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November 30, 2021

GREATER EMPHASIS PUT ON ESG PERFORMANCE

The 2021 ‘EY Global Institutional Investor Survey’ reveals that a growing number of institutional investors in Canada and around the world are placing greater emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance in their decision-making. Most investors (74 per cent) indicated they are more likely to divest from companies with poor ESG track records, but concrete action is still lacking despite the urgent need for better quality disclosure from companies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a powerful catalyst to laser focus on all facets of ESG, putting pressure on both companies and investors to assess risks effectively and meet increasing stakeholder demand on addressing climate, social, and governance issues,” says Thibaut Millet, EY Canada’s climate change and sustainability services leader. “While quality non-financial disclosures and a clearer regulatory landscape ‒ coupled with more sophisticated data analytics capabilities ‒ are important to realizing the full potential of ESG performance, companies cannot wait. There needs to be bolder steps taken all on fronts to put ESG performance at the heart of decision-making.” The race is on to get to net zero and decarbonization through emissions reduction, carbon sequestration, and offsetting programs, says the report. It shows that 86 per cent will invest in companies that have an aggressive carbon footprint reduction or a low carbon footprint.

November 30, 2021

SASKATCHEWAN UNLOCKING LIRAS

Saskatchewan will allow locked-in retirement account (LIRA) contract owners to apply to financial institutions to unlock money from their LIRA for financial hardship reasons, says an Aon ‘Radar.’ Effective March 18, 2022, a LIRA contract must allow the contract owner to withdraw an amount (subject to spousal consent) within a prescribed limit if they have low expected income in the upcoming year, have incurred or expect to incur medical expenses, are in arrears on rent payments and could be evicted if the rent remains unpaid, are in arrears on mortgage payments and the residence could be foreclosed if the mortgage remains unpaid, or require funds to secure a new principal rental residence. Financial hardship unlocking provisions will be mandatory for LIRA contracts. Even if the LIRA contract does not contain the provisions, they are deemed to be part of the LIRA contract.

November 30, 2021

CRYPTOCURRENCY REPORTING HURTS U.S. EXCHANGES

Cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. will be shunned by investors and the Biden administration will force the multi-trillion dollar sector of the future of money away from America, says Nigel Green, the deVere Group’s CEO and founder. Language within the U.S. government ‘signing infrastructure bill increases the tax reporting requirements for cryptocurrency transactions, he says. This initiated a sell-off from traders who are worried about increasingly levels of regulation and taxation. He calls the inclusion of the extra reporting clauses for crypto a huge miscalculation. “With additional reporting, which is onerous and costly, many investors will not choose a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange. They will simply go somewhere else; to another exchange, based away from the over-reach of the U.S. authorities,” he says.

November 30, 2021

MEDAVIE ADDS MINDFULNESS APP

Medavie Blue Cross has added the ‘Petit BamBou,’ mindfulness mobile to its ‘Connected Care’ digital health platform, Plan members can now sign up for a free three-month premium subscription. Colleen Adams, manager, health and digital product solutions, at Medavie Blue Cross, says this “allows our members to gain access to a timely solution that enables self-care, builds resilience, and promotes ongoing mental health support.” In recent years, the notion of practicing mindfulness as another way to manage one’s own mental health has grown in prominence. Mindfulness practices can be an effective way to help build up psychological resilience, increasing the ability to regulate emotions and decrease stress, as well as anxiety and depression. A major focus of the app is ensuring it is accessible to everyone, including children and people with no experience with mindfulness or meditation. The programs cover a range of topics including stress, workplace wellness, sleep, and mindfulness for children.

November 30, 2021

AIMCO PARTNERS WITH MONTONI

Montoni Group is partnering with the Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) and another institutional pension fund for the acquisition of a 4.3-million-square-foot property in the industrial ecopark in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC. Construction of 1.6 million square feet of industrial buildings is scheduled to commence in 2022. This addition to the developer’s portfolio further strengthens its already extensive supply of industrial properties strategically located around Greater Montréal.

November 30, 2021