Shopify finds a new friend in Amazon

Like two mismatched cops assigned to work the same case in a cheesy action movie, Shopify and Amazon have set aside their differences and become frenemies.  

What happened: Shopify and Amazon have struck a deal to let US-based Shopify merchants use Amazon’s “Buy with Prime” feature—offering Prime perks like free shipping and next-day delivery—on their own websites, via an app in Shopify’s app marketplace. 

Companies go after robot web crawlers

Canadians are loaded with debt

Canadian mortgage balances are getting swole-r than a gym bro getting ready for spring break.

Driving the news: TD, BMO, and CIBC disclosed that rising interest rates have caused 20% of their residential mortgage borrowers to see their balances grow so monthly payments no longer cover their interest owed, per The Globe and Mail.  

One million residents short of estimates

If your top skills include “counting, like, really high” then boy, does the government have a job for you. 

What happened: A report published yesterday by CIBC economist Benjamin Tal found that there are around one million more non-permanent residents (NPRs) in Canada—including international students—than government estimates would lead home builders to believe.

Prepare for pasta sticker shock

It might be time to cut back on the spaghetti carbonara… not because you need to watch the carbs, but to save on your grocery bill.

What happened: Stats Canada lowered its estimates for Canadian wheat production this year to 29.5 million tonnes, which would be the second-lowest total in eight years. It could present a 14% drop from last year’s bumper wheat crop due to droughts across the Prairies.

Indigo asks, “Would you like some books with your wine?”

The newest location of Canada’s largest bookstore is set to offer a lot more than books. 

Driving the news: Indigo’s new 16,000-square-foot store, opening in downtown Toronto this fall, aims to be “a cultural emporium” inspired by the hip shops you’ll find lining Tokyo streets, featuring more products, immersive displays, events, and booze (nice). Picture this: 

Beat the high rent with an apartment swap

Montréal is famous for its bagels, poutine, and… apartment swaps? 

Driving the news: As Montréal’s annual rent growth outpaces most of the country, some residents are swapping apartments to lock in leases below market value. Trading leases instead of shopping on the open real estate market is one creative way to keep prices at bay.

What’s the deal with Alert Ready?

The emergency alerts you get on your phone are facing fierce criticism, and not just because they frequently scare the living daylights out of you with that blaring siren sound.

Driving the news: With four months still left on the calendar, a record 993 emergency alerts have been sent this year through Canada’s emergency messaging system, Alert Ready.

The AI battle for your office

Google and Microsoft are duking it out to become the provider of AI tools for your office. 

What happened: Google unveiled a torrent of AI tools directly aimed at large businesses… including a suped-up version of its Duet AI assistant which is now widely available.

Cybercrimes are trending up

Here are our early predictions for what will be hot in 2024: Lavender mocktails, tube tops, middle-distance running, aaand rampant cybercrime. 

Driving the news: Per a new report from the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and the RCMP, organized cybercrime activity will “very likely” increase over the next two years, posing a threat to Canada’s national security, economic prosperity, and critical infrastructure.

The West grows wary of Chinese research

As the West and China’s geopolitical relations grow tenser than our shoulder muscles at the height of a newsletter draft, academic relations are also under strain. 

What happened: The US and China agreed to a six-month extension on a critical symbolic agreement to cooperate on science and technology research. Many researchers feel the agreement will continue to be crucial for developing scientific and medical breakthroughs. Meanwhile, several US lawmakers want it to expire as they believe it puts US intellectual property at risk.

Canadian workers are staying put

As the labour market slows down, the “job-hopping generation” is deciding to stay put. 

What’s happening: New Stats Canada data shows that Canadians are changing jobs at the lowest rate seen since 2020, a sign the labour market is weakening, per The Globe and Mail.

Entrepreneurs see opportunity in city-building

Ever played SimCity and thought it might be fun to try your hand at creating a city from scratch in real life? You aren’t alone: A growing cohort of entrepreneurs backed by deep-pocketed financiers are giving it a whirl.

Driving the news: A company backed by a who’s who of the tech world has spent US$800 million buying up tens of thousands of acres of land as part of a plan to build a new city in California, per an investigation by The New York Times.

Researchers crack the Y chromosome code

A scientific breakthrough could shed light on some of the biggest threats facing men's health. 

Driving the news: According to new research published in the Journal of Nature, scientists have fully sequenced the DNA of the Y chromosome.

What to do this weekend

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

Andrei Bruno on investing in a confusing economy

Trump is changing the rules of politics… again

Is anyone really surprised that Donald Trump continues to change the nature of US politics? Or should we say… do the unpresidented.

What happened: Within minutes of his mugshot being released from Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail, the former US President had posted the image to his website with a statement saying he “was ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME” at the “notoriously violent” jail.

How is Ozempic affecting Denmark’s economy?

How are scores of Americans trying to lose weight affecting Danish monetary policy? The answer isn’t as complicated as it may seem. 

Driving the news: Novo Nordisk, the Danish producer of blockbuster drugs Ozempic and WeGovy, has pumped so much of its profit into Denmark’s economy this year that it has single-handedly inflated the value of the Danish krone and impacted interest rate decisions.

US intelligence weighs in on Russian warlord plane crash

The exact causes of the plane crash believed to have killed Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin have not been found, but there are plenty of theories beyond bad turbulence.

What happened: Initial US intelligence reports determined that the plane crash believed to have killed Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin was the result of an intentional explosion. As of last night, Russia has yet to officially confirm his death, as the recovered bodies are burned beyond recognition and will require DNA testing.

BRICS adds six more countries

The BRICS bloc of developing countries achieved heavyweight status this week by expanding to cover 47% of the world’s population and 36% of the global economy. 

Driving the news: The leaders of BRICS, representing Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, made a surprise announcement at their summit to extend the group’s membership to six new countries: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, and the UAE.