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July 29, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

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June inflation rates is at 3.1% down from 3.6% in May

Canada's national annual inflation rate was 3.1 per cent in June, Statistics Canada says. The agency also released rates for major cities, but cautioned that figures may have fluctuated widely because they are based on small statistical samples (previous month in brackets):

— St. John's, N.L.: 3.3 per cent (4.2)

— Charlottetown-Summerside: 5.3 per cent (6.0)

— Halifax: 3.7 per cent (4.6)

— Saint John, N.B.: 3.3 per cent (3.7)

— Quebec City: 3.4 per cent (3.8)

— Montreal: 3.8 per cent (4.1)

— Ottawa: 4.1 per cent (4.7)

— Toronto: 2.5 per cent (2.9)

— Thunder Bay, Ont.: 3.0 per cent (4.7)

— Winnipeg: 2.8 per cent (3.4)

Bank of Canada's Macklem warns against overreacting to hot inflation

In a very unusual move, Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem took to the pages of the Financial Post to defend a three-month run of excessive consumer price gains. The Governor’s opinion piece comes a day after Statistics Canada reported inflation rose 3.1 per cent in June. While a decline from the 3.6 per cent recorded in May, consumer price gains have exceeded Macklem’s 1 per cent to 3 per cent control range since April.

Policy makers expect inflation to creep to an average of 3.9 per cent in the third quarter -- a level not seen since the early 2000s -- but maintain the run-up in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis will be short-lived.

“We shouldn’t overreact to these temporary price increases,” Macklem wrote. “You can be confident that we will keep the cost of living under control as the economy reopens.”

The Bank of Canada’s response to the pandemic has become a political issue, with the opposition Conservatives warning Macklem against using purchases of government bonds to finance Justin Trudeau’s spending plans. With the prime minister nearing an election call, repeated high inflation readings are also being blamed on the incumbent Liberals.

Temporary Factors

The Bank of Canada views the forces behind higher inflation as temporary, saying they are a result of supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and a return to normalcy in the prices of some goods that plunged during the initial lockdowns like gasoline.

“Over the next few months, there may be more disturbances and sharp price movements as we return to more normal activities,” Macklem wrote. “Inflation should move back inside our target range next year as businesses work through these temporary factors and the people who lost their jobs during the pandemic rejoin the workforce.”

The Financial Post article is a clear sign the bank is trying to reach a broader audience in reinforcing its commitment to keeping inflation under control. Neither Macklem nor other central bank officials have any speeches scheduled before the next policy decision on Sept. 8, which will be a statement-only affair without a full set of economic forecasts or press conference.

“Securing this recovery could take time. That’s why we’ve pledged to keep our policy interest rate at its lowest possible setting until the economy fully heals,” Macklem wrote, reiterating the bank doesn’t see that happening until the second half of 2022.

To read the Op-Ed: Tiff Macklem: The Bank of Canada remains firmly committed to keeping inflation under control

B.C.'s budget deficit lower than forecast at $5.5B: finance minister

B.C.'s public accounts, which cover the 2020-21 fiscal year that ended March 31, show better budget numbers than originally forecast and stronger growth than much of Canada has experienced. The deficit of $5.5 billion has come in almost $3 billion lower than was forecast for 2020-21 and the projected economic growth rate is above the national average.

The final numbers record a budget deficit of $5.46 billion compared to the original forecast of almost $8.2 billion.

Economic growth in B.C. declined 3.8 per cent last year, but outpaced the national average, which dropped 5.3 per cent.

The province's jobless rate of 8.9 per cent was also lower than the Canadian average of 9.5 per cent.

The budget released in April for the 2021-22 fiscal year forecasts a deficit of $9.7 billion, followed by at least two more years of billion-dollar deficits.

The BC Finance Minister also said in April it could take seven to nine years before the province has another balanced budget.

Alberta to remove most COVID-19 isolation, testing requirements by mid-August

Changes to certain rules and protocols will take place in two phases and be implemented over a period of a few weeks. 

Phase 1, starting Thursday

  • Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or who receives a positive test result must isolate, but quarantine for their close contacts will be recommended and not mandatory, a government release says.
  • Quarantine could be required in some "high-risk settings or for outbreak management," Hinshaw said.
  • Anyone who tests positive will be notified but contact tracers will no longer notify close contacts of exposure. That responsibility will fall to those who test positive. Contact tracers will keep investigating cases at high-risk settings, such as acute and continuing care facilities.
  • Outbreak management will also focus on high-risk settings, including "high-risk workplaces." Community outbreaks with a surge of severe outcomes will "be addressed as needed," the release says.
  • Mask mandates remain in effect when inside acute- and continuing-care facilities, or when riding in public transit, taxis or ride-share vehicles. Universal masking will not be required in schools once students return, Hinshaw said, but masks can be used as a temporary outbreak intervention in response to respiratory outbreaks. 

Phase 2 slated for August 16

  • Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self isolate. Isolation in that situation, however, will be "strongly recommended," the release says. People with symptoms of any respiratory infection should still stay home until symptoms are gone.
  • Mask mandates will be lifted, although some may be required in acute- or continuing-care facilities.
  • Isolation hotels and quarantine support will no longer be available.
  • Testing will be available to people with symptoms when needed for patient care decisions, although those with mild symptoms won't need to be tested.
  • Testing will be available through assessment centres until Aug. 31, and through primary care facilities such as doctors offices after that. Anyone with severe illness who needs urgent or emergency care can be tested in acute care facilities and hospitals.

To read the full news release click here.

N.L. child care expected by 2023 with $347M federal-provincial agreement

Newfoundland and Labrador will receive more than $347 million between 2021 and 2025 as part of the agreement.

The prime minister said for children under six in regulated child care, average fees will drop from $25-a-day to down to $10.

Education Minister Tom Osborne said child-care fees will drop to $15-a-day starting Jan. 1, 2022, before falling further to $10 in the following year.

Almost 6,000 new child-care spaces will be created within five years, and, as part of the agreement, a new optional full-day, year-round pre-kindergarten program will start in 2023.

Renew early for the 2021/2022 CFA membership year and receive complimentary bonus member benefits you can use immediately!

Similar to last year, we are introducing early bird renewal incentives and value-added offerings to help our members during the COVID-19 recovery process. These benefits are part of the CFA’s membership renewal program and are available to your organization based on your date of renewal. For instance, members that renew and pay prior to August 31, 2021 will receive the greatest number of renewal benefits.

For more details and for the membership renewal form, please visit our website here.

Renew CFA Membership Early

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CFA's Relaunch, Reset & Recover examined changes in consumer trends and the ways business are conducted to help franchisees, franchisors, and suppliers of all sizes and sectors be better equipped with the knowledge and strategies to be best positioned to successfully relaunch their business in a post-COVID world. View On-Demand Video Library

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