Getting caught up on a week that got away? Here’s your weekly digest of the Globe’s most essential business and investing stories, with insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and more.
Canada to drop ArriveCan and vaccine requirement at the border
The federal government will make the ArriveCan app optional, drop the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for people entering Canada, and end random testing of arrivals by the end of September. The changes are planned for Sept. 30 but still need to be finalized by cabinet, Eric Atkins and Robert Fife write. Canada’s health measures at border crossings have remained in place longer than in other countries, leading aviation and travel industries to push the government to relax the rules for international travel, saying they discourage visitors.
Homeownership rate falls to a 20-year low
Canada’s homeownership rate dropped to 66.5 per cent last year, the lowest level since the turn of the century, new census data show. The increase in real estate prices has pushed many Canadians out of the market with the percentage of homeowners steadily falling since 2011 when it hit a high of 69 per cent, writes Rachelle Younglai. The number of Canadians in rentals is increasing at a faster rate than that of homeowners in each of the country’s largest urban centres, with the share of renters going from 30.6 per cent to 33.1 per cent since 2011.
Canada heading towards ‘moderate’ recession by the end of 2022
Canada has crossed a critical threshold indicating a recession is “imminent” according to a Canadian recession model constructed by Oxford Economics. The firm’s report warns a moderate downturn will start in the next quarter and last until the middle of 2023, writes Jason Kirby. The forecast predicts the Canadian economy will shrink 1.8 per cent over three quarters, a slowdown that would be similar in length but shallower than the “typical” Canadian recession over the past 50 years. The chance of a recession turning into a deeper financial crisis remains low, but heavily indebted Canadian households and the housing market will feel the brunt of the pain.
Canada’s oil sands are making billions – but lagging competition on net-zero commitments
Canadian oil sands companies have done little to follow through on their public pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, despite raking in historic profits in 2022. Instead, writes Emma Graney, companies have spent big on share repurchases and dividend payments, forgoing investments in emissions-lowering technologies. As more countries make net-zero commitments, competition for the supply of low-emissions energy is set to heat up. Thus, energy companies that undertake deep emissions reductions now are likely to be more competitive in a low-carbon future – including Canada’s oil sands producers. “While the pledges and promises ... may give the impression that action on this front is imminent or already underway, our analysis here demonstrates that oil sands companies have yet to make the necessary investment decisions,” a study by the Pembina Institute says.
Muslim homebuyers flock to halal financing options
More than a million Canadians identify as Muslim, but many are left out of the country’s real-estate market because they are prohibited by their faith from paying or receiving interest, which prevents them from taking conventional mortgages. A new Edmonton-based startup, Canadian Halal Financial Corp., is trying to meet some of the demand by working with the Al Rashid Mosque to create an alternate type of mortgage that meets strict religious standards. One of the mosque’s leaders, Imam Mahmoud Omar, travelled to Egypt to get approval from scholars at Al Azhar University, one of the world’s oldest sources of Islamic jurisprudence, writes James Bradshaw. The company has approved 600 applications so far, with a dozen new requests weekly.
Looking for an extra $400 a month? Consider your storage locker
The cost of owning all the stuff we buy leads to expenses that can easily amount to hundreds of dollars per month, writes Rob Carrick. His family’s storage locker holds a bag of hockey equipment, some random bits of camping equipment, various file folders and boxes of photos and keepsakes. He keeps planning to get rid of it, without success. But when storage units go for as much as $400 or more a month, it’s worth considering how to reduce and downsize. Then set a 12-months deadline for getting rid of the unit altogether, Carrick says.
Now that you’re all caught up, prepare for the week ahead with the Globe’s investing calendar.