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June 3, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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June is CFA Advocacy Awareness Month

June is Advocacy Awareness Month at the CFA. Throughout the month we will be highlighting the work we’ve done over the past year while also getting feedback from you, our members, on what our priorities should be for the coming year.

We want all CFA members to be aware of CFA’s advocacy initiatives.

Advocacy Survey Launching Next Week

To better educate policymakers and the public, the CFA will be releasing an Advocacy Survey next week. They survey will gather info about CFA members, the impact of the pandemic, their challenges and their needs as the economy reopens.

We need you to take the time to fill out the survey.

Your input will help shape the CFAs advocacy strategy over the coming year so that franchised businesses can drive the economic recovery.

Ontario finalizes plans to overhaul blue box program

Ontario has finalized plans to expand recycling services across the province. On June 3, Ontario's Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said blue box programs would be consolidated into one standard recycling program and that more communities would have access to recycling services.

The move represents a major shift from a cost-shared model between municipalities and producers to an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) model. And while it will shift some costs off the books for Ontario's municipalities, environmental advocates expressed some early doubts that the new system does not go far enough for its targets and lacks sufficient oversight.

The program will see costs shift to producers in an effort to incentivize them to be more mindful of the packaging and materials they create. It is expected to save Ontario municipalities about $150 million, although producers could pass some of the costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods.

The program will be phased in through most of the province from 2023–25, and into the far north by 2026. Materials that can be put into the blue box will be consistent across the province, and common single-use goods like paper plates and cups will be recyclable.

Right now, what can be put in blue bins differs city to city. Yurek said by 2026, all communities will have access to blue box programs, except for communities in the Far North. Boxes will also accept single-use products and packaging, like plastic cups, stir sticks, straws and cutlery.

For environmental watchers, it was not bold enough.

The recycling industry in Ontario has been facing difficult situations for a while now. Much of the country's recyclable goods get sold abroad for reuse, but recently China enacted stricter measures on the waste it will accept, contributing to lower values for recyclable goods across the board. Diversion rates in the province have proven stagnant for some time, and some newer materials have proven more difficult and costly to recycle.

The CFA provided comments into the consultation process and we will work with the Government Relations Committee to better understand the changes that were announced today.

Details of the New Canada Recovery Hiring Program released

Details have been announced regarding a new Canada Recovery Hiring Program for eligible employers that continue to experience qualifying declines in revenues relative to before the pandemic. The subsidy will offset a portion of the extra costs employers take on as they reopen, either by increasing wages or hours worked or hiring more staff.

This new support would only be available for active employees and will be available from June 6 to November 20, 2021. Like with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, businesses would be able to access the program through the Canada Revenue Agency. Support would be available retroactively to this Sunday, June 6, 2021, and businesses would be able to hire workers as their local economy reopens or as they are ready.

In addition to this announcement, it was announced that the Business Credit Availability Program and Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program are being extended to December 31, 2021. Both programs were set to expire on June 30, 2021.

Learn More

Ottawa increases fine to $5,000 for travellers who refuse to quarantine in a hotel

The federal government has announced that, starting Friday, international air passengers who decline to take their required COVID-19 tests or who refuse to check into a quarantine hotel could be hit with a $5,000 fine for each offence.

That's an increase of $2,000 from the initial payout set in February when the government said air passengers entering Canada must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and spend up to three days of their 14-day quarantine at a government-approved hotel to wait for their test results. Travellers must also provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada.

The fine increase follows a government advisory panel report issued last week that said Ottawa should scrap the hotel quarantine requirement and instead let people arrange their own quarantine. The panel said the hotel quarantine is flawed for a number of reasons, including that some travellers are choosing to bypass the rules and pay the current fine of up to $3,000 and that those crossing at land border points of entry are not subject to the same requirements as those by air

The Conservative Party reacted coolly to the increased fine.

Between April 14 and May 24, more than 1,000 travellers were fined for refusing to go to a quarantine hotel and more than 400 were fined for not taking their pre-boarding COVID-19 test or the one required upon arrival at the airport, according to government figures.

The current hotel quarantine restrictions are slated to expire on June 21, but the government has yet to reveal its plans going forward.

Emerge From the Pandemic with a Strong Plan for Growth

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Quebec economy minister resigns

Quebec’s provincial ethics commissioner, Ariane Mignolet, ruled in December and in June that Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon was violating ethics rules for ministers by owning shares in companies that do business with the government.

Commissioner Mignolet had called on Fitzgibbon then to sell his stakes in two private companies, the tech firm ImmerVision and White Star Capital, a venture capital fund.

Both companies benefit from financing arrangements offered by Investissement Québec, the investment branch of the Quebec government, which is responsible to the economy minister.

Shortly after the report was released, Premier François Legault announced that Fitzgibbon would leave cabinet. Finance Minister Eric Girard will take over the economy portfolio, in addition to his duties at finance.

Speaking in Quebec City, Legault said that Fitzgibbon had been trying to sell his shares in the two companies since he was elected in 2018.

That effort was hindered, Legault said, by the fact both are private companies, meaning they aren't traded on the stock market. Fitzgibbon, a former investment executive, was facing losses of more than $1 million if he opted to sell now, Legault said.

Ontario legislature rises for summer

The Ontario legislature kicked off a three-month summer break Thursday, as the opposition argued legislators were heading home while people in the province still need pandemic relief.

Government house leader Paul Calandra expressed hope that when legislators return for the fall session on Sept. 13.

N.L. budget pledges 'change' and shift in status quo

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is promising a "new course" forward and saying "change starts here," as it looks to sop up the red ink sloshing around the fiscally troubled province's treasury.

Finance Minister Siobhan Coady said the "status quo is no longer acceptable."

The budget deficit for 2020-21 came in at north of $1.6 billion — a dire figure that was actually better than expected. This year's projected deficit is about half that total, at $826 million. The government hopes to balance the books in five years.

Tax Changes

  • Anyone making more than $136,000 — will see income tax increases. Those changes are expected to generate $15.3 million for provincial coffers.
  • A physical activity tax credit of up to $2,000 per family will be introduced.
  • Tobacco taxes increase three-cents per cigarette and an increase of six cents per gram on fine-cut tobacco.
  • A 20-cent-per-litre sweetened beverage tax will become effective next April, although the exact details of that are still being worked out.Homeowners can also get some help transitioning their homes from oil to electricity, with a rebate of as much as $2,500.

Revenue Increases

Provincial government revenues are expected to sharply climb this year. Last year, NL had revenues of $7 billion. This year, that number is projected to jump to $8.5 billion. There are two key factors in that good-news revenue rise: additional federal government-related cash inflows, and a big bounce in oil royalties which could bring in $1.1 billion this year, almost double the $597 million from last year.

Spending projected to rise

Spending is projected to rise to $9.3 billion in 2021-22. Officials attribute that increase to the timing of when revenue from a $320-million federal oil and gas fund hit the books, some other federal-provincial cost-sharing agreements, and wage increases for public-sector workers.

Most provinces update guidance to allow vaccine mixing

Residents of BC and Ontarians who received a first shot of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can opt to stick with it or choose to get Pfizer or Moderna for their second dose.

The move was expected after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance earlier this week to allow for mixing and matching of vaccines.

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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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