MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (August, 2021)

Call it the Olympic edition of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Elmer Kim and Chris Glover.

As the Tokyo, 2020 games come to a close, here’s a quick take of our topics:

  • Canada’s July Jobs Report.  Although Canada added 94,000 jobs in July, this fell short of expectations.  What path is our country currently on?
  • Canada’s Big Trade SurplusJune saw a hefty $3.2 billion trade surplus, the most significant since 2008.  What is behind this number and is it as simple as rising oil exports?
  • Canada About to Open its Border to the US.  As the border re-opening nears, there is a mix of interest and concern.  What might the implications be?

My commentary on the Weekend Business Panel over the past year has been consistent in expecting the COVID19 recovery to take time, with progress being anything but a straight line.  Although economic forecasts might consider jobs at a highlevel, it is important to remember that employment actually occurs on the front lines of business.  Companies only need people if they have goods and services to sell and customers that are willing and able to buy.  COVID19 has caused a host of disruptions, including at the supply chain, regulatory, financial, and operating levels.  It is also likely that employees who have choices (often those with an abundance of skill and experience) are reconsidering how they will work going forward.  Although applicability can vary by business type, many companies still have work to do in order to retain their best staff members, or risk losing them to employers with more flexible and organized work arrangements.  Expect this type of movement in the labour force to continue.

Although oil and energy exports contributed to Canada’s trade surplus in June, so did a decline in imports, something that can have a ripple impact.  When companies are not operating, they don’t need a lot of things; the same is true for consumers who have been inactive in areas such as office work, travel, events, kids’ sports, and so on.  Couple this with the much reported global logistical glut and plenty of questions arise about what the coming months will look like, in terms of areas such as business growth and consumer spending.

And, finally, although sectors such as tourism and events have been hard hit by the pandemic, it is a fair question as to how much benefit Canada’s border re-opening to some vaccinated Americans will bring.  With most of the Summer travel season in the rearview mirror, COVID variants circulating in the US, and some provinces doing away with mask and other safety mandates, it is understandable why many people are concerned.  It is also important to remember that vaccines are not yet available to children under the age of 12 years and their protection is critical.  As a business advisor, I can appreciate the significant experience and professional credentials that are required in order to fulfill my role.  Conversely, when those in the science and medical fields who specialize in pandemics and related areas express concern, it is wise to listen to their advice.  It will be interesting to see what the coming weeks and months will bring (hopefully, safety will prevail).

As always, thanks for watching, and see you again soon, CBC!


Jenifer Bartman
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