Alberta cuts business tax, boosts infrastructure spending to reboot economy

By Dean Bennett

THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON _ Alberta is cutting business taxes, pumping billions into infrastructure and making a full-court press to lure jobs from Toronto, Montreal and elsewhere to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re going to be placing a huge emphasis on finance and financial technology,” Kenney said Monday in Calgary.

“All of those banks and insurance companies down on Bay Street that are paying way more taxes. Their workers are paying way more taxes. They are paying way more for rent. They’re fighting Toronto traffic.

“We’re going to be telling them that they can save money for their shareholders, for their workers, for their operations by relocating financial and fin-tech jobs to places like downtown Calgary, downtown Edmonton.”

Kenney said they will also target companies in other locations such as Montreal, Houston and New York as his province works to dig out of a cratered provincial economy caused by the pandemic and by a global oil price war that sent profits into a tailspin.

Alberta has flattened the curve on COVID-19 and has reopened much of its economy, albeit with health safety conditions, and Kenney said now is the time to get the economy back on its feet.

This year’s budget deficit is expected to balloon from $7 billion to $20 billion.

Kenney announced an immediate $10 billion will be spent on a range of infrastructure projects, including roads, health-care facilities, and schools to create construction jobs, with spinoff benefits to other service providers.

Kenney cut the corporate income tax rate to 10 per cent from 12 per cent after taking office last year. That figure was to go down to eight per cent in the coming years, but Kenney announced it will be done this week. That makes it four percentage points lower than key competitors such as British Columbia.

Albertans already have the lowest tax regime in Canada and pay no sales tax.

There will also be an Innovation Employment grant to encourage high-tech companies and investment. The grant replaces tax incentives put in place by the previous NDP government, which Kenney scrapped on the grounds the incentives were too narrowly focused.

Details on this fund, and other sector-specific initiatives are expected in the coming days.

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the $10 billion will help as a short term  “shock absorber” but called Kenney’s other ideas unimaginative, adding the corporate income tax cut didn’t bring back jobs before the pandemic, and won’t bring them back after.

“There’s very little new that is in here and it proves that this government is already out of ideas,” said Notley.

Ken Kobly, head of the Alberta Chambers of Commerce, said the announcement delivers critical aid.

“The measures announced today will help business operators get back on their feet so they can begin rebuilding our economy,” he said.

The plan is a marked departure from the laissez-faire economic platform Kenney championed and won on in the election. Kenney chastised then-premier Notley’s NDP at the time for heavy spending on infrastructure and on day-to-day operations, saying it would cripple future generations with unsustainable debt.

Since then, as the oil and gas economy has been slow to recover, Kenney assumed a more direct interventionist approach.

In March, his government agreed to provide $1.5-billion, plus a $6-billion loan guarantee, to Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation, enabling the completion of the KXL pipeline.

Finance Minister Travis Toews said Monday that “there’s good debt and bad debt.” Bad debt, he said, is borrowed money for operations while good debt invests in infrastructure that in turn lures businesses to the province.

“This is an incredible ditch that we have to get through, and so it warrants a significant investment,” said Toews.

 

More Canadians are worrying about the economy and over half are cutting discretionary spending

 TORONTO, June 29, 2020 /CNW/ – COVID-19’s impact on the economy is causing many Canadians to worry about the future: 79 per cent of respondents in CIBC’s Financial Priorities Poll say they are concerned about continued recessionary times next year, compared to 55 per cent who said they feared an economic downturn in a December 2019 survey.

Economic worries may be a factor in why many Canadians are adjusting their financial habits.

Many respondents (63 per cent) say they have significantly cut down on discretionary spending and more than half (55 per cent) agree they need to get a better handle on their finances this year.

“It’s understandable that Canadians are worried about the economy and are feeling uncertain about the impact on their ambitions, but this is a time when good financial advice conversations are most valuable, including assessing your overall situation, looking at opportunities to improve cash flow, and adjusting your financial plan if necessary,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, Group Head, Retail and Business Banking, CIBC. “It’s a positive sign that many Canadians are taking a responsible approach to the situation by making changes to their spending and working to limit unnecessary debt. Good cash flow management now can help you through the current situation, and over the longer term free up funds to divert towards savings or other goals.”

The survey also found that 46 per cent of Canadians say the economic impact of the pandemic has adversely affected their finances and a similar number (47 per cent) feel it will take more than a year to get their personal finances back on track. Canadians are prioritizing building an emergency fund in 2020, citing this as a top goal for the remainder of the year, followed by steering clear of adding on debt. Of the 22 per cent of respondents who’ve had to borrow more in the past 12 months, the number one reason was for day-to-day items (38 per cent) followed by a loss of income (28 per cent).

“The impact of the pandemic will be felt by Canadians for some time. While we have a long way to go to get back to a normal economy, taking charge of your finances now with a savings and debt management plan is an important step towards putting your personal finances back on track,” added Ms. Dottori-Attanasio.

The survey also found:

  • Top financial goals for the remainder of 2020 are: generally saving as much as possible (37 per cent), and avoiding taking on more debt (36 per cent)
  • Close to three-fourths of Canadians (74 per cent) say the uncertainty of the current environment makes it difficult to plan ahead, and over half (54 per cent) are generally worried about their financial future
  • The number of people who say they’ve taken on more debt is lower (22 per cent) than in December 2019 (28 per cent). Among those who have taken on more debt, 38 per cent say they did so to cover day-to-day expenses or due to loss of income (28 per cent) and job loss (18 per cent, +9 per cent from December 2019)
  • Regionally, the poll found differences in how Canadians are tightening their wallets. Residents in the Prairies say they are cutting discretionary spending the most, led by 76 per cent of those in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 69 per cent of Albertans, compared to the national average of 63 per cent
  • At 58 per cent, taking on more debt to pay for day-to-day items was the highest in British Columbia, 20 per cent higher than the national average of 38 per cent

Disclaimer

From June 8th to June 9th 2020 an online survey of 1,517 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been weighted by education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/en/about-cibc/media-centre.html.

SOURCE CIBC

www.cibc.com

Great West subsidiary buying Personal Capital in deal worth at least US$825M

WINNIPEG _ A subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc. has signed a deal to buy U.S. investment manager Personal Capital in a deal worth at least US$825 million.

Under the agreement, Empower Retirement will pay US$825 million, plus up to an additional US$175 million subject to the achievement of target growth objectives.

Great-West says Personal Capital is a hybrid wealth manager that combines a digital experience with personalized advice delivered by people.

The company says the deal will combine Empower retirement plan services and financial tools with Personal Capital’s digitally oriented personal wealth management platform.

IGM Financial Inc., a sister company to Great-West, holds a stake in Personal Capital and says it expects US$176.6 million in proceeds from the deal, plus up to an additional $24.6 million in possible additional payments.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2020, subject to required regulatory approvals.

 

Desjardins to give $100M back to its Canadian auto insurance clients

MONTREAL, June 29, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ – Today, Desjardins’s property & casualty insurance subsidiaries announced they would be issuing $100 million in premium refunds to their Canadian auto insurance clients. The refunds are for eligible personal and commercial insurance clients, who will receive a refund between 25 per cent and 40 per cent of the premium they pay for one month, depending on their market realities. The refund will apply to policies for eligible personal and commercial vehicles.

All told, 2.1 million clients will automatically receive the refund through their usual payment method, so they don’t need to do anything.

More people are working from home than ever before. Combined with the extended lockdown, this means that travel has been limited and car accident risks have been reduced. Fewer accidents mean fewer claims to pay out, so Desjardins has decided to reflect this reality by issuing this refund to its clients.

“Even though we’re beginning to reopen our provinces and cities, the pandemic will continue to affect our members and clients. We’re proud to say that we’re still here for them in these unprecedented times. Right now, we’re able to give $100 million back to our auto insurance clients. This is just one of the many ways that Desjardins has helped its members and clients deal with COVID-19 since March 16,” said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins Group.

Today’s announcement follows an initial refund of close to $50 million to auto insurance clients, bringing the total close to $150 million.

About Desjardins Group
Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest cooperative financial group in the world, with assets of $326.9 billion. It has been rated one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers by Mediacorp. To meet the diverse needs of its members and clients, Desjardins offers a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses through its extensive distribution network, online platforms and subsidiaries across Canada. Ranked among the world’s strongest banks according to The Banker magazine, Desjardins has some of the highest capital ratios and credit ratings in the industry.

SOURCE Desjardins Group

https://www.desjardins.com/

How to boost your auto loan application

How to boost your auto loan application

Tips from

Cars are expensive—sometimes really expensive. And it’s rare to have cash ready to go in the bank when your old car dies or you need an upgrade. That’s was auto loans are for. But while they’re one of the easier kinds of credit to be approved for, qualification isn’t 100 percent guaranteed.

However, there are simple steps you can take to help level-up your application to be a better shoo-in for approval even if you’ve been rejected in the past. Here are a few things you can do to yourself the best chance of success.

Why applications are denied

It’s possible, although rare, for applicants to be denied an auto loan. When it does happen it’s most often for one of two reasons:

  • The applicant doesn’t have enough credit history to base a decision on
  • The applicant’s monthly debt obligations, including requested loan payment exceed the maximum allowable percentage of monthly income

If you’re worried that either of these may apply to you, there are several credit-boosting tips you can use to help you qualify more easily for an auto loan.

4 credit-boosting tips

1. Make sure you have good credit

By law, you can check the details held on your files with the major credit reference agencies Equifax and TransUnion. Use this ability to see exactly how your credit rating stands.

If your credit is good, you know you can probably apply successfully. But if it’s less than perfect, it’s not the end of the world.

2. Work on your credit before applying

If your credit rating is a little below its best, do what you can to clean it up before you apply. For example:

  • Check your file for any mistakes, such as debts listed which you’ve previously paid off and write to the agencies asking for any errors to be corrected, no matter how small.
  • Look for any old, small debts you can clear without too much trouble
  • Make sure any regular credit repayments you’ve been making are shown in your report so that your score will get the benefit

Working on your credit is worthwhile even if it’s already good, as even small improvements in your score could mean you’re offered a better rate on your loan.

3. Have a solid source of income

Your income level is key to qualification for any kind of credit. You may not be able to do much about the money you have coming in, but it’s essential to have a reliable main source of income. It’s also beneficial to gather solid documentation showing proof of all the income you receive in case they are requested. Tax documents and current paystubs are some examples

4. Consider a pre-approval

Lastly, if you’re worried about your chances of qualifying, testing the water with a pre-approval is a sensible step to take. It will let you see how much you could borrow and under what terms, and will let you look for your next car with full confidence you can finance it.

Talk to us today

Taking these steps before applying will give you the best chance of qualifying but if you’re ready to apply or have questions, talk to us today. We can arrange auto financing for people with a wide range of circumstances.

Source:
Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union

Road tests for certain types of driver licenses set to resume in B.C.

VANCOUVER _ The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is resuming on-road testing for commercial licences but drivers waiting for passenger vehicle tests must hold on a little longer.

In line with B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, the corporation says commercial road tests resume next week and appointments can be booked starting Thursday.

The tests are for drivers seeking licence endorsements ranging from a Class 1, which is operation of a semi-trailer, to Class 4, which covers school buses, ambulances, taxis and limousines.

ICBC says a decision about tests for other licence types, including Class 5 passenger vehicle licences, depends on the effectiveness of the first phase of testing and access to enough protective gear.

Examiners will use a combination of masks, shields, goggles, gloves and disposable seat covers when doing the tests.

Those taking the tests will be asked several health questions and must wear a supplied medical-grade mask during the test.

ICBC suspended all road tests on March 17 because of the pandemic.

Nicolas Jimenez, the corporation’s president and CEO, says the safety of its customers and employees is the top priority.

“We have taken a thoughtful approach to develop a plan that allows us to resume road tests in the safest manner possible,” he says in a statement.

“Customers have been eager to see these services resume and we’re happy to have found a way to do so safely.”

Some knowledge tests, required in advance of a road test, resumed on May 4. The corporation expanded its approach on June 1 by including knowledge tests for all types of licenses.

 

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