January 2020 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.


  • The Supreme Court of Canada on January 16th dismissed the Government of British Columbia's appeal of the previous decision by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia which had ruled that it is not within the authority of the Legislature to enact a proposed amendment to the Environmental Management Act, as the amendment, which relates to the regulation of an interprovincial undertaking—the expanded interprovincial pipeline of Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC and Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P.—lies beyond provincial jurisdiction.
  • The U.S. Secretary of the Interior signed a Record of Decision on January 22nd that allows the Bureau of Land Management to offer a right-of-way grant to Calgary-based TC Energy for a term of 30 years, allowing for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across 44 miles of federally managed lands in Montana.
  • Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced in December 2019 a 2020 capital budget of $4.05 billion, approximately $250 million over 2019 levels.
  • Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corporation announced in December 2019 a 2020 capital program of $2.3 billion. The company said that capital expenditures in its pipeline division will be primarily focused on advancing the development of the Peace Pipeline System including the Phase VI, VII, VIII, and IX expansions.
  • Calgary-based Imperial Oil Limited announced that its capital and exploration expenditures in 2020 are expected to range between $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion. The company said its capital and exploration expenditures totaled $1.814 billion in 2019.
  • Calgary-based Inter Pipeline Ltd. announced in December 2019 a $1.2 billion capital expenditure program for 2020. The company said that approximately $1.1 billion of total capital expenditures will be for organic growth initiatives, with the remaining invested in sustaining capital projects.
  • Calgary-based Crescent Point Energy Corp. announced a 2020 capital budget of $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion, comprised primarily of sustaining capital. The company said over 80% of the budget is allocated to four plays, including the company's key focus areas, Viewfield, Shaunavon, and Flat Lake as well as its North Dakota play.
  • Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. announced in December 2019 that its 2020 capital investment is estimated at $900 million, comprised primarily of projects within the low-risk Utilities business.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada maintained the target for the overnight rate at 1.75%. The last change in the target for the overnight rate was a 25 basis-point increase announced in October 2018.
  • The Government of Canada announced on January 19th that it had taken steps to start supporting recovery efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador, following the significant winter storm that hit the Province on January 17th. The Government said that it is working in close collaboration with provincial authorities, the Canadian Armed Forces, and other federal partners in the region to determine how they can best help the Province.
  • The Government of Canada announced on January 20th that it is actively monitoring the outbreak of a novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, and is in close contact with international partners, including the World Health Organization. The Government said that the Public Health Agency of Canada is analyzing any potential risks to Canadians on a continuous basis.
  • The Government of Ontario announced it had reduced the small business Corporate Income Tax rate to 3.2% from 3.5%, effective January 1, 2020.
  • The Government of Alberta announced it had reduced the corporate tax rate from 11% to 10%, effective January 1, 2020.
  • The Government of Alberta announced that, until a court decision is reached saying otherwise, the federal government will impose a price of $20 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions on transportation and heating fuels in Alberta on January 1, 2020. The Government also said that the rate will increase by $10 per tonne on April 1st of each year until the carbon price reaches $50 per tonne on April 1, 2022.
  • Toronto-based Cott Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Cott will acquire Primo Water Corporation of North Carolina in a transaction that values Primo at approximately USD $775 million. Cott said the transaction is expected to close in March 2020, subject to the conditions to the exchange offer and other customary closing conditions.
  • Ottawa-based Shopify Inc. announced it plans to open its first permanent office in Vancouver and hire 1,000 employees with a focus on software development. Shopify said the space is set to open in late 2020.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 1.50% to 1.75%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point decrease announced in October 2019.
  • 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 -0.50%, respectively. The ECB also maintained its asset purchase program at a monthly pace of €20 billion.
  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee voted to maintain the Bank Rate at 0.75% and 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 increase in August 2018.
  • 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.
  • The Executive Board of Norway's Norges Bank kept the policy rate unchanged at 1.50%. The last change in the policy rate was a 25 basis point increase in September 2019.
  • On January 15th, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the United States and China had signed an agreement on a Phase One trade deal.
  • On January 29th,U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law the "United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act", which implements the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
  • On January 29th, the European Parliament announced it had approved the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement before submitting it to Council for the last step in the ratification process. The United Kingdom formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020.
  • California-based Visa Inc. announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Plaid of California, a financial technology company, for a total purchase consideration of USD $5.3 billion. Visa said the transaction is expected to close in the next three to six months, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
  • Michigan-based General Motors Co. announced a USD $2.2 billion investment at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to produce a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs. GM said it will also invest an additional USD $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric trucks.
  • Texas-based McDermott International, Inc. announced that a restructuring transaction will be implemented through a prepackaged Chapter 11 process with the support of USD $2.81 billion in debtor-in-possession financing. The company said that all of its businesses are expected to continue to operate as normal for the duration of the restructuring. McDermott also said that it had reached an agreement to sell Lummas Technology to the Chatterjee Group and Rhône Group, both of New York, for USD $2.725 billion, subject to regulatory and court approval.
  • Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. issued a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act of layoffs affecting approximately 2,800 employees at its Wichita, Kansas facility due to Boeing's 737 MAX production suspension. Spirit said it plans to implement smaller workforce reductions later this month for its plants in Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma, which also produce components for the MAX.
  • Texas-based Pier 1 Imports, Inc. announced it intends to reduce its store footprint by up to 450 locations, as well as close certain distribution centers and reduce its corporate headcount.
  • Minnesota-based 3M announced it had initiated a restructuring that will reduce approximately 1,500 positions, spanning all business groups, functions, and geographies.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $51.56 per barrel on January 31, down from a closing value of USD $61.68 at the end of December. Western Canadian Select crude oil trended lower in January, trading under USD $33 per barrel late in the month. The Canadian dollar closed at 75.57 cents U.S. on January 31, down from 76.99 cents U.S. at the end of December. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 17,318.49 on January 31, up from a closing value of 17,063.43 at the end of December.
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