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News and Opinion Highlights

  • Pembina Pipeline signs LOI for LPG terminal - Pembina Pipeline announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) with Prince Rupert Legacy Inc. (a subsidiary of the City of Prince Rupert) to develop a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) export terminal on Watson Island, BC. The terminal would have an estimated capacity of 20,000 barrels per day of LPG and be connected to Sturgeon County, Alberta by rail.
     
  • Wood Buffalo extends tax relief following 2016 wildfire - On March 28th, the Municipal Council of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) voted in favour of providing tax relief for residential properties that were destroyed or irreparably damaged by the May 2016 wildfires and remain uninhabitable. The RMWB will also ask the Government of Alberta for provincial education tax relief for the same properties and will request Government of Alberta funding equal to the amount being canceled under the municipal property tax relief scheme. Approximately 2,580 residential structures were destroyed in the fires, and as of February 28, 2017, only 558 rebuild development permits had been approved by the RMWB.
     
  • #TransformSK report on building a stronger and sustainable province - The #TransformSK -initiative led by five business organizations in the province including the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Saskatchewan Mining Association, and the Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters - has released a report titled The Upstream Economy: A Generational Dialogue for Transformative Change. The report is based on 60 consultation sessions held across the province in 14 communities and contains 45 Calls to Action touching on a diverse range of issues of importance to the province relating to education, healthcare, infrastructure, the economy, and Indigenous engagement.
     
  • Catalyst Paper wins trade dispute - Richmond-based Catalyst Paper won its trade dispute with the US Department of Commerce where it was ruled that Catalyst received minimal subsidies in the production of supercalendered paper. The ruling allows the company to be excluded from a trade action that imposed duties on shipments to the US. The decision is in line with a preliminary decision from last fall and now requires the US Department of Commerce to repay Catalyst millions of dollars that the company paid in preliminary duties.
     
  • UBC report calls for suspension of BC’s Site C dam project - A report released by the University of British Columbia recommends the Site C dam project be put on hold and reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission. The report explains how key changes since Site C’s initial approval, including price decreases in alternative options and a decrease in demand for power, mean the project will no longer benefit the provincial economy as once expected. Additionally, the report states that power from the hydroelectric station will likely be exported at losses of up to $1 billion.
     
  • Behlen Industries Secures $45 Million Contract - Brandon, Manitoba-based Behlen Industries, Canada’s largest manufacturer of steel building systems, has been awarded a $45 million overseas contract to build three indoor sports arenas in the country of Georgia. The company will be hiring at least 20 more skilled workers to add to their staff of 250 to help complete the project. The company has previously completed a number of projects in Georgia, Russia, and Siberia although more than 80 percent of its business dealings are in Canada. If this project is successful, the company will pursue similar opportunities in the future.
     
  • Manitoba First Nations Technology Council plans to lay 3,600 km of fibre optic cable - Canada’s largest collectively-owned First Nations technology council will help connect Manitoban rural and remote communities with high-speed internet access. The Council is hoping to secure funding under the federal Connect to Innovate program and extend existing fibre optic infrastructure to create the Clear Sky Connections network. The project is currently in early stages with no official start date.
     
  • Great West Life to reduce workforce by 13 percent - Winnipeg-based Great West Life will be reducing its workforce across Canada by 1,500 employees, or 13 percent, and approximately 450 layoffs will take place in Winnipeg. The reduction will come from restructuring over two years to allow the company to reduce costs and increase competitiveness within the insurance and investment product market. The company plans on reducing its temporary workforce and will offer both voluntary retirement and severance packages to affected employees.