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saki
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« Reply #165 on: October 28, 2010, 08:07:22 pm »

Canada's health spending growth lowest in 13 years

The medical bill for every Canadian is expected to reach nearly $5,700 this year, but the growth in overall health spending has slowed to its lowest rate in 13 years, new figures released Thursday show.


According to the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, total spending on health care both public- and private-sector spending in Canada is expected to reach $191.6 billion this year.


But, after taking inflation and population growth into account, health spending per person is expected to increase by 1.4 per cent this year, the lowest annual growth rate since 1997.


"Over the last 10 years, obviously, there has been a significant investment in health care, it was a priority of Canadians," Chris Kuchciak, CIHI's manager of health expenditures, said Thursday.


"However, in the last couple of years we're seeing a deceleration in that rate of growth." He said the phenomenon could be due to the aftermath of the recession, "and many of the provinces being in deficit positions and looking to control government spending, including health care."


Overall, health spending is expected to reach 11.7 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product this year, down from the estimated share of 11.9 per cent in 2009.


But health spending is growing at a faster rate than the population.


This year, government spending on health care is forecast to reach $135.1 billion; private spending, which includes private insurance and out-of-pocket expenses, will reach an estimated $56.6 billion, according to CIHI's annual report on health expenditures.


But while the nation's population is aging, the share spent on seniors has not budged significantly over the past decade. It was 43.6 per cent in 1998, and 43.8 per cent in 2008.


"While it is true that care is costlier for people who are 65 and older, we have not seen a rise in the proportion we spend on seniors," Jean-Marie Berthelot, vice-president of programs at CIHI said in a statement. "An aging population may have an impact on health-care spending, but so far, the average expenditure on seniors has not risen faster than for younger Canadians."


That has experts warning Canada is ill-prepared for what some have dubbed the "grey tsunami" of aging baby boomers. The number of Canadians older than 65 is expected to double by 2031.


Hospitals, at roughly 29 per cent of the total, are expected to account for the biggest chunk of health-care spending this year. In 2010, spending on hospitals is expected to reach $55.3 billion, up 6.2 per cent. But the hospital share of total spending has fallen over the past three decades.


"Thirty years ago it was over 40 per cent of total health care spending. Now, it's under 30," Kuchciak said.


The head of the Canadian Medical Association says he sees failings in the system every day.


"Today, our hospital is over 100-per-cent occupied," said Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, who is also chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital. "We have over 30 patients in our emergency department today waiting for a bed, and many of them have been waiting over a day, maybe two days."


"We have patients in hallways. We have cancelled surgery, (and) delays for diagnostic procedures. And, today in our hospital, we have 161 patients who are waiting to go into long-term care," Turnbull added.


"If you could move those patients to where they would get much more effective care, at a fraction of the price, we wouldn't have delays in the emergency department. We wouldn't be cancelling surgery. We think there are lots of efficiencies, and lots of opportunities to provide better care for Canadians without investing a lot more money."


Spending on drugs, which account for the second-largest category, grew by 4.8 per cent from 2009 to reach $31.1 billion, but, for the fourth year in a row, physician spending is growing faster than drugs and hospitals. Spending on doctors is expected to reach $26.3 billion this year, up 6.9 per cent.


"We know that there are more physicians today than there were 10 years ago. We do see that the demand for physician services is going up they're being used more," Kuchciak. Compensation to doctors is also increasing, he said.


Alberta and Manitoba are expected to spend more per person on health care than any other province, at about $6,200 per person each roughy $600 higher than the national average. B.C. and Quebec are forecast to have the lowest per capita spending, at $5,355 and $5,096, respectively.


Since 1997, the public-private split of total health spending has held steady, with government spending 70 per cent of the total health care bill, and the private sector accounting for 30 per cent.


Among 26 countries with comparable accounting systems in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2008, the latest year for which data is available, spending per person on health care was highest in the U.S., at $7,538 U.S.. Canada was fifth behind the U.S., Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg.


While total spending has slowed, University of B.C. health economist Bob Evans called the report "a good news story."


"The medicare system in Canada is under threat by people who are claiming that it's fiscally unsustainable" and that Canada needs to introduce more American-style elements, Evans says. "I think that's very dangerous.


"If the rate of escalation remains high, it strengthens those arguments. Are we denying people needed services? The answer is no. I think a lot of what's been going on is price increase" for prescription drugs, Evans says.


"With generic drugs, the issue isn't so much price increases, but that the prices are just too damn high, and they're too high because pharmacies are getting kick backs from generic suppliers in return for putting their products on the shelves."


Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for generic drugs, according to a recent paper released by the Health Council of Canada.


Under Ontario drug reforms, the province is mandating that generic drugs be sold at no more than 25 per cent of the cost of the brand-name product, and is ending the system of so-called professional allowances.

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saki
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« Reply #166 on: October 28, 2010, 10:39:59 pm »

TSX swings between gains and losses Thursday

The Toronto Stock Exchange started strong in morning trading but spent most of the rest of the day in negative territory despite getting a boost from commodity stocks.


As the close approached the S&P/TSX composite index was down 3.16 points, or 0.03 per cent to 12,564.09.


On the New York Mercantile Exchange, the price of crude oil closed at $82.18 U.S. a barrel, a gain of 24 cents, while gold rose $19.90 to close at $1,342.50 U.S. an ounce.


Major Canadian gold producers advanced Thursday as gold prices rose and as earnings reports beat expectations. The materials sector was one of just two of the S&P/TSX's 10 sub-indexes showing an increase by late afternoon.


The Canadian dollar was ahead by 75 basis points to 97.96 cents U.S. in late-day trading.


Shares of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. fell despite better-than-expected third-quarter earnings following reports that the federal government is "growing increasingly skeptical" of BHP Billiton's plan for a hostile takeover of the fertilizer giant.


In the U.S., the Dow Jones industrial average lost was down by 17.33 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 11,108.95 at the closing bell, while the Nasdaq composite index gained 4.11 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 2,507.37.


Asian markets were mixed on Thursday, with Tokyo's Nikkei losing ground and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advancing. Major European markets gained on Thursday.

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saki
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« Reply #167 on: October 28, 2010, 11:40:08 pm »

Gain in personal finances snaps four-month slide in consumer confidence, board says

OTTAWA Canadians' improving personal finances have snapped a four-month slide in consumer confidence, the Conference Board of Canada reported Thursday.


The board's confidence index rose 1.5 per cent in October to a reading of 79.7 per cent, despite weakness in three of the four measures that make up the survey. An even reading for the index is 100.


The gain was apparent across the country, with the exception of the Atlantic region.


"The share of respondents expressing a positive view of their current finances increased dramatically in October," the report said.


When asked if their financial situation had improved over the past six months, 17.5 per cent responded positively, a gain of 4.3 percentage points from September and the highest reading of the year.


The advance comes on the heels of a fall stock market surge that has lifted the TSX composite index by more than 13 per cent since early July.


Those saying their finances had worsened fell by 1.5 percentage points to a reading of 21.7 per cent.


But the weakness in other areas of the poll, based on 2,000 telephone interviews conducted in early October, suggested this months' gains could be elusive


On the employment front, for instance, "consumers are showing little faith in the recovery in Canada's labour markets," the report said.


Only 17.8 per cent of respondents said they expect employment in their communities to rise over the next six months. The number who expect fewer jobs rose to 20.5 per cent, up from 20.1 per cent in September.


Weakness in the labour market cuts into consumer spending, another area where the survey showed potential weakness ahead.


Asked if they thought it was a good time to make a major purchase, only 41 per cent said it was. Those saying it was a bad time to do so rose to 47.9 per cent.


"The balance of opinion on this question has completely reversed since the beginning of the year, when positive responses outweighed negative ones by a significant margin," the report said.


Consumers' outlook for future finances could also suggest weaker spending ahead, as only 22.9 per cent said they expect their financial situation to improve in the coming six months. The figure is 1.6 percentage points lower than one month ago and 10.6 percentage points lower than at the start of the year.


Regionally, the Prairies remained the region with the highest level of consumer confidence, rising 3.1 percentage points to a reading of 99.3.


Ontario continues to lag "well behind" other regions, with a gain of 1.4 points to 68.7, the report said.


Quebec rose 1.7 points to 80.8, while British Columbia rose 3.5 points to 83.

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saki
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« Reply #168 on: October 29, 2010, 12:20:48 am »

Resource boom leads to huge wage growth

The boom in the mining, oil and gas industries has led to spectacular wage growth for their workers, Statistics Canada said Thursday in its monthly earnings survey.

Average weekly earnings in mining and in the oil and gas extraction sector were $1,801.18 in August a 17.1 per cent jump from a year earlier.

That works out to better than $93,000 a year for the average worker.

The number working in mining, oil and gas is up more than 10 per cent in the last year to 189,800.

The average employee in the oil and natural gas extraction sectors had weekly earnings jump by 22.6 per cent, while mining sector workers saw their weekly earnings rise by a more modest 8.9 per cent.

Wage growth in the support industries around the mining, oil and gas sector led to their workers enjoying a 24 per cent jump in weekly earnings.

In the last year, some commodity prices have seen dramatic gains especially for gold, oil and copper.

Alberta leads

With such high wage gains in the resource field, it comes as no surprise that the biggest annual wage growth was noted in Alberta (7.5 per cent).

Above-average growth was also reported in Newfoundland and Labrador (6.2 per cent), Saskatchewan (6.0 per cent) and Ontario (4.7 per cent).

Statistics Canada said the average weekly earnings of all non-farm employees rose to $860.67 in August a jump of 4.4 per cent in the past year.

The last time earnings rose by more than four per cent was 2 years ago, the agency said noting that average wage growth for most of 2009 was in the two per cent range.
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saki
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« Reply #169 on: October 30, 2010, 07:35:32 am »

Taxpayers dinged for $3,000 in eyewear damages

OTTAWA An expensive piece of eyewear worth more than $800 was charged to taxpayers by the Chief Electoral Officer's department and Canadians were also on the hook for more than $2,000 in other eyewear-related expenses, government figures reveal.


Government spending records released Thursday show that the Chief Electoral Officer's office spent $882 on "compensation for the replacement of glasses." The amount was paid to an individual, but a spokesman for the office would not confirm if it was a government employee or a member of the public.


John Enright also would not provide any details of the circumstances around the payment, only confirming that it had been granted. "We reviewed the claim and it was deemed to be reasonable and justified," he said.


The RCMP also had to spend $2,064 on damage to glasses or contacts, the figures show. That brings the total tab for broken spectacles to nearly $3,000 in 2009-10, according to the federal public accounts which detail government spending.


The eyeglasses tab was included in ex gratia payments made by government departments cheques are essentially cut to settle claims for compensation while relieving the government of any liability.


Other interesting items to note included $216 for a "ski pole reimbursement" and Environment Canada doled out $1,140 to a Quebec-based non-profit environmental group because of a cancelled speech by Minister Jim Prentice.


Statistics Canada paid a farm owner $400 because of damage to a fence caused by an employee driving a rental vehicle on the property.


In total, among all departments, more than $75,000 was spent on compensation for lost, stolen or damaged property.


A separate item listed under the Department of National Defence noted that $661,045 was spent settling 272 claims for damages and losses specifically in Afghanistan. The grand total for the defence department's ex gratia payments, however, exceeds $5.2 million.


The bulk of the payments relate to compensation for chemical agent testing 189 payments were made, most in the amount of $24,000 each. The department was asked for an explanation about the testing and payments but a spokesman said it could not provide the information by the end of the day Friday.


Ex gratia payments for Canadians who got sick due to the testing of Agent Orange at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in 1966 and 1967 are listed under the Veterans Affairs Department and in 2009-10 they totalled $12.6 million.
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haral
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« Reply #170 on: October 30, 2010, 01:18:56 pm »

If Canada moves to US style health care that would be a disaster. Americal insurers are blood sucking leeches who look for ways to decline a claim more than to accept it.


Canada's health spending growth lowest in 13 years

The medical bill for every Canadian is expected to reach nearly $5,700 this year, but the growth in overall health spending has slowed to its lowest rate in 13 years, new figures released Thursday show.


According to the latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, total spending on health care both public- and private-sector spending in Canada is expected to reach $191.6 billion this year.


But, after taking inflation and population growth into account, health spending per person is expected to increase by 1.4 per cent this year, the lowest annual growth rate since 1997.


"Over the last 10 years, obviously, there has been a significant investment in health care, it was a priority of Canadians," Chris Kuchciak, CIHI's manager of health expenditures, said Thursday.


"However, in the last couple of years we're seeing a deceleration in that rate of growth." He said the phenomenon could be due to the aftermath of the recession, "and many of the provinces being in deficit positions and looking to control government spending, including health care."


Overall, health spending is expected to reach 11.7 per cent of Canada's gross domestic product this year, down from the estimated share of 11.9 per cent in 2009.


But health spending is growing at a faster rate than the population.


This year, government spending on health care is forecast to reach $135.1 billion; private spending, which includes private insurance and out-of-pocket expenses, will reach an estimated $56.6 billion, according to CIHI's annual report on health expenditures.


But while the nation's population is aging, the share spent on seniors has not budged significantly over the past decade. It was 43.6 per cent in 1998, and 43.8 per cent in 2008.


"While it is true that care is costlier for people who are 65 and older, we have not seen a rise in the proportion we spend on seniors," Jean-Marie Berthelot, vice-president of programs at CIHI said in a statement. "An aging population may have an impact on health-care spending, but so far, the average expenditure on seniors has not risen faster than for younger Canadians."


That has experts warning Canada is ill-prepared for what some have dubbed the "grey tsunami" of aging baby boomers. The number of Canadians older than 65 is expected to double by 2031.


Hospitals, at roughly 29 per cent of the total, are expected to account for the biggest chunk of health-care spending this year. In 2010, spending on hospitals is expected to reach $55.3 billion, up 6.2 per cent. But the hospital share of total spending has fallen over the past three decades.


"Thirty years ago it was over 40 per cent of total health care spending. Now, it's under 30," Kuchciak said.


The head of the Canadian Medical Association says he sees failings in the system every day.


"Today, our hospital is over 100-per-cent occupied," said Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, who is also chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital. "We have over 30 patients in our emergency department today waiting for a bed, and many of them have been waiting over a day, maybe two days."


"We have patients in hallways. We have cancelled surgery, (and) delays for diagnostic procedures. And, today in our hospital, we have 161 patients who are waiting to go into long-term care," Turnbull added.


"If you could move those patients to where they would get much more effective care, at a fraction of the price, we wouldn't have delays in the emergency department. We wouldn't be cancelling surgery. We think there are lots of efficiencies, and lots of opportunities to provide better care for Canadians without investing a lot more money."


Spending on drugs, which account for the second-largest category, grew by 4.8 per cent from 2009 to reach $31.1 billion, but, for the fourth year in a row, physician spending is growing faster than drugs and hospitals. Spending on doctors is expected to reach $26.3 billion this year, up 6.9 per cent.


"We know that there are more physicians today than there were 10 years ago. We do see that the demand for physician services is going up they're being used more," Kuchciak. Compensation to doctors is also increasing, he said.


Alberta and Manitoba are expected to spend more per person on health care than any other province, at about $6,200 per person each roughy $600 higher than the national average. B.C. and Quebec are forecast to have the lowest per capita spending, at $5,355 and $5,096, respectively.


Since 1997, the public-private split of total health spending has held steady, with government spending 70 per cent of the total health care bill, and the private sector accounting for 30 per cent.


Among 26 countries with comparable accounting systems in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in 2008, the latest year for which data is available, spending per person on health care was highest in the U.S., at $7,538 U.S.. Canada was fifth behind the U.S., Norway, Switzerland and Luxembourg.


While total spending has slowed, University of B.C. health economist Bob Evans called the report "a good news story."


"The medicare system in Canada is under threat by people who are claiming that it's fiscally unsustainable" and that Canada needs to introduce more American-style elements, Evans says. "I think that's very dangerous.


"If the rate of escalation remains high, it strengthens those arguments. Are we denying people needed services? The answer is no. I think a lot of what's been going on is price increase" for prescription drugs, Evans says.


"With generic drugs, the issue isn't so much price increases, but that the prices are just too damn high, and they're too high because pharmacies are getting kick backs from generic suppliers in return for putting their products on the shelves."


Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for generic drugs, according to a recent paper released by the Health Council of Canada.


Under Ontario drug reforms, the province is mandating that generic drugs be sold at no more than 25 per cent of the cost of the brand-name product, and is ending the system of so-called professional allowances.


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saki
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« Reply #171 on: October 31, 2010, 10:10:53 pm »

Debt collectors use heavy-handed tactics

Canadians are getting deeper and deeper into debt. Since the mid-1980s, the average household debt load has climbed to 146 per cent of disposable income from 50 per cent, according to a recent TD Economics report.

With rising debt comes debt collectors. They buy debt from credit card companies, utilities and other firms, and then try to get consumers to pay it back along with fees and penalties sometimes using questionable tactics.

Shauna Major's nightmare began with a $140 phone bill.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., woman paid the bill and has the proof. However, her file wound up with a collection agency, which gave it to a law firm.

Major began getting phone calls twice a day seeking payment. "The harassment was unbelievable," she recalled.

When Major applied for a bank loan, she found her credit rating had been damaged by a collection agency report.

"I can not believe that this is happening," she said. "It is so ridiculous."

Mark Silverthorn, a lawyer in Toronto who formerly worked for debt collectors, now represents people fighting the often heavy-handed methods used by collection agencies.

"Maybe 25 per cent of debt collectors at collection agencies are engaging in illegal, unprofessional and unethical behaviour," he said.

There are dozens of collection agencies in Canada, and they're all bound by provincial laws covering behaviour and ethics. However, they often hire lawyers, who in some provinces are not subject to the same laws.

One of the tools used by such lawyers is a document called a draft statement of claim. While it can appear to be an official document, it is not.

Andrew Barkhouse of Antigonish, N.S., received a draft statement of claim from the Natale Law Offices of Markham Ont., and when he saw the words "Superior Court" on it he thought he was being sued.

"Originally, it looked kind of scary," Barkhouse said.

Silverthorn agreed the document looks real, adding that it is not right to make people think their debt problem has become a legal problem.

"Collection agencies are doing something indirectly that they can't do directly," Silverthorn said. "Collection agencies are hiring lawyers to send out ... thousands [of] draft statements of claim," The use of draft statements of claim has led to allegations of professional misconduct against an Ontario lawyer.

The Law Society of Upper Canada has scheduled a disciplinary hearing for Nov. 16-17 against Deanna Natale of Natale Law Offices.
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saki
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« Reply #172 on: November 01, 2010, 12:42:58 am »

Canada's GDP rises 0.3% in August

Canada's economy rose 0.3 per cent in August following a 0.1 per cent drop in July, helped by oil and gas extraction, wholesale trade and manufacturing.

The figures released by Statistics Canada were in line with analysts' expectations.

The federal agency also said increases were recorded in the finance and insurance sector, construction and retail trade. Utilities and forestry decreased, while public-sector output was unchanged.

Mining and oil and gas extraction rose 0.5 per cent, wholesale trade rose 1.1 per cent and manufacturing grew 0.5 per cent.

The finance and insurance sector advanced 0.6 per cent, construction was up 0.4 per cent and retail trade edged up 0.1 per cent in August.

Last week, the Bank of Canada said it now believes Canada's economy will likely grow about three per cent this year instead of the 3.5 per cent it had projected in July, and much of this growth took place in the first part of the year.

For next year, the bank predicts growth of 2.3 per cent, six-10ths of a point lower than previously projected, and it forecasts 2012 growth of 2.6 per cent.

"The August data showed relatively broad-based growth after a disappointing July," Dawn Desjardins, assistant chief economist at RBC, said in a report.

"This combination sets the economy on course to expand at a 1.8 per cent annualized pace assuming another 0.3 per cent rise in September in the third quarter, just slightly slower than the second quarter's two per cent increase. This is in line with the forecast issued by the Bank of Canada last week."

The modest numbers pushed the Toronto stock market higher. The S&P/TSX composite index gained 51.36 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 12,615.46. The Canadian dollar moved higher following the report, up 0.21 of a cent to 98.11 cents US.

Meanwhile, the U.S. gross domestic product grew at a meagre two per cent annual rate during the third quarter, which is far short of what would be needed to reduce the high unemployment rate.
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« Reply #173 on: November 01, 2010, 01:07:51 am »

Excellent work Saki...

 I am so glad to see this thread. it is indeed very informative for everyone migrating to new country.
Keep up the good work and u can also PM me any such info about the country. I ma very keen on reading and learning more about the country and its economy.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers!!
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""You can have anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want."
saki
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Posts: 3801
Ratings: +298

« Reply #174 on: November 01, 2010, 01:19:36 am »

Excellent work Saki...

 I am so glad to see this thread. it is indeed very informative for everyone migrating to new country.
Keep up the good work and u can also PM me any such info about the country. I ma very keen on reading and learning more about the country and its economy.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers!!


Thanks mate for appreciating my work, i update this thread almost everyday whenever i get chance so just visit it to see whats happening in Canada Smiley

Cheers
Saki
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saki
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« Reply #175 on: November 01, 2010, 01:38:40 am »

Average House Prices In Canada

One of the major attractions of a move to Canada is the cost of housing compared with other western countries.

As happens everywhere, prices are higher in Canada's big cities than they are in the surrounding towns.

Canada's highest house prices are found on the west coast in Vancouver / British Columbia, where the country's mildest weather is found.

Severe winter weather or remoteness from major markets usually results in low house prices - for example property prices are low in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

In 2007 prices in booming Alberta rose above prices in Ontario for the first time and, in the same vein, prices in Calgary rose above those in Toronto. Despite the more recent fall in oil prices, Alberta prices in 2009 remain higher than those in Ontario but Calgary prices have dropped below those in Toronto.

Canadian Cities
Average House Prices
August 2010

City                 Average House Price             12 Month Change

Vancouver, BC         $681,000                            + 12.0 %
Toronto, Ont            $411,000                            + 6.0 %
Calgary, Alb             $382,000                             - 0.8 %
Ottawa, Ont             $322,000                            + 2.3 %
Montreal, Que            $304,000                           + 8.5 %
Halifax, NS                $254,000                           + 10.0 %
Regina, Sask             $254,000                            + 4.8 %
Fredericton, NB         $150,000                             - 0.1 %

Canadian Provinces
Average House Prices
August 2010

Province                Average House Price            12 Month Change

British Columbia            $488,000                             + 3.6 %
Alberta                       $343,000                              - 0.5 %
Ontario                        $324,000                             + 3.3 %
Quebec                        $236,000                             + 7.4 %
Newfoundland / Labrador $236,000                            + 16.2 %
Saskatchewan               $228,000                             + 2.4 %
Manitoba                       $213,000                            + 6.3 %
Nova Scotia                  $194,000                             + 8.3 %
Prince Edward Island       $159,000                             + 6.8 %
New Brunswick               $156,000                             - 1.4 %
Canadian Average           $325,000                             + 0.0 %
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saki
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« Reply #176 on: November 01, 2010, 08:55:32 pm »

Feds hold line on immigration for 2011

OTTAWA The federal government decision to hold immigration levels flat in the coming year reflects continuing concerns about the strength of the economic recovery, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.


Targets released Monday say the federal government intends to accept between 240,000 and 265,000 permanent residents next year, the same targets set for the current year.


"I think Canadians are generally supportive of immigration," Kenney told reporters Monday. "I don't, however, think they want to see huge increases beyond where we already are."


Kenney attributed the caution to the "fragile" economic recovery. "We're trying to reflect the fact that the economy is still somewhat soft," he told reporters after an appearance before the Commons immigration committee where he defended proposed new legislation to put "bogus" immigration consultants out of work.


Although the overall numbers remain the same for next year, there is a slight juggling of groups within those numbers.


The economic class of immigrants will still be the largest category, accounting for about 60 per cent of the total, but the actual number is estimated to drop by about 5,000.


This is to accommodate in part an expected climb of up to 3,000 from 2010 levels in the number of spouses and children who will be allowed to join economic class immigrants who have reached the stage next year when their families can join them in Canada.


Canada also is bumping up its intake of refugees by up to 3,000, an increase that reflects Ottawa's decision to accept more refugees from UN and other camps around the world.


Liberal Justin Trudeau, the party's immigration critic, said Canada should not raise immigration levels significantly until Canada does a better job of providing the services newcomers need to eliminate the current "success gap" that exists between Canadian-born residents and new immigrants.


New Democrat Olivia Chow said she is pleased the family category is getting a boost, but expressed concern that as many as 200,000 temporary workers will still be coming into the country next year. She said such high numbers are unacceptable when the jobless rate in Canada is more than eight per cent.


Kenney acknowledged that the possibility of more than 500,000 entering Canada next year as immigrants and temporary worker is a lot to absorb.


But he said the economy can handle the influx because it is in a "recovery phase." He also stressed the country is still experiencing labour shortages in some areas, and said that within the next five years, there is no growth projected in the homegrown labour force.


Speaking earlier in the day to a summit of 100 top employers in Canada, he urged them to be more aggressive in providing work experience to newcomers so they can get their foreign credentials recognized and upgraded.


"Our workforce will shrink without immigration and immigration will account for all our labour force growth within the next five years," he told his Toronto audience.


"If we don't begin to address the real barriers that prevent newcomers from entering their chosen profession in Canada, we actually risk a future where their current predicament could potentially have serious consequences for our country."

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« Reply #177 on: November 02, 2010, 01:28:49 am »

Business community fights for tax cuts as Liberals vow to end them

OTTAWA Canada's business community launched a full-scale lobbying effort Monday urging MPs to support corporate tax cuts, which runs contrary to Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's plan to cancel them if he wins the next election.


Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says there is concern Parliament might block the next cut to the corporate tax rate scheduled to take effect Jan. 1 and such a move would stifle Canada's economic recovery.


"Parliament voted for this," he said. "Some people are proposing they reverse course and rescind it; we're saying it's the wrong thing to do if you want to create jobs and growth in the economy and that Parliament should keep its word."


The Conservative government is on track to continue with the cuts promised in 2007 that are being phased in over five years. But Ignatieff has said he would freeze the rate at its current level of 18 per cent. The NDP is also opposed to lowering the corporate tax rate.


The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, along with its provincial counterparts, began running ads Monday that say cancelling the cuts is "a disastrous idea" that would "put the brakes on" job growth and investment by businesses.


The Liberals got wind of the campaign before the ads were released and clearly felt they were the prime target.


"It has come to our attention that the Chamber of Commerce will initiate a new advertising campaign opposing policies that are advocated by the Liberal Party of Canada. Specifically, our plan to cancel the Conservative government's tax breaks for large corporations, in order to reduce the deficit and relieve the economic pressures facing Canadian families," Liberal finance critic Scott Brison wrote in a letter to Beatty last week.


The Liberals say the corporate tax rate is already competitive and that it isn't responsible to reduce it further when the country is facing a $56-billion deficit. (More recent projections by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty put the current fiscal year's deficit at $45 billion.)


Cancelling the tax cut would add about $6 billion to the country's revenues and the party says that extra cash would partly fund some of its platform promises, including the recently announced Family Care Plan.


However, a spokeswoman for Flaherty said later Monday that the $6 billion the Liberals claim will be saved through reversing the planned cuts is wrong. Annette Robertson, Flaherty's press secretary, said in an email that "once fully implemented, the value of the business tax cut amounts to $4.5 billion."


By taking a policy position in direct opposition to the country's biggest business groups, the Liberals run the risk of opening themselves up to criticism that they are anti-business. Brison argued in his letter, however, that the party would do more than the Conservatives to help business productivity by "making investments in learning, innovation, families and clean energy," while fighting the deficit.


Beatty denies the campaign is directed solely at the Liberals and said he doesn't want to be drawn into a political debate.


"They hadn't seen the ad, they're not mentioned in the ad, the ad is addressed to all parties, all MPs. Yet they decided it was aimed exclusively at them," he said. "It wasn't; it's aimed at all members of parliament to say 'keep your word.'"


Beatty will be pushing that message when he appears at the House of Commons finance committee Tuesday as part of pre-budget consultations.


He said businesses have been planning on the upcoming tax cuts when making decisions about hiring and spending accordingly, and need to feel confident while continuing to grow their operations, thereby stimulating the economic recovery.


Ken Kobly, president and CEO of Alberta Chamber of Commerce and another scheduled witness, said the government is going to be facing some tough budget decisions and he hopes it will resist any pressure to change its mind on the tax cut.


He also wants the opposition parties to support the measure, saying "every vote counts" on the budget during a minority Parliament.


"The message to Mr. Ignatieff is that we're coming out of a major downturn in the economy," he said. "There are some trends in the economy that are showing that it's going up and the best way to stimulate an economy that is coming out of a recession, in our opinion, is the reduction of corporate taxes."

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« Reply #178 on: November 02, 2010, 08:52:44 pm »

Night-shift workers twice as likely to be injured on the job

VANCOUVER Canadians who work night shifts are almost twice as likely to be injured on the job as those working regular day shifts, according to a new study.


The University of B.C. researchers also found that women, more so than men, are at considerable risk of injury on the job, especially if they work rotating shifts.


"The hypothesis behind this is that working shift work increases sleepiness and reduces alertness which, in turn, can lead to injury," said Imelda Wong, a PhD candidate at UBC's School of Environmental Health and the study's lead author.


The researchers suggest the problem is exacerbated for women by family responsibilities, which can lead to greater difficulties adjusting to shift work and maintaining regular sleep schedules.


"On average they (women) work probably about nine hours more (than men) per week on child care and housework," Wong said.


Men's primary duties in the home tend to be focused more on car maintenance and financial matters, "which are not quite as taxing on a daily basis," she added.


The study, published in the current edition of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health, examined data on more than 30,000 Canadians collected as part of Statistics Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.


It compared results between workers involved in different types of shift work from 1996-2006.


It showed that while the overall rate of work injuries in Canada decreased during this time, the rate of injuries did not decline for night shift workers.


The study's results are not a surprise for Krista Dolan, who worked the evening shift at a long-term care facility for seniors in Victoria.


There were fewer staff members than on day shift and her aging patients often became more volatile and delusional at night, she said.


Dolan, 53, knew that a split-second loss of focus could put her at risk, which is what happened one night last June, when a male resident grabbed her thumb to get attention and violently twisted it.


"I've been off work since then and have no idea when I'm going back. My hand is still swollen and painful," she said. "You really need your wits about you in that job."


The survey did not measure the severity of an injury, but rather whether a worker had received compensation for a job injury over the past year.


According to the data, the average claim was $165 for men and women who work rotating or night shifts.


"That doesn't sound like much," Wong admitted. "But when we put all the numbers together we find that millions can be attributed to the extra risk of injury due to shift work."


In 2006, 307,000 work-related injury claims associated with shift work represented more than $50.5 million in costs to Canada's workers' compensation system.


"That's a considerable amount of money," Wong said.


Debra McPherson, president of the B.C. Nurses' Union, said the report confirms what her union has long known: injury rates among her members are a serious problem because of an increasing workload and rotating shift work.


"It doesn't surprise me and it doesn't surprise me that the increase is higher among women," McPherson said.


"Generally women work the night shift, go home and get their kids off to school, get a few hours of sleep, get up and look after their family and then go to work. Many of these women are sleep-deprived and we know that shift work over the long term is associated with health problems."


Mike Old at the Hospital Employees' Union said there is "no question" injuries are an issue for health care workers.


"We've observed that our members who work night shift are often saddled with higher work loads, especially in long-term care facilities. So the issue of fatigue is compounded by the fact that they have more residents to look after than the day shift does because there are fewer staff at night," Old said.


Roberta Ellis of WorkSafeBC, which funded the study in partnership with the UBC Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, said the study helps regulators, employers and workers better understand future trends as the traditional nine-to-five work structure gives way to shift work.


"The society we tend to live in in North America is more and more a 24/7 society," she said.


Ellis said workplace fatigue is not an easy area to manage through laws or regulations, adding "there are general provisions within law that touch on the importance of employers and workers being able to perform their duties safely."


According to the study, the number of Canadians working non-standard hours has increased dramatically in recent decades.


The number of women in rotating and night shift work increased by 95 per cent during the 10-year study period, primarily in the health-care sector.


For men, the increase was 50 per cent, mostly in manufacturing and trades.


The study was co-authored by Chris McLeod, a research associate at UBC's Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, and Paul Demers, clinical faculty member at the UBC School of Population and Public Health.

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« Reply #179 on: November 02, 2010, 10:11:46 pm »

Canadian dollar rises ahead of Fed decision

The Canadian dollar rose to a two-week high Tuesday as the U.S. dollar lost strength.

The loonie advanced to 99.20 cents US early in the day, its highest level since October 15, before giving back some of that gain to close at 99.06 cents, up 0.64 of a cent.

The loonie rose to its highest since Oct. 15 on Tuesday. (Canadian Press)
The greenback slipped on speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve will launch another round of stimulus Wednesday to support the flagging American economy.

It's widely expected the U.S. central bank will announce another round of quantitative easing in the form of monthly bond purchases of $100 billion US over the next six months.

Questions about the size and duration of such a program have put pressure on the U.S. dollar recently, since it involves the Fed generating vast quantities of currency.

Financial markets also looked to Tuesday's midterm elections in the U.S. The Republicans are expected to gain at least partial control of Congress by winning control of the House of Representatives.

Gridlock anxiety
Some traders worry this could lead to gridlock in Washington, meaning there could be a slowdown in new government spending and regulatory reform.

"Both developments should prove medium-term (U.S. dollar) negatives," said a commentary from Scotia Capital.

"The Republicans gaining support and potentially controlling the House will add a level of complication to agreement on a credible fiscal plan going forward, which in turn should weigh on the (U.S. dollar)."

Scotia Capital said the loonie was also supported by increasing speculation that the Canadian government will approve the $38.6-billion US bid by BHP Billiton for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.

Although BHP would pay for the takeover in U.S. dollars, Canadian shareholders of Potash would increase demand for the loonie when they translated their payment into Canadian currency.

The American dollar was put under additional pressure after an unexpected quarter-point interest rate hike by Australia's central bank to deal with inflation risks.
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