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Newsletter. Issue 2009-20. September 26, 2009

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Newsline Canada

Canada’s Harper Says Country Remains in Recession
By Theophilos Argitis

Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the country probably remains in recession even amid signs the economy has begun to expand.

Harper, speaking to reporters in Guelph, Ontario, said the recovery remains “extremely fragile” and there are still “challenges” in the country’s job market.

Canada is emerging from a recession “only in a technical sense,” Harper said. “As long as we continue to have challenges in the labor market that affect Canadian families on the ground, then I don’t think we can truly say the recession is over.”

Recent reports suggest the economy has emerged from its recession this quarter, helping to fuel rallies in the country’s stock market and currency. Canadian wholesale sales, manufacturing sales and the index of leading indicators rose more than forecast last week, according to government reports, while home prices have risen to records his year.

The country’s jobless rate continues to rise. Canada’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in August, the highest since January 1998, as the labor force grew faster than employment.

Canada’s recession began in the fourth quarter of last year, and the economy probably started growing again this quarter, the central bank said in July.


Majority Of Canadian Employees Living Paycheque To Paycheque

TORONTO, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - Results from a new nationwide survey show that a majority of working Canadians are cash-strapped and have little ability to put money away for their retirement.

According to the 2009 National Payroll Week Employee Survey, conducted by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) and released today, 59% of Canadian employees report they would have trouble making ends meet if their paycheque was delayed by even one week.

"We were shocked by that number. So many Canadians are now living so close to the line that if they miss a single paycheque, the majority will find themselves in financial difficulty," says Janice MacLellan, Chairman of the CPA.

Financial experts recommend that people keep emergency funds totaling approximately three months of expenses (rent, mortgage, bills, groceries, etc.).

By age group, the younger workforce is feeling the greatest pinch, with 45% of those aged 18-34 saying it would be difficult or very difficult for them to meet their current financial obligations if a paycheque were delayed, and a further 21% stating that it would be somewhat difficult. By household, the situation is most precarious for single parents, with 72% saying they would have some trouble making ends meet if their pay were delayed.

The survey also found that 50% of Canadian workers are unable to save more than 5% of their net pay for retirement. Financial experts generally recommend a retirement savings rate of about 10%.

"Canadians are living paycheque to paycheque, and there's precious little left that they can put away for retirement," notes Patrick Culhane, CPA's President and CEO.

About one-third of Canadian workers say they have been trying to save more money than a year ago because of the economic uncertainty but have been unable to do so. Another 42% say they aren't even attempting to save additional funds. Yet, the majority (52%) feels they'll need between $750,000 and $3 million to live comfortably in retirement.

Those finding it most difficult to put money aside are single parents, with 65% saying they're saving only 5% or less of their net pay.

A majority of Canadians (70%) say their first priority if they were to win $1 million in the lottery would be to pay off their debt, followed by contributing as much as possible toward retirement (35%) and investing (30%) as the next priorities.

Of all regions, Quebecers would be more likely to use some of their lottery winnings to have a party (7%) than people living elsewhere in Canada (3%). Maritimers would be more likely to share their lottery winnings with family members (37%) than would the rest of the country (26%).

Cash is king for Canadians when it comes to remuneration. A whopping 65% of those who responded said it's more important that they receive higher wages from their employer, compared to better health benefits (25%), and education funding (10%). There was also some optimism in the survey: 66% of respondents believe that the economy in their town or city will improve and most believe they'll receive modest pay increases over the next year. Over 2,800 employees from across the country participated in the survey. This survey is consistent with a margin of error of 2.3%, 19 times out of 20.

About the CPA:

Payroll professionals in 1.5 million organizations across Canada are responsible for ensuring the timely and accurate payment of $730 billion in wages and taxable benefits, $230 billion in statutory remittances to the federal and provincial governments and $80 billion in health and retirement premiums, while complying with more than 185 legislative requirements. The Canadian Payroll Association (CPA) has influenced the payroll compliance practices and processes of hundreds of thousands of employers since 1978. As the authoritative source of Canadian payroll knowledge, the CPA affects the legislative processes and practices of payroll service and software providers, as well as hundreds of thousands of small, medium and large employers. National Payroll Week (September 14-18) recognizes the accomplishments of payroll professionals and the CPA by building greater awareness of the size and scope of payroll and its impact on employers, employees and government across Canada.

For further information: Rachel Sa, PR POST, (416) 777-0368,


Harmonized Sales Tax - Will tax truly boost B.C.'s economy?
By Andrew A. Duffy, Times Colonist
September 21, 2009

Some industry watchers view it as short-term pain for long-term gain

There's been no end of opposition to the harmonized sales tax set to be enacted next July, but a large -- if quiet -- camp believes the tax will be good for B.C.

Economists and those in the province's manufacturing sector say while the tax may cost consumers and some industries in the short term, it will ultimately strengthen the economy.

In a recent interview with the Times Colonist, John Winter, president and CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, called the tax short-term pain for long-term gain, since small businesses and communities thrive when big businesses in sectors such as forestry and mining are working steadily. Proponents argue the tax will reduce costs for business because the PST companies now pay on things like equipment, vehicles, building materials, supplies and energy will be removed.

But will the HST, which blends the seven per cent provincial sales tax with the five per cent goods and services tax, actually make the province more productive and competitive?

The answer appears to be to wait and see.

University of Victoria economics professor Herb Schuetze said the tax should be an advantage for industries like forestry and mining, which will realize cost savings -- an estimated $140 million for forestry and $80 million for oil, gas and mining -- and have an incentive to invest in new machinery and equipment, which should make them more productive and allow them to increase employment.

The new tax also aims to make B.C. more competitive. "It does make us an attractive place to be if we adopt HST and other regions with similar resources don't," said Schuetze.

The provincial government is counting on that as the HST will result in the reduction of the marginal effective tax rate on new business investment. Currently, it's 27 per cent, but that will drop to 16 per cent when the HST is introduced.

Rick Jeffery, president of the Coast Forest Products Association, said the marginal effective tax rate plays a big role when capital-intensive industries are looking for places to invest.

As for how B.C.'s forest sector will respond, Jeffery said businesses have been holding off on making capital investments, and have long shopping lists. "Those savings will be plowed back into the business because those investments drive profitability," he said.

But provincial NDP Leader Carole James said increased employment in forestry and mining won't make up for the small-business job losses she expects when the tax is introduced -- especially in the tourism and restaurant industries. "The other piece of this is the companies that will gain don't necessarily have to invest those savings here in B.C. -- they can invest in their mills over the border or overseas."

The Canadian Home Builders' Association recently released an Altus Group report showing the HST will increase the tax burden on homeowners and rental-housing investors by $212 million. The report said total taxes levied for contractor renovations will rise to $316 million from the current $104 million.

"This taxes labour and labour is a big part of renovation," said Casey Edge of CHBA Victoria. "This will boost the underground economy and we'll see hundreds of millions of dollars lost."

Schuetze agreed, noting a seven per cent hike will have a big impact on the bottom line for contractors.


Cash Award For Goan Filmmaker Over Toronto Honour

Panaji, Sep 21 (PTI) The Goa government today declared a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh to filmmaker, Laxmikant Shetgaonkar for winning the critique's award at the Toronto International Film Festival for his movie 'Pula Poltoddcho Munis' (man beyond the bridge).

The decision was taken in the governing body meeting of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) held here today. This was the first ever Konkani film to have won laurels in an international event held outside the country.

Although, the critique's award is only consolatory in nature, the ESG decided to honour Shetgaonkar with a cash reward to enable him to produce films of high standard in near future. "This is a proud moment not only for Goa but for the entire country. This award has actually contributed to take our official language Konkani, beyond national boundaries.”


US needs to change lifestyle to save planet: India
Betwa Sharma

United Nations, Sep 22 (PTI) Ahead of the Climate Change Summit here, India has underlined the need for the United States to embark on a "lifestyle change" to save the planet as New Delhi said it was on the path to unilateral voluntary mitigation measures by 2020 to combat climate change.

Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who is in New York to attend the Climate Change Summit, told an audience here that India was on the path to unilateral voluntary mitigation measures by 2020. These would include mandatory fuel efficiency standards, renewable energy initiatives, clean coal technologies, and lower methane farming, he said.

Ramesh and climate change expert Rajendra Pachauri underlined the need need for the US to bring about a "lifestyle change" to to combat climate change.


Nine Out Of Ten Canadian University Students Concerned About The Recession: Pwc Survey

Lack of available jobs, now and in the future, cited as top concern

TORONTO, Sept. 23 /CNW/ - Canadian university students have the economy on their mind as they head back to school. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 of them are concerned about the current recession, according to a new survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Indeed, students who will make up Canada's future workforce cited the lack of available jobs, including part-time, full-time and summer positions, currently and in the future, as the main reason for concern.

  • Of the 673 university students surveyed nationally in June and July of 2009, 56% are slightly concerned about the recession in Canada, while 33% are very concerned and have been aware of the downturn for the past nine to twelve months.

  • Forty-two per cent of the student respondents surveyed feel that the recession will affect their initial job prospects with 18% saying that it will be up to them and their generation to fix the problems that have been created by previous generations.

  • Thirty-eight per cent of respondents claim that the top causes of the recession in Canada are the impact of the global economy, followed by a mismanaged international banking system (33%), other respondents (8%) blame the U.S. banking system, followed by the U.S. government and greed.

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