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Wood products pricing surge expected to persist, raising 2021 house, renovation costs – BC News – Castanet.net

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An unexpected rebound in wood product prices this month is boosting profits for Canadian forestry companies but leaving homeowners and buyers with the prospect of higher home and renovation costs in 2021.

In a report, RBC analyst Paul Quinn says prices for lumber and wood panels are up in December due to strong housing markets and limited capacity to increase North American production following a seasonal softening of prices in October and November.

He says next year could be even brighter for producers than 2020, adding that record high prices set last summer as COVID-19 forced people to work from home will likely continue or be eclipsed in 2021.

Kevin Lee, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, says the price volatility and shortage of supply of some wood products means builders are having difficulty taking advantage of the current strong market for new houses that is expected to continue in 2021.

He says escalating lumber and panel prices this year have added as much as $30,000 to the construction cost of a typical 2,500-square-foot (232-square-metre) house in Canada.

RBC says it also expects more mergers and acquisition activity in the forest products industry next year following the recently announced $4-billion all-stock takeover of Norbord Inc. by West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.

“As we head into 2021, we have seen unprecedented pricing levels to close out 2020 with (lumber) prices moving higher following a pullback in October/November,” said Quinn in the report.

“With demand likely to get stronger as dealers get ready for what should be a very strong spring building season, we expect that prices will remain at a high level during the first half of the year.”

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Post-pandemic apocalypse – Winnipeg Free Press

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Statistic after statistic points to the debilitating state of commerce in Canada. But what exactly do all those pandemic-fuelled business closures mean for cities like Winnipeg, Vancouver or Toronto?

Data released this week by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows the situation is dire. More than one in six businesses — at least 239,000 across Canada and 5,601 in Manitoba — are at the risk of permanently disappearing because of COVID-19, or have already closed.

Economists, public policy stakeholders and municipal planners are split on how exactly this will affect the future of downtown cores and surrounding areas.


In interviews with the Free Press, experts described how jarring shifts in local economies will cause hypercompetition in some sectors, while others might completely disappear. It could also cause fewer jobs overall, less walkable areas, limited shopping options, and a rapid loss of the “biz village” concept, they said, along with severe population declines.

One in six businesses at risk — at least 239,000 across Canada and 5,601 in Manitoba

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2.4 MILLION PEOPLE likely be out of work — a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs, or just about ONE IN SEVEN of all employment in Canada

47% of businesses are fully open, as of Jan. 22 — down from 62 per cent at the end of November

36% fully staffed, as of Jan. 22 — down from 41 per cent at the end of November

22% businesses currently making normal sales, as of Jan. 22 — down from 29 per cent at the end of November

Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

If there’s one thing they can all agree on, however, it’s that Canadians cities will likely never look the same again. And if governments plan on bringing things back to a sustainable “new normal,” analysts believe preparation for it should begin as soon as possible.

“I think there’s an implicit assumption that we’re in a sort of snow globe right now and that everything’s suspended so that one day soon we’ll all go back to normal,” said Vass Bednar, a policy expert who’s held several public and private sector leadership roles, including at Airbnb and Queen’s Park in Toronto.

“Those assumptions are almost certainly wrong,” she said. “The fact is, everyone will quickly notice how different things already are when they go on a walk around their cities to see not just closed signs, but also the larger store or restaurant signs taken off to indicate permanent closures for so many of their favourite places. And it will only get more severe.”

CFIB’s latest figures suggest that at least 58,000 businesses have already permanently closed their doors following pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions in 2020.

Sylvain Charlebois, a leading supply chain expert, said shifts toward more consolidation and amalgamation will cause city demographics themselves to change. (Supplied)

Sylvain Charlebois, a leading supply chain expert, said shifts toward more consolidation and amalgamation will cause city demographics themselves to change. (Supplied)

Based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and Jan. 16, the organization now says a mid-range of at least 181,000 small business owners are also considering to close down or declare bankruptcy on top of last year’s numbers, adding up to 239,000 in total.

But should things remain unchanged, by the end of this year, closures could rise up to 280,117 across Canada. In Manitoba, that’s roughly 6,645 storefronts — with even the lowest estimates suggesting at least six per cent (5,601 businesses) will be lost.

That means more than 2.4 million people will likely be out of work — a staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs, or just about one in seven of all employment in Canada.

“They’re all very scary figures,” said Jonathan Alward, Prairies director for CFIB. “I really, truly hope we’re wrong on this. But it just doesn’t seem like we are, at least not right now.

“In an ordinary time, businesses would never want to be rescued with help from the government. But right now, I think creating pathways for safe openings by tax breaks, subsidies and other strategies to provide easier access is just as important for communities themselves than the business owners.”


Fletcher Baragar is an economics professor at the University of Manitoba who’s extensively researched how bankruptcies and bailouts affect societies and communities. He said he’s never seen more closures than this past year — not during the 2008-09 financial crisis, or even in his studies of recessions that occurred before the turn of the millennium.

“It’s a common thing to see exits and entries all the time in the market — healthy changes are the whole point of an entrepreneurial marketplace,” said Baragar. “But when that business change happens so rapidly, it certainly affects everything else… and it’s incredibly uneven in the type of areas and sectors it affects when some benefit from it and others die out of it.”

Hospitality and arts are two of the hardest-hit sectors, CFIB data indicates, with 33 per cent and 28 per cent of businesses in those sectors expected to close up shop. In the retail sector, it’s 15 per cent of companies.

At the other end of the spectrum, agriculture and natural resources are the lowest-impacted of any sector — still, with six per cent of businesses expected to close. Next is construction, at nine per cent, and manufacturing, at 12 per cent.

Provincial breakdowns show Newfoundland and Labrador will see the most severe impact, with a high-end estimate of 28 per cent of all businesses to close. That’s followed by Alberta at 25 per cent and Ontario at 24. Manitoba is right in the middle at 18 per cent, and Nova Scotia is least-impacted at 14 per cent.

Retail locations, including those in Winnipeg's Osborne Village, are either closed or have only offered curb-side pick-up and delivery since province-wide code red restrictions were declared in mid-November. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

Retail locations, including those in Winnipeg’s Osborne Village, are either closed or have only offered curb-side pick-up and delivery since province-wide code red restrictions were declared in mid-November. (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press)

That’s why business owners have begun to ask themselves tough questions, said Baragar, about whether it’s even worth opening up when they’re allowed to and if it’s something they can afford financially.

“Of the ones remaining, I think there’s going to be a lot more consolidation and amalgamation internationally and from one side of the country to the next,” he said. “And that means fewer buying and service options for quite literally everything — restaurants, clothing, you name it.”

Sylvain Charlebois, a leading supply chain expert, said these shifts will also cause city demographics themselves to change. Pointing to recent Starbucks coffee shop closures, he said food companies are making note of this, and will “always go where the money is” — which he doesn’t believe is in urban centres anymore.

“Of course, the cost of city dwelling is a cruel barrier anyway,” said Charlebois, who’s a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. “More than that, there’s other reasons that are also important. When businesses close in areas where they were supposed to be forming villages or walkable communities, it impacts the kind of people that want to live in those cities and how much they actually spend. It’s a cycle.”

Loren Remillard, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said that’s something he’s already seen with Osborne Village in Winnipeg before, when storefronts began to abruptly shut down a few years ago.

“We realized during that time, just how much businesses are more than businesses for livable communities — they’re really the fabric of what binds them together,” he said. “You couldn’t have Little Italy or Little India or even Sage Creek without the actual biz village concept thriving for those ethnographic neighbourhoods.”

Remillard said a continuous push is being made to get larger companies to headquarter in Winnipeg, “so that if and when acquisitions or mergers happen during devastating economic periods, we risk little when their main office is here.”

But as a policy expert, Bednar believes messaging from government has been a crucial part of what makes the future for urban business so frazzled. “It was so much easier just to tell everyone to move online and give them some subsidies to string along,” she said.

“Eventually, when this is finally over, what happens when we’re offline again? Can you actually market or promote tourism if you don’t have physical stores? It might be time to start changing how we’re thinking and talking about these things.”

Twitter: @temurdur

Temur.Durrani@freepress.mb.ca

Temur Durrani

Temur Durrani
Reporter

Temur Durrani reports on the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for this Free Press reporting position comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.

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8 New Deaths, 99 New Cases Of COVID-19 In Windsor Essex On Friday – windsoriteDOTca News

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  1. 8 New Deaths, 99 New Cases Of COVID-19 In Windsor Essex On Friday  windsoriteDOTca News
  2. Some local leaders fear looming crisis as migrant workers start to arrive in Windsor-Essex  CBC.ca
  3. COVID Compliance Complaints Still Rolling In  AM800 (iHeartRadio)
  4. 8 additional deaths, 99 new COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex  CTV News Windsor
  5. Ontario’s enforcement tour coming to Windsor-Essex this weekend  CTV News Windsor
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Speed up vaccine rollout to LTC homes to prevent deaths, cases: advisory group says – 680 News

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TORONTO — Refocusing Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout on long-term care residents would prevent 115 deaths and hundreds more cases by the end of March, according to modelling done by an expert team advising the government on the pandemic.

The brief published Thursday predicted that giving a first dose to all long-term care residents by Jan. 31 would save lives, and speeding up the rollout would be even more effective.

It concluded the January date would prevent 600 people from becoming infected, compared with the government’s current plan to vaccinate all long-term care residents by Feb. 15.


RELATED: 87 Toronto LTC homes safely vaccinated against COVID-19


The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table made the forecasts by modelling best and worst outcomes from three vaccine rollout scenarios up to March 31.

It also looked at the potential impact of vaccinating all residents by Jan. 21, finding in a best-case scenario, hundreds of lives could potentially be saved.

The report said long-term care residents should be prioritized if supply issues arise.

“If vaccine supply is limited, the early provision of first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to (long-term care) home residents is likely to be more beneficial than the on-schedule provision of second doses to health care workers outside of LTC homes,” the report said.

Asked whether the province would adjust its rollout plan based on the findings, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the schedule depends on supply.

“We continue to vaccinate long-term care home residents as quickly as we receive vaccines from the federal government,” Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement.

Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As of Thursday, 3,256 long-term care residents had died from COVID-19, and 13,647 had tested positive for the illness, according to government figures.

Thursday’s report noted the “disproportionately high rates” of COVID-19 infections and deaths among nursing home residents in Ontario.

Based on figures as of Jan. 17, long-term care residents accounted for more than 59 per cent of Ontario’s total deaths from COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.<

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