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Canada and the Provinces at the Back of the Class When It Comes to the Environment

Our latest How Canada Performs: Environment report card assesses the environmental performance of Canada, the provinces, and 15 countries based on three indicator categories: air pollution, freshwater management, and climate change. Canada and six of the provinces receive “D” or “D−” grades putting them at the back of the class. In fact, Canada ranks 14th out of 16 peers countries; only the U.S. and Australia do worse.

Ontario is the top-ranked province, scoring a “B” and ranking 11th overall. Quebec, British Columbia, and P.E.I. are “C” grade performers. Meanwhile, the Prairie and remaining Atlantic provinces get “D” and “D−” grades.

Features

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Tough Year Ahead for Canada’s Oil and Gas Extraction Industries

Canada’s oil and natural extraction industries face another challenging year, as prices remain low. Following a record pre-tax loss of more than $7 billion in 2015, Canada’s oil extraction industry is expected to lose more than $3 billion this year. Meanwhile, the country’s gas extraction industry should post a $1-billion dollar loss this year. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Market conditions are expected to gradually improve, and both the oil and the gas industries should post profits in 2017, albeit modest ones.


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High-Value Skills

Employment growth for engineering and applied science technicians and technologists has outpaced overall employment growth in Canada over the past 15 years, and demand for this professional group is expected to continue to grow over the next few years. Their average weekly wage rate has remained more than 20 per cent above the national average between 1997–98 and 2013–14 (the years covered by our study). Based on the most recent statistics, they contribute $54.7 billion to the economy, or 3.3 per cent of GDP, each year.


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Canadians’ Financial Woes Taking a Bite Out of Canada’s Food Services Industry

Canada’s restaurants face challenging times ahead. Canadians are dealing with weaker growth in disposable income and high levels of household debt, and, in difficult economic times, dining out is one of the first items that households cut back on. Fortunately, the low loonie should boost the number of visitors to Canada and lead to an increase in food services spending.


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Cities as Leaders of Economic Growth

In this first of a two-part series, our 2015–16 Honorary Associate L. Jacques Ménard, C.C., O.Q. shares his thoughts on the role of the Canadian city in confronting the nation’s future.

Our country, like many others, faces uncertain economic times. As local, regional, and global challenges—some unpredictable—threaten Canadians’ standard of living and Canada’s competitiveness, Canadian cities need to build resilience and achieve economic growth. It’s not merely a call for governments to “do something” or for businesses to “give something” but rather a call for Canadian cities to “become something.”

Look for part two of this series in the June newsletter.


CBoC Highlights

Photo of Louis Theriault
Photo of Glen Hodgson
Louis Thériault explains why Canada receives a “D” grade in our new environment report card on CBC’s “The Exchange.” Glen Hodgson examines the impact of a low loonie on Canadian pro sports franchises on CBC’s “The Exchange.”
   
Photo of Gregory Hermus Photo of Mark Robbins
Gregory Hermus tells BNN why the rising loonie could affect Canadians’ travel plans. Mark Robbins discusses commercializing research from post-secondary institutions in this Conference Board video presentation.

In This Issue

  • Canada and the Provinces at the Back of the Class When It Comes to the Environment
  • Tough Year Ahead for Canada’s Oil and Gas Extraction Industries
  • High-Value Skills
  • Canadians’ Financial Woes Taking a Bite Out of Canada’s Food Services Industry
  • Cities as Leaders of Economic Growth

Previous Issues

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

Labour Relations Outlook Webinar: Where Are We Headed in 2020?
Jan 28 at 2:00 PM

What Works for ERM and What Does Not
Feb 04 at 3:30 PM

How to Manage Workplace Romances: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places
Mar 11 at 2:00 PM