The business cycle is a term used to describe the ups and downs of the economy over time. A business cycle consists of a repetition of four phases — expansion, peak, contraction, and trough — that is often called the boom-and-bust cycle. Most often a measure of change in a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the business cycle is a tool used by investors and business managers to analyze the performance of the economy and to make spending and investment decisions. Though business cycles cannot be predicted, forecasting when an economy will expand or contract and knowing when key turning points have arrived is important for consumers and business. The wave pattern of a business cycle can be measured in length from peak to peak, or trough to trough, in terms of months and years. On average, cycles last just over 7 years, though there is no definitive time frame for how long they usually last.
Real estate can refer to land itself (real property), including what grows or is built on the land; ownership of real property; and the real estate business, i.e., brokers, agents, builders, developers, property managers, mortgage lenders, investors, consultants and appraisers who work in the real estate industry. Real estate is commonly classified as residential (e.g., houses, condominiums, duplexes), rural (e.g., farms and ranches), commercial (e.g., shopping centres, apartments, office or industrial buildings) or institutional (e.g., churches, schools, hospitals or airports). Land without improvements is regarded as residential, rural, commercial or institutional according to its intended use.
Banking is a financial process carried out by an institution that accepts deposits, lends money and transfers funds. Canada's major banks play a vital role in the economy and today also engage in the insurance, trust and securities markets. Their business, the technology surrounding it and the regulations that govern it, have evolved continuously over the centuries.
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.
Manufacturing is a critical component of Canada’s economy. The production, sale and distribution of finished products contribute to consumer and labour markets, and secure Canada’s position as an economic leader among developed nations. Major, medium-sized and small manufacturers produce goods used by Canadians and contribute to the revenue gained from the export of goods to other countries. Since the early 2000s, the manufacturing sector in Canada has declined significantly in response to changes in the global economy and fewer regulatory controls over Canadian products (see Free Trade; Globalization). The composition and structure of the Canadian manufacturing industry is transitioning in response to these changes, aiming to produce new goods that are in greater demand.
In late October of 1929, terror seized the stock exchanges of North America. Capitalism’s speculative party, with its galloping share prices and its celebrity millionaires, came to an abrupt stop. The Great Crash, it was called, and it was followed by the Great Depression.
The distilling industry is that part of the food and beverage industries engaged in clarifying, flavouring, blending and aging alcohol to make potable spirits (eg, brandies, grain spirits, rum) and establishments which manufacture ethyl alcohol, whether they are or are not used in potable spirits.
A recession is a temporary period of time when the overall economy declines; it is an expected part of the business cycle. This period usually includes declines in industrial and agricultural production, trade, incomes, stock markets, consumer spending, and levels of employment. In purely technical terms, a recession occurs when two or more successive quarters (six months) show a drop in real gross domestic product (GDP), i.e., the measure of total economic output in the economy after accounting for inflation. In this sense, recessions are broad and can be particularly painful and challenging times for a country.
Roots Corporation (better known as Roots or Roots Canada) is a publicly traded retail clothing business. It was co-founded by fashion designers and businessmen Michael Budman and Don Green, both from Detroit, Michigan. Budman and Green first met in 1962, when they were attending Camp Tamakwa in Ontario’s Algonquin Park. Following their graduation from Michigan State University, Budman moved to Canada in 1969 and Green followed a few years later in 1972. In 1973, Budman and Green began production of their version of the “negative heel” shoe — the first product sold under the Roots brand. That same year, on 15 August, the duo opened their first store in Toronto. Inspired by their early years at Algonquin Park, Budman and Green quickly made Roots, with its beaver logo and cottage feel, an iconic Canadian brand. In 2015, Budman and Green sold a majority stake to Searchlight Capital Partners, though the founders remain prominent shareholders. In October 2017, Roots made its initial public offering (IPO) in Canada, trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ROOT.
BlackBerry Limited (formerly Research In Motion) is a mobile communications company. Founded in 1984 by Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin in Waterloo, Ontario, the company released its first device — a pager capable of email — in 1999. Following the release of its first smartphone in 2002, BlackBerrys quickly became must-have pieces of technology, first among business people and later the general public. However, in the early 2010s they struggled to keep pace with the competitive smartphone market. In 2016, the company announced it would outsource all hardware production to other companies, instead focusing on software development. Today, BlackBerry is credited with putting Waterloo on the map as an innovation hub. The business trades under the ticker BB on the Toronto Stock Exchange and BBRY on NASDAQ.
Founded in 1869, the T. Eaton Company Ltd., commonly known as Eaton’s, was an iconic Canadian department store with a retail presence in every province, at its height. From its beginnings as a retail store in Toronto to its eventual bankruptcy and absorption into its long-time rival, Sears Canada, Eaton’s significantly shaped Canadian shopping. The Eaton’s name and legacy persist today, from Toronto’s Eaton Centre to the red bricks incorporated into the facade of Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place, a reminder of the former Eaton’s store that stood on the site for so long.
Seagram Company Limited, commonly known as Seagram or Seagram’s, was the world’s largest producer and distributor of distilled spirits. Its head offices were in Montréal. While Seagram traced its roots back to a distillery founded in 1857, it was incorporated as a public company in 1928 under the name Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Ltd., a holding company that acquired the capital stocks of Distillers Corporation Ltd. and Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Ltd. It gained notoriety during American prohibition (1920–33), during which time Seagram legally exported spirits directly and circuitously to the United States. The company was majority owned and operated by the Bronfman family; Samuel Bronfman established the company in 1928 and his eldest son, Edgar, took over after his death in 1971. Edgar in turn handed control to his son Edgar Jr. in 1994. The company expanded and diversified a few times, branching from the liquor business to the oil and gas industry in the 1950s and 1960s, the petrochemicals industry in the 1980s, with industry giant DuPont, and the entertainment and communications business in the 1990s, with MCA Inc. and Universal. In 2000, the company was sold to French conglomerate Vivendi, who retained Seagram’s entertainment and communications wing but sold its distilling interests to Pernod Ricard and Diageo.
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.
Founded in 1779, the North West Company was a major force in the fur trade from the 1780s to 1821. Managed primarily by Highland Scots who migrated to Montréal after 1760, or came as Loyalists escaping the American Revolution, it also drew heavily on French-Canadian labour and experience. The name first described Montréal traders who in 1776 pooled resources to reduce competition among themselves and to resist inland advances of the Hudson’s Bay Company.1
The balance of payments, or balance of international payments, is an accounting statement of the economic transactions that have taken place between the residents of one country (including its government) and the residents of other countries during a specified time, usually a year or a quarter.
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international trade agreement signed by 23 nations, including Canada, in 1947. GATT came into effect on 1 January 1948 and was refined over eight rounds of negotiations, leading to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which replaced GATT in 1995. GATT was focused on trade in goods and aimed to liberalize trade by reducing tariffs and removing quotas among member countries. Each member of GATT was expected to open its markets equally to other member nations, removing trade discrimination. The agreements negotiated through GATT reduced average tariffs on industrial goods from 40 per cent (1947) to less than 5 per cent (1993). It was an early step towards economic globalization.
E.I. du Pont Canada Company, commonly known as DuPont Canada, is a subsidiary of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, which is headquartered in the United States and known worldwide as the maker of Kevlar, Teflon, Lycra, nylon and cellophane, among many other products. DuPont Canada is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario. The company has six main product lines, including agricultural, food and personal care products, construction equipment, industrial biotechnology, safety equipment, and polymers and fibres. It is the largest subsidiary of DuPont in the Americas with some $730 million in net sales in 2016.
Manulife Financial Corporation, based in Toronto, is Canada’s largest insurance company and one of the largest in the world. The company’s principal operations are located in Canada, the United States and Asia. Manulife offers life, health and income insurance protection, as well as annuities and wealth and asset management. Founded in 1887, under the name Manufacturers Life Insurance Company Inc., Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, was also the company’s first president.
Industrialization is a process of economic and social change. It is one that shifts the centres of economic activity onto the focus of work, wages and incomes. These changes took two forms in Canada, beginning in the 19th century. First, economic and social activities were transformed from agriculture and natural resource extraction to manufacturing and services. Second, economic and social activities shifted from rural cottage industries to urban industrial pursuits. Industrialized production took place under the privately owned factory system, in which a larger proportion of the population expected to be wage earners for all of their working lives. Therefore, industrialization brought major changes, not only in work and the economy, but in the way society was organized and in the relations among different groups in society. Although it has evolved over nearly two centuries, the process of industrialization is considered revolutionary — as the term Industrial Revolution suggests — because it marked the shift from feudalism to capitalism, and from agriculture to manufacturing and services — changes that fundamentally altered human existence.