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.
The 100 most livable cities in Canada
The Globe and Mail released its inaugural ranking of Canada’s 100 most livable cities, placing emphasis on key attributes that most Canadians value in their communities including the economy, climate, safety and, yes, the cost of housing. The Canadian city that came in number one was Victoria, B.C. for its access to nature, incredible bike infrastructure, a mild sunny climate and a dreamy seaside way of life. Plus, to accommodate the evolving priorities across different stages of life, we created sub-rankings tailored to life stages such as young professionals, families raising kids, newcomers, entrepreneurs, retirees and more.
Sam Altman and the leadership drama at OpenAI
After days of conflicting stories, the power struggle at OpenAI may be coming to an end. The formerly ousted Sam Altman was reinstated as chief executive officer on Tuesday night after an electrifying saga that saw Mr. Altman’s original departure from OpenAI, a tense board battle, a series of hirings and firings and an open letter signed by hundreds of OpenAI employees threatening to quit. OpenAI has also instated a new board, replacing the one that fired Mr. Altman. Only one of the previous board members who participated in Mr. Altman’s ouster, Ilya Sutskever, later expressed regret and joined the call for the board’s resignation. Mr. Sutskever is no longer on the OpenAI board.
The unrelenting rise of Canadian rents
Canada is experiencing a rental crisis like it’s rarely seen before – if ever. According to Statistics Canada’s latest inflation report, rents jumped by an annual rate of 8.2 per cent in October, up from 7.3 per cent in September. Rents are surging just about everywhere, especially in Atlantic Canada. The rent consumer price index (CPI) has jumped 28.9 per cent in New Brunswick and 26.3 per cent in Nova Scotia, the most among all provinces. Matt Lundy takes a closer look in this week’s Decoder.
Canada’s inflation rate slowed to 3.1% in October
Canada’s inflation rate slowed to 3.1 per cent in October, down from 3.8 per cent in September, matching financial analysts’ expectations. The deceleration was largely driven by gasoline prices, which fell 6.4 per cent on a month-over-month basis. The latest figures bolster views on Bay Street that the Bank of Canada is done raising interest rates and will start to cut them next year. But it also laid bare persistent challenges in the housing market, where costs are rising rapidly because of heated demand and a chronic lack of available units, according to Matt Lundy.
Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao pleads guilty to anti-money laundering charge
Chinese-Canadian businessman Changpeng Zhao stepped down as chief of crypto exchange Binance this week after pleading guilty to money laundering. The U.S. government hit Binance with a US$4.3-billion fine, and Mr. Zhao will also have to pay a US$50-million fine to U.S. authorities. In its statement of allegations, the Justice Department accused Mr. Zhao of prioritizing Binance’s growth over compliance with U.S. law, and claimed he told employees it was “better to ask for forgiveness than permission.” Tim Kiladze reports what the criminal charges could mean for the crypto industry, which has had such a rough go over the past two years.
Mastermind Toys granted creditor protection, plans to close stores
Canadian toy retailer Mastermind Toys was granted a creditor protection order, saying the challenges facing the company “have become too significant to overcome.” The Toronto-based company, which operates 66 stores across Canada, plans to close stores and liquidate inventory – though has not stated how many stores it will close at the outset. It will also explore “certain strategic alternatives” for the rest of its locations. Susan Krashinsky Robertson reports that the company attributes increased competition and disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for its operating losses.