By Staff | October 22, 2008 | Last updated on October 22, 2008
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(October 22, 2008) The government of Ontario has slashed its estimates for economic growth, to 0.1% from 1.1% for the year, in its 2008 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review, released late Wednesday.

“Today’s economic reality is forcing governments around the world to re-examine their expenditures, adjust their assumptions and respond to an environment where the only constant is uncertainty,” said finance minister Dwight Duncan. “The government will bring greater focus to the management of its expenses and it is compelled to delay the implementation of and slow down some new spending.”

Provincial revenues are expected to fall by $918 million, forcing the government of Premier Dalton McGuinty to slip into a deficit for fiscal 2008-09, which ends in March. The shortfall is estimated to reach $500 million.

The government has tapped its $750 million reserve fund, using $550 million to narrow the fiscal gap.

In the economic statement, the government vowed to focus on training workers, rebuilding infrastructure, and lowering business costs.

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Ethical Funds targets oil sands

(October 22, 2008) The Ethical Funds Company has announced the issues it will tackle by engaging the firms in which it invests. The fundco uses its shareholder status to pressure companies to change the way they do business.

Ethical will focus on issues ranging from fighting climate change and protecting biodiversity, to supporting human rights and improving transparency.

“For 2009, investor risk in Canada’s oil sands tops our list for engagement,” said Bob Walker, vice-president of sustainability, The Ethical Funds Company. “Oil and gas companies represent a significant portion of the Toronto Stock Exchange, and their approach to the mitigation of environmental and social risk will impact our country’s future — and potentially investors’ portfolios. Now is the time to be discussing these issues.”

Ethical’s shareholder action program is the largest of its kind in Canada, and second largest in North America.

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CI Financial adopts rights plan

(October 22, 2008) CI Financial has announced it has drawn up a unitholder rights plan, following Scotiabank’s purchase of a 37% stake in the company from Sun Life.

The plan allows the management of CI to seek out rival bids before a deal is reached.

The plan is subject to acceptance by the Toronto Stock Exchange and is expected to be submitted for ratification by unitholders at a special meeting to be held on December 19, 2008.

The rights plan would be engaged if a party were to announce a bid for 20% or more of the company without following the rules laid out in the plan.

(10/22/08) staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.