Western Canada’s drought is taking a toll

Source: www.edmontonjournal.com

Record-breaking temperatures and extremely low rainfalls across Western Canada are causing chaos for farmers and firefighters this summer as they grapple with the worst drought in more than a decade.

The widespread hot and dry conditions in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan have led to a jump in wildfires, tight water restrictions, and pressure on farmers as many crops remain stunted and the cost of hay skyrockets.

And while some rain sprinkled over the largely bone-dry Prairies this week, it may be too little too late for the western provinces to fully recover before the summer ends.

Plans to help the dry provinces cope with the drought have already been initiated. On Thursday, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the federal government would grant tax deferrals to livestock producers in regions affected by drought.

On the same day, with smoke billowing from a hillside behind him, Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed to take a hard look at new ways to fight devastating wildfires like the one raging near West Kelowna, B.C.

In Alberta, several counties have declared states of agricultural emergency. In Saskatchewan, crop insurance rules are being loosened to help the anxious farmers. In British Columbia, water restrictions have been imposed while “drought shaming” grows on social media.

And it’s prompting many people to ask just what’s going on.

“Is it climate change? I don’t know. It may just be a fluke, it may just be something coincidental, it’s hard to say,” says David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

He says although many people have associated the lack of rain in the region with El Niño — a climate event that happens when warm water in the Pacific Ocean interacts with the atmosphere — it may actually be connected to a mass of warm water in the Pacific Ocean that originated in the Gulf of Alaska and moved down the coast to British Columbia. It’s been dubbed the “Pacific blob.”

“(It) could have contributed to weather blocking, which prevents normal processing of precipitation events, over the western provinces,” Phillips says, adding it also could have brought wetter weather in the east.

“What we’re seeing now is conditions go from one extreme to the other,” Phillips says. “Some parts of the Prairies last year were the wettest on record. This year, we’ve seen the opposite.”

He calls it “weather whiplash.”

“That seems to be a common thing that we’re seeing around the world, where normal doesn’t exist anymore.”

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Saskatchewan government gives fire evacuees more time to make overdue payments

REGINA _ People forced out of their homes by wildfires across northern Saskatchewan are getting temporary relief on overdue payments.

Premier Brad Wall says the province’s Crown utilities and its insurance company SGI are waiving bills, premiums and driver’s licence fees until Sept. 1.

He says SaskTel, SaskPower and SaskEnergy won’t go ahead with collection actions on overdue accounts and won’t disconnect utilities for non-payment.

As well, customers are to receive a future credit for about a month’s worth of fixed-service delivery fees.

Licence plates and driver’s licences that may expire during the evacuation period will be extended.

Walls says being away from one’s home is stressful enough without having to worry about paying bills.

Small-to-medium businesses directly affected by the fires can also apply for relief from penalties and interest charges for filing late provincial sales tax returns.

canada-press

TMX Group Announces Sale of Equicom to NATIONAL Public Relations

TORONTO, July 14, 2015 /CNW/ – TMX Group today announced that it has sold the business of its investor relations subsidiary The Equicom Group Inc. (Equicom) to NATIONAL Public Relations Inc.

The decision to enter into this transaction was made within the scope of TMX Group’s recent organizational review and strategic realignment, which was announced on June 2, 2015. The stated goal of this process was to sharpen the focus of TMX Group’s investment strategy on a core set of product and service offerings.

“Equicom provides excellent investor relations consulting services to our clients and we are pleased to continue recommending its services to our listed issuers under NATIONAL’s leadership,” said Ungad Chadda, Senior Vice President, Toronto Stock Exchange.

The transaction closed today. The terms were not disclosed.

About TMX Group (TSX:X)

TMX Group’s key subsidiaries operate cash and derivative markets and clearinghouses for multiple asset classes including equities, fixed income and energy. Toronto Stock Exchange, TSX Venture Exchange, TMX Select, Alpha Group, The Canadian Depository for Securities, Montréal Exchange, Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corporation, NGX, BOX Options Exchange, Shorcan, Shorcan Energy Brokers and other TMX Group companies provide listing markets, trading markets, clearing facilities, depository services, data products and other services to the global financial community. TMX Group is headquartered in Toronto and operates offices across Canada (Montréal, Calgary and Vancouver), in key U.S. markets (New York, Houston, Boston and Chicago) as well as in London, Beijing, Singapore and Sydney. For more information about TMX Group, visit our website at www.tmx.com. Follow TMX Group on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tmxgroup.

SOURCE Toronto Stock Exchange

The New York Stock Exchange halted trading in all securities on Wednesday morning after a “major technical issue”.

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Scotiabank Selects Ivalua for Global Supplier Risk and Procurement Platform

Redwood City, CA – As of June 9, 2015 – Ivalua, a leading global spend management solutions provider, announced that Scotiabank, one of Canada’s largest banks and the 9th largest bank in North America by assets and profits, has selected Ivalua to address its need for a centralized procurement process and solution that will empower its global procurement and vendor risk management initiatives.

“Scotiabank needed a comprehensive solution that would allow us to more effectively manage the source-to-pay process, as well as improve enterprise visibility into supplier performance and risk. After reviewing all of the top players on the market, Ivalua’s integrated solution and experience in the financial services industry made it the clear choice for us,” said John Moran, Senior Vice President of Finance at Scotiabank. “We’re very excited to start working with Ivalua and we look forward to a long-term, successful relationship.”

Prior to signing with Ivalua, Scotiabank’s strategic and transactional procurement processes were managed through multiple systems resulting in efficiency challenges with limited visibility across source-to-pay processes. In addition, emerging compliance standards in the financial services industry increased the need for a more effective procurement and supplier management platform.

Scotiabank will use Ivalua globally to automate and support the following processes:

• All elements of Scotiabank’s Source-to-Pay Process
• Spend Analysis
• Services Procurement
• Expense Management
• Vendor Risk Management
• Procurement Portfolio Management

“Ivalua has a long tradition of working with leading financial services companies, and we are honored and excited to be working with such a large player in the industry like Scotiabank,” said Dan Amzallag, CEO of Ivalua. “In today’s market you need to move beyond slogans to deliver real, measurable value to large, discerning buyers, and when companies like Scotiabank look deeply at the various technologies on the market they tend to find their way to Ivalua.”

About Ivalua

Ivalua is a global provider of spend management solutions and a leader in Gartner’s 2015 Strategic Sourcing Magic Quadrant. Ivalua’s cloud-based software is used by procurement and finance organizations in large, global companies, and every day more than 500,000 users and millions of suppliers from over 70 countries log into the Ivalua platform.

Ivalua offers a single platform solution with highly configurable functionality across all major procurement and finance processes, including performance and risk tracking, sourcing, contracts, procure to pay, invoice automation and analytics. The breadth and flexibility of Ivalua’s offering accelerates user adoption, spend category coverage and bottom-line savings.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is Canada’s most international bank and a leading financial services provider in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Central America, and parts of Asia. The bank is dedicated to helping its 21 million customers become better off through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking. With a team of more than 86,000 employees and assets of $852 billion (as at January 31, 2015), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (TSX: BNS) and New York Exchanges (NYSE: BNS).

Watch What You Say: Off-Duty Conduct Can Lead To Serious Workplace Repercussions

Article by Gabriel Granatstein

A few people have recently learned that publicly embarassing yourself outside of work can have a serious impact at work. A Hydro One employee was swiftly terminated following offensive statements made to a news reporter. A TC Transcontinental employee was suspended with pay pending an investigation following the public heckling of a female comedian. Does an employer have the right to investigate your off-duty conduct? Where is the line between your private and work life?

As non-unionized employers don’t need “cause” to terminate an employee, much of the case law has come from unionized workplaces. Arbitrators have held that in order for an employer to terminate an employee for off-duty conduct, there should be a connection between the conduct and the workplace. In order to establish this connection, decision makers have applied the “Millhaven Factors” which were outlined in the seminal case of Re Millhaven Fibres Ltd. & Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers I.U. Loc. 9-670, [1967] O.L.A.A. No. 4. The five factors are:

  • The conduct of the employee harms the company’s reputation or product;
  • The employee’s behaviour renders the employee unable to perform his duties satisfactorily;
  • The employee’s behaviour leads to refusal, reluctance or inability of the other employees to work with him;
  • The employee has been guilty of a serious breach of the Criminal Code and thus rendering his conduct injurious to the general reputation of the company and its employees;
  • Creates difficulty for the company to properly carry out “its function of efficiently managing its works and efficiently directing its working forces.”

These factors have been applied in recent arbitral decisions to determine whether an employer was justified in imposing discipline on an employee for off-duty conduct.

Although only proving one of these factors is required to for an employer to justify termination, arbitrators have emphasized that there can be a high threshold to meet. The interests of the employee in the autonomy of their private affairs must be balanced with the employers desire to protect their reputation and fellow workers. Arbitrators require a thorough investigation to be completed by the employer to substantiate claims under any of these factors.

In the Twitter age, an employee’s off-duty conduct is more likely to be broadcasted, and the continued rise of social media makes it easier for an employee to be connected to their workplace. Recent events serve as a cautionary tale for employees that clocking out from the office doesn’t necessarily disconnect them from certain employment obligations.

This article was written with the assistance of Nicole Buchanan, summer student.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright is a global legal practice. We provide the world’s pre-eminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3800 lawyers based in over 50 cities across Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.

 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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