Canada’s tech industry to play the biggest role in our economy in 2016

“For years, the trope that oil, gas and other natural resources would drive employment and economic growth in Canada has been common. It’s been the position of federal and provincial governments, repeated by newspaper editorialists and think tanks.

Certainly, resources have played a big role in the building of Canada but the idea that resources – oil in particular – will have a central role in our economy looks more and more out of touch by the day.

As oil prices continue to fall, Western Canadian Select grade heavy crude was below US$20 a barrel on Jan. 6, Canada’s high-cost extraction operations are becoming more and more unprofitable. In Alberta, where prices need to be between US$50 and $80 a barrel (depending on the operation), for long-term profits to be a possibility, tens of thousands of people have already lost their jobs,” wrote Jacob Serebrin for on January 8, 2016.

Serebrin continued, “Throughout it all, though, one industry has continued to grow, in terms of revenue, employment and impact: tech.

In British Columbia alone, around 84,000 people work at tech companies, that makes it a bigger employer in the province than “mining, forestry, and oil and gas combined,” according to The Globe and Mail.

And B.C.’s tech industry isn’t even Canada’s largest. Around twice as many people work in tech jobs (at tech and non-tech companies) in Quebec. Around four times as many people work in tech jobs in Ontario.

Canada’s tech industry is already export-focused and, unlike other sectors, it’s not prone to industry-wide downturns. Silicon Valley can’t increase supply to keep prices low the way Saudi Arabia does with oil.

Certainly, there are trends and fads, individual companies see ups and downs, but as a sector, continued growth appears to be inevitable for a long time to come.”

Read the full article here.

Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS


The Canadian Loonie and all time lows

“The Canadian loonie has continued its slide, reaching its lowest level yesterday since the summer of 2003. As of late Wednesday, the loonie stood at 70.95 cents US.

Today’s plunge is being attributed to a prolonged period of low oil prices and stock market uncertainty, and a housing market that has left Toronto and Vancouver, in particular, off in their own orbits,” an article posted by CBC News.

CBC News continued, “1.) Feb. 4, 1986: 69.13 cents

On Nov. 15, 1976, the Canadian dollar stood at more than $1 US, but currency markets around the world were alarmed after René Lévesque’s Parti Québécois took power in Quebec, and the Canadian dollar (the loonie wasn’t yet introduced) began a decade-long slide until it bottomed out at 69.13 US on Feb. 4, 1986.

Prime Minister: Brian Mulroney.

Major events: The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Jan. 28, killing seven people on board. On April 26, a reactor at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, sending a radioactive cloud across parts of Russia and Europe.

Popular movies: Tom Cruise starred as Maverick in Top Gun, which brought in nearly $357 million US, according to Box Office Mojo. The movie beat out another Paramount flick, Crocodile Dundee, starring Paul Hogan, for the No. 1 spot that year. But it was the Sydney Pollack-directed film, Out of Africa, that swept the Oscars, winning seven Academy awards, including best picture.

Average Toronto house price: In 1986, the average Toronto house sale price was $138,925, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board. 

Popular baby names: Michael and Jessica were the most popular baby names in the U.S., according to Baby Centre.

Fashion trends: Power dressing was the major trend that year, according to the fashion magazine Vogue. That meant “bold shoulders, cinched waists and sensible shoes” for women.

That year, Apple — the same company behind the sleek iPhone and iPad designs — released a fashion line of brightly coloured, quintessentially 80s wear.”

Read the full article here.

Raymond Matt, CFP, CLU, TEP, CHS

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