Canada’s productivity problem, Sam Bankman-Fried’s 25-year sentence and navigating CRA’s new tax rules: Business and investing news for March 31

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People walk along the boardwalk in Toronto’s east end on April 4, 2021.Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Getting caught up on a week that got away? Here’s your weekly digest of the Globe’s most essential business and investing stories, with insights and analysis from the pros, stock tips, portfolio strategies and more.

Temporary residents jump to 2.67 million as Ottawa tries to curb migration

Canada’s population grew by nearly 1.3 million in 2023, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The increase was largely driven by the arrival of temporary residents – which include international students, asylum seekers and people in Canada on work permits. The country now has 2.7 million temporary residents, making up 6.5 per cent of the country’s population. Matt Lundy reports that the Statscan numbers underscore the challenge ahead for Ottawa as it tries to curb the pace of migration and solve the protracted housing crisis.

Bank of Canada warns of low productivity ‘emergency’

Canada is in the midst of a productivity emergency, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Rogers warned earlier this week. The country is slipping behind the United States and other peer countries when it comes to how much the economy produces per hour of work. Higher productivity leads to higher profits and better wages – without passing cost increases along to customers, Mark Rendell reports. Meanwhile, if productivity lags, rising labour costs tend to show up in higher prices. Ms. Rogers pointed to a few theories in her speech on why Canada lags on productivity: weak business investment in machinery, equipment and intellectual property; and problems in the labour market matching skilled workers with the right jobs.

How the pandemic affected the income of 2020 graduates

Layoffs. Delayed job starts. Cancelled interviews. A new Statistics Canada report offers an in-depth look at how students who graduated in 2020 are faring. The results are pretty grim, reinforcing concerns that were previously raised by economists during the pandemic. About three in 10 graduates lost their jobs or were laid off in 2020, while nearly one-quarter had an employment prospect – such as a job interview – cancelled, Matt Lundy reports. The class of 2020 was also far more likely to be jobless. Get a closer look in this week’s Decoder.

FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of crypto exchange FTX, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday, marking the last step in the former billionaire’s dramatic downfall. Mr. Bankman-Fried was found guilty last November on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy stemming from FTX’s 2022 collapse – in what prosecutors have called one of the biggest financial frauds in U.S. history. “He knew it was wrong,” U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said of Mr. Bankman-Fried before handing down the sentence. Mr. Bankman-Fried has vowed to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Thames Water shareholders refuse to invest more money

Thames Water, one of Britain’s largest utilities, is facing an uncertain future after its shareholders refuse to inject more money into the company, Paul Waldie reports. The nine investors, which include the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), were supposed to provide more than £3-billion ($5.15-billion) in funding over the next five years, with an initial £500-million due March 31. But the investment was conditional on Britain’s regulator Water Services Regulation Authority, or Ofwat, approving Thames Water’s business plan. The announcement has put further financial pressure on Thames Water and its related companies, which are already buckling under £18.3-billion in debt.

New tax rules forcing many Canadians to spend hundreds on accounting, legal fees

Many Canadians are spending hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars in accounting and legal fees when it comes to the Canada Revenue Agency’s new tax rules, Erica Alini reports. The new regulations are complex, leaving many people to seek professional help to complete the paperwork or verify whether they are legally required to file. The deadline for filing taxes in Canada for 2024 is April 30. As the big day approaches, The Globe and Mail offers advice on how to maximize returns, find credits and avoid an audit in our full series on tax tips.

Now that you’re all caught up, test your knowledge with our weekly business and investing news quiz and prepare for the week ahead with the Globe’s investing calendar.

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