CCentral-Main-logo-EN-trans

Convenience Central
Join our community
extra content
Shutterstock

Newfoundland allows specialty vape shops to remain open during COVID-19 crisis

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

The Canadian Vaping Association (CVA) is commending the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for allowing specialty vape shops to continue to operate under strict social distancing protocols during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Allowing vape shops to operate using only contactless curbside pickup protocols will prevent thousands of Newfoundlanders from being forced back to combustible tobacco, a product known to kill one in two users,” the association said in a statement.

“We applaud the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for having found an appropriate means to care for the physical and mental health needs of vapers while ensuring the safety and protection of all individuals in their province.  The vapers in this province will continue to have access to the low nicotine harm reduction products which are only available in adult access product vape shops, while strict social distancing protocols implemented will serve to protect the public and staff,” said Darryl Tempest, executive director of The Canadian Vaping Association. “The CVA has repeatedly voiced our concern over limiting access to harm reduction products. The decision to ensure vape shops continue to operate under the condition that they use curbside pickup will prevent thousands of vapers from returning to smoking, thus saving the lives of many Newfoundlanders.”

The CVA is calling on other provinces to amend their essential services list to include vape shops.

However, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association is calling out some vape shops on social media, highlighting the number of vape shop operators ignoring government directives to close: “These are the stores that Ontario Health Ministry believe can handle adult products better than c-stores. Convenience stores are your trusted neighbourhood business.”

In another Tweet: “Vape shops in Ontario are ‘not’ an essential service retailer but vape supplies are available in convenience stores during these unknown times.”


Unknown-2

Project deferral, oil prices troubling for N.L. economy during pandemic

Unknown-2The global COVID-19 pandemic is spelling trouble for Newfoundland and Labrador’s oil and gas industry, adding to existing economic challenges in the cash-strapped province.

Premier Dwight Ball acknowledged last week the province is experiencing “tough times,” referencing deferred investment on projects and historic lows in oil prices.

Equinor and Husky Energy announced the decision to defer the Bay du Nord offshore development project due to falling oil prices and economic downturn as countries respond to the novel coronavirus.

A statement from Equinor Canada says planning on the project will continue with adjusted timelines.

The project in the Flemish Pass Basin, about 500 kilometres east of St. John’s, was announced in 2018 but not yet officially sanctioned. Equinor had set a target of 2020 to decide.

The Bay du Nord project was expected to deliver first oil by 2025. It was a key part of the province’s plan to rapidly increase offshore oil and gasdevelopment, including a goal to double production to more than 650,000 barrels a day by 2030.

Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady said the news is disappointing, but she said it’s a positive sign that the project is deferred rather than cancelled during such a tumultuous time.

“These are difficult times, there’s no doubt, and it was difficult to hear that they’re deferring their decision,” Coady said by phone. “I remain kind of optimistic that things will move into a better place as we move forward.”

She said she remains encouraged by exploration ongoing in the province’s offshore.

Ball urged the federal government to take quick action on financial support for provinces on Wednesday but said Ottawa should not respond with a one-size-fits-all approach.

“My message to the federal government is, it’s urgent to get this money moving,” Ball said on Wednesday.

Larry Short, a chartered professional accountant who owns an investment firm in St. John’s, said the situation adds up to a “body blow” for the province’s finances.

“All the bad parts of the Bible have been delivered upon the province, and all the same time,” Short said by phone Thursday.

Short pointed to the immediacy of the COVID-19 crisis, the billions over-budget Muskrat Falls hydro project that accounts for a third of the province’s debt and the oil price collapse as serious challenges to the province’s budget that can’t be ignored much longer.

“We’ve got three major problems here that have suddenly come home to roost, and the province is going to have to really struggle to get through them over the next period of time,” he said.

He said the effects may not be seen until the government tables its budget, likely in the summer after a Liberal Party election set for May that will determine the new party leader and premier.

But with the federal government experiencing financial difficulties of its own, including major blows to Alberta’s oil-reliant economy, Short said Ottawa won’t be in a position to assist Newfoundland and Labrador financially as it normally would.

While prices are being hit hard right now by barrels of cheap oil from Russia and Saudi Arabia, he said Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore might be left standing as a profitable and desirable drilling site once prices rise again, as the industry is less susceptible to disruptions like pipeline project delays.


Shutterstock

Vaping risk awareness campaign launches in Newfoundland and Labrador

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Newfoundland and Labrador is contributing $75,000 to an advertising campaign intended to raise awareness about the risks of youth vaping.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for the Control of Tobacco, which receives $210,000 annually from the province, announced the campaign called “The New Look of Nicotine Addiction” in St. John’s today.

A news release says the campaign is aimed to educate parents and adults about the risks of vaping.

Advertisements will appear on billboards, online and on social media.

It will include information about vaping products such as chemical contents, types of devices, effects of nicotine on brain development and youth being targeted by the vaping industry.

The 2018-2019 Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Survey reported 47% of youth in the province had tried a vaping product, higher than the national average of 34%.


shutterstock_1250226013e-360x240

Retail plastic bag ban in Newfoundland and Labrador to come into effect July 1

shutterstock_1250226013e-360x240A ban on distributing retail plastic bags in Newfoundland and Labrador will come into effect on July 1.

The provincial government amended its Environmental Protection Act last April before drafting regulations and giving people time to prepare for the change.

A similar ban came into effect in Prince Edward Island last July and Nova Scotia introduced its own legislation last fall.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s government says it received 3,000 submissions during the consultation process that informed the regulations.

There are a number of exceptions, including bags used to package produce and meat, newspapers, potted plants, dry cleaning and bags intended for use at a home or business.

The government says it is working with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment on a program to manage packaging and printed paper.

The ban is part of a growing trend across Canada as provinces and municipalities consider the use of single-use plastics and their environmental impact.