October 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.


  • Calgary-based Encana Corporation announced its intention to establish corporate domicile in the Unites States, and that, as part of this process, the new company will rebrand under the name Ovintiv Inc. The company said the move, which requires shareholder, stock exchange and court approval, is expected to occur in early 2020.
  • The Government of Alberta confirmed its $1.1 billion commitment to the Petrochemicals Diversification Program, which supports privately funded large-scale projects by providing royalty credits to companies that build facilities to turn ethane, methane and propane feedstocks into products such as plastics, fabrics and fertilizers. The Government also announced it is discontinuing the Petrochemicals Feedstock Infrastructure Program and the Partial Upgrading Program, and that it will not continue with the request for proposals for refinery projects which would have also included potential government support.
  • Calgary-based Husky Energy announced it had reached an agreement for the sale of its Prince George Refinery to Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure Ltd., also of Calgary, for $215 million in cash plus a closing adjustment for inventory, and a contingent payment of up to $60 million over two years. Husky said the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals.
  • Husky Energy announced on September 30th that it had received the required permit approvals to begin reconstruction activities at its Superior Refinery in Wisconsin, and that work is expected to begin immediately. Husky said that the demolition of damaged equipment resulting from a fire in April of 2018 is now largely complete and the rebuild will take place over the next two years with an expected return to full operations in 2021.
  • Norway-based Kommunal Landspensjonskasse (KLP) announced that KLP and KLP Funds will now exclude companies that have more than five percent of their revenue coming from oil-sands based companies.
  • Vancouver-based Teck Resources Limited announced that it has implemented a cost reduction program to reduce operating costs and planned capital spending for the balance of 2019 and 2020. The company also said it expects to eliminate approximately 500 full-time equivalent positions, some of which it expects will come from attrition, the expiry of temporary or contract positions and current job vacancies.
  • Vancouver-based Fortress Global Enterprises Inc. announced that it will be taking market downtime at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill in Thurso, Quebec, and that the company will employ a temporary market curtailment strategy to preserve the option of restarting the mill once prices rebound.


  • On October 17th, UAW leaders in the United States announced that the UAW GM National Council voted to accept the Tentative Agreement with General Motors, and that UAW workers would remain on strike until ratification. On October 25th, the UAW announced that UAW GM members had ratified the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

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 Manitoba announced on October 13th it had declared a provincial state of emergency for Manitoba Hydro to help deal with the aftermath of the major winter storm that affected a large area of the province. The Government also said that, in addition, several states of local emergency had been declared by municipalities.
  • On October 24th, the Government of Alberta tabled Budget 2019, which included a 2.8% spending reduction over four years, including a 7.7% reduction in the size of Alberta's public sector. Budget 2019 also included a reduction in the corporate tax rate from 12% to 8% over two and a half years, along with new investments in health care and post-secondary education. The Government forecasts an $8.7 billion deficit for 2019-20 and real GDP growth of 0.6% in 2019.
  • Manitoba's minimum wage increased from $11.35 per hour to $11.65 per hour on October 1st.
  • Saskatchewan's minimum wage increased from $11.06 per hour to $11.32 per hour on October 1st.
  • Unifor announced on October 20th that its bargaining committees had signed a tentative agreement with SaskEnergy, SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskWater, DirectWest, and SecureTek, ending a 17-day strike by nearly 5,000 workers across the province of Saskatchewan.
  • Gatineau, Quebec-based HEXO Corp announced it had eliminated approximately 200 positions across its departments and locations, including the elimination of some executive positions.
  • Vaughan, Ontario-based CannTrust Holdings Inc. announced it will temporarily streamline its workforce by as many as 140 people, or approximately one quarter, through a series of phased layoffs between late October and the conclusion of 2019.

United States and other international news

  • The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) lowered the target range for the federal funds interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.50% to 1.75%. The last change in the target range was a 25 basis point decrease announced in September 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 confirmed that net purchases will be restarted under the Governing Council's asset purchase program (APP) at a monthly pace of €20 billion as from November 1, 2019.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the cash rate by 25 basis points to 0.75%. The last change in the cash rate was a 25 basis point reduction in July 2019.
  • Sweden's Riksbank left its main interest rate, the repo rate, unchanged at -0.25%. The last change in the repo rate was a 25 basis point increase in December 2018.
  • 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.
  • 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 European Council announced it had adopted a decision to extend the period under Article 50.3 (of the Treaty on the European Union), in the context of the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU, and that the extension will last until January 31, 2020.
  • The United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced the United States will begin applying WTO-approved tariffs on certain EU goods beginning October 18th, with the bulk of the tariffs being applied to imports from France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The USTR said that at this time the tariff increases would be limited to 10% on large civil aircraft and 25% on agricultural and other products.
  • California-based HP Inc. announced that, under a restructuring plan, it expects to reduce gross global headcount by approximately 7,000 to 9,000 employees through a combination of employee exits and voluntary early retirement. HP said these actions are expected to be completed in fiscal 2022.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $54.18 per barrel on October 31st, similar to the closing value of USD $54.07 at the end of September. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded in the USD $35 to $40 per barrel range during October. The Canadian dollar closed at 75.99 cents U.S. on October 31st, up from 75.51 cents U.S. at the end of September. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 16,483.16 on October 31st, down from a closing value of 16,658.63 at the end of September.
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