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

Lots to talk about on the May Day version of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott; here’s an overview of our chat:

  • The Sick Leave Debate, as the pandemic has been part of our lives for over a year, the federal and provincial governments are still wrestling with the issue of sick leave.  Where does this leave the workforce?
  • Rising Capital Gains Tax in the US, as the Biden Administration looks for ways to pay for its initiatives, could a proposed significant capital gains tax increase impact Canadian companies?
  • LL Bean Ventures into the Canadian Outdoors, with plans to open additional stores, what might be behind this decision?

It’s disappointing that the issue of sick leave is so far from resolution, 14 months into the pandemic.  This issue should be considered in the context of the range of work structures within the modern Canadian economy, ranging from a relatively small segment that have comprehensive benefits coverage (such as the public sector), to those in the entrepreneur or contract worker segment, who have little to no coverage and are far from job security.  Bottom line: COVID19 is a contagious disease that can only be stopped with the cooperation of everyone involved, and when people are sick, they should not be going to work.  Economic realities are something that need to be fully appreciated, in that many people simply cannot afford to opt out of the work day without compensation; this is why a well designed sick leave program is so important, especially, in these challenging times.  Everyone needs to get together on this issue in order to arrive at a feasible solution, including workers, employers, provincial, and federal governments.

Those who are familiar with the capital markets pertaining to startup and early stage companies in Canada will recognize that it is a challenge to find funding to launch and grow a business.  Although Canada has made strides in the volume of available capital, it has historically been behind the levels of other countries.  It is important to recognize that capital at the early stages carries a higher level of risk, but is integral to creating jobs, economic growth, and innovation in Canada.  This is why the potential for a significant increase in US capital gains tax rate is so concerning, in that it could impact the level of investment activity, including in Canadian companies.  It is no secret that there is inequity in the tax system and that ultra-high net worth individuals likely do not pay their fair share, relatively speaking (a complex issue to be resolved). As this proposed capital gains tax increase is a recent development, it will be important to monitor how this situation develops.

And, finally, US retailer LL Bean has proven to be popular in Canada, in a year when being an outsider was on the menu for many.  Plans to open an additional four stores runs against so many of the online retail stories we have discussed, although LL Bean has been well established in this area and catalogue sales for years (the catalogue still comes to my mailbox, by the way).  Being outside is, perhaps, one of the few ways we have to get together in times of COVID19, and it will be interesting to see if this trend continues into the future.  In the meantime, LL Bean footwear has been a favourite of mine for years; I wear them every day.  Here’s a couple of styles from my collection, including the classic Bean Boot and an ankle version in a “short run” cherry red colour (similar to a limited edition, where products are featured in different colours in small quantity).  I also have a couple of other pairs that are too dusty to be photographed at the moment!


Thanks for watching, and see you again soon.  In the meantime, Spring is here, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine!

Jenifer Bartman
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