Small Businesses Mark the One-year Anniversary of COVID Lockdowns

Covid Business

Business lockdowns and restrictions first hit Canada a year ago this week. One year in, only 62 per cent of businesses are fully open, 44 per cent are fully staffed, and less than a third (31 per cent) are making normal sales, according to the latest data by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

As a result, many business owners are delaying retirement, grappling with mounting debt or facing mental burnout. They are also leaping into the digital sphere at an unprecedented pace or getting out of the game entirely, finds the latest report by CFIB, One Year of COVID-19: Seven Ways the World Has Changed for Small Business.

“Small businesses have seen it all this past year, from devastation to digital innovation. It’s clear this is going to have an impact for years to come,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research.

 

Retirement un-planned

Two fifths (42 per cent) of small business owners are delaying their retirement as a result of the pandemic, while 5 per cent will retire earlier than planned. Many business owners rely on the sale of their business to finance their retirement, but 55 per cent report that the value of their business has dropped after months of COVID-19 restrictions. Additionally, 7 per cent of business owners have dipped into their retirement savings to finance their business.

“The impact on retirement plans underscores just how profoundly hard-hit small business owners and their families have been by this pandemic,” added Gaudreault.

 

Debt overload

The average small business is now more than $170,000 in debt. Three quarters (76 per cent) of businesses that have taken on debt say it will take them over a year to repay, and 11 per cent are worried they may never be able to repay it.

 

Mental burnout

Nearly half of business owners (48 per cent) report they have suffered from mental health issues as a result of the pandemic and 46 per cent have had to work significantly longer hours.

 

Leaping into the digital sphere

A third of all small businesses are now selling online, an increase of 152,000 new entrants into the eCommerce market since the start of the pandemic. Retailers, arts and recreation (e.g. gyms), hospitality (e.g. restaurants), and health services businesses are the biggest adopters—not surprising as they have also been the hardest hit by lockdowns.

 

Fewer small businesses

One in six (181,000) small businesses is at risk of permanently closing. Adding in the 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020, Canada could lose a full 20 per cent of its businesses by the end of the pandemic.

“Many small businesses are no longer in business or are unsure of their future. CFIB itself has 15,000 fewer members as Canada enters a second year of the pandemic,” noted Dan Kelly, CFIB’s president. “While CFIB is proud to provide any small business owner with free support until the pandemic is over, provinces need to ensure they find a way to end lockdowns for good across the country.”

“Despite being told lockdowns were a short-term measure to ‘flatten the curve,’ many small businesses—including those in Canada’s largest city—remain locked down one year after COVID-19 began. It is well past time to shift gears as small firms have done more than their fair share in the fight against COVID-19. Until vaccines are widespread, lockdowns should be replaced with rapid testing and contact tracing to allow all small firms to safely serve Canadians once again,” Kelly concluded.

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Canadian Universities Unite As Investors to Help Address the Climate Crisis

Climate change protest

The University Network for Investor Engagement (UNIE) initiative targets greenhouse gas emissions and climate risk at companies across the economy

A coalition of Canadian university endowments and pension plans is launching a new initiative through SHARE, a non-profit investor advocacy organization, to engage investee corporations on climate change risks. 

On behalf of the new University Network for Investor Engagement (UNIE) initiative, SHARE will engage with North American public companies held in university endowment and pension portfolios to address pervasive risks associated with climate change. The UNIE initiative will focus on key sectors where advocacy can make the biggest difference, including finance, transportation, energy and utilities, and manufacturing.

Initial participants include Carleton UniversityConcordia UniversityMcGill UniversityMcMaster University, Mount Alison University, Université de Montreal, University of St. Michael’s CollegeUniversity of Toronto Asset Management, University of Victoria, and York University.

“These universities are showing leadership in addressing the climate crisis. Acting as investors, Canadian university pension plans and endowments can have a powerful influence on corporate behavior. Working together in one program amplifies each institution’s voice and leverages their power to bring about change,” said Kevin Thomas, Chief Executive Officer at SHARE. 

The UNIE initiative is focused both on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy.

“The actions taken by institutional investors today will play a crucial role in determining how society fares in the face of climate change,” said Thomas.

The new group was formed through dialogue between SHARE and university leaders about how to use their power as institutions to respond to the climate crisis.  Discussion started more than a year ago, and continued through online meetings during the course of 2020. It is open to new members and new member institutions are joining regularly as word gets out about the initiative.  

“This has been a collective effort, driven by the motivation of universities to take decisive action on climate change,” said Daren Smith, President and Chief Investment Officer at University of Toronto Asset Management. “Canadian universities have a unique role to play in tackling climate change – not only as thought leaders, educators and research hubs but also as investors. Participating in the UNIE initiative will be an important part of our overall responsible investing strategy.” 

“The transition away from carbon will require substantial changes in energy generation and use,” Deidre (Dee) Henne, AVP (Administration) & Chief Financial Officer at McMaster University added. “UNIE is one clear and focused way university endowments and pension plans can make a difference together. It allows us to influence how, and how fast, that low-carbon transition takes place. I invite other Canadian universities to join us.”

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Beyond the Card – American Express Canada Launches Business Loans to Help Canada’s SMEs Recover and Grow

American Express

According to a recent Amex survey, 60% of Canadian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) believe that with their current cash flow, they can’t maintain business for more than six months

In a first for American Express outside of the United States, the company is announcing the international expansion of its existing business financing product suite with the launch of Business Loans in Canada and Australia. American Express Business Loans, in partnership with ODX, will offer unsecured business loans of between $5,000 and $250,000 CAD to a select group of its small and medium enterprise customers in Canada. This move further showcases American Express’ continued commitment to backing Canadian businesses by providing them with the access to the capital they need to grow and recover from the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

American Express has partnered with global originations platform ODX to introduce these loans and harness the capabilities of its world-class digital platform to ensure a seamless online application and approvals process. The loans will initially be offered to a select group of American Express business card members, with more card members invited to apply throughout the year.
 
“While the Card is still a key B2B payment tool for SME customers, we’re looking to build our portfolio of offerings designed to support business owners beyond the Card,” says Paul Roman, Vice President and General Manager of Global Commercial Services, American Express Canada. “With small business owners in Canada needing our support now more than ever, this is the perfect time to focus on extending our leadership in SME lending globally.”This announcement comes at a challenging time for many SMEs. Amex recently commissioned The American Express SME Recovery Survey to better understand the current environment for Canadian business owners.
 
Survey findings revealed that:It’s been a tough year for many Canadian SMEs, and small businesses are the most vulnerable.

  • Only 40% of SMEs believe that with their current cash flow they can maintain operations for more than six months.
  • However, despite considerable challenges, many feel optimistic about the 2021 outlook, with only 12% feeling pessimistic about what the year holds for their business.
  • While many SME owners have ideas for growth and feel inspired to reinvest in themselves and their business, they see access to capital from financial lenders as an essential factor in being able to do so.
 
Many SME owners are having to make personal sacrifices to ensure their businesses stay successful throughout COVID-19.

  • One-third of Canadian SMEs have had to take extraordinary steps, putting up personal assets like their homes and businesses to survive.
  • 43% made personal sacrifices to ensure their businesses stay successful, including forgoing personal purchases and vacations.
  • When asked when they last treated themselves to a special purchase, only 35% said that they’ve treated themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Many Canadian SMEs are looking to access loans in 2021.

  • Many Canadian SMEs are looking to access business loans to ensure survival (31%), expand (30%), innovate (18%), or cover essential costs (15%). However, many have identified roadblocks in the usual loan process.
  • In fact, while 2 of 5 of SME owners sought loans, only 1 in 5 described the process as hassle free.
 
“We are thrilled to be partnering with American Express in their efforts to help businesses grow and recover,” added Brian Geary, President of ODX. “Given the dramatic shift in customer needs and preferences during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to provide them with a digital experience to tap into financing. We are proud to work alongside such an iconic brand in the pursuit of making working capital readily available to businesses in Australia and Canada to fuel the recovery.”

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More Canadian Consumers Willing to Share Lifestyle Data for Behaviour-Based Insurance Premiums, but Trust in Data Security Falls, Accenture Report Finds

insurance

The number of consumers willing to share significant data on their health and other lifestyle-related habits with their insurer to reduce premiums has grown over the past two years, but their trust in insurers to look after that data has fallen, according to a new report from Accenture.

Based on a survey of more than 47,000 consumers globally, Accenture’s latest Global Insurance Consumer Study provides a view of consumer preferences and trends in insurance, building on similar reports from 2019 and 2017.

At a time when insurers are launching tech-driven partnerships to improve customer wellness, approximately seven out of ten consumers (67%) say they would share significant data on their health, exercise and driving habits in exchange for lower prices from their insurers, compared with 59% two years ago. In addition, six in ten (59%) of consumers say they would also share significant data for personalized services to prevent injury and loss — up from 48% in the 2019 report.

But while consumers are more willing to share personal data, their concerns about intrusiveness and its impact on premiums has grown and their confidence in their insurers’ ability to look after their data has diminished. For instance, just under 37% of consumers say they significantly trust insurers to look after their data, down from 45% in the 2019 report.

“Consumers are embracing the data-for-personalized-pricing trend and want insurers to reward their efforts to improve their well-being, but it comes with a warning that trust is waning and they want to feel in control of their data,” said Kenneth Saldanha, who leads Accenture’s Insurance industry group globally. “Insurers are creating tech-driven partnerships to provide their customers with flexible, personalized insurance offerings based on behavior, but they’ll need to be transparent and responsible with their customers’ data for these partnerships to succeed. To earn consumers’ trust, insurers will need to show that their customers’ well-being is at the core of their business.”

 

As insurance becomes more digitized, human advisors will help restore trust

The report also finds that insurers will need to re-evaluate the role of human workers, particularly as COVID-19 has drastically accelerated the industry’s adoption of digital insurance services. For instance, the number of respondents over the age of 55 who said they would like the internet chat and video insurance claim process to replace the traditional in-office claim process increased, up from 49% to 66%.

However, consumers overall still trust human advisors more than digital touchpoints for certain services. One example: 61% of consumers trust a human advisor in a branch when making an insurance claim, while only 10% trust an automated digital service and just 10% trust a chatbot.

“This is a critical time for insurers, as they need to work to fully address the shifts in consumer behaviour caused by the pandemic, including the ever-increasing expectation to create user-friendly digital experiences,” said Tim Hoying, insurance consulting and strategy lead at Accenture in Canada. “Given consumers’ openness to share their personal data in exchange for tailored programs and lower prices, there is a unique opportunity for insurers to unlock new insights and create better, more relevant services.”

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Engaging the Biden Administration on Trade Will Be Key to Canada’s Long-term Economic Fortunes, Shows Latest RSM Canada Report

USA and Canada trade deal
  • A trade boost with the U.S., alongside effective vaccine distribution, would put Canada on track for robust two-year growth
  • Canada’s output will likely expand four per cent in 2021 & 2022, though its economy likely won’t reach full potential until 2023


RSM Canada (“RSM”), the leading global provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on middle market businesses, today launched its first 2021 issue of “The Real Economy: Canada” – a quarterly report that provides Canadian businesses with economic analysis and insights into factors driving growth, or economic headwinds, in Canada’s middle market.

As Canada tackles its most serious wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, and its biggest trading partner – the United States – is set to introduce a new President this week, the latest Real Economy: Canada report shines a light on how the country’s trade and economic prospects can benefit from improved U.S. relations and a strong vaccination response in the coming months.   

The report also examines what the federal government must do to address Canada’s daunting infrastructure deficit as it looks to get the country’s economy back on track.

 

Key findings in this quarter’s report include:

1. Canada’s long-term economic prospects will largely depend on expansion of U.S. and global trade

  • Canada’s economy is the most dependent on trade among large, developed nations. It can expect a boost if the Biden administration re-enters the U.S. in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
  • From 1961 to 2019, the importance of international trade to Canada’s economy has nearly doubled, with total exports and imports accounting for 67 per cent of Canada’s GDP in 2019.
  • Canada poised to make significant economic gains should the U.S. end its trade war with China, which analysis shows has harmed Canada nearly as much as the U.S. given integration between the two economies.


2. 
Economic growth shows promise, but will be uneven across sectors

  • Canadian output will likely expand four per cent in 2021 & 2022, though economy won’t reach full potential until 2023.
  • Gains in 2021 likely uneven across sectors until vaccine is widely distributed, while “energy-intensive” parts of Canada will face greater difficulties than others.
  • Nonfinancial corporations are poised to lead Canada out of recession following their quick turnaround, helped by a likely decline of U.S. trade barriers.


3. 
Service sector job shortage and spike in household savings remain a concern for the economy

  • Continued oversupply of labour threatens to drag wages down and reduce household income and consumption.
  • Canadian households continued propensity to save during the pandemic, despite increases in disposable income, will be a concern for fiscal authorities should lack of household spending turn a supply shock into a demand shock.
  • Households were saving on average as much as 27.5 per cent of disposable income during pandemic, in comparison to 1.4 to 2 per cent in the first quarter of 2020.


4. 
Decades of underinvestment leaves Canada with a daunting infrastructure deficit

  • Deficit ranges from $110 billion to $270 billion, though Canada is investing enough to start reducing the shortfall.
  • The federal government has signaled a major infrastructure program to provide needed stimulus to reinforce the economic recovery from the pandemic.
  • Decelerating labour productivity growth rates in Canada and the U.S. – a key driver of long-term economic growth – are directly related to decreasing infrastructure investment levels.


“Given Canada’s historic over-dependence on trade, as well as its integration with the U.S. economy, it’s difficult to think of anything that could have a greater impact on Canada’s long-term recovery than the U.S. re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)” says Alex Kotsopoulos, partner, projects and economics with RSM Canada. “This was a deal that President Trump walked away from in 2017, but the incoming Biden administration has hinted at its intent to re-enter the agreement, while also potentially ending the country’s trade war with China. Both actions could lead to substantial economic benefits for countries like Canada, which have been harmed by association through these trade disputes in recent years.”

Joe Brusuelas, chief economist with RSM US LLP, added: “Once the vaccine is in place and case numbers drop down, we’ll start to see the Canadian economy gradually reopen and when you pair that with a stronger, more fruitful trade relationship with the U.S., we’re in a good place to see robust growth over the next two years. However, it’s not going to be plain sailing – the large supply shocks felt across North America as a result of the pandemic will take a number of years to repair, with damages to the labour force and a decline in investment and productivity resulting in lower output.”

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New PayBright Consumer Report Reveals That Offering Deals, Flexible Payment Options, and Safety Will Be Key to Canadian Retailer Success in 2021

Payment options

A new report, The 2021 Canadian Consumer Trends Guide: Reimagining Retail and E-tail Beyond the Pandemic, predicts e-commerce retailers offering increased value and diverse payment options will attract the attention of Canadian shoppers this year.

Published by PayBright, one of Canada’s leading providers of installment payment plans, the report is designed for retailers seeking to understand and anticipate consumer behaviour in 2021, and make concrete, data-informed business decisions. This is especially crucial as Canadians gain access to vaccines and look ahead to living (and shopping) in a post-pandemic world.

The inaugural report is informed by a PayBright-sponsored survey of 2,500 Canadians across all regions, conducted in October of 2020. From their candid responses emerged several actionable insights into:

  • The products Canadians will be shopping for;
  • The payment options Canadians will want and expect;
  • Canadians’ preferred channels (in-store or online);
  • The major motivators accelerating consumers’ purchasing decisions; and
  • The psychology behind spending in a mid-and post-vaccine world.

PayBright’s 24-page consumer report reveals dozens of key insights that will help Canadian retailers make actionable business decisions this year, including the following:

  1. Canadians are most looking forward to travel, socializing, and serenity in a post-pandemic world.

    PayBright asked Canadians what they were most looking forward to post-pandemic, finding that spending time with family (56%); peace of mind (55%); and travelling (54%) topped the list for respondents. The report also found that nearly half of Canadians will likely invest in social activities (40%); mental health and well-being (38%); physical health (37%); financial preparedness and savings (34%); and home improvement (23%) this year.

  2. With deals and sales top of mind, Canadians are planning to lower their budgets and spend with more scrutiny in 2021.

    Nearly 40% of Canadians are lowering their intended budget for 2021 for several reasons, including spending less in general (38%); a COVID-specific change to their financial status (24%); a dedication to paying off current debts (17%); and a weariness around shopping during a pandemic (14%).

  3. Canadians want and expect a buy-now-pay-later option like PayBright when they reach checkout in 2021, regardless of the channels on which they shop.

    While a popular option across age groups, in particular, Millennials and Gen Z-ers overwhelmingly want and expect diverse payment options when shopping online in 2021, with 65% of 35- to 44-year-olds64% of 25- to 34-year-olds, and 61% of 18- to -24 year-olds indicating it is an important purchase driver.

“At the start of another unprecedented year, PayBright is continuing to help prepare retailers to meet the ever-changing needs and circumstances of Canadians in 2021,” says Wayne Pommen, Senior Vice President of PayBright, an Affirm company. “We are thrilled to launch this annual report and give merchants the freshest and most accurate data available for them to make actionable insights that will help them thrive during these otherwise unpredictable times.”

Gain full insight into how Canadians are planning to shop this year. Read the PayBright 2021 Trends Report here.

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Just One More – This Holiday Season, Your Time Might Be The Best Gift You Can Give

festive zoom

This holiday season The GenWell Project is challenging Canadians to make the world a happier and healthier place by reaching out and making Just One More connection

Everybody has the ability to make a difference in someone’s life this holiday season. That’s the message behind The GenWell Project’s Just One More challenge that launched last week – continuing a message it has been sharing with Canadians during the pandemic.

The GenWell Project is encouraging people to think of Just One More person, team or group that they can reach out to this holiday season. Just One More – it could be a group of old friends, an elderly neighbour, some old colleagues, a relative in another city or the extended family that you haven’t seen for a while. Whoever it is, the important thing is to take the idea and make it happen, for your health or the health of those you connect with.

We all need human connection. It is vital to our physical and mental well-being, happiness and longevity, and in a holiday season that will be defined by lockdowns and physical distancing, we need to make the effort to connect (virtually or stay connected), with others more than ever. The GenWell Project wants to be the reminder about the importance of human connection and that we all have the power to make a difference in the lives of others and in our own lives, through a simple conversation and letting people know they are not alone.

“By reaching out to that one extra person this season, you’ll not only be doing yourself some good, you will also be helping the people you connect with. Who knows, that one call, Facetime or Zoom chat might make all the difference in the world to someone who has been feeling the negative impact of this period of increased physical distancing,” said Pete Bombaci, founder of The GenWell Project. “We are asking people for their time and connection. This holiday season, they really might be the best gifts that you can give to others.”

There are plenty of ways to reach out to Just One More this holiday season – here are a few suggestions to get things started: 

  • Make your holiday cards count – along with a message of season’s greetings, include an invitation to connect (safely) sometime over the holidays or early in the New Year.
  • Leave a note to let your neighbours know you are around to lend a hand if needed.
  • Life can be pretty busy at times, so why not take the initiative and book a time to connect.
  • Simulcast a movie or game with a friend or colleague.
  • Drop off a treat – it’s a fun and thoughtful way to reach out to a neighbour or friend.

Don’t assume everyone you know feels connected. Please think of those that maybe struggling with the pandemic and reach out to them. Together we can make the world a happier and healthier place one virtual conversation at a time. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay connected.

For more information, or to connect with us online, please visit https://genwellproject.org/.

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Canada Nickel Signs Groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding with Taykwa Tagamou Nation on The Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide Project

partnership

Canada Nickel Company Inc. is pleased to announce that the Company has signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (“MOU”) with Taykwa Tagamou Nation (“TTN”) , with the objective of establishing a long-term, mutually beneficial business relationship.

“Canada Nickel is fully committed to the responsible development of the Crawford Nickel-Cobalt Sulphide project to deliver NetZero Nickel and Cobalt products. From the very beginning, our approach has been to work with First Nations and local stakeholders as partners in order to create shared value through economic opportunities, while also being respectful and responsible stewards of the natural environment.  We welcome their innovative partnering approach and their support of our efforts to move forward on the development, permitting and construction of the project.” said Mark Selby, Chair and CEO of Canada Nickel. “Canada Nickel acknowledges TTN in their commitment to protect and enhance the land and resource-based economy within their Traditional Territory. We are grateful for the open and constructive communications we have had with them and look forward to moving forward together in the same spirit of partnership.”

TTN Electrical Transmission Project

As described in the MOU between TTN and Canada Nickel, TTN has already arranged access to capital so that it can own and develop the electrical transmission assets that will be necessary to supply Crawford with cost-effective and reliable power.  Subject to entering definitive agreements based on this non-binding MOU, Canada Nickel would rent these assets from TTN at a fair market rate over the life of the mine or twenty years (whichever comes first) and TTN would be granted an option to acquire a direct minority interest in Canada Nickel at fair commercial terms.  The Company and TTN are considering other mutually beneficial business ventures.

“Our community favours a development project like Canada Nickel’s that provides a positive economic impact, minimal environmental impacts with a commitment to deliver NetZero products, and has the foresight to engage with Taykwa Tagamou during the early stages of development,” said Chief Bruce Archibald, Taykwa Tagamou Nation. 

TTN has made similar commitments to facilitating sustainable development through its investments to bring clean hydro electric power to industry and communities. TTN has also been a keen advocate with the Independent Electrical System Operator of Ontario (IESO) for upgrading and expanding the energy transmission network on their Traditional Lands.

The Chief concluded that, “We are ready to support Canada Nickel’s Crawford project through the backing of our strong investment consortium in Canada and the US, and with the deep utility project and operation experience we have on our team.”  In 2017, TTN, through its subsidiary Coral Rapids Power, co-invested with Ontario Power Generation, in the 28 MW, Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station. “Through our success stories and business partnerships, we are taking a business approach to each development opportunity within the Territory that ensures us a seat at the table.  We intend on expanding our generation footprint and launch an independent network for all new and rebuilt transmission projects within our Territory. This network will be fully integrated into the Ontario power grid under the oversight of the IESO.”

Ontario Supports First Nation and Industry Alliances

Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines; Minister of Indigenous Affairs congratulated both parties on reaching such a historic agreement.

“I congratulate Taykwa Tagamou Nation and Canada Nickel on the signing of their historic Memorandum of Understanding. Our government is proud to support First Nation-industry partnerships like TTN and Canada Nickel’s that create real economic development and job opportunities in Northern Ontario,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines; Minister of Indigenous Affairs.

“Innovative partnerships like this one are outstanding examples of how First Nations and Ontario’s mining industry are leading the way in sustainable business development and corporate social responsibility. With TTN’s partnership and leadership in the region, the Crawford Nickel-Cobalt project is well-positioned to deliver the zero-carbon nickel and cobalt that the electric vehicle industry will need in the coming decades.”

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Post-pandemic, nearly half of Canadians intend to order food online weekly

online shopping

The online food boom is real—and it’s here to stay. 

The Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, in partnership with data insights firm Caddle, surveyed 7,290 Canadians in early November. The report, “The impact of COVID-19 on the food industry and e-commerce,” looks at what online food services Canadians are using and why.

The survey found that 63.8% of Canadians have ordered food online in some capacity over the last six months. A total of 31.3% have used curbside pickup or home-delivery services from grocery retailers in that time frame. That’s followed by food delivered directly from a restaurant (28.6%), a delivery app such as Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes (26.3%), meal kits from providers like Chef’s Plate and HelloFresh (12.8%), and farmers’ market items using local delivery services (4.1%).

The results indicate that Canadians’ online food-shopping habits will stick. Before the pandemic, 29.6% of Canadians said they ordered food online once a week. In the last six months, that went up to 45.4%. When asked if they intend to order food online at least once a week after the pandemic, nearly half (49.4%) said yes.

“There is a momentum and [the results] won’t come as a surprise for the grocery industry because we’re seeing more and more companies invest in this space,” says Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “Most grocers in the Canadian marketplace are looking at the long game and the long game is clearly there. If you’re spending millions or billions on e-commerce, the demand is going to be there.”

Convenience is the most popular reason Canadians ordered food online (33.8%). This is followed by concern about the virus and their health (13.8%) and mandatory self-isolation (6.9%). When it comes to what they’re buying, the most popular items are fast food (33.1%), followed by fruits and vegetables (22%), dairy products (21.5%), and bakery (20.6%).

Respondents were also asked what they dislike most about ordering food online. The top five reasons are: I can’t see the food before I purchase it (17.9%), I am concerned about the quality of the food (14.6%), unconfirmed product substitutions (9.2%), I do not like other people touching my food (8.6%), and packaging that is not environmentally friendly (3.1%).

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Global Companies Partner with Correlation One to Increase Diversity in the Data & AI Jobs of the Future

diverse office

Correlation One, a data analytics training and assessments technology company, today announced the first group of global companies who have pledged their support of the “Data Science for All (DS4A)/ Empowerment” program, a virtual data analytics training and jobs program made available for free to U.S. students and professionals from underrepresented communities, including Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, women, and U.S. military veterans.

By sponsoring DS4A/ Empowerment, companies create fellowships that allow participants to partake at no cost and offer invaluable mentorship opportunities. Correlation One and the program sponsors together have the goal of training 10,000 people over the next three years.

The program sponsors include: Anaplan, Match Group, Citadel and Citadel Securities, Point72 Asset Management, Two Sigma, Marshall Wace, IHS Markit, Johnson & Johnson, Gilead Sciences, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Senior executives from these organizations have endorsed this program:

  • “Supporting Correlation One is aligned with our values as a company. We must stay laser-focused on tearing down systemic barriers for communities of color. Education is an important first step, but so is providing job skills training that enables people to lift themselves up,” said Frank Calderoni, Chief Executive Officer, Anaplan. “In addition, providing mentorship and empowerment are critical to helping people be successful. When one of us does better, we all do better.”
  • “Investing in initiatives that create greater opportunities for students of all backgrounds continues to be important to us at Citadel and Citadel Securities,” said Gerald Beeson, Chief Operating Officer at Citadel. “This program will empower those underrepresented in data science with the tools and confidence to help make their aspirations a reality – and will help shape the future of finance and beyond.”
  • “Point72 is proud to partner with Correlation One on their DS4A/Empowerment to help increase diversity in the data science field,” said Matthew Granade, Chief Market Intelligence Officer, Point72. “Data and AI are changing how industries operate, but ultimately these tools are only as effective as the people analyzing the numbers and building the models. We use data across our Firm and finding and training the next generation of great data scientists is critical to our success. Diversity is an integral part of that effort – our ability to succeed is dependent on people who see things other people miss and recognize developments other people do not.”

Participants in the program will receive 13 weeks of training led by an instructor team from Ivy League universities. In addition, participants will be connected with mentors from sponsoring organizations who will provide professional development and career coaching. At the end of the program, they will be connected with opportunities at leading enterprises across the business, financial services, technology, healthcare, consulting, and consumer sectors.

“Today, there is no marketplace for enterprises to find vetted, trained, job-ready, diverse talent. We are creating that marketplace, and re-imagining the education-to-jobs pathway as we do so. By training this talent in data skills and connecting them to economic opportunity, we hope to unlock diverse human potential at scale,” said Sham Mustafa and Rasheed Sabar, Correlation One Co-Founders and Co-CEOs. “Our corporate partners make this program possible and in doing so, show their strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and eliminating barriers to accessing the jobs of tomorrow.”

 

About Data Science for All (DS4A)

The Data Science for All (DS4A) initiative was launched by Correlation One to provide data and analytics training programs dedicated to advancing women and underrepresented minorities in data science, and promoting a more inclusive global AI ecosystem.  DS4A/ Empowerment is the largest program launched to date.

The first DS4A/ Empowerment cohort commenced their training on October 24, 2020. Since launching applications for the first 500-person cohort in Fall 2020, DS4A/ Empowerment has seen significant traction on multiple fronts:

  • Over 8,300 applications were received from candidates in 48 states.
  • The diversity of accepted participants is robust, with 57% identifying as female, 58% black or African-American, 32% Latinx or Hispanic, and 21% identifying as LGBTQ+. In addition, the program will include members of additional underrepresented groups, including veterans, refugees, and immigrants.
  • The program is supported by partnerships with 30+ organizations, including the National Society of Black Engineers, HBCU Connect, The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Black Girls Code, and Hire Heroes.
  • Hundreds of individuals who have applied to the program attended or are currently attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with representation from over 35 HBCUs nationally.
  • Applicants are alumni or current students (at the undergraduate through postdoctoral level) at over 400 different universities.

Learn more about the stories of the Fellows in this program through these video testimonials: https://blog.correlation-one.com/c1insights.blog/meet-the-class-of-fall-2020-ds4a-empowerment/

For more information about the program, please visit: https://www.correlation-one.com/ds4a-empowerment

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