Tag Archives: government

Covid19 / Coronavirus Resources

We had a pretty rough month. Being home isolated – especially if you have recently been laid off or lost some revenue and have to take care of kids staying home from school is not easy. We have decided to compile some help that is available to help you through this crisis. 

  • Wage subsidy:75% wage subsidy for businesses with revenue decreases of 15% or more, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020. The subsidy will apply on the first $58,700 of annual salary, or $847/week.
  • Emergency benefit: Taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to workers who must stop working or working 10 hours or less a week due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave, those who are sick with COVID-19, those taking care of a sick family member, and self-employed individuals, including contract workers.
  • Interest-free loans: Up to $40,000 in interest-free loans to small businesses and not-for-profit companies.
  • Defer tax filing: Businesses can defer the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. The government will defer GST, HST, and customs duties until June 30, 2020.
  • Small Business Loans: BDC’s Small Business Loan Up to $100,000 Are you eligible? Canadian-based business Generating revenues for at least 24 months Good credit history You’ve reached the age of majority in the province or territory where you live.
  • Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support
  • Facebook will give $100M to small businesses (make sure to register)
  • Google Ads Will Give $340m Credit for SMBs

working from home articles

and if you are like us working home with kids 

Ride Sharing Drivers in Toronto Now Must pass A City Training

City of Toronto is now requiring drivers to pass a city mandated training to be eligible to work for companies such as Uber and Lyft in the City of Toronto.

The new updated bylaw governing all Toronto ‘vehicles for hire’ now is in effect this Wednesday January 3rd.

Few things are changing:

  • The minimum number of years of required driving experience will now increase from 1 year to 3 years;
  • training program must be passed covering such topics as transporting passengers in a safe manner, driving in an urban setting, providing accessible service, anti-racism, diversity and sensitivity;
  • all ride sharing drivers will now be required to attach “Watch for Bikes” on their windows to alert passengers when exiting;
  • must alert passengers if they are being recorded.

If you are a new driver you have to pass the training by June 2020, if you are an existing driver you have until end of 2020 to complete it.

Also a handheld devices such as cell phones will now need to be securely secured and mounted in the vehicles.

There will be also a new program called “Accessibility Fund Program” which will charge a fee for not providing a wheel chair accessible transportation, all the fees collected will go to fund special wheel chair accessible transportation.

Facebook Scolds Canada

Canadian regulators said that Facebook’s weak privacy protection was to blame for millions of users’ data being exposed.

Canadian privacy commissionaire said that Facebook broke national and provincial regulations when it came to sharing user data with third parties.

Facebook flat-out refused to agree with the Canadian government’s legal findings and refused audits of its privacy procedures.

Daniel Therrien, The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, told New York Times:

“They told us outright that they do not agree with our legal findings. I find that absolutely untenable that a company can tell a regulator that it does not respect its findings.”

Therrien said that they will be taking Facebook to Canadian federal court but he acknowledges that even if Facebook is found guilty due to Canadian law system , it might only be fined few thousand dollars.

Facebook was not happy with Therrien’s announcement and released the following statement:

“After many months of good-faith cooperation and lengthy negotiations, we are disappointed. There’s no evidence that Canadians’ data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, and we’ve made dramatic improvements to our platform to protect people’s personal information.”

While Canada might impose penalties against Facebook in the future there are most likely be puny when compares to up to $5 billion dollars that might be imposed against them by Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations.

Therrien said he is not happy with a current system and is worried because some 622,000 Canadians may have been affected by personal data exposure. Therrien said that he wants better privacy laws in Canada as well as a way for regulators penalize companies.

Canada never adopted stiff penalties like many other European countries.

Canadian Govt Eyes Regulating Facebook, Other Tech

The Canadian government said it might start regulating social media and other tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter in Canada soon.

Minister of Democratic Institutions, Karina Gould, mentioned that she thinks that Canadians are fed up with tech giants and want the government to do something about it.

Gould’s announcement is coincided with many other countries attempts at cracking down on social media.

Recently countries like UK and Australia passed a very stringent laws against social medias. Most of these laws cover how the social media should handle “online harms” and how expeditiously they suppose to take it down. In Australia for example if content is not removed fast enough, Facebook execs could face jail time.

Taylor Owen, an associate professor at McGill, in his interview with The Toronto Star, mentioned that government has to tread carefully as te government starts to introduce new restrictive laws.

“We better get the democratic governance right if we have any hope of pushing back against the autocratic model.”

Taylor Owen, an associate professor at McGill

Mark Zuckerberg is founder and chief executive of Facebook, agrees with the notion in his op-ed in Wall Street Journal.

I believe we need a more active role for governments and regulators. By updating the rules for the Internet, we can preserve what’s best about it — the freedom for people to express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things — while also protecting society from broader harms.

From what I’ve learned, I believe we need new regulation in four areas: harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive, Facebook

Spokesman for Google said no matter what they will continue working with the government to “protect Canada’s democratic institutions and election activities.”

Canadian Government To Subsidize Electric Cars

In Canada, the government has decided to introduce $5,000 subsidy when you buy an electric car anywhere in Canada to get more people to buy electric vehicles.

In order to get the subsidy your electric car has to cost less than $45,000.

Provinces like Quebec and British Columbia have already subsidies for electric cars, but this will be the first federally run subsidy for electric cars. Canadian government has finally decided to launch the subsidy after few years of deliberations.

As discussed now, government will subsidy electric cars over the next 3 years at a cost to them of approximately $300m.

IF you are looking to get the newly launched Tesla, unfortunately you will be out of luck. The new Tesla Model 3 are priced at $47,000 ($2,000 more than allowed) and the Canadian government will not subsidize it. However you will be able to get cars like Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt EV and Hyundai Ioniq Electric.

https://twitter.com/Paultro2/status/1108410218181021696

The government also talks about their “investment in Canada’s domestic auto industry so that it can become a global leader in zero-emission transportation manufacturing.” Government is also providing subsidies to businesses that want to create businesses related to electric vehicles.

The government will also be investing around $130m to put more electric charging stations across Canada.

Montreal Teo Electric Taxi is No More

The company that wanted to take on Uber and had government backing could not last even 3 years, as it was forced to shut down this week and their work force of about 450 drivers were let go.

Dominic Becotte, interim president for Teo, said that as much as they tried the company remained unprofitable all these years.

Becotte said Uber was partially to blame because “the conditions are not the same for all players in the mobility sector.”

Teo was given about $7.25 million dollars in Quebec government subsidies (around $5m for electric vehicle, $1.25m for vehicles and $1m for taxi permits). Teo said that was not enough, and tried to ask for more help from Quebec government but was denied.

It is not clear why backers like FTQ Solidarity Fund and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec did not step up to provide Teo more money. They have initially backed it with around $25m.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BtOwt03guJ8/

The big problems for Teo were three fold:

  • Quebec government did not allow them to adjust their rates and tariffs dynamically – meaning rush hour or big concert demand – Teo still could only get one pricing for the service
  • Electric vehicles are way more expensive to maintain than initially anticipated
  • Drivers had decided to unionize and therefore most likely driven costs even higher

Alexandre Taillefer, founder of Teo, said that they will now seek protection from its creditors.

Taillefer had initially touted three years ago:

“I’m not worried about Uber at all. We’re very confident we’ll provide an experience that’s way better. And what we’re doing for the drivers is fantastic. We’re allowing them to make a decent living while driving a cab. Montrealers need to adopt companies that focus on enhancing the lives of drivers.”

Canadian Govt is Picking Fight with Facebook, Netflix, others

The federal liberal government is warning technology media companies in Canada to play nice and add Canadian content ASAP or else.

The government announced that they will take 18 months to study how they can force tech companies operating in Canada to add more Canadian content without any cost to Canadians. Meaning at least for now unlike in Quebec, Government of Canada will NOT be adding GST tax to your Netflix bill.

Melanie Joly took a tough stance against foreign media companies in Canada announcing on her twitter.

  • “All players – Google, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, etc. – that are in the system must contribute to the system. There is no free ride.”
  • “New technology, like streaming services, has changed the way that Canadians connect with each other, do business and discover, access and consume content. Now more than ever, Canadians go online.
  • To keep up with these changes we must modernize our legislative framework so that Canadian artists, artisans, businesses, consumers and broadcasters can adapt and thrive in a changing environment.
  • I announced the launch of the Review of the Broadcasting Act and the Telecommunications Act. A review of the Radiocommunication Act will also be carried out.”

Canadian artists applauded the initiative saying that thousands of jobs and our Canadian identity depend on it.

mojzagrebinfo / Pixabay

Netflix has long resisted to be covered by framework that applies to traditional broadcasters. But Netflix did say that they intend to spend $500m dollars in Canada over the next few years.

Facebook has also resisted to government intervention by caling for fewer not more rules. Kevin Chan, Facebook Canada public policy said:

 “The continued growth of different online video offerings − user-generated or otherwise − depends on a flexible regulatory environment that allows for innovation and experimentation.”

Other experts wondered how the government can restrict businesses passing on the cost to consumer?

Lawson Hunter, a regulatory lawyer and former executive at Bell Canada, said in interview with Globe and Mail:

“It’s hard to expect that you can add cost to any service provider and expect them to say they will swallow it and not pass it on to the consumer. That is not how the market typically works.”

Not everyone was happy with the announcement. Quebec’s left leaning NDP government’s Critic for Culture and Heritage, Pierre Nantel said:

“Netflix makes revenues in Quebec, so it should make investments in French [in Quebec],” said the president of the CRTC.

Subtitle…

Melanie Joly’s “Netflix agreements”, without GST or Franco content, are a cul-de-sac for our culture.”