It’s a bad time to be a big bank

Like a Transylvanian townsperson trying to ward off Dracula with garlic, Canada’s banking sector is trying to keep spooky times at bay with layoffs.

What happened: Scotiabank is the latest Canadian bank to roll out cost-cutting measures as the outlook for the economy worsens, moving to cut 3% of its employees (amounting to about 2,700 jobs) and bracing for a $590 million hit in restructuring charges this quarter.

Another day, another EV battery investment

Cigarettes. Hard drugs. Handing out electric vehicle (EV) battery plant subsidies. All of these are, apparently, highly addictive. 

What happened: The federal and Ontario governments have pledged nearly $1 billion in subsidies for a plant in Loyalist Township from Belgian EV battery group Umicore.

Robots could be making your next desk lunch

Could a robot making salads in a suburb of Chicago be the first step in a fast food singularity that replaces all human workers? Probably not, but it does mean your next salad might be made by a robot.

Driving the news: The salad start-up Sweetgreen is all in on automation after opening its “Infinite Kitchen” concept earlier this year, a futuristic fast-casual lunch spot where robots and self-serve kiosks handle everything from assembling salads to taking orders. 

The Senate considers universal basic income

For most, getting free cash from the government is nothing more than a utopian dream… but the idea is slowly making its way through Parliament. 

Driving the news: Per VICE, yesterday, the Senate’s national finance committee studied a bill that would create a framework for universal basic income (UBI) in Canada. An identical Member of Parliament-sponsored bill is also making its way through the House of Commons.

Is your pet putting you in debt?

The cat’s out of the bag. And it might be scratching through your bank account…

What happened: A survey studied the annual costs for pet owners and parents, finding that 40% say caring for animals is as costly as raising a kid — we’re not kitten around. But how much does it really cost to be a pet owner in Canada?

Why aren’t more Canadians starting businesses?

Entrepreneurs in Canada are getting harder to find than an apartment for under $2,000. 

Driving the news: There are 100,000 fewer business owners today in Canada than 20 years ago, with the rate of people choosing to start businesses down by more than half. With fewer small business openings, the rate of self-employment is notably down as well.

Smart glasses just got smarter

It’s a glorious day for tech dads everywhere: Meta and Ray-Ban smart glasses are officially for sale in Canada.  

Driving the news: Meta has become the latest billion-dollar company to officially enter the smart glasses market with the second iteration of its design with Ray-Bans, now including a built-in Meta AI assistant, hands-free live streaming features, and a personal audio system. 

Five years of legal weed

Light up a dutchie and pass it ‘pon the left-hand side (or do so when the workday is over) because today marks the fifth anniversary of weed legalization in Canada. 

Driving the news: Per newly released Stats Canada data, Canada’s cannabis sector is valued at $10.8 billion, an increase from the $6.4 billion valuation it held when legalization occurred but a far cry from the lofty $22.6 billion potential that Deloitte predicted in 2018. 

It’s east vs. west for in-demand workers

NHL rivalries are no longer the only thing stoking competition between provinces. They’re now also fighting for Canada’s scarce supply of workers.

Driving the news: Provinces are piloting new strategies to lure skilled workers in high-demand sectors like healthcare, green energy, and construction.

Diplomats push to avert regional war in Middle East

Top US diplomats spent the weekend shuttling between Middle Eastern capitals in a bid to stop the war between Israel and Hamas from escalating into a broader regional conflict. 

What happened: President Joe Biden’s top security advisor Jake Sullivan said the US had privately warned Iran to stay out of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

What to do this weekend

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

Jim Stanford on the wave of autoworker strikes

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Jim Stanford to talk about the wave of autoworker strikes in the US and Canada and what it means for the sector. 

Microsoft wins its Activision Blizzard battle

Microsoft had to go through a blizzard of regulation, but it is now the proud owner of a world leader in video games. 

What happened: After nearly two years and multiple regulatory challenges, Microsoft closed its US$75 billion acquisition of gaming company Activision Blizzard — maker of hit games like Call of Duty and Candy Crush — after British regulators gave the deal a final go-ahead. 

Gaza is under an evacuation order

Overnight, Israel’s deadline to evacuate Gaza City passed. What comes next is unclear.  

Driving the news: Just before midnight on October 12, the Israel Defense Forces called for the evacuation of northern Gaza within 24 hours, an area home to roughly 1.1 million people. 

Exxon deal is music to Canada’s ears

Like a dinner guest who doesn't quite know when to leave, oil and gas might be sticking around a little longer than expected.

Driving the news: Exxon Mobil’s move to acquire Pioneer Natural Resources for US$59.5 billion is welcome news for the Canadian oil industry, according to experts. Per The Globe and Mail, it's a sign the company is confident that the global demand for oil will stay strong.

Ikea cuts prices

In the market for a new place? The bad news is that rent will be terrifying. The good news is, furnishing it just got cheaper! 

What happened: Ikea is slashing prices on a range of its furniture worldwide, as easing supply chain costs have made things cheaper to produce. In a world where food and gas prices remain sky-high, at least the famous Billy bookcase just saw a 20% discount.

Quebéc’s big fight against English

Quebéc is demanding that out-of-town university students parle Français, lest they pay the price. 

What happened: Quebéc’s government plans to propose a measure that would raise tuition fees for out-of-province and international students at the province’s three English-language universities (McGill, Concordia, and Bishop’s) as a way to beat back Anglo incursions. 

Amazon wants you to become a regular

Just in time for the holidays, Amazon is rolling out tools designed to get you to spend more. 

Driving the news: Amazon is testing a new ‘Buy Again’ feature aiming to persuade customers to make repeat purchases based on their order history, part of the company’s latest effort to drive up sales amid a post-pandemic slump, per the Wall Street Journal.

Social media is awash in Israel-Palestine disinformation

Consider this a gentle reminder to not trust everything you see online.  

Driving the news: Social media is now flooded with news about the Israel-Hamas war, as happens when any major world event unfurls these days. However, experts warn that the speed and scale at which disinformation is being spread is unprecedented, per WIRED

PAW Patrol is a Canadian success story

If you’ve had a passing interaction with a small child recently, chances are you’re aware of PAW Patrol, the animated series about heroic dogs. In fact, the show’s second movie hit theatres this month and had the largest box office opening for a Canadian film in a decade.

And now, the company behind it just made a move to get even bigger. 

What happened: Toronto-based toy giant Spin Master agreed to buy US toymaker Melissa & Doug for a cool US$950 million. Melissa & Doug specializes in toys for preschoolers and wooden jigsaw puzzles, diversifying Spin Master’s already vast portfolio of toys and games.