News Briefs

<strong>Alberta likely to enter recession due to low oil price</strong>

The price of a barrel of oil has plunged from US$105 in June to less than $50 today says <em>CBC</em>. The Conference Board of Canada&rsquo;s newest report on western Canada predicted Alberta&rsquo;s oil-heavy economy will slip into recession if oil prices stay low.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to be very hard for Alberta to avoid a recession this year,&rdquo; said Glen Hodgson, chief economist of the think-tank. &ldquo;Going forward, the province is certain to suffer, especially on the employment front.&rdquo;

Suncor Energy Inc., Canada&rsquo;s largest oilsands company, announced massive layoffs Tuesday. The Calgary-based oil giant will be cutting $1 billion from the capital budget and will reduce its workforce by 1,000 workers in response to plummeting crude oil prices.

However, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice rejected the Conference Board&rsquo;s predictions that his province could slip into recession. &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t find their analysis to be particularly cogent to be frank, and the opinion that they put forward is an outlier among all of the other opinions that have been put forward by every one of Canada&rsquo;s chartered banks, and by other respected forecasters,&rdquo; Prentice told the press.

Canadian oil is the largest source of U.S. oil imports, and Alberta has the third-largest oil reserves globally.


<strong>Coldest day in Toronto resulted in more warming centres and fewer TTC streetcars</strong>

Ontarians are waking up to what may possibly be the coldest days of 2015, as the temperature dropped to -21 C&shy; at Pearson International Airport and -30 C in Waterloo&nbsp;&nbsp; Jan. 19. The frigid conditions, along with the wind chill, pressured Toronto&rsquo;s chief medical officer of health to extend the extreme cold weather alert according to <em>CP24</em>.

As a result, two 24-hour drop-in warming centers were opened at Margaret&rsquo;s Toronto East Drop-in at 323 Dundas St. E. and St. Felix Social Ministries Outreach at 25 Augusta Ave. until further notice. TTC tokens are also being offered for free at drop-in centers so people can get to shelters where additional spaces are available.

Public transit in Toronto is also impacted by the cold as the TTC pulled 28 streetcars out of service for the evening commute. Buses will be running on the 502, 503, and 511 streetcar routes as a result.

Meanwhile, the city is encouraging residents to check on vulnerable friends, neighbours, and families to make sure they&rsquo;re not negatively affected by the weather.


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