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.
- Longueuil, Quebec-based Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and Alterra Power Corp. of Vancouver announced on October 30th that they have entered into an arrangement agreement pursuant to which Innergex will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Alterra for an aggregate consideration of $1.1 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to occur in the first quarter of 2018, subject to Alterra shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions.
- Calgary-based Chevron Canada Limited announced it is moving into development on a portion of its leaseholdings in the Kaybob Duvernay area of west-central Alberta. The company said it anticipates this initial development program will comprise approximately 55,000 acres of Chevron's operated position in the Duvernay resource in the area known as East Kaybob. Chevron Canada also said that the program will utilize long-term infrastructure development and service agreements with Pembina Pipeline Corporation and Keyera Corporation, with service expected to be available during the second half of 2019.
- Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. released its 2018 corporate guidance which included a capital program of between $4.5 and $5.0 billion. The company said the midpoint of this range represents a year-over-year capital spending reduction of approximately $750 million.
- Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Limited announced that its 2018 capital budget is targeted at approximately $4.3 billion, $0.5 billion less than 2017, excluding the Athabasca Oil Sands Project acquisition capital.
- Calgary-based Cenovus Energy Inc. announced it had entered into an agreement to sell its majority interest in the Weyburn carbon-dioxide enhanced oil recovery operation in Saskatchewan for cash proceeds of $940 million. The company said the sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.
- Calgary-based TransCanada Corporation confirmed that the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved an alternative route for the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline project through the state. The company said it will evaluate the impact of the PSC's decision on the cost and schedule of the project.
- On November 16th, TransCanada Corporation announced it had shut down the Keystone pipeline due to an incident along a right-of-way approximately 56 kilometres south of the Ludden pump station in Marshall County, South Dakota. TransCanada said the pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Cushing, Oklahoma and to Wood River/Patoka, Illinois is expected to remain shut down as the company responds to the incident.
- South Africa-based De Beers Group announced its Victor mine in northern Ontario will complete mining and production activities in the first quarter of 2019, once the current open pit is depleted and in line with the original feasibility study and current mine plan. The company said that once the mine pit has been depleted, the demolition and environmental monitoring phase is expected to take three to five years.
- The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced on November 2nd its affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of softwood lumber from Canada. The DOC determined that exporters from Canada have sold softwood lumber to the United States at 3.20% to 8.89% less than fair value, and that Canada is providing subsidies to its producers of softwood lumber at rates from 3.34% to 18.19%. The DOC said it will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of softwood lumber from Canada based on these final rates. The U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to make its final determinations on imports of softwood lumber from Canada on or about December 18, 2017.
- Bombardier Inc. announced that a European customer has signed a letter of intent for up to 61 C Series aircraft, including 31 firm aircraft and options for an additional 30 aircraft. The company said a firm order would be valued at approximately USD $2.4 billion, and that this amount would increase to nearly USD $4.8 billion should all 30 options be exercised. Separately, Bombardier announced it had signed a letter of intent with EgyptAir Holding Company for 12 CS300 aircraft with purchase rights for an additional 12 CS300 aircraft. Bombardier said a firm-order contract for the 12 aircraft would be valued at approximately USD $1.1 billion, which would increase to nearly USD $2.2 billion should EgyptAir exercise the 12 purchase rights for the additional aircraft.
- Bombardier Inc. announced that it is actively recruiting to fill approximately 1,000 new positions in Montréal over the next 18 months for completion work on its Global 7000 aircraft.
- Brampton-based Loblaw Companies Limited announced that subsequent to the end of the third quarter of 2017 it eliminated approximately 500 corporate and store-support positions and finalized a plan that will result in the closure of 22 unprofitable retail locations across a range of banners and formats. The company said it expects the closures will be substantially complete by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
- California-based Apple Inc. announced on November 3rd that its iPhone X went on sale around the world.
- Washington-based Amazom.com, Inc. announced it had signed a lease for a new office in downtown Vancouver that will allow the company to double its workforce in the city from 1,000 to 2,000. Amazon said the office is scheduled to open in 2020.
Finance and Insurance
- Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and BGL Group Limited of the United Kingdom, a digital distributor of insurance and household financial services, announced the signing of an agreement which will see CPPIB invest approximately £675 million for a 30% stake in BGL Group. The companies said the investment is expected to be completed by the end of April 2018, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.
- The Government of Canada announced that a series of changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program aimed at supporting workers who take time off work due to specific life events will take effect on December 3, 2017. These changes include giving eligible parents the choice between standard parental benefits (taken over 12 months) and extended parental benefits (taken over 18 months), as well as new benefits designed to support the care of critically-ill children and critically-ill or injured adult family members. The Government said that these changes will apply to EI-eligible workers, as well as self-employed Canadians who opt into the EI program for access to EI special benefits, and who meet minimum income and other requirements to qualify for EI special benefits.
- On November 19th, the Government of Ontario announced it had passed legislation to end the college labour dispute. The Government said all outstanding issues are to be referred to binding mediation-arbitration. The strike by college faculty had begun on October 16th, affecting all 24 colleges in Ontario.
- On November 8th, the Government of New Brunswick tabled its capital budget which included investing $815.3 million in public infrastructure in 2018-19.The Government said new investments total $28.1 million while $787.2 million is earmarked for maintenance and the continuation of previously announced projects. Separately, the Government announced it had introduced legislation to lower the small business corporate income tax rate to 2.5% effective April 1, 2018.
- On November 9th, the Government of British Columbia announced it was cutting the small-business corporate income tax rate from 2.5% to 2.0%, retroactive to April 1, 2017. The Government said the tax cut was part of the Budget Measures Implementation Act, 2017, which passed on November 2, 2017.
- On November 14th, the Government of Ontario tabled its 2017 Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, which included $500 million over three years in new initiatives to support small businesses. These initiatives included a reduction in the small business corporate income tax rate from 4.5% to 3.5%, effective January 1, 2018. The Government forecasts a balanced budget in 2017-18 and economic growth of 2.8% in 2017 and 2.1% in 2018.
- On November 14th, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador tabled its 2017 Fiscal and Economic Update. The Government said its projected deficit in 2017-18 has been revised to $852 million, and that real GDP is expected to decline by 3.2% in 2017 and increase by 0.2% in 2018.
- On November 21st, the Government of Québec tabled the November 2017 Update of the Québec Economic Plan, which included reducing the applicable tax rate for individuals on the first dollars of earned income from 16% to 15%, retroactive to January 1, 2017. The update also included new investments in health, education and infrastructure. The Government forecasts a balanced budget in 2017-18, and economic growth of 2.6% in 2017 and 1.8% in 2018.
- The Government of Saskatchewan announced that effective January 1, 2018, the provincial small business income threshold will increase from $500,000 to $600,000, and the general corporate income tax rate will return to 12%.
- The Government of Prince Edward Island announced it was raising the minimum wage from $11.25 per hour to $11.55 per hour effective April 1, 2018.
- The Government of Québec tabled the Cannabis Regulation Act, which would prohibit the possession of cannabis for a minor, prohibit the cultivation of cannabis for personal purposes, and limit the purchase and sale of cannabis to the Société québecois du cannabis.
- The Government of Alberta announced it was moving forward with legislation that would manage legalized cannabis in Alberta. The proposed legislation would set the minimum age for the purchase and use of cannabis at 18. The proposed legislation would also give the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission the mandate to oversee distribution, compliance and enforcement of the cannabis retail system in Alberta.
- The Government of New Brunswick tabled its Cannabis Control Act, which would set the minimum legal age for buying cannabis at 19, set criteria for the possession and use of cannabis, and establish penalties for drug-impaired driving.
- The Government of Yukon released its proposed framework for the legalization of cannabis. The proposal included setting the minimum age for the legal possession, consumption and cultivation of cannabis at 19. Under the framework, the Government of Yukon will own and operate at least one retail store and provide an e-commerce option, and would allow for private retail through a controlled licensing regime.
- The fifth round of negotiations between Canada, the United States and Mexico pursuant to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement took place in Mexico City from November 17-21.
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 1.00% to 1.25%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point increase announced in June 2017.
- The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee increased the Bank Rate by 0.25 percentage points, to 0.5%. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 25 basis-point reduction in August 2016. The Committee also voted to maintain the stock of UK government bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at £435 billion.
- 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.
- France-based Airbus SE announced it and Phoenix-based Indigo Partner's four portfolio airlines had signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purchase by the four airlines of 430 additional A320neo Family aircraft. Airbus said the commitment is worth USD $49.5 billion at list prices.
- Illinois-based Sears Holdings Corporation announced that 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores located in the United States will be closing in late January 2018.
- Germany-based Siemens AG announced that a total of around 6,900 jobs worldwide are to be cut over a period of several years, with roughly half of these reductions in Germany.
Financial market news
- Crude oil (West Texas Intermediate) closed at USD $58.11 on November 27th, up from USD $54.38 at the end of October. The Canadian dollar closed at 78.52 cents U.S. on November 27th, up from 77.56 cents U.S. on October 31st. The S&P/TSX closed at 16,042.12 on November 27th, up from a closing value of 16,025.59 at the end of October.