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Des entrepreneurs veulent s’associer aux gagnants de la loterie du cannabis

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Parmi les 25 personnes tirées au hasard vendredi dernier par la Commission des alcools et des jeux de l’Ontario (CAMO), la majorité est composée des individus plutôt que des entreprises. Aucun d’entre eux n’est un gros joueur de l’industrie.

Par ailleurs, plusieurs gagnants sont inexpérimentés et mal préparés, selon Koby Smutylo, fondateur de l’entreprise de production Indiva et porte-parole pour la marque Ouid, qui aspirait à ouvrir plusieurs succursales dans la capitale nationale.

J’ai été contacté par quelques-uns qui demandent de l’aide, parce que certains sont aussi jeunes que [19 ou 20 ans], a affirmé M. Smutylo.

Ouid pourrait ne leur offrir que des conseils, mais aussi aller jusqu’à leur offrir une franchise.

Dans le meilleur cas, de notre point de vue, nous pourrions avoir des arrangements par lesquels ils utiliseraient notre image de marque, notre design, les endroits que nous avons pris des mois à organiser, l’expertise en vente au détail que nous avons assemblée et les connaissances dans le domaine du cannabis que nous avons acquises durant la dernière année. Nous travaillerions ensemble, a expliqué M. Smutylo.

La compagnie albertaine High Tide a aussi confirmé qu’elle avait des discussions pour solidifier rapidement une présence en Ontario, tout en aidant les chanceux gagnants à respecter les échéanciers exigeants établis par les organismes de réglementation en Ontario. Dans un courriel, elle dit souhaiter en particulier qu’une boutique soit ouverte à l’emplacement qu’elle a déjà réservé à Ottawa, selon l’accord avec le gagnant à la loterie.

Ces gagnants ont effectivement du pain sur la planche. Ils ont jusqu’à vendredi pour déposer officiellement leur demande de permis d’exploitation d’un magasin de vente au détail, pour lequel ils doivent remettre 6000 $ non remboursable et une lettre de crédit de 50 000 $. Ils auront ensuite jusqu’au 1er avril pour ouvrir leur magasin, après quoi ils pourraient face à une amende de 25 000 $.

Des questions légales

L’avocat spécialisé en droit du cannabis Jack Lloyd constate lui aussi que plusieurs gagnants à travers la province, dont certains sont ses clients, sont des néophytes en matière de vente au détail et dans l’industrie du cannabis.

Un permis de vendre du cannabis au détail pourrait rapporter, selon Me Lloyd, jusqu’à 15 millions de dollars par année. Certains se feraient donc offrir des sommes mirobolantes pour devenir des partenaires d’entreprises établies et qui disposent de fonds importants.

Mais l’avocat recommande aux gagnants à la loterie d’être prudents, parce que la CAMO impose certaines règles.

En effet, les propriétaires de permis ne pourront pas tout simplement le transférer ou le vendre au plus offrant. Le ministère du Procureur général de l’Ontario précise que ces propriétaires devront superviser le fonctionnement de leur magasin et démontrer qu’ils exercent suffisamment de contrôle, directement ou indirectement, sur leur entreprise.

La CAMO doit aussi donner son approbation pour tout changement de propriétaire légal ou effectif d’un demandeur ou d’un titulaire de licence et si une personne autre que l’exploitant autorisé obtient des droits sur les bénéfices de la vente de cannabis ou d’accessoires de cannabis.

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Federal Budget 2021: Ottawa adds $1B to broadband fund for rural, remote communities

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The federal government will add $1 billion to a fund for improving high-speed communications in rural and remote areas of Canada, bringing the total to $2.75 billion by 2026, the Liberals said Monday in their first full budget since the pandemic began last year.

The money is going to the Universal Broadband Fund, which is designed to support the installation of “backbone” infrastructure that connects underserved communities to high-speed internet.

It’s one of many government and private-sector initiatives that have gained urgency since the pandemic began, as Canadians became more dependent on internet service for applications ranging from e-learning to daily business operations.

Ottawa says the additional money will keep it on track to have high-speed broadband in 98 per cent of the country by 2026, and 100 per cent by 2030.

Money spent on high-speed communications will be good for a recovering economy, said Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, a non-partisan think-tank.

The latest data from Statistics Canada says there were about five million people working from home during the pandemic, up from about two million prior to that, Antunes said in an interview.

“That’s a quarter or so of the workforce,” he added. “And I think a fair number of those people are going to continue to work from home, at least in some part-time way.”

Improved connections to high-speed broadband and mobile communications will add to the productive capacity of the economy overall, especially as it reaches beyond Canada’s cities, Antunes said.

He said there’s been a “real issue” with economic growth outside major urban centres and the improved connectivity “is something that can help stimulate that.”

The Universal Broadband Fund was initially mentioned in the 2019 budget, though specifics were not available until last November’s fiscal update.

The $1-billion top-up to the broadband fund announced today is in addition to $1.75 billion promised to the fund by the federal government’s November fiscal update.

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COVID-19: What you need to know for April 19

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Provincewide

  • Per today’s government report, there are 4,447 new cases in Ontario, for a total of 421,442 since the pandemic began; 2,202 people are in hospital, 755 of them in intensive care, and 516 on ventilators. To date, 7,735 people have died.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, there are 40 outbreaks in long-term-care facilities, 36 confirmed active cases of positive residents, and 127 confirmed active cases of positive staff. To date, there have been 3,755 confirmed resident deaths and 11 confirmed staff deaths.
  • Per the government’s report on Ontario’s vaccination program, as of 7 p.m. yesterday, Ontario has administered 66,897 new doses of COVID-19 vaccines, for a total of 3,904,778 since December 2020. 3,212,768 people have received only one dose, and 346,005 people have received both doses.

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Federal budget 2021 highlights: Child care, recovery benefits, OAS increases – everything you need to know

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The federal government’s first budget in more than two years certainly looks the part: At 739 pages, it is a hefty document chock full of billions in new spending.

Those funds will be spread among a number of key groups – students, seniors, parents and small-business owners, to name a few – as Ottawa looks to bolster Canada’s recovery from COVID-19 but also plan for life beyond the pandemic.

To that end, the deficit is projected to hit $354.2-billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, which just ended – better than expected about five months ago, given the economy’s resilience over the winter months. It is estimated to fall to $154.7-billion this fiscal year, before dropping further in the years to come as pandemic spending recedes from view.

Here are some of the highlights from Monday’s budget.

The budget outlines tens of billions of dollars in federal subsidies for a national child-care program, a promise the Liberal Party has made in some form since the early 1990s. Child-care supports became a point of national debate during pandemic lockdowns as parents with young children struggled to juggle work and family responsibilities.

In total, the government proposes spending as much as $30-billion over the next five years, and $8.3-billion each year after that, to bring child-care fees down to a $10-a-day average by 2026. The proposal, which requires negotiation with the provinces and territories, would split subsidies evenly with those governments and targets a 50-per-cent reduction in average child-care fees by the end of 2022.

The federal program is largely modelled on Quebec’s subsidized child-care system, implemented in the 1990s in an effort to increase women’s access to the labour market. Since then, labour participation rates for women aged 25 to 54 in the province have grown to exceed the national average by four percentage points.

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