Archive | Ontario Economy

[Dr. Peter Warrian] U of T expert says future is bright for Canadian steel – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star -June 12, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

But if Canada wants to retain a manufacturing industry, then the steel
industry will need to be a part of it, he said, because steel is the
materials backbone of manufacturing.

Dr. Peter Warrian, a University of Toronto professor and Canada’s leading academic expert on the Canadian steel industry, told city council that the industry will always have a volatile market but the need for steel in the future could certainly increase.

While prices rose substantially – 40 per cent – between October 2016 and March 2017, allowing cash flow improvements for steelmakers like Algoma, the problem remains that the cyclical nature of the industry will not see those high prices be sustained for long periods of time. And that means, investments into pension plans, injections of capital improvements and maintenance plans will not get the long-term attention they need, he said.

And while this has been a problem experienced to Algoma, the local steelmaker found itself in a serious cash crunch because of the long-term contacts it had inked that found itself paying for raw materials at exceptionally high prices – much higher prices than actual market values, Warrian said. Continue Reading →

Ontario Sault Chamber advocates for steel in Ottawa – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – June 5, 2017)

http://www.saultstar.com/

Sault Ste. Marie’s Chamber of Commerce joined their counterparts from Windsor-Essex Regional and Hamilton in Ottawa last week for an all-party Parliamentary steel caucus meeting. The message, said Sault Chamber Rory Ring, is simple.

Canada and the United States should not be fighting each other. Instead, as a joint North American market, they should work jointly to make sure the non-market economies are dealt with without creating blows to their own intertwined economies.

That’s the message the joint Chamber group was sending to the steel caucus, which will be attending an international meeting later this month in Washington. Sault MP Terry Sheehan, co-chair of the all-party Parliamentary steel caucus group said the same message has and will continue to be pushed by the steel caucus and from the Canadian government to its US counterparts. Continue Reading →

Another multinational employer is fleeing Ontario and the Wynne government doesn’t seem to care – by Bob Runciman (Financial Post – May 31, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Bob Runciman, now a senator, served as interim leader of the Ontario PC Party and as minister of Economic Development and Trade.

My hometown of Brockville, Ont. was hit with a devastating blow last week with the announcement that multinational consumer-products maker Procter and Gamble is closing its local plant, taking with it 500 jobs.

P&G is Brockville’s largest private-sector employer — only the school board and the hospital employ more. The company has been a model corporate citizen for 40 years, donating millions of dollars to local causes and generally making Brockville a better place.

And I think it is fair to say Brockville made P&G a better company. The local plant has a well-educated, resourceful, diligent workforce. Although the plant made such household cleaning products as Tide and Bounce over the years, it is most famous as the site that pioneered the Swiffer sweeper. Continue Reading →

Report urges new thinking for Northern Ontario – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 9, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

New thinking is needed if Northern Ontario is ever going to restructure and reinvigorate its economy, a new report from the Northern Policy Institute suggests. Author Charles Conteh, a Brock University professor, said in his study, Economic Zones of Northern Ontario: City-Regions and Industrial Corridors, that Northern communities must be given the tools to control their economic development.

He said the top-down approach of senior levels of government towards Northern Ontario hasn’t — and won’t — work. “Due to the significant diversity between communities in Northern Ontario, policies and planning aimed at addressing specific economic challenges are more valuable than one-size-fits-all, top-down programs,” Conteh said.

“Economic zones offer an opportunity for upper levels of government to frame a new kind of partnership guided by the priorities of communities.” Conteh said it’s a mistake to think of Northern Ontario as one or two regions, or as five urban-centred regions, because they do not reflect the reality of northern diversity. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Liberals feed another budget to the Big Green Central-Planning Monster – by  Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – April 28, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

The question all Ontarians must begin asking is how much economic pain — high transportation costs, soaring electricity rates, rampaging housing-market shortages and costs, stalled transit development, soaring debt — are they willing to endure to satisfy the Central Planning Monster.

The beast is everywhere, lurking in the background of every twitch in government policy and every legislative lurch. It’s thick claw-marks are all over Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s new Ontario budget, tabled Thursday, taking control of more and more economic activity and extending policy-making’s reach far beyond the iron grip it already holds on health care.

In the name of climate change and carbon control, Ontario’s Liberal government sent electricity prices soaring, the predictable product of the 2009 Green Energy Act that allows the government to seize control over an expanding range of energy operations. Continue Reading →

[Power Costs] Wynne and Liberals excel at fake news – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – April 18, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet ministers excel at alternative facts and fake news. The latest example was Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s speech Thursday to The Empire Club, part of which boasted about how the Liberals saved Ontario’s electricity system by doing the heavy lifting needed to improve it.

As a result, Sousa said, Ontario’s electricity grid is now “the envy of North America” because the Liberals restored “integrity and reliability” to it, unlike neighbouring Canadian provinces and the rust belt states. Simply put, what on Earth is Sousa talking about?

Hydro One controls the transmission of electricity through 29,000 km of hydro lines in Ontario and provides electricity to 1.3 million customers. Continue Reading →

Ontario hydro bill cuts won’t help manufacturers, group says – by Allison Jones (Canadian Press/CTV News – April 11, 2017)

http://www.ctvnews.ca/

TORONTO – Thousands of businesses in Ontario that don’t qualify for a 17-per-cent cut to their electricity bills are like the forgotten middle child, a manufacturing group said Tuesday.

The Liberal government’s announcement last month applies to residential electricity customers and about half a million small businesses and farms on time-of-use pricing. The Industrial Conservation Initiative program for large manufacturers and businesses was also expanded so that more industrial customers would qualify.

But there are thousands of Ontario businesses that are too big for one program and too small for the other, and the government estimates they will only see about two to four per cent off their bills. Jocelyn Bamford, with the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers, said the 70 manufacturers the coalition represents don’t feel valued. Continue Reading →

[Power Issues] Actually, witchcraft is a pretty good explanation for all that’s happening in Ontario – by Rex Murphy (National Post – April 1, 2017)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

Weird things are happening in Ontario. The premier of the province, a woman generally agreed to be well educated, confident, thoroughly in tune with the times, is virtually keelhauled in recent polling where she resides at an appalling 11 per cent. She is only slightly more popular than traffic tickets and overcooked broccoli (and even those are within the margin of error).

What gives, is the question whispered on every street corner and in every coffee shop. How can Kathleen Wynne have fallen so far when her competition is that other fella, whassiname, that the Progressive Conservatives recently front loaded into their leadership. His charisma floats in the same shallows and he has the inspirational force of kelp. Yet he is miles ahead of the impeccably progressive Wynne. It is not natural. The order of things is awry.

Other unnerving and eerily disturbing manifestations trouble this once stable, well-grounded, equable province. A businesswoman I met recently — on her way, incidentally, to meet with a spiritual adviser — showed me the energy bill for her company. She was distraught and clearly frightened. And with good reason. Continue Reading →

Ontario manufacturers eye greener pastures stateside as hydro rates go through the roof – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – March 16, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Jocelyn Bamford, a white hard hat perched over red hair that curls down around her shoulders, has her hands on her hips. Behind safety glasses, her eyes flash. On the shop floor in the bustling Automatic Coating Inc. plant owned by her family, she has to shout to be heard above the squirt of compressed air nozzles, honks from forklifts, the clang of steel as it’s dipped in baths, and the hum of exhaust fans.

Bamford might be shouting regardless of the noise since the hydro bill for her Toronto-based company has her mad as hell. Once boasting one of the continent’s lowest electricity rates, Ontario today has some of the highest and that has many industrial companies planning to move at least some operations to the United States.

“The government treats us like bourgeois sweatshop operators who have to be stopped,” said Bamford, who has organized dozens of medium-sized companies into the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario. “All the businesses are terrified of the government. My husband said, ‘Well, do you just want to pick up and go?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I gotta just stay and fight.’ I feel like I’m the Norma Rae of manufacturing.” Continue Reading →

Wynne’s carbon crap shoot – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – March 4, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

The California/Quebec cap and trade market Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is counting on to fund her $8.3-billion climate action plan just crashed, again. This is the highly speculative carbon trading stock market Ontario will join next year that Wynne is relying on to fatten her government’s coffers by $1.9 billion annually.

This so it can fund its various and sundry green energy initiatives, such as subsidizing Ontario’s electricity rates by up to $1.3 billion – which isn’t actually a green energy initiative.

The problem now confronting Wynne is that in three of the last four quarterly auctions under the California/Quebec cap and trade carbon pricing scheme, only a fraction of the available carbon permits have been bought by industrial greenhouse gas emitters. Continue Reading →

Excluded from Ontario’s hydro cuts, firms say they can’t compete – by Shawn McCarthy and Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – March 3, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled a new hydro plan Thursday that targets lower residential rates but provides only modest relief to industrial customers who say soaring electricity costs are driving business out of the province.

Through legislation it intends to pass before summer, the provincial Liberal government will cut residential rates by 25 per cent, including a previously announced 8-per-cent reduction. The plan also promises deep price cuts to rural and remote customers who faced dramatic increases over the past decade, and will boost subsidies for low-income households.

Business customers will not benefit from reduced rates but will instead see an expanded rebate program for those that can shift their consumption to off-peak hours. Companies in Northern Ontario and rural areas will also benefit from a reduction in delivery charges that have driven up bills in less-populated regions. Continue Reading →

Kathleen Wynne’s sleazy, desperate hydro ploy to fool Ontarians is, well, brilliant – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – March 2, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Ontario’s Liberal government is already being savaged for its latest scheme to quell the provincial outrage over out-of-control electricity rates. Even before the plan was official, the details that were leaked to the Toronto Star — reporting that power-bill costs would be “smoothed out” by rearranging contracts at lower rates, but longer periods — were being called a “shell game” by the opposition.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation complained that “spreading the cost … over more years, doesn’t solve the problem” but would just cost more in the long term. Sun Columnist Lorrie Goldstein called it “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

That is surely all true. As Kathleen Wynne confirmed in unveiling the plan Thursday, long-suffering Ontarians will be made to suffer even longer with extended contracts. Other costs will be shifted from hydro bills to taxes, costing the province another $2 billion a year it doesn’t have, after already rebating the provincial sales tax on power or, more accurately, paying for it with other provincial taxes, instead. Continue Reading →

In Ontario, the taxpayers sustain Wynne’s green energy perpetual motion disaster – by Rex Murphy (National Post – February 25, 2017)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

There’s more than a touch of Oprah in our Prime Minister. Substitute town halls for studio audiences and you get a little of the flavour of his recent hopscotch to various venues across the country.

He loves – and why should he not? – being on stage in front of people who (mainly) like or idolize him, and he’s quick, like the great Eminence Herself, on his emotional feet. By far the most affecting moment of his grand tour, interestingly on “the catastrophe and heel” of his (originally) covert stay on the yacht of his buddy the Aga Khan, came in Peterborough, Ont.

There, somewhat in the manner of the Biblical Ruth, a woman “stood in tears” as she recounted to the Prime Minister, whom she both liked and supported, how her hydro bill was now competing with her mortgage payment. “Something is wrong now, Mr. Trudeau,” she told him and the assembled crowd. Continue Reading →

‘Alternate hydro facts’ ring of truth – by Thomas Perry (Timmins Daily Press – February 18, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – Listening to Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and Liberal Energy Minister Glen Thibeault go back and fourth on the province’s hydro rates brings to mind a misattributed catchphrase from a 1960s television show.

Despite common belief, Det.-Sgt. Joe Friday’s monotone voice never actually proclaimed: “Just the facts, ma’am,” on any episode of the popular Dragnet. That line was actually featured in Stan Freberg’s works parodying the show. Having said that, Brown was clearly preaching to the choir while in Timmins on Thursday.

After all, this community lost hundreds of jobs when Xstrata made the decision to close its met site in May of 2010 and ship ore to Quebec for processing. Quebec, like Manitoba to the west, has much more economical electricity rates, which was certainly a factor when Xstrata made its decision. Continue Reading →

Wynne’s carbon schemes won’t reduce emissions – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – February 13, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Of all the expensive and inefficient ways to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, government subsidies to electric vehicle buyers are among the worst.

So of course Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is doubling down on them, by restoring a public subsidy of up to $14,000 for Ontarians who can afford to pay up to $150,000 for, say, a Tesla.

This shows that all the Wynne government is interested in when it comes to carbon pricing is to take more money out of the pockets of average Ontarians through its $1.9 billion a year cap and trade scheme, and blow it on vote-buying subsidies like this one. Continue Reading →