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Recession likely due to BoC rapid rate hikes: study – CTV News

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The Bank of Canada’s strategy of rapidly increasing its key interest rate in an effort to tackle skyrocketing inflation will likely trigger a recession, says a new study released Tuesday from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study showed that in the last 60 years the central bank has in three cases managed a 5.7 per cent reduction in the inflation rate by quickly raising interest rate, and each case was followed by a recession.

The research institute said if the central bank aims to bring inflation down from 7.7 per cent to its two per cent target by quickly raising rates, it could cause significant “collateral damage,” including 850,000 job losses, and is calling for a new policy on inflation targeting to reduce that risk.

Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, who is expecting a 0.75 percentage point interest rate increase from the Bank of Canada this month, said the swift and aggressive hikes will “for sure” cause a significant slowdown in economic growth.

“Whether or not it’s going to be an official recession remains to be seen, but clearly a significant slowdown,” she said.

She also said there are few alternatives that the central bank has at its disposal right now to tackle inflation.

“Rate hikes are needed right now — larger ones — to slay this inflation monster sooner rather than later,” she said.

David Doyle, head of economics at Macquarie Group, who is also expecting a 0.75 percentage point hike, is forecasting a recession in 2023 in both Canada and the United States.

“We expect the contraction to be greater in Canada due to its more severe structural imbalances, such as housing investment and consumer debt levels,” he said.

Canada is already experiencing a slowdown in economic growth and even seeing layoffs in some sectors, like technology.

Statistics Canada said last week it expects to report a GDP contraction of 0.2 per cent for the month of May amid weakness in the resource, manufacturing and construction sectors.

In its study, the CCPA said the Bank of Canada could potentially reduce the risk of sending the economy into a recession by adjusting its target inflation rate to four per cent. The study highlighted how the bank has successfully avoided a recession when it has aimed for smaller reductions in inflation, allowing the bank to bring in smaller rate increases over a longer period.

However, Doyle said raising the inflation target to four per cent would be a “bad idea.”

“It would damage the Bank of Canada’s credibility and independence and create more uncertainty,” he said. “It would also increase the risk of a severe downside scenario, where there is a de-anchoring of consumer and business inflation expectations.”

The CCPA study comes a day after the Bank of Canada released two quarterly surveys which revealed consumers and businesses expect inflation to stay high for several years, further increasing the odds of a 0.75 percentage point interest rate hike this month.

While speaking to reporters at an event in Brampton, Ont. on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about the CCPA study and said the Bank of Canada is well-equipped to handle the inflation problem.

“It has the tools and it has the expertise to (bring down inflation). And I think we should all have confidence that the Bank of Canada will do its job,” she said.

As for how long it might take to even reach the central bank’s two per cent inflation target, BMO’s Lee said we’ll likely see three per cent inflation by end of the 2023, with two per cent more a 2024 or 2025 possibility.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2022.

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Toronto continues investigation into cause of massive power outage – CP24

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Hydro One says it will take “several days” to repair hydro lines that were damaged after an upright crane in the lake slammed into them and caused a massive power outage downtown on Thursday.

The outage occurred in the city’s financial district at around 12:30 p.m., leaving approximately 10,000 customers without power at its peak.

A portion of the Eaton Centre was left in the dark, forcing hundreds of stores to temporarily close. The outage also knocked out power in parts of the Hospital for Sick Children’s campus.

Traffic lights were down in some intersections causing heavy traffic and significant streetcar delays. However, the outage did not affect subways.

Toronto Fire said crews responded to a number of elevator rescues, but no injuries connected to the outage were reported yesterday.

Hydro One says the outage was caused when a barge moving an upright crane in the Port Lands area hit overhead high voltage transmission lines.

“Now, what happened when that crane hit the line resulted in a downstream effect where a surge of power affected a nearby station on the Esplanade that we were actually using to reroute power to Toronto Hydro,” Hydro One Spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa told CP24 Friday morning.

The City of Toronto says the barge was being operated by a subcontractor to Southland-Astaldi Joint Venture (SAJV), which is a contractor for the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant outfall project.

Crews were reportedly preparing to move equipment into the lake for the project when the incident occurred.

“We’re going to use stone that needs to be placed out in the lake and the subcontractors were going to do that work for us but they were moving equipment. The event occurred off-site while they were doing their preparatory work,” Lou Di Gironimo, Toronto Water’s general manager told CP24 Friday.

Outage

Baccega Rosa said Hydro One crews were able to reroute about 50 per cent of the power shortly after the incident, which resulted in power being restored in some areas quicker than others.

Crews then had to stop their efforts and wait for the fire department to clear the site for workers to safely enter and reroute the rest of the power.

Outage

Once crews gained access, they were able to reroute all power to Toronto Hydro and power was fully restored downtown by 8 p.m.

Baccega Rosa said there are established safety protocols to stay a minimum of 10 metres away from power lines, which were not followed yesterday.

“And that’s (for) anyone whether, you know, you’re a barge passing under them (power lines) or if you’re doing work around your house and you need to trim the tree branches around the line connecting your home. You know, everyone was very lucky yesterday that there was not a safety incident and no one was hurt as a result of this,” she said.

The city has launched an investigation into the incident and has requested a full report from SAJV to understand what happened.

“So the big thing that we’re going to look at is what happened? Who was in charge of the subcontractor work? What were the safety procedures in place at the time? And then what exactly happened when the crane hit the wires?,” Di Gironimo said.

Di Gironimo could not confirm if the subcontractors will face any consequences for the incident.

“That will be part of the investigation to find out what happened. What were those precautions that were supposed to be in place. What was followed? What wasn’t?”

He said the city is meeting with SAJV next week and plans to complete the investigation within a matter of weeks.

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Business in Vancouver

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B.C. couple still owes $19M despite bankruptcy, appeal court rules – Economy, Law & Politics | Business in Vancouver


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​Rogers, Shaw formalize planned Freedom sale to Quebecor – BNN Bloomberg

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Rogers Communications Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and Quebecor Inc. announced Friday they reached a definitive agreement for the previously-announced proposed sale of Shaw’s Freedom Mobile wireless business.
 
The three companies said that the terms of the definitive pact are “substantially consistent” with their original announcement on June 17, when they said Montreal-based Quebecor agreed to pay $2.85 billion to purchase Freedom. Originally, July 15 was the target to reach the definitive agreement.  

“We are very pleased with this agreement, and we are determined to continue building on Freedom’s assets,” said Quebecor president and chief executive officer Pierre Karl Péladeau in a release Friday. “Quebecor has shown that it is the best player to create real competition and disrupt the market.”
 
The transaction is conditional on Rogers receiving final regulatory approvals for its planned $20-billion takeover of Shaw, which was announced in March 2021.
 
The road to regulatory approval has become more treacherous for Rogers after Competition Commissioner Matthew Boswell stated his objections to the plan, warning it would diminish competition in the telecom market, notwithstanding Rogers’ long-stated intent to divest Freedom Mobile.
 
Rogers’ legal counsel has argued vociferously against Boswell’s claims, saying in a June 3 filing with the Competition Tribunal that Boswell’s stance “is unreasonable, contrary to both the economic and fact evidence presented to the Bureau, and not supportable at law.”
 
The Competition Tribunal is currently scheduled to begin a hearing on the matter Nov. 7.
 
Rogers also has to clear another regulatory hurdle: its planned acquisition of Shaw requires approval from Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who has previously said he won’t allow the wholesale transfer of Shaw’s wireless assets to Rogers.
 
The process became more complicated for Rogers after a national network outage knocked out service to its customers in early July.

Champagne subsequently said the outage would “certainly be in [his] mind” when weighing the merit of the Shaw sale.
 
For its part, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Communications announced its conditional approval of the transaction in March.
 
Shaw investors have consistently demonstrated skepticism that the deal will go ahead as planned, as evidenced by its shares never once attaining the $40.50-per-share takeover offer from Rogers since the takeover was announced last year.

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