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September 30, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.

To show our support the CFA’s Update today is orange as a small token of our support towards truth and reconciliation.

Labour shortage hampering post-pandemic recovery for businesses in Canada, study finds

According to Statistics Canada's latest job vacancy data, the labour shortage is widespread across the country in several different sectors of the economy — despite a national unemployment rate above seven per cent. The inability to find enough workers is hampering the post-pandemic economic recovery.

In the hospitality industry, for example, food service bosses are trying to tempt back workers who left during the pandemic with profit-sharing, bonuses and health benefits, among other perks.

Fifty-five per cent of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada are struggling to hire the workers they need, which is limiting growth and forcing businesses to delay or refuse new orders, according to results of a study released Wednesday morning by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), a Crown corporation that assists entrepreneurs.

The study's key findings include: 64 per cent of entrepreneurs say their growth is limited by a shortage of labour; 61 per cent report that they must boost their hours and/or their employees' hours; and 44 per cent have delayed or are unable to deliver orders to clients.

The study is based on a survey of 1,251 Canadian entrepreneurs and a survey of 3,000 Canadians about their jobs.

Some business groups have criticized federal pandemic income benefits, such as the Canada recovery benefit (CRB), arguing that while they've helped the unemployed, they've made the labour market worse by discouraging job hunting.

The labour shortage is much more complex, Cléroux said, considering the country's aging population and the limited number of immigrants who arrived in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, many businesses were already struggling to find staff before the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

The CRB and other federal pandemic benefits are scheduled to end on Oct. 23.

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Ontario minimum wage rises to $14.35 on October 1

On October 1, 2021, the general minimum wage rate that applies to most provincially-regulated employees in Ontario will increase from $14.25 to $14.35 per hour. This 10-cent boost is tied to the Ontario Consumer Price Index for 2020.

The minimum wage rates for students, liquor servers, hunting and fishing guides, homeworkers and wilderness guides in Ontario will also increase on October 1, 2021. The Ontario Ministry of Labour has posted a list of these increased rates on its website.

Canadian food inflation nearly double what official data suggests: Study

Climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are causing food prices in Canada to rise, but a new study suggests the official data is underestimating the increase.

According to Statistics Canada, food prices are up 2.7 per cent over the past 12 months. But, new research from Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab published Wednesday shows the food inflation rate in Canada is closer to five per cent.

Meat products have seen the largest price spike, with Statistics Canada data noting those products have become 10 per cent more expensive over the past six months.

In partnership with consumer insights startup Caddle, the Dalhousie lab surveyed 10,000 Canadians over the summer to determine how consumers are responding to rising grocery bills.

Nearly half of Canadians (49 per cent) said they have reduced their purchases of meat products over the past six months due to higher prices. In Alberta, widely known as the steak capital of Canada, a majority of consumers (57 per cent) acknowledged cutting back on meat since the start of this year.

Many Canadians are also spending more time and effort searching for the best deals than they did last year. The survey found 42 per cent of respondents were reading their weekly grocery store flyer more often this year than in 2020.

Nearly as many (40 per cent) said they were purchasing discounted products with expiry/best before dates within a few days of purchase more often in 2021 than they were last year. More than one in four Canadians (26.9 per cent) said they are buying products with an “enjoy tonight” label more often this year than they did in 2020.

Canadians have also noticed increasing use of a strategy known as “shrinkflation,” the study found, whereby food producers sell products with less quantities or volume without reducing the price. Almost three quarters of respondents (73.5 per cent) said they were aware of certain food products that have shrunk, despite prices either remaining the same or increasing.

In terms of the factors driving the trend of rising food prices, the study cites “macroeconomic shocks, caused by both unfavourable weather patterns in the northern hemisphere and logistical challenges due to the global pandemic.”

Supply chain disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are widely seen as transitory and should eventually dissipate. The ongoing impacts of climate change, however, could send food prices soaring globally for decades.

Yields of staple crops could decline by almost a third by 2050 unless emissions are drastically reduced in the next decade, according to a Chatham House report published earlier this month, while farmers will need to grow nearly 50 per cent more food to meet rising global demand during the same timeline.

Four largest provinces see vaccine uptake boosted by mandates

Federal data shows tens of thousands of people in Canada's largest provinces received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after public announcements of a vaccine passport, even before the new policy came into effect.

Vaccine passports require residents to show proof of vaccination before accessing some businesses deemed at a higher risk for transmission of the virus.

Click here for the full article with charts and graphs

Pfizer and BioNTech submit data to U.S. FDA for COVID-19 vaccine in younger children

Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE submitted initial trial data for their COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 to U.S. regulators on Tuesday and said they would make a formal request for emergency use authorization in the coming weeks.

Coronavirus infections have soared in children and hit their highest point in early September, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The vaccine, which is already authorized in teens aged 12 to 15 and fully approved for ages 16 and up in the U.S., has been shown to induce a strong immune response in the target age group in a 2,268-participant clinical trial, the companies said on Sept. 20.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized in kids aged 12-15 roughly a month after the companies filed for authorization. If the same timeline is followed for this application, kids could start receiving their shots as soon as late October.

A rapid authorization could help mitigate a potential surge of cases this fall, with schools already open nationwide.

While kids are less susceptible to severe COVID-19, they can spread the virus to others, including vulnerable populations that are more at risk of severe illness.

In a statement, Pfizer Canada said it is preparing to make a submission to Health Canada on the potential authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for use in children aged five to 11. However, the company didn't provide any timelines on when exactly that would happen.

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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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