May 2019 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 Court of Appeal for British Columbia, on a constitutional reference by the Province of British Columbia, opined that it is not within the authority of the Legislature to enact a proposed amendment to the Environmental Management Act. The Court said that the amendment relates to the regulation of an interprovincial undertaking – the expanded interprovincial pipeline of Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC and Trans Mountain Pipeline L.P. The Court said that the amendment thus lies beyond provincial jurisdiction.
  • Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) announced that a planned 38 day turnaround at the Scotford Upgrader is targeted for April and May 2019, during which time the South Upgrader will run at a restricted gross processing rate of approximately 200,000 bbl/d of synthetic crude oil. CNRL said that upon completion of the planned maintenance, May and June average gross production at the Albian mines is targeted to be approximately 245,000 bbl/d versus the company's previously targeted gross curtailment production volumes at the Albian mines of approximately 255,000 bbl/d.
  • CNRL announced that it had entered into an agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Devon Canada Corporation of Calgary for a cash purchase price of $3.775 billion. CNRL said the agreement has a targeted closing date of June 27th, 2019, subject to regulatory approval and normal closing conditions.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy announced it was reducing capital spending to achieve an annual average of $3.15 billion for 2019-2023 versus the previously planned 2018-2022 annual average of $3.5 billion. The company said total capital spending over the 2019-2023 five-year period is reduced by about $1.7 billion. Husky also said it remains on target with its 2019 capital spending guidance of $3.3 billion to $3.5 billion.
  • Calgary-based Trident Exploration Corp. announced it had ceased operations effective April 30, 2019. The company said that approximately 4,700 wells are being transitioned to the care of the Alberta Energy Regulator.
  • Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation announced it had entered into an agreement to sell an 85% equity interest in Northern Courier Pipeline to Alberta Investment Management Corporation for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $1.15 billion. TC energy said that it will remain the operator of the pipeline, and that the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, contingent on debt financing and subject to closing adjustments along with customary regulatory approvals.
  • Calgary-based Keyera Corp. announced that phase one of the company's Wapiti gas plant recently became operational and that over the next two years the North Wapiti Pipeline System, Simonette gas plant expansion, phase two the Wapiti gas plant, the Pipestone gas plant and the Wildhorse terminal will be completed. Keyera also said it was proceeding with the Key Access Pipeline System that will transport NGL and condensate from northwest of Grande Prairie into Fort Saskatchewan and Keyera's fractionation facility and condensate hub. The company said the cost of the pipeline system is currently estimated at $1.3 billion.
  • Calgary-based Canbriam Energy Inc. and Pacific Oil and Gas Ltd. (PO&G) of Hong Kong announced the signing of definitive documents for the acquisition by PO&G of all of the issued and outstanding shares of Canbriam for cash consideration, including Canbraim's 100% owned and operated natural gas processing plants and water handling infrastructure. Canbriam said the transaction is expected to close prior to July 1st, 2019, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approvals required under the Competition Act (Canada).
  • Vancouver-based Atlantic Gold Corporation announced it had entered into a definitive arrangement agreement with St Barbara Ltd. of Australia pursuant to which St Barbara will acquire 100% of all issued and outstanding shares of Atlantic for a total enterprise value of approximately $802 million. Atlantic said completion is anticipated to occur in July 2019, subject to Atlantic shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.
  • Calgary-based Canadian Utilities Limited announced it had entered into definitive agreements to sell its entire Canadian fossil fuel-based electricity generation portfolio for aggregate proceeds of approximately $835 million. The company said an agreement with Heartland Generation Ltd., an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners of New Jersey, includes 11 partly or fully owned natural gas-fired and coal-fired electricity generation assets located in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario, and is expected to close in the second half of 2019 subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. The company also said that, in a separate transaction, it had entered into an agreement to sell its 50% ownership interest in the Cory Cogeneration Station to SaskPower International.
  • On May 27th, the Alberta Energy Regulator released Subsurface Order No. 6, which establishes new monitoring, reporting, and setback requirements to manage the potential hazard of induced seismicity from hydraulic fracturing near the Brazeau Reservoir, Alberta.


  • Oshawa-based General Motors Canada and Unifor announced they had reached a "Transformation Agreement" that will transition the GM Oshawa Assembly operations to parts manufacturing and advanced vehicle testing. GM Canada and Unifor said the new business will retain 300 Oshawa jobs with the potential to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years, as the business attracts new customers.
  • Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. announced it will consolidate its aerospace assets into a single Bombardier Aviation business unit and will pursue the divestiture of the Belfast and Morocco aerostructures businesses.

Finance and insurance

  • Illinois-based Morningstar, Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ratings agency DBRS of Toronto, for a purchase price of USD $669 million. Morningstar said the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

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.
  • On May 17th, the United States and Canada announced they had agreed to eliminate all tariffs the United States imposed under Section 232 on imports of aluminum and steel products from Canada and all tariffs Canada imposed in retaliation for the Section 232 action taken by the United States.
  • The Government of Canada announced it intends to amend the Agricultural Marketing Programs Regulations to temporarily increase loan limits under the Advance Payments Program (APP). The Government said advances of up to $1 million will be available on all commodities, more than double the previous limit of $400,000; and that the first $100,000 will remain interest-free on all commodities, except canola, which will be eligible for up to $500,000 (total) interest free.
  • Quebec's minimum wage increased from $12.00 per hour to $12.50 per hour on May 1st.
  • The Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan announced that the majority of the Court is of the opinion that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act is not unconstitutional in whole or in part.
  • On May 6th, the Government of New Brunswick announced that water levels continue to recede and have dropped below flood stage in most areas.
  • On May 21st, the Government of Alberta reported that evacuation orders were in place for the Town of High Level and parts of Mackenzie County south of High Level due to an out-of-control wildfire in the area. Mandatory evacuation orders for additional communities were issued late in the month. As of May 31st, the Government also said approximately 11,000 people had been evacuated.
  • Toronto-based Norbord Inc. announced on May 21st that its oriented strand board (OSB) mill in High Level, Alberta had temporarily suspended production due to the wild fires burning nearby in the region and in order to comply with evacuation orders in the town of High Level.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement that provides for its acquisition by Onex Corporation of Toronto and its affiliated funds, for a transaction value of approximately $5 billion including assumed debt. WestJet said the transaction is expected to close in the latter part of 2019 or early 2020, subject to a number of conditions, including court and shareholder approval and receipt of certain regulatory approvals.
  • Nova Scotia-based Empire Company Limited unveiled Voilà by Sobeys and Voilà par IGA, the name and brand for its online grocery home delivery service for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ottawa and major cities in the Province of Quebec. Empire said that the construction of a Customer Fulfillment Centre (CFC) in Vaughan is on track to begin launch in Spring 2020 and that a second CFC location in Montreal will launch in 2021.
  • Toronto-based Restaurant Brands International Inc. announced growth plans for Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes, including plans to grow from approximately 26,000 restaurants to more than 40,000 restaurants globally over the next 8-10 years.
  • Montreal-based SNC Lavalin announced it had accelerated its simplification and cost reduction program in part by removing unprofitable revenues across 15 countries where it has sub-scale operations.

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 2.25% to 2.50%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in December 2018.
  • 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 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 reduced the Official Cash Rate, its main policy rate, by 25 basis points to 1.50%. The last change in the Official Cash Rate was a 25 basis point reduction in November 2016.
  • On May 10th, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that, at the direction of the President, the United States increased the level of tariffs from 10% to 25% on approximately USD $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The USTR also said the President ordered the USTR to begin the process of raising tariffs on essentially all remaining imports from China, which are valued at approximately USD $300 billion.
  • On May 15th, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.
  • On May 24th, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would resign as leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party on June 7th.
  • Maryland-based Sinclair Broadcasting Group, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company of California announced they had entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks and Fox College Sports for a total enterprise value of USD $10.6 billion. The companies said the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Minnesota-based 3M announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Acelity Inc. and its KCI subsidiaries worldwide for a total enterprise value of approximately USD $6.7 billion, including assumption of debt. 3M said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
  • Massachusetts-based Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire the state-regulated cannabis business of Cura Partners, Inc. of Oregon in an all-stock transaction valued at $1.27 billion. The company said the transaction is expected to close in 2019, subject to regulatory and Cura stockholder approvals.
  • Brazil-based Natura & Co announced it is acquiring Avon Products, Inc. of the U.K. in an all share transaction that values Avon at an enterprise value of USD $3.7 billion. The company said the transaction is expected in early 2020, subject to customary closing conditions including approval by shareholders and anti-trust authorities.
  • Germany-based Bombardier Transportation announced it has been named preferred bidder to build and supply a new monorail system in Cairo, Egypt. The company said the potential value of the bid for Bombardier Transportation is USD $1.3 billion for the Design & Build Contract and USD $1.2 billion for the Operations and Maintenance deal. Bombardier said the rolling stock part of the order will be developed and built in Derby, U.K., and that the order award is subject to contract and final confirmation.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $53.50 per barrel on May 31st, down from USD $63.91 at the end of April. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded around USD $50 per barrel during the first half of May before trending lower to around USD $40 per barrel at the end of the month. The Canadian dollar closed at 73.93 cents U.S. on May 31st, down from 74.50 cents U.S. at the end of April. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 16,037.49 on May 31st, down from a closing value of 16,580.73 at the end of April.
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