Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
Ontario education workers vote in favour of four-year deal
Ontario’s education support workers have ratified a new four-year contract with the province, ending a challenging round of negotiations.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) voted 73 per cent in favour of the contract, which will give them a $1-an-hour wage hike each year of the contract, amounting to an average annual increase of 3.59 per cent.
Laura Walton, president of CUPE affiliate Ontario School Board Council of Unions, said at a news conference today that her members work hard to help students and don’t earn nearly enough.
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Grocery costs to rise by up to 7 per cent this year, report says
Food costs in Canada will continue to rise over the next year, with the average family of four expected to pay an additional $1,000 for groceries in 2023, according to an annual report on prices.
Canada’s Food Price Report says the price of groceries will increase by 5 per cent to 7 per cent in 2023. That comes on the heels of a year of record-high food inflation that saw prices climb 10.3 per cent between November, 2021, and September, 2022.
The main drivers of the increase are the continuing effects of the pandemic, supply-chain disruptions, the war in Ukraine, high transportation and labour costs and climate change.
Forecasters split on how high Bank of Canada will push next rate hike
The Bank of Canada is expected to cap a tumultuous year with another interest-rate increase on Wednesday, although forecasters are split on how big the bank will go as it appears to be approaching a turning point for monetary policy.
Financial markets are betting on a quarter-percentage-point hike, but some economists are arguing for a half-point rise.
Central bank Governor Tiff Macklem has been clear over the past month that he’s not done raising borrowing costs. But he has started saying that the bank needs to balance the risk of doing too little to fight inflation against the risk of doing too much and crashing the economy.
- Four insights from the latest jobs report that could affect Tiff Macklem’s interest-rate decision this week - David Parkinson
- Yes, the Bank of Canada has waged a ‘class war’ – but not the one you think - John Rapley, political economist
The latest developments in Ukraine
Ukraine says Russia has destroyed homes in the southeast and knocked out power in many areas with a new round of missile attacks, as the West imposed a price cap on Russian seaborne oil to try to limit Moscow’s ability to finance its invasion.
A new barrage had been anticipated for days and it took place just as emergency blackouts were due to end, with previous damage repaired.
Separately, an investigative project by Kyiv think tank Statewatch has identified Canadian-made parts in a type of Iranian-made attack drone used by Russia in its military assault on Ukraine.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Dany Fortin acquitted: Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the former head of the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, has been found not guilty of sexual assault over an allegation that dates back to 1988.
Support for Emergencies Act: The federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to end last winter’s protracted anti-government, anti-vaccine-mandate protests is largely supported by Canadians, according to a new poll.
Children’s hospitals overwhelmed: Many more children are being admitted to hospitals with influenza than at any other time in at least a decade, according to surveillance data. The aggressively early start to the flu season is straining Canadian pediatric hospitals that were already near a breaking point.
Irving on the outs with Nike: Nike has cut ties with Kyrie Irving, a month after suspending its relationship with the Brooklyn Nets star in the aftermath of his promotion of an anti-Semitic documentary, The Athletic has reported.
Update on Pele’s condition: Two family members of the Brazilian soccer great say he has been in hospital since Tuesday to treat a respiratory infection aggravated by COVID-19. They added that the 82-year-old, who is battling cancer, is under no imminent risk of death.
RIP Bob McGrath: The actor, musician and children’s author widely known for his portrayal of one of the first regular characters on the children’s show Sesame Street has died at 90.
Markets were down today after fresh evidence of economic momentum in North America fuelled a sense among investors that “we’re back to inflation-fighting mode,” as one analyst put it.
With interest rate updates looming in both Canada and U.S. in the next two weeks, it’s not a question of if rates will rise, but by how much.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 482.78 points, or 1.4%, to close at 33,947.1, the S&P 500 lost 72.86 points, or 1.79%, to end on 3,998.84, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 221.56 points, or 1.93%, to finish on 11,239.94. The S&P/TSX composite index ended down 243.40 points, or 1.2%, at 20,242.26.
It cost 73.6 cents US to buy a Canadian dollar.
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Danielle Smith’s Sovereignty Act is a silly political dare, written in crayon
“When she’s finished with her promised revisions, the act could end up merely bizarre and unconstitutional, instead of bizarre, unconstitutional and outrageously undemocratic, as it is now.” - Robyn Urback
With call to terminate Constitution, Trump drives bulldozer into guard rail of U.S. law
“No sitting or former chief executive has ever called for overturning it. Modern presidents have complained about the restrictions upon their actions in the Constitution, but obeyed its commands.” - David Shribman
Why visiting Richard Serra’s East-West/West-East in Qatari desert requires real commitment
“Who would put a piece of art by arguably the world’s greatest living sculptor in a place that you cannot access without a location finder, a very serious vehicle and a lot of spare time? The Qataris.” - Cathal Kelly
If you seldom eat kale, watercress or arugula, consider making these leafy greens part of your regular diet, dietitian Leslie Beck recommends. Because of their flavonol content – an antioxidant found in certain plant foods – doing so could help preserve your memory as you get older, new research suggests.
TODAY’S LONG READ
In Arizona, drought spells profit for Canadian water tech companies
Nothing about Arizona’s Harquahala Valley looks like an oasis. Saguaro cactuses, the icon of the state, dot its scrubby expanses. Great billows of dust follow vehicles that travel its dirt roads. It averages 127 millimetres of rain a year, making it among the driest places in the United States.
But as any water executive can tell you, it’s what lies below the Harquahala desert that counts: an aquifer big enough to keep every faucet and factory running in Phoenix for more than six years.
It’s one of the reasons the Canadian companies that have invested in Arizona water see potential profit in a drought that has grown so severe that the state may soon see its allocation of Colorado River water reduced by a quarter, and potentially even more. Edmonton-headquartered EPCOR is the largest private water utility in the state. Liberty Utilities, which is owned by Ontario.-based Algonquin Power & Utilities, ranks second or third, depending on the metric. Read Nathan VanderKlippe’s full story.
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