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2018-2019 federal budget highlights

Feb 27, 2018

On February 27, 2018, the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, presented the 2018-2019 federal budget in the House of Commons. Key themes include growing the economy, gender equality and innovation. While the budget did not respond with any specific measures, the government acknowledged the significance of recent US tax reform and current negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Some of the key features of the budget plan were:

  • Following the proposals announced last year, the budget has introduced legislation to address the earning of passive income inside a private corporation.
  • From a gender equality perspective, the budget announces the introduction of a new “use it or lose it” Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit which will enable two-parent families that share parental leave to receive an additional five weeks of leave.
  • The government is introducing significant new investments to better support Canadian innovators.
  • The government continues to introduce measures to close loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others.
  • Of note, the budget does not include further measures to address recommendations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s base erosion and profit shifting project, particularly with respect to interest deductibility and anti-hybrid measures.

A summary of the economic and tax highlights contained in the budget is outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

2018-2019 New Brunswick budget highlights

Jan 30, 2018

On January 30, 2018, New Brunswick’s Minister of Finance, Cathy Rogers, presented the province’s 2018-2019 budget.

The budget focused on three key priorities:

  • Investments in seniors;
  • Youth employment; and
  • Economic competitiveness.

The announced changes to taxation in New Brunswick are outlined in our Canadian tax alert.

Are graphics really good?

Jan 08, 2017

On January 8, 2018, Cooley Pubco, the blog of law firm Cooley LLP, published an article on how the inclusion of graphics in lieu of copious text has been almost de rigueur in proxy statements for several years, as a way to facilitate comprehension of sometimes complex data. However, some forms of visual presentation may be a lot more useful than others.

In an article on, featuring some graphics does make sense because research has shown that people process visual information faster than verbal information.

Graphics can have an impact on the information perceived, such that where a report includes both text and graphics, the audience is likely to lend greater weight to the graphical information. On the other hand, sometimes graphics may not convey information clearly or efficiently.

Review the full article on Cooley Pubco's website.

Also, refer to our Annual Review Guide for guidance on financial reporting disclosures.

At the Crossroads: Innovation and Inclusive Growth

Feb 08, 2018

On February 8, 2018, the Bank of Canada published remarks by Carolyn A. Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, given at the G7 Symposium on Innovation and Inclusive Growth. In her remarks, she discusses how technological advances can leave people behind. It is perhaps only in the last decade or so that mainstream macroeconomists have sharpened their focus on how income distribution may affect long-term growth and macro dynamics.

There is compelling evidence that innovation has been an important reason behind rising income inequality in advanced economies in recent decades.2 Research also finds that rising inequality can result in weaker and less-stable macroeconomic outcomes. This places us, as policy-makers, at a crossroads. Do we choose to stay on the same road and repeat the past? Or do we apply fresh thinking to policy and choose a new road where innovation delivers even stronger and more-inclusive growth?

This is the challenge that the G7 countries have set for themselves for 2018. Canada is proud to lead the G7’s work this year to better understand the issues so that we can set priorities for policy.

Review the remarks on the Bank of Canada's website.

Big data and innovation: Key themes for competition policy in Canada

Feb 19, 2018

On February 19, 2018, the Competition Bureau (the Bureau) of the Government of Canada released its final report on Big Data and Innovation: Key Themes for Competition Policy in Canada, which summarizes the Bureau’s enforcement approach.

For mergers and monopolistic practices, the Bureau will continue to apply its traditional framework to market definition, market power and competitive effects. Where issues concerning big data are involved, the Bureau will consider both the efficiencies and consumer benefits from a network, but also whether big data could impose barriers to new competition or soften competition between firms.

Review the report on the Bureau's website.

Bringing Your Annual Meeting into the Digital Age

Jan 30, 2018

On January 30, 2018, Fasken LLP released an article on how public companies need to bring their annual meetings into the digital age and to use them as an effective means of communicating with a large number of shareholders and with the investment community in general.

A revamped annual meeting may even lead to reduced costs when compared to the traditional model of renting a conference room at a hotel and providing refreshments, as modest as they may be, for shareholders.  Canadian corporate law provides a framework which can be used to increase shareholder access to annual meetings and to maximize the impact of annual meetings.

Review the full article on Fasken LLP's website.

China in 2018: What Hangs in the Balance?

Jan 18, 2018

On January 18, 2018, the Warton School, the University of Pennsylvania, released an article on how China under President Xi Jinping has proven wrong its critics in the past year with strong economic growth, leadership in combating climate change and clean energy, and implementation of its “One Belt, One Road” initiative that could be a trade game changer.

And while there should be more momentum in the year ahead, the country could continue to see trade conflicts with the U.S., as well as potential social unrest, experts say.

Review the full article on Warton's website.

Corporate reporting in the United States and Canada

Feb 05, 2018

On February 5, 2018, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released a new report, compiling data that offers a closer look into the reporting landscape of the United States and Canada.

This first report in a series of case studies across different countries that looks at significant developments in ESG reporting seeks to address the challenges, opportunities and next steps for corporate reporting and disclosure.

Review the report on the WBCSD's website.

COSO and WBCSD Release New Draft Guidance on Environmental, Social and Governance-related Risks

Feb 07, 2018

On February 7, 2018, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) released draft Guidance for applying Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-related risks. ​

The supplemental draft Guidance is designed to help organizations worldwide respond to the increasing prevalence and severity of ESG-related risks, ranging from extreme weather events to product safety recalls.

COSO and WBCSD are seeking public comment on the draft Gu​idance and the previously released Executive Summary through June 30, 2018. Comment letters may be provided to​.

The guidance and executive summary are available on the COSO's website.

Review the press release on the COSO's website.

Cybersecurity in the Cloud Era

Feb 26, 2018

On February 26, 2018, FEI Daily published an article on how as CFOs assume greater responsibilities for operational risk management, it’s critical to understand security, privacy, and compliance controls. Here’s the practical guidance needed to minimize cybersecurity risk with cloud vendors.

Cybersecurity is much more than securing access to applications and data, and proactively adapting to the ever-changing threat landscape. It’s also about enforcing strong controls for data integrity, protecting data from loss, and ensuring availability when the business needs it.

Finance leaders in the enterprise need to ask these questions not only about the applications they run internally, but also of their current and prospective cloud providers:

  1. What is our organization’s current exposure to cyber threats?
  2. How well are we prepared, and how well are our cloud providers prepared?
  3. What is our overall risk tolerance, and are our cloud providers aligned with this?
  4. Do we and our providers have processes in place to prevent, detect, contain, and respond?
  5. Are our providers investing to reduce risk of data loss or downtime?
  6. Do we and our providers have a thoroughly tested plan, so there is no delay in the event of an attack?

Review the full article on FEI Daily's website.

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