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Business Briefing Hate your commute? Pity the poor souls in Barrie, Oshawa, Toronto, Montreal, Abbotsford and Mission

Briefing highlights

  • Hate your commute?
  • Stocks, loonie, oil at a glance
  • Scotiabank raises dividend, profit dips
  • BMO profit climbs in quarter
  • Fed’s Powell touts patience
  • Thomson Reuters revenue up
  • From today’s Globe and Mail

Commuting

If you’re sick to death of your commute, pity the poor souls in the areas feeding into Toronto and Vancouver.

And if you’re among those poor souls in Oshawa and Barrie, Ont., Toronto and Abbotsford and Mission, B.C., you’ve earned that pity.

So, too, if you’re a Montreal commuter, though for different reasons.

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These are among the findings of a Statistics Canada study, based on the 2016 census and published this week.

Streetcars and rush traffic on Spadina Ave. as commuters try to get out of Toronto's downtown core

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The study of commutes of an hour or more is important because such travelling can take a toll not only on your wallet but also on your well-being, said Statistics Canada analyst Tetyana Yaropud; Census Unit chief Jason Gilmore; and Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté, editor-in-chief of the agency’s Insights on Canadian Society.

“Long car commutes can have an impact on commuters’ health, their safety and their personal finances,” the Statistics Canada researchers said.

“Studies show that longer commutes are associated with poorer physical and mental-health outcomes, and also find that those with long commutes in private vehicles are more likely to be negatively impacted than those with long commutes using public transit,” they added.

“Long commutes may also put a strain on family relationships and social capital. Commuters with a long commuting time and distance by car are also more at risk of a vehicle accident.”

Here’s how it looks across the country:

Long commute times by area of resident

Proportion of commuters who spend at least 60 minutes getting to work, by census metropolitan area, 2016

AreaAll modes of transportationCar commuters
Total, CMAs10.26.7
St. John's4.23.1
Halifax5.13
Moncton2.51.9
Saint John3.22.8
Saguenay2.52.1
Québec3.52.3
Sherbrooke32.8
Trois-Rivières4.24
Montreal11.57.2
Ottawa-Gatineau7.54
Kingston3.12.8
Belleville4.14
Peterborough7.77.9
Oshawa21.317.3
Toronto17.211.1
Hamilton12.39.6
St. Catharines-Niagara65.9
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo6.75.9
Brantford8.68.3
Guelph8.98.5
London4.94
Windsor1.91.3
Barrie18.318
Greater Sudbury3.42.8
Thunder Bay2.82
Winnipeg4.22.3
Regina2.11.4
Saskatoon3.22.3
Lethbridge32.5
Calgary6.12.9
Edmonton6.13.7
Kelowna3.52.6
Abbotsford-Mission11.611.6
Vancouver11.27.7
Victoria4.43.2

Source: Statscan

Barrie stood out as the region with Canada’s highest proportion of car commuters with a long drive, many of them heading to Toronto.

Then there are the big cities.

“About 60 per cent of workers with a usual place of work and a long commute to work by car worked in one of the three largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs): Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver,” the researchers said.

People are used to long commutes in Toronto, where traffic is oft jammed and construction frequently adds to the annoyance.

Montreal is something of a different story, according to Statistics Canada.

“Among those who worked in Montreal, more than 66,000 car commuters with a long commuting time also resided in Montreal (representing 6 per cent of car commuters who both lived and worked in the Montreal CMA),” the researchers said.

“These workers typically travelled shorter distances than those who were in the same situation in Toronto (23 km) but took about the same number of minutes to get to work (67 minutes),” they added.

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“Almost 40 per cent left home between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. (compared with 30 per cent of their Toronto counterparts).”

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Markets at a glance

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Scotiabank raises dividend, profit dips

Bank of Nova Scotia raised its dividend by 2 pennies today as it posted a dip in first-quarter profit.

The bank earned $2.25-billion in the quarter, or $1.71 a share, diluted, compared to $2.34-billion or $1.86 a share a year earlier.

Adjusted, Scotiabank profit slipped to $2.29-billion or $1.75 a share.

Return on equity declined to 13.7 per cent from 16.3 per cent.

“While significant market volatility impacted some of our business lines, we still experienced strong growth,” chief executive Brian Porter said in releasing the numbers.

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“In addition, credit quality remains strong and in line with recent quarters.”

It raised its dividend to 87 cents.

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BMO profit climbs

Bank of Montreal posted a hefty jump in first-quarter profit, as it also announced plans to buy back up to 15 million shares.

BMO’s profit climbed to $1.5-billion, or $2.28 a share, from $973-million or $1.43 a year earlier.

Adjusted, profit per share rose to $2.32 from $2.12.

Return on equity rose to 13.6 per cent.

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The credit environment “remains strong and stable,” said chief executive officer Darryl White, “while our market-sensitive businesses were impacted by the challenging revenue environment earlier in the quarter.”

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