Canadians pay most often in cash but for small purchases Bank of

VANCOUVER — In an increasingly digital world, most Canadians still carry physical money in their wallets and favour cash payments, especially for smaller sums, according to a new report by Canada’s central bank.However, the report cautions cash could eventually be replaced by continued innovations in payment methods.“As merchant acceptance of contactless payments increases, consumers may use their debit and credit cards more frequently, accelerating the decline in the use of cash,” read the Bank of Canada report, which is based on two surveys conducted in 2015 and 2013.Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low inflation riskDon’t make these money mistakes with your kidsIn 2015, cash payments made up the majority of transactions at 51 per cent, it said.Debit cards held the second greatest share of transactions at 31 per cent with credit cards falling last at 19 per cent.Nearly all small businesses (94 per cent) and large ones (98 per cent) accept cash, according to the report.However, consumers seem to rely on physical money for the smallest purchases, with the median amount of a cash transaction valued at $8.04. Debit and credit card transactions are higher at $28.33 and $43.85 respectively.Most merchants seem to prefer cash and debit card payments, the report found, as they are less costly to accept than credit cards. Only two-thirds of small- and medium-sized businesses accept debit and credit cards, it said, while nearly all large businesses do.For some of the smaller and medium companies, transaction costs may be higher than benefits, the report pointed out, so they may decide to not accept cards or only do so for larger purchases.In 2014, it cost Canadian merchants $10 billion to accept payments with $6.2 billion of that incurred for credit card payments.The Retail Council of Canada has been lobbying for lower credit card fees for merchants. The industry association says interchange fees in Canada are much higher than what the same companies charge in other markets.But while cash remains a top choice for Canadians for now, the report notes current innovations in retail payments, like contactless cards, and future ones are likely to compete with cash and even replace it.Some Canadian businesses, like Ottawa restaurant Mad Radish, already choose not to accept cash payments arguing digital-only transactions speed up service and free up staff.During the third quarter of 2017, payment processor Moneris Solutions Corp. data showed contactless payments continued to rise in Canada with a 48.35 per cent increase in contactless transaction from the same time last year.The company has predicted cash payments will make up only one-tenth of all money spent in the country by 2030. read more

BC unveils housing plan that raises foreign buyers levy and taxes speculators

VICTORIA — British Columbia is raising its foreign buyers tax and expanding it to areas outside of Vancouver, while bringing in a new tax on speculators, as part of a sweeping plan to improve affordability in the province’s overheated housing market.The New Democrat government unveiled a 30-point housing plan in its first full budget on Tuesday that also increases the property transfer tax and school tax on homes over $3 million, and invests $6 billion in building 114,000 affordable homes over the next decade.“Our intent is to bring stability to housing prices with these changes and have revenues to invest in building affordable housing,” said Finance Minister Carole James.“We recognize these are bold actions. But that’s what B.C.’s housing crisis demands.”The previous Liberal government introduced a 15 per cent tax on homes purchased by foreigners in the Metro Vancouver area in 2016. Sales of detached homes slowed for several months but prices did not fall.The minority NDP government will increase the tax to 20 per cent and expand it to the Fraser Valley, central Okanagan, the Nanaimo Regional District and the Victoria-area.The changes to the foreign buyers tax take effect on Wednesday.The speculation tax will be introduced this fall. The new annual property tax will target foreign and domestic homeowners who do not pay income tax in B.C, including those who leave homes vacant. So-called satellite families, or households with high foreign incomes that pay little provincial income tax, will also have to pay the tax.Principal residences and long-term rentals will generally be exempt, meaning the majority of B.C. homeowners will not pay the tax, James said.“This is a major important step to end speculation in our market,” she said. “This tax will penalize people who have been parking their capital in our housing market simply to speculate, driving up prices and removing rental stock.”In 2018, the tax will be $5 per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. In 2019, the tax rate will rise to $20 per $1,000 of assessed value. It will initially apply to Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Victoria-area, the Nanaimo Regional District, Kelowna and West Kelowna.The government says it’s closing real estate loopholes that allow people to skirt tax laws. It’s building a database on pre-sale condo assignments that it will share with tax authorities in an effort to ensure people who sell and resell contract assignments are paying the appropriate taxes.The plan also addresses supply through what the government says is the largest investment in housing affordability in B.C. history — more than $6 billion over 10 years to deliver 114,000 homes. That includes more than 14,000 rental units for middle-income people, students, and women and children fleeing violence; 1,750 units for Indigenous people and 2,500 homes for the homeless.The plan includes help for renters, with commitments to increase a grant for elderly renters and a program that helps low-income families.The government says it’s working with municipalities to develop new tools, such as rental-only zoning, and creating a new office through BC Housing to partner with non-profits and developers to build affordable homes.Recent statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show the average price of a detached home was $1.6 million and the average price of an apartment was $665,400. Vacancy rates for renters are at one per cent or lower in most cities across B.C., including Victoria and Kelowna.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter. read more

Government looks to identify owners of gold kept by LTTE

However he said not all the gold seems to have been returned so an inquiry was needed to see what happened to the gold which was not returned and also to find the owners of the gold which is in the care of the army. The Government is to take measures to identify owners of gold kept by the LTTE during the war which is now in the possession of the army and the Central Bank.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the army has recovered around 150 kg of gold from former LTTE controlled areas. The gold was stored in illegal banks operated by the LTTE during the ceasefire and was found when the army stormed the North and East to regain control of LTTE controlled areas. (Colombo Gazette) The Prime Minister said that the owners of around 80 kg of gold in army care are yet to be identified. “That gold will be given to the Central Bank in future,” he added.He urged Northern based Tamil political parties to share information they have on what happened to some of the missing gold and how to identify the owners of the gold in army care. read more

New Foreign and Finance Ministers assume duties

The new Foreign Minister said that he will do his utmost to meet the expectations of the President and the Prime Minister and also protect the sovereignty of the country. New Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake and new Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera assumed duties today.Samaraweera assumed duties at the Finance Ministry by signing his first document. He said Sri Lanka’s policy is to be friends to all and have no enemies and engage in economic diplomacy.The Foreign Minister said that Sri Lanka must go forward united as one country by protecting all communities. (Colombo Gazette) Karunanayake assumed duties following religious observances at the Foreign Ministry.

Applications called for to appoint members to OMP

He said the families waiting for answers will now hope for swiftest operationalization of the OMP. (Colombo Gazette) The Constitutional Council has called for applications to appoint members to the newly appointed Office of Missing Persons (OMP).The Acting Secretary General of the Constitutional Council said that the applicants must have previous experience in fact finding or investigations, human rights law, international human rights law and humanitarian response. UN Resident Coordinator Una McCauley said the OMP being gazetted is a significant step forward for the people of Sri Lanka.The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap had said he was happy President Maithripala Sirisena signed the bill and gazetted the Office of Missing Persons. President Maithripala Sirisena, in July, signed the gazette on the Office of Missing Persons, a move which drew praise from the international community. Applications must be sent before November 6, the Acting Secretary General of the Constitutional Council said. read more

Automatic pricing formula for electricity likely in near future

Now the IMF has proposed an automatic pricing formula for electricity and other steps to strengthen social safety nets. “The recent approval of an automatic fuel pricing formula is a major achievement towards reducing fiscal risks from state-owned enterprises (SOEs). In this regard, it is essential for the authorities to implement an automatic pricing formula for electricity and a restructuring plan for Sri Lankan Airlines, as well as further strengthening SOE governance and transparency. The impact of the reforms on the vulnerable can be mitigated by ongoing efforts to strengthen social safety nets,” Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Acting Chair and Deputy Managing Director, had said after the IMF had completed the fourth review of Sri Lanka’s economic performance under the program supported by a three-year Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement. (Colombo Gazette) The Government is likely to introduce an automatic pricing formula for electricity in near future.This will be in line with a proposal put forward by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Government had earlier implemented a fuel pricing formula following a proposal put forward by the IMF. read more

Navy detains 30 people attempting to migrate illegally

After inspecting the suspicious vessel the Navy arrested 30 persons who were attempting to migrate from the country by illegal means.The intercepted vessel is being escorted to the shore by the Navy. (Colombo Gazette) The Navy detained 30 people who attempted to migrate illegally by boat in the southern seas today.Two Fast Attack Craft (FACs) patrolling in the southern sea area spotted a suspicious vessel plying about 80 nautical miles off the southern coast this morning.