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.
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.
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.
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.
Bombardier Inc. is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of trains and commercial and private airplanes. Headquartered in Montréal, the company was originally incorporated as L’Auto-Neige Bombardier Limitée in 1942. Its founder, Joseph-Armand Bombardier, was a Québécois mechanical engineer who invented one of the first commercially viable snowmobiles. Bombardier Inc. has grown considerably from its beginnings as a snowmobile manufacturer and is now an iconic Canadian company, known for its public transportation vehicles and aircraft such as the C Series.
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.
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.
The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, commonly known as CIBC, is the fifth largest 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.
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.
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.
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.
Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd., is one of Canada’s most recognized retail franchises. Founded in Toronto by brothers J.W. and A.J. Billes, the company got its start when the brothers bought the Hamilton Tire and Garage in 1922. In 1927, they incorporated the business as the Canadian Tire Corporation. Today the company’s headquarters remain in Toronto, and the business has a store presence in every province and territory except Nunavut. Canadian Tire also owns Mark’s Work Wearhouse and FGL Sports, including the retail companies Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Sports Experts.
The aerospace industry includes the development and production of aircraft, satellites, rockets and their component parts. Aerospace is a major component of Canada's economy, employs tens of thousands of Canadians, and accounts for a large part of Canadian trade with foreign markets. Canada boasts a diverse aerospace sector and is one of just a few countries that produce airplanes. Through close partnership with the United States space agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Canada has also launched satellites as well as built sophisticated components used on the International Space Station.
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.
The Automotive Products Trade Agreement of 1965, better known as the Canada-US Auto Pact, led to the integration of the Canadian and US auto industries in a shared North American market. While it brought great benefits to Canada, it was eventually found to be contrary to international trade rules and was cancelled in 2001. By then it had accomplished its biggest goal — an integrated North American industry with a much stronger Canadian presence.