American protectionism hurting Canadian manufacturers
Friday, 06 August 2010 09:34 Mary Del Ciancio
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill - H.R. 5320, the Assistance, Quality and Affordability Act of 2010 - that includes a "Buy American" provision, which will prevent Canadian manufacturers from bidding on U.S. water and wastewater projects.
"Passage of H.R. 5320 by the U.S. House of Representatives represents another roadblock to our water and wastewater manufacturing sector, both in Canada and the U.S.," says Jayson Myers, president and CEO, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. "This vote also indicates that the pull of protectionism south of our border remains all too attractive to many members of Congress. Ottawa and Washington must show leadership." H.R. 5320 authorizes appropriations totalling nearly $5 billion US over the next three years to capitalize state programs to fund community water infrastructure projects, and an additional $100 million US over five years to provide grants for small public water systems in the U.S. to cover the cost of complying with drinking water regulations. The bill includes a "Buy American" provision similar to the one adopted last year in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Senate must now approve their version of a similar funding bill.
In 2008 alone, Canada and the U.S. sent more than $10 billion of components and parts across our border.
"Given the enormous demands and anticipated investments in this sector in both countries in the years to come, the marketplace must see certainty, transparency and reciprocity," states Myers. "We must develop a bilateral water and wastewater procurement agreement, and negotiations need to begin before Congress returns from its summer recess." Workplace injuries drop in 2009
Published Friday August 6th, 2010
"We are pleased to have met our target for reducing injury frequency, down from 3.4 accidents (per 100 workers) in 2008 to 3.24 in 2009," said Roberta Dugas, chairwoman of WorkSafe NB's board of directors in a statement to shareholders. This drop represents a 4.9 per cent decrease.
Costs of accident insurance and health and safety services dropped last year, said Douglas Stanley, president of the agency.
For the fourth consecutive year assessment rates for employers decreased from $2.05 in 2008 to $2.03 in 2009, he said.
Assessment rates are measured as a portion of every $100 employers pay out in salary.
"Financially we had a bad year last year because our investments did poorly," Stanley said.
But in 2009 the organization's funding position improved. To be 100 per cent funded means WorkSafe NB would have enough money to pay the full amount to all injured workers who are entitled, Stanley said.
"Returning to a full-funded liability and reducing assessment rates while at the same time increasing the amount set aside for annuity benefits for injured workers is clearly an achievement," Dugas said.
A large portion of the Crown corporation's mandate is to provide education about workplace injuries, Stanley said.
In the past the agency has organized focused safety seminars in high-risk sectors such as prefabricated building, logging and fish processing. The success of these seminars has reduced accident rates in those sectors and allowed the agency to redirect its seminars to other problem areas.
Last year nursing home injuries rose 11 per cent while supermarkets and restaurants, previously high injury workplaces, saw slight improvements.
Stanley said back injuries and muscle strains from lifting patients are a problem in nursing homes and the agency aims to tackle the issue over the next year.
In 2009 the organization conducted 8,548 workplace inspections and wrote 7,585 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The number of workers who filed claims requiring medical expenses or time off work or both decreased slightly from 2008.
The time between the injury to when a worker receives their first claim cheque is a metric WorkSafe NB uses to measure success, Stanley said.
The claims time has decreased over the year, he said.
In 2009 more than 23,880 people filed claims and approximately half of those involved no cost nor an application for benefits.
WorkSafe NB has faced several challenges in the form of increased medical costs and long-term claims, he said.
He said WorkSafe NB will be appointing a new CEO in the near future and it will be important that government respects the board's decision.
The board is made up of committed members of labour and management teams, he said, and a solid relationship between the two groups is essential to creating a future culture of safety.
WorkSafe NB is an agency which provides no-fault accident and disability insurance and also acts as an enforcement agency.
Metro residents weigh in on power
Thursday August 5th, 2010
More than 30 members of the public attended Tory-held energy forum
BY ALLISON TOOGOOD
TIMES & TRANSCRIPT
Riverview MLA Bruce Fitch was among the panel of Tories facilitating the forum, and he welcomed everyone last night at the Delta Beauséjour. Moncton Crescent MLA John Betts and Sue Stultz, Tory candidate for Moncton West, were sitting in with the public.
One major component that residents of Metro Moncton want to see in the Tory energy platform by September 27 is education.
Greg Daborn, president of the New Brunswick and P.E.I. chapter of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society, highlighted that the province's energy knowledge base is far from the standards in the rest of the world.
He says the Tories should pledge to promote higher education in energy in the province's post-secondary institutions.
"In my opinion, we need to provide better educational opportunities for all New Brunswickers," he says, "We need to raise the bar for young people and do some forward thinking."
Université de Moncton student Alison McKay finds it incredibly discouraging that New Brunswick students "can't" have the same educational opportunities as those studying at Harvard or Columbia, as brought up by a couple of other speakers.
"If our students were given the chance, they can keep up with today's innovations and today's technology."
She says there are two levels of education - what's taught in the classroom and what's offered in the community.
"What's not happening a lot of the times is the opportunities for the students to go out and do summer work terms with companies and to learn where things are at.
"If you don't see today's technologies, you fall behind and then you have to leave the province or even the country."
She says she knows first-hand what local students are capable of.
"They can do pretty incredible things if given the opportunity."
Exploration into other resources were among the proposed possibilities for the Tories.
One Memramcook resident says he and his father have been using windmill power as a community based, environmental impact project for the past two years.
"The 10 cents-a-kilowatt that the provincial government is giving out now is not sufficient."
He says that Québec offers a 12.5 cents-a-kilowatt rate for a community-based project and Ontario is up to 14.5.
"We have a big source of wind and we should take advantage of that."
Solar power was brought up by a few voices but wasn't elaborated upon.
David Plante, the vice president of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island divisions of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, says if elected, the Tories should keep up the reintegration of NB Power.
"It's a positive step," he says, "We need a longer-term vision for our public utility."
He also says what NB Power's missing is workable energy purchase agreements.
"The government needs a utility mandate to find the cheapest source of power. We're better off, in the long term, to do it."
Tom MacKenzie of Albert County suggested that the Tories should aim to get votes from the younger generation with certain incentives.
"People aged 18 to 35 are looking into buying homes, old and newly constructed, so there should be some types of power incentives."
The final energy forum will be held tonight in Edmundston.
After tonight's forum, the collected information and feedback will be rolled into a comprehensive report for the Tories by UdeM economics professor Pierre-Marcel Desjardins and Saint John lawyer Darrell Stephenson.
Atlantic Canadians meet with Minister Day on Canada's economic recovery
Media Caster Magazine
HALIFAX, AUG. 6
HALIFAX, Aug. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Stockwell Day, President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today met with a number of prominent Atlantic Canadians to discuss Canada's economic future and deficit reduction. He was joined by Gerald Keddy, Member of Parliament for South Shore-St. Margaret's.
"Resource-based industries continue to be the lifeblood of Atlantic Canada and it is important to hear from those who are close to the issues," said Minister Day. "Our Economic Action Plan has put Canada back on the right course, but the recovery is still fragile and our government wants to ensure that growth and prosperity continue in all parts of the country."
As part of the government's commitment to fiscal restraint, Minister Day has been holding roundtables to consult with key Canadians on economic issues. These meetings will help further the government's action to develop a roadmap to a balanced budget in 2014.
"I have had great discussions at these meetings and the input and advice that I received today in Halifax will help us as we take steps to maintain Canada's strong economic position," added Minister Day.
Later today, Minister Day will speak at a luncheon hosted by the Bridgewater and Area Chamber of Commerce. His speech will expand on the topic of Canada's return to a balanced budget and long-term economic success.
Backgrounder Halifax Roundtable Participants
Judith Andrew, Vice-President of Legislative Affairs, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
In addition to her current position as Vice-President of Legislative Affairs, Ms. Andrew is the Federation's acting Vice-President for Atlantic Canada. Prior to this, she was the Vice-President for Ontario from 1999 to 2009.
Tricia Brommit, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Association of Community Business Development Corporations
Ms. Brommit was appointed Executive Director of the Association in 2010. The Association is an umbrella organization serving Community Business Development Corporations in Nova Scotia. The Corporations support the development of small business and job creation throughout Nova Scotia.
Greg Browning, Chair of the Board, Black Business Initiative
The Black Business initiative was set-up in 1996 by the province of Nova Scotia and the federal government with the goal of fostering growth of businesses owned by members of the Nova Scotia black community. Mr. Browning has been with the Black Business Initiative since 2005 and previously served as the Chair of the Finance Committee.
Lisa Bugden, Vice-President Marketing Communications, Nova Scotia Business Inc.
Ms. Bugden is an experienced communications professional who has worked in both the private and public sectors. Nova Scotia Business Inc. is the province's private sector-led business development agency.
Charles Cirtwill, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
Charles Cirtwill was recently appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. Mr. Cirtwill has worked in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors as a program manager, policy analyst, senior administrator, consultant and entrepreneur.
Amelia DeMarco, Research Analyst, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Ms. Demarco has been a research analyst for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business since 2008. From 2005-06, she was a research assistant at the Boston University School of Medicine.
Bill Denyar, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce
Prior to heading up the Atlantic Provinces Chambers of Commerce, Mr. Denyar served as President of the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce. A long-time and active chamber member, Mr. Denyar is a professional geologist and entrepreneur with over 15 years experience in financial services.
Dr. J. Colin Dodds, President, St. Mary's University
Dr. Dodds has headed Saint Mary's since 2000. Prior to that, he served as Dean of the Business School, and as Vice-President, Academic and Research. Under Dr. Dodds's leadership, the University has created a number of partnerships with universities around the world. He has also worked to boost community outreach projects locally, nationally and internationally.
Rick Farmer, Interim Executive Director, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities
Rick Farmer has an extensive background in the public and private sectors. For over 25 years, he served as Chief Financial Officer for the City of Sydney and Cape Breton Regional Municipality. In 2007, following his retirement, Mr. Farmer began work as a private consultant.
Jeff Forbes, Chair of the Board, Halifax Chamber of Commerce
Mr. Forbes joined the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of the Chamber of Commerce in 2005. He has been involved in the Chamber since 2001. Mr. Forbes is Vice-President with the recruitment company Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette.
Malcom Fraser, Board Member, Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
In addition to his work on the Board of Directors at the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, Malcolm Fraser is President of ISL, a Web marketing and development company. Mr. Fraser is an active member of the business community and has been recognized as one of Atlantic Canada's top CEOs.
Imelda Gilman, President, Saint John Board of Trade
Ms. Gilman has worked in a variety of management roles at the Board of Trade for the last 15 years. Ms. Gilman is active with a variety of community organizations, including as a District Council member of Junior Achievement of Southwestern New Brunswick and a member of the Rotary Club of Saint John.
Ann Janega, Vice-President for Nova Scotia, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Nova Scotia Ms. Janega is a lawyer and business advocate with experience in provincial government, the private sector and university life. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Nova Scotia works to promote the competitiveness of Nova Scotia's manufacturers around the world.
Pierre-Yves Julien, Medavie Blue Cross, President and CEO, Medavie Blue Cross
Mr. Julien joined Medavie Blue Cross in 1999 as Vice-President of Customer Service, and was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in 2001. He is a past Chairman of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association.
Dianne Kelderman, Chief Executive Officer, Nova Scotia Co-operative Council
In addition to her work at the Council, Ms. Kelderman is currently President of Atlantic Economics, a firm that specializes in economic analysis and development, public policy and finance. She has been involved with the co-operative movement since the mid-90s and has served as Chief Executive Officer for the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council since 2002.
Kelly Nelson, Vice-President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia
With a strong and lengthy experience in finance, Mr. Nelson was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nova Scotia in 2006. In addition to his leadership at the Institute, Mr. Nelson is Vice-President for Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer for High Liner Foods. He is a past Chair of the Board of Governors for the Nova Scotia Community College.
Karen Oldfield, President and Chief Executive Officer, Halifax Port Authority
Ms. Oldfield has been President and Chief Executive Officer of the Halifax Port Authority since 2002. Previously she was a law partner at McInnes Cooper, and Chief of Staff for Nova Scotia premier John Hamm. Ms. Oldfield also sits on the Advisory Council on National Security, which provides advice to the federal government through the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister.
Clarence Prince, President, Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities
Mr. Prince has been active in municipal politics since 1980 as a councillor and mayor of the Town of Sydney Mines, and then deputy mayor for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality. Mr. Prince has served the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities in a number of capacities, and became its president in 2010.
Dr. Fazley K. Siddiq, Director, School of Public Administration, Dalhousie University
Dr. Siddiq is the Director, School of Public Administration, in Dalhousie's Faculty of Management. Dr. Siddiq's current research includes work on economic wellbeing and its measurement, and the management of public debt.
Rustum Southwell, Chief Executive Officer, Black Business Initiative
Mr. Southwell is a respected leader in the business community with strong connections in the public and private sectors. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer at the Black Business Initiative, Mr. Southwell was a successful entrepreneur an