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Alcan Incorporated

Alcan Incorporated was a major Canadian aluminum mining and manufacturing corporation. From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, it was the second-largest aluminum producer in the world.The company was originally founded in 1902 as the Northern Aluminum Company Limited, located in Shawinigan, Québec. It was established as the Canadian subsidiary of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa), one of the founders of which invented the process for extracting aluminum from bauxite. Northern Aluminum was renamed the Aluminum Company of Canada in 1925, and in 1928, it formally detached from Alcoa. In 1966, it was again renamed, this time as Alcan Aluminum Limited (becoming Alcan Incorporated in 2001). In 2007, Alcan was purchased by the British-Australian multinational corporation Rio Tinto for $38 billion. Today, Rio Tinto continues to operate several smelters in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Québec, as well as in Kitimat, British Columbia.

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Irving Group of Companies

Companies owned by New Brunswick’s Irving family dominate the province’s natural resource industries, as well as its media, engineering and construction industries. The first Irving business was a sawmill purchased in 1881. The family now owns many companies that supply each other from different steps in the chain of production. These companies largely fall under four umbrellas: J.D. Irving Limited (whose many segments include forestry, food, construction and transportation), Brunswick News (newspapers), Irving Oil (oil refining and marketing) and Ocean Capital Holdings (real estate, radio, construction and materials). The Irving family owns Canada’s largest oil refinery, is one of the five largest landowners in North America, and employs 1 in 12 people in New Brunswick. It is one of the wealthiest families in Canada.

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Canadian Foreign Relations

Throughout its history, Canada has taken a series of steps to develop from a British colony into an independent nation. Both the First and Second World War were turning points; Canada’s military sacrifices gave it the strength and confidence to demand its own voice on the world stage. In the postwar era, Canada maintained its role in both Western and global alliances. (See NATO; NORAD; GATT.) However, economics have shaped Canadian diplomacy to a remarkable extent. Because of the United States’ singular importance to Canadian security and trade, relations with the US have dominated Canada’s foreign policy since Confederation.

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Unions

Unions, see CRAFT UNIONISM; INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; LABOUR ORGANIZATION; LABOUR RELATIONS; REVOLUTIONARY INDUSTRIAL UNIONISM; UNION CENTRALS, DISTRICT AND REGIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, NATIONAL; UNION CENTRALS, QUÉBEC; UNION DES

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Halibut Treaty

The Halibut Treaty of 1923 (formally the Convention for the Preservation of Halibut Fishery of the Northern Pacific Ocean) was an agreement between Canada and the United States on fishing rights in the Pacific Ocean. It was the first environmental treaty aimed at conserving an ocean fish stock. It was also the first treaty independently negotiated and signed by the Canadian government; one of several landmark events that transitioned Canada into an autonomous sovereign state. It also indicated a shift in Canada’s economic focus from Britain to the US during the 1920s, when the US passed Britain as Canada’s largest trading partner. The treaty created the International Pacific Halibut Commission, which continues in its role today.

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Impact of COVID-19 on Remote Work at Canadian Businesses

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadians have worked from home. This shift to remote work has aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus by reducing contact between people.

To gauge the impact of the pandemic on remote work at Canadian businesses, Statistics Canada conducted a nationwide survey in 2020. The graphs below show some of its findings. The first graph shows the percentage of businesses, in each province and the three territories, that had more than half of their workforce working remotely a) before the pandemic and b) on 29 May 2020, during the pandemic. The second graph shows the percentage of businesses which expected that more than half their workforce would continue to work remotely after COVID-19.

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On to Ottawa Trek and Regina Riot

In April 1935, about 1,500 residents of federal Unemployment Relief Camps in British Columbia went on strike. They travelled by train and truck to Vancouver to protest poor conditions in the Depression-era camps. After their months-long protest proved futile, they decided to take their fight to Ottawa. On 3 June, more than 1,000 strikers began travelling across the country, riding atop railcars. By the time they reached Regina, they were 2,000 strong. But they were stopped in Regina, where the strike leaders were arrested, resulting in the violent Regina Riot on 1 July 1935.

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Compagnie des Indes occidentales

The Compagnie des Indes occidentales was a trading company that drove France’s colonial economy from 1664 to 1674. Its name translates to West Indies Company. King Louis XIV gave the company exclusive rights to trade and govern in all French colonies. Its territory extended from the Americas to the Caribbean and Western Africa. In addition to natural resources such as furs and sugar, the Compagnie traded enslaved people.

This company is not to be confused with the French trading company founded by John Law and renamed Compagnie des Indes in 1719.

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Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada (BoC) is the country’s central bank, a financial institution that provides banking services on behalf of the federal government. Its operations include four principal functions: to manage the country’s money supply; to act as the federal government’s agent in issuing its bonds and managing its holdings of foreign currencies; to manage various monetary policies that can influence the performance of the economy, such as interest rates; and to manage the overall financial industry in Canada and economic relations with other countries and international organizations. The Bank of Canada’s headquarters are in Ottawa.

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Mercantilism

Mercantilism is an economic theory and policy practised during Canada’s colonial periods. The theory of mercantilism holds that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world. A nation’s wealth is thus dependent on exporting (selling to other countries) more than it imports (buying from others). European nations — including France and England (later Great Britain) — used this system to their advantage from the 16th century through the mid-19th century. The purpose was to extract as much wealth as possible from the colonies without investing much into them. The Atlantic slave trade is also inextricably linked to mercantilism. (See Black Enslavement in Canada.)

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Province of Canada (1841-67)

In 1841, Britain united the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This was in response to the violent rebellions of 1837–38. The Durham Report (1839) recommended the guidelines to create the new colony with the Act of Union. The Province of Canada was made up of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada). The two regions were governed jointly until the Province was dissolved to make way for Confederation in 1867. Canada West then became Ontario and Canada East became Quebec. The Province of Canada was a 26-year experiment in anglophone-francophone political cooperation. During this time, responsible government came to British North America and expanded trade and commerce brought wealth to the region. Leaders such as Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Étienne Cartier and George Brown emerged and Confederation was born.

(This is the full-length entry about the Province of Canada. For a plain language summary, please see Province of Canada (Plain Language Summary).)

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Canadian Pacific Railway

The Canadian Pacific Railway company (CPR) was incorporated in 1881. Its original purpose was the construction of a transcontinental railway, a promise to British Columbia upon its entry into Confederation (see Railway History). The railway — completed in 1885 — connected Eastern Canada to British Columbia and played an important role in the development of the nation. Built in dangerous conditions by thousands of labourers, including 15,000 Chinese temporary workers, the railway facilitated communication and transportation across the country. Over its long history, the Canadian Pacific Railway diversified its operations. The company established hotels, shipping lines and airlines, and developed mining and telecommunications industries (see Shipping Industry; Air Transport Industry). In 2001, Canadian Pacific separated into five separate and independent companies, with Canadian Pacific Railway returning to its origins as a railway company. CP, as it is branded today, has over 22,500 km of track across Canada and the United States. It is a public company and it trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CP. In 2020, CP reported $7.71 billion in total revenues.

This is the full-length entry about the Canadian Pacific Railway. For a plain-language summary, please see The Canadian Pacific Railway (Plain-Language Summary).

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Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, commonly known as CIBC, is the fifth largest chartered bank in Canada. It was created through the 1961 merger of two Ontario-based banks, the Canadian Bank of Commerce and the Imperial Bank of Canada — the largest merger of two chartered banks in Canada’s history. Today, CIBC operates its business in Canada and abroad through three divisions: retail and business banking, wealth management, and capital markets. CIBC is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CM. In 2021, CIBC registered $20.02 billion in revenue and $6.45 billion in profit and held $837.68 billion in assets. The bank employs approximately 45,282 people, who serve 11 million clients.

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Bank of Montreal (BMO)

The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest incorporated bank. From its founding to the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935, the Bank of Montreal served as Canada’s central bank. Today, the various components of the Bank of Montreal are collectively known as BMO Financial Group. BMO is Canada’s fourth largest bank by assets, and the eighth largest in North America. It offers services in three distinct areas — personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. BMO is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BMO. In 2021, BMO registered $27.19 billion in revenue and $7.75 billion in profit and held $988.18 billion in assets. BMO employs more than 43,863 people who serve more than 8 million customers across Canada.

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Interest Rates in Canada

Interest is the price charged to borrow money. Expressed as a rate, interest is a percentage of the amount of money borrowed (the principal amount) that is to be paid for an agreed period of time. Interest can be paid by a borrower to a lender (e.g., to a bank), but it can also be paid by a bank to individuals whose money the bank uses to lend money to other borrowers. In Canada, interest rates are determined by the policy of the Bank of Canada, the demand for loans, the supply of available lending capital, interest rates in the United States, inflation rates and other economic factors. The Bank of Canada helps the Canadian government manage the economy by setting the bank rate and controlling the money supply.

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Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was founded in 1864. Today, it is the country’s largest chartered bank and financial institution. It has five divisions: Personal and Commercial Banking, consisting of banking operations in 36 countries around the world; RBC Wealth Management, consisting of investment products and services for retail investors; RBC Capital Markets for international investment banking services; RBC Insurance for individual and group clients; and Investor and Treasury Services, providing custody services and fund administration for international clients. Royal Bank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange and SIX Swiss Exchange under the symbol RY. In 2021, RBC registered $49.7 billion in revenue and $16.05 billion in profit and held $1.7 trillion in assets. Royal Bank employs more than 87,000 people, who serve 17 million customers.

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Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank)

The Bank of Nova Scotia, commonly referred to as “Scotiabank,” is Canada’s third largest chartered bank. Incorporated in 1832, the bank has established itself as Canada’s most international bank through extensive operations throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Central America and parts of Asia. It is also known as “Canada’s gold bank” because of its dominant position in bullion trading. The bank also operates three other business lines: personal banking, commercial banking, and wealth management. Scotiabank is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BNS and on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange under the symbol SBTT. In 2021, Scotiabank registered $31.25 billion in revenue and $9.96 billion in profit and held $1.18 trillion in assets. The bank employs more than 90,000 people, who serve more than 25 million customers around the world.

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Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross domestic product (GDP) refers to the value of all final goods and services produced within a country by all factors of production, regardless of their ownership, usually during one year. Statistics Canada switched to GDP in their calculations of national production in 1986 to facilitate comparisons with other international statistics as most other countries used GDP. Despite its limitations, GDP is considered the best and most concise overall measure of economic performance. It is often used to calculate changes in a country’s standard of living. The growth of inflation-adjusted GDP (known as real GDP) is an important economic performance indicator. The tracking of GDP over time is used as evidence of business cycle performance, as traditionally two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth are referred to as a recession. As well, the distinction is often made between the growth of total real GDP (known as extensive growth) and the growth of real GDP per person (intensive growth), with intensive growth often used as an indicator of welfare per person in an economy.