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Sask. economy expected to lose millions after Grey Cup festivities postponed to 2022 –



When Regina hosted the 2013 Grey Cup, the province’s tourism sector brought in roughly $93 million. That same revenue was projected by Tourism Saskatchewan for later this year, when the city was set to host the championship game again.

However, when news broke Wednesday afternoon that the CFL was pushing the Regina Grey Cup festivities to 2022 due to COVID-19, local businesses braced for another hit to the purse strings.

Mary Taylor-Ash, the CEO of Tourism Saskatchewan said “it’s a big deal” regardless of whether people saw it coming.

“When we do host the festival, the economic impact is very far-reaching — everything from the obvious things from hotels and restaurants to retail is impacted,” she explained.

Those feelings were echoed by Tracy Fahlman, the president and CEO of the Regina Hotels Association.

She said hotel rooms alone brought in $1 million when the Queen City hosted the Grey Cup in 2013 and a lot of local hoteliers were banking on that money this time around.

“A lot of our business comes from events; this is something our city is incredibly strong in as we are known as a national event destination,” she said, listing the recent Heritage Classic and the Garth Brooks concerts at Mosaic Stadium as examples.

Even six months ahead of the championship game, Fahlman said hotel rooms in the city were “incredibly close” to being sold out.

Economic loss ‘in the range of $100 million,’ says the Regina Chamber of Commerce

The Regina Chamber of Commerce estimates the economic loss of the city not hosting Grey Cup festivities this year is “in the range of $100 million.”

That will mostly affect hotels and restaurants — businesses already having a hard time due to the pandemic, according to the chamber’s CEO, John Hopkins.

However, he added it brings many local business owners comfort knowing there’s somewhat of a plan to regain that economic boost down the line.

“If it would have been, ‘It’s cancelled and you’re not going to get [the Grey Cup], we don’t know when you’re going to get it,’ that would have been a very different scenario,” Hopkins said. “We can plan for 2022 and look forward to that, and we can move ahead from there.”

Regina mayor has ‘mixed feelings’ about postponement

Mayor Michael Fougere said he has “mixed feelings” about the Grey Cup festivities’ being pushed back two years.

“On the one hand, I’m still excited that we’re still looking at a shortened CFL season — that’s good news. That there might be a Grey Cup is good news too, but that it won’t be in Regina at the festival we had planned is a disappointment,” he said. 

Fougere added the City of Regina expects a $16 million loss to the local economy and the province another $25 million.

He noted most of that $16 million was set to go to the federal and provincial governments via taxes, so it shouldn’t affect taxpayers.

“What we see is just the impact in terms of additional money in the economy for that period of time — so, in terms of property taxes, we won’t see much of an effect at all,” said Fougere.

When it was announced Regina would host the 2020 Grey Cup, the city had made a $1 million contribution — $500,000 cash, another $500,000 in-kind. Fougere said that money still holds and will be now pushed to the 2022 Grey Cup event.

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Quebec looks to revive economy weakened by coronavirus crisis by fast tracking infrastructure projects – Global News



Quebec is looking to ramp up 202 infrastructure projects across the province in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the economy.

Bill 61, known as an “Act to restart Quebec’s economy and to mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency” due to the COVID-19 crisis, was unveiled by the government on Wednesday.

As part of the plan, the government wants to accelerate the construction of schools, seniors’ homes, roads and public transit systems. If passed, the bill will allow some projects to be fast tracked without all the regular procedures in place.

Treasury Board President Christian Dubé said the province wants to help people and sectors recover during the health crisis as lockdown measures implemented in March are slowly eased. He insisted that rigor will still be used when it comes to doling out contracts.

“We will not go against laws or regulations,” he said, adding the bill will permit for certain authorizations to be given more quickly.

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READ MORE: Different deconfinement approaches spark calls for change in Quebec massage industry

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The proposed legislation will revive the economy and allow for a less bureaucratic process, according to Dubé.

“We know we were all weathering an unusual storm,” he said.

Under the plan, about 90 infrastructure projects would be ramped up in the health sector, including construction on 48 seniors’ homes. This also includes renovation plans for hospitals in Montreal, such as the renovation and expansion of Lachine Hospital.

In the education sector, about 39 projects would be fast tracked. This includes the construction of new elementary and high schools as well as the expansion of other academic institutions such as Dawson College in Montreal.

When it comes to roads and public transit, the Legault government is looking at accelerating about 50 projects. This includes the long-awaited extension to the Montreal Metro’s blue line.

READ MORE: City of Montreal publishes economic recovery recommendations issued by panel amid coronavirus crisis

Finance Minister Eric Girard described the situation as “exceptional” when outlining the details of the bill alongside Dubé.

Girard also announced that he will provide an update on the province’s finances on June 19, but warned that the pandemic has had a grip on the economy.

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“This year is going to be a negative year,” he said. “The worst year for the economy since World War Two.”

The announcement comes as Quebec saw 291 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, on Wednesday. It leads the country with 51,884 infections.

The death toll stands at 4,794 after 81 more fatalities were reported from the previous day.

As of Wednesday, the number of hospitalizations decreased by 34 for a total of 1,141. There are 158 people in intensive care.

With files from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Mayor Watson asks province to consider local reopening of economy – Ottawa Citizen



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Mayor Jim Watson has asked Premier Doug Ford to consider reopening the City of Ottawa’s economy as part of a regional approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.

“Mayor Watson spoke to Premier Ford last night and expressed his support for a more regional approach given our city is doing better than many other parts of the province,” Watson’s press secretary Patrick Champagne said Wednesday morning.

“As you know, we also have the added challenge of being a border city, creating an unlevel playing field, as businesses like hair salons and barber shops have reopened in Gatineau but not in Ottawa. Premier Ford fully understood our dilemma and committed to keeping the Mayor’s perspective in mind as they consider a regional approach to reopening the Ontario economy.”

Ford last week expressed interest in a regional approach to reopening Ontario’s economy based on COVID-19 testing and results, rather than tweak provincial emergency orders and have the rules apply to the entire province.

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US services index shows biggest part of economy is stirring –



U.S. service providers started to emerge in May from a pandemic-induced tailspin as nationwide lockdowns on business and social interaction began to lift.

The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its non-manufacturing index rose 3.6 points to 45.4.

While the monthly increase was the largest in more than two years, the gauge remained below the 50 mark that shows most service-related industries continued to contract.

The purchasing managers group’s gauge of business activity, which parallels the ISM’s factory production index, jumped 15 points, the most in records dating back to 1997, to a still-tepid 41. Along with an improvement in new orders, the figures are a welcome sign that the economy is stabilizing and will gradually recover from a deep recession.

The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for an improvement to 44.4 in the overall non-manufacturing index.

The report, however, also showed the labor market remains severely disrupted by the pandemic. The ISM measure of employment at services, which represent almost 90 per cent of the economy, only rose 1.8 points from the worst reading on record in April.

A Labor Department report on Friday is projected to show another 8 million decline in May payrolls after an unprecedented 20.5 million slump in April. The unemployment rate is forecast to soar to nearly 20 per cent.

A pickup in demand as states lift lockdowns and businesses begin to reopen is needed to help stabilize the job market. The ISM’s report showed an index orders at service providers climbed 9 points to a still-weak 41.9.

Meanwhile, the index of supplier deliveries in non-manufacturing industries fell for the first time in four months, indicating an easing in supply-chain bottlenecks and transportation delays.

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