Five Canadian business stories to watch this week

Interest rate
Interest rate

Federal relief measures kick in for businesses

Monday marks the beginning of the first full week that the Canada Emergency Business Account will be available to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. The federal government’s program, which offers applicants up to $40,000 in interest-free loans in an effort to counter the COVID-19-linked economic downturn, is currently available through the Big 5 banks.

Another rate cut?

The Bank of Canada is set to release its latest interest-rate decision and monetary policy report on Wednesday. Canada’s central bank made two unscheduled rate cuts in March in response to the economic downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its key rate target down to 0.25 per cent after it started the month at 1.75 per cent.

Canadian March home sales

The Canadian Real Estate Association is set to release March home sales results on Wednesday. Recent numbers from Vancouver and Toronto showed strong sales activity in the first half of the month followed by a sharp drop off in activity as the effects of COVID-19 put a chill into the market.

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Manufacturing numbers

Statistics Canada is set to release its monthly survey of manufacturing for February on Thursday. StatCan’s previous survey for January showed that manufacturing sales were down 0.2 per cent to $56.1 billion, the fifth consecutive monthly decline.

Possible CERB update

Unemployed Canadian workers currently unqualified for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be watching for updates to the $24-billion program. A recent analysis by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimated one-third of unemployed Canadians, including contract or gig economy workers, won’t get help from employment insurance or the CERB in its current form.

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