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Trudeau Says Feds to Create EI-Like Benefit for Gig, Contract Workers

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OTTAWA—The federal government plans to move as many out-of-work Canadians into the employment insurance system when a key emergency benefit runs out in the fall, and provide an Employment Insurance(EI)-like support for millions who can’t qualify under existing rules.

The change signals a potentially sweeping overhaul to the decades-old social safety net criticized in recent years for not keeping up with a modern labor force marked by increasing contract and gig work.

It was partly because of those holes that the government created the $80-billion Canada Emergency Response Benefit at the start of the pandemic, which is set to wind down over the coming weeks.

Those who already qualify for EI will be moved to that program.

The government is promising a parallel, transitional benefit with EI-like components for those who can’t yet—”and I emphasize yet,” said Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough—get into the EI system. It will include access to training and the ability to work more hours without having as steep a clawback in benefit payments.

The government is also promising to relax EI eligibility rules like the number of hours required to receive support payments.

Speaking Friday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the goal is to move everyone receiving CERB to employment insurance, and cover anyone looking for work “with a better, 21st-century EI system.”

Details will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

The government’s most recent CERB figures show $62.75 billion in benefits to 8.46 million people. About half of those recipients have gone to EI-eligible workers.

Those eye-popping numbers were the reason the EI system was shelved in favor of the CERB in March, as federal officials worried the volume of claims would overwhelm the decades-old system.

The government is still expecting millions to be on EI come the fall—about four million, Qualtrough said, adding that the system has been tested and was ready to handle the deluge upon its restart.

“We believe that the CERB has served its purpose and the reason it was created is no longer the main focus of our efforts as a government to support workers,” Qualtrough said during a mid-afternoon press conference.

“We are going to move on to something different.”

The Liberals are hoping the change prods more Canadians to either go back to work or look for a job as the economy moves into what the Bank of Canada has described as a recuperation period before a long, bumpy recovery.

The recuperation appears to have started in May when the economy grew by 4.5 percent, Statistics Canada reported Friday, re-emerging from severe lockdowns in March and April. That figure beat expectations, and a further sign of optimism was a preliminary estimate of 5 percent growth in June, which will be finalized next month.

The national data agency said rebounds in May were seen across multiple industries, including retail trade registered that saw its largest monthly increase since comparable readings began in 1961.

“May’s GDP numbers demonstrate that our economy is rebounding from all-time lows, but the growth numbers we’re seeing simply represent businesses reopening after needed lockdowns,” said Trevin Stratton, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Despite the two months of growth after two months of negative readings, Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate is that economic output contracted by 12 percent in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2020, which would be a historic drop.

Statistics Canada said economic activity still remained 15 percent below pre-pandemic level despite the gains over May.

Recouping the remaining percentage points will take months, if not longer. Much will rest on how many companies may yet close, how many jobs disappear with them.

“It’s a question of uncertainty at this point and how much damage the shutdowns have done,” said Benjamin Reitzes, BMO’s director of Canadian rates and macro strategist.

“We don’t really have that much information at this point, but if you consider the number of small businesses that are under significant pressure, maybe not surviving this period and the scarring broadly on the economy from things like that … it’s going to take time to recover from that.”

The federal government also announced Friday that it is extending a commercial rent-relief program through August as a lifeline to many small businesses whose revenues, while slowly returning, still lag behind their fixed costs.

So far the program has helped about 63,000 small business tenants through forgivable federal loans totaling $613 million. It is well below what the government hoped when it rolled out the aid.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the announcement is good news for those who can access the program, but called it a “slap in the face” for those whose landlords refuse to apply.

The organization called on the federal government to allow tenants to apply directly for help.

“Rent relief needs an overhaul now,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.

By Jordan Press

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Gig-Workers Across CA Protest in Advance of Judge’s Ruling

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Gig-Workers Across California Protest on Thursday 8/6 in Advance of Judge’s Ruling

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Q2 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

Gig-Workers Demand That Uber And Lyft Obey AB 5

This Thursday, August 6, gig-workers across the state of California will be participating in actions demanding that Uber and Lyft obey AB 5 and immediately reclassify their workers as employees. Workers will also be demanding that the companies drop their Prop 22 Ballot Initiative (which the company’s have committed to spend $110m on) which would roll back gig-workers’ rights. This statewide day of action comes in advance of a judge’s ruling on the preliminary injunction motion filed by the California Attorney General in the state’s lawsuit against Uber and Lyft, which will come down at 1:30 PM on Thursday.

Volatility

“Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe this moment,” Seth Klarman noted in his second-quarter letter to the Baupost Group investors.  Commenting on the market developments over the past six months, the value investor stated that events, which would typically occur over an extended time frame, had been compressed into just a few months. He noted Read More

In Oakland, drivers from Gig Workers Rising, Rideshare Drivers United & We Drive Progress will be holding a rally titled “Workers Can’t Wait” to demand the employee status they are legally owed under AB 5. Workers will gather at the East Oakland Lyft Hub and, starting at 11:30 AM, various drivers will speak about the grave mistreatment by the companies and demanding that voters vote no on Prop 22.

In Los Angeles, Mobile Workers Alliance and Rideshare Drivers United will host a joint press conference at a Lyft hub. The action is scheduled to begin at 10:30 AM.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a coalition of city attorneys filed an injunction in June to require Uber and Lyft to immediately begin obeying AB 5, which took effect in January. AB 5 requires the companies to reclassify their drivers as employees. Uber and Lyft argue that they shouldn’t be required to follow the law until after voters vote on Prop 22 in November. Becerra argues the harm currently facing drivers is so great that it would be neglectful to wait until the end of the current litigation. The law is clearly on the workers’ side.



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GiG Expands in Buenos Aires with Grupo Slots Alliance

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Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) is set for expansion in Argentina after recently signing a head of terms agreement with local gambling company Grupo Slots.

Under the terms of the newly announced agreement, GiG will provide its new partner with a full online gambling turnkey solution that will support its entry in the regulated iGaming market of the City of Buenos Aires.

GiG will supply Grupo Slots with its technical iGaming platform, its sportsbook solution, front-end development, the GiG data platform and GiG Logic. The deal has an initial contract period of four years with an automatic extension for another year.

GiG and Grupo Slots are set to sign a final agreement before the end of this year’s third quarter. The deal is based on a revenue share model and set up fees. Details about the portion of revenue GiG will get from Grupo Slots have not been disclosed.

Grupo Slots is one of Argentina’s leading gaming and entertainment groups. The company boasts more than three decades of experience in the gambling industry. It is headquartered in San Luis and operates more than 20 casino locations, gambling, and bingo halls around its homeland. It also conducts lottery activities and manages the Jugadon.com gaming website. In addition, the company operates hotels, dining outlets, and convention centers.

LatAm Expansion

Grupo Slots is among the companies to have expressed interest in obtaining a license to conduct online gambling activities in Buenos Aires as part of the reorganization of the city’s iGaming market. The company will be looking to leverage its popularity and leading position in Argentina’s land-based gambling market as it expands online.

Commenting on their partnership with the operator, GiG CEO Richard Brown said that they “see great potential in the regulated markets within Argentina”, and that they consider it a great opportunity to partner one of the largest land-based operators there and to be thus able to showcase their product in the LatAm region “while delivering the platform for online gambling transformation for Grupo Slots.”

Grupo Slots General Manager Juan Ignacio Torres said that they are extremely pleased to have teamed up with GiG and that this agreement complements them and provides them “a tool of quality and excellence to continue growing in this market with so much future potential.”

The Buenos Aires legislature passed last year legislation that authorized the reorganization of the city’s gambling market to permit online sports betting and casino activities. The move aimed to create a well-regulated environment and curb the proliferation of unregulated offshore gambling.

The Buenos Aires gambling regulator, Loteria de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (LOTBA), launched this past February a license application process for operators interested to conduct online gaming and betting activities within city limits. LOTBA said back then that it anticipated first licenses to be issued by the end of the fourth quarter of the year with regulated website launches following shortly.

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GiG Receives Permanent CSIE License from New Jersey

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Exactly 2 years after applying for a permanent casino service industry enterprise license (CSIE) in New Jersey, a tech firm and cloud-based online gaming platform, GiG, has finally got the right to operate within the state’s borders.

The group has backed Hard Rock International for the last 2 years under a temporary transactional permission, supervised and controlled by the Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE).

The licece is now officially given to GiG’s subsidiary, iGaming Cloud Inc. for 5 years, enabling the company to unveil its real-money online gaming platform solution in New Jersey.

As remarked by the group’s CEO, Richard Brown, the process of acquiring permanent casino license within the most advanced area in terms of gaming regulations bas been “long and comprehensive.”

Gaming Innovation Group was established to open up iGaming and make it ‘fair and fun for all’ via an ecosystem of products and services. The operator is constantly reaching out to new potential partners, more suppliers and end-users, hence creating a distinct experience on the planet.

Recently, this firm even joined forces with LeGrand Casino in North Macedonia, helping it unveil a whole suite of digital products across the country’s regulated market.

GiG’s CEO said:

“We are delighted to receive the CSIE license after a long and comprehensive process. This is a great achievement for GiG and gives us a solid confirmation that our platform, procedures and operations are meeting the highest standards out there.”

The Malta-based group is listed on Oslo Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stockhom. iGaming Cloud was founded in 2015 and provides a complete range of services for electronic gaming operators including customer relationship management, marketing suite, business intelligence, banking and wallets.

Unstoppable Gaming Force

Apart from acquiring a permanent license to operate in New Jersey for five years, Gaming Innovation Group has additionally been active elsewhere, such as the expansion of its reach in the international market.

In the last few months, this business has attained landmark deals with prosperous companies in the industry, including the likes of 1X2 Network, GS Technologies and Betsson.

By beginning a cooperation with Alpha Affiliate Program, developed by GS Technologies, GiG will unveil its full casino offering for a minimum period of 3 years with the operator. This deal should also make a remarkable contribution to the firm’s position and revenues, beginning 2021.

Another significant content distribution deal is with 1×2 Network, an iGaming developer and content supplier. In May, the Group extended its existing virtual sports integration deal with an option to include the latest line up of slots and other top casino games.

As a reminder, Betsson Group officially confirmed in February this year that their acquisition of Gaming Innovation Group will be complete by mid-April. This business acquired GiG’s B2C assets, including popular gaming brands Rizk, Kaboo, Thrills and Kaboo. The deal is worth $35.9m.

Source: https://lcb.org/news/gig-recevies-permanent-csie-license-from-new-jersey

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