Cameron French

    Cameron French is a Toronto-based writer and lover of brewed and barbecued things. Spent a little over a decade in the newswire trenches before escaping. He likes to think he is younger than he looks.

  • What happens if you file your taxes late, or not at all?

    It can be fun to imagine just not paying income taxes and spending that extra thirty-odd percent of your paycheck on vacations and a nicer car. According to government data, Ottawa takes in around $150 billion per year in personal income tax revenue. To try and do that, Revenue Canada has a menu of financial incentives that kick in the moment your tax filing goes overdue.

  • This Canadian could one day be Warren Buffett’s successor

    Edmonton's Greg Abel appears to be one of two people who are anticipated to take over Berkshire Hathaway when the time comes to name a successor.

  • What are Canada’s next hot real estate markets?

    With Toronto and Vancouver's housing markets reaching astronomical levels, we asked where investors should look for the next big real estate boom.

  • How gas prices are set

    Gas prices can appear to be a complete mystery, but everything from the cost of a barrel of oil to the station you buy it from can affect the price.

  • 4 tax tips for small business owners in Canada

    Tax time can be confusing for the average wage earner, but adding on the complication of owning a small business means there’s a whole different set of things to think about. Many small businesses operate as sole proprietors, which means business income is simply measured as personal income. You may think that companies that do this are typically major players in glass towers, but it’s not unusual for a small shop or service business to incorporate, says Bruce Ball, a tax partner at BDO Canada LLP and incoming Vice President at the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.

  • 5 things families should watch for in Wednesday's federal budget

    Canada’s federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau takes part in the pre-budget ceremony of putting on new shoes at the Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto, Monday March 20, 2017. A year ago, the Trudeau government unveiled a budget that rejigged personal tax rates, overhauled child and family tax benefits system, and promised big infrastructure spending. “They seem to be setting the bar pretty low in the sense that there is not likely to be a lot of new announcements in this budget,” says David MacDonald, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

  • Is Canada on the brink of a financial crisis?

    Ever since the U.S. financial crisis in the late 2000s, there have been questions about whether there might be a Canadian version coming down the pipe. The fact that it hasn’t happened has been taken by some as proof that Canada’s financial system is a better machine than its U.S. counterpart, and by others as a combination of luck and low interest rates. This week the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) pegged Canada as one of a small group of countries vulnerable to a crisis.

  • No 'magic bullet' solution to lower hydro rates in Ontario

    If there was a literal political football for the province of Ontario, the pigskin would be painted with that little red electrical plug that Hydro One adapted from the old Ontario Hydro logo. First there was Mike Harris’ attempted privatization of the hydro system, then the Ernie Eves try at fixing rates, then the Dalton McGuinty spending and gas plant cancellations. The latest punt was unveiled last week by Premier Kathleen Wynne: a 17 per cent cut to residential hydro bills (on top of an earlier 8 per cent HST rebate), created by stretching costs over a longer time frame.

  • Canadian prairies named best place in the world for mining investment

    Mining may no longer be the driving force that it used to be for the Canadian economy, but a new survey by the Fraser Institute says the country is home to the best regions in the world to dig for buried treasure. The Vancouver-based think tank ranks Saskatchewan and Manitoba as the top two jurisdictions in the world for investment in mining, displacing Western Australia, which fell from first to third in the survey. The Fraser Institute produces the report annually, surveying executives from mining companies around the world on the best regions, based on a combination of government policy and geologic attractiveness.

  • Does the Popeyes takeover mean it will stop serving halal chicken?

    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will have a new corporate overlord once a US$1.8 billion takeover by Restaurant Brands International closes sometime in April. Once the suits at Restaurant Brands begin to implement their vision for the company, it’s not clear if that will continue. In its statement announcing the takeover, Restaurant Brands doesn’t mention the issue specifically, though it said Popeyes would continue to be managed independently in the United States, where the chain does not serve halal chicken.

  • Here's what you should be looking for in a financial advisor

    Picking a financial advisor can be a daunting experience. Most people aren’t even sure what to look for. All they know is they want someone who isn’t going to mess up their chance for a comfortable retirement. When you think about it, it’s one of the biggest decisions you make, since the quality of your advisor can affect your quality of life for decades. So it’s important to get the right fit, and make sure you find an advisor that will take your best interest to heart, rather than just offer cookie-cutter advice that leaves you short of cash when you really need it.

  • Year in Review 2016: Aside from Trump, 2016 was the year of the loonie

    The rise and fall in value of the Canadian dollar has a huge effect on costs, most obviously imported goods, but also commodities like oil and metals, which are priced in U.S. dollars, and so become more or less expensive depending on where the good ole loonie is sitting. The Canadian dollar is nowhere near reclaiming the glory days of 2011-12, when it was actually more valuable than the U.S. greenback. If you attach national pride to that sort of thing, you can blame cheaper oil for much of the decline.

  • Canadian banks are helping to fund the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

    Three of Canada’s big banks are under fire for their financial ties to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been the subject of a months-long land dispute that has turned ugly with scenes of protesters clashing with police and private security. As reported in September by U.S. consumer rights watchdog Food and Water Watch, TD, Scotiabank and RBC are among 17 lenders funding the $3.8 billion pipeline or its owners. While TD as lent $365 million for construction of the pipeline itself, Scotiabank and RBC have lent smaller sums to eventual pipeline operator Sunoco Logistics, and RBC is also funding the pipelines owner Energy Transfer Partners.

  • Home prices making you sick? Renting is always an option

    Moshe Milevsky has noticed a change of attitude in the 20-somethings he teaches in his finance class at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto. With semi-detached houses in Toronto averaging close to $800,000 and detached going for $1.2 million, it’s not surprising that young Torontonians might have trouble envisioning getting into the market at any level.

  • Autumn market volatility means it’s time to take stock of investments

    For investors, what had been a good summer on the stock markets came crashing to a halt on Sept. 9 when stocks dove after comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve raised worries that U.S. interest rates might rise sooner than previously expected. The following Monday, Asian markets did the same. Of course, with the U.S. election just weeks away, markets are as prone to overreaction as ever.

  • HMS Terror discovery a big day for the history books, but what about sovereignty?

    This has been a good week for those who worry that Canadian history stands out for its blandness compared to the epic stories of our neighbour to the south. The discovery of the HMS Terror, coming two years after the finding of its sister ship HMS Erebus, fills in a major hole in the story of the Franklin Expedition, the British Arctic voyage that disappeared 170 years ago while attempting to navigate the Northwest Passage. The lost Franklin ships have long been a goal for Arctic explorers and an inspiration for Canadian storytellers, but former prime minister Stephen Harper made finding the ships a priority of his government in 2008, with the subtext of reinforcing Canada’s claim on the Northwest Passage (disputed by the United States) and in general over the resource-rich Arctic.

  • Leave the juice box at home, Toronto eco-friendly school says

    Slingshots and anything with nuts have long been out of the question, but Jackman Avenue Junior Public School in Toronto is cracking down on a new culprit — juice boxes. Along with the typical forms that kids bring home in the first week of school, the eco-friendly school added a note this year emphasizing that kids strive for a “litterless lunch” and, in particular, one free of disposable juice boxes. It may seem a bit extreme to parents who happily head out to Costco once every few months for the 60-drinkbox mega pack priced to move, but it follows a trend in schools towards better eco practices.

  • Potash, Agrium merger probably wouldn’t lead to big job cuts

    Fertilizer may not be the sexiest of topics, but a potential $30 billion merger can sure get pulses racing. Shares of both companies soared on the news, with shareholders hoping the new behemoth would be able to successfully navigate an industry struggling with low prices and a global glut of potash, a key ingredient in fertilizer. While there are no real details to chew on – the companies have so far just confirmed they’re in talks – the combination would marry Potash Corp’s fertilizer production with Agrium’s own production, as well at its farm supply business.

  • In Calgary, pit bulls are OK; bad owners, not so much

    Recent pit bull attacks in Quebec have prompted cities in the province to consider following the lead of much of the rest of Canada in banning the controversial dog breed. “We have what’s called a Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaw that actually doesn’t differentiate between any type of animal, not just dogs,” says Alvin Murray, the city’s chief bylaw officer. Not that camel attacks are a major concern in Calgary, but the point is that the focus for Calgary is on holding owners responsible for aggressive animals.

  • Everything you ever wondered about short selling stocks

    With many people now using online brokerage accounts that let the average person buy and sell stocks from the basement sofa, financial lingo has never been so common. Blurt out the term “short selling” at a cocktail party, and you’ll probably receive a slow nod that tells you, ‘yeah, I’ve heard of that’ (because we all saw the “The Big Short”). Simply put, it means investing with the expectation that the value of a certain security will fall, rather than rise, and the goal of profiting from that fall.