July 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.

COVID-19 timeline

  • The Government of British Columbia announced on July 7th that it had formally extended the provincial state of emergency until July 21st. On that date, the Government further extended the state of emergency until August 4th.
  • The Government of the Northwest Territories announced on July 7th that it had extended the territory-wide Public Health Emergency under the Northwest Territories' Public Health Act and that it would not be extending the State of Emergency under the Emergency Management Act. On July 23rd, the Government of Northwest Territories extended the territory-wide Public Health Emergency.
  • The Government of Ontario announced on July 9th that it had extended all emergency orders currently in force that were made under s.7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to July 22nd. On July 16th, the Government of Ontario announced it had extended most emergency orders until July 29th.
  • The Government of Nunavut announced on July 9th that it had extended the territory's public health emergency until July 23rd. On July 23rd, the Government of Nunavut announced it had extended the territory's public health emergency until August 6th.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia announced on July 10th that it was renewing the state of emergency until July 26th.
  • The Government of Manitoba announced on July 14th it was extending the provincewide state of emergency under The Emergency Measures Act for a period of 30 days.

Selected COVID-19 responses

  • The Government of Alberta announced on July 7th that it had introduced Bill 33, the Alberta Investment Attraction Act, which, if passed, would create the Invest Alberta Corporation, an arms-length agency that will promote investment in the province's primary sectors – energy, agriculture, and tourism. The Government said it would provide $6 million annually for the next three years for its operation.
  • The Government of Canada announced on July 16th a federal investment of more than $19 billion through the Safe Restart Agreement to help provinces and territories restart their economies. The Government said the investment will help address the key priorities, agreed upon by Canada's First Ministers, for the safe restart of Canada's economy over the next six to eight months, including measures to increase testing and contact tracing, support the capacity of health care systems, and assist with the procurement of personal protective equipment to help essential workers.
  • The Government of Canada announced on July 17th proposed changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), including allowing the extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020; making the subsidy accessible to a broader range of employers; and introducing a top-up subsidy of up to an additional 25% for employers that have been most adversely affected by the pandemic.
  • The Government of Canada announced on July 31st that the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) will be extended by one month to help eligible small businesses pay rent for August. The Government said all provinces and territories continue to participate in this initiative.
  • The Government of Canada announced on July 31st that it intends to transition everyone on the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to Employment Insurance, and that more details will be made available before the end of August.


  • Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation announced it had officially begun construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline project in Alberta. The company said 269 kilometres of pipeline will be constructed and commissioned in Albert over the next three years and that approximately 2,000 constructions workers will be hired in Alberta over that period. TC Energy said that Keystone XL is expected to be complete and operational in 2023.
  • TC Energy announced that the U.S. Supreme Court partially denied a request from the U.S. Justice Department to stay a lower court's order which vacated Nationwide Permit 12. The company said the Supreme Court stayed the decision, except as it applied to Keystone XL, which means the project will not be able to obtain authorization under Nationwide Permit 12 for dredge and fill activities in wetlands or waterbodies. TC Energy said this ruling continues to delay large portions of construction on the Keystone XL project. The company said that it will continue to evaluate its 2020 U.S. scope and that its work in Canada in 2020 remains unchanged.
  • St. John's-based Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC) announced on July 20th that it had shut in Hibernia production after it observed a sheen 2.5 kilometres from the Hibernia production platform. On July 22nd, HMDC announced it was gradually resuming production.
  • Saint John-based Irving Oil announced it was reducing its workforce by 250 individuals, totaling approximately 6% of its workforce across operations in Canada, the United States, Ireland and the UK.
  • Calgary-based Kelt Exploration Ltd. announced it had entered into an agreement to sell its Inga/Fireweed/Stoddart assets in British Columbia to ConocoPhillips of Texas for cash proceeds of $510 million. Kelt said the transaction is expected to close on or around August 21, 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.
  • Toronto-based Alamos Gold Inc. announced it is proceeding with an expansion of operations at its Island Gold mine in Ontario to 2,000 tonnes per day (tpd) from the current rate of approximately 1,200 tpd. Alamos said growth capital for the Shaft Expansion is expected to total USD $514 million.
  • Toronto-based IAMGOLD Corporation, together with its joint venture partner Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd. of Japan, announced its decision to proceed with the construction of the Côté Gold Project located in northern Ontario. The company said the decision enables construction to start in Q3 2020 with activities ramping up into Q4 2020, and that the Project is anticipated to generate over 1,000 jobs during construction and 450 jobs during operations.
  • Toronto-based Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. announced that the suspension of operations at the company's Holt Complex, in effect since April 2, 2020 as part of its COVID-19 protocols, will be extended until further notice. The company said the Holt Complex was designated as non-core by the company on February 19, 2020.


  • Montreal-based VIA Rail Canada announced it was temporarily laying off approximately 1,000 unionized employees. VIA said the layoffs would take effect on July 24, 2020.
  • The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) announced a workforce reduction of approximately 500 positions, or 27%, reflecting a significant decrease in global air traffic. The GTAA said the reductions come into effect beginning July 14th and will be achieved through the elimination of approximately 200 unfilled positions, together with voluntary departures and layoffs totalling approximately 300 employees.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced that between July 15th through to September 4, 2020, it will increase domestic frequencies and offer operations to 48 destinations including 39 in Canada, five in the U.S., two in Europe, one in the Caribbean, and one in Mexico. The company said the August schedule reflects approximately a 10% increase in flying from July, but a decrease of 75% from August 2019.
  • Montreal-based Transat A.T. Inc. announced it was gradually resuming flight operations after a 112-day shutdown. Transat said there will be three international flights and three domestic flights and that its entire reduced summer schedule of 24 routes to some 20 destinations will be up and running by August 2nd.
  • Montreal-based Canadian National Railway Company (CN) announced that it plans to acquire 1,500 new generation, high-capacity, grain hopper cars with delivery starting in January of 2021.


  • Mississauga-based Walmart Canada announced a $3.5 billion investment over the next five years, which includes renovating over 150 stores over the next three years, accelerating digitization to create "smarter stores", and building two new distribution centres in Vaughan, Ontario and Surrey, British Columbia.
  • Nova Scotia-based Empire Company Limited announced its capital spend is expected to average approximately $700 million annually over the next three years as part of the company's new three-year growth strategy, which includes investing in the store network, improving store space productivity, and improving efficiency and cost competitiveness.
  • Montreal-based DAVIDsTEA Inc. announced it was implementing a restructuring plan under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada) and that it intends to apply for similar orders for its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary under Chapter 15 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The company said it would continue to operate its online business and its wholesale distribution channel. Subsequently, DAVIDsTEA announced it was sending notices to terminate leases for 82 of its stores in Canada and all 42 of its stores in the United States and that the lease terminations would take effect in 30 days.
  • New Jersey-based ascena retail group, inc. announced it had entered into a restructuring support agreement and filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions in the United States Bankruptcy Court. Ascena said it will optimize its brand portfolio and strategically reduce its footprint with the closing of a significant number of Justice stores and a select number of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores, including the exit of all stores across brands in Canada.

Other news

  • The Bank of Canada announced it was maintaining its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of 0.25% and that it will maintain the current level of the policy rate until its inflation objective is achieved. The target for the overnight rate was reduced by 150 basis points in March 2020. The Bank also said it was continuing its quantitative easing (QE) program, with large-scale asset purchases of at least $5 billion per week of Government of Canada bonds and that the provincial and corporate bond purchase programs will continue as announced.
  • On July 8th, the Government of Canada presented its Economic and Fiscal Snapshot 2020, which included an overview of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan that delivered an economic response equivalent to nearly 14% of Canada's GDP. The Government forecasts a deficit of $343.2 billion in 2020-2021 and a contraction in real GDP of 6.8% in 2020.
  • The Government of Canada announced that the new NAFTA entered into force on July 1st.
  • On July 14th, the Government of British Columbia presented its Economic and Fiscal Update, which noted $6.26 billion in COVID-19 supports to people and businesses to date. The Government forecasts an estimated operating deficit of $12.5 billion in 2020-2021 and a contraction in real GDP of 6.8% in 2020.
  • On July 24th, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador presented its 2020-21 fiscal update. The government forecasts a deficit of $2.1 billion in 2020-2021 and a reduction in real GDP of $1.8 billion.
  • On July 29th, the Government of Nova Scotia released its update on Budget 2020-21. The Government forecasts an $852.9 million deficit in 2020-2021 and a contraction in real GDP of 6.0% in 2020.
  • Fitch Ratings, Inc. announced it had downgraded the Province of Alberta's Long-term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating and Long-term Local Currency Issuer Default Rating to 'AA-' from 'AA'.
  • Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced it was transforming its Resources Business and that its geographic footprint will be reduced from 30 to 9 countries. The company also said that its headcount is expected to be reduced from approximately 15,000 to 8,000 by the end of 2020 and to 6,000 by the end of 2021.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds rate at 0.00% to 0.25%. The last change in the target range was a 100 basis points decrease announced in March 2020. The FOMC also said that to support the flow of credit to households and businesses, the Federal Reserve over the coming months will increase its holdings of Treasury securities and agency residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities at least at the current pace to sustain smooth market functioning.
  • The Federal Reserve Board announced separately an extension through December 31st of its lending facilities that were scheduled to expire on or around September 30th. The Federal Reserve said the extensions apply to the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, the Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility, the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility, the Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, the Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility, and the Main Street Lending Program.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that (i) the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50% respectively; (ii) net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) will continue at a monthly pace of €20 billion, together with the purchases under the additional €120 billion temporary envelope until the end of the year; and (iii) the Governing Council will continue its purchases under the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) with a total envelope of €1.35 trillion until at least the end of June 2021.
  • The Bank of Japan (BoJ) announced it will apply a negative interest rate of minus 0.1% to the Policy-Rate Balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the BoJ and that it will purchase a necessary amount of Japanese government bonds (JGBs) without setting an upper limit so that 10-year JGB yields will remain at around zero percent. The BoJ also said it will actively purchase exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (J-REITs) for the time being and that it will maintain CP and corporate bonds outstanding at about ¥2 trillion and about ¥3 trillion, respectively. In addition, the BoJ said that, until the end of March 2021, it will conduct additional purchases with the upper limit of the amounts outstanding of ¥7.5 trillion for each asset.
  • The Executive Board of Sweden's Riksbank left the main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at 0.00%. The Board also decided to extend the framework for government, municipal, and mortgage bonds from SEK 300 billion to SEK 500 billion up to the end of June 2021 and will begin purchasing corporate bonds in September. The Board also decided to cut interest rates and extend maturities for lending to banks.
  • On July 21st, the European Council announced that European Union (EU) leaders have agreed on a €750 billion recovery package to help the EU tackle the crisis caused by the pandemic.
  • Virginia-based Dominion Energy, Inc. and Duke Energy of North Carolina announced the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline due to ongoing delays and increasing cost uncertainty. Dominion Energy also announced it had executed a definitive agreement to sell substantially all of its Gas Transmission & Storage segment to an affiliate of Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in a transaction valued at USD $9.7 billion. Dominion said the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter and requires Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance as well as approval from the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • California-based Chevron Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with Noble Energy, Inc. of Texas to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Noble Energy in an all-stock transaction valued at USD $5.0 billion. Chevron said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to regulatory and Noble Energy shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.
  • California-based eBay Inc. and Norway-based Adevinta ASA, a global online classifieds company, announced they had entered into a definitive agreement for eBay to transfer its Classified business to Adevinta for a total consideration valued at approximately USD $9.2 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close by the first quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and customary closing conditions.
  • UK-based Noble Corporation plc announced it had entered into a restructuring support agreement and that to implement the restructuring transaction, the company and selected subsidiaries had filed voluntary petitions for relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Noble said it plans to continue to operate as normal and without interruption for the duration of the restructuring.
  • Texas-based J.C. Penney Company, Inc. announced it had identified 152 store closures following an evaluation of store performance and that it will reduce its workforce by approximately 1,000 corporate, field management, and international positions.
  • Texas-based Schlumberger Limited announced it was reducing its workforce by more than 21,000 employees.
  • Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson, Inc. announced an overhaul of its global operating model, which requires approximately 700 fewer positions across the company's global operations with approximately 500 employees expected to exit the organization through 2020.
  • California-based Levi Strauss & Co. announced it was reducing its non-retail, non-manufacturing workforce by about 700 positions, or roughly 15%.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $40.27 per barrel on July 31st, up from a closing value of USD $39.27 at the end of June. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded in the USD $30 to $35 per barrel range throughout July. The Canadian dollar closed at 74.60 cents U.S. on July 31st, up from 73.38 cents U.S. at the end of June. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 16,169.20 on July 31st, up from 15,515.22 at the end of June.
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