The Canadian economy is slowing quickly and risks a possible recession this year as the Bank of Canada hikes interest rates to tamp down excessive inflation.
Real gross domestic product rose 0.1 per cent in November, according to figures published yesterday by Statistics Canada, with a preliminary estimate showing little change in December. All told, the economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, based on that estimate, which will be updated near the end of February.
Despite the slowdown, the economy is showing resilience as it faces mounting headwinds. Growth in the final months of 2022 was stronger than what the Bank of Canada and several financial analysts had predicted. Notably, employers continued to hire workers in droves, which kept the unemployment rate near an all-time low.
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Transportation regulator doesn’t track 97 per cent of air passenger claims
The Canadian Transportation Agency does not keep track of the outcomes of the vast majority of the air passenger complaints it receives, leaving no indication of how many are resolved in favour of the customer – and what compensation, if any, was issued.
The CTA, a regulator that can, in certain circumstances, order airlines to pay compensation of up to $1,000 per passenger for flight cancellations or lengthy delays, told Parliament at least twice in the past three months that it relies on informal means to resolve 97 per cent of the complaints it handles. The remaining 3 per cent of cases are decided through formal processes, mainly adjudication.
The outcomes of decisions reached through adjudication are published, but the agency does not have data on the results of the much larger number of claims it handles informally. The lack of information makes it impossible to know how often air passengers with legitimate complaints are having their rights upheld.
Inside the rise and fall of the Boeing 747
The U.S. president flies in one. So does Saudi prince Al Waleed bin Talal. But these days, the Boeing 747 is more likely to carry parcels than people. For the double-decker that first flew passengers in 1970 and revolutionized air travel, the days are numbered.
The last jumbo jet to be built left Boeing’s factory in Everett, Wash., on Dec. 6, and was delivered to Atlas Air yesterday. The New York cargo and jet lessor has 59 of the 747s, making it an outlier in the aviation industry that has largely abandoned the aircraft as too big and costly to repair, and ill-suited to the shorter flights and multiple destinations that make up most airlines’ schedules.
The reign of the “Queen of the Skies” is over. As a passenger jet, its rule ended years ago.
Also on our radar
MPs call on McKinsey to disclose clients: Opposition MPs are asking McKinsey and Co. to disclose its private-sector client list to address possible conflicts of interest involving tens of millions of dollars of work for the Canadian government.
Ukraine likely used banned landmines, Human Rights Watch says: Ukraine is thought to be one of the most mined countries in the world, along with Afghanistan and Syria. A new report by Human Rights Watch says the Ukrainian military is almost certainly part of the problem. The report, released yesterday, urges Ukraine to investigate compelling evidence that its military used rockets to spread thousands of anti-personnel landmines.
New lithium mine closer to reality with investment in Canadian firm: Lithium Americas Corp. has landed a US$650-million financing with General Motors Co. that moves the Canadian lithium company closer to breaking ground on a massive lithium mine that should help alleviate a North American shortfall for the key battery metal.
Toronto daycare thrown into turmoil after purchase by corporate chain: Lullaboo Nursery and Childcare Centre Inc., a rapidly expanding daycare chain that bought an independent facility in Toronto, managed to drive away most of its employees and many families within weeks, according to some parents and staff. The case is an example of the potential pitfalls the daycare sector faces as the for-profit side quickly expands to meet government targets for child care spaces and attracts interest from investors.
China looks to get its economy back on track: Normalcy is finally returning to China, after years of some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 policies, which were finally, and surprisingly, relaxed in the final weeks of 2022. But as the sense of whiplash – and resulting infections – begins to fade, the question is whether the country can get its economy back on track.
Markets await Fed: Global stocks edged up on Wednesday as signs of slowing U.S. wage growth supported expectations that the Federal Reserve could signal an end to interest-rate hikes at its meeting later in the day. Around 5:30 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.07 per cent. Germany’s DAX gained 0.04 per cent while France’s CAC 40 was little changed. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei closed up 0.07 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.05 per cent. New York futures were down. The Canadian dollar was relatively steady at 75.13 US cents.
What everyone’s talking about
Editorial: “The goal of lower cellphone and internet prices is obvious. Making it happen has proven elusive. A truly big change such as opening up the market to foreign competition, typical in other countries, hasn’t been pursued by either the Conservatives or Liberals.”
Gary Mason: “American news organizations are doubtlessly struggling with how to cover Mr. Trump’s campaign for the Republican nomination. What does “fair” coverage look like? Reporters can’t ignore everything the man says, but there is a peril in amplifying the often-alarming rhetoric for which he’s become known.”
Today’s editorial cartoon
Winter warm-up guide to the perfect base layer
When it’s really cold out and you’re in motion – whether you’re skiing, winter running, or walking the dog – base layers are key for keeping warm and comfortable. A moisture-wicking base layer is essential for staying dry when you are working up a sweat. But shopping for this wintertime staple can be a challenge. Ultimately, finding the best base layers for your needs might require some research, and a bit of trial and error.
Moment in time: Feb. 1, 1959
Gordie Howe battles Lou Fontinato
It was one of the most brutal fights at New York’s former Madison Square Garden – and it wasn’t a boxing match. On this day in 1959, the Detroit Red Wings visited the New York Rangers as the two teams struggled to make the National Hockey League’s 1958-59 Stanley Cup playoffs. After the Rangers jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the first period, the game turned nasty. Detroit star Gordie Howe used his stick to try to give a haircut to Ranger Eddie Shack, but wasn’t penalized on the play. Rugged Ranger defenceman Lou Fontinato decided to dispense some on-ice justice. The officials knew not to get between the two heavyweights. Fontinato landed several punches before Howe unloaded a ferocious right fist that crushed his opponent’s nose. He then delivered a series of rapid-fire blows that one sportswriter likened to chopping wood. After the game, Howe assumed his “bashful basher” persona, but there was nothing bashful about the bashing. Even though Fontinato somehow finished the game, helping the Rangers hang on to win 5-4, he would require surgery to repair his nose. Howe, meanwhile, missed his patented hat trick: he had the fight, two goals, but no assist. Bill Waiser