Bank of Canada increasingly sure economy will need less stimulus

The Bank of Canada is growing increasingly confident that the economy will need less stimulus over time, Governor Stephen Poloz said on Thursday, adding that the economy is in a sweet spot after making “tremendous” progress over the last year.

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In a year-end speech, Poloz said current monetary policy “clearly remains quite stimulative” despite two interest rate hikes earlier in the year, adding that the economy is close to reaching its full potential.

“We are very encouraged by this, and we are growing increasingly confident that the economy will need less monetary stimulus over time,” Poloz said in prepared notes for a speech to the Canadian Club in Toronto.

a man wearing a suit and tie: FILE PHOTO: Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz attends a news conference in Ottawa© REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz attends a news conference in Ottawa

While a mechanical approach to setting policy would suggest rates should already be higher, the bank still sees signs of ongoing but diminishing slack in the labor market, Poloz said.

Canada’s economy is near capacity and growth is forecast to continue above potential, posing an upside risk to the inflation forecast, he said. At the same time, labor market slack poses a downside risk.

“Given the unusual factors at play,

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11 things never to buy at IKEA

IKEA’s kitchen section includes many single-task utensils, like egg slicers and potato presses, that probably won’t get much use. Unless you’re sure you’ll rely on the utensil regularly, it’s best to spend your money on high-quality multitaskers instead.

(Click ahead)

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Cineplex adds $1 charge at Star Wars

a man looking at the water© Provided by

TORONTO – Cineplex Inc. is giving Star Wars fans a surprise twist at the box office by charging an extra dollar for assigned seating at some showings.

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The country’s biggest exhibitor has tacked on a surcharge at select regular screenings of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” across Canada in hopes moviegoers will be willing to pay more for not waiting in line.

It’s a move the company says makes it convenient when a screening is sold out, which often leaves latecomers hunting for empty seats.

While reserved seating isn’t entirely new at Cineplex, the cost has usually been built into ticket prices for the company’s premium Imax, VIP and UltraAVX theatres. The exhibitor also experimented with charging an extra $2 for “prime seats” at the centre of a few of its busier theatres.

But it has not previously rolled out the concept at what it calls “regular” screenings — movies shown in traditional auditoriums without the additional costs associated with 3D or a larger screen.

With “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” likely to be the biggest film of the year, Cineplex wanted to gauge how audiences reacted to the concept on a wider scale. The company says about 20 per cent of its Canadian locations are testing the $1 fee

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If you are buying an electric truck in Ontario, you’ll get $75K rebate

a truck is parked on the side of a road: BYD EV Garbage Truck© Provided by CNET
BYD EV Garbage Truck

It seems that “Ice Road Truckers” will look cooler but sound a lot less dramatic in the future, thanks to electric semis.

Canada’s most populated province announced that it will offer purchasers of electric semi trucks a rebate on 60 percent of their purchase price up to CA$75,000 as part of the new Green Commercial Vehicle Program.

Since Tesla’s debut of its fully electric semi truck in November, the company has received hundreds of orders from large companies here in the US. This Canadian incentive plan could see many more electric semis, including ones from Chinese company BYD, convoying across the frozen North.

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BYD is set to begin producing commercial EVs in Canada.

Speaking of BYD, the Warren Buffett-backed vehicle maker is set to open its first North American assembly facility in Canada, citing increased demand for battery electric commercial vehicles. While the BYD trucks will undoubtedly lack the flair of the Tesla semi, it will be interesting to see how they compare on a functional level, particularly in the severe winter weather conditions that are all too common in Canada.

What also remains to be seen is how heavily the Canadian government is willing to invest in the kind of fast-charging infrastructure that these vehicles will require.

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Phoenix pay system leaves worker struggling to pay bills

Implemented in early 2016, the new pay system has generated 551,000 outstanding claims.© Cory Correia/CBC News
Implemented in early 2016, the new pay system has generated 551,000 outstanding claims.

As Christmas nears, stress is building and unpaid bills are piling up for Brian Wilson, a corrections worker in Truro, N.S.

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He hasn’t been paid in a month. 

Wilson works at the Nova Institution for Women and is paid through the federal government’s Phoenix pay system. He blames the problem-plagued system for his lack of a paycheque. 

“It’s only gotten worse in the year and a half or two years it’s been in there. It’s just snowballing,” Wilson told the CBC’s Maritime Noon. 

Canada’s auditor general said the pay system has left more than 150,000 government workers either underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all.

Wilson’s paydays started disappearing after he opened a new bank account a little more than a month ago. He asked for his pay to be deposited in the new account. Wilson kept his old account open just in case there was a mix-up. 

‘Constant worry, stress’

When payday came, the money wasn’t deposited in either account. Wilson called his bank and the centre that handles his pay, but no one could find his money. After a month of calling, he still didn’t have any answers — or his pay. 

“I have no ambition to

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