Canada

Canada is facing industry calls to extend financial aid to smaller airlines, after offering a C$5.9 billion ($4.71 billion)life-line to Air Canada, as new COVID-19 variants loom ahead of the vital summer travel season, Reuters reported. The timing of Monday's deal, which saw the Canadian government take a 6% equity stake in Air Canada, was partly designed to secure "access to air travel when it returns," as the country's vaccine rollout ramps up this summer, a source familiar with the discussions said.
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Air Canada, struggling with a collapse in traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, reached a deal on Monday on a long-awaited aid package with the federal government that would allow it to access up to C$5.9 billion ($4.69 billion) in funds, Reuters reported. The agreement - the largest individual coronavirus-related loan that Ottawa has arranged with a company - was announced after the airline industry criticized Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government for dawdling. The United States and France acted much more quickly to help major carriers.
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Tenured professors at Laurentian University expect to know today whether they will be laid off as part of an extraordinary restructuring aimed at cutting costs at the insolvent and debt-burdened school, the Globe and Mail reported. For many professors, the secretive process, in which negotiations have been held behind closed doors, has been a cruel and uncertain time. Laurentian said a year ago that the pandemic threatened to tip its finances toward a crisis, but in the postwar era no Canadian public university has come through something of this nature.
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More than half of Canadians are on the brink of insolvency, according to a new survey, Yahoo.com reported. The report by MNP Consumer Debt Index found that 53 percent of Canadians are $200 or less away from not being able to make ends meet each month. This includes three out of 10 people who say they have no money left at the end of each month to cover their payments. The survey also states that 25 percent of Canadians have taken on more debt due to the pandemic.
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Royal Bank of Canada Chief Executive Officer David McKay cautioned the Canadian government against overspending in this year’s budget, saying that previous stimulus programs already have the economy primed for a strong recovery, Bloomberg News reported. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he has voters’ support to release an ambitious, debt-financed recovery plan. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to unveil the budget, the government’s first full spending plan in two years, on April 19.

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Canada’s Enerplus Corp. said it would buy some assets in North Dakota’s Williston Basin from Hess Corp for $312 million, as improved oil price expectations have buoyed mergers and acquisitions in North America, Reuters reported. Canada’s oil and gas sector had a record start to 2021 in terms of mergers and acquisitions as the energy sector benefits from a rebound in oil prices from the pandemic-led crash last year, and as smaller companies bet on economies of scale.
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Struggling tour operator Air Transat is in talks with the federal government on aid but may not reach a deal by an April debt deadline, a source close to the situation said, putting pressure on Quebec to ride to the rescue of another troubled aerospace brand in the province, Reuters reported. Air Canada dropped its merger plans with Transat on Friday, saying European regulators had signaled it was unlikely to pass antitrust concerns. Canada’s largest carrier first bid for Transat in 2019 and discounted its offer last year as the pandemic decimated the travel and tourism sector.
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Canada’s biggest oil sands producers are generating billions more in free cash flow in a faster-than-expected pandemic rebound, but taking a cautious approach to spending it that is disappointing environment-minded investors, Reuters reported. Their strategy to repay debts and pay shareholders has won praise from investors in Canadian Natural Resources, Suncor Energy and Cenovus Energy who are eager for higher returns. But greener shareholders warn they could divest or oppose management.
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Canada is betting on a sharp increase in immigration beginning this year as a way to boost the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government plans to significantly increase the number of new permanent residents it accepts over the next three years, and officials have taken steps in recent months to increase the pace of permanent resident approvals, largely by drawing on residents already in Canada on a temporary basis.
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Ontario plans to sell more short-term debt in the year ahead to keep borrowing costs in check amid a spike in long-term yields, Bloomberg News reported. The Canadian province, which is the world’s largest sub-sovereign government borrower, plans to increase short-term debt by C$6 billion ($4.8 billion) in the fiscal year starting April 1. That’s six times its net issuance in the current fiscal year, according to budget documents released on Wednesday.
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