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5 Things To Know In Business Today: Facebook Is Getting Its Own Currency

More than a quarter of Canadian corporate taxes are going unpaid; Domino's rolls out robot pizza delivery.

Because what the world really needs is for Facebook to have its own currency

Facebook has developed its own cryptocurrency, similar to bitcoin, in an effort to drive more e-commerce to its platform. The electronic bling, dubbed Libra, already has corporate partners willing to use it for transactions, including PayPal, Uber, Spotify, Visa and Mastercard. But, as the Associated Press reports, the currency arrives at a time when the public and policymakers are growing increasingly suspicious of the social media giant and its apparent recklessness with users’ private data. The company’s stock took a beating last week when emails emerged that showed CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have been more directly involved in the company’s privacy issues than previously believed. The company is now also the target of an antitrust probe by the U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. antitrust laws prevent companies from holding monopoly power in a market.

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China vs. Canadian pork and weed

Tensions between China and the U.S. and Canada are showing no signs of easing, and the latest salvo from Beijing involves cannabis decriminalization. China’s drug enforcement body has blamed a spike in drug smuggling on legalization in Canada and parts of the U.S., CNN reports. The China National Narcotics Control Commission said the number of marijuana users in China jumped by 25 per cent in 2018, to 24,000 individuals in a country of 1.3 billion people. Commissioner Liu Yuejin called it “a new threat to China,” though he conceded there are relatively few cannabis users in the country.

Watch: China says Canada should recognize the consequences of siding with the U.S. Story continues below.

Meanwhile, China is set to throw another roadblock in front of a Canadian exporter, with state news agency Xinhua reporting Tuesday that China will ban pork imports from foodmaker Frigo Royal. Customs inspectors reportedly found the pork contained rectopamine, a muscle drug that accelerates pigs’ growth, the Canadian Press reports. The compound is banned in China and the European Union, but has been approved for use in Canada and the U.S. China has already banned pork imports from two other Canadian producers and halted imports of Canadian canola, moves widely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last year, on an extradition request by the United States.

How much do you tip a pizza delivery robot?

Domino’s is rolling out robot pizza delivery in Houston this fall, the Washington Post reports. The chain will use an electric autonomous vehicle created by California-based robotics company Nuro, which has been providing automated grocery delivery to Kroger’s customers in Houston and Phoenix. Instead of passenger seats, the pizza vehicle will have compartments for delivery of goods. It’s just the latest entry in an increasingly crowded field of companies seeking to automate delivery. Most recently, Uber announced plans to use drones to deliver food through its Uber Eats service. Amazon and Google are also working on technologies to automate delivery, all of which leads to an inescapable conclusion: Delivery workers should start looking for a new line of work.

A Nuro delivery vehicle, pictured in a handout from the company.
Nuro (handout)
A Nuro delivery vehicle, pictured in a handout from the company.

CRA’s missing billions

Despite its best efforts to keep this sort of thing secret, Canada Revenue Agency has been compelled to report on the country’s “tax gap” ― the amount of revenue the government is losing to tax avoidance. Data to be released today will show that Canadian businesses failed to pay between $9.4 billion and $11.4 billion in taxes owed in 2014, the Toronto Star reports. That amounts to between 24 and 29 per cent of all the corporate taxes owed. A director with CRA told the Star that’s “quite similar” to what was found in other countries. The agency, which for years resisted efforts to calculate the tax gap, says it has doubled the number of offshore audits it carries out, and has increased revenue from them by 60 per cent.

Molson’s cannabis drinks will hit shelves in time for the holidays

Molson Coors Brewing has announced that it plans to sell cannabis-infused drinks in Canada on the first day it’s legal to do so this December. The company last year signed a deal with cannabis producer Hexo to develop beverages for cannabis consumers. The joint venture, called Truss, will start selling on Dec. 16, with “lots of beverages” available and a “very large supply” of product, said Jay McMillan, Hexo’s VP for strategic development, as quoted at Bloomberg. The cannabis drinks will be alcohol-free because ― in case you’re not aware ― it’s a bad idea to mix cannabis and alcohol.

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