January 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 Seven Generations Energy Ltd. confirmed planned capital investments of $1.5 billion to $1.6 billion in 2017, up from less than $1.0 billion in 2016.
  • Calgary-based MEG Energy Corp. announced a 2017 capital budget of $590 million, up from approximately $125 million in 2016. The company said about $320 million will be spent on expanding its Christina Lake Phase 2B project.
  • Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. and WGL Holdings, Inc. of Washington, D.C., a provider of natural gas, electricity, green power and energy services, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger for AltaGas to acquire WGL in a transaction valued at approximately $8.4 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2018, subject to WGL common shareholder and regulatory approvals.
  • The Government of British Columbia announced that all five conditions it had placed on the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline have either been, or are being satisfied. The Government of Canada gave conditional approval for the expansion project in November 2016.


  • The Governments of Canada and Ontario announced they are each providing Honda Canada Inc. with conditional grants of up to $41.8 million, while Honda will invest up to $408.3 million, to modernize its assembly operations in Alliston, Ontario.


  • Mississauga-based Walmart Canada Corp. announced it had come to an agreement with Visa which will allow Walmart to continue offering Visa credit cards as a form of payment at its Canadian stores. The company said customers in Manitoba and Thunder Bay, Ontario, were able to use their Visa credit cards starting January 6, 2017.


  • Laval-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement to sell its CeraVe, AcneFree and AMBI skincare brands to L'Oréal S.A. of France for USD $1.3 billion. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
  • Valeant also announced that its affiliate had entered into a definitive agreement to sell all of the outstanding equity interests in Dendreon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to the Sanpower Group Co., Ltd. of China for USD $819.9 million. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada announced that it was maintaining the target for the overnight rate at 0.5%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point reduction announced in July 2015.
  • The Government of British Columbia announced that it was increasing the home ownership grant threshold to $1.6 million, a 33% increase over last year. The basic grant can reduce residential property taxes on an owner's principal residence by up to $570, or up to $770 if the home is located in a northern or rural area.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced it was increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017. CMHC said the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to the monthly mortgage payment for the average CMHC‑insured homebuyer.
  • On January 24th, extreme weather conditions moved through the Maritimes leaving more than 100,000 customers in many parts of New Brunswick without electricity.

United States and other international news

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he had directed the United States Trade Representative to withdraw the United States as a signatory to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to permanently withdraw the United States from TPP negotiations, and to begin pursuing, wherever possible, bilateral trade negotiations.
  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced that he had invited TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. to promptly re-submit its application to the Department of State for a Presidential permit for the construction and operation of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced it had submitted a Presidential Permit application to the U.S. Department of State for approval of the pipeline.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) left the interest rate on the main refinancing operations of the Eurosystem unchanged at 0.00%, and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility unchanged at 0.25% and -0.40%, respectively. The ECB also confirmed that it will continue to make purchases under the asset purchase programme at the current monthly pace of €80 billion until the end of March 2017. From April 2017, the net asset purchases are intended to continue at a monthly pace of €60 billion until the end of December 2017.
  • The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it will continue to apply a -0.1% interest rate to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the BoJ. The BoJ also said it would continue to purchase Japanese government bonds (JGB) so that 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent.
  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May presented 12 negotiating priorities for Brexit as part of the Plan for Britain after leaving the European Union (EU). These negotiating principles included remaining outside the Single Market, and pursuing a free trade agreement with the EU. The UK Supreme Court subsequently announced that an Act of Parliament is required to authorise ministers to give Notice of the decision of the UK to withdraw from the European Union.
  • Michigan-based General Motors Co. announced it would invest an additional USD $1 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations. The company said these investments follow the USD $2.9 billion in investments announced in 2016.
  • Washington-based Amazon.com Inc. announced it plans to create an additional 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in the United States over the next 18 months. The company said many of the roles will be in new fulfillment centers that have recently been announced and are currently under construction in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and other states.
  • Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced it is planning USD $6.8 billion of capital investments in the United States in the coming fiscal year, which includes construction and remodelling of stores, clubs and distribution centers, and the expansion of new services.
  • Illinois-based McDonald's Corporation announced it had formed a partnership and company with CITIC Limited and CITIC Capital Holdings, both of China, and The Carlyle Group of Washington D.C. to act as a master franchisee responsible for McDonald's businesses in mainland China and Hong Kong for a term of 20 years. McDonald's said that the total consideration payable by the new company to acquire McDonald's mainland China and Hong Kong business is up to USD $2.08 billion. The partnership said it intends to add over 1,500 restaurants in China and Hong Kong over the next five years.
  • Ohio-based Macy's, Inc. announced a series of actions to streamline its store portfolio and intensify its cost-efficiency efforts, including the closure of 68 stores which were part of the approximately 100 closings announced in August, 2016.
  • New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson and Actelion Ltd of Switzerland announced they had entered into a definitive transaction agreement under which Johnson & Johnson will launch an offer in Switzerland to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Actelion for USD $30 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2017, subject to Actelion shareholder approval and other customary conditions.
  • France-based Alstom announced that the Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF) had selected the Alstom-Bombardier consortium to renew the trains on lines D and E of the Île-de-France network. Alstom said the first firm part of the order comprises the delivery of 71 trains for an estimated €1.55 billion, and that these trains will be delivered and enter circulation from 2021 onwards.

Financial Market News

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $52.81 per barrel on January 31st, down from USD $53.72 at the end of December. The Canadian dollar closed at 76.85 cents U.S. on January 31st, up from 74.48 cents U.S. on December 30th. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,385.96 on January 31st, up from 15,287.59 at the end of December.
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