03.06.2019

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BoC Holds Interest Rates… For Now

Last week, the Bank of Canada (BoC) signaled that it would be holding the line on interest rates for the time being at 1.75%. This came as a surprise to some in the industry, given Canada’s inverted yield curve and what it has historically meant for the national economy.

The BoC found that overall, Canada’s economic performance over the past quarter has been solid and did not warrant a cut or increase in interest rates at this time. Statistics Canada largely backed up the central bank’s claims in its economic outlook report for Q1 2019.

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 0.4% in the first three months of 2019. This was essentially what the central bank had predicted – however, that doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, 0.4 per cent growth this quarter means that Canada is at its weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.

While Q1 GDP left much to be desired, the BoC suggested economic growth is set to rebound. Two indicators of a growing economy from Q1 stand out in particular: household spending jumped 0.9%– meaning the willingness and ability of Canadians to buy stuff is increasing – and Canadian companies are investing in their businesses, spending $78.4 billion in the first quarter and signaling future activity.

Carolyn Wilkins, the central bank’s senior deputy governor, said last week that the BoC is predicting Q2 will see 1.3% growth and the rest of 2019 will continue on with economic expansion.

Even with the expected domestic improvement, the BoC was careful to underlined risks to the outlook – particularly in the face of a highly uncertain international trade environment. So, while the central bank is holding interest rates for now, experts believe the next move will likely be a rate cut.


It’s Pride Month, Btches

Making sure LGBTQ+ individuals have a place in our economy is non-negotiable. First step? Educate yourself about the challenges LGBTQ+ workers face.

Yes, Canada prohibits discrimination in employment because of sexual orientation and gender identity. But in practice, that’s not always the case.

While the numbers are hard to find in Canada, 20% of LGBTQ+ workers in the US have experienced discrimination in the hiring process, and the numbers are greater for LGBTQ+ people of colour (37%).

Even when hired, LGBTQ+ employees face higher rates of harassment and bullying at work. In Canada, 40% of LGBTQ+ employees have experienced such treatment in their workplace. Not acceptable.

While this summary is oversimplified and too short to encompass the full range of discrimination Canadians might experience in the workplace due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, the problem is still shockingly apparent.

How can you help?

Again, Educate yourself – this report from 2015 by the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, in partnership with Pride at Work, is a good place to start, and pages 25-34 have great recommendations for employers and employees alike. You can also check out the pages of your provincial human rights commissioner (here’s Ontario) for more local information.

Another idea? Look into your employer’s HR policies. A good place to start is your workplace’s family leave policy – is it inclusive for LGBTQ+ families? What type of support does your employer provide to employees who report discrimination and harassment of any kind?

We all have a role to play in making our society inclusive – pride month or not, it’s time we act on that. The workplace is a great place to start.


Canada gets a ‘Green New Deal’ proposal

Amid this election season’s policy proposals (or lack thereof), Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP, announced ‘A New Deal for Climate Action and Good Jobs’.

While they’re not exactly leading in the polls, the plan may do well to woo the millennial vote. The premise? Public transportation will get a serious boost (at the tune of $6.5 billion) to be totally electric, accessible, and affordable (maybe even free) by 2030. Transportation is a major focus, with increased rebates for low – and zero-emission vehicles.

Another interesting proposal? A $3 billion “Canadian Climate Bank” to support low-carbon initiatives, and support job creation in the green economy.

The Liberal’s carbon tax can stay, but subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which the NDP claims sit around $3.3 billion, will have to go. FYI, their calculations, from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, include tax breaks as a subsidy, not just pure handouts. Another fun fact: the Liberals promised to cut subsidies back in 2015, too (spoiler alert: didn’t happen).

Stay tuned in the coming months as Btchcoin covers the major parties’ proposals to kickstart our economy.

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