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Advocacy Update: March 9, 2020

Ontario Budget
Conservative Leadership Race
Ontario Liberal Leadership
Coronavirus Update

Ontario’s 2020 budget to be tabled March 25

The Ford government’s second budget will be tabled on March 25 by Finance Minister Rod Phillips. Phillips said Ontario remains on track to balance the budget by 2023.

Ontario has seen growth in the economy and growth in tax revenues that were higher than anticipated. In its third-quarter finances, the province announced revenue for this fiscal year is on track to be $3.1 billion higher than the 2019 budget projection, $2.5 billion of which is going toward higher-than-anticipated program spending with the lion’s share of that — $1.6 billion — going to higher-than-anticipated electricity bill subsidies.


Federal Conservative Leadership Race – Kenney endorses O’Toole

The Conservative leadership race getting more competitive. This week Alberta Premier Jason Kenney endorsed Ontario MP Erin O’Toole is a big one. Undoubtedly, it is the most influential endorsement yet awarded to anyone in this campaign. It gives O’Toole something he needs: credibility as a serious contender.

To date, the endorsements have not been particularly impressive for O’Toole. As of Friday morning, he had the endorsement of just eight MPs, two former MPs and one Ontario MPP. By comparison, Peter MacKay had racked up 27 MP endorsements, including a number from Conservatives with a long history of electoral success. He also has the backing of two senators, 10 former MPs, four Ontario MPPs, the leader of the Nova Scotia PCs and a number of former provincial legislators.

A recent Léger poll suggested the same thing. Among Conservative voters (not necessarily members, so the numbers can only say so much) MacKay had the support of 38 per cent, more than four times O’Toole’s score of nine per cent. This advantage appears to extend to fundraising. MacKay’s campaign announced this week it had raised $1 million, while O’Toole only became a “verified candidate” (which requires submitting $300,000 in entry fees and refundable deposits to the party) on Wednesday.


Ontario Liberals elect Steven Del Duca as leader

Steven Del Duca easily won the Ontario Liberal Party leadership on the first ballot. Del Duca won with just under 59 per cent of the vote on the first ballot, and beat out MPP Michael Coteau, former candidate Kate Graham, MPP Mitzie Hunter, former candidate Alvin Tedjo and political newcomer Brenda Hollingsworth. The former cabinet minister was supported by a majority of delegates on the first ballot at the party’s convention Saturday, winning a resounding victory in which his organizational and fundraising skills dominated the field.

The new Liberal leader was cheered by thousands of party faithful after his resounding win, as he celebrated onstage with his wife and two children. “We will accomplish a great deal together…on to victory,” he said in his unifying victory speech to the Grits, an effort to rally the troops beyond the leadership contest. He’ll attend question period on Monday, but will have to watch from the visitors’ benches for now.


Corona disease (COVID-19): Weekly Update

Up to date information – Public Health Agency of Canada – COVID-19 website

Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Pandemic Preparedness – Thanks to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for putting together some information so you can stay alert about what is happening in your region, we’ve gathered some information sites from across the country that you can bookmark for this specific moment in time. They have created templates for your use: Crisis Communications Plan and a Business Continuity & Recovery Plan. We have also gathered other resources that you may find useful to help get you on your way.

Advocacy Update: March 2, 2020

2020 OCC Economic Report
Federal Carbon Pricing
Alberta Budget
CFA Franchise Awareness Day
Coronavirus Update

OCC releases 2020 Economic Report

On February 26, 2020, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) fourth annual Ontario Economic Report (OER) reveals opportunities where both business and government can focus to create an environment more conducive to small business success.

For 2020, the Small Business Friendliness Indicator (SBFI) score is -9, (on a scale of 100 to -100) indicating that the business environment poses some challenges for firms with fewer than 99 employees. However, investments in online services and support for regulatory compliance could improve that.

Other highlights from the Ontario Economic Report include:

• The confidence gap, which measures the difference between business’ confidence in themselves and in Ontario’s economic outlook, widened in 2020 to near historical levels. Although organizational confidence remains high, business confidence in the broader economy dropped seven percentage points in 2020, explained in part by lowered growth expectations nationally and globally. Beyond this, challenges related to the costs of doing business, the high cost of living, and the province’s debt continue to be top of mind for OCC members

• Infrastructure investment, such as transportation and broadband internet, topped the list of business priorities for government, followed by reducing regulatory burdens, lowering the cost of living, and reforming business taxes.

• Challenges related to accessing financial capital, attracting and retaining talent and burdensome regulations continue to compromise the ability of many of Ontario’s community to compete effectively with other jurisdictions.

• Despite these challenges, Ontario’s principal economic indicators remain sound, albeit subdued, heading into 2020, but economic growth is expected to vary greatly across the province. The forecasts show employment and population growth in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Ottawa surpassing other parts of Ontario, reinforcing a decade-long trend of imbalanced economic growth across the province.


Federal carbon pricing law unconstitutional, Alberta Court of Appeal rules

The federal government’s carbon tax has been ruled unconstitutional by the Court of Appeal of Alberta, on the grounds that it intrudes on provincial jurisdiction. The 4-1 decision, released last week, rejects Ottawa’s argument that regulation of greenhouse gas emissions is an issue of national concern, citing the division of powers in the constitution that gives the provinces responsibility for non-renewable resources. While the Alberta Court of Appeal ruling found the federal legislation to be unconstitutional, it’s not clear the federal government is obligated to suspend the tax pending a Supreme Court decision.

The Alberta Court of Appeal is the first provincial appeal court to rule against the legislation. Appeal courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario upheld the law in split decisions.


2020 Alberta Budget

Finance Minister Travis Toews tabled the 2020 budget. The government is forecasting $49.98 billion in revenue against $56.04 billion in expenses.

• Personal income tax revenue: $12.57 billion, up 6.3 per cent from prior year
• Corporate income tax revenue: $4.54 billion, up 6.9 per cent
• Resource revenue: $5.09 billion, down 24 per cent
• Investment income: $2.63 billion, down 25 per cent
• GDP forecasted to grow 2.5 per cent, up from 0.3 per cent last year
• Price of oil projected at $58 USD a barrel (WTI)

Alberta’s deficit will decrease by $200 million this year, bringing it to $6.8 billion. Projected total debt is expected to climb to nearly $88 billion by 2023. However, that is down from the $93 billion that was projected in the fall.

Alberta’s estimated revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year will essentially hold steady at 2019-20 levels, before growing by about 7.8 per cent over each of the next two years, eventually climbing to $58 billion by 2022-23.

Those projections are driven in part by an anticipated 38 per cent increase in energy royalties as both oil production and pipeline capacity expand.

Income taxes are also expected to improve with the overall economy; the UCP government estimates 2.5 per cent GDP growth after an increase of just 0.3 per cent in 2019. As the province continues to advocate for a “fair deal” from its federal counterparts, it believes transfers from Ottawa will help lift the Alberta economy.

For more information


Mark your calendars – CFA Ontario Advocacy Day – November 2, 2020 

The CFA’s 2020 advocacy day will be held on Monday November 2, 2020 at the Ontario Legislature at Queen’s Park.

More details will follow in the coming months about the day and how to register to join us to speak with your elected representatives.


Corona disease (COVID-19): Weekly Update

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with COVID-19 as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

The risk to Canadian travellers abroad is generally low but will vary depending on the destination. The Public Health Agency of Canada is closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in other countries. Please consult the destination page on travel.gc.ca for the latest travel advice.

Public Health Canada – Outbreak update
COVID 19 Myth Busting from the World Health Organizations

Advocacy Update: February 18, 2020

Ontario Legislature Returns
BC Budget
Newfoundland Premier Steps Down
Franchise Rescission Law

Ontario Legislature returns today

Today, the Ontario legislature reconvenes following the winter break. Here’s the Globe and Mail’s take on the upcoming session.


B.C. NDP government set to unveil 3rd straight balanced budget under ‘challenging’ circumstances 

Finance Minister Carole James is expected to introduce a balanced budget on Tuesday but it won’t have a lot of new spending. This is expected to be the NDP government’s third straight balanced budget. But James said keeping the province’s books in the black was more “challenging” than the last two years.

The CFA will review the budget after it is tabled and update members as appropriate on how the budget may impact franchised businesses operating in BC.


Dwight Ball stepping down as Newfoundland and Labrador Premier 

Dwight Ball is stepping down as premier of Newfoundland and Labrador after five years leading the province. He made the announcement in a pre-recorded video statement sent to media late Monday afternoon.

Ball’s government has been engulfed in a number of scandals and waning caucus support.


Has the Law of Franchise Rescission Changed since Raibex? An Ontario Court Provides a Partial Answer 

The recent decision in 2483038 Ontario Inc. v. 2082100 Ontario Inc., confirms a narrow point of franchise law, namely that an unsigned certificate in a Franchise Disclosure Document continues to constitute a “fatal flaw”, despite the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Raibex Canada Ltd. v. ASWR Franchising Corp. The decision also clarifies the liability of “franchisor’s associates”.

Read more at lexology.com

Advocacy Update: February 11, 2020

CFA Presentation to Ontario Minister of Finance
BC Accessibility
Corona Virus Update

CFA Presents to the Ontario Minister of Finance Pre-Budget Consultation in Mississauga

On Tuesday February 4, the CFA’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy made a presentation to Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips at the governments pre-budget consultation in Mississauga.

Thank you for this opportunity. My name is David Black. I’m the Director of Government Relations and Public Policy at the Canadian Franchise Association.

Franchising is the most ubiquitous form of business in Canada.

Every single day Ontarians from every single corner of this province are interacting with franchised businesses. From getting their morning coffee, to dropping their kids off at day care or at a learning centre, to buying gas, to getting their houses cleaned, to having lunch, to picking up their dry cleaning, to buying food for dinner, to going to a restaurant with friends, to stay¬ing at a hotel while on vacation or during a business trip, the franchise model is an important part of their day-to-day lives.

Franchising is not a business itself, but a way of doing business.

It’s a business relationship that is at is heart a contractual relationship between the franchisor and the franchise.

Franchising is a lot like a political party.

You have a franchisor, the central party providing support, branding, advertising, IT, etc. and you have the riding associations, the franchisees, using the tools but also working so they succeed in their part of the province. They work together to achieve something greater.

Economic Stats

The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) is a national, not-for-profit association representing the 12th largest sector of the Canadian economy.

Franchising contributes over $100 billion per year to the Canadian economy and create jobs for over 1.9 million Canadians.

Franchising employs 772,000 Ontarians in 37,000 establishments adding $50.6 billion to Ontario’s GDP.

We speak for a business sector that represents every industry and touches the lives of every Canadian, in every community across the country. Our purpose is to help everyday Canadians realize the dream of building their own business through the power and opportunity of franchising.

Our Asks
Protect the Independent Nature of the Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship

The franchisor/franchisee relationship is, at its heart, a contractual relationship. Franchisors and franchisees sign a legal contract (a Franchise Agreement) which lays out, in great detail, the roles and responsibilities of the franchisor and the franchisees along with the term of the agreement.

Unfortunately, there is a catch-22 between employment law and the franchisor protecting the intellectual property and enforcing standards so that the product or service meets the customers’ expectations everywhere.

Employment law can penalize franchisors for establishing control mechanisms to protect their marks because some enterprising litigators are trying to argue that by clarifying licensing trademarks and controlling or exercising control over those trademarks the franchisor has created an employment relationship with the franchisee and the franchisees employees. This is simply not the case.

We need government address this catch-22 by adopt a four-factor test that will determine if a joint employer relationship exists or not. Does the franchisor…

1. hire or fire the employee;
2. supervise and control the employee’s work schedules or conditions of employment;
3. determine the employee’s rate and method of payment; and
4. maintain the employee’s employment records.

Increase the Small Business Deduction Threshold

We do appreciate that Ontario has reduced the tax rates on small businesses in an effort to keep them competitive. My members applaud the government for this step.

We are concerned however that even with these rate reductions the tax expenses for small businesses is increasing at a fast rate than inflation which means there is less money for salaries and capital investments.

One of the big challenges facing small business is bracket creep. The current small business threshold has been kept at $500,000 for a decade.

We believe that threshold is too low and needs to be raised to $600,000 to be in line with CPI over the same period. The bracket creep has been addressed for personal tax rates however corporate tax payers are still being penalized.

We urge the government of Ontario to increase the small business threshold to $600,000 and index the threshold to the CPI.

Reform the property tax system to protect businesses from unsustainable property tax hikes

Many businesses across Canada are facing an existential threat in the form of unsustainably high property tax bills. This problem is directly caused by the rapid appreciation of property in a large number of Canada’s major cities due to Assessment Authorities (BC Assessment, MCAP, etc) valuing property based on its “highest and best use”, not strictly on the current use.

As a result, businesses, whether property owners themselves or through their leases, are being taxed on the future development potential of their sites with little regard for the current use of the property or the cash-flow or profitability of the current business. These high property tax bills can threaten the survival of many small and medium-sized businesses, and risk hollowing out local economies as businesses are forced to either relocate or close altogether due simply to the skyrocketing cost of their property tax bills.

We urge Ontario to have MPAC develop policies that would address this challenge to ensure property tax rates for small businesses remain affordable.

Reduce red tape – Governments should accept internationally recognized accounting standards in franchise disclosure

The Arthur Wishart Act requires a franchisor to disclose to a prospective franchisee information about the business, the royalties, past performance, future expected performance etc. Basically, everything that a prospective buyer would need to make an informed decision about how to invest their hard-earned money.

Unfortunately, there is some unnecessary red tape that wastes time and money. Almost every franchisor coming to Ontario uses financial statements prepared according to Canadian standards instead of allowing international standards which are just as rigorous.

The CFA recommends that Ontario update the Arthur Wishart Act and accompanying regulations to deem the following accounting standards as acceptable under franchise disclosure legislation.

• International Financial Reporting Standards – Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (IFRS-GAAP)
• United States – Generally Accepted Accounting (US-GAAP)

Thank you for this opportunity to present to you today.


BC report shows support for developing accessibility legislation

Last week the BC government released the accessibility consultation summary report which showed strong support for government to develop legislation to make B.C. more inclusive and accessible. The report was done following a public consultation that ran from Sept. 16 to Nov. 29, 2019. The Province heard that people support developing accessibility legislation as outlined in the Framework for Accessibility Legislation.

The BC government will continue to engage with persons with disabilities, local governments, Indigenous peoples and key stakeholder groups and organizations in developing future standards and regulations. The CFA will follow the issue and get involved where appropriate.

The federal government, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba have accessibility legislation in place. To read the Summary Consultation Report


2019 novel coronavirus: Outbreak update

For the most up to date information on the Coronavirus please see the Public Health Canada website.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available. As of February 8, 2020, 7 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been confirmed in Canada.

Advocacy Update: January 27, 2020

HEADLINES
NAFTA
Conservative Leadership
Corona Virus
Joint Employer
AB-5 Copycat Leglislation in New York 

 

The House of Commons returns to tackle NAFTA, and other issues

Today the House of Commons returned from its Christmas break. The first priority for the new minority parliament is passage of the new NAFTA deal (CUSMA/USMCA). For more information please see the attached article.


Conservative Leadership
Peter MacKay officially launches bid for Conservative leadership

Former Conservative cabinet minister Peter MacKay formally launched his bid to replace Andrew Scheer on Saturday in his home province of Nova Scotia, where he first began his political career more than 20 years ago.

MacKay made the announcement in his former riding of Central Nova at the province’s Museum of Industry.

“Over four years ago I stood in this very room with family and friends, including Prime Minister Harper and many of you who are here again today, and announced that I would be leaving politics,” MacKay told supporters. “It was a tough decision.”

For more information please see the CBC article


Erin O’Toole launches Conservative leadership bid, promises to be the ‘true blue’ candidate

Ontario MP Erin O’Toole confirmed Monday he is joining the race to lead Canada’s Conservatives, promising to bring “true blue leadership” to the party as it looks for a successor to Andrew Scheer.

This is O’Toole’s second run for the leadership — he placed third behind Scheer and Maxime Bernier in the 2017 contest, with about 20 per cent of the vote on the final ballot.

O’Toole, who serves as Conservative foreign affairs critic, released a slickly produced campaign launch video highlighting his time as a tactical navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

For more information please see the CBC article


2019 Novel Coronavirus infection (Wuhan, China): Outbreak Update

There is a lot of misinformation in the public about the recent Coronavirus outbreak. For factually correct up to date information on the outbreak please refer to the Canada Public Health Agency website. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html


US News –Major Win for Franchises as Department of Labor Issues Final Joint Employer Rule!

In a major win for America’s franchises, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final joint employer rule to update the regulations interpreting joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

This major rulemaking is the culmination of years of advocacy from the IFA and its members and allies.

“The changes in this final rule break down barriers that keep companies from constructively overseeing, guiding and helping their business partners,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “For small business owners, and the employees working in those businesses, the relationship and the guidance coming from franchisors and other contracting companies can greatly improve the workplace and help them create jobs.”

US Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia and Acting Chief of Staff to the President Mick Mulvaney, penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal noting how the new rule will provide much need clarity to franchises: “The new rule also gives companies in traditional contracting and franchising relationships confidence that they can demand certain basic standards from suppliers or franchisees—like effective antiharassment policies and compliance with employment laws—without themselves being deemed the employer of the other company’s workers. That will help companies promote fair working conditions without facing unwarranted regulatory costs.”

The new test is based on determining if both businesses meet the following factors:

  • has the power to hire or fire the employee?
  • supervises and controls the employee’s work schedule or conditions?
  • determines the employee’s pay rate and method of payment?
  • maintains the worker’s employment records?

The final rule publishes in the federal register on January 16 and takes effect March 16.

In June, IFA had submitted comprehensive comments to the DOL arguing the importance of a revised joint employer rule that would restore its traditional interpretation of determining joint employment. IFA noted that under a similar law, the expanded joint employer standard had cost the American economy $33.3 billion per year, led to 376,000 fewer job opportunities, and resulted in a 93% increase in lawsuits against franchise businesses.

Additionally, in Fall 2018, IFA helped organize a Senate letter (led by former Sen. Johnny Isakson) signed by 26 senators and a bipartisan House letter (led by Rep. Bradley Byrne) signed by 84 House members to the DOL in Fall 2018 urging the development of a joint employer rulemaking under the FLSA. Among the letters’ signatories were Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) and Majority Whip Thune (R-SD), and Democratic Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX).

“On behalf of IFA, I applaud the DOL for today’s decision to return to a simple, clear, and thoughtful joint employer standard,” said Robert Cresanti, IFA’s President and CEO. “This resolution provides much-needed clarity for the 733,000 franchise establishments across America, and returns to the traditional standard of business that has fundamentally supported and encouraged franchise entrepreneurship for decades.” Read IFA’s full press release here.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Prepares to Introduce AB-5 Copycat Legislation

On January 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo released a book of proposals for the 2020 legislative session during his State of the State address. During his remarks, Cuomo said that making reforms to worker classifications in the gig economy will be among the top priorities.

In September, Cuomo had said that New York will likely follow California’s lead in reclassifying independent contractors.

Uber and Postmates have already responded to similar legislation in California, by filing a lawsuit challenging California’s AB-5 in federal court. The lawsuit argues that AB-5 violates individuals’ constitutional rights and unfairly discriminates against technology platforms and those who make a living through them.

AB-5 works to codify the California Court decision in the Dynamex case which says Employers may only classify a worker as an independent contractor if the hiring entity satisfies all three conditions of the test:

  1. that the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact;
  2. that the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
  3. that the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation or business of the same nature as that involved in the work performed.

Last month, members of the New York Assembly & Senate charged with drafting a bill, voiced concerns over the legal challenges and exemptions in AB-5, while acknowledging they still planned to move forward with legislation in 2020.

The CFA is working with the IFA to ensure that the principles of the ABC test do not make their way into Canadian public policy.

Advocacy Update: January 13, 2020

HEADLINES
Federal Tax Changes
Ontario Reduces Taxes for Small Businesses
StatsCanada – Unemployment Rate Drops
Employment Gains in Service-producing Sector

 

Federal Tax Changes

The basic amount most Canadians can earn tax-free is going up on Jan. 1, 2020 to $13,229.  The increase is being phased in over four years until it reaches $15,000 in 2023.

For Canadians in the lower income brackets, the changes could result in tax savings of up to $140 in 2020.  For those earning more than $150,473 annually, those savings will be clawed back or not offered at all.

Also starting on Jan. 1, the employment insurance premiums for individual workers and employees will slightly decrease. The maximum annual EI contribution for a worker will fall by $3.86 to $856.36 and employers’ maximum contribution will fall from $5.41 to $1,198.90 per employee.

CRA Payroll Calculator Is available to help Franchisors and Franchisees ensure their payroll calculations are correct.

Ontario Reduces Taxes for Small Businesses

Effective January 1, 2020, Ontario reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate by 8.7 per cent by reducing the rate to 3.2 per cent.

According to the Ontario government, this move will deliver up to $1,500 in annual savings to more than 275,000 businesses – from family-owned shops to innovative start-ups.

Small businesses also benefit from accelerated write-offs of capital investments as well as the government’s decision to not parallel a federal measure that would have increased taxes on some small businesses earning passive investment income.

These tax measures, along with the small business CIT rate cut, would deliver a total of $255 million in Ontario income tax relief to small businesses in 2020.

StatsCanada – Unemployment Rate Drops to 5.6%

On Friday, Statistics Canada released its update Labour Market Survey Results which showed Employment increased by 35,000 (+0.2%) in December, and the unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 5.6%. In the 12 months to December, employment increased by 320,000 (+1.7%), the result of gains in full-time work (+283,000 or +1.9%). Over the same period, the number of hours worked was little changed.

  • In December, employment increased in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island, while a decline was recorded in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • There were more employees in the private sector (+57,000 or +0.5%) in December, offsetting a decline of a similar size in November.
  • Employment increased in accommodation and food services and in construction, while it was little changed in the other industries.

Employment Gains in Services-producing Sector Led by Ontario

In the 12 months to December, employment growth in Canada was driven by the services-producing sector (+367,000 or +2.5%), while there was a decline in the goods-producing sector (-47,000 or -1.2%). The number of employees in both the private and public sectors increased in 2019, while self-employment was little changed.

In the services-producing sector, there were notable increases in professional, scientific and technical services (+86,000), wholesale and retail trade (+77,000), health care and social assistance (+75,000) and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing (+75,000). Most of the growth in the services sector was in Ontario (+245,000).

Employment fell in the goods-producing sector, reflecting declines in manufacturing (-40,000), natural resources (-29,000) and utilities (-15,000) which were tempered by an increase in construction (+29,000). From December 2018 to December 2019, employment in manufacturing declined in Ontario and British Columbia, while employment in natural resources declined in five provinces, most notably Alberta and British Columbia.

For more information please check the Statistics Canada website.

Advocacy Update: December 23, 2019

HEADLINES

Year in Review

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

A lot can happen in a year, especially in politics 

One year ago, life was very different.

Just think back to December of 2018. Back to the days when Andrew Scheer was still leader of the Conservative Party, Jody Wilson Raybould was justice minister and attorney general and images of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in India were the most embarrassing photos of Trudeau, most thought, were out there.

We had no idea what was to come. That Andrew Scheer would lose the election and resign, or even that the Conservative Party was paying for his kids’ private school. Gerry Butts was still the prime minister’s principal secretary a year ago. We didn’t know that Wilson-Raybould would accuse the prime minister of pressuring her to intervene in a criminal case implicating his entire office in what became known as the SNC Lavalin affair.

So what could the next year bring? On the surface, at least, the possibility for wild times are even greater in 2020. Until October, the Liberals had a majority mandate and with that comes some stability. Yes, controversies can clearly still break out, but the business of a majority government is usually pretty steady.

Not anymore, the party in power in a minority can lose that power. This minority is a strong one – the Liberals are just 13 seats shy of a majority of seats in the House of Commons; still, the possibility of a confidence vote always exists – hanging over Parliament.

There are a few reasons – at least in the first six months of next year – why Parliament won’t likely fall anytime soon. The big one being the other parties are not even close to being ready for an election. Especially after the past few weeks.

The Conservatives will have a leadership election in 2020, just three years after the last one, and we have no idea who will win. The Conservatives share of the vote in the federal election increased, and so did their seats, yet, even with the SNC-Lavalin affair fresh in voters’ minds and pictures surfacing of the prime minister in blackface – the Tories didn’t win the election.

At first, Andrew Scheer tried to say his party’s electoral shortcomings could be blamed on communications issues, yet, he appeared to admit it was more than that when he stepped down. The party will also be dealing with its own internal battles after it was revealed Scheer struck a deal to use party funds to pay for his kids’ private school (side note: this is not going over well with party members, even those who like and/or worked for Scheer. One former aide even called it ‘disgusting’ in a text).

The NDP are one up on the Conservatives in that they have a leader, but one down in that they don’t have enough money to pay for anyone’s private school. 2020 will offer New Democrats the chance to position themselves in the House of Commons and rebuild a depleted war chest. Like the Conservatives, the Greens will also have to pick a new leader, after Elizabeth May announced she was stepping down shortly after the election. The Bloc Québécois have a leader but they’ve been pretty clear an election is not something they want in the near future.

So the year ahead will probably not feature an election, but my guess is there’ll still be some drama. We just don’t know what kind. That’s the beauty of life – and politics: a lot can happen in a year.

The above is an edited version of an article by Vassy Kapelos is host of Power & Politics, weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.

‘Twas the night before Christmas

On the last sitting day of the year MP Rodger Cuzner (Cape Breton) would recite a humorous version of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’. Rodger Cuzner did not run again in the 2019 federal election however; Conservative MP Scott Reid and Liberal MP Anthony Housefather have taken up the mantel. You be the judge on who’s rendition was best.

Anthony Housefather, MP (Mount Royal)

‘Twas the last sitting week before Christmas And who knew? That Cuzner’s Christmas poem tradition would be assumed by a Jew.

But whether we light the menorah or a big Christmas tree, Parliamentarians are asking for presents on that, we agree.

For our Conservative colleagues I know today has been a shock. In the spirit of the holidays l will go straight to the Bloc.

And for the Bloc leader, flush with success For Mr. Claus he had but one request. When flying over Quebec, please remove that red suit. It is a religious symbol and ugly, to boot.

For the NDP, pharmacare was on the list. It is supported by the government, but they have requested a twist. They asked Santa, who is known for passing out candy, To put dental care on the agenda. Would that not be dandy?

And when it comes to our PM We know what he wants, all being equal, No more hot mikes And a new Star Wars sequel.

I wish all members some holiday cheer. Enjoy your family and friends, and maybe some beer. And when we come back in January, let us see the light, Let us work together for Canadians and let us get it right.

Scott Reid MP (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston)

Mr. Speaker, the ghost of Cuzner past haunts us still on both sides of the aisle.

‘Twas just before Christmas and the six-week long break, Which after six days of hard work, all we members must take.

The PM could not nestle all snug in his bed Any time the election replayed in his head.

In votes he’d come second but of seats he’d won most He had new-found love for first-past-the post.

Far more voters had liked the Conservative pitch But we got fewer seats, which is just such a—let down.

The Bloc had 32 members including our Dean, Who seems like he’s been here since 1915.

New Dems really miss Layton’s vote-winning flair. They may even miss Thomas Mulcair.

We’re glad to be joined by our dear friends the Greens, Three MPs from two coasts. Sadly, no in-betweens.

An independent MP is now here from B.C., Who’s got plenty to say about SNC.

In a minority perhaps the best give we can give, Is if we all learn to live and let live.

Advocacy Update: December 9, 2019

HEADLINES

Federal Throne Speech

Public Holiday Pay

US News: Legislation in NY and NJ

FEDERAL THRONE SPEECH – WHAT IT SAID AND WHAT IT MEANS

On Thursday December 5, Governor General Julie Payette delivered the 43rd Parliament’s Speech from the Throne, laying out the policy priorities of Prime Minister Trudeau’s re-elected Liberal Government.

In a majority Parliament, Throne Speeches are a de facto formality. In this minority Parliament, the Throne Speech must gain the support of at least one of the opposition parties in order for the Liberal Party to stay in power. Soon after the Speech, the Government appeared to secure that necessary support, when Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet said that his party will vote in favour of the Speech.

The Throne Speech did not shy away from laying out a progressive policy agenda, continuing on the trajectory that the Liberals took during the prior term of Government and reflecting the content of the Party’s Election 2019 platform. Combating climate change, enacting an increase of the basic personal tax deduction to $15,000, working towards reconciliation with First Nations peoples, developing a Federal pharmacare program, and improving gun control were the major commitments made by the Speech. Those are all issues that the Liberals would have pursued in a majority government and they are policy priorities that are more likely to resonate with the progressive opposition parties when it comes to voting on specific legislation.

Given their vulnerability in a minority Parliament, the Liberals did take rhetorical steps to reach out to all of the other parties. The Throne Speech opened and closed with language about the importance of inter-party collaboration and presented the Government as open to policy proposals from the other parties. Specific references were made to policies that were championed by the opposition parties during Election 2019, including universal dentalcare from the NDP, making parental benefits tax free from the Conservatives, and compensating dairy farmers for market concessions made during the renegotiation of NAFTA from the Bloc Quebecois. Those references perhaps reveal the topics on which the opposition parties pushed for concessions from the Liberals during post-election negotiations.

The Throne Speech defined progressive action on social, economic, and environmental issues as the basis for the Liberal Party holding power. That approach indicates that the Liberals believe that their policy priorities will continue to resonate with most Canadians and offers clues that the Government will most often look to the progressive opposition parties – the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP – for support on confidence measures.

Opposition proposed amendments

Conservatives (121 seats) – Scheer introduced an amendment so the throne speech would include an acknowledgment that Canada is threatened by declining productivity and competitiveness, and that the rising cost of living and challenges to society requires a plan for tax relief for Canadians “with a path to a balanced budget.” He also requested the speech include plan to develop a “real” environment plan that tackles global climate change and strengthens competitiveness.

He has said a Conservative government would focus carbon policies on exporting Canada’s clean technology to countries that have higher carbon emissions, like China and India. Scheer has since called on the Liberal government to adopt policies to help countries with the highest emissions, rather than taxing Canadians for their carbon emissions.

As part of this, Scheer’s amendment included a request to recognize that the national unity crisis requires respecting provincial jurisdiction and scrapping the carbon tax.

Bloc Quebecois (32 seats) – BQ leader Yves-François Blanchet spoke to the media second and said that his party will vote in favour of the Speech. Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet subsequently introduced a subamendment on provincial jurisdiction, specifically requesting that the federal government refrain from authorizing projects that don’t respect the provinces’ environments. Blanchet’s request comes after a long history of disagreeing with the Liberals’ oil and pipeline policies. Last month, he said the Bloc will follow its “duty” to fight the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project.

NDP (15 seats) – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the speech failed to include specific examples on how the government will implement its policies. For example, Singh said the government recommitted to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but did not offer any specific targets or concrete ways of how they would achieve these targets. “They touched on health, they touched on pharmacare … but again, they just touched on it,” he said. Singh was unable to introduce a subamendment as the NDP is the fourth-biggest party in the House.

First confidence vote – Tuesday

The Trudeau minority government will face its first make-or-break confidence vote on Tuesday night, when it will formally ask MPs approve $4.9 billion dollars in add-on spending for veterans’ services, international climate change initiatives, etc. Tuesday’s vote — which involves the expenditure of public money – Is automatically considered a confidence question. The government is expected to survive this first test as the Bloc Quebecois has already made it clear that they have no intention of bringing down the government, at least for the moment, which would seem to all but guarantee that the estimates will get the green light.


ONTARIO MINISTRY OF LABOUR – PUBLIC HOLIDAY PAY CALCULATOR

For employers and employees: See how much you should pay or be paid for public holidays.

Unless you are in an industry that is exempt, under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, most employees, including new employees, are entitled to public holiday pay.

If a public holiday does not fall on a normal working day, employees should receive a substitute holiday instead.

Some industries (for example, hotels, hospitals and restaurants) have special rules which require employees to work on a public holiday. Learn more about public holiday pay.

Click to use the Ontario Public Holiday Pay Calculator Tool


US NEWS – NY AND NJ MOVING FORWARD WITH LEGISLATION THAT WILL HAVE SERIOUS IMPACTS ON FRANCHISING

New York and New Jersey are moving forward with changes to employment legislation that puts franchising in these states in peril. In both states the Legislatures are considering bills that would codify the Dynamex decision where the California court adopted a new test for determining whether a worker should be designated as an employee or independent contractor.

New York is set to become the next state to consider an AB-5 copycat bill after New Jersey recently introduced a bill similar to California’s AB-5. According to Bloomberg, a pair of influential state lawmakers plan to introduce a new gig-worker-rights bill shortly after the legislative season kicks off in January. It’s expected to make it harder to classify gig and other workers as contractors instead of employees, similar to the new AB-5 law in California.

On Thursday, December 5, New York State Assemblyman Marcus Crespo held a public hearing in the Legislative Office Building in Albany, New York.

New Jersey introduced legislation (SB 4204) to expand the ABC test in determining independent contractor status to “all state employment laws”. The legislation limits the application of the ABC test to “individuals who perform services for remuneration…” As introduced, the legislation closely mirrors California’s AB-5.

New Jersey Senate Labor Committee said that they will adopt amendments to the bill. The bill will still use the ABC test to determine worker classification but will restore language in the “B” part of the test so that employees working outside the places of the employers’ business will continue to qualify as independent contractors. They will also specify that, in meeting the existing “C” part of the test, the service an individual performs must be “of the same nature” of the business or enterprise in which they are normally engaged. New Jersey is currently in a ‘lame duck’ session till the end of the year.

Time to Act! Meet your MPP

Now that the election dust has settled, you may have a new Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) representing your riding. This is a critical time to start building relationships with those who represent your voice!

Unfortunately, many MPPs and members of government are still unaware of the complexities of the franchise industry. Meetings go a long way to help paint a picture of the everyday franchise owner.

Meeting with MPPs is one of the most critical advocacy activities available and can be a very powerful tool. It gives you an opportunity to connect with them directly and share real-life experiences of what owning a business and creating jobs means to you, your family and your community.

Inviting your MPP to visit your business will make the meeting that much more personal and memorable; creating the opportunity for them to meet your staff and understand the dynamics of your everyday life as a small business owner. Bringing a personal aspect to the relationship could make your MPP more likely to act on your behalf.

MPPs are interested in hearing from constituents and those actively involved in the community. By taking the time to meet with your local MPP, you’re demonstrating that franchisors and franchise owners are active members of the community who care to take the time to develop that relationship. This benefits not only yourself, but the community in which your business resides, and the franchising community as a whole.

Steps to Setting up a Meeting:

  1. Click here to confirm your MPP
  2. Email or call your MPP’s office and request a meeting
  3. Determine speaking notes

Sample Speaking notes:

Use this opportunity to explain who you are on a personal level and how it relates to the business. Why did you chose franchising? How does the business model help you and your community? Use the following sample speaking notes to lead you in the right direction:

  • “To give you some context about my business…”
    • Why did you choose the franchise model?
    • How many people does your franchise system employ?
    • What are the benefits of working for a franchisee within your brand?
    • Discuss your community involvement (i.e. donations, involvement in local Boards or Chambers)
  • “The Canadian franchise industry generates over $96 billion dollars annually, almost 5% of the entire economy of Canada”
    • In Ontario, the franchise industry contributes $49 billion to the GDP
  • “Franchising employs over 1.8 million Canadians, directly and indirectly”
    • In Ontario, the franchise industry generates over 900,000 people

Download CFA’s ‘Franchising in Ontario: Policy Briefing’ for more helpful information.

For help finding your MPP’s contact information or booking a meeting, contact David Black, Director, Government Relations & Public Relations at dblack@cfa.ca or call 1-800-665-4232 ext. 297..

Canadian Franchise Association Raises Awareness About Canada’s $96 Billion Franchise Industry

Top franchisors convene on Parliament Hill to share the latest statistics on franchising in Canada

 

TORONTO – April 25, 2018 – Yesterday, the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) convened on Parliament Hill to raise awareness about Canada’s $96 billion franchise industry during Franchise Awareness Day.

Armed with the latest numbers from the CFA’s Economic Impact Report, more than 75 franchise business leaders from across Canada met with politicians throughout the day to educate them about the franchise sector’s significant contribution to the Canadian economy and job creation.

According to the CFA’s Economic Impact Report:

  • Franchises contribute $96 billion per year to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), representing 5% of the Canadian economy
  • The Canadian franchise industry accounts for 1.5 million full-time equivalent jobs, and 1.8 million total jobs, representing $61 billion in household wages
  • Canadian franchises generate a total of $26 billion in tax revenue for the federal and provincial governments
  • Based on GDP, the Canadian franchise industry ranks 12th among the largest industry sectors in Canada

The first of its kind in Canada, the Economic Impact Report was published by the CFA in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (CANCEA), a leading economic research organization.

“The numbers clearly show that franchising is an important economic driver in every province in Canada,” says Lorraine McLachlan, the CFA’s President and CEO. “Through Franchise Awareness Day, we want to ensure government understands the contributions franchising makes to the economy, and recognizes the vital importance of franchising in the lives of Canadians.”

Beyond the numbers, participating franchisors and franchisees also shared their own personal stories of how franchising empowered them to go into business for themselves, but not by themselves.

“Behind these figures are thousands of everyday Canadians who achieved their dreams of business success through franchising,” McLachlan continues. “Franchisees are the new mom-and-pop, and it’s their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit that helps drive the Canadian economy. That’s why it’s so important for franchise leaders to come together and share their stories through events like Franchise Awareness Day.”

To learn more about franchising in Canada, and to download a free preview of the Economic Impact Report, visit cfa.ca/research.

About the Canadian Franchise Association
The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) helps everyday Canadians realize the dream of building their own business through the power of franchising. CFA advocates on issues that impact this dream on behalf of more than 700 corporate members and over 40,000 franchisees from many of Canada’s best-known and emerging franchise brands. Beyond its role as the voice of the franchise industry, CFA strengthens and develops franchising by delivering best-practice education and creating rewarding connections between Canadians and the opportunities in franchising. Canadian franchises contribute over $96 billion per year to the Canadian economy and create jobs for more than 1.8 million Canadians. Learn more at www.cfa.ca or www.FranchiseCanada.online.

Media Contact
Lisa Raffaele | (647) 837-1265 | lisa@punchcanada.com

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Canadian Franchise Association (CFA)
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