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RBC is buying HSBC's Canadian unit in the largest domestic banking deal on record.Duane Cole/Mark Blinch/The Globe and Mail

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.

RBC buys HSBC Canada in the country’s largest bank deal

Royal Bank of Canada is buying HSBC Bank Canada for $13.5-billion in the biggest domestic banking deal on record, bolstering RBC’s position as the country’s largest institution in the industry. As James Bradshaw reports, Canadian banks have been eyeing the transaction for years. HSBC Canada, a subsidiary of Britain-based giant HSBC Holdings PLC and the seventh-largest bank in the country by assets, has strengths in commercial lending and mortgages and has been consistently profitable. If approved, the deal would extend RBC’s lead over competitor banks by tens of billions of dollars in both loans and deposits. How did they pull it off? During the pandemic, federal banking regulators prevented lenders from hiking their dividends in order to preserve cash. Yet, as Tim Kiladze explains, Canada’s banks kept churning out profits, even through multiple lockdowns, leading RBC to have enough for the $13.5-billion all-cash bid.

It’s the most wonderful time of year – at airports

With air travel this holiday season expected to reach pre-pandemic standards, anyone headed to a Canadian airport in December is reminded to pack their patience. Despite a slew of backlog-busting initiatives by airport authorities, some experts still see a significant risk of widespread cancellations and delays, Erica Alini writes. Since the summer, the share of flights leaving the gate more than 15 minutes late at Toronto Pearson International Airport and Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport decreased from around 50 per cent in the summer to about 35 per cent in the fall, according to FlightAware. The rate of cancelled flights at the two airports was 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent. Still, passengers are advised to prepare for disruptions, especially when booking connecting flights.

Cyber Week sales a bust for Canadian shoppers

Are high inflation and rising interest rates finally having an affect on consumer spending habits? This year’s Cyber Week retail sales – the pre-holiday online blitz that typically happens around U.S. Thanksgiving – was a flop for Canadian shoppers. Online sales in Canada dropped 8 per cent from last year and capped a month of disappointing online shopping. As Jason Kirby examines in this week’s Decoder, a couple reasons for the decline could be at play, including retailers offering deals at other times of the year and customers returning to in-person shopping.

Retiring but still trying to pay off a mortgage

More Canadians are carrying mortgages into their old age, and rising interest rates will make it even more challenging to pay off homes before retirement. As Salmaan Farooqui reports, the number of people older than 65 with an outstanding mortgage in their residence increased from 1.2 million to 1.5 million between 2016 and 2021, and the number of seniors living alone with a mortgage also grew from roughly 181,000 to 220,000 in the same time frame. Canadians in this situation often won’t have enough money left over to make other investments and will sometimes base their entire retirement plan around their home equity and government pension, which can be risky.

Canada’s labour force more educated and racially diverse

The latest data from Statistics Canada’s 2021 census shows a dramatic shift in the makeup of the Canadian labour force between 2016 and 2021, writes Vanmala Subramaniam. Canada’s work force became more educated, racially-diverse and skilled over the past five years, with a greater proportion of immigrants employed, significant growth in the number of people in professional white-collar jobs and a surge in the number of university graduates. These changes may be a direct result of reforms made to the immigration system back in 2015, which began prioritizing potential permanent residents according to the level of postsecondary education they obtained, the years of Canadian work experience they accumulated and their language proficiency. Immigrants are a crucial part of Canada’s changing workforce, consisting of 27.7 per cent of the core-aged labour force (aged between 25 and 54).

How inflation is changing dating expectations

The cost of going out for food and drinks has skyrocketed with inflation, and perhaps those most affected are people looking for love. With dating often centred around a meal, Canadians are trying different approaches to save money ahead of cuffing season. According to Maryam Siddiqi, some people are resorting to cooking meals for their dates at home, while others offer to split the bill when going out. Other ways to cut dating costs include taking transit rather than driving to the location, skipping dinner and meeting for just a drink later, and finding other areas of your budget to cut costs and put toward dates. A spending survey of U.S. daters found that 83 per cent of those surveyed were looking to spend less than US$50 on a first or second date, while 67 per cent were seeking out simpler, cheaper date options. That’s down sharply from a July, 2021, when 75 per cent of singles planned to spend more than US$100 on a meal during a date.

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Now that you’re all caught up, prepare for the week ahead with the Globe’s investing calendar.