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'This is a huge undertaking': Input needed to shape 'Blue Economy' oceans strategy in Canada – The Journal Pioneer

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Canadians are being asked for their input on ways for this country to become a global leader in what the federal government refers to as the ‘blue economy.’

The blue economy, it says, taps into Canada having the world’s longest coastline and being connected to three oceans. It speaks to “creating reliable, middle-class jobs, while ensuring healthy oceans and sustainable ocean industries,” the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a Feb. 8 media release.

But it can’t do this without hearing from Canadians, it says.

On Feb. 8 Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan launched the engagement phase in the development of Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy.

“Healthy, productive oceans are vital to the livelihoods of communities across Canada. We want to keep our oceans healthy, so we can grow these industries sustainably, and create more opportunities for our coastal communities,” Jordan said.

The input being gathered will help to guide future investments and policies of the department, she said.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan - SaltWire File Photo
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan – SaltWire File Photo

“I’m very excited about this. This is something that can actually drive our post-pandemic recovery. We know the oceans are going to play an extremely important part in that,” the minister said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to develop the right policies and the right investments.”

Ocean industries contribute approximately $31.7 billion to Canada’s GDP (gross domestic product) every year. But there are other countries ahead of Canada when it comes to their own GDP.

DFO says there is more potential to see Canada’s domestic GDP grow through a blue economy.

That $31.7 billion represents around 1.6 per cent of the country’s total GDP. It accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs across a broad range of sectors.

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The strategy being developed points to countless possibilities, says DFO, whether it be new products and technologies to enhance sustainability in the commercial fishing industry; exploring offshore renewable energy; encouraging sustainable tourism in coastal regions; the development of new green technologies and practices in ocean-related fields; or enhanced international trade.

A Blue Economy Strategy website was launched on Feb. 8 and engagement, which will continue until June 15, began that same day.

“We will have round tables with stakeholders, with industry, with First Nations, with provinces, territories, with environmental organizations, and others,” Jordan said. “There’s going to be an opportunity for people to go online and download an engagement kit and fill out things on their own on our website in order to be part of this process. It’s extremely important that we hear from as many people as possible because this is a huge undertaking.”

The LFA 34 commercial lobster fishery dumping day off southwestern Nova Scotia. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The LFA 34 commercial lobster fishery dumping day off southwestern Nova Scotia. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

Jordan said coming from a N.S. coastal community – her mother, she said, worked in the fishing industry in a plant – she knows the importance of the oceans to people’s lives.

“I know how critically important the fishery is in our coastal communities. I know how important it is to our food supply chain. I know how important it is to our economy. Quite frankly, the fishers I know are some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met . . . It’s critical to making sure that their voices are heard on this blue economy as well.”

While the government continues to take action in the area of ocean protection and conservation – this includes ongoing actions under the Oceans Protection Plan, and a public commitment to protect 25 per cent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030 – Jordan said it is still felt the oceans can contribute more to the economy than they already are, even with those protection measures in place.

“We’re hoping that a lot of people get engaged in this,” said Jordan. “It’s been close to 20 years since we’ve had an ocean strategy. It’s time to look at what we’re going to be able to do to move Canada forward.”


Engagement paper:

Click here to read the ‘Blue economy strategy engagement paper’ on the website


From the Department of Fisheries and Oceans' Blue Economy Strategy website. - Photo via website
From the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Blue Economy Strategy website. – Photo via website

Quotables from the Feb. 8 launch of the ‘Blue Economy Strategy’ engagement launch from government departments:

“Canada’s blue economy should be second to none. That’s why we’re developing a strategy to make our ocean industries more sustainable, more productive and more prosperous. This is about creating more long-term opportunities for our coastal communities, by working with the ocean on its terms. Canadians understand that action on climate change is vital to sustainability and economic growth, and building a thriving, sustainable ocean economy is no different. The Blue Economy Strategy will help steer federal investments and actions, on all three coasts, across all ocean sectors, toward a single goal: to get more Canadians working on and in the water.”

• Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“A Blue Economy Strategy means long-term prosperity for coastal and Indigenous communities. A comprehensive strategy will reflect the input of all Canadians, further protect our ocean-based resources while increasing our competitiveness.”

• Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources

“Our government understands that Canadians have always had a strong connection with our coasts and waterways. The Blue Economy Strategy aligns and complements what is being accomplished through Canada’s Oceans Protection Plan. Together, with Indigenous communities and stakeholders, we’re investing in protecting the environment while growing the economy by working to create a world-leading marine safety system that improves responsible shipping, protects Canada’s waters and strengthens response measures.”

• Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport

“The oceans are a vital lifeline for Indigenous peoples in Canada’s North and Arctic, for everything from hunting, to fishing, to the delivery of goods through Sealift. It is essential that the unique needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in the North are reflected in Canada’s Blue Economy Strategy. This will help drive future activities that protect these waters while enhancing economic opportunities. That is why we need partners from across Canada to engage in the development of this important strategy.”

• Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs

“If Canada is going to remain a leader in the blue economy, we need to continue to develop new technologies and solutions that allow us to increase productivity in our ocean sectors while enhancing their protection to ensure sustainability. Our world leading ocean-innovators will play a vital role in the future of our ocean sectors.”

• François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“Our ocean economy will only continue to grow, and by having a comprehensive Blue Economy Strategy, we can ensure that our actions and investments are coordinated to ensure proper stewardship of Canada’s blue resources. This will in turn lead to long-term economic prosperity for those who depend on our ocean sectors, including tourism businesses in coastal communities.”

• Melanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

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Economy

Canadian retail sales slide in April, May as COVID-19 shutdown bites

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december retail sales

Canadian retail sales plunged in April and May, as shops and other businesses were shuttered amid a third wave of COVID-19 infections, Statistics Canada data showed on Wednesday.

Retail trade fell 5.7% in April, the sharpest decline in a year, missing analyst forecasts of a 5.0% drop. In a preliminary estimate, Statscan said May retail sales likely fell by 3.2% as store closures dragged on.

“April showers brought no May flowers for Canadian retailers this year,” Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, said in a note.

Statscan said that 5.0% of retailers were closed at some point in April. The average length of the closure was one day, it said, citing respondent feedback.

Sales decreased in nine of the 11 subsectors, while core sales, which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicles, were down 7.6% in April.

Clothing and accessory store sales fell 28.6%, with sales at building material and garden equipment stores falling for the first time in nine months, by 10.4%.

“These results continue to suggest that the Bank of Canada is too optimistic on the growth outlook for the second quarter, even if there is a solid rebound occurring now in June,” Mendes said.

The central bank said in April that it expects Canada’s economy to grow 6.5% in 2021 and signaled interest rates could begin to rise in the second half of 2022.

The Canadian dollar held on to earlier gains after the data, trading up 0.3% at 1.2271 to the greenback, or 81.49 U.S. cents.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto, editing by Alexander Smith)

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Canadian dollar notches a 6-day high

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Canadian dollar

The Canadian dollar strengthened for a third day against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday, as oil prices rose and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell reassured markets that the central bank is not rushing to hike rates.

Markets were rattled last week when the Fed shifted to more hawkish guidance. But Powell on Tuesday said the economic recovery required more time before any tapering of stimulus and higher borrowing costs are appropriate, helping Wall Street recoup last week’s decline.

Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so its economy is highly geared to the economic cycle.

Brent crude rose above $75 a barrel, reaching its highest since late 2018, after an industry report on U.S. crude inventories reinforced views of a tightening market as travel picks up in Europe and North America.

The Canadian dollar was trading 0.3% higher at 1.2271 to the greenback, or 81.49 U.S. cents, after touching its strongest level since last Thursday at 1.2265.

The currency also gained ground on Monday and Tuesday, clawing back some of its decline from last week.

Canadian retail sales fell by 5.7% in April from March as provincial governments put in place restrictions to tackle a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Statistics Canada said. A flash estimate showed sales down 3.2% in May.

Still, the Bank of Canada expects consumer spending to lead a strong rebound in the domestic economy as vaccinations climb and containment measures ease.

Canadian government bond yields were mixed across a steeper curve, with the 10-year up nearly 1 basis point at 1.416%. Last Friday, it touched a 3-1/2-month low at 1.364%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Economy

Toronto Stock Exchange higher at open as energy stocks gain

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Toronto Stock Exchange edged higher at open on Wednesday as heavyweight energy stocks advanced, while data showing a plunge in domestic retail sales in April and May capped the gains.

* At 9:30 a.m. ET (13:30 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 16.77 points, or 0.08%, at 20,217.42.

(Reporting by Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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