January 2016 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 Seven Generations Energy Ltd. announced it was postponing nearly $200 million in planned investments in 2016. The company said that it now expects capital expenditures of between $900 million and $950 million, about 18% lower than its initial 2016 capital budget announced in November 2015.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced it was lowering its planned capital expenditures in 2016 by $800 million, to between $2.1 billion and $2.3 billion.
  • Calgary-based Whitecap Resources Inc. announced it was lowering its planned capital expenditures in 2016 by 53% to $70 million.
  • Calgary-based Tamarack Valley Energy Ltd. announced it was lowering its planned 2016 capital spending to between $52 million and $57 million, down from less than $120 million in 2015.
  • Calgary-based Penn West Petroleum Ltd. announced it would lower its 2016 capital expenditures to $50 million from approximately $480 million in 2015.
  • Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Oil Sands Limited (COS) announced an agreement to support the offer by Suncor to purchase all of the shares of COS. The deal, worth $6.6 billion, is subject to acceptance by COS shareholders.
  • Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. announced it would purchase the Tupper Main and Tupper West gas plants, located southwest of Dawson Creek, B.C., from Murphy Oil Company Ltd. for $538 million. Murphy said it expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2016, subject to regulatory approval.
  • Calgary-based Nexen Energy ULC. announced that it has shut down operations at its Long Lake oil sands facility south of Fort McMurray following an explosion on January 15th.
  • Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. announced it was indefinitely suspending operations at its Picadilly, New Brunswick site. The company said the decision will result in the loss of between 420 and 430 jobs.
  • Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. announced it had signed agreements to develop, build, own and operate a propane export terminal on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. AltaGas said it is working towards reaching a final investment decision in 2016, with exports to commence in 2018.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Royalty Review Advisory Panel, the Government of Alberta announced that it will maintain the current royalty structure for existing oil sands projects for ten years.


  • The Ontario government announced it has approved the start of a $12.8 billion refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station east of Toronto. The Ontario government said it expects the refurbishment to start in the fall of 2016 and take 10 years to complete. The province also announced that it has approved the Ontario Power Generations plans to extend operations at the Pickering Nuclear Power Station to 2024.
  • Hydro One Limited announced that its subsidiary, Hydro One Inc., has agreed to purchase Great Lakes Power Transmission LP, an Ontario electricity transmission business northeast of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, from Brookfield Infrastructure for $222 million. The purchase consists of 15 transmission stations, 560 kilometers of transmission lines, and related infrastructure covering an area of 12,000 square kilometers. The company said that upon completion of the purchase, Hydro One will operate approximately 98% of Ontario's transmission capacity.


  • Toronto-based Corus Entertainment Inc. announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase Shaw Media Inc., a broadcasting subsidiary of Calgary-based Shaw Communications Inc., for $2.65 billion. The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight interest rate at 0.5%. The last change in the target rate was a 25 basis-point reduction in July 2015.
  • The Canadian government announced new interim principles for federal environmental assessments of energy projects. These principles will apply until legislated changes can be implemented.
  • The Alberta government announced it would freeze wages for public-sector managers and non‑unionized workers for two years. The Alberta government said that the decision will affect 7,000 provincial workers and save the government $28.5 million per year.
  • Statistics Canada announced that it is planning to hire over 35,000 temporary workers from across the country for the 2016 Census.

United States and other international news

  • Chinas stock markets closed on January 4th and January 7th following steep declines. The CSI 300 Index declined 7% on both days.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) announced it will maintain the interest rate on its deposit facility at −0.3%. The ECB last lowered interest rates in December 2015.
  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) announced it was maintaining the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 0.25% to 0.50%. The FOMC had last increased the target range by 25 basis points at its meeting in December 2015.
  • The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it would apply a -0.1% interest rate on a portion of current account deposits that financial institutions hold at the central bank. The BoJ said it will cut the interest rate further into negative territory if needed.
  • Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced it plans to close 269 stores, impacting about 16,000 employees. The company said that the closures include locations in the U.S., Brazil, and Latin American markets. The company also announced it still plans to open over 300 stores worldwide in the coming year.
  • The U.S. and European Union lifted sanctions against Iran related to its nuclear program after the International Atomic Energy Agency determined the country had fulfilled its requirements under last years nuclear agreement. A U.S. trade embargo with Iran remains in place.
  • A severe winter storm affected the U.S. east coast causing significant travel disruptions and power outages. A state of emergency was declared in 11 states and Washington, D.C. declared a snow emergency.

Financial market news

  • WTI crude oil prices closed at USD $33.62 per barrel on January 29th, down from USD $37.04 at the end of December. WTI crude prices had declined to USD $26.55 per barrel on January 20th.
  • The Canadian dollar closed at 71.40 cents U.S. on January 29th, down from 72.25 cents U.S. at the end of December. The dollar had closed at 68.69 cents U.S. on January 19th.
  • The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed at 12,822.13 on January 29th, down from 13,009.95 on December 31st. The index had previously closed at 11,843.11 on January 20th.
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