Economics & Finance & Trade

WestJet swoops toward strike

Pilots at WestJet and its Swoop discount division are set to strike ahead of the May long weekend. The company responded May 15 by announcing that it would lock out the 1,850 pilots after receiving a 72-hour strike notice. Their union said pay, job security and scheduling issues remain unresolved. [node:read-more:link]

Inflation uptick reported in April

Statistics Canada reported today that annual inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was 4.4 per cent in April compared with the month-earlier 4.3 per cent. It was the first increase since the CPI began sliding from 8.1 per cent in June 2022. [node:read-more:link]

Continental trade pact at risk?

The three-year-old U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement “isn't worth the paper it's printed on without meaningful compliance and enforcement,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clark said May 15. Naming “just a few examples”, she faulted the U.S. for not implement a ruling on automotive parts, Canada for not enhancing dairy market access, and Mexico for not meeting energy obligations. [node:read-more:link]

Pipeline project on life support?

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to triple Alberta’s petroleum shipments to a B.C. export terminal already owes lenders at least $23 billion and is looking to take on more debt as construction costs soar. The federal government purchased the project through the Canadian Development Investment Corporation in 2018 to keep it “alive” but the CDIC now says there is “material uncertainty” about meeting obligations this year. [node:read-more:link]

Micro-modular reactor plan unveiled

Ottawa-based Global First Power has announced plans for the world’s first micro-modular reactor at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont. Expected to begin operating as a demonstration project in 2027, it is being designed to provide power for remote communities for 20 years, leaving “about one metre cubed” of radioactive waste. [node:read-more:link]

Canada a “boy scout” in China

Stewart Beck, a former Canadian diplomat whose postings included China and Taiwan and who later presided over the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada, says Canada was “boy scoutish from the outset” of relations with China by “not defining what we wanted.” Calling China’s hostage diplomacy and aggression a “wake-up call” for Canada,he urges closer alignment with U.S. foreign policy “when it is in our interest.” [node:read-more:link]

CRA workers returning to work

A day after saying the government had fallen short in contract talks with union leaders representing 35,000 striking Canada Revenue Agency employees, negotiators said today that they had reached a tentative deal. Members were turning to work almost immediately and, subject to ratification, their new contract includes a 12.6 per cent compounded wage increase over four years. [node:read-more:link]

CRA union dislikes contract offer

Union leaders representing 35,000 striking Canada Revenue Agency employees say the government's latest offer to them falls short of what the Public Service Alliance of Canada accepted in a tentative contract awaiting a ratification vote. That deal included a 12.6 per cent compounded wage increase over four years. [node:read-more:link]

More contract woes for government

The Canada Employment and Immigration Union, which represents nearly 36,000 members, is calling on its members to reject the tentative contract between the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada. Urging its members to vote against the contract, it said May 3 that they are “demanding” higher wages and better hybrid working arrangements. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. benchmark rate increased

The U.S. Federal Reserve has raised the range of its benchmark interest rate by a quarter percentage point to a 5-5.25 per cent range, its highest in 16 years as it tries to stabilize inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell signalled May 3 that if inflation continues to ease, the rate would remain at that level. [node:read-more:link]

Dispute over drug pricing

A former member of the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board has suggested that Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the board’s work difficult by asking that consultations on drug pricing be suspended. Matthew Herder, who quit the board in February, told a parliamentary committee May 2 that the industry knows that it can “get the minister to do its bidding.” [node:read-more:link]

PSAC strike tentatively over

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says it has reached a tentative contract agreement with the government, setting the stage for most members to begin returning to work today. Meanwhile Canada Revenue Agency workers remain on strike. [node:read-more:link]

DFO obstructing energy project?

The federal fisheries department is being accused by a company of frustrating its plan to harness the energy of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia. Sustainable Marine Energy Canada is pulling a successful test platform from the area after investing $60 million. “Something is wrong here, and it needs to be investigated,” CEO Jason Hayman says. “It’s either there's something fishy going on, or it’s just complete ineptitude.” [node:read-more:link]

Political heat in Ring of Fire

Ten First Nations in northern Ontario are suing the federal and Ontario governments for $95 billion in damages and threatening to block mining critical minerals in the “Ring of Fire” in the province’s north. “We hear so much about building mines and roads, but not without our community's permission,” one chief said April 26. “Our community is not against development (but) now we're at the point where we say, ‘we do this together or we don't do it’.” [node:read-more:link]


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