Articles

About My Portfolio

These articles showcase business and market research I’ve authored, whether it’s covering company news, documenting industry disruptors, or identifying new trends and exploring their impact on the world around us.

My work is about bringing down the high knowledge barrier associated with complex topics and making them accessible to a wider audience of readers.

Don’t forget to check out my Muckrack page for more on my portfolio!


Who is Edward Rogers, family scion at the centre of the Rogers storm?

October 22, 2021

Way before Edward Rogers, son of Rogers Communications Inc. founder Ted Rogers, triggered a crisis in the company’s leadership last month, his father got him a job at Comcast Corp.


Edward was fresh off completing his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Western Ontario in 1992 and Ted was specific in his instructions to his counterpart, Ralph Roberts, founder of Comcast, according to Bob Brehl, who’s written several biographies on the Rogers dynasty.

Read it now on Financial Post

People are paying real money for virtual real estate in the metaverse

October 21, 2021

Location, location, location. That’s the common phrase for success in the real estate market, and it’s no different when these properties are listed in an alternative virtual reality, called a metaverse.

Read it now on Financial Post

Square signals Toronto-based executive will lead push into bitcoin mining

October 19, 2021

Square Inc. chief executive Jack Dorsey says the financial services company is considering an entry into the bitcoin mining space — and it appears that one of Square’s Toronto-based executives will be leading the project.
Bitcoin mining is a process in which high-powered computer rigs solve complex mathematical problems, leading to the creation of new bitcoin and supporting the existing network.

Read it now at Financial Post

Aritzia sales top pre-pandemic levels on strong U.S., e-commerce growth

October 14, 2021

Vancouver-based fashion retailer Aritzia Inc. reported second-quarter sales Wednesday that exceeded pre-pandemic levels as in-store shopping rebounded and e-commerce continued its rapid growth.
Aritzia, which was founded in 1984 as a standalone boutique, posted $350.1 million in net revenue for the three months ending Aug. 29, jumping by roughly 75 per cent since the same reporting period last year.

Read it now on Financial Post

Crypto is less anonymous than you thought — and it might be a good thing

October 14, 2021

Follow the crypto. That’s what the Federal Bureau of Investigation likely did after Colonial Pipeline Co., a U.S.-based refined oil pipeline operator, was forced to pay US$4.4 million in cryptocurrency after its systems were disabled by a ransomware attack in early May.

To track down the funds, authorities would have accessed the public blockchain ledger that recorded the payment and pulled out the mix of characters that indicated the digital addresses that received the money, according to Pamela Clegg, vice-president of financial investigations at U.S.-based blockchain forensics firm CipherTrace, which researches and works with federal authorities in these kinds of cases.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Small businesses, restaurants call for extension of government pandemic benefits

October 13, 2021

Business leaders are calling on the federal government to extend COVID-19 benefits for small business and food service operators, saying moving ahead with plans to end the wage and rent subsidies on Oct. 23 will pull the safety net out from under struggling business owners.

Read it now on Financial Post

‘No easy feat’: How Coinberry became Canada’s first regulated crypto-only trading platform

October 08, 2021

Getting nationwide regulatory approval for a crypto exchange is no easy task. But after years of consulting with Canadian regulators, Coinberry became the first pure-play, crypto-only trading platform (and second overall) to be fully registered across all of the provinces and territories in August. Andrei Poliakov, Coinberry’s chief executive officer and co-founder, spoke with the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about what it takes to become a regulated exchange in Canada. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Read it now on Financial Post

One million new homes needed in Ontario in next 10 years to end ‘cruel game of musical chairs’

October 07, 2021

With Ontario’s population growing rapidly, one policy think tank argues that Canada’s most populous province will need about one million new homes over the next 10 years.

Ottawa-based Smart Prosperity Institute and Ontario Home Builder’s Association arrived at the near-million home figure after exploring how many homes and what types of homes would be needed to reach the needs of the anticipated 2.27 million more people who will reside in the province over the next 10 years, according to the Ontario Ministry of Finance.

Read it now on Financial Post

Ontario urged to overcome NIMBYism and change zoning laws to ease Toronto’s housing crunch

September 30, 2021

Archaic’ zoning laws are at the heart of Toronto’s affordable housing problems and need to be redrafted, says the province’s real estate association.
The zoning regulations prohibit Toronto neighbourhoods from converting a single-family home into a townhome, duplex, triplex or fourplex.

Read it now on Financial Post

Vancouver’s Dapper Labs to produce digital football collectibles after reaching deal with NFL

September 29, 2021

Canadian blockchain company Dapper Labs Inc. will be adding NFL highlights to its roster of digital collectibles after signing a partnership agreement with the National Football League (NFL) and the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), the company announced Wednesday.

The collectibles, also known as “Moments,” will allow fans to buy, sell and trade in-game digital moments from the football league throughout the season as well as some of the greatest plays in the NFL history. The launch date has not yet been disclosed, though the company expects to have these NFTs on the market by the end of the current season. Terms of the deal were not revealed.

Read it now on Financial Post

More than half of small businesses don’t feel supported by their government and banks

September 28, 2021

As COVID-19 restrictions slowly lift across most provinces and small business owners are able to open their doors again, a recent Equifax Canada survey found that the majority of them do not feel supported by their banks and government.
In a nationwide panel of 300 small business owners, 52 per cent of respondents said they were not getting the proper supports from their banks. Sixty-two per cent said that they felt this way about their government.

Read it now on Financial Post

There has never been more housing under construction in Canada — but the city that needs it the most is missing the boom

September 24, 2021

Canada is in the midst of a record housing construction boom, but Toronto is notably absent from this surge, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Canada has long wrestled with a housing supply shortage problem, but over the past year, it’s not for a lack of building. A report by the Royal Bank of Canada found that housing starts over the past 12 months were at their strongest since 1977 and the number of new housing units currently under construction is at an all-time high.

Read it now on Financial Post

Mogo’s David Feller talks open banking, the rise of crypto and Canada’s evolving fintech landscape

September 23, 2021

Mogo is no stranger to change. The Vancouver-based fintech company has been working to keep up with innovations in the digital banking world since it was launched in the early 2000s. These days, it’s navigating the growth of crypto, the rise of free stock trading and the pending arrival of open banking. David Feller, Mogo’s founder and chief executive officer, spoke with the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes this week about Canada’s rapidly evolving fintech landscape and his company’s plans.

Read it now on Financial Post

CIBC rolls out new logo in makeover strategy

September 22, 2021

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) is getting a makeover with a new logo the company plans to roll out across all of its marketing and advertising platforms this Thursday.

Customers can also expect to see the new logo in their own branches over the coming year.

Read it now on Financial Post

Cryptocurrencies swept up in China property crisis that’s rattling the world

September 21, 2021

China’s growing property crisis kicked off the week by sending the markets into a spiral, and cryptocurrencies were not spared the turmoil.

The Chinese property developer, Evergrande Group, has been plagued with a ballooning debt crisis that prompted a crackdown on real estate firms by Xi Jinping’s government.

Read it now on Financial Post

Canada faces skilled labour crunch when 700,000 tradespeople retire this decade, warns RBC

September 16, 2021

Addressing Canada’s skilled trade shortage problem will be no easy feat, but it’s an issue that employers and policymakers will need to address before the country is hit with a skilled labour crunch, according to Royal Bank of Canada in a report released Tuesday.

Canada’s workforce will see a 10,000-worker deficit in 56 nationally recognized so-called Red Seal trades over the next five years — a scarcity that could be widened tenfold when 250 provincially regulated trades are added into the mixRed Seal certificates ensure a worker has met the national standard in their trade. The report added these shortages will be particularly felt in high-demand jobs such as industrial mechanics, boilermakers and welders.

Read it now on Financial Post

Crypto gains can come with a hefty — and unexpected — tax bill

September 16, 2021

The potential for big returns has been drawing more and more Canadians into cryptocurrency markets in recent years, but for some cashing in has come with a hefty — and unexpected — tax bill attached.

“It’s not as straightforward as buying some stock,” said Mehran Sedigh, a cryptocurrency tax expert at Toronto-based accounting agency Triple M Professional Corp. who has worked with a number of clients audited by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) because their crypto earnings were misfiled.

Read it now on Financial Post

Canadians consider splitting a mortgage with friends. But it’s complicated

September 14, 2021

Canada’s hot housing markets have been pushing home affordability out of reach for younger Canadians over the years, meaning that in order to get a piece of the market, some Canadians will have to get creative.

According to a survey by real estate company RE/MAX, one in three Canadians are looking into alternative ways to finance their dreams of home ownership, such as multi-person housing, which could have a group of friends or family pool together their finances to get approved for a mortgage. At least 13 per cent of those surveyed are seriously considering a group financing option to afford a home.

Read it now at Financial Post

Posthaste: Non-homeowners twice as likely to miss a bill payment — underscoring wealth inequality in Canada

September 10, 2021

The average Canadian homeowner owes $393,887 in total debt, according to a study by the Canadian credit and financial services company Borrowell. That’s about 19.5 times the amount that non-homeowners owe, though real estate-owning Canadians tend to have an easier time with rising costs of living, the report suggests.

Canadian homeowners shoulder an average of $359,597 in mortgage debt and $34,290 in non-mortgage debt.

Read it now on Financial Post

Choppy waters: Ontario canoe maker posts jobs only for ‘unvaccinated individuals’

September 07, 2021

An Ontario canoe company turned heads this week when it posted a job ad requiring applicants to not be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“Please DO NOT apply if you have taken any vaccines for COVID-19,” read the job posting for watercraft retailer Souris River Canoes. “We will only be considering unvaccinated individuals.”

Read it now on Financial Post

Real estate doubters can now double down as Horizons’ introduces leveraged sector ETFs

September 03, 2021

A new ETF product is giving investors the chance to double down on their negative bets on Canada’s real estate sector, which has defied its doubters for years.

Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. this week launched a pair of leveraged ETFs that track the Solactive Equal Weight Canada REIT Index, and give investors the chance to place bets either for or against the sector.

Read it now on Financial Post

Bomb Squad combines a retail experience with NFTs for a good cause

September 02, 2021

David Krovblit’s art often gives objects a different meaning. For example, the Toronto-based artist’s Fabergé grenades take tools of warfare and turn them into works of art. Now, his grenade art will be featured in the Bomb Squad NFT launch in collaboration with packaging and accessories brand Clikbo Labs, with a portion of the sales going to an anti-violence campaign.

Non-fungible tokens (or NFTs) are digital assets, such as a digital painting or online collectible, that are one-of-a-kind. Demand for them exploded in early 2021, pushing the NFT marketplace OpenSea to a record sales volume of US$1.9 billion in August alone. As the NFT trend picks up steam, more people are looking to get on board.

Read it now on Financial Post

Crypto mortgages are coming, but there are big hurdles to their acceptance

September 02, 2021

This summer, cryptocurrencies moved into new territory in Spain when a bill was introduced that would allow borrowers to pay their mortgages using the digital assets. The proposed legislation, aimed at deepening the acceptance, use and regulation of digital currencies, would also allow the real estate industry to invest in mortgage pools using crypto and encourage banks to use blockchain technology to keep track of mortgages and insurance.

Spain is further along than Canada in contemplating the incorporation of crypto into daily financial affairs, but it is hard not to wonder whether it is just a matter of when — not if — crypto mortgages become a reality here.

Read it now on Financial Post

New mortgages surge to record high, raising red flag about HELOC growth

August 31, 2021

House-hungry Canadians drove new mortgage volumes up to a quarterly high, soaring 60.2 per cent to more than 410,000 in the second quarter from the year before, according to new data from credit company Equifax Canada.

The size of the average new mortgage loan also jumped by 22.2 per cent from last year to more than $355,000.

Read it now on Financial Post

This is how much the Big Six banks would have to pay if Trudeau’s tax goes through

August 26, 2021

The Liberal Party is vowing to target bank and life insurance profits with a three per cent surtax on profits over $1 billion, a move they expect will free up an additional $2.5 billion a year in government revenue over the next four years starting from 2022.

Given the sizeable earnings the Canadian banks reported this week, the Big Six could end up contributing a significant amount to government coffers under the plan. But just how much would each bank be forced to pay?

Read it now on Financial Post

Hut 8 Mining CEO Jaime Leverton on Canada’s bitcoin mining boom

August 26, 2021

The recent run-up in the price of bitcoin is fuelling a new round of interest in crypto mining, especially after a crackdown in China sent miners scrambling for more receptive pastures, including Canada. For Jaime Leverton, who has been chief executive of the Canadian bitcoin miner Hut 8 Mining since December, that spells opportunity. Leverton spoke to The Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about the Canadian bitcoin mining scene and what she has in store for Hut 8. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Read it now on Financial Post

Visa is jumping on the NFT bandwagon with $150,000 CryptoPunk purchase

August 25, 2021

Credit card giant Visa Inc. is wading into the non-fungible token (NFT) space with the purchase of a “CryptoPunk,” which it bought with US$150,000 worth of the Ethereum cryptocurrency.

CryptoPunks, a series of digital avatars each with a unique design, were among the first NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain network when they were released back in 2017.

Read it now on Financial Post

Liberal housing platform includes foreign home buying freeze, blind bidding ban

August 24, 2021

The Liberal Party is proposing to place a freeze on foreign home buying and to ban blind bidding as part of an election housing platform aimed at improving affordability in Canada’s major cities.

Party leader Justin Trudeau unveiled the platform in a speech to media in Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Credit market rebound may point to an economic recovery – but don’t count out Delta

August 24, 2021

Recovering credit demand may be a sign that the economy is slowly finding its feet again, according to a new report out this morning.

The study by consumer credit reporting agency TransUnion found that  overall credit market health improved, with the performance of key consumer credit trends rising by nine basis points from the first quarter to 93.5 points in Q2 2021. The score, tracked by the firm’s Credit Industry Indicator, is influenced by credit supply, consumer behavior and performance.

Read it now on Financial Post

National Bank becomes the first major Canadian bank to scrap online trading commissions

August 23, 2021

Just in time for Canada’s bank earnings season, the country’s sixth largest bank is stepping up its game by announcing on Monday that it would be scraping its online trading commissions, calling it the “most competitive online brokerage fee structure on the Canadian market.”

Zero-commission trading would take place within clients’ direct investments accounts for Canadian and U.S. stocks, as well as exchange-traded funds, the bank said in a statement. National Bank is expected to be the first major Canadian bank to do so, putting its competitors on notice.

Read it now on Financial Post

How federal parties plan to fix housing crisis after years of failed policies

August 20, 2021

One of the most pressing issues for Canadians as the election campaign heats up is the soaring cost of housing. The Conservatives and NDP wasted no time in releasing platforms with promises to address the problem, using solutions largely targeting new home construction and favourable tax measures.

The Liberals haven’t been as quick to the draw in releasing a full-fledged party platform on housing. But after years of policies that real estate analysts and financial watchdogs say have failed to meaningfully move the needle, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has plenty of work to do to convince priced-out younger Canadians that he can rein in runaway home prices.

Read it now on Financial Post

Pornhub case raises questions of accountability for financial firms like Visa

August 19, 2021

The Canadian website Pornhub found itself in the headlines again in June when more than 30 women filed a lawsuit alleging that it, along with parent company Mindgeek, profited off of content promoting non-consensual intercourse, human trafficking and child pornography.

While Pornhub has faced criticism on a number of fronts, the lawsuit, launched by Brown Rudnick LLC in the U.S., is notable for another reason: It also names Visa Inc. and the credit card giant’s merchant banks, alleging they were actively aware of the exploitation and were profiting from it while they settled transactions for the company. It is believed to be the first Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case that attempts to hold financial institutions accountable for the role they may play in sexual exploitation by processing payments.

Read it now on Financial Post

Reeling from the pandemic, more artists turn to augmented reality NFTs

August 19, 2021

Toronto-based luxury artist Max Jamali is always on the lookout for ways to innovate and evolve his brand as an artist, which is why he was hooked when the non-fungible token (NFT) trend took hold in late 2020.

“I always wanted to be the first to do things within the art world,” Jamali said, adding that augmented reality took it a step further. “It’s not about someone just buying your art and putting it in the living room, it’s like you can actually create a whole experience in a hotel, in a restaurant — that’s the kind of stuff I’m really tapping into with my art right now.”

Read it now on Financial Post

Sustainability-linked bonds come with a ‘greenium’ — here’s how they work

August 12, 2021

Green bond issuance in Canada surged to a new high in 2020, but as demand continues to be strong in 2021, a new variation known as sustainability-linked notes is gaining in popularity.

Unlike standard green bonds, in which a company raises funds tied to specific project or purpose, sustainability-linked bonds require a company to meet an overall ESG target, such as reducing emissions. Generally speaking, if the company fails to meet the goals laid out in the bond’s offering statement, the terms of the bond become more onerous for the company.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Toronto housing market may be cooling but it is still too hot for millennials

August 06, 2021

Canada’s most populous city hit its lowest month in home sales this year, reporting a two per cent drop of sales in July from June, according to data from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB).

That was the fourth monthly decline in a row since the market’s peak in March, but that didn’t stop prices from moving higher.

TRREB’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer said in a release Thursday that we can expect prices to keep going up into next year.

Read it now on Financial Post

Coinsquare’s new CEO has seriously big plans for the Canadian exchange

August 05, 2021

Martin Piszel cut his teeth in capital markets and trading, most recently with the alternative trading system TradelogiQ. Now, he’s putting that experience to work as the new chief executive of Toronto-based crypto trading platform Coinsquare. While the company has seen some controversy, prompting the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to crack down on the firm after alleging it artificially inflated trading activity with fake trades two to three years ago, Piszel’s vision is to see it become a fully regulated broker dealer offering a variety of services, while still leading the way in digital currencies. Piszel spoke to Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes about regulation in the crypto space and his big plans for the company. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Read it now on Financial Post

‘A shady diffuse network of online funny money’: Cryptocurrencies under scrutiny in trio of U.S. hearings

July 27, 2021

Cryptocurrencies came under scrutiny in the United States on Tuesday as three separate committees explored their viability and risks — one of the most pressing being the use of the digital currencies and their underlying technologies in cybersecurity breaches such as ransomware attacks.

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing titled “Cryptocurrencies: What are they good for?” that explored some of the ways cryptocurrencies could be useful, but also included some foreboding remarks on how digital currencies could contribute to systemic risk.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Canadian businesses say it’s too soon for the government to take them off life support

July 23, 2021

Things may seem to be returning to normal in cities across Canada, but for many small and medium-sized businesses, there’s still a long way to go. That’s why the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) launched a petition yesterday asking the federal government not to phase out wage and rent subsidies just yet.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: What Canadians should consider in a post-pandemic work-from-home world

July 22, 2021

There’s little doubt that the pandemic has been the number one driver of the work-from-home trend lately, having many Canadians feel accustomed to working from the comfort of their couch, their home office, and even their bed.

So accustomed, in fact, that 61 per cent of surveyed Canadians prefer a hybrid work model that sees them spending some days of the week in the office and other days at home, according to professional services and consulting firm Accenture Plc. However, there are a few mental health and labour law considerations employees and their bosses need to take into account in this hybrid world.

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Dying enthusiasm for bitcoin pushes it below $30,000 for first time in 4 months

July 21, 2021

Call it a healthy correction or call it price discovery, but bitcoin dropped below US$30,000 for the first time in about four weeks yesterday, raising the question of whether investors are seeing a cool-down on a potentially overheated asset or if this plunge runs parallel to the overall market correction unfolding in the North American markets this week.

Read it now on Financial Post

Changing hands in Muskoka: The property boom is ushering in a new generation of cottagers

July 20, 2021

The two-bedroom waterfront Port Carling property had been the summer escape for a Courtice, Ont., couple for decades. They purchased the property in 1965. During their years at the cottage, they were fondly remembered as avid sailors who would bring their nieces and nephews up to the area to enjoy Muskoka.

“They were just a lovely, lovely pair of people who made great neighbours,” said Sean Stokes, their cottage neighbour who knew the couple, now in their 80s, for 40 years. “That’s one of the great things that we’ve been blessed with is we have had great neighbours.”

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: Canada’s luxury real estate market keeps smashing records – and the return to the office won’t change that

July 13, 2021

The relentless march of Canada’s luxury real estate market continues to see strength as multi-million dollar home sales smash records.

Toronto led the charge with a 400 per cent increase in attached home sales worth over $4 million dollars since last year, according to a report from luxury real estate firm Sotheby’s International Canada. In Vancouver, there was a similar frenetic pace in these types of home sales, seeing a boost of 300 per cent year-over-year.

Read it now on Financial Post

CMHC at a crossroads: Agency faces tough decisions after losing mortgage insurance market share

July 12, 2021

When the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation moved to tighten its underwriting practices last summer, it was the largest provider of mortgage insurance in the country, capturing 49 per cent of new business in the second quarter.

“There is no doubt that we have willingly chosen to forgo some profitable business that our competitors would find appealing,” then-chief executive Evan Siddall wrote in August, in a letter to Canada’s biggest lenders, following the implementation of the stricter standards. Siddall used the letter to caution the banks and others mortgage lenders about risky lending, warning that “there is a dark economic underbelly to this business that I want to expose.”

Read it now on Financial Post

Posthaste: The high-flying loonie is starting to lose its wings

July 12, 2021

The loonie is starting to lose its wings, tumbling to a two-and-a-half month low, largely fuelled by the June outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve and — to a lesser degree — falling oil prices.

The Canadian dollar dropped to 80 cents against the greenback last week, the lowest it has been since late April.

Read it now on Financial Post

Are bank-backed cryptocurrencies the future? One Canadian lender wants to find out

July 08, 2021

At a time when mainstream financial institutions are grappling with how to approach digital assets, one Ontario-based bank is diving right in.

VersaBank, a digital-only ‘Schedule 1’ bank best known for financing corporations and public sector entities, is in the later stages of developing its own digital currency, which it expects to launch later this year, an experiment that would make it the first Canadian bank with its own crypto.

Read it now on Financial Post

How BNPL became the most lucrative four letters in fintech

July 01, 2021

Buying in instalments used to be a niche payment option, a staple of infomercial hustlers looking to cast the widest net — and present the most affordable price — possible. But if you shopped online during the pandemic, you probably noticed that virtually every major online retailer and thousands of smaller ones are now offering some version of buy-now-pay-later, or BNPL for short, at checkout.

Read it now on Financial Post

Digital loonie may be inevitable amid rise in competing cryptocurrencies, experts say

June 30, 2021

The Bank of Canada has said steadfastly that it is not currently planning to issue its own digital currency, but a growing chorus of experts suggest the need to compete with private forms of money may end up ultimately forcing the central bank’s hand.

Read it now at Financial Post

El Salvador’s embrace of bitcoin could launch a financial revolution — or sow the seeds of more instability

June 17, 2021

El Salvador’s decision to adopt bitcoin as legal tender this month has turned the tiny Central American country into a global test case: Can crypto really go mainstream and help resolve some of the issues that have plagued developing countries, or will the still volatile currency only exacerbate the problems?

There’s no doubt which side of that question the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, is on.

Read it now on Financial Post

Som Seif on his new retirement fund — and why Canada is falling behind on financial innovation

June 10, 2021

Som Seif is no stranger to being the first mover in his industry. A pioneer when it comes to ETFs, Seif’s Purpose Investments earlier this year launched the first bitcoin and ether ETFs to be approved by Canadian regulators, beating U.S. providers to market. Now, Purpose is rolling out a new product that he hopes will revolutionize retirement investing: the Longevity Fund, which mirrors a defined-benefit pension plan by offering an interest rate for life starting at 6.15 per cent, after age 65. Seif spoke to the Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes on his latest launch and the state of Canadian financial innovation. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Read it now on Financial Post

FP Explains: What is a stablecoin and why do they make central bankers nervous?

June 10, 2021

Stablecoins have been touted as a unique kind of crypto asset, less volatile than their free-floating brethren such as bitcoin, and thus, perhaps, more suited for transactional rather than speculative ends. Recently, however, regulators who have consistently cast doubt on bitcoin have started expressing fears about stablecoins, too, warning they could lead to a fragmentation of the financial system with a patchwork of coins creating less efficient outcomes for households and businesses. But just what exactly is a stablecoin and how do they work? The Financial Post’s Stephanie Hughes explains.

Read it now on Financial Post

Amazon is borrowing at record low rates, but corporate Canada isn’t quite as fortunate

June 10, 2021

Amazon.com Inc. broke records when it raised US$18.5 billion in an eight-part bond bonanza earlier this year, taking advantage of the low cost of borrowing during the COVID-19 pandemic to pad its coffers.

It was a staggering sum, but the deal really turned heads for just how cheaply the e-commerce giant was able to raise the cash: just 10 basis points more than U.S. treasuries on the two-year bond and 70 basis points on the 20 year, both records according to the Financial Times.

Read it now on Financial Post

Business leaders see rapid testing as the key to economic reopening

June 01, 2021

Rolling out rapid tests for COVID-19 was a trial-and-error exercise for Kristen Danson, owner of Ontario-based automotive supply company, Swift Components Corp. It was an exercise that paid off.

“We got the tests in-house, and we thought, OK, we’re ready to roll,” Danson said. “But a lot of thought actually has to go into how to actually implement and give out the test and I think we underestimated that.”

Read it now of Financial Post

Canada’s big banks still cool on cryptocurrencies even as global financial giants begin to dabble

May 27, 2021

Major international financial services companies have been warming to cryptocurrencies in recent months, but Canada’s big banks do not appear likely to join them any time soon.

Though the banks’ trading platforms include exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that may have exposure to cryptos, none of the Big Five, which are reporting earnings this week, offer a direct avenue to invest in bitcoin or other crypto assets.

Read it now on Financial Post

Toronto-based digital asset platform Ledn raises $30 million in Series A financing

May 26, 2021

Toronto-based digital asset platform Ledn Inc. has secured $30 million in Series A financing that the company aims to use to expand its workforce and grow its presence in the global financial services market.

The round was led by London-based investment firm Kingsway Capital and saw a group of new investors coming to the table, including hedge fund manager Alan Howard, Seoul-based blockchain team Hashed Investments, Susquehanna trading firm, ParaFi Capital, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and John Pfeffer. The funding was further supported by returning investors including White Star Capital’s Digital Asset Fund, Coinbase Ventures, Global Founders Capital and CMT Digital.

Read it now on Financial Post

More financial services companies push to offer gender reassignment benefits to employees

May 25, 2021

A growing number of banking and financial services companies in Canada are offering gender reassignment benefits to their clients and employees as part of their core health coverage.

Scotiabank announced it would add gender reassignment benefits for employees in Canada and the United States starting on June 1, by covering the costs of procedures like rhinoplasty, electrolysis (hair removal), voice training and surgery, as well as facial feminization and masculinization.

Read it now on Financial Post

High-flying loonie’s ‘good’ dilemma for investors: Ride the streak or shop abroad?

May 20, 2021

The Canadian dollar is riding a six-year high above 83 cents US, a surge that is posing something of a dilemma for investors: should they keep their money at home and try to ride the hot streak or put the strong loonie to work internationally?

David MacNicol, president and portfolio manager at MacNicol & Associates Asset Management, said that investors should keep an eye on the commodities cycle if they’re trying to decide between the two options.

Read it now on Financial Post

The loonie is soaring — and it isn’t just an oil story

May 19, 2021

Surging demand for commodities and the Bank of Canada’s relatively hawkish stance on interest rates are helping to propel the loonie to levels not seen in years, according to analysts.

The Canadian dollar has been trading above 83 cents US in recent days, its highest level since 2015.

Read it now Financial Post

Timber? Why investors looking to get in on the lumber boom may be late to the party

May 17, 2021

A surge in demand for wood brought on by the pandemic housing boom has sent lumber prices to all-time highs this year, but investors looking to build on significant run-ups in forestry stocks may have a harder time going forward, according to at least one analyst.

Lumber futures were trading at US$1,630 per thousand board feet late this past week, after touching a record high just shy of US$1,700 earlier in the month, quadruple the price of a year ago.

Read it now on Financial Post

Everything you need to know about the top cryptocurrencies — but were too confused to ask

May 14, 2021

Not that long ago, cryptocurrencies were a curiosity, viewed with enthusiasm among a small group of early investors — and with a heavy dose of skepticism from the broader institutional investor community.

All that has changed. In recent months, the coin that was largely traded among tech junkies has been embraced by big-name companies, financial institutions, and even auction house Sotheby’s, which held the first auction ever on Wednesday to accept cryptocurrency as payment for a physical piece of art, receiving US$12.9 million in 14 minutes of bidding for street artist Banksy’s iconic piece, “Love Is In The Air.”

Read it now Financial Post

How to hack a pipeline: Colonial attack puts energy cybersecurity in spotlight

May 10, 2021

The weekend ransomware attack that forced Colonial Pipeline Co. to shut the largest U.S. fuel pipeline has been one of the most disruptive cybersecurity incidents ever reported.

While Colonial hopes to have operations restored by the end of the week, questions about the attack remain. For one, how did the hackers, believed to be a Russian group called DarkSide, gain access to the Colonial’s systems? And just how secure is pipeline infrastructure more generally?

Read it now on Financial Post

Suncor eyes share buybacks, debt reduction with free cash flow boost: CEO

May 04, 2021

The head of Suncor Energy Inc. is charting the course for share buybacks and debt reduction with stronger free cash flow from the company’s first quarter results.

Mark Little, president and Chief Executive Officer at Suncor, told BNN Bloomberg that while the company typically uses its shares as currency for merger and acquisition activity, this strategy would be difficult to implement when the share price is weakened. Before the company uses cash for potential acquisitions, it would first need to identify synergies for shareholders.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

April Vancouver home sales surge 342% from 2020 pandemic lows

May 04, 2021

Vancouver home sales bounced back from pandemic lows last month as sales surged 342 per cent year-over-year, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Residential home sales in the region totalled 4,908 last month, driven by heightened demand in the Metro Vancouver area, which helped push the composite benchmark price 12 per cent higher year-over-year to $1.15 million.  

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

New Toronto condo sales near pre-pandemic levels

May 03, 2021

Toronto’s downtown condominium segment is staging a comeback with sales nearing pre-pandemic levels.

New condo sales in the Greater Toronto Area totalled 5,385 units in the first quarter of 2021, which was just shy of the 5,593 figure from a year ago, according to a market report by real estate research firm Urbanation Inc.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Sweats to impress: How the pandemic is shaking up office wear

April 30, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, suits sat in closets collecting dust as Canadians flocked to sweatpants, baggy shirts, and other athleisure trends while working from home.

Those cozy Canadians may not be too eager to get rid of their snug threads once they begin returning to the office, raising the question of what suitable office wear will look like in the anticipated post-pandemic world of balancing working in-office and from home.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

CN Rail CEO sees KCS deal key to becoming a true ‘NAFTA railroad’

April 28, 2021

The head of Canadian National Railway Co. said its planned merger with Kansas City Southern (KCS) will bring the Montreal-based rail company closer to becoming a true North American railroad able to serve the continent-wide free trade agreement. 

“We’ve always had our eyes, back to the days of Paul Tellier, about being the NAFTA railroad not just by partnering commercially with the KCS to the marketing alliance that we had 20 years ago, but also at some point making an acquisition,” said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN Rail, in a broadcast interview.

Read it now at BNN Bloomberg

Structural change, not ‘gift-bag’ items, missing from budget: Manitoba’s Pallister

April 22, 2021

The Liberal government’s latest budget falls short on giving the Canadian economy what it needs to find its footing again after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister.

“[There’s] very little attention paid to how we pay for all this stuff,” Pallister said in a broadcast interview Thursday. 

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Metro’s blowout sales growth to slow in pandemic’s second year: CEO

April 22, 2021

Metro Inc. is bracing investors for more subdued sales growth after panic-buying in the early days of the pandemic allowed the supermarket operator to deliver a stretch of blowout gains.

In an interview Thursday, Metro President and Chief Executive Officer Eric La Flèche said his company is running into the reality of tough COVID-era in-store sales comparisons. Indeed, same-store food sales were up 5.5 per cent in the last quarter, compared to double-digit gains in the three prior quarters.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

JetBlue expanding into Canada, ‘high-fare’ incumbents on notice

April 21, 2021

JetBlue Airways flights will soon head northward to Canada, as the popular carrier expands into this country for the first time.

The U.S. airline announced Wednesday that it will be touching down in Vancouver as its first Canadian destination, offering service from Vancouver International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and seasonal flights to Boston Logan International Airport beginning in the summer of 2022.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Small businesses speak out on what they need from the federal budget

April 15, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the Canadian small business community, leaving a trail of shuttered storefronts and “For Lease” signs in its wake. As the country stares down a third wave of lockdowns, there’s been a growing call from stakeholders for the government to invoke further measures during the upcoming federal budget that will not leave businesses deeper in debt on the other side of the pandemic.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Big tech companies flock to the gaming industry: Enthusiast Gaming CEO

April 14, 2021

Some big technology companies are ramping up their investment in the video gaming industry as younger generations pour into the space, said the head of a Canadian gaming content firm.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Canada must recognize ‘generational transfer of wealth’ in housing: Victor Dodig

April 13, 2021

The head of one of Canada’s largest banks is wading into the housing debate, arguing supply constraints need to be addressed amid surging home prices.

Victor Dodig, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, also told BNN Bloomberg he supports government intervention in an overheated real estate market as long as it can contribute to stable home ownership.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

There’s no ‘magic switch’ to reset home values: Liberal MP

April 12, 2021

One Liberal MP argues that a housing correction may not be the silver bullet solution needed to fix Canada’s mounting housing affordability crisis.

“When people tell you they want to cut housing prices by 10 per cent… there is no magic switch in the Finance Department or the Bank of Canada where you just go to it and reset everybody’s home equity rates and housing prices across the country,” Spadina-Fort York MP Adam Vaughan, whose portfolio covers housing issues as parliamentary secretary for the Liberal government, said in an interview.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Housing policy must cool market imbalance: RBC CEO

April 08, 2021

Amid a scorching real estate market, the head of the Royal Bank of Canada warned that the country needs short-term policy changes to cool the stark supply and demand mismatch.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Canada needs ‘very targeted relief’: Former TD Bank CEO

April 05, 2021

Bay Street veteran Ed Clark is expressing concerns Canada is overdoing it with pandemic stimulus that he thinks may be too broad and improperly targeted.

In a television interview Monday, Clark, the former Chief Executive Officer of TD Bank Group and current board nominee at Spin Master Corp., said policymakers would be better off implementing extremely precise supports rather than broad-stroke stimulus.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Businesses’ excess cash won’t drive the recovery: CIBC’s Tal

April 05, 2021

It isn’t just households with pent-up savings during the pandemic: businesses are also sitting on a massive cash cushion ready to be unleashed once the world returns to normal. However, the country can’t count on that capital alone to drive the pandemic recovery, according to one Bay Street economist.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

MLB looks to NFTs as a ‘cutting edge opportunity’: Blue Jays President

March 31, 2021

Baseball won’t be sitting on the bench when it comes to the cryptocurrency game.

Mark Shapiro, president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays, told BNN Bloomberg in an interview that the league was looking at non-fungible tokens (NFT) as a “cutting edge opportunity” that could help bolster fan interest in the sport.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Swoop adds B.C. flights for summer season to meet pent-up demand

March 31, 2021

Discount airline company Swoop is gearing up for the peak summer travel season by adding more routes to three cities in British Columbia, starting in May.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Housing policy must ‘break the psychology’ to cool prices: BMO

March 30, 2021

BMO Economics is adding its voice to the concerns being raised on how policymakers need to act immediately to cool Canada’s hot housing market, recommending they break the market psychology that has caused home prices across the continue to soar.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Condo investors ‘stealing activity’ from future amid low rates: Tal

March 29, 2021

Real estate investors are piling into the condo market and taking advantage of low interest rates – even if it means withstanding short-term losses, according to a prominent Bay Street economist.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

How the ‘COVID shuffle’ made 2020 the year for luxury real estate

March 26, 2021

Paul Matysek, CEO of Gold X Mining, was taken by the lush, forested scenery of Whistler, B.C. and its active recreational lifestyle in both summer and winter. This stood in stark contrast to life in West Vancouver during the pandemic, where he owns his primary residence.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

WestJet adds western routes; CEO urges domestic travel

March 26, 2021

WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced that it would be adding 11 new domestic routes across Western Canada starting June in a push towards its COVID-19 recovery.

The airline will be offering nonstop service to 15 communities in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, according to a news release issued Friday.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘Doing nothing is not a solution’: Experts weigh in on carbon tax ruling

March 25, 2021

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday that the federal government’s carbon tax was constitutional, furthering the Liberals’ climate change mandate.

However, reactions to the decision from stakeholders and policy experts were decidedly mixed. Here’s a sample of what some of them had to say.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Powell playing ‘risky game’ with markets on inflation: CIBC’s Tal

March 22, 2021

Following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to leave interest rates low for the foreseeable future last week, Chair Jerome Powell signalled that inflation was under control. One prominent Bay Street economist says: Think again.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Rogers-Shaw deal could be ‘win-win’ for Feds: former Telus CFO

March 18, 2021

Rogers Communications Inc.’s blockbuster proposed takeover of Shaw Communications Inc. could break down some barriers in expanding Canada’s broadband coverage, according to a former industry executive.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Canadians need to mind ‘dangers of debt’: Former CMHC chair

March 15, 2021

A former head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is sounding the alarm on Canada’s rising debt problem, an issue that has gone unaddressed in the country’s recent run-up in home prices.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘This is not normal’: experts weigh in on housing bubble warnings

March 12, 2021

Real estate analysts and economists alike continue to weigh in on the state of Canada’s housing market, which was recently described by one prominent Bay Street economist as one of the “biggest bubbles of all time”.

Here’s what they told BNN Bloomberg this week.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘One of the biggest bubbles of all time’: Rosenberg warns on housing

March 10, 2021

Canada’s hot housing markets are setting off alarm bells for one of North America’s best known economists.

David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research, described real estate valuations in this country as a “huge bubble” of historic proportions. 

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Sudden five-year mortgage rate spike could be ‘recessionary’: Tal

March 08, 2021

One Bay Street economist said the five-year mortgage rate growth needs to take a slow-and-steady approach – or else risk hurting the Canadian economy.

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist of CIBC World Markets Inc., told BNN Bloomberg the risk of a sudden rate spike could come from the Bank of Canada’s sentiment in undermining inflation concerns. 

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘Priced out’: Analysts weigh in on first-time home buyer problem

March 05, 2021

Amid a hot housing market in major Canadian cities that has pushed ownership further out of reach for young first-time prospective home buyers, there are increasing calls for the government to address the issue – starting with the tone from the top.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘We are much better off today’: TD CEO on Canada’s economic outlook

March 01, 2021

The head of TD Bank Group is optimistic about Canada’s economic outlook as vaccines roll out.

“We are much better off today than we were 90 days ago,” said Bharat Masrani, president and chief executive of TD Bank Group, in an interview Monday. “[The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has] been a bit clunky, but from my perspective, these things will get sorted out.”

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

From ‘Big loss for Canada’ to ‘Immoral’: Reaction pours in on Machin’s resignation

February 26, 2021

Mark Machin’s swift resignation as head of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board following a trip to the United Arab Emirates where he received a COVID-19 vaccination drew a range of reaction from finance leaders, governance experts, and veteran politicians.

Read it Now on BNN Bloomberg

Canadians sitting on $100B in excess cash: CIBC’s Tal

February 25, 2021

Canadians who curtailed their spending over the past year as the pandemic raged on could be sitting on as much as $100 billion, according to new data from CIBC.

“More and more money is being accumulated on the sidelines,” said Benjamin Tal, who co-authored the report and is deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc., in a television interview. “The question is what people will do with it.”

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘Get people off support’: Dream Office REIT CEO on COVID benefits

February 19, 2021

One business leader is speaking out on COVID-19 benefits and its impact on the recovery.

“Get people off of support,” Michael Cooper, chair and chief executive officer of Dream Office Real Estate Investment Trust said in an interview on Friday before a federal government announcement extending two recovery benefits. “People have got to make their own money. And whether that’s companies or individuals, we’ve got to get people taking care of themselves.”

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘Not even dreaming’: Tal says Bank of Canada won’t move before Fed

February 18, 2021

The Bank of Canada is likely to wait for the U.S. Federal Reserve to be the first central bank to hike interest rates before doing so itself, according to one Bay Street economist.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Corporate downgrade ratio in 2020 worst since financial crisis: DBRS Morningstar

February 17, 2021

Corporations worldwide were hit with a flurry of downgrades last year as the pandemic’s impact bore down, according to a report by credit rating agency DBRS Morningstar.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Peloton home fitness craze ‘not a threat at all’ to gyms: GoodLife CEO

February 16, 2021

As COVID-19 closed down gyms and recreation centers across the country, more Canadians turned to home gyms and home exercise programs like Peloton to break a sweat. Despite the shift, the head of Canada’s largest health club company, GoodLife Fitness Centres Inc., is not concerned about this trend.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Canada is ‘doing it right’ with vaccine strategy: Novavax CEO

February 03, 2021

Despite the criticism surrounding Canada’s vaccine strategy, Novavax Inc. is doubling down on its partnership with the country. “I can tell you I think Canada’s doing it right,” said Stanley Erck, president and chief executive officer of Novavax. “They’re going to be one of the first countries to get a vaccine from us and we think we have a great vaccine.”

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Miscounted population part of home demand ‘puzzle’: CIBC’s Tal

February 01, 2021

The housing market may not be losing steam any time soon. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC, said he anticipates a post-pandemic population boom that will strengthen the demand for rental units and housing.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘It will be chaotic’: CIBC’s Tal sees bankruptcy wave once government support ends

January 28, 2021

Record-low insolvencies may be a metric pointing to good news, but it may come with an asterisk as once government supports are lifted, the country will see a wave of business closures, according to CIBC Deputy Chief Economist Benjamin Tal.

Read it now BNN Bloomberg

‘Good reason to be optimistic about 2021’: CN Rail CEO

January 27, 2021

The head of Canada’s largest railway says the company expects a positive second half of 2021, pinning his hopes to fewer COVID-19 cases and the nation’s prospects for economic recovery.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Now is the time to toughen up at the border: Freeland

January 26, 2021

With the threat of new COVID-19 variants detected in places like the U.K. and South Africa, the federal government is doubling down on its priority to put firmer travel measures in place to protect Canada’s borders.  

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Canadians ‘overdoing it’ with work-from-home trend: CIBC’s Tal

January 25, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has transported many Canadians from the downtown cores of major cities to the comforts of home with the remote-work trend in full swing. However, one prominent economist is concerned that workers expecting the trend to last may be “overdoing it.”

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Strong getting stronger: Retailers scouting property amid COVID

January 22, 2021

Amid shuttering storefronts and business closures, the pandemic’s small business devastation has brought discount real estate opportunities for retailers with bulked-up balance sheets.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Keystone XL is ‘cooked’: Former NAFTA advisor James Moore

January 20, 2021

The controversial Keystone XL pipeline has been dealt a final blow with U.S. President Joe Biden’s confirmed plans to cancel its construction permits, according to one advisor.

“I think Keystone XL is cooked, I think it’s done,” James Moore, senior business advisor at Dentons and a former member of the NAFTA Advisory Council, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

What Canadian investors should watch for after Joe Biden’s inauguration

January 19, 2021

The weeks leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday have been rife with tension and uncertainty, as outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s lingering policies and Senate trial for his second impeachment looms over the transition. Despite this, Canadian investors have a chance to seek out new opportunities in different sectors amid the change.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

More ‘zombie businesses,’ failures ahead in Ontario lockdowns: CFIB

January 12, 2021

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) warned that it will have to revise business closure estimates, just hours ahead of the Ontario government’s announcement of new COVID-19 restrictions.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Indigo CEO calls for government compensation amid lockdowns

January 11, 2021

With more anticipated restrictions in Ontario set to be announced by Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday, Indigo Books & Music Inc. Chief Executive Officer Heather Reisman called for the government to take more action in supporting the non-essential businesses it has shut down during the pandemic.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

Pandemic, oil downturn hitting Calgary’s office real estate with one-two punch

January 08, 2021

Sharlene Massie, founder of Calgary-based employment agency About Staffing, made great time on her commute from a nearby suburb earlier this week, reaching the city’s empty downtown core in only 15 minutes. The trip in non-pandemic times would take 45 minutes out of her day – but this shortened commute came at a cost. 

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

National foreign buyer tax may have unintended consequences: Experts

December 18, 2020

When the Liberal government proposed the foreign homebuyer tax in its fiscal update last month as part of a plan to lower home prices, it drew skepticism from observers who say the policy would fall short in addressing housing affordability.

It is also drawing criticism from some experts who argue that the proposed tax, for which the federal Liberals did not provide specific details, will get in the way of economic activity and housing supply growth.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

‘Time is running out’: Restaurants hang by a thread during second wave

November 13, 2020

Another wave of restrictions is set to add new pressures to the ailing restaurant industry, leaving many business owners who managed through the first wave wondering if they can survive a second.

Read it now on BNN Bloomberg

COVID-19 forces Canadians to adjust retirement plans

November 09, 2020

The pandemic has added new challenges to Canadians’ retirement plans, putting as many as 5.5 million out of work at the peak of job losses, potentially pushing some to dip into their savings or pull back on building their nest egg. The financial shortfall is prompting Canadians to change their own retirement picture.

Read it now on Yahoo! Finance

Be vigilant, not alarmist about BoC balance sheet: economist

October 27, 2020

The Bank of Canada’s ballooning balance sheet has raised eyebrows this year, but one economist says while concern is warranted “we shouldn’t be alarmist. “When confronted with crisis, you don’t hold back, you attempt to crush it with a large policy response up front,” Brett House, the vice president and deputy chief economist at Scotiabank, told Yahoo Finance Canada.

Read it now on Yahoo! Finance

Canada pulls back from ‘debt deferral cliff’

October 14, 2020

While the rate of mortgage deferrals in Canada remains in the double-digits, it has been on the decline in recent months, blunting concern of a looming ‘debt deferral cliff’. Data collected by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and made available to Yahoo Finance Canada show that deferrals fell to 10.89 per cent in August from 12.28 per cent in July.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Ten Canadian companies with rapid COVID tests awaiting Health Canada approval

October 06, 2020

At least ten Canadian companies have developed rapid COVID-19 tests and are awaiting approval by Health Canada. Epidemiologists say having rapid tests available to Canadians should help get the country past the pandemic sooner, but that the strategy for rolling them out is key.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Timing is everything with federal supports for Canada’s Black-owned businesses

October 05, 2020

On any given day, Dina Helen Essoka balances a corporation dealing in both private security services and African food products. Essoka described a challenging debut for the business created just last year, finding difficulty in securing funding to cover the start-up costs. Essoka relied on her own out-of-pocket funds and soon, the business found its footing.

Read it Now on Yahoo Finance

“Childcare is the chokepoint of the recovery”: economist

September 24, 2020

The federal government signalled it would include a child care action plan in its recovery priorities to support women returning to the workforce. The plan can’t come quickly enough as daycare centres are forced to shutter and the economic recovery stalls, argues Armine Yalnizyan, economist and Atkinson Foundation fellow on the future of workers. Yalnizyan says this marks a pivotal moment in designing an early learning and childcare system that serves the needs of the Canada’s economic future – one that the country cannot afford to fumble.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

“Profit over people”: The business of Canada’s for-profit long-term care sector called into question

September 21, 2020

Aaliyah* faced a lot of pressure and professional oversight working in an Extendicare long-term care home in the Toronto area over the past two years, but what she saw during the COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t compare. Amidst growing COVID-19 cases in April, she describes a lack of communication from management, inadequate training for frontline workers, some isolated patients missing mealsand slings being used across bedroom doors to prevent patients from wandering – there were even talks of sedating patients to control their movements.

Read now on Yahoo Finance

Vulnerable groups remain a concern after debt-to-income drop

September 17, 2020

The drop in the debt-to-disposable income ratio reported by Statistics Canada may not paint an accurate picture of the country’s debt profile. The ratio fell from 175.4 per cent to 158.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, though one economist says government supports coming to an end could present risks to groups that have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

“House prices to hold steady in the Fall, but 2021 is a different story: RE/MAX”

August 27, 2020

Low inventory and high demand will keep house prices moving higher until at least the end of 2020, according to a new report by RE/MAX. After that, the economic fallout from the pandemic are expected to catch up with the market.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

‘What will a temporary layoff do to my benefits?’ Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been laid off

August 17, 2020

Jobs are slowly returning to the Canadian economy. According to the latest Statistics Canada report, 419,000 jobs were added in July. If you were temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 shutdown, your job is probably one of them and no doubt you have questions about issues such as job security and benefits.

Read it now on the Toronto Star

“Loyalty Wars: company rewards programs gear up to attract customers”

August 12, 2020

The loyalty program wars are ramping up with deeper discounts for cash-strapped Canadians. Just this week, Air Canada announced its launch of a revamped Aeroplan to stoke interest in the travel industry, dropping expensive carrier charges and allowing members to use their points to book seats on any Air Canada flight. Other companies are either expanding rewards plans or rolling out their own programs to entice consumers to start spending again.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

“The dream will become a nightmare,” Siddall says on wealth inequality

July 29, 2020

The growing wealth gap between homeowners and renters is an issue that the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) is striving to solve, especially with the economic impacts from COVID-19 widening the divide. For the organization, that means tackling the country’s obsession with homeownership and promoting alternatives.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Don’t have a Post-CERB game plan? Here’s where to start

July 27, 2020

If you’re concerned about your finances after the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) runs out, you’re not alone. By mid-July, the Government of Canada received 8.4 million unique applications from unemployed Canadians, all of whom will find themselves cut off from the $2,000 a month benefit in September. Many Canadians are living close to the edge. The Canadian Payroll Association found that 47 per cent of people were living paycheque to paycheque in 2017, which means that people without a plan can have a financial catastrophe on their hands.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Claims CMHC is funding home equity tax research ‘inaccurate’

July 17, 2020

The Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) says claims it invested $250,000 in federal home equity tax research are “not accurate”. A CMHC media relations representative told Yahoo Finance Canada in an e-mail that the funding will be used for the Solutions Lab initiative in an 18-month project to improve housing affordability in Canada, exploring an array of solutions.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Get used to fewer employees for the next three months: Statistics Canada

July 15, 2020

When it comes to staffing levels during the COVID-19 recovery, most Canadian businesses don’t have all hands on deck. A Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey found that only one third of businesses had re-hired their pre-pandemic staff capacity. It’s likely going to stay that way for some time: In a separate survey on Canadian business conditions, newly released from Statistics Canada, almost two-thirds of businesses expect their number of employees to remain the same over the next three months.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Canada can expect a slow-and-steady credit growth after the pandemic: economist

July 07, 2020

Canadian credit borrowing will see a slow return to normal, with the credit growth trend expected to stay below average during the recovery phase following a steep contraction during the pandemic, economists say.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Consumer ‘COVID-19 hangover’ means a slow return to normal for businesses

June 22, 2020

The country is slowly re-emerging from lockdown one region at a time, but Canadians are not in a rush to go out and spend like they would in pre-pandemic days. Businesses can expect a gradual return to normal as consumer anxiety slowly lifts.

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New CERB bill is punitive for low-income workers: economist

June 15, 2020

The federal government says it is working on a solution to extend the Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB) for the 8.4 million unique applicants relying on it. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not give details in a press conference Monday morning, but said there would be more to announce later this week. Before today, the July 4 end date was fast-approaching, prompting concerns for Canadians who may not have a job to return to post-pandemic or for the many workers who have had their hours significantly reduced.

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Daycares and parents tell Ford reopening is ‘too soon’

June 12, 2020

When Barry Choi heard the provincial government was reopening daycares across the province, his first thought was “too soon.”

About a week ago, the daycare that Choi’s two-year-old daughter, Scarlett, attends opened for just one day to allow parents to pick up a few things their children left behind in March.

Read it Now on Toronto Star

Eviction bans are not expected to hurt commercial landlords: Colliers

June 11, 2020

Commercial landlords across Canada will be confronted with many challenges after months under lockdown, though eviction bans are not expected to be one of them, according to John Duda, the president of real estate management services for Colliers Canada.

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New CMHC requirements will have buyers flocking to the market: brokers

June 09, 2020

Experts in the real estate industry say CMHC’s new, strict lending measures will trigger a surge in home purchase volume as potential home buyers rush to the mortgage market before July 1, when these policies take effect.

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‘The hurdles I have to jump are unbelievable:’ How systemic racism in banks and support networks is holding back Black entrepreneurs

June 06, 2020

Before Pauline Thomas started her own business, Comfort Bras, she worked a corporate job at a multibillion-dollar firm and brought home a six-figure salary.

But whenever she applied for a bank loan, it wasn’t the dollar figure the person on the other side of the counter saw, it was her skin colour.

Read it Now on Toronto Star

Record low insolvencies in Canada are the calm before the debt storm, says experts

June 05, 2020

Insolvency filings hit a record low in April, dropping by 43.5 per cent compared to last year. This drop followed a full month of lockdowns across most Canadian provinces, according to a report by Scotiabank. Once the economy reopens, these insolvency filings are expected to not only bounce back, but they could trigger a massive wave, according to licensed insolvency trustees.

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Continued stimulus for business will be key to economic recovery from COVID-19: economist

June 05, 2020

Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada walked back their negative outlook for the economy, stating that the severe impact of COVID-19 “appears to have peaked”. However, the report still leaves a lot of questions unanswered, according to CIBC executive director and senior economist Royce Mendes.

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COVID-19 puts international student-driven economic growth in Canada at risk

June 03, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic could put a strain on Canada’s international student sector, according to a new report by RBC. The study, published Tuesday morning, found that there was a 45 per cent drop in international student permits in March compared to last year.

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“They’re whistling past the graveyard”: Siddall pushes back on housing outlook criticism

May 29, 2020

After the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its projection that house prices could drop up to 18 per cent over the next 12 months, real estate company RE/MAX responded with an outlook of its own.

Read it now on Yahoo Finance

Don’t expect working from home to kill the corporate office

May 27, 2020

The world is seeing the largest work-from-home experiment in history. The list of major companies allowing employees to work from home, even after the pandemic, continues to grow to change with the future of work.

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Upcoming bank loan loss provisions won’t be ‘fireworks’, but will have a long-lasting impact

May 25, 2020

Analysts are expecting one of the most dramatic quarters in years. Bryden Teich, partner and portfolio manager at Avenue Investment Management, warns that the pandemic’s effects on banks’ loan loss provisions won’t come as a one-off hit to the financial sector, but will be much longer-lasting.

Read it Now on Yahoo Finance

Students asking universities for refunds, but it’s not that simple

May 19, 2020

When Ye En Kim came to Canada to study engineering, she was eager to practice at McGill University’s state-of-the-art labs in Montreal. She wanted to get hands-on knowledge in research projects and immerse herself in Canadian culture. COVID-19 quickly ruined that strategy, leading to class suspensions, campus closures and online classes. The labs closed, shutting Kim out of what she sees as a valuable part of her education.  

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Not all provinces are equal in the COVID-19 debt crisis

May 06, 2020

COVID-19 has exposed many weaknesses in the Canadian economy – particularly with mounting debt loads across the country. With the latest net debt percentage of 53.4 per cent, the federal government still holds the bulk of the debt load compared to the provinces.

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A look back at Stephen Poloz’s legacy

May 01, 2020

Tiff Macklem’s appointment as the governor of the Bank of Canada closes the chapter on Stephen Poloz’s tenure. On June 2, Poloz will step down and pass the torch to Macklem, who served as senior deputy governor from 2010-2014.

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Provincial bond market purchases are a start, but may show too much restraint: economist

April 24, 2020

The Bank of Canada introduced one of the most drastic provincial funding measures the country has ever seen, doubling its balance sheet and outgrowing any strategy taken in 2008 – and it might not be enough.

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Canada braces for higher mortgage defaults – but it won’t be the next “U.S. crash of ’08”

April 20, 2020

Rising unemployment and high debt is expected to boost mortgage loan delinquencies in Canada, though experts say it won’t play out like the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.

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Credit card payment deferrals won’t hurt your credit score – if you get it in writing

April 07, 2020

The federal government is encouraging Canada’s banks to do more to help struggling Canadians during COVID-19: “We continue to have discussions with them that are really focused on the need for banks to do more,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a press conference Tuesday. “We acknowledged that they did go in the right direction. But we see every day that this crisis is more and more of a challenge for everyone.” Trudeau added that the government is working on other credit solutions for Canadians that will be announced in the next few days.

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Canada could be headed for negative yields, as quantitative easing begins

April 03, 2020

The Bank of Canada’s secondary market purchase program seems to be working for the bond market, according to one analyst.

The central bank released details for the secondary market purchase of federal government securities on Tuesday, as part of a series of liquidity measures that include the country’s first-ever quantitative easing program. Canadian investors are beginning to see the effects play out.

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Medicago says coronavirus vaccine could be ready for human trial by July

April 02, 2020

One of the companies on Ottawa’s list for $192 million vaccine development funding still does not know how much it will receive from the federal government, but says the money will help push its vaccine development from early testing to full clinical trials. Medicago, a private Quebec-based biotech company, says it has already received $7 million from the government of Quebec.

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Were Canadians gouged by the airlines on their emergency flights home? Some say they were

March 28, 2020

[Also featured on the front page of the Business Section on Monday, March 30]

It was meant to be another regular trip to Mexico for Donna and Marcello Prete, until the coronavirus swept across the globe and put international flights at a standstill by the end of March. Prompted by a call to come home from their Prime Minister and on the advice of their doctor in Mexico, all they wanted was to return to Canada. However, the costs for them to do so – and many Canadians – were soaring.

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The Bank of Canada’s measures may fuel higher corporate debt loads

March 25, 2020

A burgeoning debt load in Canada’s corporate sector could make an economic recession deeper and more long lasting. One economist says that low interest rates and income interruptions could work in tandem to dig the country into a corporate default spiral that’s harder to bounce back from.

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Need to cancel a trip due to COVID-19? Here’s how to get your money back

March 12, 2020

With the federal government issuing an advisory against “non-essential” travel outside the country, and the inconvenience of having to self-isolate upon the return from a holiday, many Canadians are desperately trying to cancel vacations that may have been books months ago.

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Has Silicon Valley Lost Its Shine?

February 26, 2020

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has built and managed many successful tech start-ups – but if he had to do it again today – he would choose anywhere other than Silicon Valley.

In late January, Zuckerberg spoke on-stage at a conference in Utah about the San Francisco Bay area, holding no specific ill-will to the place he moved to at 19-years-old, but acknowledging its faults: “I like the Bay Area, so I’m not super negative on it, but I do think on balance if I was starting from scratch now, I would not pick the Bay Area,” Zuckerberg explained, further stating that it was “too short-term focused”.

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Masterclass: The Real Cost of Sending Your Kids to Uni

February 25, 2020

Your child worked hard through high school, getting good grades and having the ambition to launch a successful career. Now here you are, helping your son or daughter get into the school of their dreams. This move will do wonders for their career – but have you thought of what it might do to your pocketbook?

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Why Jamaica’s Small Stock Exchange Dominates the Global Markets

February 20, 2020

The world’s most successful market index comes from an unlikely place: Jamaica. The Jamaican Stock Exchange (JSE) has been in the top-five highest-performing market indexes in the world over the past few years, being something of a dark horse in global economics.

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Why Cannabis Investors are Targeting Germany as the next Budding Market

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February 14, 2020

Like many other countries across Europe, Germany has not fully embraced legal recreational cannabis. Despite that, the country has become an industry leader in Europe since it legalized medical marijuana in 2017 and has caught the eyes of global cannabis investors. Why are Canadian cannabis companies seeing green in Germany?

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How to navigate the profits and pitfalls of the gig economy

February 13, 2020

The working world has changed a lot in recent years. Ask any of your friends if they have a side hustle on top of their full-time job and many of them will probably say “yes.” In fact, for some of them, their employment is probably exclusively made up of side hustles or a mosaic of freelance jobs that make up the “gig economy.”

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Amazon and Visa Aim to Shake-Up Retail with Palm Payments

February 11, 2020

Amazon and Visa are considering taking biometrics and fintech trends a step further with “palm payments”, according to people familiar with the project speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The idea is to allow consumers to pay for purchases using credit card information connected to their hand with payment terminals at check-out sections in brick-and-mortar locations. It’s a new model that eliminates the need for cash and credit cards for consumers as well as envisioning a cashierless retail future.

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The Lessons Learned from the Tech Unicorn Stampede of ‘19

February 03, 2020

Even more valuable than the profits investors make in the stock market are the hard lessons they learn along the way… Thing is, the lessons are only valuable if they’re actually learned.

I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while since the year 2019 presented an interesting case study with (often misplaced) vaulting optimism in tech companies from venture capitalists. It was the year where investors seemed to have ditched the age-old wisdom of putting your money on a company that had a secure business plan, was either profitable or had a clear path to profitability, kept debt loads low and had a positive press following. It was the year when venture capitalists flocked from shiny new company to shiny new company, picking up shares in the companies with the sleekest packaging and best marketing team. For most of these companies, the ‘packaging’ laid a temporary veneer over huge financial losses, a chaotic board, endless controversy, and no clear plan in place to turn financials around.

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5G Is Coming. What Does This Mean for Us?

January 21, 2020

The 5G network is fast-approaching, promising a stronger network with wider coverage and processing speeds unlike anything we’ve seen before. The headlines surrounding 5G have all at once been starkly political, brimming with optimism, and gloomily suspicious with health impacts. The network’s adoption seems inevitable, so what exactly does this mean for us?

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Fintech Trends That Investors Should Be Watching for the Next Decade

January 17, 2020

Financial technology (or “fintech”) is where banking and big tech intersect to provide quick banking, investing, and payment services for clients. The last ten years, blockchain and artificial intelligence dominated headlines with everything from e-payments, arranging loans and insurance, wealth management, and just your day-to-day banking.

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How Finland Plans to Be on Top When It Comes to AI Technology

January 17, 2020

The great hand of AI technology and automation is poised to claw away thousands of jobs in various countries, threatening to leave the less technologically-inclined in the dust. Finland is among the first countries to recognize the threat of an untrained workforce and is now offering a free online course called “Elements of AI” to ensure that their citizens are well-equipped to shoulder the future of work.

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The End of Nine-to-Five: The Inevitable Gig Economy

January 12, 2020

If you worked an office job many years ago and five o’clock rolled around, you would stretch, gather your things, and clock out for the day. Maybe you’d even leave a half-hour earlier if it’s a Friday. It’s five o’clock freedom and you’re probably running through weekend plans, chores to cross off your to-do list — anything other than your workday.

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U.S.-Iranian Tensions Are Shaking up Politics – and the Markets

January 09, 2020

What goes up can come back down just as easily. The S&P 500 rally in the first two days of 2020 was quickly interrupted when U.S. President Donald Trump ordered and airstrike that claimed the life of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.

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For Better or Worse, More Millennials are Finding the Gig Economy a Necessity

January 02, 2020

Canada’s job market has shown a weakening supply of stable positions, even reporting that as many as 71,000 jobs were lost in November. The unemployment rate increased to 5.9 per cent according to Statistics Canada. In this precarious work environment, more millennials are relying on the gig economy, transforming the nine-to-five workday to a 24/7 work life so that Canadians can get ahead of – or even keep up with – growing costs.

Read it Now at The Dales Report

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Amuka Esports Invests to give the Canadian Gaming Industry a Level-Up

December 20, 2019

Esports is a rapidly growing global industry, first finding its legs in the Asian markets before surging in popularity in the U.S. According to Statista, the esports industry had a global market capitalization of $865 million USD in 2018 – and it’s expected to grow. For the sports purists who have their doubts about the industry, the North American League of Legends Championship Series Spring Split Finals drew in a larger viewership than the Super Bowl this year.

Read it Now at The Dales Report

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Why Millennials Choose To Be Entrepreneurs

December 15, 2019

New year, new headwinds: the next turn of the decade is appearing to be increasingly morose for an already cash-strapped Millennial demographic. Soaring debt loads stemming from the historically highest tuition rates and highest costs of living put Millennials in a particularly tough financial spot both in Canada and the U.S. This has prompted North Americans in their 20’s and 30’s to put off milestones like home ownership, starting a family, and even has many of them filing for insolvency. Many of these issues can be pinned on the lack of stable, traditional employment since the financial crisis. As a new decade rolls around, Millennials will likely be faced with the same challenges, but may find new ways to out-maneuver these financial hurdles.

Read it Now at The Dales Report

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Holiday Sales Expected to Hit $1 Trillion – What Will The Average Consumer Spend?

November 28, 2019

This holiday season, retailers are expected to have a banner year with holiday sales forecasted to breach the $1 trillion-dollar mark for the first time ever. This record comes at the end of a rough year for the retail industry in North America, giving analysts mixed feelings about its overall health.

Read it Now The Dales Report 

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Canada’s Increasing Debt Problem and What it Means for You

November 26, 2019

The number of Canadians filing for insolvency jumped by 19 per cent in September from the year before, amounting to 11,935 consumers who were unable to meet their long-term debt obligations. The escalating rate of filings is at its largest in about ten years, drawing concerns as these spikes tend to precede an economic crisis.

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Hudsons Bay

How Hudson’s Bay — and Canada — Is Not Immune to the U.S. Late-Cycle Retail Market

July 17, 2019

The Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) closures represent a contraction in its business plan after the company underwent an overly optimistic expansionary phase. Late-cycle market dynamics have challenged sales revenues for retailers like Home Outfitters and Saks OFF 5TH. While the proverbial “retail apocalypse” is largely focused on the United States due to the country’s over-retailed commercial real estate market, Canada is not immune to the effects of declining retail sales, the prominence of e-commerce and too-optimistic business expansions that put retailers in debt and eat away at revenues.

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High and Low: The Soaring Demand and Limited Supply of Toronto’s
Purpose-Built Multifamily Market

June 13, 2019

The Toronto housing market stands at the intersection of housing affordability and availability, with asking rents trending higher amid wages that struggle to keep up. While average rental rates for private condominiums (condos) have outpaced increases in wages, so too have rates for purpose-built rentals. Exacerbating the issue further, developers are economically incentivized to build condos, limiting the supply of purpose-built rentals and worsening affordability. These trends improve the credit risk for multi-family lenders by ensuring that occupancies and rents will remain high. Despite recent government initiatives, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) expects supply and demand to remain “tight,” putting upward pressure on rental prices and pushing residents to seek affordability farther outside the city.

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Scorching Real Estate

Scorching Real Estate: Comparing the California, B.C. and Fort McMurray Wildfires’ Impact

April 03, 2019

Last August was devastating for British Columbia (B.C.) and California — each had declared a state of emergency because of wildfires. Both the province and the state experienced a severe decline in tourism, mass evacuations and seemingly unending fights to contain the conflagrations. There was significant loss on both sides, though as far as impact on commercial infrastructure and industry went, California’s wildfires took more of a toll on the local economy. This commentary explores the immediate effects of the wildfires across B.C. and California. In addition, this commentary looks at the impacts of the Fort McMurray fire that devastated a large part of Alberta’s infrastructure back in 2016.

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How Coworking Co-Opts the Traditional Office Space

March 11, 2019

Having a roommate is not just part of the college experience — it is a growing trend in the workforce. More and more companies are working together under the same roof in nine to five harmony in what is known as coworking space: a more flexible alternative to traditional office space where multiple workers can share a single space for a monthly rent while working independently on their own projects. In the past, coworking space mostly appealed to freelancers and the self-employed who either worked from home, traveled often or otherwise had little use for costly full-scale offices. Now, the model is becoming increasingly attractive to traditional corporations looking to reduce long-term lease obligations and maximize the use of their space. DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) believes that the coworking industry will continue being a disruptor in the traditional-office-space market, whether through pioneer coworking companies like IWG plc (formerly Regus) and WeWork or through well-established traditional companies expanding their services to include more flexible options.

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Shopko

Monitoring “The Stuff That Counts”: Shopko’s Closures Minimally Affect CMBS Transactions

February 12, 2019

The store closures announced by Shopko will likely have a minimal impact on commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) in aggregate; however, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) does see the potential for localized defaults as the company rejects leases across the country. In addition, the closures highlight the risk of exposure faced by retailers owned by private equity firms, specifically. According to Bloomberg, Shopko, which was acquired by Sun Capital Partners, Inc. in 2005, had sought debt restructuring from its lenders, but its efforts proved unsuccessful. With ownership unwilling to invest further in the company, Shopko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019. Since then, the original closure list has ballooned to over 250, which will reduce the company footprint by more than half.

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Brick and Mortar Holiday

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Just May Have a Happy Holiday

December 17, 2018

This holiday season, growing consumer trends have given the brick-and-mortar retail industry plenty to be merry about. America’s malls and department stores may enjoy an uptick in foot traffic with preliminary studies, which hinted that consumers are not only willing to spend more money, but are actually prepared to visit retail locations. E-commerce is still a strong sell for many U.S. holiday shoppers; however, traditional store-to-store shopping appears to be here to stay with help from the growing “order online, pick up in store” trend, which is also driving consumers to physical retail spaces. There are many factors strengthening the performance of traditional retail options, the largest of which is a strong market cycle. In this article, DBRS looks at U.S. consumers’ intentions and spending behaviors for the holiday season to assess their potential impact on retailers and department stores from a commercial real estate perspective.

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Retail Optimism

Retail Optimism Gets Canadian Malls into the Holiday Spirit

December 17, 2018

Canadian malls are set to have a happy 2018 holiday season with promising retail trends. Many preliminary studies suggest that consumers plan to spend more money than last year and, while e-commerce is still expected to trend upward, shopping attitudes during the holidays are driving much-needed foot traffic back into traditional retail space. In this report, DBRS dives into shoppers’ intentions and trends this holiday season as well as their impact on mall owners from a real estate perspective.

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Lowe's

Lowe’s Renovates Its Retail Strategy

December 04, 2018

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. (Lowe’s or the Company, rated A (low) with a Stable trend by DBRS) is attempting a different retail strategy to stay competitive with other home improvement and hardware companies by closing 47 locations across North America. DBRS sees little impact from this on the retail market, on commercial mortgage-backed securities or on Lowe’s itself. This is because unlike traditional retail stores, Lowe’s and other big box home improvement stores have largely been immune to the rise of e-commerce and the “Amazon effect” since there is little product overlap between them, though the overlap continues to grow. Despite surviving the changes in retail that claimed other departments stores, the home improvement giant still faces stiff competition from competitors like The Home Depot (rated “A” with a Stable trend by DBRS).

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Sears

The Fall of an Icon — Sears and the Evolution of the Great American Shopping Mall

November 27, 2018

In a largely unsurprising move, Sears Holdings Corporation (Sears) filed for bankruptcy on October 15, 2018. Soon thereafter, the notoriously troubled franchise — which had already announced that 150 stores would close in 2018 — announced an additional two rounds of closures. The latest closures include an initial round of 142 locations, with liquidation sales expected to be completed by the end of the year, as well as a second round of 40 stores early next year, bringing total additional closures to 182 Sears and Kmart locations. Once these stores are shuttered, there will be under 700 Sears and Kmart stores remaining, down from approximately 3,900 locations combined in 2005, according to Forbes.

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Costa-Hawkins Prevails, Securing Certainty in the Los Angeles Multifamily Market

November 08, 2018

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018, Californians took to the polls to determine the fate of Proposition 10, a statewide rent-control measure that would repeal the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa-Hawkins) and allow individual municipalities to exercise more control over multifamily rental rates. The citizen-run measure was stopped in its tracks with a voting margin of 65.0% against it and 35.0% in favor. California will continue to impose limits on rent control for cities across the state, including Los Angeles.

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The Great Costa Hawkins Debate: How the Los Angeles Multifamily Market Hangs in the Balance

November 01, 2018

For renters across the Los Angeles multifamily market, 2018 has been both an interesting and challenging year, with fears of wildfire damages to their homes as well as the continuing debate surrounding Proposition 10, the statewide rent control law that, if passed, will repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Costa Hawkins) and give municipalities more power to enact rent control laws that supporters say will promote affordable housing. On one hand, Proposition 10 would provide reprieve for citizens struggling to pay the rent. On the other hand, repealing the act could negatively affect the rental and housing market. November will be a deciding month for the City of Angels, as the average rent rate climbs beyond affordability for the average citizen.

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Repurposed Real Estate

Repurposed Real Estate: How Adaptive Reuse Gives Old Properties New Purpose

October 18, 2018

Teaching an old building new tricks is a growing trend in the commercial real estate investment industry. Adaptive reuse is the process of finding an older building that once served a now-obsolete purpose and renovating it to take on new responsibilities. Historic buildings, like those in the notable Distillery District in Toronto, tend to be prime candidates as this makeover process preserves their architectural character and conserves their place in the community.

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New Construction Woes: Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Likely to Strain North American Commercial Real Estate Construction

October 15, 2018

In June 2018, the Trump Administration imposed a 25.0% tariff on steel imports and a 10.0% tariff on imported aluminum from Canada, as well as tariffs on all foreign steel and aluminum. In retaliation, the Canadian government implemented counter-tariffs of its own on steel, aluminum as well as select consumer products imported from the United States. These disputes will likely have an adverse effect on new construction on both sides of the border — particularly on new steel-majority construction in major cities. The aluminum tariffs, while not as influential on construction as steel, have added fuel to the emotional fire in this issue. DBRS considers that the increased global prices on steel imports, the resulting domestic price increases, related supply problems, as well as the unpredictability of the trade disruptions will result in increased construction costs for commercial property developers. In this environment, commercial real estate development is likely to become more complicated, expensive and uncertain.

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The Retail Crossroads: Exploring the Potential for Malls

September 25, 2018

Although regional malls have generated negative headlines over the past few years, the recent acquisitions of the Westfield Group (Westfield) by Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco (Unibail) and General Growth Properties (GGP) by Brookfield Property Partners (Brookfield) may signal new opportunities in the space. Unibail purchased Westfield in 2017 for $15.8 billion in a deal that included acquiring 35 regional malls plus the Westfield World Trade Center retail complex. Brookfield, which had acquired a stake in GGP during the latter’s 2009 bankruptcy, took control of the entire company in March 2018 for $9.3 billion in cash. These large acquisitions demonstrate that investors see value in prime retail assets and are looking to implement strategies to improve the relevancy of the brick-and-mortar model for retailers. Malls will come out of the downturn in the retail industry if the assets are characterized by key factors, including location in a densely populated area, attractive appeal to a diverse mix of tenants, dynamic consumer base and sustainable strategies to drive foot traffic.

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How Chicago Office Development Is Fueling the Multifamily Boom

September 10, 2018

The Chicago skyline is seeing more office and apartment developments from 2017 well into 2018 thanks to a significant boost in firms re-locating to, or expanding their presence in, the city. Industry watchers are observing significant inventory growth as well as a year-over-year increase in apartment and office rents. In this commentary, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) looks at how these market metrics compare with properties within multifamily commercial mortgage-backed securities transactions across the greater Chicago area.

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Improving a Building's IQ

Improving a Building’s IQ: How Smart Technologies Can Benefit Commercial Real Estate

August 28, 2018

Increasing use of automation and smart building technologies can have a meaningful impact in commercial real estate, not only on operating expenses but also on asset quality. As these technologies proliferate, DBRS expects to see more reliance on computers to perform basic functions like temperature control, lighting, air quality, sanitation and even tenant-roster organization through Internet of Things (IoT) technology — a system of connected computing and mechanical devices that automatically transfer data without human interaction.

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Airbnb New York

Is Airbnb Choking Out New York’s Multifamily Market?

August 21, 2018

The housing issue in New York City has never been more dire than it is in 2018, with a vacancy rate of 3.6% according to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board 2018 Housing Supply Report. Rental listing analytics from Reis state that as of Q2 2018, the average asking rent for an apartment in New York was $3,653. The city currently has a rent rate much higher than the national average (roughly $1,064, collected by averaging the one-bedroom and two-bedroom rates) caused by a number of factors, including unit supply-to-population ratios. However, affordable housing advocates have pointed the finger at short-term rental companies like Airbnb.

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The Classic Appeal of Historic Buildings

August 04, 2018

As far as real estate goes, the mentality is often that a newer building is a better building. This makes sense, considering what kind of issues older buildings present: older buildings require renovations and maintenance to keep them functional, they are more susceptible to environmental damage and pest infestations, they can be less functional if they operate on outdated technology and they can be much harder to sell, depending on their local market. However, some buildings constructed before 1950 have overcome these issues and are even considered to be desirable properties with character. In this commentary, DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) looks into the value that historic buildings hold, what property types benefit the most from a classic appeal and what markets most revere architectural history.

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US Senior

The U.S. Senior Housing Market Facing a Supply Shortage

May 09, 2018

Seniors in the United States are facing a housing dilemma stemming from the diminishing unit supply as well as climbing rent rates nationwide. The growth of the U.S. senior population is continuously outpacing the development of unit supply — a gap that may grow significantly year over year. This is creating longer wait lists for applicants, unaffordable monthly rental rates and a lack of options for one the nation’s most vulnerable communities. In this commentary, DBRS looks at the extent of the senior housing shortage issue and how reinvigorated investment interests may help alleviate some of these problems.

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Canada Senior housing

Analyzing the Canadian Senior Housing Dilemma

May 09, 2018

Canada’s seniors are facing a severe housing shortage as there is an increasing number of baby boomers turning 65, coupled with a low property vacancy and supply as well as general soaring rent rates. This issue is especially magnified with Canada’s senior population since they often require properties with the care facilities and staffing that standard housing units do not provideAs wait lists extend and affordability slips away, DBRS examines the senior housing shortage more closely.

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The VR Revolution in the Commercial Real Estate Industry

May 04, 2018

Business owners could soon find themselves selecting office space from the comfort of their homes. Whether it’s in the city where they live or thousands of miles away, comprehensive virtual tours of properties are becoming a reality. Property buyers will see the most benefit from this new trend, saving on travel costs and time by looking at virtual open-house tours before deciding to take that next step. On the flip side, sellers will enjoy a wider client reach and a dynamic form of advertising for their properties whether they are hotel owners appealing to travel-savvy clients or landlords looking for new tenants to fill their apartment space. Properties dealing in multifamily, office and industrial services are also seizing the opportunity, finding ways to impress customers through immersive selling tactics. DBRS believes this trend could provide improved analytics and transparency for investors in the commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) market.

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Rental and Ownership in Toronto’s Downtown Core

April 04, 2018

It has been a huge year for Toronto’s condo market, with significant growth in Q3 2017 in overall inventory as well as costs. In this commentary, DBRS examines the condo scene in Toronto and concludes that condo ownership will remain unattainable for most Canadians because of the lack of supply, which is driving up costs, Toronto’s soaring population and new home-buying regulations (see also The Toronto Condo Market Goes Suburban in the same multifamily series). This commentary also looks at some of the new non-luxury developments slated to be constructed in the former City of Toronto1 area and provides industry perspective on projected-development over the next few years.

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E Commerce Takeover

The E-Commerce Takeover: Why Department Stores Are Struggling This Holiday Season

March 20, 2018

Fewer shoppers are visiting department stores during the holidays, favouring the convenience of purchasing products online instead. This leaves massive retail giants, such as Macy’s (whose stock has been down by 46.0% since the start of 2017), Kohl’s (down by 16.6%), Nordstrom (down by 19.2%) and JCPenney (down by 64.5%), suffering heavy losses, according to a November 2017 report by Market Realist. The Christmas season — usually the most lucrative time of year for retail — is not alleviating the strain on department stores and centrally located malls.

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Phoning It In: What Effect Does Working from Home have on the Modern Office?

March 20, 2018

If you ask people what perk they are looking for from a job, many would say that the flexibility to work from home is high on their list. That’s the direction a few offices are going in to promote morale among their workers and to meet the growing demands from millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers alike. There are a lot of immediate benefits to workers, like saving time in commuting and travel, saving money in travel costs and dry cleaning, as well as keeping working parents closer to their children. Most workers wouldn’t turn up their noses at the idea of staying at home to get office work done and it’s increasingly becoming a trend that employers are looking into to save rental space. A 2015 Stanford study titled “Does Working From Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment” followed the effects of telecommuting when the senior management team of a Shanghai-based call centre allowed employees to work from home in an effort to reduce office rental costs (which reached staggering costs from the booming real estate market). They found a few benefits for both employees and employers.

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Airbnb 2018

How the Airbnb and Hotel Industry War Will Look in 2018

February 21, 2018

Over the past five years, the mainstream hotel industry has faced a rapidly changing competitive landscape with the rising success of online crowd-sourced lodging services such as Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, among others. Staple hotel companies like Hilton, Marriott and Wyndham Worldwide (Wyndham) recognize that they now face a new set of challenges and are taking action to improve their competitive positions. For the past few years, they have been mitigating potential room revenue erosion through widespread hotel renovations and by lobbying for more stringent lodging regulation, such as the restrictions on short-term rentals passed in New York in October 2017.

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The Toronto Condo Market Goes Suburban

February 20, 2018

Toronto has undergone a residential condominium development explosion over the past five years, with another strong quarter in Q3 2017. A recent industry study projects the growth to continue in 2018, given Ontario’s population and economic boom. “Bedrooms in the Sky: Is Toronto Building the Right Condo Supply?”, a study by a joint initiative between the Ryerson City Building Institute and Urbanation, outlines how the growth of condo development does not line up with the demands of the growing number of families, in terms of both condo types and the amount of condos for sale, making Toronto’s bordering cities such as Pickering and Ajax much more attractive options.

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What Will the Modern Workplace Look Like in 2018?

February 04, 2018

With the arrival of 2018, many architects and developers of Class A office buildings are wondering how they can simultaneously maximize space and increase productivity. The most popular solution that has emerged over the past few years does not involve building side-by-side cubicles or cramming more workstations into floor plans, but creating open-concept space. However, creating an open-concept office comes at a price. DBRS, Inc. (DBRS) has observed that the cost of attracting and retaining tenants has increased because of changes to how space is currently being used in various markets. With today’s average outstanding amount of securitized office loans standing at $123.4 billion, representing just over 20.0% of total loans in the securitization market, it is important to keep in mind the costs that landlords incur to keep their properties competitive. This commentary examines the shift to open-concept space and some of the drivers behind the costs.

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