First, my congratulations and thanks to all involved with the Rockton Dinner Theatre in March for another great production. It’s always very humorous and this year was no exception! Plus, I always enjoy helping out with the dinner and the sense of community in Rockton.
Also recently, I had a great opportunity to visit the Threshold School of Building in downtown Hamilton where the federal government is supporting the “Ready to Work” program through the Skills Link initiative. The Threshold School’s Ready to Work program helps youth learn in-demand construction trade skills in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and more. Not only does it help these youth with the age-old conundrum – “no experience, no job; no job, no experience” – but the projects that this program takes on are often to do with affordable housing renovation or construction. For this reason, I believe it’s a win-win-win for the youth, the community and the Canadian economy.
Switching gears to national issues, the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in March is projected to increase exports by 32 per cent and boost the Canadian economy by $1.7 billion annually.
Opening up more trade opportunities with Asian countries is important to the long-term prosperity of the Canadian economy. The Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement will benefit a wide range of sectors, including industrial goods such as chemicals, plastics, communications technology, aerospace, metals, agriculture and agri-food products. Canadian producers will now have access to a lucrative new market of 50 million people.
This free trade agreement is Canada’s first with an Asian market and will provide Canadian businesses and workers with a gateway to Asia – important as we work to keep growing jobs and opportunities for Canada in an uncertain economic world and competitive global economy.
It will also level the playing field for Canadian companies competing with Korea’s other trading partners, including the United States and the European Union, who already have free trade agreements with Korea.
* * *
One final note, last month was Fraud Prevention Month in Canada and the Government of Canada was one of the partners, along with the banking association, working to promote fraud prevention initiatives for all Canadians.
In today’s electronic society, avoiding credit and debit card fraud is something that concerns us all. So I wanted to recap some of the practical tips that are being promoted as part of this effort:
- Report a lost or stolen card immediately.
- Always protect your PIN: use your shoulder or your hand to shield your PIN when entering it into the keypad.
- Choose a secure PIN that could not be easily detected if your card is lost or stolen - don't use your birth date or address.
- Check your transactions regularly.
- Remember -- your credit card company or bank would never call or email to ask for personal information like your credit card number, debit card number, expiry date, PIN, or the security number on the back of your credit card.