Vancouver opens long-awaited immigrant support centre

“The very first thing that I personally struggled with was that I didn’t know anyone here. No relatives, no friends, basically no one to have connection with,” said Zahra Samimi, an Afghan refugee who immigrated to Canada in 2013.

Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) ended the June 25 grand opening ceremony of its new Welcome Centre facility with stories from new Canadians who had recently immigrated to Canada with the help of ISSofBC.

Samimi explained that when she first moved to Canada, ISSofBC helped her establish Canada as her home. Samini was able to become familiar with Canada, Vancouver and North American culture in general by engaging in English language classes, social groups and local fieldtrips offered by ISSofBC.

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Canadian oil patch welcomes ‘level playing field’ from North American energy, climate change agreement

Domestic oil and gas companies are not worried about a new, North America-wide energy and climate change strategy that contains aggressive emissions reduction targets.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto committed to chopping methane gas emissions from the oil and gas industry by 40 to 45 per cent as part of a wide-ranging North American Climate, Clean Energy and Environment Partnership, announced Wednesday in Ottawa.

The deal brings Mexico into line with methane reduction targets Canada and the U.S. agreed to in March. Pena Nieto said during a press conference that “isolated national efforts are insufficient” to tackle issues like environmental protection and climate change.

Read the full article on Financial Post.

What you need to know about changes coming to Canada Pension Plan, and Canadian wallets

Finance Minister Bill Morneau met his provincial and territorial counterparts in Vancouver on Monday and reached an agreement with most of them to expand the Canada Pension Plan. Here is what you need to know about CPP and the proposed deal:

1) The system is designed so that each generation of workers pays for its own retirement. That makes it different from two other income replacement programs for seniors and retirees: old age security (OAS) and the guaranteed income supplement (GIS). Those measures are covered through general tax revenues, meaning that workers today pay taxes to raise the incomes of poorer seniors.

Read the full article on Financial Post.

B.C. retail sales growth leads the country in April: StatsCan

A total of $6.2 billion was spent on retail sales good in British Columbia in April, which was an increase of 2.4% in April and nearly 8% year-over-year, giving the province the strongest increase in the country for the month, according to Statistics Canada data released June 22.

Across the country, sales increased 0.9% to $44.3 billion in the month. Sales were up in 7 of 11 subsectors. The biggest driver behind the gain was a 6% increase in gas station sales. This was the first time there was an increase in this area since June 2015. This was driven by an 8.9% jump in the price of gas, as reported in the previously released consumer price index data for April.

“Canadian shoppers weren’t going to be held down for long, and April retail sales saw a nice bounce back from a weak end to the first quarter,” CIBC economics reported in a note to investors.

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Federal government announces $740m in transit funding

A new SeaBus, shorter wait-times between SkyTrains and station upgrades were some of the promises attached to a multimillion-dollar funding announcement that will make the first phase of the regional mayors’ 10-year transit plan a reality.

“With this federal investment, provinces and municipalities will be able to invest in projects that make the most sense for their communities,” Trudeau said, addressing a packed audience of reporters, transit workers and regional politicians.

In all, there is $740 million on the table from the federal and provincial governments and TransLink to kickstart the mayors’ transit plan. The money will be spent on several items, some of which will benefit Burnaby residents. For instance, 28 new rail cars will be added to the Expo and Millennium lines, meaning more frequent service and less crowding on SkyTrain platforms.

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VRCA’s Annual Golf Tournament – 2016


How does networking in the sunshine over a game of golf sound? We are so happy to be a part of VRCA’s Golf Tournament for yet another year! This year’s event was held at the prestigious Northview and Country Club, one of the most exciting and challenging places for a game of golf. Our Building Division had a blast meeting everyone, and we thank you all for your participation in our contest. Unfortunately, there can only be one winner who will be taking home the Dalmore 12 Years Old Highland Single Malt Scotch! The winner will be revealed shortly… so stay tuned!

Missed out on the event? You can get in touch with our awesome team here.


B.C. tourism industry is cruising ahead

Growth in ocean cruise ship passengers means more visitors to Vancouver, Victoria ports.

A total of 23.2 million passengers around the world took ocean cruises in 2015, a four per cent increase over 2014. Those numbers were shared by Cruise Lines International Association president Cindy D’Aoust on Thursday in Vancouver at the official annual conference of the cruise industry.

Much of that growth can be attributed to emerging regions of the world. In 2015, Asia experienced the most year-over-year growth in ocean cruise passengers with a 24 per cent increase from 2014 to 2015, with a total of more than two million ocean cruise passengers last year. Australia also experienced a huge surge in ocean cruise popularity, with a 14 per cent growth in passenger numbers.

Read the full article on BC Business.

What’s next for businesses of Fort McMurray?

As Fort McMurray families return to their homes and survey the damage caused by wildfires, the only thing that is certain for the city may be some additional uncertainty.

I was relieved to see that the mass evacuation — one of the biggest in Canada’s history — went as smoothly as it did, even as I watched the scary images of fire and ash raining down from the sky as people fled their homes.

Many of the people, displaced in surrounding communities, anxiously await news of the fate of their neighbourhoods. And, just as importantly, what’s next?

Now, in some cases entire neighbourhoods have been wiped out and those families will have to decide whether they will return to their communities and rebuild, or pick up what’s left and move elsewhere. This is equally true for businesses, although it’s a relief the main business districts remain intact. Recovery takes time and there will be a lot of hard work ahead for the community, both in rebuilding homes and buildings lost to the fire, as well as restoring the population and restarting the economy.

Read the full article on Financial Post.