Are more strikes on the horizon?

As the calendar turns and labour unrest in Canada continues, the Summer of Strikes is evolving into the Autumn of Arbitration (which is way less catchy, but just as important). 

Driving the news: Per a new RBC report, amidst a surge of high-profile strikes, first-year raises for union workers are up 7.1% as of July — the highest rate since the early 1990s.

No recycled Lego bricks

The world’s largest toymaker is having a hard time making its little bricks eco-friendly. 

What happened: Danish Toymaker Lego has abandoned a high-profile effort to ditch oil-based plastics from its bricks after finding that its new material — made from recycled plastic bottles — would lead to higher carbon emissions, per the Financial Times.

ChatGPT finds its voice

OpenAI's latest ChatGPT update bestows the AI chatbot with the gifts of speech and sight.

What happened: ChatGPT can now converse with users — across five chipper voice options — and process images to help answer questions. The features will be available to paid users within two weeks and to those of us who are AI freeloaders in the near future.

New space rocks just dropped

Unlike many of us coming home from holiday, NASA remembered to bring back souvenirs from its latest trip.

Driving the news: The largest asteroid sample ever brought back to Earth touched down Sunday morning when NASA’s OSIRIS-REx capsule returned from a 7-year trip—a mission Canada played a crucial role in. 

Ford workers win big pay bump

Big congrats to anyone who works for Ford on your big raise. Next round is on you!

Driving the news: Workers at Ford’s Canadian facilities voted to ratify a deal negotiated between their union, Unifor, and the automaker that includes a 15% wage increase over the next three years.

What to this weekend

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

Brendon Bernard on Canada’s labour market

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Brendon Bedard, Senior Economist at Indeed, to talk about the weakening labour market, and what it means.

NFTs are dead, long live NFTs

If you were kicking yourself last year for not getting in on the NFT craze, we’ve got good news... but if you have a stockpile of Bored Apes collecting digital dust, maybe skip to the Saturday crossword. 

Driving the news: A new report from crypto company dappGambl found that ~95% of all NFTs are now essentially worthless, with ~23 million people holding onto these “assets.”

TikTok plays matchmaker for its employees

Do NOT show your HR manager this: In China, companies are adding “helping you find your one true love” to their benefits packages, alongside dental coverage and vacation time.  

Driving the news: Forbes unveiled that TikTok parent company ByteDance has an internal channel on its shared work tool called Meet Cute. It lets employees post photos of friends, family, and acquaintances and advertise them as potential romantic partners to co-workers.

Alberta wants to ditch the CPP

Like Zayn Malik leaving One Direction, Alberta wants to break away from Canada’s national pension plan.

What happened: Alberta is looking to leave the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and establish its own provincial pension fund after a long-awaited report claimed the province would be entitled to a $334 billion asset transfer if it left in 2027 — over half of the CPP’s entire assets.

Zelenskyy touches down in Canada

While you were asleep, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Canada. 

What happened: After hitting up a UN Security Council meeting in New York City this week, Zelenskyy is set to deliver an address to Parliament today, aiming to bring attention back to the war in Ukraine. He’ll then head to Toronto, home to 11% of all Ukrainian-Canadians.

Young Canadians can’t afford younger Canadians

Young people hoping to start a family in Canada are taking one look at their grocery bill and saying “maaaaybe a dog?”

Driving the news: The rising cost of living in Canada has created a quality of life crisis for young people, leading many of them to not have kids, per a new StatCan report. Over a third of young adults don’t think they can afford to have a child in the next three years.

Managing your #RelationshipMoneyGoals

As it turns out, even the latest celebrity gossip can offer up a little financial wisdom.

Driving the news: Musician Joe Jonas and actor Sophie Turner are the latest celebrity couple to file for divorce this year, adding to a star-studded list including Ariana Grande, Britney Spears, and Kevin Costner. They reportedly have an "ironclad” prenuptial agreement, or prenup, that will allow Jonas to keep his music royalties while Turner will keep her acting earnings. 

Who needs a passport when you’ve got your face?

Physical passports and boarding passes could go the way of smoking sections on airplanes thanks to biometric technology. 

What happened: Next year, Singapore’s Changi Airport — ranked among the world’s best — will roll out a biometric system that lets travellers take off without having to flash their passports. The change will streamline operations as the airport welcomes more jet setters.

India escalates beef with Canada

Remember the good ol’ days of Canadian and Indian leaders forging economic ties and posing for extremely cringey photos? We sure do — but that time is behind us now. 

What happened: India hit Canada with a travel advisory yesterday, making it awkward for the scores of Indian nationals who call Canada home and ~319,000 Indian international students, now advised to exercise extreme caution amidst “growing anti-India activities.” 

Toronto ponders EV mandate for Ubers, taxis

Ride-sharing in Toronto could soon become an eco-friendly way to travel, which might make you feel a little better about all those Uber charges. 

Driving the news: Following the lead of cities like Amsterdam and New York, Toronto is considering requiring vehicles-for-hire — like taxis, Ubers, and Lyfts — to be zero emission by 2031, under a new recommendation by the Municipal Licensing and Standards division. 

AI is a side hustle sidekick

Looking to put some extra muscle into your side hustle? Look no further than our robot pals.

Driving the news: A new Morgan Stanley survey found that the incomes of gig workers who used generative AI were 21% higher compared to those who didn’t. The report’s most optimistic reading projects AI to add US$1.4 trillion to the side hustle economy by 2030. 

The UN takes a temperature check

As the 2023 UN General Assembly enters its final day, member nations are trying to find a way to get a passing grade on the world’s hardest group project. 

Driving the news: This year’s assembly has been called a “halftime summit” as the UN checks in on the 17 sustainable development goals it aims to achieve by 2030. At the midway point, UN nations are currently on track to meet *check notes* zero of these goals.

The Bank of Canada has a lot more work to do

If the Bank of Canada (BoC) is looking for a new mantra during these trying times, might we suggest, “What goes up must come down… to the 2% inflation target.” 

What happened: Canada's annual inflation rate in August jumped to 4% from 3.3% in July, increasing the odds of a rate hike at the BoC’s next meeting on October 25. To make matters worse, core measures that filter out extreme price changes also rose to 4% from 3.75%. 

Auto talks extended past strike deadline

5,680 autoworkers remained on the job past a midnight strike deadline as talks between Unifor, the union representing autoworkers, and Ford were extended another 24 hours.

  • "The union received a substantive offer from the employer minutes before the deadline and bargaining is continuing throughout the night," Unifor said in a statement.
Why it matters: The extension leaves the door open to avoid a strike at a time when the Big Three automakers are already contending with labour disruptions in the US.