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Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Vesak

Posted on 10 May 2017 by TSL


May 10, 2017
Ottawa, Ontario


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the occasion of Vesak:

“Today, Buddhists in Canada and around the world will celebrate Vesak, the most important of the Buddhist festivals. Vesak is a time when Buddhists come together to reflect on the birth, enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

“Around the world, Buddhists will visit their local temples to pray, and to offer gifts to show respect and gratitude to the Buddha for his life and wisdom.

“This year, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I encourage all Canadians to reflect on the Buddha’s universal teachings of peace, selfless service, and showing compassion toward others, especially those in need. These shared values unite us as Canadians, and are at the heart of Canada’s success.

“On behalf of our family, Sophie and I offer our best wishes to all those observing this sacred day.”

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Ontario Government Release 2017 Budget

Posted on 27 April 2017 by TSL

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa, right, delivers the 2017 Ontario budget next to Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Thursday, April 27, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Ontario Government Release 2017 Budget
Province Introduces a Balanced Budget for a Stronger, Healthier Halton

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                    APRIL 27, 2017


Today, Finance Minister Charles Sousa released the 2017 Ontario Budget: A Stronger, Healthier Ontario, which includes significant investments in health care and education. Ontario’s first balanced budget since the global recession — thanks to a strong economy and responsible fiscal management — introduces free prescription drug coverage for everyone aged 24 and under, makes important investments to reduce wait times and improve access to care, reduces fees and increases access to licensed child care, helps students and makes life more affordable for Ontario families.

        These investments will have a significant positive impact on Halton residents. Our community is growing rapidly and Ontario’s commitments in crucial services like health care and education will help to support that growth.

        As a leader in economic growth, the Province is set to balance the budget this year and maintain a balanced budget for the next two years. A balanced budget means more funding for the programs and services people rely on most.

Strengthening Ontario’s Health Care
        The balanced 2017 Budget launches OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, a new drug benefit program that fully covers the cost of prescription medications for everyone aged 24 and under, regardless of family income. This program — the first of its kind in Canada — will ensure that young adults have access to universal drug coverage and parents never have to choose between paying for their children’s prescription drugs and providing other essentials.
Ontario is increasing health care investments by $11.5 billion over the next three years.

        The 2017 balanced Budget plan includes a new $7-billion booster shot to health care, to improve access to care, expand mental health and addiction services, and enhance the experience and recovery of patients. It dedicates $1.3 billion to further reduce wait times, including a three per cent increase in hospital operating funding this year.

        Ontario is committing to several new major hospital projects across the province, adding to the 34 underway. An additional $9-billion capital investment over 10 years will provide faster access to care and help to meet the needs of the growing aging population.
        The Province is expanding home and community care programs with an additional investment of $250 million this year. Family and friends caring for loved ones will be better supported through access to respite care, education and training, and a new Ontario Caregiver Tax Credit. An additional $58 million will be dedicated to long-term care this year, a 2 per cent increase in our investment.

        Ontario’s new Dementia Strategy will improve and better coordinate services for those living with dementia and their caregivers by providing more than $100 million over three years.

Improving Education
        With an additional investment of $6.4 billion over three years, the balanced 2017 Budget reflects the government’s commitment to help learners reach their full potential and will reduce class sizes. The Province continues to construct new schools and renew existing ones to create nurturing environments where children can learn and grow. The Province is providing almost $16 billion over 10 years to help build and improve schools.

        The government is rolling out the new Ontario Student Assistance Program, which means free tuition for more than 210,000 students in postsecondary education starting this fall.
        Ontario is also investing nearly $190 million over three years towards Ontario’s Career Kick-Start Strategy aimed at creating 40,000 new opportunities for students and graduates to obtain practical experience and help them get jobs sooner after graduation.
Making Life More Affordable
        To make everyday life more affordable, the balanced 2017 Budget is strengthening the public services that matter most to people while lowering costs.
        The Province is helping 100,000 more children gain access to affordable, quality licensed child care. In 2017–18, Ontario will invest an additional $200 million to provide new fee subsidies and funding for providers to help 24,000 more children up to four years old access quality child care. The government will continue to work with schools and municipalities to fund the expansion of licensed care that is convenient, flexible and in line with local parents’ needs.
        The government is also taking action to make housing more affordable for homebuyers and renters with Ontario's Fair Housing Plan. This plan introduces a comprehensive package of measures to help more people find affordable homes, as well as increase supply, protect buyers and renters, and bring stability to the real estate market.
        In addition, Ontario is providing an average annual benefit of $130 to about 65,000 seniors through the Ontario Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit.
        The government is delivering on its commitment to balance the budget this year, building on a successful track record of prudent fiscal management, which has made Ontario an economic leader in Canada and the world.
“A balanced budget is more than just the bottom line number. It’s about finding new ways to help you and your family. It’s about creating opportunities and providing the supports people need to succeed. This balanced budget is dedicated to providing young people with free prescription medications, providing free tuition and helping businesses grow. We are delivering on our commitment to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities for success.”
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance
“This is a budget that puts Ontario families first. Halton’s younger residents will benefit from our government’s new universal pharmacare for children and youth, the first of its kind in Canada. Seniors will benefit from a new transit tax credit and dementia strategy. And the whole community will benefit from increased funding for health care, investments in licensed child care, more affordable housing for homebuyers and a significant reduction on their hydro bills. This budget is a demonstration of our government’s commitment to the well-being and success of Ontario families.”
— Indira Naidoo-Harris, MPP Halton

  • The Province’s investment in public infrastructure of more than $190 billion over a 13-year period, which started in 2014–15, is the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history. It is supporting projects such as building child care spaces, schools, hospitals, public transit, highways, and roads.

Over the last three years, Ontario’s real GDP growth has outpaced that of all G7 countries. Exports and business investments are increasing, household incomes are rising and the unemployment rate continues to decline — and has been below the national average for 24 consecutive months.


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Canada welcomes entry into force of WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

Posted on 22 February 2017 by TSL

February 22, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

Canada welcomed today’s announcement by the World Trade Organization that the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) has entered into force. The TFA is important for Canadians because it will lower trade costs globally by modernizing and simplifying the customs and border procedures of WTO members. Canada’s support for the TFA reaffirms its commitment to a rules-based system for trade that levels the playing field for exporters and creates opportunities for middle-class Canadians.

The TFA will particularly help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increase their exports, because trade costs are disproportionately high for them. The implementation of the TFA will help Canadian SMEs export to fast-growing emerging markets in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. If all the provisions of the TFA are implemented by all the WTO members, Canada could achieve a reduction in trade costs of up to 11.4 percent, potentially leading to an increase in the total value of trade of up to 1.7 percent. Using Canada’s 2013 two-way trade as a reference, this would be a $16.1-billion gain.

Canada submitted its acceptance of the TFA on December 16, 2016. Along with international partners and through mechanisms that include the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and the World Bank Group’s Trade Facilitation Support Program, Canada provides assistance to developing countries to implement the TFA.

Canada encourages WTO members that have not yet ratified the TFA to do so as soon as possible and looks forward to working with developing countries to fully implement the commitments in the agreement.


“This important trade agreement will help both developed and developing countries by reducing trade costs for businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, who will in turn create jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.”

– François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade


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City approves 2017 budget, but some councillors say cuts will make it hard to sleep at night

Posted on 18 February 2017 by TSL

City approves 2017 budget, but some councillors say cuts will make it hard to sleep at night.

Council has passed a budget that Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes "reasonable" but that critics say is “unsustainable” and fails Toronto’s most vulnerable.

Toronto Mayor John Tory outlines his support for the 2017 budget proposal and opposition to a motion that would have kept 10 front-line shelter staff positions. The budget, which included a 3.29 per cent property tax increase, passed. (CITY COUNCIL/YOUTUBE/TORONTO STAR)

By JENNIFER PAGLIAROCity Hall reporter
EMILY MATHIEU – Housing Reporter
Thu., Feb. 16, 2017
It was the budget that almost wasn’t.

Despite a vote that created an unexpected $2-million hole just before midnight and nearly 15 hours into the debate, council approved a budget Mayor John Tory said kept property taxes at “reasonable” rates his allies called “affordable.”

That included approval of a residential property tax rate hike that totals 3.29 per cent for 2017, or $90 extra for the average homeowner.

The budget passed with a final 27-16 vote.

But critics of the approved balancing called it “unsustainable” and said they would have trouble sleeping once they got home in the early hours Thursday morning with cuts impacting the city’s most vulnerable.

An attempt to prevent the elimination of 10 front-line shelter staff positions — at a time when those havens are exceeding capacity targets and those who rely on them struggle to find more permanent housing — failed 19-25. The mayor and all but one of his executive members supported the cut.

Toronto Mayor John Tory defended the budget, saying that additional investment in transit and housing could "in no way be described as a cutback."
Toronto Mayor John Tory defended the budget, saying that additional investment in transit and housing could "in no way be described as a cutback." (DAVID RIDER / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO) 
 Councillor Joe Cressy moved a motion that council keep the 10 front-line positions, by voting to increase the 2017 operating budget for shelter, support and housing administration by just over $1 million, by pulling funding from a property tax stabilization reserve fund.

Cressy accused the mayor of directly intervening to ensure the cut passed.

“It’s deeply disappointing that the mayor of Toronto decided to personally intervene to balance a budget on the backs of the city’s most vulnerable,” he told the Star. “When it comes to a budget setting the priorities for a city, cutting shelter staff is about as clear an indication as any that this budget is a failure.”

Tory supported a successful motion asking staff to report back on the “true” service level impacts of the shelter cuts, saying he believed it would be “minimal.”

“I have confidence in our professional public servants and I can’t believe they would even put in front of us for consideration, no matter what direction they’d been given by us, any recommendation that they thought could lead to that consequence that you’ve talked about,” Tory said in response to criticism the cuts could hurt Torontonians most in need.

“That a budget that does make a big additional investment in transit somehow gets translated into a cutback, a budget that makes a big additional investment in housing somehow gets translated into a cutback, a $250 million investment in repairs to Toronto Community Housing can in no way be described as a cutback … But I guess that is the way things work in the context of this chamber and I am glad for the most part today the discussion has been other than on that kind of basis.”

Earlier, under questioning from Councillor Mike Layton, Tory admitted staff said they only presented the cut because they were directed to find 2.6 per cent in budget reductions — a direction pushed by Tory.

The 10 positions will be lost through attrition, when the current staff retire or leave.

Five of the jobs, council heard earlier in the night, would come from one of the 10 city-run shelters, which serve about 1,500 people. The remaining 49 shelters in the city are run by community agencies. The entire system, including hotel beds, has room for about 4,600 people, according to city data.

Councillor Pam McConnell, who was picked by the mayor to champion the poverty reduction strategy, said it wasn’t enough to just fund new shelter beds and that shelters are not meant to be “homes.”

“If we get it wrong, people are going to die. I don’t want us to be in a position where we are increasing the number of beds, but at the same time we are not able to service those people,” she said from the council floor before the vote. “Because at the end of the day this is not about the bed count entirely, it is about moving people through the shelter system, getting them out off the street, into the shelter system and then out of the shelter system and into their own homes.”

Paul Raftis, general manager of the city’s shelter, support and housing administration division, said an earlier description from McConnell that the cut means less hands to help was fair. He noted it would be a relatively “minor” impact on service.

The budget was briefly and confusingly unbalanced just as council believed they were heading into the final votes of the evening.

Council unexpectedly voted against reducing spending on street sweeping, which left a $2 million hole in the budget. Legislation requires that council pass a balanced budget.

After the uproar, a motion that took money out of a rainy-day fund restored order and the budget was finalized.

Earlier on Wednesday, council approved a residential property tax increase for 2017 just below the rate of inflation.

The 2 per cent increase required to help balance this year’s budget, when adjusted to include a new special levy for capital projects and the provincial education tax, totals 3.29 per cent.

That increase will cost the average homeowner, with property assessed at $587,471, an extra $90 in 2017 and total $2,835 on their bill.

Council rejected two separate motions — one that would have flatlined property taxes and another that would have raised them above the rate of inflation.

A motion for a 0 per cent increase from Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who has positioned himself as enemy number one to the mayor in recent months, failed 2-40. Only Etobicoke Councillor Stephen Holyday supported him.

Councillor Gord Perks, who has long argued that residents can afford to pay more to help the city’s most vulnerable, put forward a 4.26 per cent increase. That motion failed 10-32.

“What I am proposing is that we ask those people in the city of Toronto who have the most wealth to put more money back into the system and the reason I want to do that is so that we can afford the programs that help the people who truly are struggling to live in the City of Toronto,” Perks told his colleagues on the council floor.

His motion would have meant the average homeowner would see their taxes increase by $152.50 this year instead of the approved $90.

“I am proud of city council’s decision to keep Toronto property tax increases below the rate of inflation,” said a prepared statement from Tory’s office after the tax rates vote. “The single biggest cheque most families write to the city is for their property tax bill. I was elected on a mandate to keep property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation and I will keep that promise.”

Layton, who unsuccessfully moved to reverse above-inflation increases to user fees for recreation programs for youth and seniors, noted the mayor had set a benchmark for this budget’s success: for councillors to sleep soundly after it was finalized.

“I can tell you with cuts to shelters, cuts to long-term care, I’m going to be thinking of those people tonight when I try to go to sleep,” Layton said Wednesday night.

A motion from Councillor Janet Davis that tried to reverse cuts to mandatory training for long-term care home homes staff failed while another to delay closure of a child-care centre passed.

A motion from the newest executive member, Councillor Jon Burnside, asked for funding of two youth hubs and increased programming for existing hubs in four other library locations that was earlier left out of the budget. That $387,000 for a program that is part of the city’s poverty reduction strategy — which Tory earlier promised to fully fund — was approved with Tory’s support.

“I think we will approve a budget that is status quo,” said Councillor Ana Bailao on the council floor, noting other levels of government needed to come to the table to help with the city’s most pressing needs, such as $1.7 billion in unfunded repairs to social housing.

“What we have in front of us is a fight for a future of this city.”

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Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and Strategic Partnership Agreement approved

Posted on 18 February 2017 by TSL

Prime Minister Trudeau welcomes the European Parliament’s approval of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and Strategic Partnership Agreement.

February 15, 2017
Ottawa (Ontario)


Today, the European Parliament voted to approve the implementation of the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA).

CETA sets a new bar for progressive trade agreements that create good, middle class jobs, give consumers more choice, and protect both workers and the environment.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the achievement of this important milestone which brings CETA closer to full ratification. Canada and the EU will now complete their respective legislative and regulatory processes that will bring virtually all significant parts of the Agreement into force by spring 2017.

Canada also welcomes the positive vote in the European Parliament on the SPA, which will deepen and strengthen the already strong cooperation between Canada and the EU on a wide range of issues, including human rights, international peace and security, and the environment.


“Canada is pleased that the European Parliament has voted to support CETA and SPA. Today’s vote is an exciting milestone on the way to bringing the benefits of these progressive free trade and partnership agreements to Canadians and Europeans. These agreements set the stage for an even stronger relationship with the EU, which will create greater opportunities for the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick facts

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, together with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, signed CETA during the European Union-Canada Leaders’ Summit on October 30, 2016.
  • Bill C-30, the legislation to implement CETA in Canada, was introduced in the House of Commons on October 31, 2016. Bill C-30 passed third reading in the House of Commons on February 14, 2017, and was introduced in the Senate on February 14, 2017.
  • Tomorrow also marks the first time that a Canadian Prime Minister addresses the European Parliament. 

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Prime Minister Trudeau concludes successful visit to Europe

Posted on 18 February 2017 by TSL


Flag EU with flags of countries – members of European Union

February 17, 2017
Hamburg, Germany


The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded a successful visit to France and Germany from February 16 to 17, 2017. During the visit, the Prime Minister addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and visited Berlin and Hamburg, Germany.

The Prime Minister’s visit reinforced the close bonds between Canada, Germany, and the European Union (EU). It was also an opportunity to promote Canada’s role as a leader on progressive trade and investment, and highlight how the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will create good, well-paying jobs, bolster our shared prosperity, and help grow the middle class.‎

During his historic address to the European Parliament, the Prime Minister spoke of the importance Canada places on its relationship with the EU and welcomed the European Parliament’s vote to approve CETA and the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement.

In Berlin, the Prime Minister met with outgoing President Joachim Gauck and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In these meetings, key economic and foreign policy issues were discussed, including CETA. They also exchanged views on pressing international security concerns, including migration, the situation in Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism and Daesh.

While in Berlin, the Prime Minister paid his respects to the more than six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. During his visit, he laid a wreath in honour of all the victims. He and Chancellor Merkel were greeted by the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, at Breitscheidplatz, central square in Berlin. Both leaders laid a rose in memory of the innocent victims of the Christmas Market attack in December 2016.

In Hamburg, the Prime Minister met with Mayor Olaf Scholz as well as officials from several of Germany’s federal states. Following the meetings, the Prime Minister attended Hamburg’s annual St. Matthew’s Day banquet as this year’s invited guest of honour and delivered remarks. The German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also spoke at the banquet as an invited guest.


“It was a great honour to be the first Canadian Prime Minister to address the full European Parliament following this week’s positive vote on CETA. This landmark trade deal puts people first, and will strengthen the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic. Together, I know Canada and the EU will continue to champion progressive free trade deals that benefit everyone.”

—Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Germany is a key partner, ally, and friend. We will continue working with Chancellor Merkel to strengthen this important relationship, while advancing our common goals and growing the middle class in both our countries. I look forward to returning to Germany this July for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Hamburg.”

—Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • While in Europe, the Prime Minister was joined by the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade; and Stéphane Dion, who has been proposed as Canada’s next Ambassador to the European Union and Germany.
  • Canada and the EU are expected to implement CETA in spring 2017, which will allow businesses on both sides of the Atlantic to take full advantage of the Agreement’s significant economic benefits.
  • With CETA, Canada and the EU have set the bar high for progressive trade agreements

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Adelyn Rae enters Canadian market

Posted on 17 February 2017 by TSL

Women's fashion brand from Los Angeles partners with SCI for launch in Canada.


TORONTO, Feb. 17, 2017 /CNW/ – Los Angeles based women's clothing retailer, Adelyn Rae, has partnered with SCI to launch their wholesale distribution operations in Canada. The popular women's dress designer now offers their fashion collections to Canadians through retailers such as Hudson's Bay, Nordstrom, Le Chateau, and Mendocino.

"SCI made it very easy for us to enter the Canadian market with the 27 distribution centers across Canada" said Robbin Na, President at Adelyn Rae. "We rely on the team's unsurpassed knowledge of the retail landscape, transportation, vendor compliance, and their impressive record of setting up successful retail distribution in Canada".

SCI works with an overseas freight forwarder to track and process containers coming in from Asia to SCI's Vancouver transportation centre. Once Adelyn Rae's product lands in Canada, SCI is responsible for product allocations to each retailer, and individual stores. SCI has also built this transportation and distribution supply chain solution with the possibility of Adelyn Rae growing and utilizing SCI's Toronto or Montreal warehouse locations. 

"Our focus is always on retailers' business objectives," said Dave Mack, Vice President of Omni-Channel Retail at SCI. "We always set the bar very high to guarantee that our clients get the most effective end-to-end supply chain solutions."

About Adelyn Rae 
Adelyn Rae is a Los Angeles based women's fashion brand founded in 2013. The growing brand features a wide variety of feminine dress collections that are effortless yet polished, providing around the clock versatility. The collections are infused with directional and unique designs using luxurious fabrics. The brand is constantly evolving their designs with European and Australian lifestyle influences.

About SCI
SCI – is one of Canada's leading providers of supply chain solutions that go beyond traditional logistics services. SCI's motto "We'll make you even better" is a commitment today from a business that's leading clients into tomorrow. Trusted by clients in the retail, e-commerce, technology, and healthcare sectors, SCI operates the most extensive national distribution and transportation network in Canada, consisting of 27 distribution centres coast to coast along with over 40 critical parts stocking locations and specialized white glove shipping hubs. SCI shares their learnings from sectors they operate in, providing information to guide their clients supply chain to success through a variety of articles, case studies and white papers.

SOURCE SCI Group Inc. 


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CBC News reports that Hudson’s Bay Co. in bid for Macy’s

Posted on 04 February 2017 by TSL

Hudson's Bay Co. reported to be in bid for Macy's.

Shares of Macy's and HBC both surge on report that Canadian retailer is back on acquisition trail.

CBC News Posted: Feb 03, 2017.

Hudson's Bay Co., which bought up Saks in recent years, is reported to be in takeover talks with Macy's.

Hudson's Bay Co., which bought up Saks in recent years, is reported to be in takeover talks with Macy's. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Hudson's Bay shares rose as high as $10.62 on the TSX before pulling back to close at $10.39, up 39 cents, or almost four per cent, from Thursday's close.Shares of Hudson's Bay Co. and department store chain Macy's surged on Friday following reports that the venerable Canadian retailer has made a takeover approach to the U.S. company.

Share of Macy's were up more than six per cent, closing at $32.69 US on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Wall Street Journal, citing an unnamed source, reported that talks between the companies are at an early stage, adding that a deal for Macy's real estate could be a possibility.

Hudson's Bay could raise equity and debt against its real estate portfolio, which could be worth $14 billion US, the Journal reported, citing a source. HBC could also bring a partner, the Journal reported.

"We do not comment on rumour or speculation," Tiffany Bourré, director of corporate communications at Hudson's Bay, said in an email statement to CBC News.

Founded in 1670, Hudson's Bay has been on the acquisition trail in recent years, buying up the Saks Fifth Avenue department store chain in North America and the Galeria Kaufhof chain in Germany. In early January 2016, the company announced the purchase of Gilt, a membership-based online retailer that caters to millennial generation shoppers.

Based on market capitalization, Macy's is much bigger than Hudson's Bay, with market caps of roughly $10.6 billion US and $1.88 billion Cdn, respectively.

However, Macy's has been struggling lately in the face of competition and shifting consumer behaviour toward internet shopping.

The company announced in early January that it would shut 68 stores by the middle of 2017, and eliminate about 10,000 jobs. The move would leave Macy's with about 660 U.S outlets.

News of the cuts came as the company posted weak holiday sales, saying comparable stores' sales dipped by more than two per cent last quarter.

The Starboard Value hedge fund, which held a one per cent stake in Macy's as of September 2016, has pushed the company to spilt its real estate holdings from its retail business. Starboard has said the real estate could be worth $21 billion US. However, the Journal said Macy's has resisted Starboard's urging.


The front entrance sign of Macy's Herald Square store with the Empire State Building in the background in seen in this Nov. 2016 photo. Macy's is reported to be in takeover talks with Hudson's Bay Co. (Rickey Rogers/Reuters)




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Canadian economy tops expectations in November as manufacturing stages comeback

Posted on 31 January 2017 by TSL

Courtesy: Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Published Tuesday, January 31, 2017.

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy picked up a bit of steam in November, growing slightly more than expected as the manufacturing sector regained much of the ground it lost the previous month.

Statistics Canada said Tuesday real domestic product grew by 0.4 per cent in November compared with the 0.3 per cent gain that had been anticipated by economists, according to Thomson Reuters.

The result for October was also revised to show the economy shrank by 0.2 per cent compared with an initial reading of a 0.3 per cent contraction.

The rebound in November was broad-based, though analysts took particular note of the strengthening manufacturing sector. It gained 1.4 per cent following an abysmal performance in October that saw a 1.7 per cent decline.

"After the surge we saw in export volumes in the trade report for November, a healthy print from the manufacturing sector was to be expected," CIBC economist Nick Exarhos wrote in a report.

"Still, there's a lot of work to be done in the sector, with output up only a slim 0.6 per cent from a year ago. Investment intentions point to a needed upturn in capacity for the year ahead, but we'll need to see a bit more vigour in exports to see those plans materialize."

Other sectors that helped boost growth for the month included the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction group, which expanded by 1.4 per cent, as well as the finance and insurance sector, which gained 1.5 per cent. The construction group added 1.1 per cent.

For November, goods-producing industries rose 0.9 per cent, while service-producing industries gained 0.2 per cent, helped by finance and insurance, retail trade and transportation and warehousing.

TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto called the November report "one of the healthiest monthly GDP reports in recent memory."

He said growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 is likely to come in ahead of the Bank of Canada's expectations of 1.5 per cent, but a significant amount of economic slack will nevertheless remain.

"As such, the Bank of Canada will probably be happy to leave its policy interest rate at 0.5 per cent well into the future, helping to support the ongoing absorption of the remaining slack," DePratto wrote.

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Ontario’s doctors united in their fight against provincial government

Posted on 29 January 2017 by TSL

TORONTO, Jan. 29, 2017 /CNW/ – Today, at a Special Meeting of Council, doctors in Ontario affirmed their confidence in the elected leaders of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). Physicians are united in their goal of sending a strong message to government; and, planning is now underway for job action. This is the direct result of the province's on-going refusal to grant binding arbitration, a fair process, which is afforded to all other health-care workers. 

"Ontario's doctors are on the verge of job action because the government has shown itself to be completely unwilling to work with us in a productive, professional, and respectful manner," said Dr. Virginia Walley, President of the OMA. "It is with profound disappointment that we must consider job action in order to achieve binding arbitration, which is necessary to right the current power imbalance with the government. This unfair and unreasonable situation allows the government to impose a health-care agenda on Ontario patients that is being developed without the input of the people that Ontarians trust – their physicians."

Over the last three years, Ontario's doctors have seen the government impose multiple, unilateral cuts to the Physician Services Budget, which funds all of the medical care patients need. Under the current government, sweeping and short-sighted changes to health-care legislation have been pushed through–ignoring input from those who treat patients in the community every day.  

A recent survey by the OMA shows that members are more engaged than ever, with a substantial majority endorsing the need for job action if the current government approach continues.

It is a fact that more health-care funding is needed to meet the requirements of our aging and growing population. A recent report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO), an independent branch of the government, shows a substantial gap between what the province is willing to fund for health care and what it will actually cost to provide Ontarians with the care they need. Ontario's population is growing and aging, yet the FAO clearly points out that that the government is funding less than half of the growth in demand for the necessary care that physicians provide. At the same time, the government is cutting the funds available for front-line physician services and creating vast new, expensive bureaucracies with Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and the new sub-LHINs.

"Physicians cannot, on behalf of our patients and the integrity of the system, allow the government to attack health care any longer," said Dr. Walley. "The government is knowingly underfunding the medically necessary care that patients need and have forced the creation of long wait-lists for tests and treatments."

No further public comment on the Special Meeting of OMA Council will be made at this time.

The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) represents more than 42,000 physicians and medical students across the province. Ontario's doctors work closely with patients to encourage healthy living practices and illness prevention. In addition to delivering front-line services to patients, Ontario's doctors play a significant role in helping shape health care policy, as well as implementing initiatives that strengthen and enhance Ontario's health care system.

SOURCE Ontario Medical Association 


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