Connect with us

Business

Ontario cancels plan to build new courthouse in Halton Region – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

Published

on


Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press


Published Thursday, May 21, 2020 2:13PM EDT


Last Updated Thursday, May 21, 2020 5:01PM EDT

TORONTO – Ontario has cancelled a plan to build a new courthouse in Halton Region, with the province’s attorney general saying the government needs to rethink how the justice system will operate after the pandemic.

The Progressive Conservative government had planned to build one central courthouse for both Milton and Burlington, Ont., but now says it will upgrade the existing facilities.

Attorney General Doug Downey said he decided to cancel the project because the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to modernize the court process across Ontario.

“The needs of the justice sector have changed and there is broad consensus we cannot go back to the way things were done before the public health emergency,” Downey said in a statement.

The project to consolidate the aging courthouses in Halton Region was to have been awarded this spring, with construction to start later this year.

The new courthouse was estimated to cost as much as $499 million.

The project was announced by the previous Liberal government in 2017 after the Progressive Conservatives – then the official Opposition – pressed them to commit to it for years.

In a news release from June 2017, then Tory leader Patrick Brown called the Milton and Burlington courthouses “aging, overcrowded, and completely inadequate in terms of security and privacy.”

The statement goes on to note that Tory legislator Ted Arnott rose at Queen’s Park a dozen times over several years to ask the Liberals about the project.

But battling COVID-19 has added a slew of new costs to the province’s books, with Finance Minister Rod Phillips last month announcing a $17 billion spending package to help Ontarians through the pandemic.

The new spending and tax deferrals will contribute to a major hit to Ontario’s bottom line, pushing the deficit from $9 billion to a projected $20.5 billion for 2020-21 – a level not seen since the aftermath of the 2008 recession.

Asked if the cancellation was a way to trim provincial spending in light of the pandemic, a spokeswoman for Downey said the decision was made as the government “rethinks” justice system operations.

“This decision was made because our government is committed to rethinking the justice system and ensuring it is accessible, responsive and operating the way Ontarians should expect in 2020,” Jenessa Crognali said.

The Hamilton-Brantford Building and Construction Trades Council called the decision disappointing and said it could hurt the local economy.

The council’s business manager said the courthouse cancellation is just the latest blow for local tradespeople after the province decided not to purse a light rail line in Hamilton late last year.

The province said at the time that the costs had ballooned from the initial estimate of $1 billion to $5.5 billion.

“If the region is losing almost $1.5 billion in direct public infrastructure investments, there is a real fear that the local economy will fall into further recession in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis,” Mark Ellerker said in a statement.

NDP finance critic Sandy Shaw said the government’s decision to cancel the project so close to actually awarding the tender will likely to incur millions in penalties and deprive workers of jobs during a post-pandemic recovery.

The government should explain why it’s scrapped the project, she said.

“They just cancel shovel-ready infrastructure projects with no clear evidence as to why,” Shaw said. “We’re going to need the biggest economic recovery strategy that we could even imagine in our lifetime coming out of the pandemic. And infrastructure is to play a key role in this.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said the decision hurts a region that’s in need of better courts facilities to ensure timely access to justice.

“I wish the province had listened to Halton Region’s request for the project to be postponed rather than completely scrapped, so that it could qualify for stimulus funding down the road,” Schreiner said in a statement.

“Paying the bill for COVID-19 should not mean that we scrap these important municipal infrastructure projects.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2020.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Business

Saudi Arabia And Russia Agree To Extend Production Cuts – OilPrice.com

Published

on



Saudi Arabia And Russia Agree To Extend Production Cuts | OilPrice.com

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

More Info

Trending Discussions

    Premium Content

    MBS Putin

    Saudi Arabia and Russia have reached a preliminary agreement to extend the current level of the OPEC+ production cuts by one month, provided that the laggards in compliance ensure over-compliance going forward to compensate for flouting their quotas so far, OPEC sources told Reuters on Wednesday.  

    “Any agreement on extending the cuts is conditional on countries who have not fully complied in May deepening their cuts in upcoming months to offset their overproduction,” an OPEC source told Reuters.

    According to the original agreement reached in April, OPEC+ was to cut 9.7 million bpd in combined production for two months—May and June—and then ease these to 7.7 million bpd, to stay in effect until the end of the year. Then, from January 2021, the production cuts would be further eased to 5.8 million bpd, to remain in effect until end-April 2022.

    Despite weak compliance from OPEC in May, as per a Reuters survey, the market expects that the OPEC+ coalition is motivated enough to extend the 9.7-million-bpd cuts through July or August. 

    On Monday, reports emerged that the OPEC+ group could hold its June meeting this week, earlier than the initial plans to hold the teleconference on June 9 and 10.  Related: Petrobras Oil Stockpiles Are “Paradoxically” Low

    However, an earlier meeting is being held up by the fact that the leaders of the pact, Saudi Arabia and Russia, will be seeking assurances from all non-compliant members that they will over-comply going forward to compensate for the loose compliance in May, an OPEC delegate told Argus today. According to the delegate, there will be “no free ride” for non-compliant members in the OPEC+ deal. These producers likely include Iraq and Nigeria from OPEC and Kazakhstan from non-OPEC.

    OPEC’s second-largest producer and the biggest laggard in the output cuts, Iraq, said on Tuesday that it would further reduce production and that it remains committed to the OPEC+ pact.

    Oil prices retreated following the reports of a one-month extension, after earlier on Wednesday prices had hit nearly three-month highs, with Brent Crude breaking above $40 a barrel.   

    By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

    More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

    Download The Free Oilprice App Today


    Back to homepage

    <!–

    Trending Discussions

      –>

      Related posts

      Let’s block ads! (Why?)



      Source link

      Continue Reading

      Business

      Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold – CTV News

      Published

      on


      OTTAWA —
      The Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate target on hold as it said it believes the economy has avoided its worst-case scenario due to the pandemic.

      The central bank said Wednesday its target for the overnight rate will remain at 0.25 per cent.

      It said the impact of the pandemic on the global economy appears to have peaked, although uncertainty about how the recovery will unfold remains high.

      The bank said it believes Canada has avoided the most severe economic scenario painted that it painted in April, updating its GDP figures for the second quarter of the year.

      The central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, down from the 15 to 30 per cent decline forecasted in April.

      In a statement announcing the rate decision, the central bank said it still expects the economy to resume growth in the third quarter.

      “Decisive and targeted fiscal actions, combined with lower interest rates, are buffering the impact of the shutdown on disposable income and helping to lay the foundation for economic recovery,” the statement said.

      The announcement comes on the first day of Tiff Macklem’s tenure as governor, taking over from Stephen Poloz whose seven-year term ended Tuesday.

      Macklem participated as an observer during deliberations by the bank’s governing council over the past few days, the statement says, adding that the new governor “endorses the rate decision and measures announced.”

      The bank also announced it was reducing the frequency of its term repo operations and purchases of bankers’ acceptances citing improvements in short-term funding conditions.

      Other programs to purchase federal, provincial, and corporate debt will continue unchanged, the bank says, but adds it could change tactics in response to economic conditions.

      “As market function improves and containment restrictions ease, the Bank’s focus will shift to supporting the resumption of growth in output and employment,” the statement says. “The Bank maintains its commitment to continue large-scale asset purchases until the economic recovery is well underway.”

      Economic reports continue this week with Statistics Canada’s look at the May jobs market scheduled for release Friday.

      This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2020

      Let’s block ads! (Why?)



      Source link

      Continue Reading

      Business

      Bank of Canada maintains target for the overnight rate, scales back some market operations as financial conditions improve – Bank of Canada

      Published

      on


      The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ percent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly ½ percent and the deposit rate is ¼ percent.

      Incoming data confirm the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy. This impact appears to have peaked, although uncertainty about how the recovery will unfold remains high. Massive policy responses in advanced economies have helped to replace lost income and cushion the effect of economic shutdowns. Financial conditions have improved, and commodity prices have risen in recent weeks after falling sharply earlier this year. Because different countries’ containment measures will be lifted at different times, the global recovery likely will be protracted and uneven.  

      In Canada, the pandemic has led to historic losses in output and jobs. Still, the Canadian economy appears to have avoided the most severe scenario presented in the Bank’s April Monetary Policy Report (MPR). The level of real GDP in the first quarter was 2.1 percent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2019. This GDP reading is in the middle of the Bank’s April monitoring range and reflects the combined impact of falling oil prices and widespread shutdowns. The level of real GDP in the second quarter will likely show a further decline of 10-20 percent, as continued shutdowns and sharply lower investment in the energy sector take a further toll on output. Decisive and targeted fiscal actions, combined with lower interest rates, are buffering the impact of the shutdown on disposable income and helping to lay the foundation for economic recovery. While the outlook for the second half of 2020 and beyond remains heavily clouded, the Bank expects the economy to resume growth in the third quarter.

      CPI inflation has decreased to near zero, as anticipated in the April MPR, mainly due to lower prices for gasoline. The Bank expects temporary factors to keep CPI inflation below the target band in the near term. The Bank’s core measures of inflation have drifted down, although by much less than the CPI, and are now between 1.6 and 2 percent.

      The Bank’s programs to improve market function are having their intended effect. After significant strains in March, short-term funding conditions have improved. Therefore, the Bank is reducing the frequency of its term repo operations to once per week, and its program to purchase bankers’ acceptances to bi-weekly operations. The Bank stands ready to adjust these programs if market conditions warrant. Meanwhile, its other programs to purchase federal, provincial, and corporate debt are continuing at their present frequency and scope.

      As market function improves and containment restrictions ease, the Bank’s focus will shift to supporting the resumption of growth in output and employment. The Bank maintains its commitment to continue large-scale asset purchases until the economic recovery is well underway. Any further policy actions would be calibrated to provide the necessary degree of monetary policy accommodation required to achieve the inflation target.

      Information notes

      Tiff Macklem assumes his role as the Bank’s tenth Governor today. He participated as an observer in Governing Council’s deliberations for this policy interest rate decision and endorses the rate decision and measures announced in this press release.

      The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is July 15, 2020. The next full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR at the same time.

      Let’s block ads! (Why?)



      Source link

      Continue Reading

      Trending