What’s going on with the loonie?

Pros of Canadian currency compared to US currency: Comes in several fun colours, and features the majestic loon. 

Cons of Canadian currency compared to US currency: It’s less valuable, and dropping lower. 

Driving the news: The Canadian dollar was trading at around six-month lows at market close yesterday and runs the risk of falling as low as US$0.71 per Monex Canada analysis. 

Low survey response rates are tainting economic data

Canadians are turning away from economic surveys, a development that’s hurting far more than just the feelings of the Stats Canada surveyors knocking on their doors. 

Driving the news: Stats Canada is struggling to get businesses and households to respond to its Labour Force Survey, a trend that could distort key economic data, per The Globe and Mail. The most recent response rate has fallen from 87% in 2019 to 70% in September.

It’s the year of celebrity memoirs

Celebrity memoirs aren’t just a source of gossip-worthy headlines… they’ve also been giving the publishing industry a needed shot in the arm.

Driving the news: The Woman in Me by pop legend Britney Spears debuted at the top of The New York Times best seller list for non-fiction this past week, the latest in a steady stream of celebrity memoirs that have been hitting (and flying off of) shelves this year.

Cash ETFs are set to take a hit

The golden era of cash ETFs could be coming to a close, thanks to some new house rules courtesy of Bay Street’s watchdog.  

Driving the news: Canada’s banking watchdog is imposing new rules on one of Canada’s most popular retail investments, cash exchange-traded funds (ETFs), a move that will lower the big returns investors have been getting from the funds, per The Globe and Mail.

Feds launch probe into green investor

According to a recent probe, things aren’t all squeaky clean in the world of cleantech investing.  

What happened: Canada’s Auditor General is launching an investigation into Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the body that’s currently in charge of distributing $1 billion in federal funding into green investments, after a career-limiting third-party report. 

B.C. brings on pay transparency

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of thousands of hiring managers clacking at their keyboards, updating Indeed postings. 

What happened: All B.C. job postings must now include salary ranges, as mandated by the province’s recently passed Pay Transparency Act. Employers also can’t ask how much you made at your previous job, or punish you for sharing your income with your colleagues.

Immigration targets stay firm

At what point does the phrase “the more the merrier” ring false? Canada is finding out as it manages immigration levels.

What happened: The federal government is planning to maintain immigration targets — welcoming 500,000 new permanent residents in 2026. After raising immigration targets last year, the move is a pause to the recent pattern of increasing targets at each annual update.

Clarifying the carbon tax drama

Confused about the current carbon tax drama? Strap in and get in the know.  

What happened: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that there would be no more exemptions to the federal carbon pricing plan despite demand from upset provinces.  

A technical recession is upon us

Forget ghouls, ghosts, and teenage pranksters; the scariest thing that haunted Halloween this year was the spectre of a recession. 

What happened: New GDP numbers show that Canada’s economy stagnated in August instead of growing 0.1% as expected. If GDP stays flat in September, as is now projected, the country will officially enter… *screams* something called a ‘technical’ recession. 

Canada joins global ransomware pledge

A global pledge to stop paying ransomware demands might force cybercriminals to whip out their whiteboards and start brainstorming some new business models.  

Driving the news: Forty countries — including Canada — have pledged to stop paying ransomware demands by hackers and take additional steps to cut off cyber criminals from funding, part of a US-led initiative to curb the global rise in ransomware attacks, per Reuters.  

Financial planning has a new zen approach

If you ask some experts, financial planning isn’t just a numbers game but a way of life. 

Driving the news: As economic times get tough, a wave of financial experts are leaning into mindfulness (yep, you read that right) to help manage their money. They say that calming down your nervous system or making time for reflection can help you foster better financial decisions — or, at the very least, help you keep your cool if the markets fall… and if they keep falling. 

Bail me out

New numbers suggest Canada’s bail system is more backed up than the highway during rush hour.

Driving the news: As many as 80% of inmates in Canada’s jail system are held without conviction, per The Globe and Mail, based on survey responses from seven provinces. 

Biden’s executive order closes the AI floodgates

The US government is rolling out some new house rules for AI developers. 

Driving the news: US President Joe Biden signed a first-of-its-kind executive order to regulate development in the AI industry. It includes guardrails to protect consumers and is the most significant regulation that the world's leading AI developers have faced. 

More strikes than a baseball game

Stellantis executives looked around, saw the numerous drawn-out strikes that have happened this year, and told striking workers, “Let’s get this over with.” 

What happened: Stellantis became the last of the Big Three automakers (alongside Ford and GM) to reach a tentative new deal with its employees, repped by Unifor, after a strike that was so short some workers wouldn’t have even gotten the chance to hit the picket line. 

Poison pill threatens AI image models

If your favourite AI image generator starts spitting out some weird stuff, we may have an explanation.

Driving the news: Researchers successfully created a method to trick image-generating AI models like DALL-E into wrongly characterizing images during their training, according to their recently published paper.

Halloween treats probably won’t give you lead poisoning, but watch that hot chocolate

New research is putting the harmful metal content of chocolate under the microscope again, but don’t go tossing the kids’ trick-or-treat haul just yet.

What happened: Watchdog group Consumer Reports tested dozens of chocolate products for lead and cadmium, finding that almost one-third had dangerous levels.

What to do this weekend

Marty Weintraub on the state of Canadian retail

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Marty Weintraub to talk about the challenges and opportunities that are facing Canadian retailers these days. 

What’s up with opera?

The opera world, worried that audiences have become disenchanted with burly men in funny costume singing very loudly, is trying out new strategies to get butts back in theatre seats.

Driving the news: Eighty-five opera companies across Canada and the U.S. have joined a discount program run by industry group Opera America, in which a subscription to one of the participating companies will also grant you the same perks at every participating company.

Canada tightens international student rules

For months now, officials have been saying that the 800,000 foreign students at Canadian universities and colleges are putting too much pressure on housing and the labour market. Here’s what they plan to do about it.

Driving the news: The federal government is now responding to growing criticism around international student programs with a plan to hold schools to higher standards when it comes to services, support, and outcomes for students — including ensuring adequate housing.