Finance (Personal)

Inflation dips slightly

Canada’s annualized inflation rate rose to 3.8% in September from a year earlier but it was down from 4% in August, potentially reducing pressure on the central bank to resume interest rates hikes. Statistics Canada said today that the latest shift reflected decelerating grocery prices while housing costs increases evidently stabilized [node:read-more:link]

Majority dislike carbon tax

The number of Canadians who want the federal carbon tax reduced or eliminated far evidently far outweighs the number who want it to remain in effect. This is according to the results of a new national poll which also indicates that most respondents believe the federal “net zero” emissions goal is impracticable. [node:read-more:link]

Bill tackles rising prices

Draft legislation introduced by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is designed to address soaring housing and grocery costs. Among other things, Bill C-56 as tabled September 21 would remove the federal portion of the Goods & Services Tax to incent construction of new rental housing and amend the Competition Act to address corporate concentration and its effect on the grocery sector. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta premier wants out of CPP

A long-awaited report on the prospect of an Alberta pension plan says the province is entitled to have $334 billion in assets transferred from the Canada Pension Plan in 2027. The report released by Premier Danielle Smith states that the province’s contributions to CPP are disproportionately high compared with what Albertans’ benefits but that has been challenged. [node:read-more:link]

Inflation rate’s persistent challenge

Canada’s annualized inflation rate accelerated in August for a second consecutive month, to 4% from 3.3%, increasing pressure on the Bank of Canada to resume interest rate hikes. Statistics Canada reported today that higher gasoline prices and housing and grocery costs were behind the latest surge in its Consumer Price Index. [node:read-more:link]

No short-term housing fix

With Canada’s housing crisis expected to be a top issue when Parliament resumed today, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on the weekend that it will take years to resolve. “It will take all of us […] working together in common cause,” she said. [node:read-more:link]

Grocers face price ultimatum

Canada’s grocery chains have been told to come up with a plan to stabilize prices. Announcing the move September 15 in a clear bid for continued New Democratic Party support in Parliament, Prime Minister Trudeau said the chains’ record profits “should not be made on the backs of people who are struggling to feed their families” and he promised further action if there is no “real relief.” [node:read-more:link]

Federal housing GST being cut

Resurrecting a promise in the 2015 election campaign which returned the Liberals to power, Prime Minister Trudeau said September 14 that the Goods & Services Tax will be removed from new rental apartment buildings as part of a long-term plan to increase supply. Explaining that the idea had been shelved because it did not respond to housing market needs at the time, he called on all provinces to remove their taxes on new construction. [node:read-more:link]

National housing plan kicks off

The “first of many” municipal agreements under a federal Housing Accelerator Fund was unveiled September 13 by Prime Minister Trudeau. A step toward addressing a growing issue with housing availability and affordability, the $74-million deal with London, Ontario, is designed to fast-track more than 2,000 housing units over the next three years. [node:read-more:link]

Limited housing progress reported

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation said September 13 that even though there is progress in new housing construction, addressing housing affordability will require 3.45 million new units by the end of the decade. Supply has improved somewhat in Ontario, which is 1.48 million short of its target, but worsened in other provinces such as Quebec and B.C. [node:read-more:link]

Consumer debt levels soar

Canadians carried a record $107.4 billion in credit card debt in the second quarter of 2023 as overall consumer debt, including mortages and other loans, reached $2.4 trillion. Equifax Canada also reports that average non-mortgage debt edged upwards to $21,131 and that fewer consumers were able to pay off their monthly balance. [node:read-more:link]

Bank rate held steady

The Bank of Canada kept its key interest at 5% today, evidently responding to a faltering economy reported last week by Statistics Canada. “With recent evidence that excess demand in the economy is easing, and given the lagging effects of monetary policy, governing council decided to hold the policy interest rate,” it said, leaving the door open to more increases to counter inflationary pressures. [node:read-more:link]

Premiers “grandstanding” on bank rate

Calls by three provincial premiers on the Bank of Canada to stop raising interest rates are “political grandstanding”, according to David Dodge, a former bank governor. However, he said September 5 that he has no issues with the tactic because “the problem would come is if there were no dialogue.” [node:read-more:link]

Economy stalls in second quarter

An annualized contraction of 0.2% in Canada’s gross domestic product in the second quarter after revised first-quarter growth of 2.6% is being taken as a sign that the Bank of Canada might at least hold the line when it issues its next trend-setting interest rate September 6. [node:read-more:link]


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