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Doing More With Less: Energy Efficiency in Canada

Canada is currently one of the most energy-intensive OECD countries, and as it transitions toward a lower-carbon future, improved energy efficiency could contribute to efforts to address climate change by reducing both energy use and growth in energy demand. Canada could reduce its energy consumption by as much as 15 per cent from current levels by 2035 if it was to pursue energy efficiency improvements more aggressively. Key residential areas for potential energy savings include lighting, space heating, and household electronics; in the commercial sector, lighting, computers, and HVAC equipment hold the most promise. But while improved efficiency can help lower Canadian energy demand, it is not a complete solution to help Canada meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals.

Features

Electrical wall plug  

Canada’s Electric Utilities Industry

Behind the delivery of electricity to our residences and workplaces lies a vast supply chain of infrastructure and a complex, robust, and economically important sector: Canada’s electric utilities industry. In 2016, this industry (including generation, transmission, and distribution) contributed nearly $30 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employed around 100,000 workers across the country. Investments in the industry were near all-time highs, exceeding $19 billion last year and accounting for over 10 per cent of Canada’s total non-residential business investment.

 
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Territorial Outlook

Economic prospects for the territories are improving thanks to higher prices for metals, precious metals, and diamonds. While financing conditions in the mining sector remain difficult, they should improve with several projects set to get under way before the end of the decade. Yukon can expect a mild contraction of 0.7 per cent this year, followed by strong growth between 2018–20. The Gahcho Kué diamond mine is entering full production in 2017, fuelling GDP growth of 12.2 per cent in the Northwest Territories this year. Nunavut’s economy will expand by 6.4 per cent this year thanks to planned mineral production increases at Meadowbank and Mary River.

 
Woman with arms around her senior mother  

Balancing Work and Eldercare in Canada

Over one-quarter of employed Canadians provide care and assistance to an elderly family member, which may cause significant physical, emotional, and financial pressures. Employees struggling to balance work and eldercare may experience elevated stress levels, absenteeism, and work interruptions, including missing work, receiving and making phone calls related to eldercare, and worrying about the care recipient while at work. Eldercare obligations cost Canadian organizations an estimated $1.28 billion per year in lost productivity. Despite these substantial costs and implications, formal eldercare programs are uncommon in Canadian organizations.

Construction crane  

Metropolitan Outlook

The weaker Canadian dollar and solid U.S. demand continue to provide a lift to several metropolitan economies in Ontario and Quebec, especially to their export-oriented manufacturing industries. Oshawa and Windsor are expected to boast the fastest-growing economies among the 15 cities covered in the summer edition of our Metropolitan Outlook, with growth of 2.5 per cent forecast for both cities this year. The remaining cities in the report can expect growth between 0.2 and 2.3 per cent in 2017, although St. John’s, N.L., will continue to struggle, contracting by 1.1 per cent.

 
Young man holding a coffee cup  

Refreshing the Public Sector Brand

Public sector HR leaders are increasingly concerned that attracting new workers to the public sector has become more difficult as it competes against the private sector. With nearly half of its new hires expected to be millennials, HR leaders at all levels in the Canadian public sector need to promote the purposeful nature and social impact of public service work if they are to address the skill shortages and mismatches predicted in the coming years.

Two firefighters  

Emergency Response to Terrorism Events

Terrorism-related emergencies require complex, quick, and dynamic responses, as many stakeholders are involved. They combine various challenges that add layers of complexity and volatility not present in other emergency situations. The attack in Ottawa on October 22, 2014, showed that Canada is not immune to this threat and there are areas, such as communication and effective partnerships, that need better implementation. While these types of events have had a limited impact on Canada in the recent past, it is important to learn from them so that Canadian emergency-response stakeholders can be better prepared and more resilient should they have to face such an emergency in the future.


CBoC Highlights

Craig Alexander speaking Infographic thumbnail
Craig Alexander, Chief Economist, joined CBC’s “On the Money” to discuss declining Canadian home sales and the impact of rising interest rates and government policies aimed at cooling Canada’s hot real estate markets. This infographic illustrates some of the key labour market challenges that skilled immigrants face upon their arrival in Canada. (infographic has not been posted to the website)

In This Issue

  • Doing More With Less: Energy Efficiency in Canada
  • Canada’s Electric Utilities Industry
  • Territorial Outlook
  • Balancing Work and Eldercare in Canada
  • Metropolitan Outlook
  • Refreshing the Public Sector Brand
  • Emergency Response to Terrorism Events

Previous Issues

Recent Op-Eds

Canada’s Economic Growth: Is This as Good as It Gets?, The Globe and Mail, August 11, 2017

The Opportunity of Green Trade, The Globe and Mail, August 22, 2017

Building Resilience to Terrorism, FrontLine Safety and Security, August 22, 2017

Canada Needs to Take Its Green Trade to the Global Market, The Globe and Mail, August 23, 2017

Latest Blogs

Cyber and Hybrid Threats to Canada and Its Allies

by
  • Brent Dowdall
| May 06, 2019
<table class="blogAuthor"> <tbody> <tr> <td class="baImg"><img src="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/bios/retrieveImages.aspx?id=83526" alt="Brent Dowdall"></td> <td> </td> <td class="baText"><strong><a rel="author">Brent Dowdall</a><br> </strong>Senior Manager, Research and Business Development</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Cyber security threats are now considered a global security concern on par with traditional conventional military threats. Our interconnected world means that cyber threats and hybrid warfare incorporate a complex mix of hostile actors and a wide range of tactics. The rapid evolution of technology, combined with the ability of attackers to quickly adopt new offensive tools and techniques, further exacerbates the threat. Open liberal democracies have an interest in overcoming the risks of cyber attacks—to protect the critical infrastructure we rely on, personal privacy and business continuity, and even democratic institutions themselves.</p> <p>The Government of Canada is developing cyber capabilities to protect the country from virtual threats and to work within defence alliances. Among its key partners should be European countries, working both within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and with the European Union (EU) itself.</p> <p>With Europe on the front lines of hostile state and non-state actors, the EU has taken a more assertive role in organizing its own cyber security defences and those of its member states. The EU’s <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/">Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)</a> initiative has put cyber security at the top of the priority list for greater collaboration and cooperation among member states.</p> <p>The <a href="https://pesco.europa.eu/project/cyber-rapid-response-teams-and-mutual-assistance-in-cyber-security/">Cyber Rapid Response Teams (CRRT) and Mutual Assistance in Cyber Security</a> project is among the most advanced of the projects under the PESCO initiative. CRRT will allow member states to help each other to ensure higher level of cyber resilience and to collectively respond to cyber incidents. Lithuania leads the EU cooperation project in cyber defence, with eight more EU member states—Estonia, Spain, Croatia, Poland, Netherlands, France, Romania, and Finland—participating in the project (Belgium, Greece, Slovenia, and Germany are observers of the project).</p> <p>The aim of this project is to integrate the expertise among member states in the field of cyber defence. The rapid response teams are able to assist with training, diagnostics, and attribution forensics, and to provide assistance in operations.</p> <p>At the <a href="https://www.eucanada.eu/">5th&nbsp;European Union Security and Defence Symposium</a>, held in Ottawa on March&nbsp;20, 2019, the panel session PESCO in Action: Confronting Hybrid/Cyber Threats will outline the progress being made on the CRRT and how Canada and the EU can work together to strengthen our shared responsibilities in the field of cyber threats. The Conference Board of Canada is a partner in developing the program for the event. Participants include senior EU officials, Canadian governments officials, and experts from both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>Canada is far from exempt from the potential consequences of cyber threats. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s most recent threat assessment says that 2019 could be a particularly harrowing year for Canadian individuals, businesses, and institutions.<span class="sup"><a href="#ftn1-ref" name="ftn1" id="ftn1">1</a></span></p> <p>Given the high and rising threat of cyber attacks, it is also important to promote the concept of cyber resilience. Unlike cyber security, which is usually very focused on prevention and protection, cyber resilience recognizes that successful cyber attacks may be inevitable. Therefore, cyber resilience promotes the need to ensure organizations can maintain critical functions and quickly return to normal in the wake of an attack. Improving organizational cyber resilience will be the focus of the Conference Board’s <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a> conference.</p> <p>As governments and businesses alike face new threats, decision-makers and organizational leaders need to stay up to date on the latest cyber-security trends. Ongoing research and dialogue—by sharing the successes, weaknesses, and learnings—is perhaps the most effective defensive weapon we can collectively wield against these threats.</p> <hr> <h3>Related Conference</h3> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/conf/cyber-security/deafult.aspx">Cyber Security 2019: Building and Testing Cyber Resilience</a><br> May 27, 2019, Toronto</p> <br><br> <p class="footnote" style="padding-top: 1.25em;"><a id="ftn1-ref" name="ftn1-ref" href="#ftn1">1</a>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Cindy Baker, <a href="https://www.itworldcanada.com/article/canada-is-a-prime-target-for-cybersecurity-attacks-in-2019/414201">“Canada Is a Prime Target for Cybersecurity Attacks in 2019.”</a> <em>IT World Canada</em>, January&nbsp;16, 2019.</p>

Four Employee Trends Disrupting Traditional Benefits Plans

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| May 01, 2019
<p>As workplaces become more generationally diverse, the needs of employees have become more complex. More than ever, HR professionals are looking for ways to respond to these varied needs.</p> <p>Employers have their work cut out for them when it comes to remaining cost-effective while providing today’s workforce with the most valuable health benefits.</p> <p>Based on the <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">2019 Benefits Benchmarking</a> report, here are the <strong>top four employee trends disrupting traditional benefits plans:</strong></p> <h2>Cannabis in the Workplace</h2> <p>Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001, and the number of authorized users has grown dramatically. By mid-2018, 342,000 Canadians were registered to use legally.</p> <p>Due to the recent legalization of recreational cannabis, medical cannabis is expected to be more common. Employees are increasingly turning to their employers with questions about coverage. Yet, only a handful of the Canadian organizations we surveyed offer coverage for medical cannabis.</p> <p>Employers should consider creating strategies that are mindful of this new frontier.</p> <h2>Aging Workforce </h2> <p>The needs of Canadian employees have become increasingly complex as Canada’s largest generation continues to work past the typical retirement age. This has put pressure on the health care system. Employers find themselves challenged to address the needs of this generation head-on.</p> <p>Organizations are aware of this trend, and they are looking for technology to better manage health care needs.</p> <h2>Increase Use of Biologic Drugs </h2> <p>There has been an increase in the use of biologic drugs and a greater focus on paramedical services. This has made it difficult for organizations to decide where to invest resources.</p> <p>Given this growing trend, having a drug cost management strategy is becoming increasingly important for the long-term sustainability of benefits plans.</p> <h2>Virtual Health Care and Wellness </h2> <p>Organizations are seeking more cost-effective, creative, and proactive ways to maintain and improve employee health. Canadian organizations are increasingly turning to new technologies that focus on prevention, such as virtual wellness technologies to manage health and fitness and pharmacogenetic testing.</p> <p>Different industries align their benefits strategies with virtual wellness technologies in varying ways. Their focuses may include physical wellness, improving financial wellness, reducing stress, absenteeism, or productivity.</p> <p><strong>Get ahead of these disruptors by leveraging data from 217 Canadian organizations in the 2019 Benefits Benchmarking report.</strong> <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html" title="" class="" target="">Read on</a>.</p>

Five Trends That Will Change the Way Your Company Structures Benefits

by
  • The Conference Board of Canada
| Mar 20, 2019
<p>Employee expectations are changing, and nowhere is this more evident than in benefit offerings. </p> <p> Canadian employers are being challenged to appeal to a multi-generational workforce. Varied employee needs have given rise to an evolved style of benefit offerings: one that is flexible, but keeps an eye on cost. </p> <p> How can you stay ahead of the curve? We surveyed 217 organizations for our new <a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html">Benefits Benchmarking&nbsp;2019</a> report, collecting data that reflect the experiences of 1.2&nbsp;million employees. </p> <p><strong>Here are five trends in employee benefits that will give your organization an edge:</strong></p> <h2>More Flexible Benefits</h2> <p>Flexibility is the name of the game in 2019. Increasingly, employers are managing costs by letting employees decide what supports are best for them and their families. In our survey, we found that a record-breaking <strong>two-thirds of Canadian employers are now offering more innovative health care spending accounts (HCSAs) to employees at all levels</strong>.</p> <h2>Wellness Apps Supporting Employee Well-Being</h2> <p>Wellness apps are proving to be a win-win. Employees who use these apps are reaping the rewards of being proactive about their physical and mental health. Meanwhile, employers benefit from happier, healthier employees.</p> <h2>Medical Marijuana Offered as an Employee Benefit</h2> <p>The green wave has arrived in Canada. It’s no surprise that medical cannabis is starting to find its way into employee benefit offerings. While only 6&nbsp;per cent of organizations currently cover medical cannabis, <strong>close to half (48&nbsp;per cent) of respondents report they are considering doing so in the future</strong>.</p> <h2>Outsourcing Benefits Administration</h2> <p>With the emergence of new HR technologies, outsourcing your benefits administration can significantly impact your bottom line while meeting employees’ wellness needs.</p> <h2>Offering Mental Health Support to Employees</h2> <p>Conversations around mental health in the workplace have hit critical mass, bolstered by the gigantic #BellLetsTalk movement. Approximately two-thirds of all responding organizations report enhancing or introducing strategies to support employees’ mental health and wellness. </p> <p><strong>How does your organization stack up? Optimize your employee benefits with data from 217&nbsp;organizations. </strong><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><strong>Get the Benefits Benchmarking 2019 report.</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.conferenceboard.ca/web/benchmarking/index.html"><img src="/images/default-source/cboc-images-public/22685_benefits_552x147_final.jpg?sfvrsn=b9274e13_0" data-displaymode="Original" alt="Benefits_552x147" title="Benefits_552x147"></a></p>

Webinars

There for each other: a role for everyone in workplace mental health
Nov 14 at 2:00 PM

Compensation Planning Outlook 2020 Webinar
Nov 21 at 2:00 PM

Why Canada’s Arctic Matters
Nov 26 at 11:00 AM