Auto sales to dip in most provinces, led by Ontario’s 3.1% drop: Scotiabank

Auto sales to dip in most provinces, led by Ontario’s 3.1% drop: Scotiabank
TORONTO — Canadian sales of cars and light trucks this year are expected to dip from last year’s all-time high, mostly because of weaker economic conditions in Ontario, Scotiabank said Friday in a report. The bank’s automotive outlook projected that 2018 could end a five-year string of successive records that included 2.04 million vehicles sold in 2017 — largely fuelled by demand in Ontario as well... Read More

Ontario restaurant price hikes boost food inflation after minimum wage increase

Ontario restaurant price hikes boost food inflation after minimum wage increase
Ontario restaurants hiking menu prices after the province raised its minimum wage this year were likely responsible for pushing January food inflation to its highest annualized increase in nearly two years. Overall food prices were 2.3 per cent higher last month compared with January 2017, according to Statistics Canada. It’s the biggest jump since April 2016 when food prices increased 3.2 per cent. Restaurant... Read More

Canfor going ahead with US$120M sawmill in U.S. as softwood dispute continues

Canfor going ahead with US$120M sawmill in U.S. as softwood dispute continues
VANCOUVER — Canfor Corp. says its going ahead with the construction of a US$120 million sawmill in Washington, Ga., as Canada’s softwood lumber industry continues to deal with punitive duties from the U.S. But the Vancouver-based lumber company said early Friday that construction of the new 275-million board feet mill may not start in the second quarter of 2018 as initially planned. Canfor... Read More

RBC hikes dividend as it reports flat first-quarter profit of $3 billion

RBC hikes dividend as it reports flat first-quarter profit of $3 billion
TORONTO — The Royal Bank of Canada hiked its dividend and delivered flat profits in the first quarter, as new U.S. tax reforms weighed on its latest earnings but also boosted the bank’s business south of the border. The Toronto-based lender increased its quarterly payment to common shareholders by three cents to 94 cents per share as it reported net income of $3 billion... Read More

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers
VANCOUVER — Small business owners in British Columbia say a new health-care payroll tax will result in higher prices for consumers as companies struggle to absorb the cost. The NDP government announced in this week’s budget that it would be phasing out medical services premiums by 2020 and instead will have an employer health tax of 1.95 per cent for companies with a payroll tax over $1.5 million. Eric Pateman, president of the Vancouver... Read More

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in December

Statistics Canada says retail sales fell 0.8 per cent in December
OTTAWA — Canadian retail sales fell in December after the growing popularity of Black Friday sales in advance of the holiday season boosted results in November. “The drop was no big surprise, given the clear tendency in recent years for December sales to decline — even though the figures are seasonally adjusted,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote... Read More

CN and CP say service will improve as frigid winter weather subsides

CN and CP say service will improve as frigid winter weather subsides
MONTREAL — Canada’s two largest railways vowed to improve their service levels over the coming months as they escape the grip of a tough winter that hampered their ability to transport goods. During separate presentations to a transportation conference, Canadian National Railway chief financial officer Ghislain Houle and CP Rail chief executive Keith Creel told investors that heavy snow in Western... Read More

B.C. unveils ‘bold’ housing, child care plans, hikes employer, real estate taxes

B.C. unveils ‘bold’ housing, child care plans, hikes employer, real estate taxes
VICTORIA — British Columbia moved to ease the province’s housing crisis Tuesday with a budget that introduces a new tax on property speculators, higher taxes on foreign homebuyers and plans to create 114,000 affordable housing units over the next decade. Finance Minister Carole James said the tax measures are part of the government’s aim to improve housing affordability in markets where... Read More

Pipeline delays impose ‘demonstrable’ cost to Canada’s economy: Scotiabank

Pipeline delays impose ‘demonstrable’ cost to Canada’s economy: Scotiabank
CALGARY — Delayed oil pipeline construction is causing a steep discount for Canadian crude prices that is costing the economy roughly $15.6 billion a year, according to Scotiabank. “Pipeline approval delays have imposed clear, demonstrable and substantial economic costs on the Canadian economy,” said bank chief economist Jean-Francois Perrault in a report Tuesday. The discount, however, is expected to ease through the year... Read More

Canada 150 saw record number of international tourists: Statistics Canada

Canada 150 saw record number of international tourists: Statistics Canada
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says international tourism set an annual record during Canada 150 last year, with 20.8 million trips of one or more nights. The overall figure surpasses the previous record of 20.1 million set in 2002. The statistics agency says the number of U.S. tourists rose 3.1 per cent in 2017 to reach 14.3 million, the highest figure since 2005, and... Read More