BRIEF-NXT-ID, Fit Pay announce letter of intent to combine businesses


Nxt-id Inc

* NXT-ID and Fit Pay, Inc announce letter of intent to
combine their businesses


* Says NXT-ID will not be raising additional capital to
complete this transaction

* Says companies seek to complete transaction early in q2 of
2017

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Trudeau Budget Math Doesn't Add Up on Growth: Canada Eco Watch

(Bloomberg) — There’s something peculiar with a key performance goal in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s last budget.

In a fiscal plan released Wednesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the governing Liberals outlined a new growth strategy focused on skills training and innovation, and set out “clear and ambitious targets” to gauge the success of the program. One goal is to boost exports of goods and services 30 percent by 2025.

As stated in the budget documents, the plan is to make the country a “leading center of global innovation,” with “a strong emphasis on exports because of the connection between trade, and good, well-paying jobs.”

A little arithmetic however (more details below) shows that, at least for this measure, there seems to be very little ambition at all.

Long-term projections of GDP from the finance department, which can also be deduced from budget figures, suggest Canada’s economy is poised to grow about 40 percent by 2025 — almost a third faster than Trudeau’s export growth metric.

In other words, the target Trudeau has chosen to gauge the success of his growth plan is one that is likely to lag behind the rest of the economy, not lead it.

“It is a weak performance metric,” said Kevin Page, a former parliamentary budget officer who now heads the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.

If Not Exports

Using the government’s own targets, the export sector is forecast to shrink, not grow, in relative terms — to about 29 percent of GDP in 2025, from about 31 percent today, according to Bloomberg calculations.

So, what does the budget actually reveal about how the Liberals plan to drive growth over the next eight years, if not through exports?

While it’s tempting to conclude public spending will be a key driver, given the run of deficits, it’s not seen as a long-term contributor of growth. In fact, the federal government may actually be a slight drag on growth within a few years.

Program expenses as a share of GDP are peaking this year at 14.5 percent, before declining to 13.8 percent in 2021, budget figures show. The deficit is projected to almost halve over that time, dropping to 0.8 percent of GDP from 1.4 percent in 2017.

What’s Left?

Household consumption as a share of the economy has been hovering at the highest since possibly as far back as the 1960s, and with debt levels at records, it’s also an unlikely driver of economic growth. Nor is there any indication in the budget that’s what the government is hoping for.

Investment on the other hand is everywhere in the document, mentioned 360 times. That’s more than double the number of references to “middle class.”

To be sure, the budget uses the word as a euphemism for government spending, which explains the frequency. But the fiscal plan is indeed filled with mentions of attracting business and leveraging the private sector. It seems Trudeau is hinging his growth agenda on a revival in business investment.

Week Ahead

  • Bloomberg Nanos Consumer Confidence Index (Monday, 10 a.m.)
  • Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz gives a speech at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario (Tuesday, 9:50 a.m.) and press conference (11:10 a.m.)
  • Quebec budget (Tuesday, 4 p.m.)
  • CFIB Business Barometer (Thursday, 7 a.m.)
  • Industrial product prices and raw material prices (Thursday, 8:30 a.m.)
  • GDP and payroll employment earnings and hours (Friday, 8:30 a.m.)

Growth Redux

The one thing the budget does highlight is just how much Canada — like most developed countries — has entered into a low-growth world, hobbled by an aging labor force and falling productivity. 

And Trudeau, to his credit, is trying to address those two big challenges head on, with a fiscal plan that focuses on increasing labor force participation rates and innovation.

Canada is in the midst of one of its weakest ever stretches of growth, so there’s some urgency to the search for alternative models. Trudeau’s vision includes building an army of highly educated white-collar workers, drawn from all over the globe, closely connected to the country’s world-class universities, producing exportable services in advanced high-tech industries.

Manufacturing is hardly mentioned, probably for good reason given the sector has shown no evidence of being able to mount a comeback. It comes up 12 times in last week’s budget, versus 115 references in the 2015 budget.

The government has also begun to distinguish between manufacturing and “advanced manufacturing.” The latter is one of key six sectors identified as growth drivers and worthy of extra help.

There’s a lot at stake for Trudeau. In the run-up to the 2015 election, he emphasized boosting the nation’s sluggish growth and his party criticized former Prime Minister Stephen Harper for having the worst growth record since the Depression-era prime minister R.B. Bennett, which is true.

Yet, last week’s budget projects average nominal GDP growth of just over 3.5 percent through 2021, meaning at that pace the best Trudeau can hope for is to have the second-worst growth record since the 1930s after Harper, who averaged growth of just under 3.5 percent. Growth averaged more than 7 percent in the eight decades preceding the last recession.

The difference is Harper faced two global shocks to the Canadian economy during his tenure. Trudeau may be one shock away from taking Harper’s slow-growth title.

Export Calculations

Here are some of the details on how the export targets are lagging the economy:

  • Canadian exports of goods and services were C$629 billion ($471 billion) in 2016, or 31 percent of the country’s C$2.027 trillion economy.
  • By 2025, a 30 percent growth target for exports implies receipts of C$818 billion.
  • The finance department’s own long-term projections show a C$2.838 trillion forecast for GDP in 2025. That would imply exports as a share of the economy would decline to just under 29 percent.
  • Alternatively, a low-ball growth assumption of 3.5 percent annually over the next eight years would bring GDP to C$2.763 trillion in 2025. That would imply exports as a share of the economy at 29.6 percent.

(Updates with quote from the budget in third paragraph.)

–With assistance from Josh Wingrove

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

New employment help for spouses of Canadian Armed Forces members

Master Warrant Officer Don Cormier, right, is greeted enthusiastically by his wife, Jennifer Cormier, at the Lecture Training Facility at CFB Edmonton in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Approximately 35 members of the Canadian Armed Forces returned to Edmonton from Afghanistan.
Codie McLachlan / Postmedia

Military spouses across Canada will be able to get help in finding a new career as the METSpouse program expands nationwide this April.

Canada Company – a federal charity that helps military members transition into civilian life with a focus on finding new employment – in partnership with Military Family Services plans to expand the METSpouse program coast to coast on April 19.

METSpouse is designed to address underemployment among spouses of active, reserve and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces by leveraging opportunities through the Canada Company’s existing Military Employment Transition Program, which helps members of the Canadian Armed Forces transition into civilian careers.

The issue affects as many as 4,300 military families in the Edmonton area alone.

“The METSpouse program recognizes that the spouses of our military and veterans face unique employment realities and challenges,” said Canada Company president Angela Mondou, in a recent statement. “METSpouse is a chance to put our expertise to work for military spouses while creating more opportunities for Canadian businesses to benefit from our remarkable military community.”

Launched as a pilot program between December and April 2016, the METSpouse program found stable employment for 51 military spouses in seven locations from Manitoba to Nova Scotia.

The program already has 375 spouses registered who are ready to match their skills and experience with careers offered by more than 120 employer partners.

“The METSpouse program changed my life,” said Julianne Oakes, a military spouse. “Belairdirect hired me directly from the program’s job fair in Ottawa and I’ve fallen in love with my new career. It’s given me a renewed purpose and empowered me to dream big again.”

For more information, go to the Military Employment Transition Program website.

twitter.com/ClaireTheobald

ctheobald@postmedia.com

Trudeau Misses Goal With Budget Math: Canada Economy Watch

(Bloomberg) — There’s something peculiar with a key performance goal in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s last budget.

In a fiscal plan released Wednesday by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, the governing Liberals outlined a new growth strategy focused on skills training and innovation, and set out “clear and ambitious targets” to gauge the success of the program. One goal is to boost exports of goods and services 30 percent by 2025.

As stated in the budget documents, the plan is to make the country a “leading center of global innovation,” with “a strong emphasis on exports because of the connection between trade, and good, well-paying jobs.”

A little arithmetic however (more details below) shows that, at least for this measure, there seems to be very little ambition at all.

Long-term projections of GDP from the finance department, which can also be deduced from budget figures, suggest Canada’s economy is poised to grow about 40 percent by 2025 — almost a third faster than Trudeau’s export growth metric.

In other words, the target Trudeau has chosen to gauge the success of his growth plan is one that is likely to lag behind the rest of the economy, not lead it.

“It is a weak performance metric,” said Kevin Page, a former parliamentary budget officer who now heads the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.

If Not Exports

Using the government’s own targets, the export sector is forecast to shrink, not grow, in relative terms — to about 29 percent of GDP in 2025, from about 31 percent today, according to Bloomberg calculations.

So, what does the budget actually reveal about how the Liberals plan to drive growth over the next eight years, if not through exports?

While it’s tempting to conclude public spending will be a key driver, given the run of deficits, it’s not seen as a long-term contributor of growth. In fact, the federal government may actually be a slight drag on growth within a few years.

Program expenses as a share of GDP are peaking this year at 14.5 percent, before declining to 13.8 percent in 2021, budget figures show. The deficit is projected to almost halve over that time, dropping to 0.8 percent of GDP from 1.4 percent in 2017.

What’s Left?

Household consumption as a share of the economy has been hovering at the highest since possibly as far back as the 1960s, and with debt levels at records, it’s also an unlikely driver of economic growth. Nor is there any indication in the budget that’s what the government is hoping for.

Investment on the other hand is everywhere in the document, mentioned 360 times. That’s more than double the number of references to “middle class.”

To be sure, the budget uses the word as a euphemism for government spending, which explains the frequency. But the fiscal plan is indeed filled with mentions of attracting business and leveraging the private sector. It seems Trudeau is hinging his growth agenda on a revival in business investment.

Week Ahead

  • Bloomberg Nanos Consumer Confidence Index (Monday, 10 a.m.)
  • Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz gives a speech at Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario (Tuesday, 9:50 a.m.) and press conference (11:10 a.m.)
  • Quebec budget (Tuesday, 4 p.m.)
  • CFIB Business Barometer (Thursday, 7 a.m.)
  • Industrial product prices and raw material prices (Thursday, 8:30 a.m.)
  • GDP and payroll employment earnings and hours (Friday, 8:30 a.m.)

Growth Redux

The one thing the budget does highlight is just how much Canada — like most developed countries — has entered into a low-growth world, hobbled by an aging labor force and falling productivity. 

And Trudeau, to his credit, is trying to address those two big challenges head on, with a fiscal plan that focuses on increasing labor force participation rates and innovation.

Canada is in the midst of one of its weakest ever stretches of growth, so there’s some urgency to the search for alternative models. Trudeau’s vision includes building an army of highly educated white-collar workers, drawn from all over the globe, closely connected to the country’s world-class universities, producing exportable services in advanced high-tech industries.

Manufacturing is hardly mentioned, probably for good reason given the sector has shown no evidence of being able to mount a comeback. It comes up 12 times in last week’s budget, versus 115 references in the 2015 budget.

The government has also begun to distinguish between manufacturing and “advanced manufacturing.” The latter is one of key six sectors identified as growth drivers and worthy of extra help.

There’s a lot at stake for Trudeau. In the run-up to the 2015 election, he emphasized boosting the nation’s sluggish growth and his party criticized former Prime Minister Stephen Harper for having the worst growth record since the Depression-era prime minister R.B. Bennett, which is true.

Yet, last week’s budget projects average nominal GDP growth of just over 3.5 percent through 2021, meaning at that pace the best Trudeau can hope for is to have the second-worst growth record since the 1930s after Harper, who averaged growth of just under 3.5 percent. Growth averaged more than 7 percent in the eight decades preceding the last recession.

The difference is Harper faced two global shocks to the Canadian economy during his tenure. Trudeau may be one shock away from taking Harper’s slow-growth title.

Export Calculations

Here are some of the details on how the export targets are lagging the economy:

  • Canadian exports of goods and services were C$629 billion ($471 billion) in 2016, or 31 percent of the country’s C$2.027 trillion economy.
  • By 2025, a 30 percent growth target for exports implies receipts of C$818 billion.
  • The finance department’s own long-term projections show a C$2.838 trillion forecast for GDP in 2025. That would imply exports as a share of the economy would decline to just under 29 percent.
  • Alternatively, a low-ball growth assumption of 3.5 percent annually over the next eight years would bring GDP to C$2.763 trillion in 2025. That would imply exports as a share of the economy at 29.6 percent.

(Updates with quote from the budget in third paragraph.)

–With assistance from Josh Wingrove

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

Andrew Potter's Resignation A Sad Day For Free Speech In Canada

A few days ago, the (usually) brilliant writer Andrew Potter resigned as the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, which he called “a dream job of a lifetime,” amid scrutiny over an ill-received March 20 article in Maclean’s. As such, many in the journalistic community are left horrified about the state of free speech in Canada — as they ought to be.

In case you’ve missed it, Potter’s now-infamous Maclean’s piece speculated that the “public crisis” in Montreal, which occurred when 300 cars were left stranded overnight on highway 13 in a snowstorm, revealed an “essential malaise eating away at the foundations of Quebec society.”

andrew potter
(Photo: McGill.ca)

Potter described this broken society with a colourful — maybe too colourful — mélange of statistics and anecdotes. He cited the province as having a “pathologically alienated and low-trust society;” noted how the Montreal “police don’t wear proper uniforms” but “clownish camo pants;” and how “some restaurants offer you two bills: One for if you are paying cash;” and honed in on the fact that “28 per cent of Quebecers over the age of 75 report having no close friends.”

This did not culminate in the most elegant argument about Quebec’s fissures. Nevertheless, as a Montrealer, I was hardly offended by the piece — even if others may have been.

Actually, the tone of Potter’s grievances echoed in a familiar Montreal-specific cadence. Come to think of it, he sounded a heck of a lot like my mother-in-law after she’d endured another grueling winter. Or like anyone I know in the city whose car has just collided with yet-another pothole.

We all still love Montreal though. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

In any case, after the backlash, Potter suddenly resigned as the director of the MISC. Whether this was motivated from the top-down McGill politics, from an angry mob below, or instigated by Potter himself, I cannot speculate.

However, I will wave my fist about the implications his departure has on free speech in Canada.

I will also roar about how this incident may impact our future sense of Canadian identity.

Because as the director of the MISC, Potter was inspiring important conversations about what it means to be Canadian — a topic that does not generally garner that much excitement in this country, let alone in Montreal.

Meanwhile, at the February 2017 MISC conference — “Canadian Exceptionalism: Are we good or are we lucky?” — Kathleen Weil, Bob Rae and others held stirring conversations about Canada’s attitude towards multiculturalism among intellectuals, journalists and students.

As the former editor the Ottawa Citizen and a columnist for Maclean’s, Potter was (and still is) also something of a cultural studies hero, and was the ideal person to inspire such participation.


That McGill staff had the genius to hire Potter as the director of the MISC was a promising sign.

In 2004, Potter and Joseph Heath co-wrote the popular book The Rebel Sell: Why The Culture Can’t Be Jammed, about how consuming certain beverages or wearing counter-culture clothing doesn’t lead to political change, even if these actions feel like they might. Rather, what we buy was a reflection of our human yearnings.

The book provided a clear-cut Veblen-esque rational understanding of consumer culture and behaviour, and offered a much-needed response to Douglas Coupland’s Generation X with its twenty-somethings lost to “McJobs,” and to Naomi Klein’s No Logo where society’s sacred poetry was gobbled up by advertising agencies.

That McGill staff had the genius to hire Potter as the director of the MISC was a promising sign. Not only would Potter instigate cultural conversations about Canada through lectures and conferences, he would also best motivate today’s students to explore these often overlooked core issues as well. (After his resignation, Potter will remain an associate professor at McGill.)

mcgill university corruption police
(Photo: CP)

The Canadian sense of identity has long been considered vague.

Unlike the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Canadians don’t have monuments that reveal themselves as clearly and obviously as Americans do.

Rather, our reflections of Canadian-ness are demonstrated through humble statues and memorials, and thoughtfully curated historical museums.

We also have our institutions, including current frenemies the CBC and the TD Bank. We have Tim Hortons and Roots.

We also have poutine, Kraft Dinner and maple syrup.

We have hockey and the Trudeaus.

But Potter’s search for what it is to be a Canadian dug deeper than this without plunging into esotericism.

As the director of the MISC, Potter was the ideal candidate to stitch together our various national threads of contemporary Canadian-ness into a semi-coherent narrative.

Unfortunately, in Potter’s recent Maclean’s polemic, his arguments weren’t woven together as carefully as usual. Many reacted.

Shortly after its publication, Potter apologized in a Facebook post profusely about the article’s “errors and exaggeration” — another quintessential Canadian move.

andrew potter resignation
(Photo: Jandrewpotter/Twitter)

Then Potter resigned.

Ever since, it has been a sad week for Canada.

How are we going to get through the outspoken Trump years, confront the threats of global warming and embrace the next influx of refugees with this kind acquiescence to hyper-sensitivity?

As a culture, we need to know how to deal with polemics from others, and learn how to engage in impassioned debates amongst ourselves.


We need to protect the freedom of speech, along with the freedom for people to eff up every once in a while.

A well-practiced tendency towards politeness and peacekeeping may be good for the heart, but it can also leave many feeling muzzled, not just journalists.

If Canada wants to be known as a country that is truly great, truly kind and truly peaceful, let alone truly “happy” — and not simply pathologically well-liked and tolerant of opinions providing the level of conversation is kept at ginger beer and Ryan Gosling — we need to protect the freedom of speech, along with the freedom for people to eff up every once in a while.

Otherwise as hyper-tolerant Canadians, repressed anger may one day be revealed as our nation’s hubris, running far deeper than just potholes.

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Marijuana stocks on fire after report that Canada’s legalization bill is in the works for 2018

TORONTO — Publicly traded medical marijuana companies got a bounce Monday after news reports provided clarity on the federal government’s plan for marijuana, suggesting it will be legal for pot smokers in time to celebrate Canada Day next year.

Ottawa plans to introduce marijuana legalization legislation in mid-April, fulfilling the Liberals’ promise to do so this spring. That will be enough time to enact legalization by Canada Day 2018, CBC reported Sunday night.

The media report is largely in line with analysts’ expectations, but “we nonetheless believe that it provides investors with a greater degree of clarity and certainty of what the recreational market could look like,” Canaccord Genuity analyst Neil Maruoka said in a report called “Legislation should be the tide to lift all stocks.”

“It’s introduction into the House of Commons should be viewed as a significant positive industry catalyst.”

Bloomberg

The news gave a sector-wide bounce to Canadian medical marijuana stocks.

Aurora Cannabis Inc. shares got one of the biggest boosts Monday, jumping nine per cent to $2.48 per share. The Alberta-based company building a state-of-the-art Aurora Sky facility, the size of 16 football fields at the Edmonton airport, is Maruoka’s top pick in the sector.

Aurora executive vice-president Cam Battley said the news is a net positive for the industry as it solidifies the government is committed to its objectives.

“It’s cementing Canada’s world leadership with respect to the cannabis sector,” he said, adding that the sector’s growth also provides opportunities for companies in ancillary businesses — ranging from those in information technology to research.

“What this means is we can all plan we can all invest we can all start hiring and start building the world’s leading consumer cannabis system.”

Shares in Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s biggest marijuana company, jumped nine per cent to $10.84 while recall-plagued OrganiGram Holdings Inc. stock saw a similar increase to $2.42 in Monday afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Maruoka said now might be the time for investors to take some profits as after the announcement has happened there will be little to move markets over the next year.

The rules will reportedly closely follow the recommendations set out in a federal task force on legalization released in November.

The 80-recommendation report was celebrated by Canada’s licensed producers as it suggests the current Health Canada system for medical marijuana will remain in tact, ensuring they will be the main suppliers for recreational marijuana. The system is very tightly-controlled and highly competitive. Only about of applicants have been approved.

Provinces will control the price and distribution model and will have the ability to set an age limit that differs from the federal recommendation of 18, while Canadians who want to grow their own will be limited to four plants per household, according to the CBC.

The Liberal government will reportedly introduce legislation on or ahead of the symbolic date of April, 20 (4/20), which has become something of a counter-culture holiday on which pot smokers historically gather on Parliament Hill to advocate for legalization.

Last year on that date, Health Minister Jane Philpott stood before the United Nations to announce Canada would become just the second country in the world to legalize the drug for recreational use at the federal level after Uruguay.

Financial Post

sfreeman@postmedia.com

Douglas Todd: Growing number renouncing Canadian immigrant status

Thousands of permanent residents are renouncing their opportunity to immigrate to Canada — for reasons ranging from a dislike of the cold to a desire to avoid Canadian taxes.

More than 21,000 people with permanent resident cards who had the opportunity to become Canadian citizens have turned their back on the quest in the past two years. The highest number of  “renunciations” are from citizens of China, India and South Korea.

People who renounce their permanent resident status no longer have to prove they’re spending significant time in Canada when they cross the borders or fly into an airport, say immigration lawyers in Vancouver.

Nor do Canadian immigration process dropouts have to give up the passport of their homelands, where many continue to work or run businesses. And they are not expected to declare their foreign assets to Canada Revenue Agency.

“Renunciations are growing in number and will likely remain high,” says an internal report from Canada’s immigration office in Shanghai, China, the largest source country for immigrants to B.C.

“Many people are renouncing five years after landing (in Canada), rather than renewing their permanent cards, as they are working in China and do not meet residency requirements,” says the internal report, published in the Vancouver newsletter Lexbase.

“Their children often remain in Canada to complete school and to begin their careers.”

According to three Vancouver immigration lawyers, many people who renounce their permanent resident cards continue to return to gateway cities such as Vancouver and Toronto to visit their families as temporary visitors, especially on the increasingly popular 10-year visas.

“They were getting picked off at Vancouver airport for failure to meet residency requirements. This way they can avoid that problem and still come here,” said B.C. immigration lawyer Sam Hyman, noting the strong majority of migrants to Metro Vancouver are from Asia.

People with permanent resident status in Canada are required to spend two years out of every five in the country.

Vancouver immigration lawyer Jeffrey Lowe said many people who renounce their permanent status are breadwinners who cannot meet Canada’s two-year-residency requirement because they hold down jobs elsewhere, typically earning more money in their homeland than they believe they could in Canada.

A large number of these are so-called astronaut parents, who work offshore while their spouses and school-attending children remain in Canada, usually in urban centres, and own residential property, say the immigration lawyers.

The rapid rise in renunciations began in 2015 after then-immigration minister Chris Alexander, of the Conservatives, changed the rules to make it easier to voluntarily withdraw from the immigration process.

In the two years up to September of 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures show there were 5,407 renunciations by citizens of China, 2,431 by citizens of India, 1,681 by South Koreans, 1,416 by Britons and 1,129 by Taiwanese.

“A lot of people with permanent resident status have wanted to get their family and wealth transferred into Canada,” said Hyman. 

“Some have bought multiple properties. By renouncing their permanent resident status they can stay below the radar and avoid Canadian taxes,” he said.

“They can visit Canada whenever they want on a 10-year visa. Why would they want anything else?”

Another reason foreigners renounce the Canadian immigration process, according to Hyman, is so family breadwinners won’t have to give up their passport and citizenship privileges in economically vibrant homelands like China and South Korea.

China and India do not allow their citizens to hold two passports, and South Korea only in rare cases.

Lowe says he expects renunciations to jump even more since the federal government in November began requiring a new customs document for some travellers, called ETA, or electronic travel authorization.

Foreign nationals from certain countries can’t obtain an ETA if they are a permanent resident or if they are non-compliant with the terms of their residency card, Lowe said. As a result they’re not allowed to board a plane to come to Canada.

Given that problem, Lowe said many would-be immigrants choose to renounce their residency status and instead simply apply for temporary visas to Canada.

Richard Kurland, author of the Lexbase newsletter, said it’s become common for breadwinners to bring their entire family to B.C. as permanent residents and then to decide “either it’s too cold or there’s no way I’m going to file an income tax return and report my global interests and property and pay taxes in Canada on that. I’m returning to my country of origin.”

In many cases, Kurland said, just the spouse and children who physically stay in Canada for five years end up being the ones who become Canadian citizens.

“They get into the country. But not the person who brought them to Canada in the first place.”

In some cases, Kurland says, the family members who remain in places such as Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal while the breadwinner pays taxes elsewhere end up living, “technically,” below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, he said the family breadwinners “are happy to just come to Canada for two or three weeks several times a year. They just come to visit and for holidays.”

If the breadwinner should ever want to retire in Canada, Kurland said, their now-Canadian spouse or children could apply to sponsor them.

dtodd@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/douglastodd

Blog: www.vancouversun.com/douglastodd

MORE RELATED: Thousands of Metro mansion owners avoiding taxes

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The number of young Canadians going bankrupt is rising — but student debt isn’t the whole story

Young Canadians are increasingly becoming insolvent on their debt, data and anecdotal evidence shows.

In Ontario, those under the age of 30 now make up 14 per cent of insolvent debtors in the province, according to a survey released today by Hoyes, Michalos and Associates, a Kitchener, Ont.-based licensed insolvency trustee firm.

Story continues below

READ MORE: Can’t afford to pay your tax bill? Here’s what you can do

The share of those who file for protection from creditors via a consumer proposal or bankruptcy has declined to a 15-year low in the province, according to the study. But people ages 18 to 29 are among the groups witnessing the opposite trend. Insolvency rates for Ontarians under 30 increased from 12 per cent to 14 per cent between 2015 and 2016, the survey found.

The phenomenon is hardly unique to Ontario. “I don’t have hard data, but anecdotally we’ve seen an increase in the number of millennials filing for insolvency,” Bruce Caplan, senior vice president at credit-counselling firm BDO Canada, told Global News.

WATCH BELOW: Why paying only the minimum on your credit card statement won’t work





Millennials in Manitoba seemed to be particularly affected by the oil-patch crisis, he said, but the recession doesn’t appear to be the main driver of the increase in insolvency filings by younger Canadians, who are often financially “overextended,” said Caplan.

Across Canada’s provinces, the share of insolvent debtors under 30 hovered around 10 per cent in 2015, according to data from Statistics Canada.

So what’s driving younger Canadians into debt they can’t keep up with?

Student debt

According to Hoyes, Michalos and Associates, which conducted the Ontario survey, almost one-third of millennials who become insolvent carry student debt.

Canadians’ student debt levels may pale in comparison to what U.S. graduates are facing, but the load is nonetheless substantial — and potentially unmanageable for those who struggle to find employment or well-paying jobs.

WATCH BELOW: Keeping student debt under control





In 2015, the average student debt stood at $13,331 in Canada, according to the Canadian University Survey Consortium. But when you exclude from the headcount students lucky enough to have no debt, the average load doubled to $26,819.

READ MORE: Ottawa writing off $178M in student loans

Payday loans

But if student debt is a factor driving some young Canadians into bankruptcy, payday loans may be an even bigger drag toward the financial black hole.

According to the Ontario study, a whopping 38 per cent of millennials who became insolvent last year have payday loans, which allow cash-strapped borrowers to access small amounts of money that they will have to repay, along with a high interest rate, when their next paycheque comes in.

Last year, a British study found that those born between 1982 and 2004 were twice as likely as baby boomers to take out a payday loan.

WATCH BELOW: Huge price to pay for payday loans





It’s an ironic twist for a generation that notoriously views credit card debt with suspicion, possibly because their parents aren’t shy in pulling out the plastic.

But with increased scrutiny of borrowers and less time to build up a credit history, millennials are nearly 20 per cent more likely to have a poor or very poor credit score than generation X and almost 60 per cent more likely than baby boomers, according to the British research.

And with few options to access cheap credit, the lure of payday loans increases.

However, Caplan, of BDO Canada, said payday loans didn’t seem to be a major reason behind millennial insolvencies in Manitoba. Unsustainable amounts of unsecured debt like credit cards and lines of credit are a more frequent trait of young debtors in the province, he noted.

READ MORE: Canadian millennials most likely targets for fraud: survey

Income inequality

Income inequality is another driver of insolvencies among Canadians of all ages, according to the Ontario survey.

The typical insolvent person in Ontario resorts to debt to “make up for a lower-than-average, intermittent or stagnating income,” Ted Michalos, co-founder of Hoyes Michalos said in a statement. Ontarians who filed for insolvency have an average of $302 left each month to repay their debt and face $960 a month in interest alone.

Almost two-thirds of insolvent Ontarians earn incomes that rank in the bottom 20 per cent of household earnings in the province, the study noted.

READ MORE: The 8 richest people in the world: All men, mostly American

Overall, it doesn’t seem that millennials as a group are particularly vulnerable to income inequality. Household incomes for Canadians aged 25 to 35 have risen at a healthy clip since 2000, although the pace has slowed after the financial crisis, according to research by TD Economics.

“As of 2012, Canadian millennials had accumulated almost double the amount of net wealth as generation X had attained at their age,” wrote TD economists Beata Caranci and Diana Petramala.

But as the divide between high and low incomes widens in Canada and other advanced economies, some millennials are finding themselves at the bottom of the earnings ladder.

READ MORE: 2 richest businessmen hold same wealth as 11 million Canadians: Oxfam report

What millennials and others facing out-of-control debt can do

Canadians — millenial or otherwise — who struggle financially can take several steps to get out of the cycle of debt, said Doug Hoyes, the other co-founder of Hoyes Michalos. Here are some tips:

  • As soon as you get into debt, come up with a repayment plan. You should plan on paying more than the minimum payment and set a goal of paying down your balance as soon as possible, according to Hoyes Michalos.
  • Try to avoid resorting to debt for day-to-day expenses by building a small emergency fund. “Even having a small savings amount can reduce the risk that you will be forced to turn to debt to pay for necessities,” the authors of the Ontario study noted.
  • Never use payday loans or other predatory lending. You’ll get the cash you need, but you’re just postponing your cash-flow problem until the next paycheque and digging yourself into expensive debt at the same time.
  • Speak to a licensed insolvency trustee. If you’re using debt to repay debt, a trustee can help you draft a consumer proposal or file for bankruptcy, in extreme cases. Both options give you relief from creditors, but proposals entail paying some of what you owe, and generally allow you to keep your assets, including your house. Bankruptcy absolves you of many debt charges but normally forces you to sell your assets, with some exceptions.

Canada to introduce legislation to legalize weed by July 2018: State broadcaster

The Canadian government plans to introduce legislation in April that would legalize recreational marijuana by July 1, 2018, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, citing a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Shares of Canadian cannabis unicorn Canopy Growth Corp.

WEED, +11.13%

 rose as much as 11% intraday on Monday and Aurora Cannabis Inc.

ACB, +10.96%

—worth nearly $700 million—saw shares increase nearly 9%.

See also: Jeff Sessions says if Americans don’t want him to enforce marijuana laws, they should change them

The Canadian government is expected to introduce legislation the week of April 10, CBC reported, putting it on the path to become the second country behind Uruguay to fully legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. It said Bill Blair, a former Toronto police head who has been handing the marijuana file for the government, briefed the Liberal caucus on the matter this weekend

The country has skeptics who believe 2018 is ambitious and think full legalization is still a few years out. If the law is introduced and passed there’s a likelihood the burgeoning U.S. marijuana market could lose more business to Canada.

Also read: Marijuana tax revenue hit $200 million in Colorado as sales pass $1 billion

This medical device scans your brain on marijuana

The BrainBot, a brain-scanning technology developed by tech startup PotBotics, enables physicians to pick a marijuana strain that is most suited for their patients’ needs.

Under the legislation the federal government would be in charge of securing the country’s marijuana supply, but provinces would hold the right to decide how the product is distributed and sold, according to CBC. For example Ottawa will set the age limit at 18, but provinces can opt for higher age limits if they want.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legalize marijuana during his election campaign.

Canadian Marijuana Stocks Soar After Reports That Justin Trudeau Plans to Legalize Weed

Canadian marijuana stocks were on a high Monday, amid reports that the government planned to legalize the drug for recreational use by July 1, 2018.

Shares of Canopy Growth Corp. were up 11% in trading, Aurora Cannabis rose 10%, Aphria rose 7.9%, SupremePharma jumped 6%, OrganiGram holdings also rose 10%, while Emblem Corp rose 6%.

According to the CBC, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is expected to announce the legislation in the week of April 10.

The minimum age limit for purchasing marijuana will be 18, though individual provinces may choose to set the bar even higher, if they wish, CBC reported. The provincial governments will also be able to set the price of the drug, as well as deciding how it will be sold.

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