Closing out 2019 in studio for the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Sherena Hussain and Natasha Fatah (aka The Women in Blue!).
- New NAFTA Reaches the Finish Line: As Canada, the US, and Mexico agree to some final revisions, what are the next steps for New NAFTA? What does it mean for Canadian companies?
- Compensation Rules for Flight Delays Kick In: Air travel passengers in Canada will now have the potential for compensation in the event of some flight delays, but will it be meaningful?
- More Ontario Cannabis Shops on the Way: Removing the cap on the number of cannabis shops in Ontario might be an opportunity to better meet market demand, but are there other important considerations?
Negotiation of a new trade deal between Canada, the US, and Mexico has been unfolding over the past year and a half and has not been an easy task. Given that Democrats control the House in the US, they were in a position to push for revision in order to support ratification and the countries were able to find agreement around clauses pertaining to dispute resolution, environmental, prescription drug, and labour provisions. In particular, Mexico will have to take steps to improve the labour environment in that country, an area that has been contentious, given its ability to provide an inexpensive workforce and displace jobs. Deals are one thing; it will be interesting, however, to see how well implementation occurs, once all countries have ratified what is effectively NAFTA 2.1.
Speaking from experience, we live in a world where air travelers tend to feel like they have no rights, especially in those moments when they are not treated particularly well (cue to the herding cattle analogy). Air travelers are essentially at the mercy of airlines when delays happen, as there are limited alternative to get from one location to another. Effective December 15, 2019, airlines will now have to compensate passengers in delay situations that are within their control, guidelines that likely have Canadians wondering if they are worth much, in practical terms. It is important for passengers to know their rights when traveling, keep track of travel documentation, and ask airlines for clarification, when needed. From a fairness perspective, good communication and transparency are important, however, too many of us know what it is like to be delayed in an airport with little in the way of information sharing.
As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, Ontario’s decision to remove the cap on retail shops is an area to watch. Although studies indicate market demand, successfully operating a company is something that is quite different. Business leaders too often make the mistake of thinking that a product alone makes a company, when nothing could be further from the truth. We can all think of stores, restaurants, or coffee shops that opened too many locations, only to have to retrench to a more appropriate number; this type of downsizing can be onerous and expensive. The same mistakes could be made here; this time, with a highly regulated product that requires special attention of its own.
As 2019 comes to a close, it’s a good time to be thankful for this past year. It has been my pleasure to appear on the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, work that is both fun and a privilege. Thanks for watching and see you in 2020, a year that is sure to bring a host of interesting developments, to say the least; stay tuned!