Nova Scotia’s premier is reiterating that the province is not taking a phased approach to reopening the economy, despite outlining a five-step approach to reopening two weeks ago.
At the legislature Thursday, Premier Stephen McNeil said the province “very clearly” said it will not be opening the economy with a phased approach, despite other provinces opting for it.
“When we open up the economy, it won’t be that we’re going to do one thing today and have other sectors of our economy wait three weeks,” he said. “We will be opening it up with the strict guidelines. You need to have public health protocols approved, and then you can go to work.
“I’m not sure why that has been difficult for people to understand.”
But about two weeks ago, Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, presented an initial five-step reopening plan outline to business groups based on federal guidelines.
There were few details on each phase, except to say that low-risk businesses could open first, then medium- and high-risk businesses. Each phase would increase the group gathering limit.
At the time, Strang said they were working with business associations to determine when they could open, and that even industries considered “high risk” could potentially open up sooner if they presented a solid safety plan that was approved by public health.
Nova Scotia officials holding closed doors consultations with industry groups
On two different occasions now, the province has eased some of the restrictions that were put in place in March, when the province declared a state of emergency.
Parks and trails reopened first, as well as sportfishing, driving ranges and people were given permission to go to their cottages.
Then, a week later, came the loosening of restrictions on archery, equestrianism, golf, paddling, sailing/boating and tennis.
Each time, Strang highlighted the importance of waiting for one to two incubation periods to watch the epidemiology before deciding if they could lift further restrictions.
And despite claiming the province would not be using a phased approach, McNeil said Wednesday the province is currently in the “phase” of communicating reopening protocols with businesses.
“We were very clear we’re through a process right now, a phase right now where step one is making sure we go out and communicate to organizations that represent businesses across the province,” McNeil said Wednesday. “We’re currently doing follow up with them now to make sure they are communicating that back to their respective association members.
“When we’re ready to open up the economy, the economy will open. It will be up to business owners to decide if they want to open in the new normal.”
The premier has said the hope is to reopen the economy sometime in early in June, something about which the leader of the province’s opposition is critical.
“The fact of the matter is the premier says on the one hand we’re just going to flick the switch and everything’s going to open sometime in June, but that’s not a plan,” he said.
“In the second breath the premier says, ‘well, people need to know what are the protocols and when.’ That’s exactly what people want to know. What are the protocols? When can they expect to reopen?
“Just blurting it out at the 3 o’clock press conference that people can now golf, it created a lot of issues for (golf courses) to make sure they’re prepared.”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
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Australia's economy shrinks in first quarter, signals first recession in 30 years – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s economy shrank last quarter, setting the scene for what will be the country’s first technical recession in three decades as entire business sectors were shut down to fight the coronavirus.
Wednesday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed the A$2 trillion ($1.39 trillion) economy contracted 0.3% in the quarter ended March, the first decline in nine years.
That took the annual growth to 1.4%, the slowest since the 2009 global financial crisis, as the economy was hit by the worst bushfire season in living memory, a prolonged drought and a pandemic that shut down businesses and left many without jobs.
Following the data release, the Australian dollar eased from a five-month high of $0.6982 and the benchmark share index .AXJO> slipped to 5,835.1 points from 5,902.2.
Australia’s gross domestic product is expected to fall even more sharply in the current quarter. Two consecutive quarters of contraction would mean Australia would suffer its first technical recession since the early 1990s, ending one of the world’s longest growth streaks.
Household consumption was the biggest drag on growth last quarter with massive falls in spending on clothing, cars, transport, recreation, hotels, cafe and restaurant.
Net exports and government spending supported the economy in the quarter.
The economic fallout deepened in Australia as the number of local coronavirus cases surged from less than 100 in early March to more than 7,000 now, forcing the government to shut borders and restrict large gatherings.
The central bank stepped in by cutting the cash rate to a record low 0.25% and launching an unlimited bond buying programme. The government, meanwhile, unleashed a large fiscal stimulus plan, including a A$60 billion wage subsidy scheme.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has recently sounded less gloomy about the economy even though the country is in the midst of its worst downturn since the Great Depression as better health outcomes have led to an earlier-than-expected re-opening of businesses.
“Although the immediate outlook is better than anticipated a couple of months ago, the economy still faces challenges,” said Sarah Hunter, Chief Economist for BIS Oxford Economics.
“The size and speed of the decline are unprecedented,” Hunter added.
“The outlook for investment is also highly uncertain, with the construction sector pipeline and capital goods imports data suggesting that spending will slow markedly in the second half of the year.”
($1 = 1.4391 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Sam Holmes)
Enbridge to boost tolls on key pipeline based on 2019 economy – BNNBloomberg.ca
A year ago, the economy looked rosy and crude prices were riding high. Enbridge Inc. now will be getting a bit of a boost from that due to a nearly decade-old contract provision that will increase what the company charges to transport oil on Canada’s largest pipeline network.
The increase comes as the Canadian oil industry has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic and pipelines out of Canada are running partly empty after oil sands producers slashed about 25 per cent of output with demand for their product waning.
Enbridge’s Mainline system, which runs from Hardisty, Alberta, to the Chicago area, ships about 75 per cent of Western Canada’s oil output. The toll on the 2.9 million barrel-a-day system from Alberta to the Chicago area will rise 18 cents a barrel, or 3.9 per cent, starting July 1, Enbridge said. The increase is based on an index of Canada’s economic growth from the prior year, a formula approved by regulators in 2011.
The Canadian economy grew 1.7 per cent last year but has contracted so far this year due to the pandemic. Still, Enbridge says the contract provision has kept prices from rising even higher.
In the past, shippers would have been forced to pay more when oil demand and volumes on the pipeline were lower. The provision “shields shippers from throughput risk which, in current circumstances with decreased oil demand and declining volumes on the Mainline, would have otherwise resulted in a significant toll increase under the previous negotiated settlement,” Jesse Semko, a company spokesman, said in an email.
Enbridge discussed the toll changes with companies that ship on the lines in the middle of May before submitting them to the Canadian Energy Regulator, Semko said.
Lower demand for oil from U.S. refineries has made exporting Canadian crude less economic. The price difference between Canadian heavy oil in Alberta versus the U.S. oil hub of Cushing, Oklahoma, is about US$4 a barrel, according to NE2 Group pricing.
That’s too narrow a difference to cover the cost of most oil shipments on Enbridge’s pipeline system at current tolls.
Too Many Pipelines
For years, Canadian oil producers struggled with a shortage of export pipelines. Since the coronavirus pandemic and the drastic decline in output, Canada has gone from having too few pipelines to too many. Mainline volumes are expected to be down by 300,000 barrels a day this year, according to Enbridge.
The Mainline includes several pipelines that carry light, medium and heavy oil from Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, where they link to pipelines running into eastern Canada and South to pipelines connected to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Enbridge’s toll increases weren’t matched by other pipeline operators. The Federal government-owned Trans Mountain Pipeline running from Alberta to the Vancouver area cut rates for shipping light crude from Edmonton to Sumas, British Columbia, by 32% on May 1. TC Energy Corp. plans to keep rates to Texas unchanged for uncommitted shipers starting July 1 on its Keystone pipeline after lowering them April 1.
TELUS Health: Accelerating virtual health care innovation to help restart the economy – GlobeNewswire
MONTREAL, June 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — François Gratton, Group President of TELUS and Chair of TELUS Health and TELUS Québec, will address members of the Chamber of Commerce via virtual chat to discuss three current themes: what we’ve learned so far about the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to economic recovery by accelerating health care virtualization, and the role of business in employee safety and wellness.
“Overnight, the COVID-19 crisis triggered major changes in our lives and, in particular, greater awareness of health and wellness in our society. Today more than ever, access to health care is everyone’s business. I firmly believe that we have some fantastic opportunities to take advantage of as we write new pages in our history,” stressed Mr. Gratton.
Virtual health care represents an opportunity for businesses as their employees’ health and safety is more than ever a key concern. It is also an opportunity to reduce absenteeism, stimulate productivity, and increase retention of talents who want the flexibility to balance work and family. Following the introduction of our various health solutions, tens of millions of Canadians now have access to virtual health services.
TELUS Health is one of Canada’s largest providers of healthcare technology services, with a wide array of products and services covering the entire healthcare ecosystem. Restarting the economy also means virtualizing tools for health professionals, from medical consultations to home follow-up. This allows them to see patients safely while respecting social distancing.
“Today, all employers are being called upon, through the decisions they make about the benefits they offer employees, to consider the offering of virtual care solutions such as those provided by TELUS Health’s Akira and Babylon applications, connecting Canadians and their families to health professionals over their phones, and giving them the opportunity to get an opinion anytime, anywhere,” added Mr. Gratton.
Over the last 10 years, TELUS has invested over $3 billion in transforming Canada’s health care sector. As soon as the COVID-19 started, TELUS Health has made a clear commitment: to do everything we can to facilitate access to health care, and to help protect and support organizations in the pursuit of their activities.
Over 3,000 members of the TELUS Health team, based primarily here in Montreal, are working to develop virtual solutions to streamline access to health care for all citizens. Moreover, TELUS will make major investments of more than $850 million in the Greater Montreal area over the next four years to speed up the rollout of our leading-edge solutions.
TELUS investments will prioritize the following:
- Network robustness, speed and reliability as the virtualization of activities at our companies, hospitals and clinics accelerates exponentially Ongoing development of our virtual solutions
- Sustaining our community efforts, as shown by the partnership with the CHUM Foundation to expand Montreal’s screening capacity and the emergency fund our TELUS Community Board has set up to meet the essential needs of a dozen charitable organizations such as the Fondation du CHU Ste-Justine, Tel-Jeunes and La tablée des chefs
- TELUS has committed $150 million to support Canadians through the COVID-19 crisis.
To stay informed of the measures being taken by TELUS during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit telus.com/covid19.
This news release contains statements that are forward-looking, including regarding the anticipated amount of our investments and our investment priorities. By their nature, forward-looking statements require TELUS to make assumptions and predictions and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties. There is significant risk that the forward-looking statements will not prove to be accurate. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a number of factors could cause actual expenditures to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this release. Accordingly, the statements in this news release are subject to the disclaimer and qualified by the assumptions, qualifications and risk factors referred to in our 2019 annual management’s discussion and analysis and our Q1 2020 management’s discussion and analysis, and in other TELUS public disclosure documents and filings with securities commissions in Canada (on SEDAR at sedar.com) and in the United States (on the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System, administered by the US Securities and Exchange Commission at sec.gov). The forward-looking statements contained in this news release describe our expectations at the date of this news release and, accordingly, are subject to change after such date. Except as required by law, TELUS disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements.
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with $14.8 billion in annual revenue and 15.3 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. We leverage our global-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our long-standing commitment to putting customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. TELUS Health is Canada’s largest health care IT provider, and TELUS International delivers the most innovative business process solutions to some of the world’s most established brands.
Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all Canadians for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired our team members and retirees to contribute more than $700 million and 1.3 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.
For more information about TELUS, please visit telus.com, follow us on Twitter (@TELUSNews) and Instagram (@Darren_Entwistle).
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