August 2017 edition

This module provides a concise summary of selected Canadian economic events, as well as international and financial market developments by calendar month. It is intended to provide contextual information only to support users of the economic data published by Statistics Canada. In identifying major events or developments, Statistics Canada is not suggesting that these have a material impact on the published economic data in a particular reference month.

All information presented here is obtained from publicly available news and information sources, and does not reflect any protected information provided to Statistics Canada by survey respondents.


  • Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced it had entered into definitive agreements to acquire the Superior Refinery located in Superior, Wisconsin from Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P. of Indiana for USD $435 million. Husky said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory approval and closing adjustments.
  • Japan Petroleum Exploration Co., Ltd. (JAPEX) announced that production has commenced at the Hangingstone Expansion project, operated by its consolidated subsidiary, Calgary-based Japan Canada Oil Sands Limited. JAPEX also announced that it has decided to leave operations suspended at its Hangingstone Demonstration Project Area, which was shut down in May 2016 in response to wildfires in the Fort McMurray area.
  • BC Hydro announced it plans to purchase the remaining two-thirds ownership interest in the Waneta Dam and Generating Station in Trail, B.C. from Teck Resources Limited of Vancouver for $1.2 billion. BC Hydro said the decision to move forward is subject to a number of conditions, including approval by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.
  • The Government of British Columbia announced that it has asked the British Columbia Utilities Commission to conduct an independent review of the Site C project, an $8.8 billion multi-year hydro project which began in July 2015. Under the review's terms of reference, the final report on Site C will be submitted to the Government by November 1, 2017.
  • The Government of British Columbia announced that it had been granted intervenor status in legal challenges to the Government of Canada's conditional approval of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project. The Government said it expected to file its memorandum of fact and law by September 1, 2017.
  • The National Energy Board announced that it has approved a proposal from Westcoast Energy Inc. to build and operate the Wyndwood Pipeline Expansion Project, subject to 32 conditions.
  • The U.S. Department of Commerce announced it had postponed the final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of softwood lumber from Canada until no later than November 14, 2017.


  • Winnipeg-based New Flyer Industries ULC announced that the City of Edmonton had awarded the company with a contract for 110 Xcelsior clean diesel transit buses, as well as options to purchase an additional 120 buses. New Flyer said the buses will be deployed on the Edmonton Transit Service network starting in 2018.
  • Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, Toronto-based Dragados Canada Inc. and St. John's-based Pennecon Limited announced that their General Partnership has been awarded a construction contract from Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. to build a concrete gravity structure for a fixed drilling platform as part of Husky's West White Rose Project in Newfoundland and Labrador. The companies said that work on the project is expected to begin shortly and construction is expected to finish in 2021.

Finance and insurance

  • Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) announced it had signed an agreement to participate in the acquisition of Calpine Corporation, a Houston-based power generation company. CPPIB said it will make the investment as part of a consortium comprised of funds advised by Energy Capital Partners and other investors for USD $5.6 billion. CPPIB said it will invest USD $750 million in the acquisition, and that the transaction is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
  • CI Financial Corp. and Sentry Investments Corp., both of Toronto, announced they had reached an agreement under which CI will acquire Sentry for $780 million. CI said the transaction is expected to close on or about September 29, 2017, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited of Japan announced Mitsui Sumitomo will acquire Fairfax's 97.7% interest in First Capital Insurance Limited of Singapore for USD $1.6 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in late 2017 or early 2018, subject to applicable regulatory approvals.
  • CIBC and President's Choice Bank, both of Toronto, announced they had agreed to wind-down their consumer banking offer. CIBC announced plans to launch Simplii Financial, and said that clients with President's Choice Financial products provided by CIBC will transition to Simplii Financial. The company said that the Simplii Financial brand will replace the President's Choice Financial brand banking products and services issued by CIBC, effective November 1, 2017.

Other news

  • The Government of Canada outlined its objectives pursuant to the modernization of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which included: reforming the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process, enhancing labour safeguards and environmental provisions, facilitating the movement of professionals, harmonizing regulations, establishing a freer market for government procurement, and creating chapters on gender and indigenous rights.
  • The Government of British Columbia (on September 1st), extended the provincial state of emergency due to the wildfire situation to September 15th.
  • The Government of British Columbia announced an increase in the minimum wage, from $10.85 per hour to $11.35 per hour, effective September 15, 2017.
  • Toronto-based Toromont Industries Ltd. announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the businesses and net operating assets of the Hewitt Group of companies of Pointe-Claire, Quebec, for a total consideration of $1.0177 billion. The transaction is expected to close by mid-October 2017, subject to the customary approvals.

United States and other international news

  • On August 25th, U.S. President Donald Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. On August 28th, President Trump declared than an emergency exists in the State of Louisiana and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State, tribal, and local response efforts.
    • On August 25th, Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell plc announced that the Perdido production spar was safely shut down. The company also said its Enchilada and Salsa platforms were shut down as well.
    • On August 25th, Texas-based Valero Energy Corporation announced that its Corpus Christi and Three Rivers refineries had been shut down in a controlled manner. On August 30th, the company said refinery start-up was underway at its Three Rivers facility and that the start-up process was continuing at its Corpus Christi refinery. Valero also said on August 30th that its Port Arthur refinery had shut down in a controlled manner.
    • On August 28th, Texas-based ExxonMobil Corporation announced that its Baytown complex had completed a shutdown of the majority of its operations due to Tropical Storm Harvey. On August 31st, Exxon said its Beaumont refinery and chemical plants had completed systematic shut down of their operations. The company also said that its Hoover and Galveston 209 platforms in the Gulf of Mexico remained shut in.
    • On August 30th, France-based Total S.A. announced that almost all its sites along the Gulf Coast were shut down and were in differing stages of storm activity, recovery and transition back to normal operations. The company also said that the Total Port Arthur Refinery was shut down.
    • On August 31st, Texas-based Phillips 66 Company announced it had temporarily suspended operations at its Sweeny Refinery in Old Ocean, Texas, its Beaumont Terminal, its Pasadena refined products terminal, and its Freeport Terminal.
  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.25% and to maintain the stock of UK government bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £435 billion. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 25 basis-point reduction in August 2016.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia maintained the cash rate at 1.50%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis point reduction in August 2016.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand left the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, unchanged at 1.75%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate was a 25 basis point reduction in November 2016.
  • Gilead Sciences, Inc. and Kite Pharma, Inc., both of California, announced that the companies had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Gilead will acquire Kite for approximately USD $11.9 billion. The companies said the transaction is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to customary conditions.
  • Toyota Motor Corporation and Mazda Motor Corporation, both of Japan, announced they have signed an agreement to enter a business and capital alliance. As part of the alliance, the companies said they have agreed to explore establishing a joint venture plant in the United States. Toyota said the plant will require a total investment of USD $1.6 billion, and that the companies are aiming to start operations at the plant in 2021.
  • California-based Sempra Energy announced a USD $9.45 billion agreement to acquire Energy Future Holdings Corp. of Texas and its ownership of Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018, subject to approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • France-based Total S.A. announced that the Boards of Total and A.P. Møller – Mærsk approved the acquisition of wholly owned subsidiary Mærsk Oil & Gas A/S of Denmark in a share and debt transaction valued at USD $7.45 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018, subject to the customary approvals.
  • Minnesota-based New Flyer of America Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of New Flyer Industries Inc. of Winnipeg, announced that the New York City Transit Authority has awarded New Flyer with a contract for an additional 377 Xcelsior transit buses. The company said the contract will deploy buses into the New York City Transit Network over the next two years.
  • Germany-based Bombardier Transportation announced two contracts for its Innovia monorail 300 system for two mass rapid transit lines in Bangkok, Thailand. Bombardier said the contracts are with the Northern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd. and the Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd.

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $47.23 on August 31st, down from USD $50.17 at the end of July. The Canadian dollar closed at 79.77 cents U.S. at the end of August, down from 80.10 cents U.S. on July 31st. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,211.87 on August 31st, up from a closing value of 15,143.87 at the end of July.
Date modified: