Brenda Bouw

    Brenda Bouw is freelance writer based in Vancouver. She has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter, editor and manager at media organizations across Canada. She is also an author and ghostwriter.

  • Six fine-print facts you need to know about your life insurance

    There are two types of people in the world when it comes to life insurance: Those who buy it to avoid leaving their loved ones with a financial burden, and those who don’t want to think about it.

  • Dr.Doom Nouriel Roubini warns on economic effects of gender inequality

    There are too many constraints on women in the global economy, from unequal pay to limited leadership roles, which is weighing on economic progress, a prominent economist warns. Still, women around the world continue to struggle with gender equality at work. “The case for having a stronger role of women in the business world is compelling,” Roubini said during a speech at The Next Billion: Women and the Economy of the Future conference. In his speech on Thursday, he offered a mix of positive and negative indicators for the global economy.

  • Fitch warns on Canada’s condo market

    Ontario’s housing market is overvalued by about 25 per cent, a dangerous level that threatens not only home price growth in the province, but the overall Canadian economy, says a new report from New York-based Fitch ratings agency. It says more than 80,000 condo units are being built in Ontario, which is almost 50 per cent more than four years ago when the boom in multifamily units really started to take off.

  • Canadian retailers falling behind U.S. in ecommerce: BMO

    Canadian retailers have a lot of catching up to do if they want to better compete with their American counterparts in the increasingly important ecommerce sales category, suggests a new report from BMO Nesbitt Burns. It shows the overwhelming majority of the estimated $16 billion in total ecommerce sales generated in Canada last year was by American companies. The top 10, which again are all American companies, accounted for just above 50 per cent of ecommerce sales.

  • Canadian retirement a political issues as poll shows support for TFSA, CPP increases

    About two-thirds of Canadians are in favour of increasing the contribution limit for the Tax Free Saving Account (TFSA), but even more want a boost in benefits received through the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a new Nanos poll shows. The results suggest support for some Conservative government initiatives in the lead up to the federal election this fall, but also give room for opposition parties calling for changes to the pension system, notes Nik Nanos, chairman of Nanos Research. The survey, conducted for The Globe and Mail, was released on the same day Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said he plans to reverse the Conservative government’s recently announced TFSA increase, if elected.

  • Deal on the table? Better have a female executive on your team

    A joint study from the University of British Columbia and the University of Utah shows corporate boards that include women are more likely to seek help from investment bankers and/or financial advisers when faced with a takeover offer. “Women do make a difference in business,” states the report, co-authored by Maurice Levi and Kai Li, finance professors at UBC’s Sauder School of Business and Feng Zhang, assistant professor at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah (and former UBC student). In an interview, Li said the study was done amid growing calls around the world for more women in leadership roles and on corporate boards. The study looked at more than 2,500 M&A deals between 1997 and 2010, and found no change in boards looking for financial advice when the company was making a takeover offer.

  • Winnipeg, Regina housing markets most at risk for correction: CMHC

    Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) says Regina and Winnipeg face “problematic market conditions,” due to quickly rising prices, overvaluation and overbuilding, especially in the condo markets. “In Winnipeg, risk of overvaluation and overbuilding are detected,” said the CMHC in its latest House Price Analysis and Assessment (HPAA), which takes the temperature of Canada’s housing market.

  • Canadians more likely to burn through retirement savings: HSBC

    HSBC’s latest global retirement survey says Canadians are among the most likely to spend their money before they die, and are the least likely to financially support their adult children. Only 7 per cent of Canadians felt it was best to save as much as possible to pass along to their kids. The survey also shows just 11 per cent of Canadians close to retirement plan to support their adult children, which is well below the global average of 21 per cent.

  • Canada’s complicated income tax system costing Canadians: report

    “Canadian families and businesses incur significant costs complying with the tax system,” states the Fraser Institute report called Measuring Tax Complexity in Canada. The think tank is calling on the federal government to start simplifying the tax system to save filers both time and money.

  • Canadians continue to see home ownership as the best investment: survey

    Canadians are reluctant to give up cash in their portfolios and see home ownership as the best investment, according to a newly released investor sentiment survey from Manulife Financial. The survey shows Canadians are more conservative than Americans in their investments, which makes sense given the difference in economic growth outlooks between the two nations. About one-third (34 per cent) of Canadians surveyed by Manulife said now is a good time to hold on to cash, compared to 13 per cent of Americans.

  • Vancouver is unhappiest city in Canada: study

    Vancouver may have milder weather and picturesque mountains, and Toronto a wider range of higher-paying jobs, but people in smaller cities across Canada are happier, a new study suggests. The report, released through Statistics Canada, shows people in cities such as Saguenay and Trois-Rivieres, Que., St. John’s, Nfld. and Sudbury, Ont. have some of the highest life satisfaction levels in Canada, while Toronto and Vancouver are among the lowest. While the study doesn’t offer an explanation as to why small-city Canada is more content, experts believe it’s the closer connection to and support from their communities.

  • One-fifth of immigrants to Canada arrive with no savings: BMO

    About one-fifth of immigrants arrive without any savings, looking to build some wealth in Canada. The report from BMO Wealth Management paints a picture of eager new Canadians looking for a safe, stable country in which to live, although some may be unprepared for the higher cost of living in some parts of the country. It appears cheaper to get started in Ontario, where an average of $27,579 was left from an average of $51,847 in savings brought to Canada. Sabrina Della Fazia, a vice president at BMO InvestorLine, believes the savings rates of immigrants to Canada are at a good level, in part because they are leaving room to spend and invest in other areas.

  • Canada’s aging population, capital gains tax stiffing entrepreneurship: report

    The federal government has a number of programs to support entrepreneurship in Canada, but a new report shows the rate of business start-ups has been falling and proposes a major policy change to fix the problem. The Fraser Institute is calling for an overhaul of Canada’s capital gains tax, which includes an idea of scrapping it altogether. It says benefits of the tax are slim for government, but come at a “considerable economic cost” for entrepreneurs. The report says Canada has an opportunity to “supercharge its entrepreneurial environment” by reducing the capital gains tax rate, creating a rollover similar to what happens in the U.S., or dropping the tax entirely.

  • Canada’s West is still the best: TD Economics

    “West is still best,” says the headline of a TD Economics report, which says Alberta and Saskatchewan “still have the edge,” from a long-term economic growth perspective. When oil prices do eventually recover, which TD says isn’t too far away, the young and growing populations in the two provinces will play a big role in increasing Canada’s productivity, and in turn economic growth. “Much hay has been made about the fall from grace of Canada’s seemingly perennial growth leaders, Alberta and
 Saskatchewan, who have been replaced at the upper end of the
 leaderboard by oil-importing regions such as Ontario and British
 Columbia, “ TD economists Randall Bartlett, Jonathan Bendiner and Admir Kolaj 
write in their report.

  • Supreme Court decisions causing economic barriers for Canadian Aboriginals: Fraser Institute

    Recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions around aboriginal rights and title are creating economic barriers for First Nation communities, and Canada as a whole, argues a new report from the Fraser Institute. While the decisions have created a new range of property rights, the report says they are difficult to use in Canada’s market economy. “Aboriginal peoples are thus in the paradoxical position of receiving new property rights that they will find difficult to use. This is an unfortunate situation both for them and for the wider Canadian economy,” says the report, written by political scientist and advisor Tom Flanagan.

  • Lower earnings, longevity put Canadian women at risk for ‘bag lady syndrome’

    Forget wrinkles and sagging skin, running out of money in retirement is one of the biggest fears working women have these days, and it’s not completely irrational, experts say. “Women of all economic walks of life have a shared fear – and that’s the fear running out of money,” says Caroline Dabu, vice president and head of the BMO Wealth Planning Group.

  • What’s next for Alberta’s economy?

    Albertans are bracing for several more months of bad economic news and belt tightening amid depressed oil prices, but the province won’t fall into a recession as some economists predict, according to a local economic forecast. ATB Financial’s second quarter outlook says the Alberta economy will slow to growth of 0.8 per cent this year, due to a rise in unemployment and drop of investment in the province’s key energy sector.

  • Canada’s corporate profits margins hit 27-year high: CIBC

    Corporate profit margins are at their highest point in nearly three decades, propped up in part by a lower Canadian dollar and cheaper labour costs, a new report shows. CIBC says average corporate profit margins hit a 27-year high in the fourth quarter of last year and are expected to remain robust despite the recent downturn in the oil patch. “By all measures, higher corporate profit margins are here to stay,” said Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s deputy chief economist and author of the report.

  • Borrowers lock in, lenders offer choice in competitive spring housing market

    A CIBC poll, conducted byNielsen, says 57 per cent of Canadians aren’t betting on mortgage rates to fall further and would choose a fixed-rate mortgage if they were to acquire, refinance or renew a mortgage today. The CIBC poll says 30 per cent of respondents would pick a variable-rate mortgage if they were to acquire, refinance or renew a mortgage today, while 11 per cent weren’t sure. “The poll results confirm what many of our clients are telling us, that they don’t expect rates to go any lower and, in today’s housing market, they want the comfort and security of knowing exactly what their mortgage payments will be for the next four or five years,” says Barry Gollom, a vice president at CIBC.

  • Higher cost of imported goods to eat up Canadian gas savings: report

    Canadians may be rubbing their hands with glee at the money they’re saving at the gas pumps, but there are consequences of lower oil prices that could hit other parts of their budgets, a TD Bank report notes. “The weaker dollar is likely to put offsetting upward pressure on a number of consumer prices. By our calculations, this pass-through impact may be as much as $600 per household,” says the report, written by TD economists Craig Alexander, Derek Burleton and Randall Bartlett.