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Canada's main stock index and the Canadian dollar were moderately lower on Monday morning, continuing a downward trend that began last week and pushed the Canadian dollar to a 19-month low against the US dollar.

The Canadian dollar was trading at 73.67 US cents, compared with the average of 73.71 US cents on Friday.

The S & P / TSX composite index fell 45.80 points to 13,889.64 after the first 90 minutes of a trading day shortened. The Toronto Stock Exchange closes at 1:00 p.m. and reopens Thursday after a two-day holiday.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 309.15 points to 22,136.22. The S & P 500 index fell 19.05 points to 2,397.83, while the Nasdaq index fell 223.36 points to 6,305.03.

The February oil contract fell 91 cents to $ 44.68 a barrel, and the February natural gas contract fell 20 cents to $ 3.55 per mmBTU.

The February gold contract rose $ 10.30 to $ 1.268.40 per ounce and the March copper contract fell less than a penny to $ 2.67 a pound.


December 23, 2018 / 20:07 | Story:

For the last 25 years, Edward Sonshine is known as the king of shopping malls in Canada.

Now the chief executive of one of the largest real estate investment funds in the country wants to be known for something more: housing.

"It's not me who changes," Sonshine said in an interview at RioCan REIT headquarters in Toronto.

"Change in our strategy has always been a reaction to the changing world, changing business, changing economy."

Since its foundation in 1993, RioCan has built a portfolio of approximately 250 retail properties, warehouses and offices.

Last year, the company noted how it could better use the privileged locations of its retail and plaza malls, many of which are on existing or near-built transportation lines.

Sonshine said that it is obvious for RioCan to turn these points of sale into mixed-use properties, adding rental units and offices to meet the growing demand for housing, especially in the country's largest cities.

Last month, Canada Mortgage Housing Corp. reported that the demand for rental properties continues to outpace supply due to the growth of immigration, the elderly population and the millennium generation.

"When you make it difficult for people to buy, they will rent. They have to live somewhere," Sonshine said. "The population of big cities continues to grow. We look at how the rental market has nowhere to go, but it's good."

Sonshine says the change is fortuitous because the company is already looking to reduce its exposure to retail as consumer spending continues to migrate to online shopping instead of shopping in a large shopping mall.

"There is no doubt that the demand for retail space in the next five to ten years will not grow," he said.

Sonshine said that this first crystallized for him in 2015 when the company's top tenant, the US retailer Target, announced that it was closing its stores in Canada.

Since then, RioCan has moved out of cities such as London, Ontario and Grande Prairie, Alta, and reinvesting in the country's six major urban markets, where it projects the largest growth. By 2020, RioCan wants more than 90% of its rental revenue to be generated by properties located in these major cities, up from the current 75% today.

Currently, there are eight specific-purpose lease projects, or 2,300 units under construction in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. The first two developments will be launched in the first quarter and summer of 2019.

Within five years, Sonshine sees RioCan's portfolio comprised of 10% residential properties, 5% office properties, with the vast majority still coming from the retail market.

December 23, 2018 / 7:50 am | Story:

Natural gas prices in Western Canada are so low that a partner in the country's first LNG export project is closing wells that lose money and reducing its exploration program.

Malaysia-owned Petronas, which holds a 25 percent stake in LNG Canada's $ 40 billion project, has been cutting output from 50 to 200 million cubic feet a day in wells in the northeast of the country. capable of producing 700 million cf / d, says the CEO of its branch in Canada.

The practice is being adopted by a growing number of Western Canadian producers to avoid selling their natural gas at prices that do not always cover the cost of transporting pipelines.

"We talk a lot about oil infrastructure," said Mark Fitzgerald, CEO of Petronas Energy Canada Ltd., in an interview, referring to oil price rebates in western Canada attributed to pipelines.

"Gas is also stuck and if you compare the prices that Canadian gas producers are getting against our US counterparts, the spreads are significant and cost us a significant amount of money."

The company invested heavily in natural gas exploration in northeastern Canada. from 2012 to 2016, employing more than 25 drilling rigs at peak times to prove the resource potential as part of its long-term plan for the construction of a liquefied natural gas export terminal. He's only running one rig now, Fitzgerald said.

Petronas withdrew its $ 36 billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project in 2017, but joined the LNG Canada partnership led by Royal Dutch Shell last May.

The partners agreed to continue with the project this fall, but it is not expected to be ready to start cooling the natural gas and shipping it by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

Ian Archer, associate director of IHS Markit, said the western Canadian gas industry was stable from 2000 to 2008, with output of about 16 billion cf / price of about 10 dollars per gigajoule, but that changed when they emerged new technologies for drilling and completion of wells This allowed the US to dramatically increase the production of shale gas.

Cheaper American gas began to replace western Canadian gas in markets like California, Eastern Canada and New York, and the price in western Canada fell by half, with output dropping to about 13 billion by 2012, he said. .

The trend worsened as new drilling technologies began to be used in northeastern California. and northwest Alberta to produce light products such as condensate, which is sought as a diluent to blend with the crude bitumen of the sands and allow it to flow into a duct.

The condensed wells typically contain high levels of natural gas and the increase in gas production to more than 16 billion cf / d has exceeded the capacity of the pipeline and reduced gas prices this year to 1.43 per gigajoule, about one third of the price in 2014 said Archer.

Meanwhile, the reference spot price of Henry Hub's benchmark in the US is forecast to average $ 3.17 per GJ in 2018 (around C $ 4.12), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Pipeline companies are spending billions of dollars to expand their gas systems in B.C. and Alberta, which will improve market access, but it is difficult to see where gas can be sent for better prices, Archer said.

The first phase of LNG Canada is expected to require about 2 billion cf / d of gas to produce about 14 million tons per year of LNG, but it is expected that most of this gas will come from the partners, so it is not a great price improvement is expected. he said.


December 23, 2018 / 7:41 am | Story:

Toronto marketing specialist Elaina Falcone laughed when she thought about coming back about a year ago when her company executives started walking around the office having phone conversations on headphones, reminding drive-thru employees.

"I would be like," I can write down your request, "while walking through them," recalls Falcone, who works for Accessible Media Inc., a non-profit media company targeting Canadians who are blind or partially blind.

"Literally imagine a McDonald's employee with a small mouthpiece in front."

These headsets are now ubiquitous in the enterprise and in many others in Canada as more organizations get rid of their annoying and analog desktops for cloud-based services and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) on wireless devices.

The days of tossing the neck to the side to hold a receiver in place, and using precious desk space with a bulky phone and spiral cable, are fading fast as companies switch to VoIP and cloud-based providers like RingCentral and Skype from Microsoft. The business.

Desk phones are also following the dodo path as more employees work from home or remotely, and companies replace workstations assigned by shared offices known as agile workspaces where anyone can sit anywhere .

Many employees use laptops and smartphones and want mobility and flexibility, says Falcone, noting that it seems redundant to have a personal cell phone, a work phone, and a desk phone.

According to an online survey of 400 small, medium and large companies released in July by IDC Canada, about 90% of Canadian companies have wireless phones and 49% of their employees have replaced their landlines with wireless devices.

"It's almost as if the last resort were a paper-weighted desk phone," says Lawrence Surtees, vice president of communications research at IDC Canada, who conducts market research on information and communication technology.

"Non-smartphones are a dying thing."

Surtees says smaller companies in Canada have gone wireless sooner than the larger ones, which are now making the transition due to cost, convenience, growing confidence in cloud computing, and a general increase in cable cut in everyday life.

Saving money is another fundamental reason why companies say they are making the switch.

That's what happened when AMI added Skype for Business to its Microsoft Office 365 subscription, says Kevin Sharpen, who oversaw the project as an application development manager.

"We probably saved more than 60 percent of our telephony costs," Sharpen said, adding that employees were able to keep the same number of employees.

"A lot of this is in long distance costs because in a regular telephony system you're paying for long distance. But when you're talking about VoIP or a hybrid of that, those costs are significantly reduced."

It is also more financially feasible for organizations to execute all their communications through an interface that makes data more accessible and faster, says Rebeka Inoue, partner alliance manager AVI-SPL, a global provider of technology services in the workplace .

"With the advent of the cloud, organizations were able to reduce a lot of overhead and expense by moving everything to the cloud and making people like Microsoft manage that cloud and make sure it was safer than most companies had in the cloud," says Inoue. , whose company transitioned to Skype for Business two years ago.

For those who still prefer desk phones, some companies that have switched to VoIP systems still have some of them working, usually those that use the web, such as Cisco's.

Surtees says the wireless network trend can go so far, noting that it would be difficult for certain institutions, such as health care and government, to become wireless.

"I could see hypothetically wireless replacement in business increasing by about 75%, maybe a little more," says Surtees. "But I think it would hit a ceiling."

Falcone says he loves the portability he has now and rarely gets work-related voicemails because it is usually accessed on his cell phone.

But being so approachable may also seem like you're taking your work home with you, he adds.

"Sometimes it's ten o'clock at night and I see the little red" 1 "in my work email or on my Skype and I say" Ugh ", says Falcone. "That makes it difficult not to check."

December 23, 2018 / 7:37 am | Story:

When Chris Cobain goes to Walmart, he fears the long queues at the cash register.

That's why the Toronto-based audio engineer was thrilled when he saw portable scanners, allowing customers to checkout items while shopping.

He tried the service but found the scanner "heavy" and the system still required him to use a checkout corridor or to interact with an employee to pay.

"It took me longer to do my shopping and then something happened and everything went bad," he said. "I did not feel it was faster."

The experience meant he was not surprised when Walmart ripped off the offer from its local store.

The approach, he and experts say, is a sign that portable, telephone-based self checkout is generating mixed results for retailers.

Walmart spokeswoman Anika Malik did not say how many sites the service was available and how many still have, but said, "If a test does not produce a result that works for our customers and our business, we have no problem or trying find a way that works best. "

Malik said that Walmart is joking about changing the service interface and some of its features, but did not elaborate.

The Walmart experience did not appear to shut down Canadian retailers. Supermarket giant Loblaw has launched its "buy and scan" offer by telephone at five Loblaws locations and three Canadian Supermarkets in the Greater Toronto area in November.

Loblaw spokeswoman Catherine Thomas said so far the feedback was "really positive," but she did not confirm whether there were plans to expand the service.

Meanwhile, Nordstrom Rack and Dollarama are also tinkering with handheld scanners to speed up the purchase, but they've left the scanners in the hands of shop-stealing employees.

The different approaches and success rates of such systems result from consumer behavior, said Michael LeBlanc, senior retail consultant for the Retail Council of Canada.

He noticed that customers prefer manual self-checkout when buying some items but that allowing a cashier to make a purchase is more ideal when someone has a cart or a basket full.

"(Manual self-check-out is not for everyone and it's not for every occasion," he said. "I know some retailers have checked out on the app and some customers liked it and some did not … the way you planned it, but I think everyone likes you to try. "

The fall of Walmart was not necessarily technology, he added. Time may have played a role.

"Is it too soon or is it something customers are not interested in right now?" he said. "They may be interested in this, but they are not yet ready to adopt it. In the end, we do not know until you put it on the field and test."

A recent study by Canada's Retail Council, Google and WisePlum found that Canadian buyers "are not willing" to find problems when shopping and retailers that do not offer "frictionless" transactions will lose more and more share of the market.

Younger consumers created as "digital natives" will appreciate technology even more, the study found in mid-December.

December 23, 2018 / 7:14 a.m. | Story:

The US dispute with China over the ban on technology giant Huawei is spilling over to Europe, the company's largest foreign market, where some countries are also starting to shun their network systems for data security reasons.

Some European governments and telecoms companies are following the example of the US in questioning whether using Huawei for vital mobile network infrastructures could expose them to espionage by the Chinese government.

Bans in Europe can significantly increase the financial pressures on Huawei. They would also cost Europe tens of billions of dollars as the region seeks to build "5G" networks, which should support a vast expanse of things connected to the internet, from standalone cars to factory robots and remote surgeries.

"Europe is still divided over Huawei, but the trend is moving in a very clear direction," said Thorsten Benner, director of the Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute.

Geo-political tensions over Huawei intensified after its chief financial officer, who is also the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested on Dec. 1 in Canada in connection with US allegations that the company violated restrictions on the sale of American technology to Iran.

Huawei has been blocked in the US since 2012 when a report by the House Intelligence Committee found that it was a security risk and recommended that government and private companies stop buying their network equipment.

Germany's Deutsche Telekom said last week that it "takes the global discussion on the safety of the network elements of Chinese manufacturers very seriously." The company said it uses several companies to build its network, including Ericsson, Nokia and Cisco.

"However, we are currently re-evaluating our acquisition strategy," the company said.

The statement is significant because until recently it had been one of the "biggest cheerleaders of Huawei" based on its cheap and reliable equipment, Benner said.

The news came shortly after Alex Younger, director of the British Intelligence Service, or MI6, said in a speech that Britain needs to "decide how comfortable we will be with Chinese ownership of these technologies," according to local press. reports.

Around the same time, mobile operator British Telecom announced that it was removing equipment from Huawei from important parts of its current 3G and 4G networks as part of an internal policy not to use it on basic infrastructure, which also applies to 5G networks.

The UK government center that tests the company's hardware and software this summer has identified "flaws in Huawei's engineering processes that exposed new risks" in UK networks. Huawei said it is working to repair these problems.

The Norwegian Ministry of Telecommunications said it was considering clarifying the requirements of network operators without being more specific.

The Belgian cyber security agency is considering banning Huawei. And the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic has ordered his government office to stop using Huawei cell phones after the national cyber security agency warned that the products of Huawei and another Chinese telecommunications company, ZTE, represent "a threat to safety".

EU policy chief Andrus Ansip said we "have to worry" about possible Huawei security risks when questioned about the company's role in European projects of 5G cars and without drivers.

December 21, 2018 / 2:15 p.m. | Story:

The B.C. The Oil and Gas Commission blamed fracking for three earthquakes in the northeast of the country. last month.

The provincial governor said that events 20 miles south of Fort St. John on November 29 occurred due to fluid injections during the hydraulic fracturing in a well of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

The events, which were felt but did not cause surface damage, measured 3.4, 4.0 and 4.5 magnitude.

Fracturing operations within the lower Montney formation were suspended after earthquakes and should remain suspended on the multiple wells platform, awaiting the results of a detailed technical review.

The commission says seven wells in Montney's upper formation were previously drilled and completed by the Calgary company at the well, with no seismic events greater than the magnitude 2.5 detected.

Immediate closure of operations is required when a seismic event induced in that region reaches or exceeds a magnitude of 3.0.

Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals into a well under pressure to break the tight underground rock and free of oil and gas trapped.

December 21, 2018 / 1:57 pm | Story:

Officials and contractors in Victoria have analyzed the numbers on costs of climate change for the coastal city and this does not look good, says the mayor.

Lisa Helps says that based on a report commissioned by the regional government in 2015, storms combined with a one meter rise in sea level – which is projected by the year 2100 – can result in business disruption losses of $ 415,557 per day.

Victoria was one of the first municipalities in British Columbia to write a letter to oil and gas companies last year, urging them to take advantage of rising bills in proportion to their emissions.

It is joining local governments around the world to seek some relief.

"We are actively working through our climate leadership plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but in the meantime there are real costs to taxpayers," Helps said in an interview.

"It's very fair to say," you've done this, you need to help us mitigate the cost, "even though all of us – energy companies and cities – are working toward a renewable energy future."

The West Coast Environmental Law, which spurred the B.C. campaign, says 16 local councils voted to write letters to fossil fuel companies. The most recent was West Vancouver, which voted last week.

"It's getting bigger and bigger," said Andrew Gage, the organization's lawyer.

It is not about delivering the entire bill to fossil fuel producers, but seeking a reasonable contribution to pollution from a company, he said.

"No one is saying that the individual consumer has no responsibility, it is a question of what is the relative responsibility," he said.

The Canadian Petroleum Producers Association declined to comment, saying that as the letters are sent directly to companies, it considers the issue "company-specific."

The campaign has flown far under the radar until recently, when the resort town of Whistler in B.C. attracted Alberta's ire by sending one of the letters to the Calgary oil and mineral giant, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Last weekend, Alberta Minister of Commerce and Economic Development Deron Bilous criticized Jack Crompton, Mayor of Whistler, during a pro-oil rally in Grand Prairie.

"Whistler people need to tell the truth: they're using Alberta gas for their cars, for their petrochemicals, and they're using our oil and it's time to become smarter," he told the rally.

Crompton apologized for a video on Facebook last week.

Governments in other parts of the world are trying different tactics.

Several cities in the United States, including New York and San Francisco, have unsuccessfully tried to process large oil companies because of climate change.

The Shell Group said in a statement that its stance on climate change has been a matter of public record for decades.

"We strongly support the Paris Accord and the need for society to transition to a less carbon-friendly future, while expanding the economic and social benefits of access to energy for all," he said.

"We believe that cooperation is needed in all segments of society, not in actions that impede the necessary collaboration for significant change. Individual communities can be powerful positive changes in the energy transition, but open suits against energy producers that transition." economy of the world, raise living standards and improve life, is not the answer, "he said.

December 21, 2018 / 11h48 | Story:

The National Energy Council said Canada's railroad crude exports rose to a record 327,229 barrels per day in October.

That represents more than 21 percent, down from 269,829 in September, and represents the first time railroad exports exceed 300,000 barrels a day – in October 2017, only 137,000 bpd left the country in railway wagons.

Complete export pipelines were blamed for an excess of oil in western Canada, which pressed down the price of a mixture of reference essential oils.

Western Canadian Select was priced at over $ 50 per barrel less than New York's West Texas Intermediate in October.

These spreads have declined to about $ 15 a barrel since the Alberta government announced in early December that it would cut production of 325,000 bpd from Jan. 1.

The province has also promised to buy up to 80 locomotives and 7,000 tankers to help transport oil to markets from the end of 2019.

Suncor Energy Inc., a giant in oils and lubricants, warned last week that tougher differentials have made rail transport "non-economical". Analysts estimate the cost is about $ 20 a barrel to transport Canadian crude oil to the US Gulf Coast markets, so spreads lower than that make the practice less attractive.

December 21, 2018 / 09h43 | Story:

Statistics Canada says that marijuana sales in the two weeks after legalization totaled $ 43 million.

The agency began collecting data for sale at the online store and marijuana retailers from October 17, when sprouts, oil, plants and seeds fresh or dried have become legal for recreational use in the country.

The first set of data released on Friday as part of the broader figures of the agency's monthly retail trade covers only two weeks but will reflect a full reference month in the future.

Statistics Canada says that different retail structures in each province and territory have affected the availability of marijuana across the country.

The agency says retail numbers will vary as new stores continue to operate and the market evolves.

The shortage of recreational marijuana has been a persistent problem since legalization, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently calling the lack of supply as the biggest challenge associated with the move. He noted, however, that he expected the problem to disappear within a year.

Edible foods have yet to be legally sold, but Health Canada has issued a draft regulation on Thursday for the sale of food. They will become legal until October 17, 2019.

The regulations, which call for public input by February 20, would restrict the sale of cannabis-infused beverages and package or label beer or wine products along with marijuana.

Edible packets with more than 10 milligrams of THC will not be allowed, while extracts and topics may not exceed 1,000 milligrams of THC.

The regulations propose restrictions on ingredients that could make products more attractive to children, as well as the need for simple and child resistant packaging that display a standard cannabis symbol with a health warning.

December 21, 2018 / 09:41 | Story:

Canadian stores have doubled to become destinations for shoppers who need time this year, increasing delivery options, acquiring food kit companies, and adding restaurants to stores.

Changes in consumer demand and technology The recent acquisition of Whole Foods Market by Amazon is pushing supermarkets to evolve, but experts say it is just the beginning of a transformation in the way Canadians buy food.

In the near future, consumers will order online on autopilot; shopping in smaller markets, full of experiences; and embrace technology in the store that facilitates shopping difficulties.

"Fundamentally, supermarkets are still planned, built and managed, and even measured from a productivity point of view, just as they were in 1917," said Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, a consulting firm.

That year, Clarence Saunders applied for a patent in the United States to "store equipment or furniture and a set-up system" to allow buyers to pick up what they wanted, rather than being served behind a counter, according to the request of patent. His first store, the original Piggly Wiggly, opened the previous year in Memphis, Tennessee.

"And yet, as we all know, everything around us has changed drastically as a consequence of technology," Stephens said.

"So, I believe we are truly and truly in a revolution."

Canadians feel increasingly comfortable when ordering online. In September, retail e-commerce sales accounted for $ 1.4 billion, or 2.8% of total retail trade, according to the latest Statistic Canada figures. That's an increase of 16.9 percent year on year.

This will grow even more, since Canada is still behind on online sales, said Sylvain Perrier, CEO of Mercatus, which helps supermarkets make better use of the technology.

It forecasts a two to three percent increase in online grocery sales in the medium term.

Canadians will begin to overcome the fear of having a stranger picking their fresh food – a barrier that hinders the growth of e-commerce in supermarkets – more broadly, Perrier said. This will happen as the country's grocery stores improve good quality production.

Consumers are also creatures of habit, Stephens said, with about half of their purchases being the same each time they visit the grocery store. Buyers will probably start buying these types of routine items – such as laundry soap or oatmeal – online.

With increasing coverage of the internet of things, interconnected appliances will one day place orders for their human owners, he said.

These creations would be an extension of existing smart refrigerators – those that can show residents what's in their refrigerator and require them to order certain items through a built-in display, among other capabilities.

Some auto-order products already exist. Amazon's dash buttons, which first required a human touch, now monitor supply levels on certain items and automatically reorder when the product, like printer ink, goes low.

"Fifty percent of the things we're buying will only come to us," Stephens said.

With more food ordered online, the central aisles of supermarkets will begin to disappear, resulting in smaller stores that sell mostly fresh produce. These markets will strive to become destinations for buyers by offering experiences to attract consumers, Stephens said.

This trend is already taking shape with the rise of the so called grocery store, where the stores offer dining options that, depending on the store, may include sushi, full service bars and freshly prepared seafood selected from freezers in the shops.

December 21, 2018 / 9:37 am | Story:

Ford is collecting more than 874,000 F-Series pickup trucks with engine block heaters in the US and Canada because they can catch fire.

The recall covers certain F-150s from the years 2015 to 2019, as well as the F-250, 350, 450 and 550 models from 2017 to 2019.

The company says in documents posted on Friday on the website of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that water and contaminants can enter the heater's cable and cause corrosion. This can cause short circuits and possible fires. Engine block heaters heat the motors so they can turn on and heat up faster in extremely cold temperatures.

The company says that the risk of fire happens only when the cable of the block heater is plugged into an electrical outlet.

Ford has received three reports of fires in Canada, but none of the damage to United States property was reported in one incident, but there were no reports of injuries, Ford said in a statement.

Dealers will inspect and seal the cable or replace the heaters if necessary. The recall is expected to begin in the US on January 7.

The F series pickups are the best-selling vehicles in the United States.

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