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  • 4/2/2023

    Saputo signs deal to sell two milk processing plants in Australia to Coles Group

    Close up of Saputo sign at their headquarters in Montreal, QC, Canada. Saputo is a Canadian dairy company.

    MONTREAL - Saputo Inc. has signed a deal to sell two milk processing plants in Australia to supermarket giant Coles Group Ltd. for about $95 million.

    The Canadian diary giant says the fresh milk processing facilities are in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales.

    Saputo says the deal is expected to close in the second half of the year and is subject to customary conditions, including clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    Coles Group includes grocery stores, liquor stores, fuel and convenience retailers, a loyalty program and financial services.

    Saputo says the sale will help streamline its operations and allow it to reinvest in other areas of its business.

    CEO Lino Saputo says the company is continually working to ensure it has the right manufacturing footprint and product offering to enhance its position as a high-quality, low-cost processor.

    ``This marks an important step in executing our long-term vision for success in Australia as we maintain a sharp focus on efficiency to ensure we maximize the return on every litre of milk,'' he said in a statement.

    Australia deregulated its dairy market and eliminated support prices and quotas in 2000.

    According to Saputo's website, the company first entered Australia in 2014, acquiring a majority interest in the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. Holdings Ltd.

  • 3/27/2023

    Federal minimum wage rising to $16.65 per hour on April 1

    Minimum Wage Sign

    OTTAWA - The federal minimum wage is rising to $16.65 per hour on April 1, up from $15.55.

    The government says the increase is based on the consumer price index, which rose 6.8% in 2022.

    The federal minimum wage applies to the federally regulated private sectors, including banks, postal and courier services, and interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation.

    Ottawa set a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour in 2021 and increases it each year based on inflation.

    The changes are made every year on April 1.

    Where the provincial or territorial minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers must apply the higher amount.

    Manitoba announced its minimum wage is to rise to $15.30 an hour on Oct. 1 to help low-income earners deal with the rising cost of living.

    The wage, normally adjusted every fall in line with inflation, is currently $13.50 an hour. It's already set to rise to $14.15 on April 1 as part of an inflation-fighting measure the government announced last fall.

    On April 1, 2023, Yukon’s minimum wage will rise from $15.70 to $16.77 per hour, the territorial government confirmed on February 23, 2023. 

    As well, Quebec’s minimum wage will increase by one dollar from $14.25 an hour to $15.25 an hour on May 1, 2023, 

  • 12/19/2022

    Manufacturing, importing straws and other single use plastics now banned

    lots of single use plastic garbage

    OTTAWA - Canada's ban on the manufacture and import for sale of some plastic items, including grocery bags and straws, has taken effect.

    As of today, companies can no longer produce or bring into Canada plastic checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straws and takeout containers - and in a year, it will also be illegal to sell them.

    The manufacturing and import ban will extend to the plastic rings used to package six-packs of canned drinks next June and their sale will be prohibited a year after that.

    The federal government estimates that getting rid of the single-use plastics will eliminate 1.3 million tonnes of difficult-to-recycle plastic waste and a million garbage bags' worth of pollution.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2019 that a ban would take effect by 2021, but it took the government a year longer to figure out a regulatory framework to make it happen.

    Statistics published last month suggested that Canadians were already cutting back on using items such as straws and plastic bags ahead of the national ban.

    READ: Planning for the plastics ban

  • 12/12/2022

    Supreme Court won't block California flavoured tobacco ban

    Pack of menthol cigarettes and mint on turquoise background, closeup.

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused a request from tobacco companies to stop California from enforcing a ban on flavoured tobacco products that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

    R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies sought the high court's intervention to keep the ban from taking effect by Dec. 21.

    There was no additional comment from the justices and no noted dissents.

    The ban was first passed by the state legislature two years ago but it never took effect after tobacco companies gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot. But nearly two-thirds of voters approved of banning the sale of everything from cotton-candy vaping juice to menthol cigarettes.

    Supporters of the ban say the law was necessary to put a stop to a staggering rise in teen smoking.

    R.J. Reynolds filed a federal lawsuit filed the day after the Nov. 8 vote, but lower courts refused to keep the law on hold while the suit proceeds.

    Menthol cigarettes make up about a third of the market in California, the companies said in urging the Supreme Court to keep them from losing so much business in the nation's largest state.

    They argued that the authority to ban flavoured products rests with the federal Food and Drug Administration.

    California responded that federal law comfortably allows state and local governments to decide which tobacco products are to be sold in their jurisdictions. And the state noted that the companies only went to the Supreme Court after spending ``tens of millions of dollars'' in a losing cause at the polls.

    California will be the second state in the nation, after Massachusetts, to enact a ban prohibiting the sale of all flavoured tobacco products. A number of California cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, have already enacted their own bans, and several states have outlawed flavoured vaping products. So far no legal challenges to those bans have prevailed, but the companies have an appeal pending at the high court in their fight with Los Angeles.

    It's already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates of the ban said flavoured cigarettes and vaping cartridges were still too easy for teens to obtain. The ban doesn't make it a crime to possess such products but retailers who sell them could be fined up to $250.

    In addition to menthol and other flavoured cigarettes, the ban also prohibits the sale of flavoured tobacco for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco, with exceptions made for hookahs, some cigars and loose-leaf tobacco.

    -The Associated Press

  • 12/7/2022

    Dollarama sees another strong quarter as demand for consumable products continues

    MONTREAL - Dollarama Inc. recorded another strong quarter as inflationary pressures continue to drive consumer demand for consumable products at the discount retailer.

    The Montreal-based retailer raised its comparable-store sales growth guidance Wednesday as it reported that its third-quarter profit and sales were up compared with a year ago.

    During a call with analysts, Dollarama's chief financial officer J.P. Towner said the retailer saw a third consecutive quarter of "higher than historical demand'' for consumable products, a category that includes food as well as items such as laundry detergent that can only be used once.

    "Canadians from all walks of life continue to seek value in lower prices on the goods they need,'' he said.

    The company cited current economic conditions as a significant factor in the demand from new customers as food prices have increased faster than overall price growth figures through much of the year, peaking with 11.4 per cent increase in August.

    During the call, Dollarama's chief executive officer Neil Rossy said convenient store locations and low costs will retain the discount retailer's new customer base.

    "Our value promise and a high inflation environment is even more relevant as consumers juggle the pressure on their wallets and adjust their spending strategies,'' said Rossy.

    As Dollarama, traditionally known for prices between $1.25 and $2.50, continues to stock additional items up to $5, Rossy said the rollout has gone as planned and the company has yet to receive negative feedback regarding the higher prices.

    Rossy said while the company would like to have a $1 offering for each category, in some cases it is not possible due to the cost of raw materials and higher prices from domestic vendors.

    "I can't control, even though I would love to, what our vendors come in with as far as cost,'' he said.

    The chief executive said the company will continue "fighting the fight'' in regard to purchasing and managing the cost, especially that of domestically purchased goods.

    The financial pressures placed on Dollarama are the same as every other Canadian retailer, said Rossy.

    The discount retailer opened 18 new store locations in its third quarter for a year-to-date total of 41 net new stores.

    "We expect a busy Q4 on the real estate front and remain on track to reach our full-year target of 60 to 70 net new stores,'' said Rossy.

    Dollarama announced Wednesday that it had signed a deal to buy three contiguous industrial properties in Mount Royal, Que., near its centralized logistics operations and next to its distribution centre for $87.3 million.

    The company plans to redevelop the site to support its future logistics and warehousing needs.

    "This will provide us with additional flexibility to support our long-term logistics needs as we pursue our target of 2,000 Dollarama stores in Canada by 2031,'' Rossy said.

    RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Irene Nattel said in a report that the company's third-quarter results reflect Dollarama's "strong value positioning for consumers, particularly sought after in the current high inflation environment.''

    Dollarama reported earnings of $201.6 million or 70 cents per diluted share for the 13-week period ended Oct. 30, compared with a profit of $183.4 million or 61 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

    In its guidance for the year, Dollarama says it now expects comparable-store sales growth for its current financial year to be in a range of 9.5 to 10.5% compared with earlier expectations for a range of 6.5 to 7.5%.

    The company also narrowed its guidance for its annual gross margin as a percentage of sales to a range of 43.1 to 43.6% compared with earlier expectations for a range of 42.9 to 43.9%.

    Sales for the quarter totalled $1.29 billion, up from $1.12 billion a year earlier.

    Comparable-store sales rose 10.8% as the number of transactions climbed 10.3% and the average transaction size gained 0.4%.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 12/12/2022

    Business group calls on Ottawa to freeze higher EI, CPP premiums planned for new year

    Folders with the label Employees and Salaries

    OTTAWA - A small business group is calling on the federal government to freeze upcoming increases to Canada Pension Plan and employment insurance premiums.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says the higher payroll deductions planned for the new year will reduce the take-home pay of Canadians at a time when inflation is already eroding spending power.

    The group says few small employers are in a position to increase wages to offset rising premiums.

    It says businesses are also facing higher premiums, which could leave many struggling to meet even their existing payroll budgets.

    Dan Kelly, president of CFIB, says worker employment insurance and pension contributions could increase by as much as $304.71 next year.

    He says that's money Canadians could use for groceries or utilities at a time when the rising cost of living is squeezing household budgets.

    - The Canadian Press

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