Click here to view this message in a browser window.



September 14, 2021

Election Update

Sponsored By:



On the campaign trail – Day 31

By Scott Munnoch, Temple Scott Associates

Six days to go.

Advanced polls are now closed and initial indications show an increased turnout as many took advantage of voting early. In the past, this has often been a leading indicator of change and while this may or may not be the case this time around, another big reason may just be because of Covid-19 protocols required and affecting the voting process.

Overnight rolling polls by Nanos Research seems to have leveled off a bit with the Liberals maintaining a slight lead over the Conservatives - but in reality, it’s a statistical tie. The NDP, who had been a steady 18+ percent since the start, are actually up a bit today. If this continues and translates into more seats, it could make them the power broker in the next minority government. Of interest appears to be the rise in the People’s Party of Canada (PPC). The PPC has been on a steady rise and while it doesn’t appear they have the strength to win any seats, their influence in drawing away votes from others will likely have an affect in some ridings.

And the debates – they took place last week and produced no new significant revelations or knock-out punches. In fact, most of the discussion focused on the lousy format and the influence of the moderator.

So where do things go this week?

Generally, the leader’s tour will define each party’s priorities and areas where they feel they can swing vote in their favour. Justin Trudeau was in BC yesterday and today for the third time in 3 weeks. Many believe they are trying to hang on to their vote there rather than build on it. It’s very likely that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will be back there this week too. The NDP are growing faster in BC than anywhere else in the country and he will want to solidify that vote.

The Prairies are more or less given to the Conservatives with only a few seats in play for the Liberals and NDP in the urban centres. The Conservative vote is definitely down from 2019, but unlikely to have a significant impact on the final seat count.

The vote in Atlantic Canada is very soft as Liberals try to maintain their dominant position from 2019. Conservatives were making some headway with increased numbers, but recent polling indicates the results will be close to the status quo.

This leaves Ontario and Quebec who will decide the outcome of this campaign.

In Quebec, Bloc Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet did well in the French-language debate and this may allow him to keep or grow his seat count of 32. The Liberals continue to control the Montreal region while the Conservatives are looking to compete for some of the Bloc seats.

In Ontario, the battlegrounds are well defined and a number of seats continue to be in play. In the City of Toronto, increased NDP support could take some of the Liberal seats. The GTA or 905 region, made up of many swing ridings, continues to be in a state of flux and many ridings will likely go down to the wire. Look for the Conservatives to continue to dominate rural Ontario.

As the campaign draws to a close the vote may come down to who voters want to implement their preferred priorities. Messaging is important. Economic balance and attention to the deficit will lead to Conservative votes while the Liberals will gain with a voter focus on social issues such as climate change and child care.

In the final 6 days, where the Leaders go and what they say should provide some indication of the final results. You want voters talking about your issues but you don’t necessarily want them talking about you. The personal attacks will grow all week resulting in one of the closest elections we have seen in some time.

By the Numbers (as of September 14, 2021)

Courtesy of the CBC Poll Tracker

Note: Bracket indicates change since previous CFA Election Update

The Latest Polling

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
31.3 (-2.2) 31.9 (+0.3) 19.4 (-0.6) 3.3 (+0.3) 5.8 (+0.8)

Seat Projections (170 seats are needed for a majority government)

Conservative Liberal NDP Green BQ
122 (-11) 151 (+9) 35(-1) 1 29(+3)


Odds of Winning

Liberal Conservative
Majority Minority Minority Majority
16% (+3%) 56% (+11%) 27% (-11%) 1% (-3%) 

What it means

The Liberals appear to have benefited from last week's leaders debates and are holding a narrow lead over the Conservatives. The close margin masks a bigger seat advantage for the Liberals, who remain nearly three-to-one favourites to emerge with the most seats. The New Democrats are holding in third, while a surging Bloc Québécois has pushed the PPC back into fifth place. The Greens are struggling to recover from a steep loss in support throughout the campaign.

The Liberals are three-to-one favourites to win the most seats, though a minority government headed by either the Liberals or the Conservatives remains far more likely than a majority government formed by either party. The NDP stands to pick up seats while the Bloc could lose some, and both parties could still hold a balance of power in the House of Commons. The Greens could also lose a few seats, while the PPC is unlikely to win one.

The Liberals lead in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada but are in third place throughout Western Canada. The Conservatives are ahead in the West, second in Ontario and Atlantic Canada and third in Quebec. The New Democrats are second throughout Western Canada but have taken a hit in B.C. The Bloc is picking up support in Quebec, while the Greens are in fourth only in B.C., as the PPC has moved ahead of them in every other region of the country.

The Liberals are holding steady in the polls after recovering from a slump in support over the first few weeks of the campaign. The Conservatives are gaining in Alberta and the Prairies but have fallen five points over the last few days in Atlantic Canada. The NDP is on the upswing in Ontario and Atlantic Canada, but sliding in the Prairies, where the PPC is making gains. The Bloc is surging in Quebec, gaining a point-per-day over the last four days.

Employees must be given three (3) consecutive hours to vote on election day – September 20

By law, everyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day.

If an employee’s hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, then the employer must give the employee time off to vote.

For example, if your employee lives in a riding where voting hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and they usually work from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., their hours of work will not allow for three consecutive hours for voting. To give the employee three consecutive hours to vote, the employer could allow the employee to arrive late (for example, at 12:30 p.m.), or let the employee leave early (for example, at 6:30 p.m.), or give them three consecutive hours off at some point during the work day.

Who decides when employees may take time off work to vote?

The employer has the right to decide when the time off will be given, not the employee.

Can an employee lose pay for taking time off to vote?

No. Employers cannot penalize an employee or make a deduction on their pay for taking time off to vote, as required by the Canada Elections Act. An employee must be paid what he or she would have earned during the time allowed off for voting.

Is there a penalty for employers who do not give employees time off to vote?

Yes. It is an offence for employers to fail to provide time off for voting as required under the Canada Elections Act. It is also an offence for an employer to reduce an employee's pay when the employee has been provided time off to vote in accordance with the Act. The maximum penalty for violating these prohibitions is a fine of up to $2,000, three months' imprisonment, or both.

For more information click here

Thank You to Our Advocacy Champions
Click Here to Donate to CFA Advocacy

Other News

Ontario reveals new details on vaccine passport system

Ontario officials have released more guidance on the implementation of the province's proof-of-vaccination system, which comes into effect on Sept. 22. The vaccine certificate system will cover "higher-risk" indoor spaces where masks can't be worn at all times. The province has amended its list to apply to the following settings:

  • Restaurants and bars (excluding outdoor patios, delivery and takeout).
  • Nightclubs, including outdoor areas.
  • Meeting and event spaces like banquet halls and convention centres.
  • Sports and fitness facilities and gyms, with the exception of youth recreational sports.
  • Sporting events.
  • Casinos, bingo halls and gaming establishments.
  • Concerts, music festivals, theatres and cinemas.
  • Strip clubs, bath houses and sex clubs.
  • Racing venues.
  • Indoor areas of waterparks. 
  • Areas of commercial TV, where studio audiences will be treated as patrons who have to be fully vaccinated. 

Businesses and organizations that fall under the list above will be required to cross-reference vaccination receipts with identification (including options like a driver's licence, birth certificate or passport), and make sure the receipt shows any patron has been fully vaccinated for 14 days.

The government says provincial offences officers will be visiting businesses and organizations starting this week to raise awareness and understanding of the new requirements. 

Some exemptions exist

But officials say exemptions will be made in certain circumstances, including: 

  • When a patron enters an indoor area solely to use a washroom, pay for an order or access an outdoor area that can only be accessed through an indoor route.
  • When a patron enters an indoor area to place or pick up an order (including placing a bet or picking up winnings at a horse racing track), to purchase admission, to make a retail purchase, and for the "necessary purposes of health and safety." 
  • Children under 12 years old.
  • Patrons under 18 years old who are entering the indoor premises of a recreational facility solely for the purpose of actively participating in an organized sport. 
  • Weddings, funerals, rites or ceremonies, when the patron is not attending the associated social gathering (for example, the reception after a wedding ceremony). 

Click here for more information

B.C. vaccine card program started Monday

B.C.'s vaccine card program requiring proof to enter many non-essential businesses is now in effect.

As of Monday, anyone visiting discretionary businesses like sit-down restaurants, movie theatres and fitness centres must show proof that they've had at least one COVID-19 shot. By Oct. 24, they'll need to show proof they're fully vaccinated.

Employees working at those establishments don't need to show proof they've been vaccinated, unless their employer requires them to.

For now, residents can show their paper vaccine card they received when they got their shot as proof. But starting Sept. 27, they'll need to show their unique vaccine card QR code – either on their phone or printed – along with a piece of government-issued photo ID.

Those without access to a computer can call the provincial vaccine line (1-833-838-2323) and request that a printed card be mailed to them.

B.C.'s card system will be in place until at least Jan. 31, and health officials have already warned it may be extended, depending on the spread of COVID-19 in the province.

Proof that a person has had one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine is not required at businesses deemed essential, such as on transit or at grocery stores. A card also doesn't need to be shown when stopping at a restaurant just to pick up a takeout order.

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 1.5 per cent in July

Manufacturing sales fell 1.5 per cent in July to $59.6 billion following a 3.6 per cent increase in June, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The agency reported the drop in sales came as sales fell in 12 of 21 industries in July, while sales in constant dollars fell 1.7 per cent, indicating a lower volume of goods sold.

TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman said the figures add to the list of recent indicators pointing to a soft patch in Canada's economy early on in the summer.

The drop in sales in July came as sales of wood products fell 21.8 per cent for the month, adding to a 5.8 per cent drop in June.

Sales of aerospace product and parts also lost 19.0 per cent, while the miscellaneous category dropped 12.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, motor vehicle sales rose 13.5 per cent, while primary metal sales gained 3.9 per cent and motor vehicle parts climbed 7.6 per cent higher.

Statistics Canada reported last month that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 1.1 per cent in the second quarter and said its preliminary estimate pointed to a pull back of 0.4 per cent in July.

Canadian wholesale trade figures for July are expected on Thursday, while retail trade numbers are to come on Sept. 23 followed by gross domestic product numbers for July on Oct. 1

Calgary's downtown office vacancy rate hits new high at 29.2%

Calgary's downtown office vacancy rate is on track to top 30 per cent and potentially reach a level unseen in a major North American city since the 1930s, a commercial real estate firm said Thursday.

According to a new report from Avison Young, the office tower vacancy rate in downtown Calgary broke a new record in the second quarter of 2021 and now sits at 29.2 per cent. That's up from 28.9 per cent in the first three months of 2021, and up from 25 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

The firm now predicts Calgary's downtown vacancy rate will reach 30 per cent sometime in the next three months, with over 14 million square feet of empty space. Avison Young's worst-case projections show the vacancy rate climbing to 34 per cent before it tops out.

News reports from the 1980s suggest Houston hit an office vacancy rate in the low 30s during that decade. Denver's downtown also struggled during that time. (Comparing vacancy rate statistics over time can be difficult because different brokerages use different formulas. Some look only at buildings over 100,000 square feet, while others look at all buildings over 20,000 square feet, for example.)

But in Canada, a downtown vacancy rate above 30 per cent is unprecedented - and it's “exceptionally rare” everywhere else, said Avison Young insight manager Susan Thompson. If the office market vacancy rate was to climb to 34 per cent, it could be a North American record.

Calgary's downtown has been severely impacted by years of low oil prices and a wave of mergers, acquisitions and layoffs in the oil and gas sector. In one high-profile example, the merger of Cenovus Energy and Husky Energy earlier this year was expected to result in more than 2,000 layoffs - the majority in Calgary.

Energy and related engineering companies occupied 57 per cent of downtown Calgary in 2012. They now occupy just 32 per cent of the city's downtown core. Five of downtown Calgary's 170 office buildings are currently completely empty, according to Avison Young, and there are an additional seven properties with at least 75 per cent vacancy.

But as dire as the latest numbers are, Thompson said, there are hopeful signs.

The vast majority of commercial real estate deals occurring in Calgary's downtown right now are for offices under 10,000 square feet. Though those small deals won't make up for the large oil and gas tenants being lost, it does indicate that other industries - including the high-tech sector - are moving in.

Real estate is a lagging economic indicator, Thompson said, so office market vacancy rates take a while to start improving even as local conditions improve.

“It takes some time to play out,” she said. “But we do eventually see the tide turning.”

In April, Calgary city council voted to spend $200-million on the first phases of strategy aimed at finding a long-term fix for the downtown. The approved plan calls for investments in infrastructure, amenities and streetscape improvements, as well as the setting aside of $45-million in available incentives for office-to-residential conversion projects.

Downtown Toronto office vacancies reach highest level since 2008

Office vacancies in downtown Toronto, Canada’s financial capital, rose to their highest point since 2008 as the era of remote work prompts companies to question their long-term needs for space.

The second-quarter vacancy rate was 10 per cent, up nearly a full percentage point from the first three months of the year and just shy of the 10.1 per cent rate reached at the start of 2008, when the world was rocked by recession, according to a report released Monday by commercial brokerage CBRE Ltd.

With the pandemic easing in the U.S., New York’s Wall Street is starting to come back to life, but Toronto’s equivalent, Bay Street, has remained largely locked down, with measures still in place to control a recent surge of infections. Canada’s financial executives have been less vocal than their American counterparts about urging a return to the office, citing the success of remote work.

In downtown Toronto, one of the tightest office markets in North America before the pandemic, the surge in vacancies appears to be slowing down as vaccination rates rise and the economy bounces back.

Much of the increase in vacancies over the past three months occurred in April, with the rate holding steady since then, according to the CBRE report. In a potential sign of rebounding demand, May saw prospective tenants touring downtown Toronto offices at their highest level since the pandemic began, the brokerage said.

Ontario minimum wage increasing October 1

On October 1, 2021, the general minimum wage in Ontario will increase from $14.25 to $14.35 per hour. This minimum wage applies to most employees.

Minimum wage rates will also increase for the following employees:

  • students: from $13.40 to $13.50 an hour
  • liquor servers: from $12.45 to $12.55 an hour
  • homeworkers: from $15.70 to $15.80 an hour

Under the Making Ontario Open for Business Act this increase is tied to the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2020.

COVID-19 vaccines to be mandatory for workers in all health-care settings in B.C.

B.C. health officials have announced that COVID-19 vaccination will soon be mandatory for anyone who works in a health-care facility across the province.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the requirement will come into effect on Oct. 26 and will apply to everyone who works in these settings, including students, physicians, residents, contractors, volunteers and all other health-care professionals. It also applies to people who work in home and community care locations, including client homes.

Health officials had previously announced a vaccine mandate for workers in long-term care homes. Workers who are not vaccinated in any long-term care or health-care facility will be placed on unpaid leave.

Alberta introducing printable COVID-19 vaccination card

Albertans will be able to print card-size copies of their COVID-19 vaccination records starting Sept. 16, the government announced Tuesday.

The same information will be available to show on phones and tablets, the province said in a news release.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro encouraged Albertans to sign up for MyHealth Records so they can download their vaccination records.

The announcement of the printable card comes amid discussion around a vaccine passport system continues throughout the province. Doctors, the Opposition NDP, business groups and others in Alberta have pushed for the government to introduce vaccine passports.

Premier Jason Kenney has previously said that Alberta would not mandate vaccine passports, in part because it would contravene the province's Health Information Act.

But last week, Shandro said the government continues to weigh the pros and cons of the passports, which would mandate vaccination for anyone wanting to go into bars, restaurants and access other non-essential services.

British Columbia and Quebec have implemented vaccine passports while Ontario's goes into effect Sept. 22.

Sask. reinstates isolation for COVID-19 positive people

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced Friday that the province will again require COVID-19 positive people to isolate for 10 days and close contacts who are not vaccinated to self-isolate for 14 days.

Moe announced a series of responses to stresses the health care-system is experiencing. The premier specifically pointed out the concerns of health-care workers on the front lines.

The government decided not to reintroduce mandatory masking or a proof of vaccine policy, as has happened in other provinces.

B.C. lowers budget deficit forecast, but points to uneven, uncertain pandemic recovery

The health and economic risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic cast uncertainty on the financial horizon in British Columbia despite signs of recovery, says Finance Minister Selina Robinson.

B.C.'s financial statement for the first three months of the 2021-22 fiscal year projects a deficit of $4.8 billion, about half the $9.7 billion originally forecast in the budget, Robinson told a news conference on Monday.

The province also projects economic growth slightly higher than previously forecast, with six per cent in 2021 and four per cent in 2022, but the pandemic adds variables to the province's bottom line.

The lower deficit projection is the result of an improved job market along with higher revenues from natural resources and federal transfers, Robinson said.

She expects B.C.'s tourism and recreation sectors, hit hard during the pandemic, will continue to endure an uneven recovery.

Statistics Canada said B.C.'s jobless rate in August was 6.2 per cent, which was below the national average of 7.1 per cent. Robinson said at the outset of the pandemic in early 2020, B.C.'s jobless rate hit 13 per cent.

U.S. consumer price growth cools, smallest gain in 7 months

Prices paid by U.S. consumers rose in August by less than forecast, snapping a string of hefty gains and suggesting that some of the upward pressure on inflation is beginning to wane.

The consumer price index increased 0.3 per cent from July, the smallest advance in seven months, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. Compared with a year ago, the CPI rose 5.3 per cent. 

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, so-called core inflation climbed 0.1 per cent from the prior month, the smallest gain since February and a reflection of declines in the prices of used cars, airfares and auto insurance.

Economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.4 per cent increase in the overall CPI from the prior month and a 5.3 per cent gain from a year earlier, based on the median estimates. Ten-year yields were down to 1.28 per cent and the dollar fell, while U.S. stocks were mostly lower.

Relaunch, Reset & Recover On-Demand Videos are Available for Purchase!

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

Purchase Access to On-Demand Videos Now!


Access Recordings
Access Recordings





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: 


Subscribe to the COVID Update

If you would like to subscribe all your franchisees to receive our COVID Update, please contact Alex Mann at

Forward To a Peer
CFA National Sponsors
Canadian Franchise Association
116-5399 Eglinton Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario M9C 5K6
Tel: 416-695-2896/800-665-4232
Fax: 416-695-1950
You have received this email from the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA). Click here to update your communication preferences or click here to unsubscribe from all CFA e-mail communications.