Hundreds of protesters rallied Thursday in support of Northern Pulp, as others urged the Nova Scotia government to make good on its promise to close the mill’s effluent treatment plant at Boat Harbour by the end of January.
Northern Pulp said Thursday it is preparing to shut down as the government remains silent on whether it will amend the Boat Harbour Act, which legislates the closure of the treatment facility by Jan. 31.
An amendment to the act would be required to change that date, however the province has yet to say whether it would consider that amendment. Premier Stephen McNeil is expected to speak publicly about the future of Boat Harbour on Friday.
Northern Pulp officials have requested an extension to the deadline and have said the Pictou County-based mill cannot keep operating without one, something forestry officials have predicted would result in about 2,700 jobs lost within the industry.
“Without such decision from the Government of Nova Scotia, our stakeholders need to be ready for the worst-case scenario,” the company said in a news release Thursday.
“We continue to believe that Pictou County deserves to have both a clean environment and a prosperous economy, and that Boat Harbour needs to be closed and remediated.”
On Tuesday, Environment Minister Gordon Wilson said the company’s environmental focus report lacked enough science-based information for him to make a decision on the mill’s proposal to build a new effluent treatment plant, which would replace the current facility at Boat Harbour.
Members of Pictou Landing First Nation, which is located next to Boat Harbour and has suffered decades of pollution as a result, have urged the premier to keep his promise and uphold the closure date in the act.
Protests on both sides of the issue were staged on Thursday.
In Pictou County, more than 200 supporters and members of Pictou Landing First Nation gathered in a gymnasium to urge the government to stick to its word and maintain the Jan. 31 deadline.
“You don’t get to 42 days [before Jan. 31] and decide that is not going to be the date,” Pictou Landing Chief Andrea Paul said during the rally.
“We have children watching this unfold. We have children that are relying on us to make this right.”
In Halifax, hundreds of people from the forestry sector descended upon Province House on Thursday morning to rally against a shut down.
Richard Freeman, co-owner of Freeman Sustained Forests, said people in the industry want to see Boat Harbour cleaned up, but the Jan. 31 timeline is no longer achievable.
“It’s going to be done right and it’s going to take longer than we all had hoped,” said Freeman, whose company is one of the largest employers in Queens County.
“But there’s no sense in gutting rural Nova Scotia because a date on a piece of paper turned out to be unrealistic.”
Meanwhile along Highway 118, about 300 logging trucks were lined up end-to-end for 20 kilometres from Dartmouth to Fall River on Thursday morning to protest the potential shut down of the mill.
Many of those trucks then made their way toward Province House, causing traffic to snarl as they drove into downtown Halifax.
RBC warns house price correction could be deepest in decades | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
A housing correction, which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market, could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.
New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.
Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.
In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.
Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.
That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.
“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”
The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.
In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.
In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.
“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”
While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”
The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.
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Canada Revenue Agency plans email blitz to get Canadians to cash outstanding cheques worth $1.4-billion – The Globe and Mail
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is planning a massive e-mail notification campaign to reach Canadians across the country who have uncashed cheques worth a net $1.4-billion.
The e-mail notifications will target recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial and territorial programs, as well as recipients of the GST/HST credits and the Alberta Energy Tax Refund.
The CRA said it plans to send approximately 25,000 e-mails in August, another 25,000 in November and a further 25,000 e-mails by May, 2023.
However, even without receiving an e-mail notification, the agency said a taxpayer can check if they have a cheque by logging into My Account, a secure portal on its website to check if they have an uncashed cheque over a period of six months. It added that representatives can also view uncashed cheques of their clients.
Each year, the CRA said it issues millions of payments to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits. These payments are issued by either direct deposit or by cheque.
“Over time, payments can remain uncashed for various reasons, such as the taxpayer misplacing the cheque or even a change of address which did not allow for delivery,” the agency said in a statement.
The CRA said since the e-mail notification initiative was first launched in February, 2020, about two million uncashed cheques valued at $802-million were redeemed by May 31, 2022.
The average amount per uncashed cheque is $158 with some of them dating as far back as 1998, the agency said.
As of May, 2022, there were an estimated 8.9 million uncashed cheques with the CRA. In May, 2019, about five million Canadians had an estimated 7.6 million uncashed cheques.
“As government cheques never expire or stale date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and re-issue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer,” the statement read. “These upcoming e-notifications are to encourage taxpayers to cash any cheques they have in their possession.”
The agency said taxpayers can register for the direct deposit option on its website to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.
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