and assisting. Robots could perform all of those functions; in countries such as Japan, sometimes they already do. But that work is best described as caretaking, comparable to what the caretaker of a property provides by watering a garden or fixing a gate.

What transforms those services into caregiving, the support we want for ourselves and for those we love, is the existence of a relationship between the person providing care and the person being cared for. Not just any relationship, but one that is affectionate, or at least considerate and respectful. Most human beings cannot thrive without connection to others, a point underlined by the depression and declining mental capacities of many seniors who have been isolated during the pandemic.

The best care goes further. The goal is not simply to provide comfort or sustenance, but to enable and empower, to develop or maintain the capabilities of another human being. All parents or other caregivers of young children, for instance, know that bath time, mealtime, or even time on the changing table is scaffolding for talking, playing, or teaching: igniting young minds and shaping young brains. At the other end of life, good care consists of enabling an older person to have what the doctor and writer Atul Gawande calls his or her “best possible day”—the best day possible under the circumstances of a particular illness or condition.

Extend the idea of developing or maintaining human abilities beyond childhood and old age, and an entire vista of care jobs opens up. Call it the “care-plus economy.” It is generating all sorts of new jobs. Coaching, for instance, is a rapidly expanding career category, and not just on sports fields. There are life coaches, career coaches, and health and education coaches who guide people through social services. These are all jobs that enable others to perform at their best.

Education is a care-plus job. Lelac Almagor, a fourth-grade teacher, wrote in an essay for The New York Times, “I’m not ashamed to say that child care is at the heart of the work I do. I teach children reading and writing, yes, but I also watch over them, remind them to be kind and stay safe, plan games and activities to help them grow.”

The number of community health workers, a job category pioneered in poorer countries, is increasing in the United States. The jobs have different titles, but their core function is to connect people to the health system. The Baltimore Health Corps, for example, tackled both the health and economic crises created by the pandemic by hiring nearly 300 unemployed or furloughed community members as contact tracers, care coordinators, or administrative staff.

Academic advisers once confined their role to signing off on students’ course selections, but today they have become crucial to keeping students in college and helping them make the most of their experience. Technology has made a big difference, as it will in other care-plus jobs. In explaining Georgia State University’s successful retention of  first-generation college students, Vice Provost Timothy Renick points to advising powered by predictive analytics. By monitoring students closely, the advising office gains information about when they are most likely to be discouraged and think about dropping out, and hence when personal interventions can be most effective.

The next frontier of the care-plus economy will be an explosion of mental-health jobs. Traditional therapy with a high price tag cannot meet Americans’ needs. But peer counselors, behavioral-health coaches, and technology-enabled support systems are filling the gap. Crisis Text Line, for instance, analyzes data to learn when depressed people are most likely to act on suicidal thoughts and how best to stop them.

One of us, Hilary, has worked in Britain to expand caregiving networks. In 2007 she co-designed a program called Circle, which is part social club, part concierge service. Members pay a small monthly fee, and in return get access to fun activities and practical support from members and helpers in the community. More than 10,000 people have participated, and evaluations show that members feel less lonely and more capable. The program has also reduced the money spent on formal services; Circle members are less likely, for example, to be readmitted to the hospital.

The mutual-aid societies that mushroomed into existence across the United States during the pandemic reflect the same philosophy. The core of a mutual-aid network is the principle of “solidarity not charity”: a group of community members coming together on an equal basis for the common good. These societies draw on a long tradition of “collective care” developed by African American, Indigenous, and immigrant groups as far back as the 18th century.

President Joe Biden has proposed spending $400 billion on home- and community-based care. Such support is crucial not only for the people being cared for, but for the professionals who provide that care—overwhelmingly Black and brown women, many of whom work for below minimum wage and receive few if any benefits. Suppose, however, that these workers were part of a new social sector based on community care, in which government and nonprofit organizations partnered to feed, house, treat, educate, or employ community members in part by embedding them in networks that would meet their needs in the round. Creating this sector will require not only a mix of government, private, and philanthropic funding, but also a new social contract about what we owe one another and what we should expect from the government.

Care jobs help humans flourish, and, properly understood and compensated, they can power a growing sector of the economy, strengthen our society, and increase our well-being. Goods are things that people buy and own; services are functions that people pay for. Relationships require two people and a connection between them. We don’t really have an economic category for that, but we should.

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