28.01.2019


A Giant Slows…

You might have heard some people talking about China this week. Why? Well, beyond the Huawei drama here in Canada, a major report about the slowing growth of the Chinese economy sent shockwaves through global financial markets.

According to the official numbers released by the government, the Chinese economy grew by 6.6% last year – its slowest pace of growth in over 28 years. For perspective, the IMF predicts that average global growth this year will hover around 3.5%. So even though China is still experiencing above average growth, its economy is so tied to trade that even a slight downturn can affect the entire global economy. As the BBC put it simply, “Jobs, exports, commodity producing nations – we all depend on China to buy stuff from us.” China’s massive internal market has a large effect on multinational corporations like Apple or oil and gas companies, according to Alicia Garcia-Herrero, an expert quoted in Foreign Policy, “The deceleration is coming on the consumption front, there’s a massive collapse of demand for durable goods, especially automobiles.”

Basically, when the world’s second largest economy stagnates, observers see a knock on effect for the entire globe. Case in point: as soon as the markets opened on Tuesday, both the Dow and Nasdaq reacted by dropping sharply. While they recovered later in the week (thanks,  Nancy!), analysts say trade talks between China and the US are crucial.

The two giants are set to meet in early March and negotiate a permanent trade deal. Until then, its likely China will continue with its current strategy to soften the impact of the trade spat: lowering taxes and encouraging banks to lend more to Chinese consumers.


Wanted: The Best of the Best

For years, policy makers have talked about “brain drain”, the propensity for educated, skilled Canadian workers taking their talents to live and work in other countries. Economically, that’s a big problem, especially considering how much moola the Canadian government invests into the education and training of young people, only to have them leave and contribute to another economy. In addition, it means Canadian headquartered companies, and particularly those in the tech space, are having a hard time finding and keeping qualified employees. Like, a really hard time: according to a report released by the Communications Technology Council in November, Canada will need 216,000 new tech workers by 2021 (!).

However, several factors are working on our side to reverse brain drain. For one, the political climate in America is not particularly attractive to some recent graduates, and especially not for those from marginalized identity groups. Second, Canada has invested heavily in academic research – the Canada 150 Research Chairs program attracted top international academics to expand Canadian university labs, bringing top students with them.

Third, the Canadian government has set up several immigration programs to fast-track the immigration process for domestic companies to hire international talent. This weekend, the Financial Post profiled the Global Talent Stream program, a pilot initiative which since 2017 has aided companies in streamlining the immigration of employees that fall into STEM category jobs like mathematicians, statisticians, engineering managers, and more.

That’s not to say that Canada’s innovation ecosystem for attracting and retaining talent is perfect – just that it’s getting better. We still need to reform how our venture capital system is targeted towards supporting Canadian growth, and ensure our trade agreements give competitive access to Canadian companies looking to scale up.


Ontario Trillium Foundation to Lose $15M in Funding this Year

Written by Sydney Piggott, Btchcoin’s non-profit expert

The Toronto Star revealed in December that the Ontario provincial government would be cutting approximately $15 million in funding to the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) this month, representing a nearly 13 per cent cut to the agency’s 2018-2019 annual budget. According to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, this decision was made due to the “$15 billion deficit” left behind by the Liberal government requiring the current government to make “tough decisions.” OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario that invests in charities, not-for-profit organizations, and other community initiatives across the province. It is one of the only foundations of its kind in Canada and supported 700 projects last year with investments totalling $120 million.

Since the government fiscal year ends in March 2019, cuts will significantly impact the projects currently under review for funding and more reductions can be expected for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Many not-for-profit organizations, charitable organizations, and even small municipalities rely on this funding to support their operations and capital projects. Cathy Taylor, Executive Director of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, commented on the impact of these cuts in a recent press release: “OTF grants help us all be open to the business of strengthening the people and communities of Ontario. This funding cut puts communities at risk.”

OTF is also an important source of funding for youth initiatives, especially for underserved and marginalized groups. Grassroots and community-based organizations run by and for youth are eligible for the Youth Opportunities Fund, an innovation-driven granting body that supports children, youth and families with a focus on Black and Indigenous populations that face heightened systemic barriers. These funding cuts will further reduce the already scarce resources available to young people working in the civil society sector in Ontario.

To contact your MPP or raise awareness about cuts to OTF funding, check out the Ontario Nonprofit Network’s guide to taking action.


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