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Federal government support for small and medium sized business

Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna yesterday announced two new proposed programs that will help owners of small and medium-sized businesses be more energy-efficient, save money, and take action to reduce pollution.
Under the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF), small and medium-sized businesses (e.g. restaurant owners, farmers, truck drivers, convenience and small grocery store owners) in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick -- the four provinces where the federal price on pollution, (a.k.a. Carbon Tax) applies -- will be able to apply for:
•    Refunds between 25% and 50% on the cost of new energy-saving equipment such as appliances, which could include fridges, dishwashers, heating and cooling equipment, anti-idling devices and high efficiency boilers;
•    Funding of up to 25% of eligible costs for energy-efficient retrofits and other projects to improve energy efficiency, reduce their energy use and save money.

The Minister plans to release details about the CAIF Rebate program in the next few weeks but it is expected that the rebate will be limited to a maximum amount of $20,000 per applicant, with no minimum amount per application. In addition, the Government will soon open up a new call for proposals for smaller projects from small and medium-sized businesses across the country under the Low Carbon Economy Fund Partnerships stream. Approximately $10 million will be available to help those businesses make investments to improve energy efficiency, reduce pollution and save money. This program will offer more options to smaller business by allowing applicants to propose smaller projects and to bundle similar projects together. Funding levels will range between $20,000 and $250,000. Small- and medium-sized businesses in all sectors and in all provinces and territories will be eligible to apply to the fund, which will be open for applications in the coming weeks.  

These programs are subject to Royal Assent of the Budget Implementation Act and subsequent decisions from the Minister of Finance. When the Government of Canada announced details of its carbon pollution pricing system in October, the plan included a provision that for the provinces where the carbon tax would apply, proceeds would be returned to the jurisdictions in which they are collected. In provinces that have either requested the federal system or have not proposed a system that meets the federal standard (currently Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan), 90 percent of proceeds from the carbon tax will be returned directly to individuals and households through Climate Action Incentive payments when they file their tax returns. The remainder of the revenues (10%) is earmarked to be deployed to support small and medium-sized businesses, municipalities, universities, colleges, schools, hospitals, not-for-profit organizations and Indigenous peoples through the Climate Action Incentive Fund (CAIF).

Funds available through the CAIF for small- and medium-sized businesses in 2019-20 will come to about $150 million, based on the percentage of revenue collected within each province:  
•    $13 million in Manitoba
•    $5 million in New Brunswick
•    $102 million in Ontario
•    $30 million in Saskatchewan

Under the program plan, it is expected that between 2019 and 2024 nearly $1.5 billion will be available to support energy efficiency efforts by small- and-medium-sized businesses. These funds would be in addition to tax benefits from the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance changes [see previous story on this] announced in 2018.
Environment and Climate Change Canada plans to establish an External Advisory Committee for the Climate Action Incentive Fund, made up of experts and representatives of business associations, to provide advice on outreach to small- and medium-sized businesses and continuous improvements to the delivery of funds. HRAI is in discussions with the Minister’s office on how the HVACR sector can be properly represented.

Summer Heat and Health in Canada

An estimated 70 deaths have been connected to the scorching temperatures and humidity that rolled over Canada's Quebec province last week, and officials say the number may rise as hospital and nursing home records are reviewed. Most of the people who died as the region reached temperatures up to 95 degrees are elderly men and women living alone in apartments with no air conditioning, and many had chronic health conditions.
David Kaiser, a physician manager at the Montreal Regional Department of Public Health, confirmed to NPR that 34 of the deaths occurred in the city from June 29 through July 7. With few exceptions, he said, the people were over the age of 50, many between 65 to 85. About 60 percent were men and most had an underlying medical or mental health condition, Kaiser added. He explained the death toll has continued to rise despite a return to more normal seasonal temperatures, as the public health department continues to collect data from a variety of sources. Officials plan to issue an updated report next week. And now that the immediate crisis is over, the department will soon embark on an even deeper dive into the records of every person who died during the eight-day window, including coroner reports and medical charts, a Montreal public health spokesman told NPR.
"We do this because it's always possible that we may have missed someone who maybe didn't die of heatstroke but died due to heat-related complications ... those can be hard to tell sometimes," Kaiser said.
It is a practice that was implemented after Montreal's 2010 heat wave that left 106 people dead. In that case, authorities discovered a handful heat-related hospital deaths that had previously gone unreported, Kaiser recalled. Paul Brunet, president of the Council for the Protection of the Sick, a patient advocacy group, called for an independent investigation into the abrupt deaths of all people who recently died in a hospital, public nursing home or a public long-term care residential facility known as a CHSLD.
"Some figures that we have had in recent years do not always correspond to reality," Paul Brunet explained in an interview with LCN on Saturday.
In a statement issued on Monday, Brunet said he plans to file a class-action lawsuit against the publicly run CHSLD network over "the marked deterioration in the care and services that are offered in these facilities" — specifically the absence of air conditioning units in individual rooms. A spokesman for Montreal's public health department told NPR none of the victims had died in public health care institutions. Annick Lavoie, Executive Director of the Association of Private Convention Institutions, called Brunet's suggestion that patients are receiving inadequate care "horrific."
"The heat wave we knew hit the entire population hard. Why does Mr. Brunet really want to create the scandal where there is none?" she wrote in a statement, calling the allegations "dangerous." "He sows suspicion with the public rather than emphasizing the hard work done by staff and volunteers," the statement said.
CTV News channel reported patients in some Montreal hospitals were in rooms without air conditioning, upsetting their families. Kaiser told NPR that public policy changed after the 2010 heat wave. During periods of extreme heat, government-run health care facilities are required to provide an air-conditioned common area that is kept cool 24 hours a day.
Brunet argued that is not enough. Especially not while nursing home administrators work in air-conditioned offices, The Montreal Gazette reported. "Don't tell me you don't have the money to put air conditioners in patients' rooms. These are facilities where people live, and these should be decent living conditions," Brunet said.

Source : npr .org

3 tips for a healthy summer

With summer underway, the feeling of warm sunshine and the lure of the cool lakeside can lull you into thinking nothing can go wrong. But making poor health choices happens more easily than you’d expect this time of year. Avoid them by following these tips:

Don’t forget to screen up. Sunscreen can seem like a precaution for kids, and the Coppertone baby certainly doesn’t help with that image. But a little precaution goes a long way. It takes less sun exposure than you expect to start working on that killer sunburn you’ll be nursing for the next two weeks. Why not save yourself the hassle with a quick application of sunscreen? Not to mention the long-term benefits of protecting yourself from the harms of sun exposure, like melanoma.

Stay hydrated. Did you know that by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated? That’s why it’s important to make sure you get enough liquids in the summer heat. Water is best, but you can also boost your hydration with fruit like watermelon. Be sure to get plenty of shade and take breaks when exercising outdoors. 

Be careful what trends you follow. The summer can feel like a good time to take up new hobbies and try out new things, but you should leave some of them on the shelf. Picking up smoking is not a healthy choice; vaping isn’t a smart choice for non-smokers either. Vaping still exposes you to harmful chemicals, and often still delivers nicotine, which is addictive. Keep your summer skies clear, and leave the tobacco and vaping products behind. If you are a smoker and are not ready to quit nicotine, completely replacing cigarette smoking with vaping will reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.

 

Source : newscanada .com

 

The IESO Heating and Cooling Incentive Program is cancelled

Please be advised that the Save on Energy Heating and Cooling Incentive Program is cancelled as of April 1, 2019. The Heating and Cooling Incentive program is being discontinued pursuant to a directive received from the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, directing the IESO to discontinue the Conservation First Framework. Projects that have already been completed and submitted for payment will be processed according to the Participant Terms and Conditions. Participating Contractors have until May 31, 2019 to submit incentive applications for projects with an installation date of no later than April 30, 2019. No new claim submissions will be accepted after May 31, 2019. Participants should submit proof of purchase and sign-off on the application submitted by their Participating Contractor before July 1, 2019.

Key dates:

  • April 30, 2019: Deadline for Participating Contractors to complete installations
  • May 31, 2019: Deadline for Participating Contractors to submit incentive applications to OSS
  • June 30, 2019: Deadline for Participants to submit proof of purchase and sign-off on applications

Is Protectionism Taking a Toll?

Over the past year, aluminum and steel tariffs, the China-US trade war and Huawei tussle, Brexit, the uncertainty of NAFTA 2.0 ratification by the US Senate, and generally increasing global protectionism have created some anxiety for business executives.

PLANT Magazine’s annual Manufacturers’ Outlook survey for 2019, conducted in partnership with Grant Thornton LLPSYSPRO Canada and the Italian Trade Commission shows concerns are rising.  This survey has been conducted for many years, with year-to-year comparisons showing relative changes in business confidence.

This year’s survey conclusions are based on 501 replies from senior manufacturing executives. About 39% are ‘very optimistic’ about the coming year, and a majority think their sales orders and revenues will both increase. However, this number represents a notable decrease from 44% in 2018.  Further, fully 65% of executives said US protectionism is ‘very worrying,’ compared with 54% taking this view one year ago.

The aluminum and steel tariffs were expected to be lifted once NAFTA 2.0 was signed, but the US senate has not yet ratified it, and there are reports of opposition from both Democrat and Republican Senators. At the same time the World Trade Organization (WTO) is investigating whether the initial U.S. tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs imposed by Canada and other countries broke the rules. Some reports have suggested that actual tariff impact has not been felt much as yet but, according to the Conference Board of Canada, 85 per cent of Canada’s steel and aluminum exports are destined for the United States, and are valued at about $24 billion.

There are also worrying developments with other key Canadian partners. Trade disputes between the US and China have been complicated by Canada agreeing to arrest and extradite to the US Huawei company leader Meng Wanzhou. China has threatened Canada with ‘consequences,’ which, if implemented, could be damaging. In 2010 China banned salmon from Norway after it awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo.

Brexit is also creating uncertainty. The UK is Canada's third largest export goods market and second-largest services export market. If the economy in the UK weakens, it could affect Canada economically. Canada has signed the CETA trade agreement with Europe, and like NAFTA 2.0, it has not yet been ratified by European parliaments.

Despite all the doom and gloom, the PLANT Magazine survey found executives were generally thinking positively about prospects for the coming year, with 55 percent expecting sales to increase by about 12 percent on average, and about one-third expecting profit increases of about 11 percent.

Source : HRAI .ca

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