Skip to main content

Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:

An internal review of federal contracting has found nearly $5-million in fraudulent billing by three private subcontractors. The revelation has prompted the government to refer the cases to the RCMP, announce a new Office of Supplier Integrity and Compliance and tighten conflict of interest rules for public servants.

The government said the fraudulent billing was uncovered through a mix of tips and advanced data analytics. It also said that today’s announcement is the first wave of what is expected to be a series of discoveries related to fraudulent billing cases.

Officials said the review also found that between 2018 and 2022, three IT subcontractors fraudulently billed on contract work with 36 separate government departments and Crown corporations. They added that the three subcontractors are not connected to the ArriveCan app for international travellers.

Read more:

Bank of Canada sees conditions for rate cuts this year, according to deliberation summary

The Bank of Canada’s governing council thinks it may be appropriate to cut interest rates this year if the economy develops as expected, although there is disagreement among members on when that is likely to be, according to a summary of discussions that took place ahead of the latest rate decision.

Governor Tiff Macklem and his deputies kept the policy rate steady at 5 per cent on March 6, the fifth consecutive hold since last summer. While they remain concerned about stubborn inflation and the risk of easing monetary policy too soon, Canada’s top central bankers are now openly discussing the timing of rate cuts – with reservations.

The argument for lowering interest rates was backed up earlier this week when Statistics Canada reported a surprising drop in inflation in February. In some ways the Summary of Deliberations is already stale, given the new inflation data. But it does contain important insights into how central bankers are thinking about the housing market, the correct way of measuring underlying inflation and wage pressures.

Motion on Israel-Hamas war will have consequences for asylum seekers in Gaza, Marc Miller says

Immigration Minister Marc Miller says the motion on the Israel-Hamas war that the House of Commons passed earlier this week may make it more difficult for people trying to flee Gaza for Canada.

Miller says the motion, while significantly amended before passing, has upset Israel’s government and will have consequences for asylum-seekers. So far, only 14 people have been able to come to Canada as part of a program for extended family members.

A 62-year-old Ontario woman’s brother was not one of them. She says her brother has died in northern Gaza after weeks spent searching for food and refuge while he waited for word from the federal government about whether he could come to Canada.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel yet again for his sixth urgent mission to the Middle East since the war began in October, as relations between the two countries have soured dramatically in recent weeks.

Staff allegedly tried to access Princess of Wales’s medical records at London hospital

Staff members at the London Clinic, where the Princess of Wales had surgery earlier this year, allegedly tried to access her medical records.

Britain’s Information Commissioner’s Office said today that it was investigating the breach, another dramatic twist in the story surrounding her health.

The Daily Mirror is reporting that at least three staff members at the London Clinic were caught trying to access the Catherine’s medical notes in January while she was a patient, updating an initial report that said one employee was involved. Royal officials have said Catherine had abdominal surgery at the hospital but provided no further details except to say she was expected to return to royal duties after Easter.

The London Clinic is one of Britain’s largest private hospitals, famous for its discretion and celebrity clientele. The hospital’s chief executive said a full investigation would be conducted if a breach did occur.

This is the daily Evening Update newsletter. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was sent to you as a forward, you can sign up for Evening Update and more than 20 more Globe newsletters here. If you like what you see, please share it with your friends.


Irish Prime Minister unexpectedly resigns: Leo Varadkar, who made history as his country’s first gay and first biracial leader, announced today that he is stepping down for reasons that he said were both personal and political. He is quitting immediately as head of the centre-right Fine Gael party, part of Ireland’s coalition government, and will be replaced as prime minister in April after a party leadership contest.

In good news for arts sector: At its annual general meeting on Wednesday, the Stratford Festival reported that its 2023 season saw total attendance of more than 443,000 – an over-target increase of 35 per cent year over year – and ended with a financial surplus of $404,000, thanks to extra support from its donors and strong interest from audiences.

Protest postpones Newfoundland budget: A chaotic confrontation between mounted police officers and fishers outside the province’s legislature today delayed the release of the budget. The protesters – who arrived at the building at about 5:30 a.m. local time – said the province’s fishery is overregulated and the handful of established processors and buyers are acting like a cartel, pushing down prices.

Russia-Ukraine war updates: A Russian border region being pounded by Ukrainian shelling and drones is expanding its closings of schools and colleges as a major evacuation plan gets under way, authorities announced Wednesday as Kyiv’s forces continue long-range strikes that aim to put the Kremlin under pressure.

Manitoba men switched at birth to get official government apology: After nearly two years of being ignored by Manitoba government officials, two men who were switched at birth six decades ago will receive an apology from Premier Wab Kinew in the legislature on Thursday.

Trump updates: The judge overseeing the Georgia 2020 election interference case cleared the way today for Donald Trump to appeal a ruling allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the prosecution. Meanwhile, Trump says he’s leaning toward a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, but supports exceptions for rape, incest and saving the life of the mother because “you have to win elections.”


U.S. stocks hit fresh record highs as Fed keeps three rate cuts on the horizon

Analysts and investors were left to interpret the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision today to hold interest rates steady – while also signaling that multiple rate cuts are possible in 2024. As a result, Wall Street saw record highs and the TSX also closed higher, heading toward record-high territory.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference that despite recent inflation data coming in hotter than expected, the numbers “haven’t really changed the overall story, which is that of inflation moving down gradually, on a somewhat bumpy road.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 401.37 points, or 1.03%, to 39,512.13, the S&P 500 gained 46.11 points, or 0.89%, to 5,224.62 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 202.62 points, or 1.25%, to 16,369.41.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index ended up 185.13 points, or 0.9%, at 22,045.71.

The Canadian dollar traded at 74.12 cents US, compared with 73.72 cents US yesterday.

Got a news tip that you’d like us to look into? E-mail us at Need to share documents securely? Reach out via SecureDrop.


Excessive free speech is a breeding ground for more Trumps

“Unchecked, the internet dumped megatons of raw sewage on the public square. With filters that had been around for ages now removed came mountains of misinformation and disinformation. And propaganda, polarization, child pornography. And threats against leaders and bigotry and conspiracy claptrap.” – Lawrence Martin

The Supreme Court of Canada went viral for what it didn’t say about ‘a woman’

“The outrage spread quickly. Why would the Supreme Court of Canada rule that the word ‘woman’ is confusing – and that the phrase ‘person with a vagina’ should be used instead? It wouldn’t, of course. It didn’t. Still the outrage spread.” – Campbell Clark

Carbon pricing has become our national dumpster fire

“It is politically convenient to claim that carbon pricing is all cost and no benefit for consumers, but it simply isn’t true.”Christopher Ragan


Why do everyday objects in unexpected sizes bring such joy – whether they’re fully functioning kitchens created in miniature or massive versions of food we love? Enormous sweets are a fun challenge to tackle at home. Just be sure to bake supersized cookies, pastries and buns for longer, checking regularly for indicators of doneness. Try your hand at this trend with this recipe for a massive cinnamon bun.


At Arctic Winter Games, athletes flex their physical and cultural strength

Open this photo in gallery:

Ali Johnston of Team Alaska competes in the one-foot high kick near Palmer, Alaska, on March 13, 2024.Dustin Patar/The Globe and Mail

Last week’s Arctic Winter Games in Alaska’s Matanuska-Susitna Valley, on the ancestral land of the Dena’ina and Ahtna Dene, featured athletes, coaches and performers representing eight Arctic contingents. The games include Arctic Sports and Dene Games, each involving a series of competitions deeply rooted in northern Indigenous cultures. These unique events were once used as traditional ways to prepare for hunting and fishing seasons, to pass time and provide entertainment. Now 54 years old, the games have woven themselves into the fabric of the North. For many, participation has become a cherished generational tradition and a right of passage.

Evening Update is written by Prajakta Dhopade. If you’d like to receive this newsletter by e-mail every weekday evening, go here to sign up. If you have any feedback, send us a note.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe