More warnings on sky-high housing costs, and pricey produce at the grocery store: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
Plus: GM delivers some encouraging news about investing in new automotive jobs across Ontario
Canada's shrinking auto industry got a big boost from GM this week, with news the automaker is adding more than 700 new jobs at various facilities across Ontario.
But unlike the traditional manufacturing jobs we're used to with these sorts of announcements, the positions being added will be in software and engineering, the type of job the province is trying to attract.
It's all aimed at the self-driving cars of the future, and the head of the union that represents autoworkers is optimistic that this announcement is part of a long-term commitment from the automaker.
"The fact that we have the federal government, provincial government, municipal governments, General Motors and us in the same room talking about moving forward," Jerry Dias told us this week, "I view that as an incredible step."
High house prices
If you think sky-high house prices in Toronto and Vancouver have nowhere to go but up, the Bank of Canada and others had a message for you this week: think again.
As part of the central bank's biannual Financial System Review, governor Stephen Poloz warned that some homeowners may be falling into the trap of assuming house prices will go up forever, because they have been doing so for so long.
"If prices are going up because people expect prices to go up, then that, of course, is probably unsustainable ..." Poloz told reporters. "And so those expectations will not be realized longer term."
Poloz isn't the only one warning on the subject. Housing experts say activity in the hot markets of Toronto and Vancouver is getting out of line with fundamentals, as would-be buyers stretch themselves financially, thinking to buy in while they still can.
It reminds some of the bad old days of the early 1990s, when homeowners got squeezed by double-digit interest rates. "In Toronto, we're not as bad as 1990, but we're not that far from it either," said Robert Hogue, senior economist at the Royal Bank this week.
Housing isn't the only thing getting more expensive. Statistics Canada says fruit and vegetable prices increased by 11 per cent in the year ended April, and that's changing our consumption habits.
According to a report this week from the University of Guelph's food institute and Dalhousie University, consumers are eating fewer leafy greens and fresh fruits because they can't afford them. And low-income households, less-educated folks and young people are especially vulnerable to the trend.
Consumers are increasingly choosing canned and frozen vegetables, or avoiding produce altogether, the paper says. And it's a trend that's expected to continue.
"Because of climate change, we are expecting vegetable and fruit prices to become much more volatile than they have ever been in recent decades," said one of the report's authors, Sylvain Charlebois.
Those were just a few of our most-read stories this week, but we had lots of great content you may have missed. Be sure to follow us on Twitter here to always stay up to date. In the meantime, here's our most-read stories from the past week.
- High food prices driving some shoppers away from fruits and vegetables, study says
- Baby boomers set to inherit $750 billion in Canada in coming decade
- KPMG promoted how to hide money from ex-spouses in offshore tax scam
- 6 ways to save on fruits and vegetables at the grocery store
- Top Canadian law firm endorsed controversial Isle of Man tax dodge
- GM expected to add 1,000 engineering jobs in Ontario
- Bank of Canada says house prices in Vancouver and Toronto likely unsustainable
- Sex the new currency on trading website Bunz