Canada Post has fully embraced the parcels business as a way to compensate for a steep drop in letter mail, but it now worries about potential direct competition from retailers for shipping.

“Our largest parcel customer could deliver their own goods,” said Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra during the post office’s annual meeting in Ottawa on Friday, as executives of the crown corporation presented 2015 financial results.

Chopra showed a slide of Amazon’s new Boeing 737 Prime Air, the first of 40 planned by the giant ecommerce company, as a way to bypass traditional shippers, ensuring fast delivery at lower costs. Amazon is also looking at using drones to make deliveries.

Another threat is the fact that more Canadian retailers are offering an “in-store pickup” option for online orders, where customers do the legwork to get their goods and avoid shipping charges, Chopra said.

That underscored Canada Post’s message that while the corporation managed to turn a “modest” profit last year, big challenges remain – especially as the company is in the middle of contract talks with its largest union, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which represents 50,000 employees in two units.

Last year, the post office recorded a $63 million profit, and when affiliated companies like Purolator Courier are included, it was $136 million.

Wayne Cheeseman, Canada Post’s chief financial officer, noted that it was a very small profit, given that Canada Post’s revenues exceeded $6 billion, and when additional companies are included it was $8 billion.

“It’s a marginal reflection of the size of the organization,” he said. “We are not out of the woods yet.”

Cheeseman specifically noted that the company’s pension plan faces a solvency deficit of $8.1 billion as of June 30, 2016, a jump from $6.2 billion at the end of December, blamed on low interest rates.

“The pension plan obligations are larger than the business on its own,” he said, though union officials point out that the solvency deficit is a measure used in the event a pension plan is wound up, such as when a company shut its doors.

The pension plan actually has a $1.2 billion surplus, if measured on an ongoing basis, and the federal government has granted Canada Post a delay on making any back payments it owes until after 2017.

But Cheeseman argued that just one year of zero returns would cost the pension plan $1 billion, and during the financial crisis of 2008, the plan recorded a negative return.

The company wants to switch all new hires to a cheaper defined contribution pension plan, making it one of the most contentious issues at the bargaining table with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

Newly hired management employees were switched to a defined contribution plan in 2010. The new pension plan also applies to three other small unions, including a switch ordered in an arbitration decision related to rural postmasters issued this week.

Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, whose strike mandate expires on Aug. 25, said his union will not back down on this pension fight.

“We are not surprised that Canada Post chose smaller unions to bully (into the change),” he said. “When we succeed in defending our pension plan, it will open the door” to roll back pension changes at other unions.

Japan in transition: How Canada could become a more important trading partner with Japan – Financial Post

Illustration by Mike Faille

The Financial Post presents a six-part series on the tectonic economic transformation underway in Japan. Today, in part six, how new trade deals between Canada and Japan could benefit both sides.

TOKYO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Tokyo in May prompted his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to say that he hoped Canada would help the push to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed deal that will reduce trade barriers between 12 Pacific Rim countries making up 40 per cent of the global economy. 

Japan desperately needs women to work, but harassment, sexism big hurdles to overcome

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japan in transition: The country’s corporate culture is incredibly hostile to women, even as companies need them more than ever to address a shrinking workforce. Continue reading.

Abe showed clear enthusiasm for the deal, but Trudeau during a press conference did not, and only reiterated that his government is still planning a thorough, cross-country review before coming to a decision.

The disparity between the two leaders’ positions on the trade deal shows that Canada and Japan, despite having a long history of business and trade together, remain far apart in many ways. For both, larger markets such as the United States and China tend to be the more immediate focus.

But there is a growing sense in Japan that the two countries could grow closer economically in the coming years as the world becomes increasingly protectionist. In the U.S., both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump have adopted protectionist trade policies into their official platforms. In the United Kingdom, the Brexit vote has tilted the country further away from integration with the global economy.

Canada and Japan have traditionally had a pretty straight-forward trading relationship: Canada exports its raw materials to Japan, an island nation with few natural resources, which then sends over finished manufacturing goods such as vehicles and heavy machinery.

TORU HANAI/AFP/Getty Images

Trade value both ways has been relatively flat in recent years, with Canada exporting about $9.6-billion worth of products to Japan in 2015 and importing about $14.8-billion worth.

Yoichi Kimura, senior director of global strategy at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), said Canada and Japan make for natural trading partners in a world that is becoming more insular.

“There is a trend of protectionism between many countries,” he said. “We see it all over the world. This is a reason why the Canada-Japan relationship is so important. Both countries value free trade.”

But it remains a lopsided relationship. Kimura points out that Japan, mainly through factories and dealerships set up by Japanese automakers, pumps a lot of foreign direct investment into Canada. Little, however, goes the other way: Japan’s FDI into Canada is 11 times higher than the reverse relationship.

Hisako Komai, a senior manager in the international affairs bureau at Keidanren, an influential Japanese business advocacy group, said there are many reasons why Canadian companies should try to jump into the Japanese market.

“Japan has a certain scale; the size of the market is quite large,” she said. “Consumer demand levels in Japan are also quite high.”

Japanese companies, meanwhile, see Canada’s growing consumer market as attractive, but Komai admits the country is also seen as a gateway to even larger markets such as the United States and the European Union.

That could change if some of the myriad trade barriers are removed between Japan and Canada.

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Important negotiations are now underway that could definitively change their trade dynamic, including a free trade agreement. Currently, different free trade agreements cover different industries and rules, but the hope is that tariffs and restrictions between Canada and Japan will be generally eased in order to facilitate more business.

There are also other bilateral efforts underway to spur business. This past March, the second Joint Chamber Symposium of the Japan-Canada Chambers Council was held in Vancouver, with 200 attendees from the government and private sectors. The council is a way for businesses and corporate leaders from both countries to get together and promote business relations.

“I felt there was a rising momentum in the conference, especially from the Canadians, who wanted to change the traditional relationship,” said Shinichi Isobe, head of global strategy for North America and Oceania at JETRO, who attended the symposium. “Both sides wanted to find new fields to make corporate investments.”

The attendees agreed to hold a third meeting, scheduled for April 2017 in Sendai, Japan.

Wilf Wakely, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Tokyo, chair of the Wakely Foreign Law Office and a Canadian who is a long-time resident of Japan, said that there are myriad business opportunities for Canadian companies in Japan.

“There is plenty of bank financing for projects here in Tokyo,” said Wakely, adding Japan is home to thousands of pension funds.

Wakely sees a lot of opportunity for deals and knowledge transfer when it comes to Public-Private Partnerships, which Canada has a lot of experience in. In such projects, private companies help fund and maintain government projects, creating profits for both.

This is a reason why the Canada-Japan relationship is so important. Both countries value free trade

Japan has had its own successful PPP deals, but there is room for many more, especially given some of the massive infrastructure projects in the country. For example, an ultra-fast maglev (magnetic levitation) train — which can travel at 500 km/h — is currently being built from Tokyo to Osaka. For that project, the government will provide a low-interest loan to the company building the track.

“That’s the kind of scale this country thinks in,” Wakely said.

Keiichi Higuchi, director of the North America Economic Coordination Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said another area of opportunity is in the digital economy.

This is especially true if the Trans-Pacific Partnership is eventually signed. Part of the TPP makes a commitment to facilitate the cross-border transfer of information, while also bringing in rules to protect consumers in all 12 countries from online threats such as spam and identity theft. 

The TPP could provide enormous trading potential in areas such as the sharing economy, information technology and the video-game industry, which could be one of the best ways for Canada and Japan to move their economic relationship away from the resource/finished goods model.

“The real potential is in the non-goods sector, in the digital economy,” Higuchi said. “And this is where I think Canada and Japan can really work together.”

John Shmuel reported from Tokyo as part of the Foreign Press Center Japan’s fellowship for international reporters.

New York regulators: Taiwan bank must pay $180M penalty

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York financial regulators say Mega International Commercial Bank of Taiwan will pay a $180 million penalty and install an independent monitor for violating the state’s laws against money laundering.

A consent order signed by bank officials commits Mega International to install compliance controls. The bank has about $103 billion in assets, including $9 billion at its New York branch.

New York’s Department of Financial Services says the bank’s compliance officers were unfamiliar with U.S. regulations and failed to periodically review information meant to detect suspicious transactions.

The department says the bank’s head office was indifferent toward risks associated with transactions from Panama, a high-risk area for money laundering. Mega International has two branches there.

A call to the bank was not immediately returned Friday.

Costly financial fees you may not know you’re paying

At the supermarket, shoppers receive detailed receipts of their scanned and bagged items. After restaurant meals, wait staff hand diners itemized bills. But call out “Check, please!” to a financial services provider and the result might be a rundown of cryptic line items — 12b-1? Expense ratio? Or a passing reference to Part 2 of Form ADV.

Thanks to a new fee-disclosure rule from the Department of Labor, financial pros who offer retirement advice will have to disclose all costs associated with their services and products beginning in April.

But a disclosure that meets the letter of the law might not tell you exactly how much you’re paying in dollars and cents. To find out, you need to know what those fees are called, where they’re referenced, and how they’re calculated.

WHAT’S MISSING FROM YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS STATEMENT

“Amount due for fees” isn’t a line item most investors will find in their statements. Instead, fees are typically expressed as a percentage of the assets in an account and then skimmed off the top of annual returns or baked into an investment’s share price.

The lack of clarity might explain why 46 per cent of full-time employed baby boomers polled by investment advisory firm Rebalance IRA in 2014 said they believed they paid no fees in their retirement accounts.

If only that were true. Based on average contribution rates, 401(k) fees and plan costs, a median-income couple, both of whom work, would pay nearly $155,000 in investment fees over 40 years, according to public policy organization Demos. That’s almost one-third of their total retirement savings returns.

Fees charged by mutual funds within 401(k) plans are on the decline, but all-in costs — including plan administrative fees — often depend on factors including plan size, total assets, service levels and fee structure that are largely outside of an individual consumer’s control.

START DIGGING FOR FEES HERE

If you know what you’re looking for, it’s a lot easier to find the fees buried in 401(k) plan summaries, obscured by jargon in mutual fund prospectuses, and banished to the dark corners of money management firms’ FAQs. Here’s where to point your headlamp:

BROKERAGE COSTS: The broker with the lowest commissions might not be the best deal. Investors who trade infrequently should look out for annual inactivity fees and maintenance costs (which can range from $50 to $200 combined). There are also transfer or liquidation fees ($50 to $75 for a full or partial transfer) and fees to access data feeds and trading tools, which can range from $5 to $50 or more per month for real-time quotes to hundreds of dollars for premium reports.

401(k) ADMINISTRATIVE FEES: Some employers match a portion of each employee’s retirement plan contributions, and the most generous also kick in for the costs of record keeping, compliance and investment curation. That tab is usually around 1 to 2 per cent annually, charged as a percentage of assets. See the plan’s “summary plan description” or email HR to find out if you or your company pays the administrative fees. If the fee is on the high side, consider investing in the 401(k) only until you’ve maxed out the company match and directing additional retirement savings dollars to a self-managed IRA.

MUTUAL FUND MANAGEMENT FEES: Want a new way to say “fee”? Crack open a mutual fund prospectus where sales commissions, management and administrative costs are referred to by names such as “loads” and “12b-1 fees.” The double blow of the “expense ratio” is the most costly of all: First, as the account balance increases, so does the amount skimmed off the top to cover fees. And every dollar paid in fees is one less dollar left to compound and grow.

At the high end of the fee spectrum are actively managed mutual funds helmed by investment managers, which carry an average expense ratio of 1.31 per cent, according to trade association Investment Company Institute. Index mutual funds, which have an average expense ratio of 0.71 per cent, are a lower fee alternative. They’re cheaper because they’re automated to match the return of a particular market index. In the middle are target-date mutual funds — a hybrid of active management and index investing — with an average expense ratio of 0.94 per cent.

These averages provide a good baseline, but it’s even better to compare a fund’s expenses and returns with those of its peers via sites such as Morningstar.com, FeeX.com and FINRA.org.

PERSONAL MONEY MANAGEMENT/ADVISORY FEES: The cost of hiring a fee-only financial planner sounds straightforward. But is that fee charged per hour, by task, as a percentage of assets managed or a combination of these methods? And is there a minimum or required retainer? Form ADV — which advisers are required to file with the SEC and provide to clients at least once per year — covers a money manager’s fee arrangement basics, but the best way to learn specifics is to ask. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors offers a script of tough questions to ask a financial adviser.

_____

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Email staff writer Dayana Yochim: dyochim@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @dayanayochim.

RELATED LINKS:

NerdWallet: How to choose the best retirement plan

http://nerd.me/2_Investing

NAPFA: Tough questions to ask your financial adviser https://www.napfa.org/consumer/ToughQuestionsToAsk.asp

Morgan Stanley accused of mismanaging its 401(k) plan

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Even Wall Street workers are unhappy with how their retirement plans are run.

A participant in Morgan Stanley’s 401(k) plan filed a lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in New York alleging that it offers investment options that have too-high fees and poor track records, including some mutual funds run by Morgan Stanley itself. The suit accuses the $8 billion plan of causing “hundreds of millions of dollars” in losses for its roughly 60,000 participants.

Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Friday’s suit is the latest in a lengthening string of complaints about high fees and poor investment choices at 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans around the country. Franklin Templeton’s 401(k) plan was hit with a similar suit earlier this month, for example. So were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and Yale University.

Each of those defendants, along with Morgan Stanley, has a plan with high ratings relative to peers from Brightscope, which analyzes retirement plans.

But Friday’s suit alleges Morgan Stanley treated the plan “as an opportunity to promote Morgan Stanley’s own mutual fund business and maximize profits” at the expense of its participants, by offering its own funds when it could have offered ones from other providers that had better performance.

As an example, the suit cited the Morgan Stanley Institutional Small-Cap Growth fund, which it said performed worse than 99 per cent of its peers in 2014. Analysts at Morningstar call that fund an “excellent option” but also acknowledge that it’s one of the most volatile in its category, “which can make it difficult for investors to stay the course.”

The importance of having access to a good retirement plan has ballooned, given how few workers are in line to get a traditional pension. And the quality of a 401(k) or 403(b) plan depends largely on whether it has low costs and good investment options.

Investors have been paying more attention to the fees they pay on their investments. Research has shown that one of the best predictors for a mutual fund’s success is whether it has low fees. That’s for the simple reason that a high-cost fund has to perform that much better than a low-cost fund to deliver the same returns.

In recent years, dollars have overwhelmingly been flowing into mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that simply track the Standard & Poor’s 500 and other indexes. These index funds charge some of the lowest fees available, and the dollars they’ve attracted have often been at the expense of higher-cost funds run by managers looking to beat the market.

Colin Powell told Clinton he used private email at State

WASHINGTON – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Friday he once sent Hillary Clinton a memo touting his use of a personal email account for work-related messages after she took over as the nation’s top diplomat in 2009.

In a statement provided to The Associated Press, Powell said he emailed Clinton describing his use of a personal AOL account for unclassified messages while leading the State Department under President George W. Bush. Powell said he told Clinton his use of personal email “vastly improved” communications within the department, which at the time did not have an equivalent internal system.

Powell said the FBI may have obtained a copy of his memo to Clinton during its year-long investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to handle sensitive information during her time as secretary. The FBI closed its investigation last month without finding evidence to support criminal charges against the Democratic presidential nominee.

Powell, a retired Army general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he used a secure computer on his desk at the State Department to manage classified information.

Unlike Clinton, Powell relied on a commercially available service to host his personal email account. Clinton’s private server was located in the basement of the New York home she shared with her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Powell issued the statement after veteran political journalist Joe Conason released an excerpt from his upcoming book about Bill Clinton that recounts a 2009 dinner party for Hillary Clinton hosted by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Powell was in attendance, along with other former secretaries including Henry Kissinger and Condoleezza Rice.

During dessert, Powell advised Clinton to use a personal email account while in office, as he had done, according to the passage from the book “Man of the World: The Further Endeavours of Bill Clinton” provided to AP. Powell reportedly told Clinton that his use of personal email to communicate with his staff had been “transformative for the department.”

According to Conason’s retelling, Clinton replied that she had already decided to continue using the private server in her home she had relied on during her 2008 presidential bid.

In his statement, Powell said he has “no recollection” of his purported dinner conversation with Clinton.

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Associated Press national writer Hillel Italie contributed from New York.

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Follow AP writer Michael Biesecker on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/mbieseck

Moody’s lifts ‘negative’ outlook on Barrick, says progress made on debt load

TORONTO – The Moody’s Investors Service says it has lifted a “negative outlook” on Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) and taken a neutral view of the company’s credit and debt situation.

It says Barrick’s credit metrics have improved “markedly” with adjusted debt down to US$9.2 billion as of June 30, from US$13.2 billion at the end of 2014.

Moody’s adds that Barrick’s US$2.4 billion in cash and US$4 billion of credit as of June 30 give it “significant flexibility to manoeuvre through gold price volatility.”

It also expects Barrick will meet its objective of reducing its debt load by a total of US$2 billion this year, having achieved US$968 million of that already.

As a result, Moody’s has revised its rating outlook for the Toronto-based mining company to stable, from negative.

While Barrick’s rating remains at relatively low Baa3, Moody’s said it could be upgraded slightly if the company articulates its strategy beyond the current focus on selling non-core assets and reducing debt.

Barrick has been downsizing since suffering a number of setbacks, notably court and regulatory rulings against the Pascua-Lama mine on the border of Chile and Argentina.

By the time construction was halted on Pascua-Lama in 2014, its estimated cost had risen to US$8.5 billion from an original estimate of between US$2.8 billion and US$3 billion.

At the same time, the price of gold was trending downward from an all-time high of just over $1,890 per ounce in August 2011. Gold recently returned above $1,300 an ounce but spent weeks below US$1,100 at times since late 2014.

US stocks move lower as energy companies slide

NEW YORK, N.Y. – U.S. stocks are mostly lower Friday as investors continue to sell phone and utility stocks, and energy companies are down as a rally in oil prices fades. Bond prices are also slipping, sending yields higher.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average shed 64 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 18,533 as of 1:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 8 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 2,179. The Nasdaq composite lost 13 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 5,226. Stocks are on track for their first weekly loss since the end of July, while and a seven-week winning streak for the Nasdaq could go by the boards.

ENERGY: Oil prices were little changed. U.S. crude rose 3 cents to $48.25 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 21 cents to $50.68 a barrel in London. Oil has climbed almost 16 per cent over a six-day string of gains. Chevron lost $1.42, or 1.4 per cent, to $102.13 and Exxon Mobil retreated 97 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $87.94.

HANGING UP: Some of the biggest losses Friday went to phone and utility companies. They surged at the beginning of the year as investors looked for safety while the broader market tumbled. They’ve lagged the market during its big recovery, but they are still among best performing parts of the market in 2016.

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Technology companies held up better than other industries. Applied Materials advanced after the manufacturer of chipmaking equipment disclosed new orders and a contract backlog that were much stronger than analysts had forecast. Its stock rose $1.90, or 6.9 per cent, to $29.58. Symantec added 57 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $23.68. Apple, which is trading around four-month highs, gained 10 cents to $109.19.

Tech stocks have staged a big recovery in recent months, and they’re part of the reason the Nasdaq is on a seven-week winning streak.

STILL SHOPPING: Retailers did fairly well, and that limited the losses for consumer companies. Some of the largest gains went to Foot Locker, which reported stronger results than analysts expected. The shoe store climbed $6.52, or 10.6 per cent, to $68.20. Nike also gained $1.59, or 2.8 per cent, to $58.80. Discount retailer Ross Stores raised its profit projections after it surpassed Wall Street estimates in the second quarter, and its stock rose $2.18, or 3.5 per cent, to $65.06.

BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices declined and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note jumped to 1.59 per cent from 1.54 per cent. The dollar edged higher after its recent losses and rose to 100.23 yen. The dollar finished at 99.98 yen Thursday, its first time below 100 yen since October 2013. The euro dipped to $1.1317 from $1.1354.

NOT FEELING PRETTY: Beauty products maker Estee Lauder skidded after its profit forecast for the current quarter and the new fiscal year fell far short of estimates. Estee Lauder stock lost $2.27, or 2.4 per cent, to $92.38.

VALUING VALVES: Emerson Electric agreed to buy buying Pentair’s valves and controls business for $3.15 billion. Pentair acquired that business from Tyco International in 2012 as part of a larger deal between those companies and said it had $1.8 billion in revenue in 2015. Emerson stock fell $1.77, or 3.2 per cent, to $52.90 and Pentair gave up 55 cents to $65.98.

OH DEERE: Farm equipment maker Deere posted strong results and raised its outlook for the year. The company has been cutting costs as farmers struggle with smaller profits on corn and soybeans thanks to large harvests. Its stock added $8.63, or 11.2 per cent, to $85.57.

LOSSES SINK MSG: Madison Square Garden Co. reported a bigger loss and less revenue than analysts had forecast. The company, which owns the New York Knicks and a group of entertainment venues, lost $6.40, or 3.4 per cent, to $181.72.

OVERSEAS: France’s CAC 40 shed 0.8 per cent and Germany’s DAX lost 0.6 per cent. The FTSE in Britain slipped 0.1 per cent. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index added 0.4 per cent as the yen got a bit weaker, easing pressure on shares of the country’s export manufacturers. The yen’s recent rise has made Japan’s exports more expensive and complicated efforts to revive growth. South Korea’s Kospi edged up less than 0.1 per cent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.4 per cent.

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AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay

Inflation in Canada dips to 1.3% in July – CBC.ca

Canada’s annual inflation rate fell to 1.3 per cent last month as consumers paid less for gasoline, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

That’s down from 1.5 per cent in June.

Economists had expected the inflation rate to ease to 1.4 per cent.

Pump prices fell by 5.6 per cent in July, bringing their 12-month drop to 14 per cent. Fuel oil and natural gas prices also were down by double digits from a year earlier.

Clothing prices fell year over year, but consumers paid more for food and shelter, the data agency said.

Canadians paid 10.3 per cent more for fresh or frozen fish last month compared to July 2015. The annual gain in fish prices is the largest in more than two years.

On a monthly basis, prices fell 0.2 per cent in July compared to June.

Core inflation rate unchanged

The core rate of inflation, which strips out volatile elements like fresh produce and fuel, was unchanged from June at 2.1 per cent.

Consumer prices rose less in July than in June in seven provinces. But on an annual basis, the consumer price index was up more in New Brunswick (+2.5 per cent) and in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.4 per cent) as both provinces boosted the provincial portion of the HST on July 1 by two percentage points.  

Here are the annual inflation rates in the other provinces:

  • P.E.I.: 0.6%.
  • Nova Scotia: 0.8%.
  • Quebec: 0.2%.
  • Ontario: 1.5%.
  • Manitoba: 1.5%.
  • Sask.: 1.1%.
  • Alberta: 0.7%.
  • B.C.: 2.1%.

“Markets may be worrying about Canada’s economic growth performance, but underlying inflation certainly isn’t raising any eyebrows,” noted TD economist Leslie Preston in a commentary. 

CANADIAN INFLATION IN JULY

Retail sales disappoint

In a separate report, Statistics Canada said retail sales in June unexpectedly fell by 0.1 per in June from the month before.

Economists had expected they would rise 0.6 per cent.

Retail sales totalled $44.1 billion in June. 

Canadians spent less on food, beverages and clothing, offsetting higher sales of motor vehicles. Sales at new-car dealers rose by 2.5 per  cent — the first such increase in five months, Statistics Canada said. 

Sales of alcohol fell 4.7 per cent — the largest monthly drop in the category since June 2013.

Sales fell in five provinces, led by 0.8 per cent drops in Quebec and Nova Scotia, and a 0.4 per cent drop in Alberta.

But they rose:

  • In Saskatchewan, by 2.1 per cent, led by stronger sales at car dealerships.
  • In New Brunswick, by 1.8 per cent, led by higher car sales as consumers rushed to beat the July increase in the HST.

Scotiabank Economics vice-president Derek Holt predicted that third-quarter retail sales will likely rebound, in part because of “child benefit cheques that became considerably more generous for lower income and middle income cohorts” in July. 

The Canadian dollar weakened following the release of the retail sales and inflation reports. The loonie closed at 77.78 cents US, down more than half a cent from Thursday’s close.

Most analysts expect the Bank of Canada to keep its key overnight lending rate at 0.5 per cent for the rest of this year and well into 2017. 

Ontario’s colleges and McDonald’s Canada ink groundbreaking … – Canada NewsWire (press release)

Colleges Ontario (CNW Group/Colleges Ontario) Facebook Twitter Pinterest
McDonald’s Canada (CNW Group/Colleges Ontario) Facebook Twitter Pinterest

TORONTO, Aug. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - For the first time in Ontario, McDonald’s employees can now receive credits towards a college business diploma, thanks to a new agreement between Colleges Ontario and McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited.

The agreement will create a provincewide partnership with McDonald’s Canada, a leading Canadian business, to establish a prior-learning recognition system. McDonald’s employees, who have completed specific McDonald’s training, will be eligible to be granted the equivalent of first-year credit for a business or business administration program at one of twenty-four (24) public colleges in Ontario. This may lead to significant cost-savings for eligible employees by reducing the number of courses and time required to earn a diploma – with potential savings of up to $4,500.

“We’re thrilled to offer such an amazing program with McDonald’s Canada,” said Linda Franklin, the president and CEO of Colleges Ontario. “This unique arrangement marks a new way of thinking about how employees can get access to further education and training without repeating learning they have already acquired. It’s the type of innovative partnership that colleges and businesses will be doing more of as Canada looks to strengthen its workforce and its economy.”

“McDonald’s and its independent franchisees are committed to providing opportunities for people to learn life skills that will set them up for success – skills such as leadership, communications, hospitality and profit management,” said Sharon Ramalho, Chief People Officer of McDonald’s Canada. “We’re so pleased to work with the colleges on this new program that not only recognizes the quality of McDonald’s training, but also empowers employees to apply the skills they’ve learned to reach their career and academic goals.”

Across Ontario, twenty-four (24) public colleges have agreed to grant recognition for first-year business credit into the business diploma or business administration advanced diploma (or the relevant related program at each local college) to McDonald’s managers who have successfully completed the management development program level 2, with some additional requirements. This means that employees will have the opportunity to directly enter a second-year business diploma or business administration advanced diploma program.

The program is now available for McDonald’s employees across Ontario. McDonald’s Canada currently offers a similar program in B.C. with the British Columbia Institute of Technology and is also exploring programs with other post-secondary institutions across the country.

About Colleges Ontario

Colleges Ontario is the advocacy organization for the province’s twenty-four (24) public colleges. Colleges Ontario advances policies and awareness campaigns to ensure Ontario produces the highly skilled workforce that is essential to the province’s prosperity. For more information on Colleges Ontario, visit CollegesOntario.org

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About McDonald’s Canada

In 1967, Canadians welcomed the first McDonald’s restaurant to Richmond, British Columbia. Today, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited has become part of the Canadian fabric, serving close to three million guests every day.  Nearly 90,000 people from coast-to-coast are employed by either McDonald’s Canada or independent franchisees, and approximately 85 per cent of McDonald’s 1,400 Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by these independent entrepreneurs. Of the almost $1 billion we spend on food, more than 85 per cent is purchased from Canadian suppliers. For more information on McDonald’s Canada visit McDonalds.ca

For more information about McDonald’s Archways to Opportunity program please visit www.ArchwaysToOpportunity.com

SOURCE Colleges Ontario

Image with caption: “Colleges Ontario (CNW Group/Colleges Ontario)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160819_C4184_PHOTO_EN_755737.jpg

Image with caption: “McDonald’s Canada (CNW Group/Colleges Ontario)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160819_C4184_PHOTO_EN_755735.jpg

For further information: Amy Dickson, Manager, Media Relations and Communication, Colleges Ontario, T: 647-258-7686, dickson@collegesontario.org; Michelle Yao, Manager, Communications, McDonald’s Canada, T: 416-642-3634, Michelle.Yao@ca.mcd.com

RELATED LINKS
www.collegesontario.org

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