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Bank of Canada Holds Key Interest Rate at 0.5 Percent, But Cuts Economic Forecast



OTTAWA — Stephen Poloz isn’t about to blink — yet.

The Bank of Canada governor is keeping a close eye on the three-steps-forward, two-steps-back pattern of export growth and business investment.

The Canadian housing market continues to boil over, while global oil prices are lingering at levels still too low to support of recovery in the energy sector. Add to the mix the uncertain economic impact of Britain’s planned breakup with the European Union and all that might appear to be a recipe for easing monetary policy.

Not for Poloz and his policy council. Not now, anyway.

Instead, the central bank on Wednesday kept its trendsetting lending level unchanged at 0.5 per cent, where it has been for the past year — a remnant of the collapse of crude oil prices that began to be felt in the latter part of 2014.

The bank acknowledged in its quarterly Monetary Policy Report that domestic growth “has been uneven.”

“The export recovery is alive and well,” Poloz told reporters in Ottawa following Wednesday’s release of the MPR. “You kind of have this narrative that nothing’s happened and yet what we see is actually seven or eight years of recovery, a slow recovery for sure, but one that’s been steady and is now pretty well done.”

While 2016 got off to a steady start in Canada, with first-quarter GDP growing by an annualized pace of 2.4 per cent, the second quarter likely contracted by one per cent, pulled down by volatile trade flows, uneven consumer spending and the Alberta wildfires, the bank said.

However, policymakers expect the third-quarter to bounce back by 3.5 per cent — helped mainly by the resumption of oil production after the Alberta blazes and the start of reconstruction in Fort McMurray, which was hardest hit by the fires.Advertisement

As well, consumer spending should get a boost from the enhanced Canada Child Benefit program, introduced by the new Liberal government in Ottawa.

“Federal infrastructure spending and other fiscal measures announced in the March budget will also contribute to growth,” the bank added. “At the same time, financial vulnerabilities are elevated and rising, particularly in the greater Vancouver and Toronto areas.”

Overall, the domestic economy is forecast to grow by 1.3 per cent in 2016 — down from the April MPR forecast of 1.7 per cent — and by 2.2 per cent in 2017, followed by 2.1 per cent the next year, compared to previous estimates of 2.3 per cent and 2.0 per cent, respectively.

The bigger picture, according to the central bank’s forecasts, will show the global economy advancing by 2.9 per cent this year — down from 3.1 per cent in 2015 — but then growing by 3.3 per cent in 2017 and advance 3.5 per cent in 2018. Those estimates represent only marginal declines from the bank’s previous forecasts in its April MPR.

“Essentially, the underlying forces that support a strengthening of growth in Canada remain the same, and the adjustment process of the economy to the lower oil prices is well underway,” said Carolyn Wilkins, the central bank’s senior deputy governor.

“That said, international and national factors have led us to lower our projections for growth,” said Wilkins, who joined Poloz at Wednesday’s news conference.

But the wildcard in these forecasts is the potential impact of the June 23 Brexit vote — a narrow win for the “leave” side and a decision that could take as many as two years to put into effect, and a situation that has already cause the resignation of the British prime minister as well as opposition leaders.

“Considerable uncertainty surrounds the Brexit process, however, as well as its outcome and the broader political ramifications,” the bank said.

Brexit could lower global GDP by about 0.2 per cent by the end of 2018 — although the impact on Canada’s economy “is likewise anticipated to be modest.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy — the world’s biggest economy and Canada’s main trading partner — is expected to post gains of 2.0 per cent this year and 2.1 per cent in 2017, while 2018 growth should be around 2.0 per cent. China, the second largest growth engine, will likely expand by 6.4 per cent this year and in 2017, and advance by 6.3 per cent in 2018.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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