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Renewable energy, retrofits touted as job-creating alternative to oil sector devastation – Jimmys Post

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With a barrel of Canadian oil now going for the same price as a cup of coffee, some renewable energy experts say it’s time for a different approach to building Canada’s energy sector.

They say the massive job losses and economic turmoil hammering the oil industry could be at least partly offset by a more aggressive shift toward renewables, energy-efficiency retrofits and other sustainable infrastructure.

“There are very practical reasons it would make sense,” said Martin Boucher, of the University of Saskatchewan’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

Western Canada Select crude oil has been selling for less than $5 a barrel since the coronavirus-imposed travel bans and business shutdowns caused demand to plummet more than a month ago. Even last week’s deal between OPEC and other world powers to cut supply by 10 per cent failed to ignite crude prices. On Friday, WCS was listed at $2.87.

“Only gradual increases in crude oil prices are expected through all of 2020 as these factors persist, which could lead to record levels of expected global oil inventory builds in the first half of 2020,” the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its most recent forecast.

Simply put, the global demand for oil has plunged and oil producers are putting it in storage in the hope of better prices. It will take a long time for that to change.

Saskatoon energy consultant Jason Praski hopes the health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus may cause more people to care more about their communities and the environment. (submitted by Jason Praski)

Others believe the price could go even lower, and Canada could soon see negative prices. Oil producers who’ve run out of space to store their nearly worthless product “will be paying people to take away our resources,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said this month.

That may seem like good news for consumers filling their cars or trucks at the gas station for 60 cents a litre, but it’s a huge loss for the oil-heavy economies of Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Revenue from non-renewable resources like oil could drop as much as $1.2 billion this year in Saskatchewan alone, according to government forecasts released Friday.

Boucher and others say COVID-19 has caused this most recent price crash, but it’s not the only dark cloud hanging over the industry.

Since the July 2008 peak of more than $110 per barrel, the WCS price has steadily declined. In February, before the COVID-19 restrictions were announced, WCS had already dropped to $27.

Trade wars and production increases by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia and other global powers, the lack of pipeline capacity in the landlocked Canadian Prairies are combining with labour-saving technology to decrease prices. That will not change in a post-coronavirus economy, they say. These aren’t things anyone in Saskatchewan or Alberta can control.

That’s why those urging Canada to keep tackling climate change say the post-coronavirus economy must include a more rapid transition to renewables and energy efficient upgrades.

“Stimulus and recovery measures in response to the pandemic must foster economic development and job creation, promote social equity and welfare, and put the world on a climate-safe path,” Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said in a statement this month.

Martin Boucher of the University of Saskatchewan’s Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy said a more aggressive shift toward renewable energy and energy-efficient retrofits would help ease the job losses caused by the oil downturn. (submitted by Martin Boucher)

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $1.7 billion to clean up orphan oil wells, in a move that could create up to 5,000 jobs in Alberta alone. He also announced new money for methane reduction from the oil and gas industry, which will help Canada meet its international commitment to reduce methane emissions as well as fostering environmental innovation.

Boucher, who teaches energy transition policy, said this approach will provide far more jobs per dollar invested than investing in the oil industry. He said shifting even a small percentage of the investment and government support currently going to the oil industry would make a big difference.

It could begin with more energy-efficient retrofits of homes and businesses – better windows or thicker insulation, he said. Most of this work would be labour-intensive and done by local contractors and businesses. Profits would stay in the community and homeowners would benefit from lower fuel bills.

“These are simple approaches, but they’re domestic. They don’t put us in a situation where we’re overly exposed to the ebbs and flows of oil and gas,” Boucher said.

Saskatoon energy consultant Jason Praski agreed. Praski and Boucher said Saskatchewan is increasing its renewable energy capacity, but much more could be done. Solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy from wood and crop waste could all deliver government tax revenue and jobs, they said.

“Saskatchewan’s got so much potential,” Praski said.

Praski said many people have already warmed to these ideas, but the ongoing coronavirus situation could help convince others.

“I think the whole pandemic is helping us pay more attention to each other and look after each other, and the climate change crisis is really a similar problem, it’s just longer term,” Praski said. “As we think about this whole thing, rethinking our lives, you know, it may get us all thinking a little closer toward doing the greener thing if we can.”

No one from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers was available for an interview.

Saskatchewan’s Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre was not available for an interview but an official sent a written statement detailing more than 500 megawatts of pending wind and solar projects across the province.

It reaffirmed the province’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 through these projects, as well as other methods such as carbon capture or possible small modular nuclear reactors.

Last week, Eyre announced COVID-19 relief measures for oil companies, including an extension of drilling leases. She pledged more help in the coming days for oil and gas and mining companies. It’s unclear whether that will extend to renewable energy.

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7 Reasons Why America Loves Doing Business with Canada

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Canada is one of the United States’ most important trading partners. According to the United States Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, the US exports over $300B worth of goods and services to Canada annually. It also imports over $300B worth of goods and services from the country every year.

In fact, the trade relationship between the two North American countries is the biggest in the world. The two nations have traded for over 100 years. And a strong trade relationship is prosperous for both countries.

So, what makes Canada such an excellent trading partner for the United States? Here are a few good reasons:

1. Geographical Location

Canada shares a large border with the United States. Trading with Canada is easy by road, boat, or air. Most of the economic hotspots in Canada like Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary are just a short flight away from an American city.

2. Manufacturing Strengths

Canada has some exceptional exports thanks to its vast manufacturing strengths. Here are a few of its two products:

  • Non-renewable Energy: Canada’s non-renewable energy exports like oil and gas are a significant part of its economy. Although falling gas prices have impacted this sector, Canada continues to depend on its gas and oil exports.
  • Composite Manufacturing: You’ll find plenty of world-class options if you’re looking for advanced composite manufacturing in Canada regardless of your industry. The Canadian composite manufacturing industry serves many national and international clients in sectors such as defence, transportation, marine, aerospace, medical, industrial, energy, home appliances, construction, and more.
  • Vehicle: Canada has a renowned automotive sector, producing light trucks, crossovers, SUVs, etc., with its technologically advanced factories. 95% of Canada’s automotive exports go to the United States.
  • Aluminum: The Great White North produces some of the best quality aluminum in the world. The United States happens to be Canada’s biggest importer of aluminum.
  • Meat and Dairy: Canada produces meat, beef, poultry, and dairy known for its quality. Unlike some countries, Canada doesn’t use harmful hormones in its meat industry.

3. Good Tax Treaties

Canada has many provisions that make business favourable for American companies. For example, a non-resident corporation that does not otherwise have a permanent establishment (PE) in Canada may do business without paying income tax on its profits. Canada also offers favourable corporate taxes, especially compared to the United States.

Aside from federal incentives, many provinces offer provincial incentives to do business in Canada. For example, many American films and TV shows are shot in Toronto because of lucrative tax enticements.

4. Favourable Exchange Rates

Not only is the Canadian dollar stable, but it usually hovers 20% lower than the United States. The favourable exchange rate makes it cost-effective for the United States to import goods and services from Canada.

However, the exchange rate isn’t so low that it discourages Canadians from travelling to the United States or buying American products. Many economists consider the exchange rate to be in the sweet spot.

5. Similar Culture

Canada speaks the same language, eats the same food, plays the same sports, and consumes the same entertainment. A similar coculture without language barriers makes it easier for Americans to do business with Canada.

Of course, there are some parts of Canada where French is the most popular language. Likewise, Spanish is more prevalent in certain places in the United States. However, these issues are easily overcome with business cards, translators, and technology.

6. Prominent Tech Industry

Many American technology companies are doing business with Canada because of the country’s prominence on the tech stage. For example, Toronto produces more tech occupations than the Bay Area, New York, and even Silicon Valley.

Toronto also has over 2,000 startups and over 14,000 tech companies. In the MaRS Center, Canada also has one of the world’s largest innovation hubs. Canada is also the first nation in the world to develop a national AI strategy. There are over 500 international AI firms in the country. The world’s biggest concentration of AI startups is in Canada.

Besides the national AI strategy, there is plenty of other support for tech development in the country that’s attractive to the United States. Canada invested $900m in high-tech innovation and funded startup incubators in 2015.

Additionally, Canada offers many tax breaks to companies for research and development. It also provides special visa programs for investors and entrepreneurs in the tech industry.

7. Qualified Labour Pool

Canada has the second-highest tertiary education levels worldwide for people between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Canada’s highly skilled workforce stands at nearly 1.5 million people. Canada’s tech talent is also ranked highly for diversity.

These are just some of the many reasons why the United States enjoys doing business with Canada. Even with the economic climate changing, you can expect the partnership between the two countries to stand the test of time.

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10 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out in 2021 – Part 2

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Last week I provided 5 suggestions on how you can make your LinkedIn profile, which in 2021 is a non-negotiable must-have for job seekers, to stand out. The suggestions were:

 

  1. Add a headshot
  2. Create an eye-catching headline
  3. Craft an interesting summary
  4. Highlight your experience
  5. Use visual media

 

I’ll continue with my next 5 suggestions:

 

  1. Customize your URL

 

Your LinkedIn URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the web address for your profile. The default URL will have your name and some random numbers and letters (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-kossovan-647e3b49). Customizing your profile URL (https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickkossovan/) makes your profile search engine friendly; therefore, you’re easier to find. As well a customized URL invites the person searching to make some positive assumptions about you:

 

  • You’re detail oriented.
  • You’re technologically savvy.
  • You understand the power of perception (Image is everything!).

 

James Wooden, one of the most revered coaches in the history of sports, is to have said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

 

To change your profile URL, go to the right side of your profile. There you’ll find an option to edit your URL. Use this option to make your URL concise and neat.

 

  1. Make connections

 

The more connections you have increases the likelihood of being found when hiring managers and recruiters, looking for potential candidates with your background, search on LinkedIn. Envision your number of connections as ‘the amount of gas in your tank.’

 

At the very least, you should aim to get over 500 connections. Anything below 500 LinkedIn will indicate your number of connections as an exact number (ex. 368). Above 500 connections, LinkedIn simply shows you have 500+ connections. Getting to 500 implies you’re a player on LinkedIn.

 

As much as possible, connect with individuals you know personally, have worked with, met in a professional capacity (tradeshow, conference), is in your city/region and industry/profession. If you’d like to connect with someone you haven’t met, send a note with your request explaining who you are and why you’d like to connect. (This’ll be my topic in next week’s column.)

 

  1. Ask for recommendations and skill endorsements

 

This is vital to making your profile stand out! Employers want to know that others think of your work.

 

When asking for a recommendation, or skill endorsements, think of all the people you’ve worked the past. Don’t just think of your past bosses; also think of colleagues, vendors, customers — anyone who can vouch for your work and professionalism.

 

Instructions on how to ask for, and give, a recommendation, can be found by going to the LinkedIn ‘Help’ field (Located by clicking on the drop-down arrow below the ‘Me’ icon in the upper right-hand corner.) and typing ‘Requesting a recommendation.’ Do the same for skill endorsements.

 

TIP: It’s good karma to write recommendations, and endorse skills, in return and to give unsolicited.

 

  1. Keep your profile active

 

LinkedIn is not simply an online resume — it’s a networking social media site. To get the most out of LinkedIn, you need to be constantly active (at least 3 times per week). Write posts and articles. Check out what is being posted, especially by your connections. Like and share posts that resonate with you. Engage with thoughtful comments that’ll put forward your expertise.

 

Join groups that align with your industry and professional interests. Groups are an excellent way to meet like-minded professionals with whom to network and share ideas and best practices.

 

  1. Check your LinkedIn profile strength

 

It’s in LinkedIn’s interest that you’re successful using their platform. Therefore, they’ve created a ‘Profile Strength Meter’ to gauge how robust your profile is. Basically, this gauge tells you completion level of your profile. Using the tips, you’ll be given, keep adding to your profile until your gauge rates you “All-Star.” For instructions on how to access your ‘Profile Strength Meter,’ use the LinkedIn’ Help’ field.

 

The 10 tips I offered is a starting point for building a LinkedIn profile that WOWs! Jobseekers need to make the most of their profile to stand out in a sea of candidates, sell their skills, and validate their accomplishments. Make it easy for the reader to get a feel for who you are professionally.

_________________________________________________

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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Canadian National beats Canadian Pacific with $33.6 billion Kansas City bid

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U.S. railway operator Kansas City Southern said on Thursday that it had accepted Canadian National Railway Co’s $33.6 billion acquisition offer, upending a $29 billion deal with its competitor Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd.

The development, first reported by Reuters, gives Canadian Pacific five business days to make a new offer for Kansas City Southern. Were Canadian Pacific to table a new offer, a bidding war could ensue.

Canadian Pacific had previously announced a deal to buy Kansas City Southern on March 21, before Canadian National said it had submitted a higher bid on April 20. The headline price in Canadian National’s cash-and-stock bid remains $325 per share as originally announced, though the company offered more of its shares to compensate for a decline in its stock price.

Canadian National has offered to cover the $700 million break-up fee Kansas City Southern will owe Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. It will also pay Kansas City Southern $1 billion if the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (STB) rejects a voting trust structure it has put forward to complete the deal.

“We believe that Canadian Pacific’s negotiated agreement with Kansas City is the only true end-to-end Class I combination that is in the best interests of North American shippers and communities,” a Canadian Pacific spokeswoman said.

Canadian Pacific and larger rival Canadian National are in a race to take over the U.S. railroad operator, which would create the first direct railway linking Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

Either of them acquiring Kansas City Southern would create a North American railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada, as supply chains recover from COVID-19 pandemic-led disruptions.

The acquisition interest in Kansas City Southern also follows the ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year that removed the threat of trade tensions, which had escalated under former U.S. President Donald Trump.

The STB last week approved the voting trust for Canadian Pacific’s proposed acquisition. Canadian National has offered an identical arrangement.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber, Aurora Ellis and Richard Chang)

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