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Canada's crude oil exports have increased 15-fold in 30 years: report

Oil exports up over years

The value of crude oil exports from Canada has increased over 15-fold in the last 30 years, according to a report from Statistics Canada and the Canada Energy Regulator.

The increase means exports of the resource accounted for more than 14 per cent of Canada’s total exports in 2019.

In 1990, crude oil made up only 3.6 per cent of the country's total exported products.

The report says crude oil production has also grown considerably over the last three decades, led first by conventional oil and then by the oilsands in the last 15 years, with Alberta becoming the largest contributor to Canadian production in 2009.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a "substantial impact" on production and exports, causing values to drop to their lowest point since 2002 in April 2020.

But the agencies say further analysis is needed to determine the full extent the pandemic has had on the crude oil sector.





Real estate continues its climb as Richmond home flips for $260,000 more in just 7 months

$260K increase in 7 months

Seven months after a Richmond house was purchased, it was sold again – for $260,000 more – making it the biggest flip one realtor saw in the city last year.

“A gain of $260,000 or about 15 per cent in seven months – not bad,” said Adam Major.

The 1,324 square-foot house, at 8300 Pigott Rd., was sold on June 1, 2020 for $1,765,000. Seven months later, the same house (without updates) was listed for $2,068,000 and sold on Feb. 2, 2021 for $2,025,000, said Major.

One of the craziest flips he’s seen overall across the Lower Mainland, is the price tag of a West Vancouver home jumping 1,000 per cent in 10 years. The home was flipped a couple of times and ended up selling for $22 million.

Major also noted that Richmond recorded its highest sale price in three years on April. 7.

A property at 6351 Gibbons Dr. was sold on April 7 for $7 million, which was the first sale to hit the $7 million mark in three years, according to Major. Although that same house was sold for $7.28 million on April 3 in 2017, so actually it decreased $280,000 in value over four years, he added.

Regardless, the house is only assessed at $4.85 million, according to the BC Assessment website.

“Richmond did have a record month for sales in March with 762 properties sold. For May, 2021 although sales were down to 504 – that is a huge increase of 220% over the COVID-reduced 154 sales recorded a year ago in May,” said Major, adding that the luxury market is picking up but still has not caught up with where it was in 2016 and 2017.

“I think we see this in terms of markets as well – less expensive markets further from Vancouver have seen a bigger run up in prices in the last year. Markets that were already expensive, like Richmond and Vancouver’s West Side, have not risen as sharply overall.”



Air Canada announces routes for expanded cargo capacity

Air Canada to expand cargo

Air Canada has announced a list of new international routes that will be a part of its cargo service expansion this fall.

The Canadian airline says the cargo-only trips will primarily fly out of Toronto starting in October and connect the city to Miami, Quito, Ecuador, Lima, Peru and Mexico City.

The new flights will also be mark Air Canada's first cargo trips to Guadalajara, Mexico.

The company said last year it would convert several of its retired Boeing 767 passenger aircraft into freighters as a part of its cargo strategy.

Air Canada says Halifax, St. John’s, N.L., Madrid and Frankfurt will be added to the cargo destination list by early 2022 as more freighters enter service.

The airline says the new freighters will improve its ability to transport goods including automotive and aerospace parts, oil and gas equipment, perishables, pharmaceuticals and other goods.





Manufacturing sales fell 2.1% in April as chip shortage hurt auto industry

Manufacturing sales fall

Canadian manufacturing sales fell 2.1 per cent to $57.1 billion in April as the auto industry was hurt by a continued shortage of semiconductor chips that prompted companies to halt or slow production.

Statistics Canada said Monday transportation equipment sales fell 23.6 per cent to $6.4 billion as motor vehicle sales fell 36.5 per cent to $2.3 billion in April, the largest month-over-month decrease since April 2020.

Sales in the motor vehicle parts industry fell 19.0 per cent to $1.9 billion.

A global shortage of computer chips, which are used in a wide range of critical components, has caused auto companies to slow production around the world.

TD Bank economist Omar Abdelrahman said that although some plants restarted production in June, much uncertainty remains for the auto industry.

"A full recovery in production may be drawn out over the next few quarters as the impacts of these global shortages and supply chain disruptions linger," he wrote in a report.

However, Abdelrahman said the outlook for manufacturing sales outside of the auto industry is not all that bad.

"The reopening of provincial economies and strength in Canada's largest export market (the U.S.) should provide a lift to demand," he wrote.

Manufacturing sales excluding the transportation equipment industry rose 1.5 per cent in April.

Machinery sales rose 14.6 per cent to a record $3.7 billion in April, while wood product sales also rose 6.5 per cent to a record $4.9 billion for the month.

Sales of petroleum and coal products fell 7.1 per cent to $5.1 billion in April because of maintenance shutdowns at some refineries.

Statistics Canada said sales in constant dollars fell 3.3 per cent in April, indicating a lower volume of goods sold.



Nfld workers gather in last-ditch effort to save Terra Nova offshore oilfield

Trying to save Terra Nova

About 100 oil workers gathered outside Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature this morning, a day before a final decision on the fate of the Terra Nova oilfield is due.

Though provincial politicians and federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan gave rousing speeches about protecting workers and staying strong, worker Wayne Alexander didn't feel much comfort.

Alexander says he's one of the few dozen workers from the Terra Nova oilfield who still has a job with the operation, but it could vanish Tuesday.

That is when Suncor Energy, the majority owner of the field, is expected to make a decision about whether the field will be abandoned for good.

Alexander says he has seven-year-old twin girls at home, and though he wants nothing more than to raise them in Newfoundland and Labrador, he'll head to Alberta to look for work if he has to.

The Terra Nova oilfield infrastructure needs significant work in order to keep the field pumping, and Suncor president Mark Little has said not all of the seven partners behind the project are on board to foot the bill.



Recipe Unlimited signs deal to sell Milestones chain to Foodtastic

Milestones chain sold

Recipe Unlimited Corp. says it has signed a deal to sell its Milestones chain of restaurants to Quebec-based Foodtastic Inc.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.

Recipe chief executive Frank Hennessey says the deal helps the company further rationalize its portfolio to focus on large brands.

The company's banners include Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, St-Hubert, the Keg, Montana's, Kelsey's, East Side Mario's and New York Fries.

Foodtastic, a franchisor of multiple restaurant brands, bought the Second Cup Coffee Co. chain from Aegis Brands Inc. earlier this year.

Some of its other restaurant brands include Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe's, Souvlaki Bar and Nickels.



Canada's latest wireless spectrum auction expected to be critical for 5G networks

Spectrum auction is key

This week marks the beginning of a key event for Canada's telecom industry as up to 23 bidders compete for federal licences used in 5G wireless networks.

But a major player will be absent from this auction, as Freedom Mobile sits on the sidelines while its rivals bid for 3,500 megahertz licences starting on Tuesday.

Freedom is Canada's fourth-largest wireless carrier, and competes with Rogers, Bell and Telus in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

Shaw, which has accepted a takeover offer from Rogers, will not participate in the auction.

The Rogers-Shaw deal still needs regulator approval and likely won't close until 2022 but Freedom's absence from this auction will likely weaken its ability to compete against the Big Three carriers.

The 3,500 megahertz spectrum works well in dense urban areas and spacious rural markets, which makes it a sweet spot for 5G networks.



Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world this week

This week in business

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week:

Spectrum auction begins:

Innovation, Science and Industry Canada will host an auction of 3,500 MHz spectrum licences for use in 5G wireless networks on Tuesday. Shaw Communications Inc. will not participate due to its planned acquisition by Rogers Communications. Independent internet provider TekSavvy Solutions also said it would opt out due to a recent CRTC decision on wholesale internet rates.

May real estate numbers:

The Canadian Real Estate Association is expected to release national home sales figures for May on Tuesday. The association previously reported that the furious pace of home sales that kicked off the year began to slow in April as the number of homes sold that month fell by 12.5 per cent compared with the all-time record high set in March.

CBSA strike votes begin:

Canadian Border Service Agency worker strike votes begin on Wednesday. The workers have been without a contract for nearly three years and are seeking better protections for staff that the Public Service Alliance of Canada union argues would bring them in line with other law enforcement personnel across Canada.

DavidsTea AGM:

DavidsTea holds its annual meeting of shareholders on Thursday. The insolvent beverage company said on June 11 that creditors had approved its plan of arrangement to distribute about $18 million to them in Canada and the U.S.

Carney speech:

Mark Carney will speak at an event hosted by the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations about international finance as a key to fighting climate change on Friday. The former Bank of Canada governor told Davos World Economic Forum attendees in January that politicians can help markets finance the transition to zero-emission economies by setting credible forward commitments.



Complaints pile up across the country against Yellow Pages

A 'pattern of complaints'

Small-business owners across the country continue to claim that Yellow Pages Ltd. fails to deliver on what it promises its customers.

More than 40 negative reviews against the company have been logged on SiteJabber.com in the last 12 months, warning buyers to beware of predatory sales tactics, unclear contract terms and poor customer service. The Better Business Bureau now warns potential customers of a “pattern of complaints” against the company, one that includes sales representatives not clearly outlining the services they’re offering, poor communication around how to cancel a contract and difficulty in trying to contact a representative or obtain a physical copy of a contract.

Yellow Pages was once the country’s largest publisher of telephone directories.

According to current and former customers, it locks clients into verbal contracts that aren’t fully clarified or agreed to. Business owners then face unexpected issues and additional costs when they try to cancel services. Many have also faced collection notices and lawsuits after refusing to pay the hundreds or thousands of dollars Yellow Pages claims they owe.

The sheer cost of disputing a small claim in court is often enough to encourage parties to settle out of court, regardless of whether a settlement seems fair or just.

In a few instances, customers have launched legal actions of their own. Yellow Pages is facing a class action lawsuit in Quebec and a potential civil suit in Ontario.

The former phone book giant also lost a Civil Resolution Tribunal dispute in B.C. last year.

“The trouble with the contracts is that I find they’re very cryptic as to what you’re actually getting involved in,” said Nick Greer, lawyer and firm principal of Collaborative Law Corp. in Nanaimo.

The firm brought an application to the CRT after it was unable to reach anyone at Yellow Pages to cancel a one-year advertising contract. The tribunal application noted that Yellow Pages continued to bill the firm for advertising that “was not of the quality agreed to,” and that attempts to correct errors in Collaborative Law’s online directory listing were ignored. Greer added that the firm was promised its listing would appear on the first page of search results, and that wasn’t always the case.

Yellow Pages didn’t respond to the dispute.

The CRT issued a default order to reimburse Collaborative Law more than $1,200 for advertising costs and $100 in CRT fees, which Greer confirmed has been done. The tribunal dismissed a claim for $1,500 to cover the firm’s time and effort spent trying to resolve the dispute.

“We’re assisting quite a few people now in getting out of Yellow Pages contracts,” Greer said. “There’s a little bit of an industry now that involves getting people out of the Yellow Pages contracts.”

The CRT began resolving most B.C. small claims disputes up to $5,000 in June 2017. Court Services Online data shows that Yellow Pages has been involved in more than 270 legal cases in B.C., most of which were small claims in the Provincial Court of British Columbia and brought forward by Yellow Pages before 2017. Unlike court, the CRT was created to be navigated by users rather than lawyers. Its fees are significantly lower, and disputes can be filed and managed remotely. A CRT dispute is by design a less daunting and costly proposition than a court action.

The issues Collaborative Law reported experiencing appear across hundreds of negative online reviews and comments against Yellow Pages. A major theme of those complaints is a lack of certainty around contract length and how a contract can be cancelled.

“We’re not going to get everybody happy, but I think we’re trying our best and still trying to run a business at the same time, because if we give everybody everything they want, of course, then we probably wouldn’t be profitable,” Sherilyn King, Yellow Pages’ senior vice-president of sales, marketing and customer service, said.

King said a lot of the challenges referred to online happen within the first year of a one-year contract. Yellow Pages bundles together a number of services offered at a discounted rate with a minimum 12-month commitment. She said Google (Nasdaq:GOOGL), Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq:FB) and other competitors will target Yellow Pages customers with deals of their own, which prompts customers to try to cancel pieces of their bundle or their full contract.

“We’ll try to work with them as best we can, but we also understand that we can’t please everybody because, ideally, they’re fully aware they’re in a 12-month contract,” King said.

While some customers sign paper contracts, most of the business owners who have spoken with BIV have signed up for advertising services over the phone. They are required to state that they agree to a verbal contract, said Treena Cooper, senior vice-president, secretary and general counsel at Yellow Pages.

“That’s a verbal contract conducted over the phone, but the sales rep does run through the terms and conditions with you – the most important terms and conditions.… The foundations of the agreement that are entered into between the two parties,” she said.

Customers are then sent a digital copy of the contract that lists all of the terms and conditions, after they have agreed to buy services over the phone.

Cooper says Yellow Pages is “vigorously defending” a proposed class action in Quebec.



Fashion brand Forever 21 returns to Canada with collections in Hudson's Bay stores

Forever 21 returns

The clothing brand Forever 21 is making a return to the Canadian market after an agreement with Hudson's Bay Co. allowing them to offer collections inside the department store.

Forever 21 debuts today at Hudson's Bay stores in Toronto's Yorkdale Mall and the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga, Ont.

Hudson's Bay says multiple stores across the country are expected to offer Forever 21 in the coming weeks, beginning in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

The brand will also be available to order on the Hudson's Bay website.

Forever 21, a low-cost fashion brand that is popular with younger shoppers, filed for bankruptcy in 2019 and shuttered all of its Canadian locations.

The brand, which is represented by YM Inc. in Canada, still has multiple standalone locations in the U.S.



Tourmaline Oil signs deal to buy Black Swan Energy worth $1.1B in stock and debt

Tourmaline buys Black Swan

Tourmaline Oil Corp. says it has signed a deal to buy Black Swan Energy Ltd. in a deal worth $1.1 billion in stock and debt.

Under the agreement for the privately held company, Tourmaline will pay 26 million shares and assume up to $350 million in debt.

Tourmaline says the acquisition of Black Swan and its assets in northeast British Columbia is part of its consolidation strategy in the North Montney region that it expects to be a key area of growth.

The company says it now expects to average approximately 500,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of production by mid-2022.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of July, subject to regulatory approvals.

Tourmaline says its board has also approved an increase in the company's quarterly dividend of a penny per share to 17 cents, effective in the third quarter.



TSX, US markets all up in early trading

Broad rally on markets

Canada's main stock index climbed higher in early trading as strength in the base metals sector helped lead a broad-based rally, while U.S. stock markets also rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 39.97 points at 20,089.44.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 106.87 points at 34,573.11. The S&P 500 index was up 7.48 points at 4,246.66, while the Nasdaq composite was up 9.25 points at 14,029.58.

The Canadian dollar traded for 82.55 cents US compared with 82.69 cents USon Thursday.

The July crude oil contract was up 19 cents at US$70.48 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was up 11 cents at US$3.26 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was down US$9.80 at US$1,886.60 an ounce and the July copper contract was up nine cents at US$4.58 a pound.



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