From weed to wages Ontario marijuana producers hit by minimum pay rate

first_imgTORONTO – Coffee chains and restaurants aren’t the only businesses under pressure from Ontario’s minimum wage hike — marijuana companies say the higher provincial pay rate is driving up the cost to produce and sell cannabis products as well.Licensed medical marijuana producer Aphria Inc. has calculated that the province’s 21-per-cent minimum pay jump from $11.60 to $14 per hour would add another $600,000 to its overall wage costs each year.“If this increase had been in effect in the current quarter, the company’s ‘all-in’ cost of sales of dried cannabis per gram would have increased by approximately $0.12 per gram,” the Leamington, Ont.-based company said in recent financial documents.That’s an increase of nearly six per cent from its all-in cost of $2.13 per gram during the quarter ended in November.Aphria said in its management’s discussion and analysis that when the provincial minimum wage goes up to $15 on Jan. 1 2019, it expects overall company wages to go up by another $300,000 per year.Southern Ontario-based pot producer Newstrike Resources Ltd. said it’s also feeling the financial pressure, and anticipates its all-in costs to sell cannabis will rise by roughly 10 cents per gram due to the provincial wage hike.The province has both relatively high labour costs and electricity costs, which will likely weigh on producers’ decision making when setting up a new facility, said its chief operating officer Kevin Epp.That could mean consumers will pay more for their weed.“For a while, you could probably absorb it by having reduced margins,” Epp said. “But eventually, in any competitive industry, costs have to be passed through or people would exit the industry.”Beacon Securities analyst Vahan Ajamian said the cost increases are meaningful. He added that Ontario’s higher pay rate will make it more difficult for marijuana producers in the province and others with rising minimum wages to compete with those in Quebec, where both labour and power costs are lower.Ontario’s minimum wage hike, which took effect Jan. 1, has already prompted other businesses to adjust how they operate.For instance, some Ontario Tim Hortons’ franchisees eliminated paid breaks, fully-covered health and dental plans and other perks for their workers to offset the added costs. The move drew protests at some of the coffee chain’s Ontario locations earlier this month as well as a few locations in cities across the country.Meanwhile, Freshii chief executive Matthew Corrin said the eatery took steps to help franchisees offset the increase, such as raising prices on some items in the fall ahead of the hike.But not all marijuana producers in Ontario are grappling with rising minimum wage rates — at least, not yet.Beleave Inc.’s chief executive officer Andrew Wnek said its relatively smaller operation is comprised largely of specialized workers who make more than minimum pay.However, he notes, as the Hamilton, Ont-based pot producer grows in scale and additional harvesting staff is required for larger facilities, a higher minimum wage will factor in.“There’ll be an impact for sure,” he said. “But, again, for the smaller LPs at this point in time, they won’t see that until they get into the larger facilities.”Companies in this story: (TSX:APH, TSXV:HIP)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version identified Kevin Epp as Newstrike’s chief financial officer.last_img read more

Read More »

WhatsApp makes group chats more secure gives users more control

first_imgNew Delhi: WhatsApp Wednesday said it will now allow its users to decide whether they want to get added to groups on the instant messaging platform. The move assumes significance, especially ahead of elections in the country, as social media platforms are expected to play a major role in political campaigns to reach out to citizens in large numbers. “WhatsApp groups continue to connect family, friends, coworkers, classmates and more. As people turn to groups for important conversations, users have asked for more control over their experience,” the Facebook-owned company said in a statement. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The messaging app has added that a new privacy setting in which an invite system will help users decide who can add them to groups. Previously, WhatsApp users could be added to groups without their consent. To enable the feature, users can go to ‘settings’ option in WhatsApp app and select one of three options — nobody, my contacts, or everyone. If they choose nobody , users will have to approve joining every group to which they are invited. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Upon choosing my contacts option, users from the person’s address book will be able to add them to groups. In these cases, the person inviting you to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the user choice of joining the group. The user will be given three days to accept the invite before it expires, the statement said. “With these new features, users will have more control over the group messages they receive,” WhatsApp said. These new privacy settings will begin rolling out to some users starting Wednesday, and will be available worldwide in the coming weeks to those using the latest version of WhatsApp, it added. WhatsApp, which counts India as one of its largest markets with over 200 million users, had faced flak from the Indian government after a series of mob-lynching incidents, triggered by rumours circulating on the messaging platform, claimed lives last year. Under pressure to stop rumours and fake news, WhatsApp had last year restricted forwarding messages to five chats at once. It has also been putting out advertisements in newspapers and running television and radio campaigns offering tips to users on how to spot misinformation. With ensuing general elections, the Indian government had warned social media platforms of strong action if any attempt was made to influence the country’s electoral process through undesirable means. One of the amendments being mulled in the IT intermediary rules (meant for online and social media platforms) will require them to enable tracing out of such originators of information as needed by government agencies that are legally authorised. However, WhatsApp has so far resisted the government’s demand for identifying message originators, arguing that such a move would undermine the end-to-end encryption and the private nature of the platform, creating potential for serious misuse.last_img read more

Read More »

Tulsi happy to work with Benny in Mixtape season 2

first_imgT-series Mixtape season 2, the digital music show, aired its fifth episode featuring singer Tulsi Kumar along with singer Benny Dayal – who have together taken the music up quite a few notches.Tulsi and Benny crooned to ‘Sanam Re’, the chartbuster from film of the same name and ‘Phir Mohabbat’ from Murder 2. Adding their own signature styles to the popular numbers, the duo brought in a freshness that is sure to mesmerise listeners. Sharing her excitement, Tulsi Kumar said, “Mashups require double the effort since you want to improvise on songs that are already perfect. That was the challenge and the most fun part at the same time. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Benny. I think we are a unique combination, and have come together for the first time. We had a great time performing to this melodious Mixtape.”last_img read more

Read More »

China praises Pakistan for preventing Chinese casualties in Gwadar attack

first_imgBeijing: China on Monday praised the Pakistan’s security forces for their “swift action” in neutralising the terrorists who attacked a luxury hotel in Gwadar and ensured the safety of the Chinese personnel and institutions there. Three militants of the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), armed with automatic weapons, stormed the Pearl Continental (PC) hotel in Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar on Saturday and opened random firing. Eight persons, including four civilians, a Pakistan Navy soldier, were killed and six others were injured in the deadly attack. All three attackers were also killed by the security forces. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report”China strongly condemns the terrorist attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar, expresses its condolences to the victims’ families and the injured,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing here while answering a question on the BLA attack. “According to China’s understanding there are no reports of Chinese casualties. Pakistan’s security forces took swift measures to eliminate terrorists, effectively guaranteeing security and stability in Gwadar and the safety of local Chinese personnel and institutions. China appreciates this,” he said. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsAccording to a BBC report, the BLA said that the hotel, a centrepiece of a multi-billion-dollar Chinese project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was selected in order to target Chinese and other investors. A large number of Chinese are currently working in Gwadar, the key port in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province which is being linked to China’s Xinjiang province as part of the USD 60 billion CPEC. The BLA is opposing the foreign (Chinese) investments in Balochistan, saying they do not benefit the local people. Geng said “China will continue to firmly support Pakistan’s anti-terrorism efforts and believes that the Pakistani government and army are capable of maintaining national security and stability.” Referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement condemning the attack, the spokesperson said, “We note that Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack saying that it is an attempt to undermine Pakistan’s economic prosperity and stressed that his country would not allow terrorist plots to succeed.” Geng said that China has always supported Pakistan’s national development, and “we will continue to support Pakistan’s economic and social development and the improvement of people’s livelihoods.”last_img read more

Read More »

Lakers Dwight Howard Primed For 2016 Olympics

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard shared his emotions Thursday with reporters about the time in 2012 when he learned that he would not play in the London Olympics.“I was pissed off,” Howard said. “I was mad I couldn’t play in the playoffs. I was mad I couldn’t play in the Olympics. I was pissed. I was looking forward to going to London. I was looking forward to making a big run in the playoffs last season, so I wasn’t too happy about the fact that I had to have surgery and miss a lot of basketball.”Howard, who won Olympic gold with the U.S. in the 2008 Beijing Games, missed the chance to repeat at the London Games to recover from back surgery. However, Howard said he is ready to join the team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.The ultimate decision of whether Howard plays is up to USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo. Howard said that he has maintained a close relationship with Colangelo.“He’s cool with me,” Howard said. “He’s always been someone that I’ve thought highly of and he’s always supported me.”Howard said Colangelo invited him to play with 2012 team before his back injury.“We were looking forward to it,” Howard said. “He was one of the first people that contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play. I was very excited about it. I wanted to play. He said, ‘OK.’ ”With one piece of the roster filled out, now all Colangelo has to do is find a new head coach.Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski announced earlier this week on ESPN Radio that he would not continue his head coaching duties with Team USA.But when the Rio de Janeiro Games roll around, Howard will be 30 years old, but for now he is not concerned about who the coach will be when that time comes.“My only concern right now is winning a championship with the Lakers and how we can get better,” Howard said. “I can’t control what happens in the Olympics.” read more

Read More »

Ohio lacrosse team helps set world record

Ohio’s newest professional sports team, the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse, has already made a record-setting contribution to the Columbus community. The Machine organized the largest lacrosse game ever played with 112 people Wednesday at Columbus Commons, setting a new world record for the largest documented lacrosse game in history. There was no previously documented record. Guests were invited to bring their own lacrosse sticks and play with the professionals that make up the first-year MLL franchise. Those who registered for the game were given a complimentary Ohio Machine T-shirt in either blue or red and a number. After registration, players tossed the ball around with kids, and just after noon, players and fans took the field. Matt Hastings, director of ticket sales for the Machine, said becoming a part of the community is what the new franchise is all about. “We want to introduce lacrosse to the community and make this a fun league that they can enjoy and connect with,” he said. “And we’re doing that by hosting stuff like this and teaming up with other teams in Columbus.” Former Columbus Crew player Frankie Hejduk, who recently returned to the team in the role of brand ambassador, was there to join in on the action. “It was fun. I had a blast,” Hejduk said. “It’s great to get out here in the community and promote a new team and sport.” Hejduk, who said he has never played lacrosse, emulated his sport of choice as he ran down the field with the ball in the net of his stick before picking it out with his hand and punting it down the field. “It’s kind of a similar sport to soccer,” he said. “You have to put the ball in the back of the net.” Machine attackman and former Ohio State player, Mario Ventiquattro, said the experience was surreal. “This experience is unbelievable,” he said. “It was so great to see all the kids and adults out here running up and down the field with us. It was just a blast.” Ventiquattro said he doesn’t think introducing the city of Columbus to the sport will be too difficult. “Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the world right now,” he said. “It’s not hard to have people pick up a stick and fall in love with the game. And I know as soon as people are exposed to the game, it will take off.” And the sunny, 75-degree weather made the event a “10,” Hastings said. “Whenever you have a bunch of kids and even adults smiling, I’d say it was really successful,” he said. “With this weather on top of it, I’d have to give it a 10.” The Machine will host the Rochester Rattlers in their home opener at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Selby Stadium in Delaware, Ohio. read more

Read More »

Brice Allen honored to be associate head coach of OSU mens track

On Friday, 22 days after being named head coach of Ohio State’s men’s track and field team, Ed Beathea announced his first official hire for his coaching staff. The coach he hired was Brice Allen, who has been selected as the team’s associate head coach and recruiting coordinator. As associate head coach, Allen will lead OSU’s distance runners and serve as the coach for the men’s cross country team. As recruiting coordinator, he will also be responsible for organizing the team’s recruiting efforts. “It’s a privilege to be a member of the athletic department, and most of all to work hand in hand with Coach Beathea,” Allen said. Prior to joining the Buckeyes, Allen’s most recent coaching experience came at the University of Louisville, where he spent seven years. He joined Louisville as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator in 2004, and was promoted to head men’s and women’s cross country coach in 2008, a position he continued to hold through the 2010 season. Prior to his coaching career, Allen had his own experience as a collegiate distance runner, competing in cross country and track at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. He later worked as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University prior to joining the Louisville staff. Beathea, whose coaching background is working with sprinters and hurdlers, said it was necessary to hire a coach with experience working with distance runners. “When I was looking for a coach, I think it was understood across the country that what I was looking for was a distance coach to fill the position,” Beathea said. Beathea said the position was not advertised as an associate head coaching position, but he felt Allen deserves that title. “It was advertised as an assistant coach position, but with Brice’s experience and responsibility at Louisville, I thought it appropriate to make him the associate head coach,” Beathea said. Beathea estimated there were between 60 to 90 candidates who applied for the assistant coaching position. Beathea added that he has not yet made any further decisions on who will make up the remainder of his coaching staff. In both of his previous coaching jobs, Allen worked simultaneously with both male and female athletes. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to focus his attention on coaching only one gender. “I’m anxious to focus on one gender, and I think that’s going to be a completely different dynamic,” Allen said. “I was balancing 20-25 athletes at Louisville with the co-gendered program, and to focus just on the men’s program is certainly going to be a different dynamic.” Allen listed “intensity, a commitment to be competitive and a sense of urgency” as three fundamental traits he says he will bring to OSU. Allen said his expectations, both for the upcoming season and going forward, are in line with Beathea’s. “We want to be a conference contender, a regional power and a national representative year in and year out,” Allen said. Allen also discussed the team’s recruiting strategy for the upcoming season. “We’re going to focus on Ohio, and we’re going to recruit Ohio very hard,” Allen said. “Then we’re going to recruit the peripherary (sic) states and peripherary regions, so we’re going to work from the inside out.” Wanting to get off on the right foot with OSU fans, Allen was cautious about naming any other specific states that the staff would focus their recruiting efforts toward. “I understand that in Ohio, we want to talk about Ohio and Ohio only,” Allen said. “There’s a very good state very close to us, but we’re going to focus on Ohio first.” read more

Read More »

Ohio State womens basketball falls to Wisconsin 8271

Sophomore guard Cait Craft (13) attempts to beat a defender during a game against Michigan State Jan. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 82-68.Credit Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorThe inconsistency continues for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.The Buckeyes (14-11, 4-5) fell on the road to the Wisconsin Badgers (10-11, 3-6) Sunday, 82-71, despite having four players scoring in double figures.OSU trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half, only to cut it to seven with just 2:39 left after a free throw by sophomore guard Ameryst Alston.That is as close as the Buckeyes would get for the remainder of the game.OSU was led by junior guard Raven Ferguson, who poured in 17 points off the bench for the Buckeyes but also fouled out for the second time in conference play.OSU was outrebounded 49-34 in the game and allowed 24 second-chance points for the Badgers who shot 47.5 percent from the field.Senior center Ashley Adams, who has been a factor of late for the Buckeyes, scored only two points and grabbed one rebound in 10 minutes of play.The Buckeyes did receive solid play from senior center Darryce Moore who tallied 15 points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes in a starting role.The Badgers not only dominated the boards, they were able to shut down Alston, who was coming off of a career-high game with 31 points against Illinois Jan. 30. Alston was held to just 11 points on 4-13 shooting.Wisconsin also had four players score in double figures including two who tied for a game-high 21 points. Junior forward Jacki Gulczynski and redshirt-junior center Michala Johnson each scored 21 and combined for 22 rebounds against the Buckeyes.The Buckeyes will attempt to avoid losing two games in a row for the second time this season in conference play Thursday as they are set to travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on the No. 19 Purdue Boilermakers (15-7, 5-5). The Buckeyes won the first meeting between the two teams in Columbus Jan. 2, 89-78. read more

Read More »