January 17

CBJ January 2017

Based on the number of well-known people we lost in 2016, the year couldn’t have ended soon enough. From a financial perspective the Canadian economy continued to tread water, neither showing appreciable gains nor losses. The most prominent aspect to impact us nationwide and particularly in B.C., was the increased level of foreign ownership in housing, which drove up prices like never before. B.C. has since invoked stiff tax regulations and the market has already cooled noticeably. Ontario may be next in line – unless it’s still preoccupied with selling off more of its revenue-generating assets or trying to convince voters how their ridiculously inane cap-and-trade system actually makes any sense. Ontario drivers are also paying about 5 cents more per litre in taxes at the pumps as of Jan. 1, which will no doubt be remembered come election time.

The U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates by a quarter-point at the end of the year and signaled a faster pace of increases in 2017 as the Trump administration takes over with promises to boost growth through tax cuts, spending and deregulation. It’s not expected that the Bank of Canada will follow suit. Our cover story takes a look at what this American Revolution will mean for our country in terms of importing and exporting and potential job creation with our largest trading partner.

A wave of discontent continues to gain momentum as to the validity of the United Nations – and with good reason. Member nations such as the U.S. are threatening to pull their financial support unless substantive changes are invoked. The UN’s original mandate was to negotiate peaceful settlements and prevent wars, while protecting human rights. The jury is still out on just how successful that effort has been.

As of Jan. 1 every food chain in Ontario with at least 20 locations must now post the caloric intake of all its products so consumers know exactly what they are buying. It’s a great start, but here’s another aspect that needs tweaking. Take for example a can of Pringles, which reads ‘150 calories per every 16 potato chips’. Who’s going to eat 16 chips with about 100 in the tin? Some packaging is more misleading than others. At times the caloric number is in a big huge font on the outer packaging, but on closer review there is the tiny bracketed (per quarter serving) – or something similar. Who’s going to eat ¼ or ½ of something? As for the Pringles, if you eat the entire tube in one sitting you’ve just packed away a whopping 937.5 calories – not 150. Yes, ultimately the consumer should look closely at nutritional label but many do not, and companies know it. The calorie count on labels should be based on the entire package – not a random portion of it, leaving us to do the math in order to get the final tally.

As a final thought, we are proud to announce that 2017 marks the 10th year of The Canadian Business Journal. It’s an honour and a privilege to write about so many great business stories for our loyal readers.

Angus Gillespie
@CanBizJournal

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