What to do this weekend

Shein is gunning for the fast fashion crown

The app that your teen cousin is probably scrolling through at this very moment is making moves to become even more dominant in the world of fast fashion.

What’s the deal with France’s election?

The Paris Olympics aren’t the only high-stakes contest taking place in France this summer.

Stopping the Chinese EV takeover

Western countries are taking the ‘if you can’t beat ’em, tax ’em’ approach to Chinese electric vehicle competition.  

We are nearing peak oil

A new report paints a future where oil might be downgraded from its ‘black gold’ status to something like tin or nickel.

Driving the news: Global oil demand is forecast to peak by 2029, per a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report, with production topping out at 114 million barrels a day by 2030.

IPO now stands for ‘I’d-rather-go Private, Okay’

 Newcomers to the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) are filing out like bar patrons after last call.   

Ottawa is serious about having more fun

 Getting paid six figures to get a city to party more isn’t just a frat bro’s dream; it’s a real job. 

Canadians are feeling better about the economy

 If our therapist is to be believed, positive thinking yields positive outcomes. The same may be true for the economy.

A.I. now stands for Apple Intelligence

 Apple’s developers conference has been about one thing and one thing only so far: the iPad finally getting a calculator… just kidding. It’s all about AI. Shocking, we know.  

What to do this weekend

Europeans head to the polls

After voting wrapped up in India and Mexico last week, the biggest election year ever continues apace with perhaps the most pivotal European Union parliamentary elections ever. 

Driving the news: EU parliamentary elections end tomorrow. Nearly 400 million people in 27 member states are eligible to vote for representatives to the EU branch, which has the final say on the budget and elects the president of the executive European Commission.  

U.S. regulators are coming for AI giants

 With company values skyrocketing and CEOs acting like rock stars, U.S. regulators are ready to rein in the AI giants.

What happened: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are close to finalizing a deal to divvy up responsibility for antitrust regulation of AI industry leaders. The FTC will handle Microsoft and OpenAI, while the DOJ will take Nvidia. 

Move over malls, here come shipping containers

Shipping containers no longer just haul consumer goods. Now, they also host chic boutiques brimming with bits and baubles.

What happened: Stackt Market, a Toronto shopping centre made of repurposed shipping containers, signed a new 10-year lease and plans to add locations in Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver by the end of the year.

Boeing’s spacecraft takes on a star-making role

 After years of hard work and numerous setbacks, Boeing has sent astronauts into space — and without any windshield cracks or doors blowing off. 

What happened: After two cancelled test flights earlier this year, Boeing and NASA successfully launched the first crewed test flight of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner capsule. 

Canadian agencies can’t crack down on cybercrime

 A scathing new report from the auditor general found that Canadian federal agencies and law enforcement aren’t adequately equipped to handle the rising threat of cybercrime.

Is today the day we finally see rate cuts?

With inflation stabilizing below 3% and the economy slowing, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor Tiff “Big Mack” Macklem is expected to finally cut its policy rate today from 5% to 4.75%.

Driving the news: After 27 long months, rate easing would come as a relief for the millions of Canadians struggling to pay off debt and mortgages amid elevated borrowing costs. 

A second wind for Canadian power

Hydro-Québec should start calling itself Hydro-and-Wind-Québec — on account of all the dang windmills it’s planning to build.

What happened: Hydro-Québec will become the main developer of wind energy projects in the province — a role previously held by the private sector — with plans to construct new wind farms that will add 10,000 megawatts of energy generation to its network by 2035. 

An Olympics competitor sprints to the front

In track and field, nothing inspires elite athletes more than the chance at eternal glory… though $150,000 could prove even more inspiring.

Driving the news: World Athletics, the global track and field body, plans to launch a new global athletics competition in 2026 called the Ultimate Championships. It will pay medallists money from a US$10 million pot, with gold medallists raking in a record prize of $150,000.

What to do this weekend

Our pick for what to eat, read, watch, and listen to this weekend.

Your next glass of OJ might have the juice but not the orange

Orange crops are so depleted that fruit juice makers are trying make orange juice without oranges.

The biggest election in history nears its end

After 44 days, seven distinct voting phases, and hundreds of millions of ballots cast, today is the final day of voting in the Indian federal election — the world’s largest election ever.

Banks earnings season comes to a close

Canadian lenders are still feeling the effects of high interest rates on earnings, but more deal-making helped offset losses — even as the mean ol’ Bank of Canada waits to cut rates.

Driving the news: The capital markets arms at banks rebounded. Private equity firms in Canada invested $4 billion last quarter, almost double the amount seen in Q1 of last year.

Canada is splashing out on its Air Force

Canada is forging ahead with the largest recapitalization of its air force since World War II.

The Department of National Defence has signed a 25-year, $11.2 billion deal with SkyAlyne Canada to provide and modernize air force training platforms.

Can limited-time offers lead to long-term sales?

The newly unveiled McDonald’s fries dusted in churro or masala seasoning are the latest limited-time offers (LTOs) from a big fast-food chain this year… and they won’t be the last.  

Big picture: LTOs have long been an industry staple used to lure customers and test out potential permanent items. Fast-food chains are now leaning on them more heavily than ever, with research firm Technomic finding that U.S. LTO launches were up 46% in the past year.

No-good varmints are rustling Canadian cattle

Did you know that, until 1832, stealing cattle was punishable by death in Upper Canada? These days, ranchers have to hope that jail time for ‘theft under $5,000’ is enough of a deterrent. 

What happened: Police in Québec are investigating a suspected case of cattle theft, or rustling, in which a rancher claims thieves nabbed his herd of almost 75 cows valued at ~$200,000. 

Stock trading just got a speed boost

Like us after our afternoon espresso shot, stock transactions are doubling their efficiency. 

As of this week, payments from sales of stocks or securities must be paid in full within a business day of the transaction going down, replacing the old two-day window.

A Barbenheimer hangover hits box offices

 This past weekend, Canadian and U.S. box office numbers were down 40% compared to last year, after disappointing new releases by both Furiosa and Garfield. In fact, it was one of the weakest Memorial Day weekends seen at the movies since the early 1980s. 

Indigo starts a new chapter

Canada’s largest bookstore chain hopes a sale will help turn its story from tragedy to triumph.

What happened: After a year defined by a cyberattack, board upheavals, and continued financial losses, Indigo is going private in a sale to Trilogy Retail Holdings and Trilogy Investments, companies owned by the husband of Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman.  

What to do this weekend

Putin wants to put fighting on pause

Authoritarian leaders, they’re just like us: They love taking on ambitious projects (be it starting a garden or launching invasions in neighbouring territories) only to try and quit them later on. 

What happened: Vladimir Putin is ready to negotiate a ceasefire with Ukraine that would pause fighting and recognize current battle lines, Russian sources told Reuters. Russia controls around 18% of Ukrainian territories, including Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. 

The RCMP struggles to go electric

Turns out, converting North America's largest fleet of police cars into electric vehicles is easier said than done. Who could have guessed? 

Driving the news: The RCMP is currently field-testing two Teslas — one on B.C.’s West Shore and the other on the grounds at Rideau Hall in Ottawa — as the national police service tries to replace as many of its ~12,000 vehicles as possible with zero-emissions options by 2035.

Shein and Temu imports are overwhelming

Online bargain bin giants like Shein and Temu have benefitted from long-standing tax breaks forgoing duties on foreign packages under a certain price threshold, but that might soon end. 

What happened: Germany has backed a proposal that would end an EU tax exemption for parcels under €150 entering Europe from foreign countries.

What to do this weekend

NYC and Dublin lose their portal privileges

 In a development surprising no one, the headline-making pair of giant video portals that allow people in NYC and Dublin to see each other via livestream have been temporarily shut down less than a week into their existence due to inappropriate behaviour from some passers-by.  

Why is a small French island territory revolting?

You know protests have gotten out of hand when the government bans both TikTok and alcohol sales — which is exactly what happened this week in New Caledonia. 

Driving the news: France has imposed a state of emergency on the Indo-Pacific island territory of New Caledonia after days of rioting killed five and injured at least 300 people. A thousand police reinforcements were sent in to “regain control” of certain areas. 

Phoenix is nothing but a pile of ashes

Unlike the mythological bird of the same name, the federal government’s Phoenix payroll system is not going to rise from the ashes. 

Driving the news: The feds are reportedly going full speed ahead with their plans to ditch Phoenix, the public service payroll system that has done nothing but cause headaches since its launch in 2016. As of last year, 30% of federal employees reported errors in their pay.

Wildfire season is in full effect

Canadian wildfires are primed to make some (really bad) history again this year. 

Driving the news: Thousands of residents in communities across Alberta, B.C., and Manitoba have been ordered to evacuate as another vicious wildfire season kicks into high gear. As of writing, 130 fires — 38 of which are out of control — have burned 362,100 hectares of land. 

Canada Goose flocks to high-fashion aspirations

Canada Goose — the iconic Canadian brand that began by making jackets for park rangers before pivoting to making status symbols for Bay Street traders — is getting even bougier.

What happened: Ahead of its quarterly earnings, the parka-maker announced the hiring of acclaimed French designer Haider Ackermann as its first-ever creative director. 

Cineplex leans into premium experiences

Movie theatres hope that adding a few bells and whistles will distract you from the fact that they’re not playing anything you actually want to see. 

Driving the news: Cineplex, Canada’s largest movie theatre chain, plans to expand its video arcades and other on-site attractions to try and pry butts off living room couches and get them into theatre seats during a time when audiences are trading big screens for streaming.

The CBC tries to find its way

Since Schitt’s Creek went off the air, CBC has been in a flop era that it’s desperate to end.

What happened: CBC/Radio-Canada has brought in a panel of Canadian media experts to help advise on policy changes that will aim to modernize the national broadcaster — at a time when one-third of surveyed Canadians say they want to see it lose funding entirely

What to do this weekend

Pro women’s basketball is coming to T.O.

After selling out an exhibition game last year, Toronto has nabbed its very own pro women’s basketball team.

What happened: Toronto is set to be awarded Canada’s first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team, sources told CBC Sports.

Panama’s accidental prez renews Canadian mining hopes

In an inspiring story for last-minute planners everywhere, José Raúl Mulino won the Panamanian presidential election despite being on the ballot for only two months.

Driving the news: Originally the running mate of Ricardo Martinelli — Panama’s president from 2009 to 2014 — Mulino stepped up after Martinelli was barred from running due to a money laundering conviction. Despite this, Mulino won the race with ~34% of the vote. 

TikTok takes on AI fakes and phonies

Like an angry punk rocker yelling at poseurs, TikTok has a plan to call out all (AI) fakes.

What happened: TikTok is poised to become the first social media platform to automatically label AI-generated images and videos on its app. Over the next few months, permanent digital watermarks will be added to such content, with the aim to expand to audio-only posts.

Panera discontinues allegedly lethal lemonade

 Panera Bread is taking its highly caffeinated “Charged Sips” drinks off the menu in Canada and the U.S. While no specific reason was given, it might have something to do with the fact that its Charged Lemonade is blamed in two wrongful death lawsuits for inducing cardiac arrest.  

B.C. rolls back legal public drug use

Don’t do illicit drugs in public in B.C. It’s, once again, illegal. And also, ya know, dangerous.

What happened: B.C. re-criminalized public drug use after the feds approved the province’s request to reverse part of the decriminalization pilot. 

Northvolt protests get fiery

If you’re having a bad start to the work day, at least be grateful you don’t have to deal with Molotov cocktails at the workplace. 

What happened: Work at the to-be-built Northvolt electric vehicle battery plant outside Montréal was briefly paused after staff found devices designed to start fires. It’s suspected to be the latest action in an ongoing sabotage campaign against the plant. 

Boeing shoots for the stars, misses

Last night, Boeing and NASA were supposed to launch the first crewed test flight of Boeing’s Starliner astronaut capsule.

Driving the news: No doors flew off, but the launch was cancelled after a problem was discovered with the NASA rocket propelling Starliner. The self-piloting craft was supposed to carry two astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS).

Clamping down on foreign meddling

The federal government is hoping some new laws can turn foreign interference into a foreign concept.

What happened: The feds proposed a set of laws and measures to counteract the growing threat of foreign interference from hostile states like China and Russia.

What to do this weekend

This Dutch city wants to pay off poor families' debts

One city in the Netherlands is trying out one weird trick to alleviate the debt of its downtrodden citizens: paying it off for them. 

Driving the news: The Dutch city of Arnhem is launching an unorthodox debt cancellation pilot. Over the next two years, four different charities will cover the debts of 40 to 60 of the city’s poorest families, no strings attached, with the government only paying for project costs.

Alberta is calling… again

Alberta is learning that — while putting out an open invite is fun — sometimes you want to be more picky about who you have over.

What happened: Alberta launched the third phase of its Alberta is Calling campaign, which successfully lured in throngs of workers with its siren song (read: tax incentives and lower cost of living).

Airbnb bets that you want to stay in the house from "Up"

After competitor Vrbo launched an entire ad campaign calling out Airbnb for having too many novelty listings, it responded by (we assume) saying, “Screw it, we’re gonna add more novelty listings.”

Driving the news: Airbnb unveiled a new category called “Icons,” boasting a mix of unorthodox stays and celebrity hangouts. There are 12 Icon listings in the first batch, including a recreation of the house from Pixar’s Up, which is suspended in the air by a crane. 

Houthi rebels extend their attacks

Don’t look now, but the Houthi rebels are at it again.

Driving the news: Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis conducted what appears to be their first attack on a cargo vessel sailing through the deep ocean and not in and around their stronghold near the Red Sea — stoking fears about increased capabilities from the group. 

Viking IPO has a successful maiden voyage

As post-IPO performances from shoe brands and vanity social media platforms disappoint, investors are looking to the Seven Seas for new buys.

What happened: Viking Cruises has set sail on the rocky waters of public trading, as shares of the luxury cruise line began trading yesterday after its US$1.54 billion IPO. It’s one of the biggest IPOs of the year so far, propelled by what looks like another banner year for cruises. 

Canada’s appetite for coal is all burnt out

G7 countries are hanging up their pickaxes and hardhats with lamp attachments as they prepare to dump coal as an energy source.

What happened: Member nations of the G7 (which includes Canada) have agreed on a plan to phase out coal power generation between 2030 and 2035. The agreement includes wiggle room for Germany and Japan, which still rely on coal for a quarter of their power.

Feds cap international student work hours

Many of us feel like we work too many hours, though almost none of us are told this by the federal government — unless you’re an international student, that is.

What happened: Starting in September, international post-secondary students will be able to work no more than 24 hours a week off-campus. 

Fed-up shoppers plot Loblaw boycott

For thousands of Canadians, their relationship with Loblaws has reached the breaking point.

Driving the news: A month-long boycott of Loblaw-owned stores is set to begin tomorrow as fed-up shoppers protest stubbornly exorbitant prices at the nation's largest grocer. 

What to do this weekend

Venice looks to unclog its canals from day trippers

As travel season shifts into high gear, Venice is asking visitors to cough up some extra cash before hopping on any gondolas.

What happened: Venice’s pilot for the first-of-its-kind ticketing system for day trippers began this week. For 29 high-traffic days this year, tourists visiting but not staying overnight must buy a €5 ticket to enter

Big Tobacco doesn’t want any smoke… literally

The market for cigarettes might be going up in smoke, but Big Tobacco has new products ready to take their place.

Driving the news: Tobacco giants Philip Morris and Altria both posted revenues last quarter that blew past analyst estimates thanks to booming demand for smoke-free cigarette alternatives like nicotine pouches and heated tobacco sticks. 

Honda is the latest entrant into Canada’s EV arena

Like a rapper officially releasing a leaked diss track, Honda has dropped a long-awaited project that’s making waves throughout the industry. 

What happened: Honda officially announced its $15 billion electric vehicle investment plan in Ontario, with designs to build four — count ’em, four — new EV plants in the province. The federal government touted the move as the “largest auto investment in Canada’s history.”

Salmon farming business is in its flop era

Canada’s salmon farming industry is gasping like a fish out of water right now, and consumers looking for some homegrown salmon could soon pay the price.

Driving the news: Last year, production of farm-raised salmon in Canada hit its lowest level since 2000, per new numbers from the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. A total of 90,000 metric tonnes of salmon were farmed, a colossal 39% dip from the record-high crop seen in 2016. 

Indigenous investing is on the rise

Just like a space probe hurtling through deep space, Indigenous investing is only going up.

What happened: The First Nations Bank of Canada — the largest Indigenous-owned bank in the country — announced a plan to raise as much as $50 million to reach more customers, expand its capital by as much as 50%, and double its loan book to $600 million.  

Uber pulls up to Newfoundland

Break out the bottle of Screech and reel in a kissable cod because Newfoundland has a new resident: Uber.

What happened: Uber is now servicing St. John’s, Newfoundland's largest city, and the accompanying Avalon Peninsula area. It is the first ride-sharing company to operate on the Rock since the province updated its Highway Traffic Act late last year to support such services. 

Can the competition watchdog get its groove back?

Canada’s competition watchdog is looking to regain its mojo after face-planting in its attempt to block a merger between Rogers and Shaw last year.

What happened: The Competition Bureau issued a report warning that Bunge’s impending US$8.2 billion acquisition of fellow agriculture company Viterra will seriously reduce competition in Canada’s agricultural sector, particularly in the grain and canola oil markets.

Sit, roll over, stay, choose your legal guardian

New laws in B.C. regarding pet custody are further proof that pets really are the new kids.

Driving the news: A provincial court ordered that custody of a golden retriever named Stella must be split week-to-week between her two owners who had broken up. It’s a landmark first ruling under new B.C. laws designating pets as family members, not property, in separation cases.

Québec Amazon warehouse attempts to unionize

Things coming to Canada this year: Shake Shack, the Eras Tour, and… a unionized Amazon warehouse? 

What happened: The DXT4 Amazon warehouse in Laval, Québec, could soon be the first in Canada to unionize after the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) — one of Québec's largest trade union federations — filed an application to represent 200 workers there.

What to do this weekend

Swiss neutrality faces new tests

Switzerland is famous for keeping its nose out of the business of other countries, but some citizens are worried it’s starting to pick sides. 

What happened: Swiss parliament voted against joining an international task force to enforce sanctions against Russia. The decision comes as lawmakers and citizens grapple with what it means to be a neutral country in an increasingly tense Europe.

Canada has mob ties and a money laundering problem

*Spoken in the worst Tony Soprano impersonation you’ve ever heard* You think La Casa Nostra don’t have a piece of da pie in da Great White North? Ayyy, fuhgeddaboudit! 

Driving the news: A faction of the infamous 'Ndrangheta Italian mafia allegedly laundered money through TD and RBC branches in Ontario after a suspected leader made connections with bank employees, according to reporting by the Toronto Star and other media outlets.

Retro sneakers are all the rage

Business at Adidas is booming this year. If you’re wondering why, just go for a walk around town and count how many pairs of Sambas you see walking the street.

What happened: Shares in the German sports giant hit a two-year high — fully recovering from the financial tumult caused by their break-up with Kanye West in 2022 — after a smashing first quarter led by sales for its retro Samba, Gazelle, and Campus sneakers.

Raptors scandal highlights worries about sports betting

After one of its worst seasons in franchise history, Canada’s only NBA team now has the indignity of seeing one of its players kicked out of the league. 

Driving the news: Toronto Raptors player Jontay Porter has received a lifetime ban from the NBA after an investigation found he broke the league’s gambling rules by betting on games and, more seriously, manipulating games that he played to benefit sports bettors.

Shoppers pharmacists sue over shady practices

Class-action lawsuits can be a real headache, but luckily Shoppers Drug Mart executives have an unlimited supply of extra-strength Tylenol at their disposal. 

What happened: An ex-Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against his former workplace, and its parent company Loblaw, claiming that the chain breached franchising deals by coercing pharmacists into “unsafe and unethical" behaviour.

Taxing times call for taxing measures

With so much spending already announced, we were left wondering what the feds would actually end up unveiling at this year’s budget meeting. 

The answer? A new tax to pay for all those plans, obviously.     

What happened: The federal government unveiled its 2024-25 budget yesterday. The biggest news to come out of it was an increase in the capital gains tax inclusion rate. Starting June 25, gains over $250,000 will be taxed at a two-thirds rate, up from one-half. 

Canada says 'bienvenue' to Francophone immigrants

Everybody knows that Canada needs more healthcare workers, more homebuilders, and… more French speakers? 

Driving the news: Since revamping the Express Entry system for skilled immigration last year, 19,700 potential immigrants have been invited to apply for permanent residency based on their French skills, more than any other selection category, per a Globe and Mail analysis.

Happy Budget Day, one and all

It’s Budget Day 2024, and the theme for this year is "generational fairness.” While that’s not as exciting a theme as “year of efficiency” or “murder mystery,” it does sound like a nice idea.

Driving the news: This year, the feds tried out a new comms strategy where they openly trumpeted many of the biggest moves in the month leading up to the budget. Over $37 billion in new initiatives for this year’s budget have already been announced.

What to do this weekend

Vietnamese court sentences tycoon to death for fraud

Sam Bankman-Fried might be having a rough go of it as he faces 25 years in the slammer,  but hey, at least he didn’t commit large-scale financial fraud in Vietnam. 

What happened: Real estate developer Truong My Lan has been sentenced to death by a Vietnamese court for orchestrating the country's largest-ever financial fraud. She embezzled over US$12 billion (or ~3% of Vietnam’s GDP) from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank.

Rogers Centre gets revamped

The Jays might have a losing record right now, but their stadium is turning into a real winner.

Driving the news: Toronto Blue Jays fans got their first taste of the latest Rogers Centre renos this week. Those seated in the 100-level bowl experienced cushier, wider seats (with cupholders!) and a better view of home plate. 

The government has been using AI… a lot

Canada has an accountant crisis

As if tax season wasn’t stressful enough, Canada is also dealing with an accountant shortage.

Driving the news: Canadian finance and accounting hiring managers are feeling overtaxed this tax season, with 90% reporting that they are experiencing challenges due to a widespread accountant shortage, according to a new survey by Robert Half. 

Track and field to pay its Olympic gold medallists

New hardest way to earn 50 grand just dropped: winning the Olympic 400-metre hurdles.

What happened: This year in Paris, track and field will be the first-ever Olympic sport to pay prize money to gold medallists. World Athletics, the governing body in charge of track and field, has set aside US$2.4 million to pay $50,000 to first-place finishers across 48 events. 

Canada leads the world in fossil fuel funding

Some of us are addicted to spending money on things like shoes or total solar eclipse memorabilia. Canada is addicted to spending money on oil and gas developments. 

Driving the news: A new study found that between 2020 and 2022, Canada led all G20 nations in foreign fossil fuel investments

It’s a good day to be a crab

Crab fishers in Newfoundland and Labrador are sick and tired of being pinched — not by crabs, but by what they feel are unfair industry pricing practices. 

What happened: Crab fishing season officially began in Newfoundland last weekend, but fishers who are members of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) are staying on dry land, protesting a crab pricing system they feel makes it impossible to earn a living.

The struggle to fix Canada’s refugee system

From Afghanistan to Haiti, a rash of global turmoil has led the number of asylum seekers to balloon, with Canada feeling the effects of an overburdened system.

Driving the news: Following a rise in asylum seekers who are ending up on the streets of major Canadian cities, the advocacy group Canadian Council for Refugees is calling on the feds to revamp Canada’s refugee system as it struggles with a historic influx of claimants. 

Canada goes on the offensive with new defence funding

After catching flack for not spending enough on defence, the feds fished around their proverbial couch cushions and came up with a hefty chunk of change. 

What happened: As part of Canada's first major defence policy update since 2017, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will receive an additional $8.1 billion in federal funding over the next five years.

What to do this weekend

Montréal has a plan to relieve its airport woes

Toronto Pearson gets all the bad press, but flying through Montréal’s international airport is no picnic, either. Case in point: It’s spending billions of dollars just to prevent traffic jams. 

What happened: Montréal-Trudeau International Airport will undergo a ~$4 billion plan to enhance capacity amid an influx of travellers. Developments will include new pickup and drop-off areas, a connection to the city’s REM rail network, and a new terminal.

The construction sector is building itself up

With Canada rushing to build housing, it should be no surprise that some entrepreneurial minds feel like it’s a business worth getting into. 

Driving the news: The federal government made a wave of announcements this week for housing initiatives that will feature in the 2024-25 budget. They include a $6 billion pledge for housing construction and infrastructure, and a $1.5 billion fund to protect existing rental units.

Dollarama can’t stop, won’t stop, making money

Despite consumer outrage over the fact some things cost five bucks there these days — a miscarriage of retail justice if there ever was one — shoppers keep going back to Dollarama.

What happened: The bargain seller reported a 24% jump in profits for the final quarter of 2023 alongside an 8.7% rise in comparable store sales (which tracks growth without counting new locations) as Canadian shoppers increased their number of dollar store trips.  

Droughts could dry up oil and gas production

As Canadian oil and gas producers look to notch record outputs this year, severe droughts in Western Canada could rain on their parade — not literally, given, ya know, the droughts.

Driving the news: A new Deloitte report warns that oil and gas producers could have trouble sourcing water for their operations, as some of Canada’s driest places — northwest Alberta and northeast B.C. — just so happen to be the centre of oil and gas country.

The overhype of walkout check-outs

In the era of AI, remember this maxim, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

What happened: Amazon is walking back its “Just Walk Out” check-out system at its grocery stores. It lets users scan their credit cards as they enter, grab the items they want, and simply walk out of the store without having to (perish the thought) interact with a cashier.

Med school admissions get a makeover

For many students, getting into med school feels like winning the lottery. And soon, for some of them, it will literally be like winning the lottery. 

What happened: Queen’s University will introduce a unique lottery system this fall as part of its medical school application process as it looks to spur admissions for students from diverse backgrounds. The lottery will be used to choose who reaches the first interview stage. 

Are we seeing an EV slowdown, or just a Tesla slowdown?

These are just a choice selection of analysts’ reactions to Tesla’s quarterly sales report. 

What happened: Like a deadbeat dad missing his child’s softball game, Tesla’s sales numbers were a massive disappointment. Despite technically regaining its title of top EV seller, the company seriously missed Wall Street estimates, sparking fears over its growth. 

What to do this weekend

What can we learn from the Baltimore bridge collapse?

The tragic bridge collapse this week in Baltimore is putting the spotlight on the safety of North American bridges.  

Driving the news: Investigators are still trying to determine the series of events that led a 290-metre cargo ship to crash into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, a collision that completely destroyed the bridge and led to the presumed deaths of six people. 

How does motorcycle racing affect your pension?

The owner of Formula One is looking to diversify its portfolio of ‘vroom vroom sports’ (as we like to call them).

What happened: Liberty Media is in late-stage discussions to buy Dorna Sports — the owner of MotoGP, the world’s top motorcycle road racing league — for a cool €4 billion. 

It’s SBF sentencing day

Place your bets, folks. Will the fallen crypto wunderkind spend his life behind bars or have a brief stop-over in the big house? 

Driving the news: Sam Bankman-Fried will be sentenced today following his conviction on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors have asked that he get 40 to 50 years, his attorneys have argued for 6.5 years at most, and he could theoretically get over 100.

Ontario tries to balance spending and saving

Provincial governments. They’re just like us. They tell themselves they're gonna rein in spending and then go, “Hmmm, maybe next year.” 

What happened: Canada’s most populous province tabled its budget for 2024-25. Like most provinces, it put balanced books on the back burner in favour of higher spending, planning to operate on a $9.8 billion deficit this fiscal year, which is more than triple last year’s deficit. 

Cocoa prices are going cuckoo

Warning: the Easter Bunny might be dropping off fewer chocolate eggs than usual this year. 

Driving the news: Over the past year, cocoa futures have surged 250% as suppliers grapple with a historic shortage. After breaking a record high last month, prices have passed US$10,000 per metric tonne, a number that would have been unthinkable just weeks ago. 

The Port of Vancouver had a record-breaking year

The Port of Vancouver: It’s huge, it’s salty, it’s not very efficient, and it can teach us a thing or two about the state of Canada’s economy. 

What happened: A record volume of cargo moved through the Port of Vancouver last year, with ships carrying 150.4 million tonnes of stuff. The port saw elevated levels of shipments for really heavy things, like commodities and vehicles (some of which were maaaybe stolen). 

Spotify wants you to watch and learn

There could be a new category for your Spotify Wrapped this year: number of new skills and concepts mastered. 

What happened: Spotify has launched a pilot in the U.K. offering video learning courses to users, available both on mobile and on desktop. The classes fall into four wide-ranging buckets: “make music,” “learn business,” “healthy living,” and (vaguest of all) “get creative.”

What to do this weekend

Temporary residents, long-term problems

When it comes to temporary residents in Canada, the government now feels that 2 million is company, but 2.5 million is a crowd.

What happened: For the first time, Canada will set a target for non-permanent residents (NPRs) as it looks to reduce the number of them in the country by 20% over three years. This means cutting the number of NPRs by 500,000, down from 6.2% of the population to 5.0%. 

Provinces run up their deficits

This budget season, provinces are primed to rack up more debt than us during the holidays.

Driving the news: As the 2024-25 provincial budgets roll in, new research from the National Bank of Canada estimates that provinces facing deficits will be $130 billion in debt this fiscal year. That’s a 21.5% surge from the year before and, excluding 2020, the highest tally in at least a decade.

Why the Kate Middleton conspiracies are so troubling

We tried to avoid this, we really did. But it’s gotten to the point that it can’t be ignored.

It’s time to talk about Kate Middleton.  

Driving the news: A recently published video showing Kate Middleton (or Catherine, Princess of Wales, if you’re fancy) and Prince William shopping has done little to dissuade conspiracy theorists that she is dead, ill, or otherwise indisposed and replaced by a double.

Realtors say bye-bye to big commissions

Did you hear that? It’s the sound of over a million real estate agents questioning their line of work.

What happened: Late last week, the U.S. National Association of Realtors settled an antitrust lawsuit alleging the trade group worked to artificially inflate sales commissions for years. Now, it will do away with its restrictive rules guaranteeing 6% commission for brokers.

Public healthcare vs. private nurses

Newfoundland and Labrador’s health authority has launched a pilot to cut back on one of its most expensive indulgences: Out-of-province travel nurses from private staffing firms. 

Driving the news: Union staff nurses at public health institutions can now take on extra work as temporary fill-ins in rural areas. While the nurses can only do this during their days off, they are rewarded with an overwhelming sense of goodwill… and an extra $25 an hour.

Unilever gives ice cream the cold shoulder

Like a vanilla cone on a scorching July day, Unilever’s faith in its ice cream biz is melting.

What happened: Gargantuan multinational Unilever plans to spin off (or if all else fails, sell) its ice cream business by the end of next year. With popular brands like Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, and Magnum, the new entity would be the world’s largest ice cream company.

Apple is looking to Google for an AI teammate

Apple is all-in on bringing generative AI capabilities to its devices. To do this, it’s angling to get a little help from its friends (read: a lot of help from one of its staunchest competitors).  

What happened: Apple is reportedly in talks with its best frenemy Google to have the search behemoth’s Gemini AI engine built into the iPhone to power upcoming AI features.

LinkedIn wants to add games

Attention all you jobseekers and headhunters out there: Invest in a headset, a gaming chair, and a whole bunch of Mountain Dew Code Red — because LinkedIn is for gamers now. 

What happened: LinkedIn confirmed that it has begun working on games for the platform in a bid to get users to spend more time "networking." Per one app researcher, the games will have a system where companies are ranked by how well their employees do. 

What to do this weekend

The EU leads the charge to rein in AI

While some of us are still not entirely sure what a large language model is, EU lawmakers have gone ahead and passed the world’s first comprehensive AI regulation act.

Catch-up: The Artificial Intelligence Act — we love legislation with to-the-point titles — has been contentious, but it should be finalized in May, with implementation beginning next year. It stands to set the tone for global AI regulation and influence Big Tech developments.

Do suits still suit Canada’s menswear sector?

As ‘athleisure’ and ‘quiet luxury’ continue to dominate fashion trends, one Canadian menswear store that made its name with formalwear is trying to keep up with the times.

What happened: The historic Canadian men’s clothier Harry Rosen is launching a five-year, $50 million plan to overhaul its stores across Canada, including making stores better suited (lol) for online pick-ups, condensing display spaces, and showcasing newer, trendier labels.

Canadian diplomats evacuate Haiti

As the situation worsens in Haiti, some Canadian diplomats are getting out. 

What happened: Canada evacuated most of its embassy staff in Haiti, leaving only essential employees in the Caribbean nation, including Ambassador André François Giroux. Meanwhile, the ~3,000 Canadian citizens in Haiti have received shelter-in-place orders. 

Alberta is luring workers with hefty tax incentives

While Alberta formally ended its “Alberta is Calling” advertising campaign last year meant to attract workers to the province, the province is still singing a siren’s song.

What happened: Alberta has introduced a program to offer skilled tradespeople from outside the province a $5,000 tax credit if they pack up shop and move to Alberta. The province will shift $10 million in its budget to pay for it, making up to 2,000 workers eligible. 

Canadian pensions are in love with India

Canadian-Indian relations have been, shall we say, testy lately. But you wouldn’t know it from looking at the investments Canadian pension funds are making. 

What happened: The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP) will invest ~$107 million in Indian B2B fintech company Perfios, unlocking unicorn status. It’s the latest investment OTPP has made into an Indian startup since launching an Indian investment drive in 2022. 

As Telegram ponders IPO, experts worry about its dark side

Telegram, it’s not just for your journo friends anymore. 

Driving the news: Encrypted messaging app Telegram is mulling a U.S.-listed IPO, its owner Pavel Durov told the Financial Times, after surpassing 900 million monthly active users and projecting it will hit profitability within the next year thanks to newfound ad dollars. 

Cancellation-fest

Arts and culture festivals could sadly be following the woolly mammoth trajectory — once prominent across Canada, but slowly on their way to extinction. 

Driving the news: The shockingly sudden cancellation of this year’s Just for Laughs comedy festivals in Montréal and Toronto has brought to light the dire state of the business of festivals in Canada. Everything from music fests to theatre fests are struggling.

Giving birth to a new type of retreat

A new type of retreat is going after a demographic that needs more R&R than perhaps any other: new parents. 

Driving the news: Last month, Alma Care — a retreat for mothers who have just given birth — officially opened in Toronto. Per the owner, it’s the first facility of its kind in Canada, offering new moms cozy rooms, doula consultations, masseuses, and a staffed nursery. 

Canada opens up to open banking

In next month’s federal budget, the feds are poised to put forward a framework legislation to bring open banking to the financial system. What is that, exactly? We’re glad you asked.  

Driving the news: Open banking is a system that lets users decide how their financial data is shared. Under the framework, banks would share a customer’s financial data with third parties, like fintech apps, via APIs.

What to do this weekend

The U.S. steps up its fight against TikTok

Buckle up, folks; we’re going through the ins and outs of the U.S. government vs. TikTok. 

What happened: A U.S. House of Representatives committee voted unanimously to advance a proposed bill forcing TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to sell its ownership stake in the app within 165 days, lest the app be banned in the country entirely.

Newspapers could help shippers go the extra (last) mile

As anyone who reluctantly hits the treadmill knows, the last mile is always the hardest. That’s also true of parcel delivery. 

What happened: Calgary-based Ziing — focused on solutions for “last-mile delivery,” the final leg of package delivery — is acquiring newspaper publisher Torstar’s parcel-delivery unit for an undisclosed amount. The deal will give Ziing an extra ~30,000 weekly deliveries.

Canada’s military just isn’t prepared

Like a student who hasn’t been paying attention during class, the Canadian Armed Forces are unprepared and hoping they don’t get called on.

Driving the news: Just 58% of Canadian troops who are meant to respond to a potential crisis in a NATO nation are actually ready to do so, per a Department of National Defence report seen by the CBC, mainly due to a lack of personnel and a lack of ready-to-use equipment. 

Canada cracks down on art stolen by WWII bad guys

An untold number of artworks in galleries and collections worldwide have secret dark histories. Several countries are now stepping up their game to shine a light on them.

Driving the news: Canada and 21 other countries have signed on to a new agreement meant to clarify and enhance best practices for finding and returning art looted by the Nazis. The agreement builds upon a previous set of guidelines called the Washington Principles.

Canadian businesses vs. Canadian pensions

If there’s one thing we all can agree on, it’s that in Canadian business, publishing an open letter to your enemies in a newspaper is one of the most dramatic things you can do. 

What happened: That’s exactly what over 90 business leaders from top Canadian companies did when they publicly asked the country’s finance ministers to devise new rules for pension funds to invest more in Canadian businesses. 

Canada’s sports bodies are begging for more cash

With the Paris Olympics less than five months away, Canada’s sports bodies have put out a plea for more cash. 

What happened: The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees (COC and CPC) submitted a budget request to the feds for $104 million in extra annual funding to cover rising operational costs of increased stakeholder demands, made clear by a new Deloitte report.

The Body Shop is no longer fresh and fragrant

A fading star of Canadian malls now has a stench that not even a coconut body scrub can wash off.  

Driving the news: The Body Shop Canada is shuttering 33 (over a third) of its locations,  ending online sales, and laying off over 200 workers after filing for creditor protection. The brand says it had to take these measures after its parent company siphoned money from it. 

It’s pricier than ever to have fun, just ask Raptors fans

It’s getting more and more expensive to see sweaty men jump really high these days. 

Driving the news: The average price for season tickets to the Toronto Raptors will be ~4% higher on average next season.

What to do this weekend

Elon Musk sues OpenAI

From the creators of Musk vs. Zuckerberg, Musk vs. Advertisers, and Musk vs. Delaware comes the most thrilling instalment yet… Musk vs. OpenAI. 

What happened: Musk is suing the AI industry’s leading company, OpenAI, which he helped co-found in 2015, and its CEO, Sam Altman. He alleges that the company has betrayed its founding agreement to create AI for the benefit of humanity by inking its deal with Microsoft.  

Feds ordered to find ArriveCan dollars

Much like the bankrupt crypto exchange FTX did after its collapse, the feds are embarking on a treasure hunt for vanished money. 

Driving the news: The House of Commons passed a motion giving the prime minister 100 days to recoup funds paid to ArriveCan contractors who didn’t actually do any work on the app, which could impact about 76% of subcontractors hired, according to one estimate. 

Alberta says “no” to rampant renewables

                              Alberta       Scared birds

                                           🤝          

 “Maybe we should cool it with all these new wind turbines.”

What happened: After lifting a seven-month ban on new renewable energy projects, Alberta has introduced rules restricting where future developments can set up shop in order to keep prime agricultural lands for farmers and preserve the province’s “pristine viewscapes.”

Bitcoin is officially back

*Backstreet Boys voice* Bit. Coin’s. Back. Alright!

Driving the news: Bitcoin reached its highest mark since November of 2021 yesterday, with prices briefly eclipsing $85,000 at one point. Retail investors poured money into bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with BlackRock’s ETF registering a single-day record inflow of US$520 million.

Banks are bracing against loan losses

Canadian Bank Earnings Week is under way, and while we admit it’s not as exhilarating as Shark Week, it can teach us some valuable lessons about the murky waters of the economy.

What happened: Quarterly earnings reports for Scotiabank and BMO showed that both banks are keeping more cash aside than analysts expected to cover loans that could go sour, known as loan loss provisions, continuing a trend of caution in a risky environment. 

Hot shot lawyers leave for greener pastures

Scores of Canadian lawyers have fled for the bright lights of New York in recent years, clearly inspired by the undying popularity of Suits.

Driving the news: The legal profession in Canada is recovering from a pandemic-era case of brain drain in which 100 to 150 mostly junior-level lawyers left Canada, per The Globe and Mail. These legal eagles mainly flew the coop from Toronto to New York City.

Could vending machines be scanning your face?

Nowadays, you can’t even grab a sneaky little midday Mars bar without being silently judged by a dang machine.  

What happened: Students at the University of Waterloo are revolting against Mars-owned campus vending machines after discovering the machines were scanning users’ faces without their knowledge. 

Proposed online safety laws come in hot

Today in news that we’re sure politicians will take in super chill fashion, the federal justice minister unveiled the first draft of a long-awaited Online Harms Act.

Driving the news: The proposed legislation covers content posted to social media platforms, live streaming services, and some user-uploaded pornography sites. If passed, it would also create a new digital safety commission tasked with upholding rules, making recommendations, and receiving user complaints.  

What to do this weekend

Japan breaks its 34-year stock market curse

Perhaps Canadian NHL teams looking to win the Stanley Cup could learn something from Japan’s stock market about breaking decades-long curses. 

What happened: This week, the Nikkei 225, Japan’s largest stock market index, rose to a record high for the first time in more than 34 years. It’s become the world’s best-performing major index so far in 2024, rising about 17.5% this year, and 42.4% over the past 12 months.

Menthol bans bolster the global fight against smoking

Menthol cigarette bans are helping make the phrase smoke ’em if you got ’em obsolete. 

Driving the news: A new study on the effects of menthol cigarette bans in Canada, several U.S. states, and certain EU countries found that 24% of menthol smokers quit smoking entirely within two years of a ban, with national menthol bans being even more effective.

There’s no end in sight for Canada’s oil pipeline glut

Like us trying to do spreadsheets while also taking a Zoom call, Canada’s pipelines are at full capacity.

Driving the news: Sure as the sun rises in the east, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hit yet another delay, this time due to technical issues. The long-awaited expansion is now unlikely to meet its April start date but is still on track to begin operations next quarter. 

All hail Nvidia, king of the markets

Nvidia just had the type of earnings call that makes investors’ eyes pop out of their sockets like a cartoon wolf. 

What happened: The chip designer shattered estimates by reporting a 265% surge in quarterly revenue and a 769% increase in its net income, as demand for its industry-leading AI chips continues to soar. You don’t need a six-figure MBA to know that that’s very good. 

Cold snap lays B.C.’s wine crop to waste

If you stumble across a bottle of 2024 vintage B.C. wine when perusing the liquor store this year, we recommend you pick it up. It could be a collector’s item one day. 

Driving the news: There will be “an almost complete write-off” of B.C. wine this year after a cold snap that hit the province last month wiped out as much as 99% of its wine grape harvest, according to early industry estimates.

B.C. gets new money to build housing

Another day, another plan from a provincial government to do something, anything, to build more homes. 

What happened: The federal government is chipping in $2 billion worth of loans for B.C.’s new BC Builds program, aimed at boosting the construction of affordable rental housing for middle-class renters.

The law locks out LockBit hackers

A shadowy international syndicate of cybercriminals just got a taste of its own medicine. 

What happened: Authorities have seized control of the notorious ransomware gang LockBit’s web infrastructure after a successful operation led by the U.K.'s National Crime Agency. Law enforcement agencies from around the world, including Canada, contributed to the takedown.

What to do this weekend

Indonesia’s next leader is dancing away his unsavoury past

Meet Prabowo Subianto. He loves cats. He gets jiggy with it. He was the head of military special forces under a dictatorship. And he’s going to be the next president of Indonesia.  

Driving the news: Indonesia held one of the largest democratic elections in the world this week, with almost 205 million eligible voters. Early results show that Subianto, the defence minister and ex-general, is all but guaranteed to win the race and take office in November.  

Travel chatbots cause turbulence

You can now add “malfunctioning AI chatbot” to your list of potential travel headaches alongside carry-on baggage fees, screaming babies, and doors that blow off in mid-air

What happened: Air Canada must reimburse a B.C. flyer $650.88 after a provincial small claims tribunal ruled that the airline’s chatbot misled the customer about the cost of his flight to Toronto.

NATO nations drum up defence dollars

While most of us are trying to save up these days, NATO nations are spending on defence like a rich kid who got their hands on their daddy’s credit card.

Driving the news: NATO projects that 18 of its 31 member states will meet the military bloc’s goal of spending at least 2% of annual GDP on defence this year. That’s over 58% of members, compared to 35% just last year and a paltry 14% of members a decade ago.  

Roblaw$ shirts upset Canada’s largest grocer

The Loblaw corporation has previously beefed with Frito-Lay and other smaller suppliers. Now, it’s in a spat with a guy making novelty T-shirts.   

Driving the news: Toronto-based artist Christopher Lambe was forced to remove products from his Etsy store that lambasted grocery store chain Loblaw and its high prices after the company filed a copyright infringement complaint through Etsy. Lambe is disputing the case.

Is the World Cup good for Canada’s economy?

Like us after putting down a non-refundable deposit to book the perfect venue for a birthday party, Vancouver and Toronto are hoping that playing host will be worth it.  

Driving the news: In 2026, Vancouver and Toronto will host seven and six FIFA World Cup matches, respectively. Neither city has given an updated cost estimate since 2022, so now attention has turned to figuring out how much hosting will cost, and whether it’s worth it.

To cut, or not to cut? That is the question.

Welcome back to The Peak’s Inflation Drinking Game. The first rule, take a sip (of your coffee, of course) every time you read any variation of the phrase “rate cuts.”  

What happened: U.S. inflation growth cooled once again in January, falling to 3.1% from 3.4% in December. That sounds peachy keen, but analysts expected growth to drop below 3%.

Russia’s Google leaves Russia

The firm behind the company that’s most commonly known as “Russia’s Google” is looking to get out of the whole ‘Russian’ aspect of its business.

Catch-up: Like several non-Western nations, Russia has its own websites that mirror more globally popular ones like Yandex (Russian Google) or VK (Russian Facebook).

Paris goes to war against bulky vehicles

In news that will surely upset French soccer parents (or parents de football), it will soon be a lot pricier to drive an SUV in Paris. 

Driving the news: Paris has declared war against SUVs after the city voted to triple parking charges in the city centre on out-of-town gas-powered and hybrid vehicles weighing over 1.6 tonnes. The move aims to cut pollution, free up space, and make life safer for pedestrians.

Bowling is on a Canadian roll

At the height of the pandemic, nothing could be more frightening than repeatedly touching a germ-infested item hundreds of other strangers had handled. Now, we can’t get enough of it! 

In case you couldn’t tell, we’re talking about bowling.  

Driving the news: U.K.-based bowling operator Hollywood Bowl Group (HBG) is pursuing an aggressive expansion in Canada — with plans to open up to 10 new alleys within the next five years — as it posts yearly revenue gains better than a game-winning strike. 

Canada’s housing shortfall just got shorter

We have a recommendation for a special advisor on the Canadian housing crisis: the Count from Sesame Street

Driving the news: The widely cited estimate that Canada will need 3.5 million extra housing units by 2030 to achieve housing affordability could be short by as much as 1.5 million, per a new report from CIBC economist Benjamin Tal, due to underestimated population growth. 

Leafs captain tries to skate around taxes

Professional athletes, they’re just like you and me: They eat, they sleep, and they hate paying taxes. 

Driving the news: Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares is in a heated face-off against the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The hockey star claims the tax body miscalculated what he owes on the US$15.3 million signing bonus he got when joining the Leafs in 2018.

Crypto mining is an energy sapper

As provinces play the part of ‘parents trying to keep the energy bills down,’ crypto miners are playing the part of ‘little brother who stayed up all night gaming with the lights on.’

What happened: New crypto mining projects in B.C. will continue to be temporarily barred from tapping into the province’s energy supply after a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling. 

Adam Neumann wants WeWork to take him back

In what could be the most shocking reunion since Ben Affleck and J-Lo, WeWork co-founder and ex-CEO Adam Neumann has sent the proverbial “u up?” text to his old business. 

Driving the news: For months now, Neumann’s latest venture, Flow Global, has been trying to acquire WeWork out of bankruptcy and provide financing to keep it running.

Novo Nordisk strikes deal to ramp up Ozempic production

As Ozempic becomes more challenging to acquire than a Cabbage Patch Kid on Christmas Eve in 1983, the drugmaker behind it is making a big money move to help increase production. 

What happened: Novo Nordisk — maker of blockbuster diabetes and weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy — struck a US$11.5 billion deal to acquire three factories from Catalent, a drug manufacturer that was bought by Novo Nordisk’s parent as part of a larger transaction. The deal will increase capacity to help meet relentless demand for the drugs.