Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — May 2015

Falling prices are taking a heavy toll on the Canadian oil industry. Plus, Canadian researchers have developed a medical device that is capable of diagnosing up to 15 diseases.


Crude awakening

Falling prices are taking a heavy toll on the oil industry in Canada, observes a recent Conference Board of Canada report.

Oil industry revenue this year is expected to fall by $43 billion and 8,000 jobs will be shed. Meanwhile, oil investments are projected to fall to $44 billion, compared with $56 billion last year. Prices are expected to average US$55 per barrel this year.

Despite all the gloomy predictions, Canadian oil production is expected to rise this year as investments already made in recent years feed into greater production. But the days of triple-digit prices are unlikely to return anytime soon.


Not only for Trekkies

Not only for Trekkies

At the SXSW event in Austin, Texas, in March, Canada’s Cloud DX unveiled a medical device that seems to come straight out of Star Trek, claims the International Business Times.

The product, code-named Vitaliti, is capable of diagnosing up to 15 different diseases such as anemia, pertussis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It can continuously monitor five vital signs.

Vitaliti has two components. The first is a curved piece of plastic that fits around the shoulder and ends in sensory nodes that can monitor blood pressure or take an electrocardiogram. The other is an earpiece that monitors pulse and blood oxygenation, among many other functions.

Both devices communicate information continuously to a smartphone app.


Best provincial potholes

Names such as Silver Star Road in BC and Gillis Point East Road in Nova Scotia might conjure up images of breathtaking landscapes for some. But for drivers, they have gained fame for another reason. They are the top entries in the Worst Roads of 2014 — a contest run by regional chapters of the CAA.

The contest, which was launched by the South Central Ontario chapter more than 10 years ago, is meant to draw attention to the need for road improvements. This year, it’s Dufferin Street in Toronto that comes in at No. 1 for the province.  Toronto is also home to six more of the top 10 spots — a strong showing, but not one to brag about.


The yuan’s highs and lows

Canadian companies are far less likely than most of their global peers to use renminbis (or yuans) for trade in mainland China, according to a survey commissioned by HSBC.

Only 3% of Canadian businesses surveyed said they conducted crossborder transactions in renminbis. That compares with 17% for global companies and 10% for US companies specifically. These are unexpected findings given that, in December 2014, the yuan became the fifth most-used currency for global payments, according to SWIFT.

Surprisingly, 62% of the Canadian businesses surveyed expect to increase their crossborder trade with China in the coming year. However, those that don’t already use the currency are not showing much enthusiasm. Only 22% plan to change tack in the future.