Here’s to 2022?
I think it is safe to say that every single one of us would like for there to be some type of Christmas miracle and we somehow were able to eradicate the COVID-19 virus and find the solution to climate change all before we watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve. But sadly, those types of miracles are saved for only the cinemas.
In the time it took to produce this Christmas column, there has been a few different drafts as new information is coming to light regarding the new Omicron variant. We had hoped for a somewhat normal Christmas season, however those dreams have yet again been slashed. As hospitals near capacity… again… provinces have made the difficult decision to slow the virus by limiting the number of contacts we interact with daily by around 50 per cent.
In preparation for this column, I looked at the previous December eNewsletter, which was written by my previous co-editor, John Tenpenny. It was humorous to look back on how optimistic we were towards the potential in 2021. He titled his column “Here’s to 2021.” I found it fitting then to add a question mark to this year’s December column because, let’s face it, we have no clue what the next 12 months will look like. He was right though that we did start to experience a bit more normalcy as vaccination rates were on the up-and-up up (80.13 per cent of the total population have received their first dose, with 76.08 per cent considered fully vaccinated). I would like to give a shoutout to those in Atlantic Canada, who have the highest vaccination rates!
In other news, we appear to be repairing the economy after so many months of uncertainty. The Bank of Canada has announced it will maintain its two per cent inflation target for the next five years.
Looking forward to 2022, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, released the Economic and Fiscal Update for 2021 on Dec. 14. This report took a snapshot of the country’s finances and provided an update on where the economy is headed. According to the report, Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the first quarter of 2022.
“By delivering significant fiscal policy support to the economy and avoiding the harmful austerity policies that followed 2008, our investments have supported a rapid and resilient recovery so far,” said Freeland. “In fact, we have recovered 106 per cent of the jobs lost at the peak of the pandemic. But we know there is more to do, and the future remains uncertain. As Omicron has reminded us, COVID-19 threatens us still. As 2021 draws to a close, finishing the fight against COVID-19 remains our most important national project.” The skilled trades are still dealing with a labour shortage, and it must be in the government’s interest—at every level—to find the solution.
One good piece of news from the report for HVAC contractors is the fact that the Government has promised quite a bit of funding to improve the indoor air quality and ventilation within public buildings. The federal government will also provide $50 million worth of funding to go towards relieving supply chain congestion in Canada. Hopefully this will help the building material and microchip shortage that has been plaguing our industry now for way too long.
In addition to the update, the Government released its Annual Financial Report for 2020-2021. The report shows that the federal government’s final deficit was lower than projected in the 2021 Budget. A new proposed piece of legislation was announced, which if approved, would create a refundable small business air quality improvement tax credit of 25 per cent on eligible air quality improvement expenses. Businesses would receive the credit on eligible expenses made between Sept. 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2022. It would relate to purchases or upgrades to HVAC systems and purchases of standalone devices designed to filter air using HEP filters (up to a maximum of $10,000 per location and $50,000 in total).
The “buy-local” mentality that was mentioned in John’s previous column has taken off even more. Even at the government level, it appears that there are more people interested in buying products made in Canada.
I’ll end this column just as my old co-worker did: here’s to a return to normal in 2022?