May 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.


  • Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Veresen Inc., both of Calgary, announced they had entered into an arrangement agreement under which Pembina is offering to acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of Veresen. Pembina said the transaction is valued at approximately $9.7 billion and is expected to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to Veresen shareholder and regulatory approval.
  • Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation announced it had entered into agreements to sell a 49.3% interest in Iroquois Gas Transmission System, LP, together with its remaining 11.8% interest in Portland Natural Gas Transmission System to TC PipeLines, LP of Texas for USD $765 million. TransCanada said the transaction is expected to close in mid-2017 subject to customary conditions.
  • Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. announced on May 1st that shipments from the Syncrude Mildred Lake Oil Sands facility had resumed following the March 14 incident. The company said shipments are expected to ramp up as additional units complete turnaround activities and that production is expected to return to full rates in June.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. announced it is moving forward with the West White Rose Project off of Newfoundland and Labrador. The company said it expects first oil in 2022, and that the project is anticipated to achieve a gross peak production rate of approximately 75,000 barrels per day in 2025. Husky also announced that it has reduced its capital spending guidance for 2017 by $100 million to between $2.5 billion and $2.6 billion.
  • Germany-based K+S AG announced it had opened a new potash mine near Bethune, Saskatchewan. The company projects the mine will produce its first marketable tonne of potash at the end of June and expects to achieve the desired production capacity of two million tonnes by the end of 2017.
  • St. John's-based Fortis Inc. and Teck Resources Limited of Vancouver announced an agreement under which Fortis will purchase Teck's two-thirds interest in the Waneta Dam and related transmission assets in British Columbia for $1.2 billion. Fortis said closing is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to customary conditions including receipt of certain approvals and consents.
  • Florida-based Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. and Tembec Inc. of Montreal announced a definitive agreement under which Rayonier will acquire Tembec for approximately USD $807 million. Rayonier said the transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2017, subject to court and regulatory approvals and approval by Tembec shareholders.
  • Integra Gold Corp. and Eldorado Gold Corporation, both of Vancouver, announced they had entered into a definitive agreement pursuant to which Eldorado has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Integra for a total transaction value of approximately $590 million. The companies said the transaction is expected to close no later than August 30, 2017, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals.


  • Ohio-based Express, Inc. announced it intends to close all 17 Canadian stores and discontinue its Canadian operations through its Canadian subsidiary, Express Fashion Apparel Canada Inc. The company said it intends to conduct store closing sales beginning in mid-May.
  • New York-based Michael Kors Holdings Limited announced it intends to close between 100 and 125 of its full-price retail stores over the next two years. The company said it had 960 stores, including licensed locations, operating worldwide, including 41 in Canada.

Finance and Insurance

  • Toronto-based Intact Financial Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive agreement and plan of merger pursuant to which it had agreed to acquire OneBeacon Insurance Group, Ltd. of Bermuda for an aggregate cash consideration of approximately $2.3 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to OneBeacon shareholder and regulatory approval.

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.
  • On May 12th, the Government of Canada introduced the proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act in Parliament. The Government said the legislation will prohibit oil tankers carrying crude and persistent oils as cargo from stopping, loading, or unloading at ports or marine installations in northern British Columbia.
  • The Government of Canada announced it had sent members of the Canadian military to support civilian authorities with the Government of Quebec's emergency response to floods affecting different areas of the province. The Government of Canada also announced it had accepted a request for federal assistance from Ontario's Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister to provide additional flood mitigation resources to affected communities in Eastern Ontario.
  • On May 23rd, the Government of Alberta introduced proposed legislation that would cap electricity prices for families, farms, and small businesses on the Regulated Rate Option at 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour over a four-year period from June 1, 2017 to May 31, 2021.
  • The Government of Ontario announced a series of changes to the province's labour and employment laws, which included raising Ontario's general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1st, 2018, and then to $15 per hour on January 1st, 2019 followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd announced a definitive purchase agreement with The Boeing Company of Illinois for up to 20 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The company said the agreement includes commitments for 10 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to be delivered between the first quarter of 2019 and December 2021, with options for an additional 10 aircraft to be delivered between 2020 and 2024. WestJet announced last month its intention to launch a new, ultra-low-cost-carrier in Canada subject to agreement with its pilots and any required regulatory approvals. The company said service is expected to start in late 2017.
  • France-based Alstom announced it had been awarded a firm order for the supply of 61 Citadis Spirit light rail vehicles for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area by Metrolinx. Alstrom said the value of the contract is over $529 million.
  • On May 24th, unions representing 175,000 construction workers in Quebec announced they had launched a general unlimited strike. On May 30th, the Government of Quebec issued back to work legislation, which came into effect on May 31st.

United States and other international news

  • United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified Congress on May 18th that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Ambassador Lighthizer said negotiations will begin no earlier than August 16th, 2017.
  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) maintained the target range for the federal funds interest rate at 0.75% to 1.00%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in March 2017.
  • 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.
  • Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that, in line with the decision taken in November 2016 to implement a new OPEC-14 production target, they had decided to extend their production adjustments for a further period of nine months, effective July 1st 2017.
  • New York-based Coach, Inc. announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kate Spade & Company, also of New York, for a total transaction value of USD $2.4 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Financial market news

  • Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $48.32 on May 31st, down from  USD $49.33 at the end of April. The Canadian dollar closed at 74.07 cents U.S. on May 31st, up from 73.20 cents U.S. on April 28th. The S&P/TSX closed at 15,349.91 on May 31st, down from a closing value of 15,586.13 at the end of April.
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