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Province's $180M investment in skilled trades important for post-COVID world, says MPP – BarrieToday



Barrie-Innisfil MPP Andrea Khanjin was at a south-end business this afternoon to promote the provincial government’s $180-million investment to the skilled trades industry.

As part of Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover, the Ontario government is providing $180.5 million to connect workers to training and jobs. The investment includes a Skilled Trades Strategy, an additional $100 million of dedicated investments through Employment Ontario for skills training, a redesigned Second Career program, and $59.5 million to acquire in-demand skills. 

“It’s good to talk to businesses and know that we’re really in touch with reality. The worst thing for a government is to be out of touch with reality,” Khanjin told BarrieToday. “Today’s announcement shows us that we’ve listened and the stuff that we’re delivering is the stuff that people need. We’re not just making this up out of thin air.”

The government will encourage employer participation to modernize Ontario’s skilled trades and apprenticeship system through different programs. 

Ontario will be establishing a new Skills Development Fund, which will provide $30 million over two years beginning in 2020-21, to support a blend of operational and capital enhancements for non-college training providers, businesses and associations that train apprentices. 

There will be an investment of $21 million in 2020-21 to a new Achievement Incentive Grant to encourage small- to medium-sized employers to train apprentices toward program completion and trade certification. 

The government will also be supporting business participation by investing $20 million in 2020-21 for a new Group Sponsorship Grant to encourage small- to medium-sized employers to come together to provide a full scope of training and on-the-job mentorship for apprentices.

Even with the pandemic ongoing and the provincial numbers on the rise lately, Khanjin says the province also needs to focus on the future after COVID.

“If we don’t make investments and we don’t take action today, we’re still going to be paying for it tomorrow,” she said. “It is so important to make these investments in skilled trades now because coming through COVID, there are still going to be job shortages.

“Some people may want to get out of the service sector or not work retail anymore, and they’re looking for another meaningful, high-paying career in the skilled trades,” Khanjin added. 

Brotech Precision has been in Barrie for 25 years and the company builds metal components for high precision industries, such as the medical and defense industries. Currently, they are making critical components for Bruce Power for refurbishment of six reactors in the province. 

Brotech president Jerome Horowitz told BarrieToday that while his company has been handling COVID well, he is glad to get the help.

“Our machines are spaced out so there isn’t really a need to be close to each other, so that was good for us right out of the gate,” he said. “We currently employ about 65 people and we should be encouraged, through low costs, to keep growing and employing more people.

“Employing more people brings more taxes to the government and puts more money into the community and local economy.”

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Pandemic to stimulate more active stock investment strategies: Nissay Asset CEO –



By Hideyuki Sano and Tomo Uetake

TOKYO (Reuters) – Social transformations triggered by the coronavirus pandemic are making index-following, passive stock investments less attractive and could reverse a decline in active stock investments, the chief executive of Nissay Asset Management said.

Hiroshi Ozeki said a recovery to pre-pandemic levels will be difficult for some industries such as restaurants, airlines and train operators.

Energy-intensive sectors also would be pressured by the need to deal with climate change, he added.

“Even after the pandemic is over and even with some government help, they won’t return to where they were,” said the chief of the 13 trillion yen ($125 billion) asset management firm.

“Up until now, passive style has been a vogue – it’s been said to be the most efficient investment. But with that, you are automatically putting your money in those industries with no growth stories,” he said.

Assets held by exchange traded funds (ETFs), among the most convenient passive investments, have been increasing globally over the last decade.

In contrast, active funds, which try to aim for higher returns based on stock picking, have seen large outflows in recent years.

“In the coming few years, active investments are likely to outperform passive ones. The era of active investment may be back,” Ozeki said.

Companies which Nissay scores highly for Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) had done better this year, he said.

Enterprises poised to benefit from the shift to renewable energy would prosper after the United States and Japan join other countries in adopting ambitious targets to achieve carbon neutrality.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has committed to net zero emissions by 2050 and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in October set the same goal for Japan.

“Some companies that have committed to 100% renewable power targets, such as Sony and Ricoh, are saying that Japan is now becoming the bottleneck among the developed world in achieving that goal,” he said, citing limited availability and high costs of renewable energy.

“So it means a lot that Suga has made that target. For investors, too, it reduces risk when the government clarifies its long-term goal,” Ozeki said.

Ozeki also said for next year he expected:

* Global share prices to rally further as the pandemic lasts longer than expected, forcing policymakers to continue to support the economy through monetary and fiscal measures.

* Short-term U.S. interest rates to stay low, making currency-hedged dollar bond investments attractive for Japanese investors.

Follow Reuters Summits on Twitter @Reuters_Summits

(For more summit stories, see)  

(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano in Tokyo and Tomo Uetake in Sydney; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Fall Economic Statement 2020 – Investment Executive



The federal Liberals are proposing $25 billion in new spending to help Canadian businesses and workers make it through a Covid-19 winter and vowing tens of billions more to help the country recover from the pandemic.

November 30, 2020

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Vancouver investment firm bought under fraudulent circumstances: IIROC – Powell River Peak



Vancouver-headquartered investment firm PI Financial Corporation was purchased under fraudulent pretences, according to allegations set out in a notice of hearing from Canada’s investment regulator.

The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC) alleges Gary Man Kin Ng and Donald Warren Metcalfe duped their lenders, who assisted them in buying PI Financial in 2018 for $100 million.

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Ng personally guaranteed the loans used to buy the firm, however, “despite his representations, Ng did not actually own, control or have trading authority over the securities accounts pledged as collateral,” according to IIROC. “Instead, ownership and control of the collateral was falsified by Ng and Metcalfe.”

Before buying PI Financial, which is said to employ over 300 people across Canada, Ng, 36, was an Approved Person and a Registered Representative for selling securities. He owned a Winnipeg-based firm named Chippingham Financial Group Limited via various corporate structures referred to by IIROC as the Ng Group. In November 2018, Ng, through the Ng Group, acquired a 100% controlling interest in PI Financial, IIROC stated in a notice of hearing that has scheduled a preliminary appearance on January 6, 2021.

Ng is said to have borrowed $80 million from “Lender One” and $20 million from “Lender Two.”
As security for the loans, “Ng purportedly granted separate, unencumbered security interests to Lender One, and also to Lender Two, over collateral including certain Chippingham securities accounts (later PI Financial accounts) which were owned by him,” stated IIROC, adding such representations were fake.

Ng is accused of “vastly overstating” the value of assets in the accounts and altering securities account statements.

“Metcalfe also perpetrated a fraud as he directly and actively participated with Ng in the falsification and distribution of false and/or fictitious account documentation to lenders,” it said in the November 24 notice of hearing.

In addition to the $100 million to buy PI Financial, Ng and Metcalfe borrowed a further $40 million from Lender Two and then $32 million from a third lender – all based on falsified collateral.

Although PI Financial was 100% owned by Ng, company officials “became aware of the issues concerning Ng’s purported ownership of securities accounts at the end of January 2020, and immediately reported these matters to IIROC,” the notice states.

Both men failed to attend an interview with IIROC enforcement staff over the summer.

IIROC said, “Ng, who was born in 1984, represented himself to others as an extremely successful businessperson who created enormous personal wealth through highly successful technology, real estate and manufacturing investments in Canada and China.”

At the time of the PI Financial purchase, Ng spoke of the deal with BNN Bloomberg, whose hosts noted how unique the deal was, given most investment firms are bought by large corporate entities, not individuals.

Metcalfe, meanwhile, was someone who worked initially with Ng at Chippingham.

Some details of the alleged lies are outlined in the notice. For example, several accounts Ng purported to have a value of $91 million actually had a value of $1.9 million.

IIROC proceedings are civil and not criminal. Should the allegations be proven, Ng and Metcalfe face any of the following corrective measures: a reprimand; disgorgement of any losses; a maximum $5 million fine; suspension or prohibition of activities; and a permanent ban from the industry.

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