The Canadian Press – Jun 11, 2021 / 7:06 am | Story: 336682
Photo: The Canadian Press
Canada’s main stock index climbed higher in early trading as strength in the base metals sector helped lead a broad-based rally, while U.S. stock markets also rose.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 39.97 points at 20,089.44.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 106.87 points at 34,573.11. The S&P 500 index was up 7.48 points at 4,246.66, while the Nasdaq composite was up 9.25 points at 14,029.58.
The Canadian dollar traded for 82.55 cents US compared with 82.69 cents USon Thursday.
The July crude oil contract was up 19 cents at US$70.48 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up 11 cents at US$3.26 per mmBTU.
The August gold contract was down US$9.80 at US$1,886.60 an ounce and the July copper contract was up nine cents at US$4.58 a pound.
The Canadian Press – Jun 11, 2021 / 7:04 am | Story: 336681
Photo: The Canadian Press
Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson
The federal government is making it more difficult to develop thermal coal in Canada with a new policy that says all such mines create “unacceptable environmental effects.”
The move erects another roadblock for Coalspur Mines and its Vista mine expansion in Alberta, the only such mine in Canada currently before regulators.
Federal Environment Minister Jonathon Wilkinson said the move was made because of the need to stop burning coal for power — the single greatest source of greenhouse gases in the world.
“Phasing out thermal coal is the most critical climate change issue right now,” he said.
The policy, released Friday, does not rule out such development. But approvals will be tough to get.
“The government of Canada considers that any new thermal coal mining projects, or expansions of existing thermal coal mines in Canada, are likely to cause unacceptable environmental effects,” it says. “This position will inform federal decision making on thermal coal projects.”
It says the federal cabinet must consider sustainability and climate change in weighing any new projects, regardless of size.
“What we’re saying is this is something that does not fit from a public policy perspective,” Wilkinson said. “A proponent can continue on through the process, but that’s a pretty high bar to surmount.”
Coalspur’s Vista mine expansion project near Hinton, Alta., which would be the largest thermal coal mine in North America, has filed an application to the provincial regulator. Wilkinson has ruled the project should face a federal environmental assessment, although Coalspur is challenging that decision in court.
The company has been informed the new policy will apply to it, Wilkinson said. He added the policy gives more certainty to other companies considering similar projects.
Wilkinson said he believes the new policy lies within federal power despite its impact on natural resources, a provincial jurisdiction.
“We’re comfortable this is something within our purview to do,” he said. “The vast, vast, vast majority of Canadians would think that this is something that’s a no-brainer.”
Canada is a founding member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, a group of countries trying to reduce the use of thermal coal around the globe. Wilkinson said permitting new mines would harm Canada’s efforts in that forum.
“We’ve been the leader in the international community telling other countries that they should be phasing out thermal coal — and then we approve new thermal coal mines? People would say that doesn’t make any sense.”
The new policy does not affect metallurgical coal, the type of coal found in most of the controversial new coal exploration projects in the Alberta foothills.
The federal government has been asked to step in on many of those projects. Wilkinson has until July 1 to decide if he will request a federal assessment for Montem Resource’s Tent Mountain mine.
Wilkinson called emissions from steelmaking a different issue.
“(Thermal coal) is a short-term issue,” he said. “Our commitment with other countries is to help them phase out (coal) nine years from now. That’s not much time.”
Canada has promised to phase out the burning of coal for power by 2030.
The Canadian Press – Jun 11, 2021 / 7:00 am | Story: 336680
Photo: The Canadian Press
Roots Corp. reported a loss of $4.9 million in its latest quarter as its sales rose nearly 25 per cent compared with a year ago at the start of the pandemic.
The clothing retailer says the loss amounted to 12 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended May 1.
The result compared with a loss of $7.8 million or 18 cents per diluted share a year ago.
Sales in what was the company’s first quarter totalled $37.3 million, up from $29.9 million in the same quarter last year.
Roots says its stores were closed due to the pandemic for about 30 per cent of the quarter compared with about half of the same quarter last year.
On an adjusted basis, Roots says it lost 10 cents per share in its latest quarter compared with an adjusted loss of 22 cents per share a year ago.
The Canadian Press – Jun 11, 2021 / 6:53 am | Story: 336678
Statistics Canada says the amount Canadians owe compared with their income fell in the first quarter compared with the end of last year.
The agency says household credit market debt as a proportion of household disposable income on a seasonally adjusted basis fell to 172.3 per cent in the first quarter.
The reading compared with 174.0 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2020 as an increase in household income outpaced an increase in debt.
The result means Canadians owed $1.72 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income.
Meanwhile, the household debt service ratio, measured as total obligated payments of principal and interest on credit market debt as a proportion of household disposable income, fell to 13.45 per cent from 13.55 per cent in the fourth quarter.
The decrease came as the seasonally adjusted household savings rate rose to 13.1 per cent in the first quarter compared with 11.9 per cent in the last quarter of 2020.
The Canadian Press – Jun 11, 2021 / 6:22 am | Story: 336671
Photo: The Canadian Press
Resolute Forest Products Inc. says strong lumber markets are allowing it to pay a special dividend, spend US$50 million on its sawmills to support growth and repay US$180 million in debt.
The Montreal-based pulp, paper and lumber producer says the $1-per-share dividend will be paid July 7 for shareholders at the close of business on June 28.
The additional capital spending includes $22 million to modernize equipment at its sawmill in Senneterre, Que., $13 million to increase capacity at the sawmill in Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation, and $15 million at a sawmill in Arkansas and another in Florida.
The U.S. investments are in addition to spending associated with the restart of its sawmill in El Dorado, Ark.
All projects are expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2022.
The repayment of debt in the second quarter leaves the company with just $300 million owing in 2026 and liquidity of about $850 million.
“The cash generated with our lumber platform in these strong lumber markets provides the opportunity to share benefits directly with shareholders,” stated CEO Remi Lalonde.
The forestry sector has benefited from record lumber prices.
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 12:11 pm | Story: 336601
Photo: The Canadian Press
Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees who were furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Air Canada says it will recall more than 2,600 employees as it prepares for an increase in demand for flights.
The airline says the employees being recalled will include various roles, including flight attendants, and will be brought back in stages in June and July.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick says the airline moved to recall the workers because it is seeing vaccinations increase, COVID-19 cases decline and governments ease restrictions.
He says the recall is part of its efforts to rebuild the airline’s network and meet the expected demand for travel.
Air Canada laid off tens of thousands of workers as the pandemic swept Canada, including 16,500 last March, when the crisis began.
In April, the airline reached an agreement with Ottawa for a $5.9-billion aid package.
Valerie Leung / Richmond News – Jun 10, 2021 / 10:46 am | Story: 336585
A new research lab at the Vancouver International Airport is opening up for BCIT students and faculty to learn about new technology and technological processes in the airline industry.
YVR and the BCIT’s Centre for Internet of Things have partnered to create the Innovation Hub with the goal of encouraging innovation and growth in B.C.
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, refers to physical devices such as cell phones or computers that are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing information.
BCIT’S Centre for Internet of Things works with emerging technology and digital transformation and it has recently begun researching how sensors that are added to electronic devices can increase their level of digital intelligence. As a result, devices can possibly communicate data without involving a human being.
“As we look to the future in a post-pandemic world, we see a real opportunity to drive innovation for the whole region,” said Lynette Dujohn, YVR’s vice-president of innovation and chief information officer.
“A focus of the Innovation Hub is collaborating with the community as we work towards turning our innovations into reality, which is why we are thrilled to be partnering with BCIT.”
Kim Dotto, dean of applied research and the centre for research and innovation at BCIT, said they are excited to partner with YVR on this project.
“We are excited to share our technical expertise with YVR – our students will gain real-world experience exploring the endless possibilities for innovation advancement in this new living lab,” said Dotto.
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 10:07 am | Story: 336574
Photo: The Canadian Press
The scam is a common one: a phone call claiming to be the Canada Revenue Agency demanding an immediate payment.
If you think it might really be the government calling you about your taxes, you should verify it is before you do anything, experts say.
Cherolle Prince, a financial crimes expert at KPMG, says you want to trust, but verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any information.
“Ask the right questions to yourself, does this call make sense,” she said. “Why does the CRA need that information? Have I provided that to them already? What would they be doing with that information and why do they need it now?”
Prince says a red flag may be if the caller is asking for information over the phone that CRA should already have if they are calling you.
“Yes the CRA may ask you questions, but they aren’t going to call you and ask for personal information. If you call them, they may ask for personal information as a way to identify you, it is part of their authentication protocol, but they would not call you for that information,” she said.
CRA spokesman Paul Murphy says if you’re unsure it really is the tax agency calling that you should to ask the caller for their name, which CRA office they are calling from and their phone number.
Then, Murphy says, hang up and contact CRA using the general inquiry number on the agency’s website before you provide any information and ask them to verify that the call was legitimate.
“The call display option isn’t always the best because these scammers will use technology to spoof that they are calling from Canada, that they are calling from Ottawa or what have you,” he said.
Murphy says CRA will never demand immediate payment in Bitcoin or gift cards.
Another red flag, Murphy says, is if the caller tells you not to talk to anyone such as a family member or your accountant about the matter.
“That’s not something a CRA employee would ever demand of you. You have a right to have representation, you have the right to talk to somebody about your personal tax dealings before you deal with the CRA,” he said.
Just because CRA is calling it doesn’t mean you’re facing an audit. In most cases, the agency says, it is a routine check.
Depending on the circumstances, if you filed your tax return electronically, the agency may be seeking things like RRSP or charitable contribution receipts that would have been filed if you had filed a paper tax return.
Carmela Pallotto, a tax partner at KPMG, says an initial phone call from CRA is very rare.
“It is not unheard of, but normally they would correspond by mail and not by email either,” she said.
“They do not email unless you’ve already entered into some sort of dialogue with them and you’ve asked them to email you something and even then they are extremely hesitant to email you anything, that’s just not the way they operate.”
Pallotto said if the caller is demanding immediate payment, that’s just not how CRA works.
“It’s never immediate. They usually give you a period of time to respond to a request because they understand you might not have everything readily available,” she said.
“You shouldn’t be afraid to have to call CRA back.”
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 7:14 am | Story: 336554
Photo: The Canadian Press
Gains in the energy sector helped lead Canada’s main stock index higher in early trading as the price of oil topped US$70 per barrel.
The S&P/TSX composite index was up 44.80 points at 20,047.07.
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 241.96 points at 34,689.10. The S&P 500 index was up 25.34 points at 4,244.89, while the Nasdaq composite was up 47.77 points at 13,959.52.
The Canadian dollar traded for 82.55 cents US compared with 82.68 cents US on Wednesday.
The July crude oil contract was up 54 cents at US$70.50 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up five cents at US$3.18 per mmBTU.
The August gold contract was down US$1.10 at US$1,894.40 an ounce and the July copper contract was down five cents at US$4.48 a pound.
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 7:10 am | Story: 336553
ATB Financial is raising its outlook for economic growth in Alberta this year because of higher-than-expected oil prices, rising vaccination rates and a strong recovery in the U.S.
It says it expects the province’s real gross domestic product to grow five per cent this year, up from an earlier forecast for growth of 4.1 per cent.
It says higher-than-expected oil prices are helping to give the province’s economy a boost and retail sales in Alberta have bounced back and are well above pre-pandemic levels.
However, it noted that the drop in real GDP in 2020 was larger than forecasted at 8.2 per cent and it was unclear when international tourism will return to the province.
ATB says it will take until 2023 for Alberta to regain the ground it lost.
ATB Financial chief economist Todd Hirsch says if people continue to get vaccinated, the economy is able to gradually reopen and OPEC continues to keep a lid on oil supply, Alberta’s recovery should stay on track.
“Alberta’s energy sector has bounced back but ongoing constraints on growth mean we can’t rely on it to generate another jobs boom,” Hirsch said.
“It will take time and effort to replace the foregone growth. But industries such as tech, renewable energy, clean energy tech, agrifoods and a broad array of entrepreneurial activity bodes well for Alberta’s economic future.”
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 7:07 am | Story: 336552
Photo: European Central Bank
The European Central Bank left its key pandemic support for the economy running full blast even as the economy shows signs of recovery thanks to lower virus cases and fewer restrictions on activity in the 19 countries that use the euro currency.
The bank said in its policy statement Thursday that its emergency bond purchases would remain at “a significantly higher pace” over the coming quarter than during the first three months of the year. That mirrored language from its last meeting on April 22, changed only to extend the higher pace of purchases by a quarter.
ECB President Christine Lagarde is expected to walk a fine line at her news conference between acknowledging improving economic prospects and underlining that the stimulus will not be withdrawn before the recovery is on more solid ground.
Analysts say she will likely avoid any talk of a stimulus taper because that could send market borrowing costs higher for companies.
The central bank for the 19 countries that use the shared euro currency has been purchasing around 85 billion euros per month in government and corporate bonds as part of a 1.85 trillion euro ($2.25 trillion) effort slated to run at least through early next year. The purchases drive up the prices of bonds and drives down their interest yields, since price and yield move in opposite directions. That influences longer-term borrowing costs throughout the economy, sending them lower. Purchases were stepped up in March amid lagging vaccinations and high COVID-19 case numbers.
That’s exactly what the bank wants at a time when many companies are struggling with reduced demand and higher debt and need to keep credit lines open so they can get to the other side of the pandemic.
Any hint, however, that the ECB is thinking about tapering the purchases could send market rates higher earlier than the central bankers would like. That’s why any discussion could be postponed until the bank’s Sept. 9 meeting or later.
The U.S. Federal Reserve will face a similar communications challenge; several officials have said that as the economy recovers, the U.S. central bank will eventually have to reassess its stance. Currently it is purchasing $120 billion in bonds each month. Fed policymakers next meet June 15-16.
IHS Markit’s surveys of purchasing managers showed activity increasing sharply in May, including for the hard-hit services sector. The index reached 57.1, with anything over 50 indicating expansion. Statistics for economic output in the first quarter were revised up to minus 0.3% from minus 0.6%; the ECB expects a strong rebound in the second half of the year and growth of 4.0% for all of 2021.
Rising inflation also complicates the ECB’s messaging. Normally, rising prices would lead a central bank to withdraw its stimulus. But in this case, ECB officials and economists say recent higher inflation figures are the result of temporary factors that will fade, leaving inflation below the ECB goal.
The Canadian Press – Jun 10, 2021 / 6:47 am | Story: 336548
Photo: The Canadian Press
Transat AT Inc. says it is planning to resume flying starting July 30.
The travel company suspended operations on Jan. 29 after Ottawa’s request to not travel to Mexico and the Caribbean as well as new quarantine measures and testing requirements.
Transat made the announcement to resume flying as it reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $69.6 million or $1.84 per diluted share for the quarter ended April 30.
The result compared with a loss of $179.5 million or $4.76 per diluted share a year earlier at the start of the pandemic in Canada.
Revenue for what was the company’s second quarter totalled $7.6 million, down from $571.3 million in the same quarter last year.
On an adjusted basis, Transat says it lost $103.3 million or $2.74 per share for the quarter, compared with an adjusted loss of $38.8 million or $1.03 per share a year ago.