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OPEC Production Deal Greeted With Skepticism in Canada



Canada will certainly benefit if the world’s biggest oil producing countries move to restrict production, but skepticism exists on whether they will follow through on their promises.

“Assuming they stick to it, and that’s a big if, it should support oil prices,” said Benjamin Reitzes, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets. “The competition producing a little less is always good.”

But many analysts noted that the deal by the 14-member Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in Algeria on Wednesday was merely an agreement to look at possibly cutting production to between 32.5 million and 33 million barrels a day.

That would be down from August’s production rate of 33.2 million barrels a day – but it would shave only 700,000 barrels a day, some 2 per cent of overall production.

Crude oil was selling for more than $100 (U.S.) a barrel in the summer of 2014, before bottoming out below $30 a barrel in January. That fall largely came from a boom in U.S. shale oil production and countries like Saudi Arabia choosing to continue to pump to hold onto market share.

Since then, a deal between Iran and world powers over its contested nuclear program has allowed it more firmly back into the global oil market – and it wants to make up for lost time by boosting its production.

Producers like Venezuela and Nigeria have faced tremendous economic pain as oil prices remain low. Even mega-producer Saudi Arabia has cut salaries for senior government officials while eating through its foreign reserves.

The economies of oil-producing provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland have suffered amid persistent low prices.

Oil producers have shuttered projects and eased off on production. Workers have been laid off, with tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs lost. Alberta’s current recession looks like it will be the longest and worst in the province’s history.

When the NDP government delivered its fiscal update in late summer, it warned that its deficit will rise to almost $10.9 billion this year. It expects to borrow $7 billion this year for operating expenses, almost one-third more than the original budgeted $5.4 billion.

Few in Alberta are celebrating OPEC’s surprise move. That’s because the members still need to hammer out details on country by country production rates at its November meeting, so any production cut won’t be implemented until late this year at the earliest.

Reitzes said any rise in oil prices will help Canada, but he cautioned that if oil prices rise above $50 a barrel, then U.S. shale producers might ramp up their production, adding to supply. By contrast, Canadian oil sands companies face much higher costs to get oil out of the ground to be profitable.

Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said there is skepticism about whether OPEC members will hold to a commitment.

It has been eight years since the countries restricted production – and it looks like they are moving toward being on the same page, he said.

“But even if they get an agreement, often times, producers cheat,” Cieszynski said. “It’s a first stage. It’s the beginning of a process, not the end.”

Spencer Knipping, an oil analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Energy, said it looks like Saudi Arabia, which has the largest production capacity, is feeling the pinch from low oil prices and is ready to make a deal.

Although OPEC’s promises can result in a short-term boost in oil prices, the key is whether members are all committed to a production cut.

“If OPEC performs as it has in the past, and not adhered to production quotas, we would expect the price would not go up,” Knipping said.

That would mean little change to gasoline or diesel prices for consumers, and would provide only a small lift for the wider Canadian economy that is heavily weighted on resources.

“We know the world is producing more oil than it is consuming,” he said, and inventories are continuing to rise, though not at as high a rate as before.

“It’s the knowns that are causing people to be cautious about future price projections,” he said.

He noted that the International Energy Agency believes the world oil market will not rebalance until late 2017, when supply will be in line with demand as inventories flatten out.

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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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