Weekly Digest – 17 November 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Canadian Airports Saw Increase in Foreign Travelers

Canada saw a surge in the number of international travelers entering the country as it reopened its borders to fully vaccinated individuals.

For the month of October, there have been 263,400 non-resident arrivals at Canadian airports, according to Statistics Canada. This represents more than a 14-fold increase compared to the same time last year.

Among these, 114,200 came from the United States and 149,200 from other countries.

Booster Dose of Moderna Authorized for Use

Moderna announced that Health Canada authorized the use of a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those 18 years old and above. The booster jab should be administered at least 6 months after completion of the two primary doses.

Health Canada has also received Moderna’s submission for authorization of its Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 to 11 years old.

Canada Home Sales Hit All-Time High

Home sales across the country increased by 8.6% in October from September– the biggest monthly increase since the pandemic started. Last month was the second-best October on record for sales. Benchmark prices surged 2.7% month-over-month, the data showed.

The increase in demand for bigger living spaces driven by the pandemic has met a historic lack of supply, making the housing market one of the hottest in the world.

Annual Inflation Rate Rises to 4.7% in October

The annual pace of inflation in October increased to 4.7%, according to Statistics Canada. This marks the largest year-over-year increase in the consumer price index since February 2003. In September, there was a 4.4% year-over-year increase in the consumer price index.

Factors contributing to this increase include issues in supply chains, bumps in prices at the pump and comparisons to lows seen one year earlier. Gasoline prices rose 41.7% compared to October 2020.

Excluding energy prices, the consumer price index would have been up 3.3% last month compared to the same month last year.

Shift in COVID-19 Support Programs

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says the shift in the government’s COVID-19 support programs from passive ones to those that incentivize work reflects Canada’s success in fighting the pandemic.

The new measures are aimed at replacing the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). which expired on Saturday.

It was announced last week that the federal government is spending $7.4 billion to extend and create new COVID-19 support schemes for hard-hit businesses and workers that will carry into the spring.

Financial Literacy Resources to Help Canadians Bounce Back

November marks Financial Literacy Month— an initiative launched by community groups, non-profits, and government bodies to help improve financial literacy among Canadians.

Through Financial Literacy Month, Canadians can leverage information and support from various nonprofits and government agencies to better understand their finances. This will in turn help them become more confident, make better money decisions, and ultimately bounce back from the pandemic.

ABC Life Literacy Canada offers a number of free financial literacy resources from its Money Matters financial literacy program. You can learn more about Money Matters here.

Skilled Trades Training

The government has announced funding of nearly $890,000 for the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades in order to support the implementation of online learning. This investment is intended to help develop a highly qualified skilled trades workforce, and prepare Canadians to fill available jobs as our economy restarts.

Alberta Expands Financial Support Program to SMEs

Alberta is expanding its Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to include another payment of up to $10,000 for eligible businesses. This marks the third time the $10,000 payment has been made available to Alberta organizations. It will also be available to businesses that started operating between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2021.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses that experienced at least a 30% decline in revenue because they were ordered to shut down or limit operations due to COVID-19.

HASCAP Loan Applications

Loan applications from the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) opened February 1.

Loans start at between $25,000 and $1 million for a single business depending on the size of the operation, and run up to $6.25 million for companies with multiple locations like a chain of hotels or restaurants. Interest rates are set at 4% across the board, terms will be up to 10 years, with up to a 12-month postponement of principal payments at the start of the loan.

To be eligible, companies will have to show a year-over-year revenue drop of at least 50% over three months, not necessarily consecutive, in the eight months before the application.

Further details can be found here.

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