Monday, February 15, 2016

Increasing Number of Canadians Hesitant to Invest, Even in Housing

Investor sentiment at its lowest level since the financial crisis: Manulife poll

TORONTO, Ontario February 15, 2016  Canada News Wire - Manulife's Investor Sentiment Index has dropped to +16, the lowest point since the financial crisis when the index hit +11; the all-time high was +34 reached in 2006. Along with eroding investor sentiment is the feeling among Canadians that they are in a worse financial position than they were two years ago (26 per cent).

Canadians are increasingly viewing housing as a less attractive investment having dropped three points in the last year. The two largest drops were in British Columbia(13 point decrease since November 2014) and Ontario (decreased six points in the same time period). Canadians are also less likely to prioritize investing in their home in the near future (falling five per cent in the last six months). 

"Canadian investors are facing a long list of uncertainties, including tremendous volatility in both oil prices and the value of the Canadian dollar. The outlook should become more clear over the course of 2016," said Frances Donald, Senior Economist, Manulife Asset Management. "What is most interesting from the survey is the ongoing decline in the Canadian appetite to invest in their own home." 

In the last six months, Canadian investors lost confidence in mutual funds (down eight points), ETFs (down seven points), and balanced mutual funds (down seven points, the lowest it's been since 2011). Fixed income stayed the same (+3 on the index).

Index Ranking Across Canada
Investors in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces were the most optimistic ranking +20 on the index. Quebec ranked lowest at +9 and Alberta ranked second lowest at +14 (dropping five points since May 2015 and 11 points since November 2014).

Cash Preference by Province
Investors in Ontario (+20 points), Atlantic Provinces (+18 points), and British Columbia (+10 points) prefer cash. Albertans are focusing on their homes and then cash for investment purposes. While Investors in Quebec (-5 points) believe that now is a bad time for cash.

Interest Rates 
Almost half (48 per cent) of Canadians believe that interest rates will stay the same for the next 12 months. While 77 per cent of Canadians say interest rates will not have an impact on their investment strategy.

"The Bank of Canada has been suggesting that interest rates are on hold or may even fall further over the coming year,"  said Donald. "Yet, interestingly, 40 per cent of Canadian investors still expect interest rates to rise, highlighting the ongoing uncertainty around the interest rate outlook."

Online banking activities
In a new line of survey questions, 82 per cent of Canadians used an online channel to manage their finances. And affluent investors are more likely to go online to access financial services and look after their finances (94 per cent). Desktop and laptop are still the most common tools to manage finances online (90 per cent of Canadians on average); however Canadians are more likely to use a smartphone to deposit funds to their accounts (36 per cent). Just under half of Canadians (47 per cent) still feel it is unsafe to bank on their smartphones.

The most common online financial activity for investors is checking the performance of their investments, 75 per cent doing so at least once a month or 34 per cent doing so weekly.

For more information and historical data, visit

About the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index
Now in its 16th year, the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index is a semi-annual measure of investors' views on a range of asset classes, and savings and investment vehicles, as well as their confidence in these areas. The general population data is representative of all Canadians and is based on an online survey of 1,001 respondents who were at least 25 years old. Data from affluent respondents was compiled from an online survey of 1,251 respondents who were household financial decision-makers 25 years and older, with a household income of at least $75,000, and investable assets of at least $100,000. The survey was conducted in December 2015 by Environics Research. 

About Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group providing forward-thinking solutions to help people with their big financial decisions.  We operate as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere.  We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions.  At the end of 2015, we had approximately 34,000 employees, 63,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving 20 million customers.  At the end of December 2015, we had $935 billion (US$676 billion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made more than $24.6 billion in benefits, interest and other payments to our customers.  Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 100 years.  With our global headquarters inToronto, Canada, we trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.  Follow Manulife on Twitter @ManulifeNews or visit or

SOURCE Manulife Financial Corporation

Friday, February 12, 2016

Everything You Need To Know About How Prescription Drugs Are Delivered

TORONTO, Ontario February 12, 2016 Canada News Wire - Canadians presented almost 600 million prescriptions to more than 9,000 neighbourhood pharmacies in 2015. Each and every medication dispensed passed through hundreds of checks and balances as part of a finely tuned distribution system—where the rules constantly evolve in the face of growing prescription volumes as well as innovations in treatment.

To understand that system and its evolution, a new educational program recently became available in Canada. Entitled "Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: A Comprehensive Introduction," the three-day course at the Schulich Executive Education Centre at York University, Toronto, maps out the regulations and realities that are unique to pharmaceutical distribution in Canada. Instructors bring decades of personal experience, representing distributors, pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies.

"I really liked the fact that it was an end-to-end overview of the pharmaceutical supply chain," says Anna Zahedi, manager of pharmacy procurement at Shoppers Drug Mart and a student of the inaugural program in October 2015. "The question and answer periods were also really important to me. There was a great knowledge base to draw from."

It's Canada's first supply-chain program dedicated to pharmaceuticals, says David Johnston, president and CEO of the Canadian Association for Pharmacy Distribution Management, which helped the Schulich Centre develop the curriculum.

The degree of regulation in this country has created "one of the best pharmaceutical distribution systems in the world," notes Johnston. As such, people in the industry need to keep pace with constant change. "Regulations are increasingly intense and need to be adapted, in part because pharmaceutical products, such as biologic drugs, are more complicated. Even a tiny mistake can destroy a $25,000 medication."

"This course addresses a need that the pharmaceutical industry has had for quite some time," says Mark Thomas, program director for supply chain at Schulich. "It's for anyone in health care, or serving health care."

It's also good for business. "Organizations are more productive when everybody is speaking the same language and has a common understanding of how things work," says Thomas.

Dan Lang, national manager of quality assurance and regulatory affairs at Matrix Logistics in Moncton, New Brunswick, agrees. "I see the value of this course for senior managers, or people stepping into this industry, to understand the intricacies imposed in pharmacy distribution, and to understand why certain decisions are made."

At Auro Pharma Inc. in Woodbridge, Ontario, supply chain executive Arif Ahmad was able to take his learnings one step further. "I came away with ideas for inventory management, and we've since improved service levels. The content was practical and hands on."

More details on the course, scheduled for March and November this year, can be found at http;//  A second three-day module, which delves deeper into supply-chain operations, is also under development and expected to be available before the end of the year.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Trouble With Canada Post - One Size Does Not Fit All - Report

CALGARY, Alberta - February 11, 2016 Canada News Wire  - The explosion of electronic communication has caused Canada  Post's lettermail volumes to plummet, with no relief in sight. 
E commerce parcel deliveries are on the rise, but not nearly at the  rate necessary to offset the decline in lettermail, and there are many competing private courier companies.
Meanwhile, Canada Post's plan to end the remnants of door-to-door  home delivery has halted in light of the new Liberal government's  promise to maintain the service. The extraordinary disruption that electronic media has caused to the model of state-owned postal services, with their mandate to provide universal delivery, is dire.
In a report released today by The School of Public Policy and author Philippe De Donder, there are viable solutions to help Canada Post succeed. They include:
-  One size does not fit all - charge varying rates (capped at a maximum) based on the type of sender, volume and how far the letter has to go.
-  Outsource certain upstream operations, like sorting facilities, to further reduce infrastructure and labour costs.
-  Introduce competition in the collection, transport and sorting of mail.
-  Charging for delivery to your door.
Is immediate privatization the answer? Not necessarily. According to the report 
"The burden of universal service obligations in a country as expansive and minimally populated as Canada is, could make it difficult for the government to realize appropriate value in selling Canada Post. But if the Liberal government intends to help Canada Post endure in this environment, it should allow the corporation to introduce some basic elements of competition and market-based reform." 
The paper can be downloaded at
SOURCE The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary 

Monday, February 8, 2016

TVO On The Road Brings The Agenda with Steve Paikin To Guelph Sunday, March 6, 2016

TORONTOFeb. 8, 2016 /CNW/ - TVO's flagship current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin is coming to Guelph as part of TVO On The Road. Members of the public can register for free tickets to be part of the audience at the recording of two programs that take an in-depth look at issues affecting the region. The first program, Ontario's Food Sustainability, focuses on Ontario's food security and is related to TVO's Food Chain narrative theme which looks at the how, where and why of food. The second program, What Ontario Can Learn From Guelph, examines how Guelph has become a leader in employment and jobs growth in the country. The program is part of TVO's The Next Ontario narrative theme looking at the forces shaping the future of the province.
TVO will also hold a public reception between programs hosted by Peter O'Brian, TVO's Chair of the Board of Directors, and Lisa de Wilde, TVO's Chief Executive Officer.
TVO On The Road in Guelph

Recording two programs of The Agenda with Steve Paikin

Sunday, March 6, 2016 1-5 pm

University of Guelph, Summerlee Science Complex, Atrium Wing
488 Gordon St, 
Guelph, ON, N1G 1Y2

Register for free tickets by visiting
The Agenda with Steve Paikin is sponsored by the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario.
About TVOAs the technological extension of Ontario's public education system, TVO's vision is to create a better world through the power of learning. TVO provides learning opportunities for Ontarians through innovative educational products, in-depth current affairs, groundbreaking documentaries, and award-winning TVOKids resources both inside and outside the classroom. TVO is funded primarily by the Province of Ontarioand is a registered charity supported by sponsors and thousands of donors. For more information, visit