September 17, 2020
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September 17, 2020

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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Ontario will lower limits on gatherings in some regions

Ontario is rolling back gathering limits in some areas of the province, and also implementing new fines for people who host and attend large gatherings.

Starting Friday in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel region, gatherings are now limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors.

Those new caps do not extend to places like restaurants, movie theatres, banquet halls, gyms and convention centres. Ford said that the new gathering limits don't apply to those areas, as well as to schools, because they have "really strict protocols in place."

Ontario is also instituting a minimum fine of $10,000 for the organizers of illegal social gatherings, as well as a $750 fine for people who show up to them.

Ontario extending commercial eviction ban

In his media conference on Thursday, Premier Ford also said the province is freezing residential rent increases in 2021 and extending Ontario's current ban on commercial evictions.

The ‘Helping Tenants and Small Businesses Act,’ proposes changes to the Commercial Tenancies Act to extend the temporary ban on evictions for commercial tenants. Ford said that the ban on commercial evictions would extend as far as Oct. 30.

Canada's inflation rate was 0.1% in August even as gas and plane ticket prices plummeted

Canada's inflation rate was 0.1 per cent in August, Statistics Canada says, the same level it was at in July.

Economists had been expecting the figure to come in at around 0.4 per cent, but gasoline and airline tickets dragged down the overall rate. Gas prices were down by 11.1 per cent in August, compared to where they were a year ago. Prices for air travel, meanwhile, declined by 16 per cent.

There was a 7.2 per cent rise in the cost of personal care products, a category that includes things like haircuts. Jewelry prices rose 6.8 per cent, largely due to record prices for gold.

The inflation rate is well below the range that the Bank of Canada targets in considering where to set its benchmark interest rate. When inflation is low, the bank tends to cut its rate to encourage borrowing to invest. When the rate is high, the bank hikes its rate to cool things down.

Canada's central bank slashed its rate in response with the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, and Toronto-Dominion Bank economist James Marple says Wednesday's numbers will do nothing to convince the bank to change course any time soon.

Average Canadian house price soared 18% in past year, CREA says

Canada's housing market continued its improbable run in August, as average prices jumped by almost 20 per cent from where they were a year earlier, and the number of homes sold shattered the monthly record.

The Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents more than 130,000 Realtors across the country, said Tuesday that 58,645 homes were sold during the month, which is 33 per cent more than changed hands in the same month last year. It's also more than six per cent more than the number of homes that sold in July, which was itself a record for the month.

August is typically not a very busy month for home sales. Normally, the market starts off the year slowly in the cold winter months before spiking in the spring, cooling down through the summer and getting ice cold again toward the end of the year. Then the cycle begins anew in January.

But 2020 has thrown those seasonal trends out the window as lockdowns in March and April delayed a lot of home purchases and pushed the buying season until later in the year.

BC provides $100 million for tourism

The B.C. government is spending $100 million to support the tourism sector as part of its newly unveiled $1.5 billion economic recovery plan. It will also launch a new tourism task force that will decide on how to spend $50 million of that funding. The other half will go toward tourism-dependent communities, marketing for regional tourism, and a recovery strategy for Destination B.C., the province's tourism agency.

The industry will also be aided by a $300 million recovery grant for small and medium-sized businesses, which is expected to protect a total of 200,000 jobs, according to the province. Tourism operators will receive an additional $10,000 grant top-up.

But the funding falls short of the tourism industry's request to receive $680 million of the province's $1.5-billion recovery package.

Premier John Horgan and Finance Minister Carole James announced the new spending measures Thursday, in what could serve as a tent pole for an NDP election platform amid speculation over a snap election.

B.C. adds $660M in tax incentives to recovery plan

The British Columbia government is announcing $660 million in new tax incentives and outlining how it will spend another $1.5 billion for economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan earmarks $417 million to support jobs and training, including $300 million to hire new health-care workers. About $100 million in infrastructure grants will be available for projects that are ready to begin and $300 million in grants for small- and medium-size businesses to help protect more than 200,000 jobs in hard-hit industries.

Tax incentives for business

The tax incentives include a temporary 100 per cent PST rebate on select machinery and equipment for eligible businesses and a 15 per cent tax credit on eligible new payroll to encourage businesses to hire more workers.

The government says that as of August, almost 250,000 jobs have been restored, equal to 62 per cent of the total jobs lost due to the pandemic.

CRA cyberattacks impacted four times as many accounts as previously believed

 In a major update to the impact of a series of credential stuffing attacks on government websites including the Canada Revenue Agency, the country’s top information officer now says that “suspicious activities” have been found on 48,500 CRA user accounts.

In August the CRA temporarily shut down its online services and applications after hackers used thousands of previously stolen usernames and passwords to fraudulently access government services in three separate but serious breaches, compromising the personal information of thousands.

While it was initially reported that 5,500 CRA account users had their personal information accessed, officials then updated that number, saying a total of 11,200 accounts across Government of Canada services were compromised in the attacks. These included cyberattacks directly targeting both CRA accounts as well as “GCKey” accounts, which can be used by 30 government departments and agencies to access other online portals such as veterans’ benefits and immigration applications.

An ongoing forensic analysis of these cyber incidents, the CRA has identified suspicious activities occurring between early July and August 15 which is a month before the CRA realized that the accounts had been compromised.

US Federal Reserve plans to keep interest rate near zero until 2023

The U.S. Federal Reserve adjusted its inflation target to seek price increases above two per cent annually, a move that will likely keep interest rates low for years to come.

The Fed on Wednesday also left its benchmark short-term rate unchanged at nearly zero, where it has been since the pandemic intensified in March. Fed officials also indicated in a set of economic projections that they expect the rate to stay there at least through 2023.

The Fed's statement says that because inflation has mostly fallen below its target of two per cent in recent years, Fed policymakers now "will aim to achieve inflation moderately above two per cent for some time." It also says it will keep rates low until inflation averages two per cent over an unspecified period.

The change is significant for the central bank, because it means that Fed officials will accept higher inflation to make up for its previous shortfalls below two per cent. Previously, the Fed has ignored such shortfalls.

Webinar Series On Demand


Impact of COVID-19 on Banks & Lenders: Now how do you approach the bank

SPEAKERS: Paul daSilva, RBC; Joseph Pisani, BMO Bank of Montreal; Tom de Larzac, HSBC Bank Canada; and, Mohammed Jehangir, CIBC

In this webinar, learn how COVID-19 has impacted how Canadian banks are looking at business loans and what additional information they need. What programs and services have banks introduced to serve SMEs and how can they be accessed? What is the impact of the pandemic on  a bank's risk tolerances? Have banks changed how they will lend and for what they will lend? Are loan losses as government support programs taper off expected to tighten loan approval requirements? How do I take advantage of changes in the marketplace? How do i grow my franchise?


CFA’s Business Recovery Summit Series

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments with Canada’s financial institutions at CFA’s Business Recovery Summit Series throughout the month of October, where today’s speakers will present updates on financing and lending. Stay tuned for more information!


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COVID-19's impact on the world is creating waves across all sectors and industries.

Every member of the CFA community is dealing with an issue that is affecting the world, our industries, our communities, our businesses, and our people.

We would like to hear from you if you have any topics, issues or questions to navigate turbulent times in order to support you further: 


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