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November 30, 2021

Your CFA Update on COVID-19

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 barred from planes and trains as of today

Unvaccinated travellers over the age of 12 won't be able to board a plane or passenger train in Canada beginning today, and a negative COVID-19 test will no longer serve as a substitute for most people.

The policy came into effect on Oct. 30, but the federal government allowed a short transition period for unvaccinated travellers who could board as long as they provided a negative molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their trip.

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Business closings overtake openings for first time since May, 2020

Statistics Canada reports that in August 2021, the number of business closures outpaced business openings for the first time since May 2020. By consequence, the number of active businesses decreased by 0.6% (-5,197). Nevertheless, the number of active businesses was above its February 2020 level for the fourth consecutive month.

The number of business closures rose by 24.0% in August, following a 16.0% decline in July to return close to its pre-pandemic level. After two consecutive months of increase following the lifting of several public health restrictions, the number of business openings dropped by 2.7% in August, entirely driven by a lower number of reopenings (-4.8%). This suggests that most businesses that reopened did so between June and July, when the majority of the restrictions were eased.

In August, the number of active businesses dropped in every province and territory, except Quebec (+0.1%; +203) and Nunavut (+4.3%; +14). The decline in the overall number of active businesses was largely driven by Ontario (-0.7%; -2,367).

There were fewer active businesses in the professional, scientific and technical services sector in August than the previous month for the first time since June 2020. The decline of 536 (-0.4%) in that sector was the largest across all sectors, followed by transportation and warehousing (-0.8%; -430) and other services (except public administration) (-0.5%; -360).

The number of active businesses contracted by 0.5% (-200) in the manufacturing sector in August. With the exception of the 0.2% decline in November 2020, this was the first time that the manufacturing sector posted a negative growth in the number of active businesses since May 2020.

Border restrictions were lifted for non-essential American travelers in August, and the number of active businesses in the tourism sector (+0.3%; +237) increased for the third consecutive month. The increase in the tourism sector was mainly driven by the accommodation and food services sector, which rose by 0.3% (+205).

GDP grew at an annual rate of 5.4 per cent in Q3

Statistics Canada said Tuesday the economy grew at an annual rate of 5.4 per cent in the third quarter of this year as COVID-19 restrictions eased and household spending rose.

The result was a rebound from a contraction in the second quarter that Statistics Canada also said Tuesday was deeper than it previously reported.

Quarterly growth in household spending was one of the largest on record. Consumers spent their money at restaurants, bars, hotels and on air travel, which jumped 181.9 per cent as more travellers took to the skies.

B.C. extends fuel rationing

The British Columbia government has extended a 30-litre fuel purchase limit until Dec. 14 in order to preserve supplies for emergency and essential vehicles responding to the heavy rains and severe flooding that have hit the southwest of the province.

The order was introduced on Nov. 19 and originally set to expire Dec. 1.

The rationing applies to both gas and diesel and limits buyers to 30 litres per trip to gas stations and fuel suppliers located in:

  • Lower Mainland
  • Sea to Sky region.
  • Sunshine Coast.
  • Gulf Islands.
  • Vancouver Island.

Essential vehicles will continue to have unrestricted access to fuel as required, using predominantly commercial trucking or cardlock gas stations.

Government officials said continued rationing is needed because the Trans Mountain pipeline, which provides southwest B.C. with 85 per cent of its fuel for refining, remains shut down from the recent floods and mudslides.

B.C.’s Coquihalla Highway could reopen for commercial use by end of January

B.C.'s Coquihalla Highway could be ready for commercial use in about two months, according to Transportation Minister Rob Fleming. 

The highway was damaged in 20 places during the flood event in mid-November, including several bridges, some of which were completely destroyed. 

During a news conference Thursday, the minister said repair work is already underway: more than 100 pieces of equipment are being utilized this week as part of the repairs and more are being mobilized. Fleming said crews are blasting rock at three sites along the road, and debris has been cleaned up at two more sites.

The minister said it's unclear how much the repair work on Highway 5 will cost, as engineers are still assessing the damage.

Cargill issues lockout notice to staff at one of Canada's largest beef-processing plants

The owner of a southern Alberta plant that processes about a third of Canada's beef says it will lock out employees on Dec. 6, the same day that workers had recently voted to strike on if the company and the union can't reach a deal.

Cargill intends to commence a complete lockout of all staff in the bargaining unit represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 at its plant near High River as of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 6, according to a statement from the organization's vice-president of labour relations, Tanya Teeter, obtained and made public Thursday by the union. 

A day earlier, the UFCW said employees had rejected the company's contract offer after two days of voting. The union has said workers' biggest concerns revolve around health and safety related to COVID-19 at a plant that was the site of a massive and deadly outbreak in 2020 and another, smaller outbreak in 2021. Workers also want improved benefits, wage increases and quicker movement into new jobs once hired into them, the union says.

The disruption to processing in North America pushed meat prices higher at grocery stores, but had the opposite effect down the supply chain, where a backlog of cattle emerged

'Private' Cannabis N.B. stores coming to province to combat black market

Finance Minister Ernie Steeves introduced legislation Tuesday that will allow Cannabis N.B. to expand its model through private retail stores and direct-from-producer farmgate operations.

Currently, small producers sell their products through Cannabis N.B. and licensed retailers in other jurisdictions.

Steeves has proposed amending the existing Cannabis Management Corporation Act and establishing a new cannabis retailers licensing act, noting that the move will bolster Cannabis N.B. against competition from the black market.

The new legislation and amendments, which were made in collaboration with Cannabis N.B., "will provide additional protections and safeguards" and allow the agency to "combat the higher number of illegal operations," Steeves said.


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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.

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