Canada Shifts Debt-reduction Burden To Provinces -budget Officer

Just add items to create a watchlist now: Add or Cancel Already have a watchlist? Log In TORONTO, Sep. 26, 2013, 2013 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) — Retailer’s sustainability programs show growth in the second quarter of 2013 Staples Canada, leader in office supplies and Canada’s largest online retailer, today announced its sustainability achievements for the second quarter of 2013, showing progress over a range of recycling and energy efficiency programs. The retailer continues to focus on its long-term commitment to growing the business in a sustainable manner, and reducing its impact on the environment. “Our environmental programs were developed with our customers in mind,” said Pete Gibel, vice president of merchandising at Staples Canada and Chair of the Staples Canada Environmental Committee. “We know that our customers share our commitment to the environment, and we continue to make a difference with their help. We make it easy for them to recycle everything from batteries to electronics. At the same time, we at Staples, continue to challenge ourselves as environmental program leaders.” Customer Participation Helps Make an Impact Through expanded program awareness, and customer participation, Staples Canada’s sustainability programs show growth year over year: Over 23,880 kg of Batteries Diverted from Landfills Staples Canada partners with Call2Recycle to collect and recycle batteries (re-chargeable and alkaline). The program helped Staples Canada and its customers divert over 23,880 kg of batteries from landfills in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of 120.3% over Q2 2012. During the first quarter of 2013, Staples Canada helped divert 23,860 kg of batteries putting the retailer on-track to exceed its goal of collecting 60,000 kg this year. 790,000 Ink and Toner Cartridges Collected Staples Canada gives customers the option to drop off used ink and toner cartages at every store in Canada. In the second quarter of 2013, 790,000 ink and toner cartridges were collected: an increase of 200,000 units over Q2 2012. With a target to collect 5 million ink cartridges by Earth Day 2014, the retailer continues to encourage Canadians to drop off used ink and toner cartridges at any Staples Canada location. Schools across the country can assist in the program by signing up for a free ink cartridge bin, with Staples collecting the cartridges free of charge. 797.44 Metric Tons of Electronics Collected Staples Canada, alongside its national electronics recycling partner, eCycle Solutions, expanded its electronics drop-off program to over 250 retail locations in early 2013.

Staples Canada On-track to Make an Impact on the Environment

CHANGE IN TRANSFERS Ottawa expects a deficit in the 2013-14 fiscal year of C$18.7 billion ($18.2 billion), or 1 percent of GDP. But in a controversial move in 2011, the Conservatives announced a change to the way the federal government transfers funds to the provinces to cover the country’s universal, publicly funded healthcare system. Transfers have been growing by 6 percent a year and will continue to do so until 2016-17, but after that they will increase in line with average growth in nominal gross domestic product, which is expected to be lower. The budget office said the change to the so-called Canada Health Transfer “has transferred the fiscal burden to provinces and territories”. “PBO estimates that the debt path of other levels of government is not sustainable and will continue to rise, reaching 359.9 percent of GDP by 2087,” it said. The PBO defines a government’s debt as sustainable if the debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to return to its current level over a 75-year horizon, taking into account pressures from an aging population and other considerations. The fiscal gap of other levels of government – lumping together provinces, territories, municipalities and aboriginal governments – is 1.9 percent of GDP, it estimated. That means these governments combined would have to increase revenues, reduce spending or a combination of both by C$36.2 billion this year to set their finances on the right track, the report said. A spokeswoman for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty defended the transfer policy, saying Ottawa’s payments would continue to increase every year to record levels. “Our government has announced long-term, stable funding arrangements with the provinces that will see health transfers reach historic levels of C$40 billion by the end of the decade,” spokeswoman Kathleen Perchaluk said. The PBO report did not single out individual provinces.

Canada Pension Funds Eye Some BlackBerry Assets

BlackBerrys patent portfolio includes trademarks on smartphone designs and engineering as well as a share of 6,000 patents BlackBerry acquired, as part of a consortium, for $4.5 billion from bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp. in 2011. While revenue the Waterloo, Ontario-based device maker gets from subscriber services fees reached $794 million in the fiscal first quarter, thats come under pressure from carriers no longer willing to pass those charges on to their subscribers. As of June, the company had 72 million subscribers, down from 76 million in the previous three months. Three Companies I think thats probably the only way it will work — if they try to team up to buy part of the portfolio, Taylor said in a phone interview. No one wants to run the hardware business. Watsa, who models his investment style after billionaire investor Warren Buffett , said the group is still seeking financing for the offer, which will be subject to due diligence and further negotiation. It would be best if it were three companies: intellectual property, BlackBerry messenger and the services business, Stadtler said in a phone interview from Fort Worth, Texas. To maximize the value for the pension funds, you make those three different businesses. Of the Canadian pension managers, Toronto-based Ontario Teachers held the most BlackBerry stock, with 1.97 million shares at June 30 worth C$16.3 million yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Ontario Teachers is Canadas third-largest pension fund; Alberta Investment ranks fifth by assets. Past Investments Ontario Teachers has made technology investments in the past. In June 2012, it was part of a group with BCE Inc., the countrys largest telecommunications operator, to acquire data-center operator Q9 Networks Inc. for C$1.1 billion.