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Urgent investment needed to increase affordable housing supply: Ottawa mayor – Ottawa Citizen

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A memo reviews the city’s six year-old plan to address housing and homelessness and calls for a dramatic “refresh” of that strategy.


Homeless and hungry in downtown Ottawa.


Errol McGihon / Postmedia

Urgent investment from all three levels of government is needed to increase Ottawa’s supply of affordable housing, and to help homeless and disabled people find permanent homes that meet their needs, Mayor Jim Watson says.

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The memo, signed by Watson and Councillors Jenna Sudds and Catherine McKenney, was issued late Tuesday on the eve of a debate about whether to declare a city-wide emergency on affordable housing and homelessness.

The memo reviews the city’s six year-old plan to address housing and homelessness and calls for a dramatic “refresh” of that strategy.

In the next 10 years, it suggests, the city should create between 5,700 and 8,500 affordable housing units and financial subsidies, while also ensuring that 20 per cent of those are devoted to supportive and accessible housing. It also calls on the city to preserve its existing stock of Ottawa Community Housing units.

The proposal sets out some ambitious goals: to reduce overall homelessness by 25 per cent and to eliminate “unsheltered” homelessness — people living on the streets.

“The refreshed plan is aspirational in nature and requires the commitment of significant new funding from all levels of government in order to be realized,” the memo says. “Without an injection of increased, sustained and long-term funding, the plan will not achieve its ambitious outcomes.”

The city will spend $109 million on housing and homelessness this year, which means the cost of the refreshed plan cannot be absorbed by municipal property taxpayers alone, Watson said. In the past two budgets, the city has committed $30 million in capital for new affordable housing developments.

The province will contribute $43 million and the federal government $27 million to affordable housing and homelessness initiatives in Ottawa in 2020.

Last month, McKenney put colleagues on notice that she will ask for their support to declare an emergency on affordable housing and homelessness. Council is to debate her motion Wednesday.

The city’s housing crisis has been created by a welter of issues, according to a review of the city’s 2014 housing and homelessness plan.

Funding for new affordable housing units has not kept pace with the city’s population growth that has forced Ottawa’s overall vacancy rate down to 1.8 per cent. That supply shortage has driven up prices: the average market rent in 2018 was $1,174 — a 15 per cent increase from 2014.

That means more people in community housing are holding onto their units longer, reducing the annual turnover. The centralized wait list for community housing has more than 10,600 households on it. Families can wait years for a spot, and some are spending longer periods in emergency shelters.

The lack of affordable housing has exacerbated the city’s homelessness problem. During the past six years, there has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of people requesting an emergency shelter placement. In 2018, the emergency shelter system operated, on average, at 108 per cent of its capacity.

Family homelessness, the report said, is the main driver of the increased demand at the city’s emergency shelters, and the reason why Ottawa increasingly is relying on hotels and motels to house the overflow.

More than 55,000 households in Ottawa — about 13 per cent of the population —  live with the kind of low incomes that make housing a serious challenge. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says Canadians should be spending no more than 30 per cent of their before-tax income on housing.

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Shenzhen Holds 2022 Global Investment Promotion Conference to Build a Magnet for International Investors – Yahoo Finance

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SHENZHEN, China, Dec. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Shenzhen welcomes outstanding investors from all over the world. The 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference will be held in Shenzhen, China on December 9. A number of major projects in the fields of information technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new energy, new materials, high-end equipment, and environment protection will be signed to contracts.

With the theme ‘Spur Opening Vitality, Gather Innovation Momentum — Invest in Shenzhen, Build a Winning Future’, the conference will award certificates to outstanding introduced businesses, multinational corporate headquarters, and investment consultants. The conference demonstrates Shenzhen’s determination to promote a high level of openness and present its top business environment, according to the Commerce Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality.

Shenzhen’s appeal to investors has not only been shown in China, but also worldwide. There have been 16 sessions of the 2022 Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference held in 16 cities worldwide, including New York, Detroit, Paris, Dublin, Tokyo, Sydney, Brisbane, Johannesburg, Moscow, etc. Through online investment and online signing, Shenzhen has deeply connected with global investors, invited overseas businesses and talent to invest and set up companies in Shenzhen.

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The session in Rio de Janeiro received nearly 100 attendees, including Tian Min, the Chinese Consul General to Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Li Ke, the Executive Vice President of BYD, and representatives of well-known local trades, technology companies, and trade associations. Participants have expressed their hopes that Brazilian and Shenzhen businesses will conduct further exchanges and benefit from each other’s strengths, continue to explore new grounds for cooperation, and promote the in-depth development of ChinaBrazil economic and trade relations.

The Shenzhen Global Investment Promotion Conference has been held for three years with more than 600 projects signed to contracts involving a total intended investment of over 2 trillion yuan. The conference has become a major representation of Shenzhen’s achievements of high-level opening up, high-quality economic and social development, and a world-class business environment. The conference is a major investment platform for gathering global investors and a major exchange platform for investment promotion.

An optimal business environment has made Shenzhen a popular destination for global investors. From January to October 2022, the actual use of FDI in Shenzhen was nearly 10 billion USD, and foreign investor confidence has been strengthened. Up until now, a total of over 170 countries and regions have invested in Shenzhen.

Mr. Siddharth Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator in China, stated, “The experience of Shenzhen, as a hub for investment and being ranked as a top city of Chinese mainland for overall economic competitiveness by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, can serve as an example both for other cities within China that seek to attract more foreign investment, and for cities and countries around the world.”

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View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/shenzhen-holds-2022-global-investment-promotion-conference-to-build-a-magnet-for-international-investors-301698943.html

SOURCE The Commerce Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality

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Canada proposes overhauling foreign investment rules to tackle security risks

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OTTAWA, Dec 7 (Reuters) – (This Dec. 7 story has been corrected to delete the phrase saying that only one deal had been previously blocked under the Investment Canada Act, in the ninth paragraph)

Canada on Wednesday proposed beefing up its foreign investment rules to give the government greater power to scrutinize and potentially block overseas deals that bring national security risks.

The proposed amendments would be the biggest overhaul to the Investment Canada Act (ICA) since 2009 and come at a time when the country’s rich deposits of critical minerals, which are crucial to the green transition, are in hot demand.

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“These proposed changes will ensure that foreign investments in Canada are not only to the net benefit of Canadians, but are not detrimental to our national security,” Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said at a press conference announcing the proposal.

Champagne said the proposed changes are country-agnostic, though his ministry last month ordered three Chinese companies to divest their investments in Canadian critical minerals after a national security review.

The government also took aim at Beijing in its Indo-Pacific strategy launched last month and said it would tighten foreign investment rules to protect intellectual property and prevent Chinese state-owned enterprises from snapping up critical mineral supplies.

The proposed amendments to ICA include a requirement for foreign investors in some Canadian industries to notify the government before finalizing deals.

It would allow the government to impose interim conditions to prevent acquirers from accessing trade secrets, intellectual properties and sensitive personal information, and the authority to accept undertakings to mitigate national security risk.

It would also allow greater exchange of information with allies to better address common national security challenges.

The ICA became law in 1985 and has had several updates.

The sectors impacted by the early disclosure rule have not yet been determined, but Champagne said the targeted industries are going to be linked to sensitive technologies, critical minerals and those dealing with personal information.

Ottawa sees the critical minerals sectors as vital to Canada’s economic prosperity and outlined rules earlier this year to protect the country’s critical minerals resources from foreign state-owned companies.

Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio

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Initiative to protect Hudson Bay Lowlands to benefit from $800M investment

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An Indigenous-led initiative to protect northern Ontario’s Hudson Bay Lowlands is one of four projects to receive a total of $800 million from the federal government over a seven-year period.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new funding at the United Nations’ Biodiversity Conference, COP15, in Montreal on Wednesday.

The four projects, which also include conservation of lands and waters in the Northern Shelf Bioregion in British Columbia, in Qikiqtani Region in Nunavut, and in the Northwest Territories, could protect up to one million square kilometres.

“Our government is here as a partner,” Trudeau said in a press release following the announcement.

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“And today, we took an important step forward – together – to deliver a vision of conservation that has partnership and reconciliation at its core. I’m looking forward to our shared work to deliver results for communities and for the nature that sustains us all.”

Vern Cheechoo, the director of lands and resources with Mushkegowuk Council, said the council is “quite happy with the announcement.”

Mushkegowuk Council represents seven First Nations around northern Ontario’s James Bay Coast. The council also works with Weenusk First Nation and will collaborate with Fort Severn First Nation on a marine conservation initiative tied to the new funding.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $800 million in funding over seven years to support four Indigenous-led conservation projects. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

In a press release, the council said the federal government’s announcement sets the stage to protect a territory that represents almost one third of Ontario’s land mass.

The Hudson Bay Lowlands are home to one of the largest peatland complexes in the world and store an estimated 30 billion tonnes of carbon. The region is also an important habitat for billions of migratory birds.

“It’s important in terms of cooling Mother Earth,” Cheechoo said. “The elders called it the breathing lands.”

Cheechoo said Mushkegowuk Council is still waiting to have more discussions with the federal government to find out what portion of the $800 million it will receive.

But whatever amount it gets, he said it will help build capacity and infrastructure, such as office space, to support researchers, stewards and guardians who will protect the land.

Cheechoo said he hopes the support from the federal government can lead to more long-term funding to permanently protect the area.

He added the new funds will also help promote conservation-based economic activity for the region. He said British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest serves as an example where economic development can also protect the environment.

“The work that they are doing out there, they’ve created like 1,200 jobs, started 200 new businesses,” Cheechoo said.

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