Toronto Legal Blog

Business and commercial: Province offers small business tax cuts

The Ontario government is trying to pave the way to increased success for small business owners. It is not always easy for those invested in business and commercial endeavours in Ontario to make a go of it. The province has plans to decrease the small business tax rate to 3.2% by the beginning of next year. It's also expected that the dividend tax credit will also be lowered, allowing shareholders to earn back some of their expenses. 

The provincial small business tax now sits at 3.5% and the drop is expected to save more than 275,000 Ontario small business owners about $1,500 annually in taxes. Small business shareholders who earn dividends will see a cut from 3.3% to 3%; however, those who receive non-eligible dividends are poised to get less of a credit meaning the province would save $125 million over three years. The tax drop is in the hopes of keeping small businesses competitive in a tough economy.

Mergers and acquisitions: RBC makes top 10 advisors stateside

One of Canada's major banks had a major goal nine years ago -- to become one of the foremost investment banks stateside. The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recently realized that goal, rising to one of the major institutions in the States advising on mergers and acquisitions. It has cracked the top 10 for advising on these types of deals according to recent data. 

RBC has more than doubled its investment bankers in the States in about a decade -- almost three times what it has in Canada. Other Canadian banks, like the TD, are looking to follow suit. RBC has advised some big corporate players recently on mergers and acquisitions deals worth several billions of dollars. In some cases, it has been the sole advisor and leading financier of these deals.

Business and commercial: Electric vehicles will alter the economy

Experts say the increasing popularity of electric vehicles will likely change the economic landscape. In the world of business and commercial endeavours in Canada, much is being said in the media about how electric vehicles will impact society. In fact, a recent report suggests that by 2030, there will be more than 13 million electric vehicles on Canadian roads, which will vastly change energy demands.

The increased purchase and use of these types of vehicles is estimated to decrease domestic oil consumption considerably. Analysts contend this could see an amalgamation of gas, oil and energy companies. Oil and gas companies, experts contend, should be looking now at diversifying their portfolios as more consumers go the electric vehicle route. 

Growth Camp helps those in the business and commercial world

One of Canada's major newspapers recently held a Growth Camp for entrepreneurs. Those in the business and commercial fields in Canada always want to learn new, innovative ways of growing their businesses and this venue held in Toronto brought business leaders together to offer tips and networking opportunities. It also presented attendees with some important information on what it takes to help them to build a sustainable business.

A panel of three top entrepreneurs in the country told their colleagues that a business plan should be malleable. If plan A doesn't work, they have 25 more letters from which they can choose, so giving up on a dream isn't an option. When it comes to the size of a business, the experts said, big isn't always best and in fact, small might be where it's at for many potential business owners. It's all about the customer base and keeping them happy. 

Travel industry heats up latest mergers and acquisitions

The marriage of two major travel groups in the country is expected to give those in the travel industry more options when it comes helping consumers fly off into the sunset. Those interested in mergers and acquisitions in Canada may be interested to know that Northstar Travel Group recently acquired travAlliancemedia -- a parent company of TravelPulse Canada and TravelPulse Quebec. Suppliers utilize TravelPulse Canada as a major source of event and news coverage within the travel industry.

The founder and CEO of travAlliancemedia said the deal will better serve individuals in the travel advisory market. TravAlliance media group is part of NorthStar Travel Group whose clients will now have the opportunity of getting instant information in both of Canada's official languages. Northstar's leading brands include Travel Weekly and TravelAge West.

Business and commercial: Husky sells refinery

The oil industry has had a shake-up with the sale of a major oil refinery. The business and commercial world recently learned that Husky Energy is selling its west coast based oil refinery to Tidewater Midstream and Infrastructure to the tune of $215 million initially in the hopes it can focus on other assets in Canada and stateside and offshore production. Husky will likely also receive about $60 million in contingency payments regarding the deal over the next two years.

In keeping with Husky's five-year plan, the sale was made to increase the company's profit margin, according to its CEO. The cash from the transaction is earmarked for returning value to shareholders. Tidewater intends to keep all employees on the payroll. 

Business and commercial: Forever 21 chain closing its doors

A well-known clothing chain will soon be closing its locations. The business and commercial world was sent reeling recently when Forever 21 announced it would be closing all its stores in Canada and stateside and has filed for bankruptcy. The company has nearly 2,000 employees in Canada at 44 locations. A statement issued by the company stated it would reposition the brand and global business in Canada to adapt to the current retail environment.

All store locations in Canada -- including those in Ontario -- will close by the end of this year, the company said, although no indication has been made as to which stores will close when. Canadian fans of the brand will still be able to shop online for items but will have items shipped from the states. Those who haven't used gift cards yet must use them in store by this Oct. 15.

Mergers and acquisitions: 2 cannabis powerhouses merge

There continues to be increased marriages in the cannabis industry. The latest news in Canada regarding the industry's mergers and acquisitions includes the melding of Cannagistics, Inc. and Unified Cannabis of Canada. The all-stock transaction is expected to create the flagship CBD/Hemp/Cannabis International Vertically Optimized Company (CIVOC). Cannagistics CEO says the new entity will create a unique, profitable international powerhouse in the evolving cannabis industry.

Meanwhile, the head of Unified said the new venture, at one-quarter of its consolidation, will be one of the first profitable CBD product and services-related companies. Unified is bringing with it up to C$50 million of revenue, product cultivation, retail and supply chain stores from mature stateside and emerging Canadian markets. It also has some cannabis-related assets in real estate in tow. 

Business and commercial: 4 chains to set up shop in Canada

Four major food chains are preparing to expand their businesses in the Great White North. The business and commercial world has been talking about four fast food chains operating stateside moving into Canada -- Jollibee, Chik-fil-A, Eataly and In-N-Out Burger. Many Canadians already know these companies from travelling stateside and many have said they are looking forward to outlets opening in Canada.

These restaurants have created brands that might resonate with many Canadians. Jollibee is actually a chain that originated in the Philippines. It currently has six locations in Canada, while Eataly is set to open its first outlet in Ontario later this year. Chik-fil-A has opened its first place in Toronto and is apparently planning 100 outlets in the country. In-N-Out Burger has a 70-year history in the states and will open its first place in Canada soon. 

Insurance industry still hot with mergers and acquisitions

The insurance industry continues to be a force to be reckoned with when it comes to business transactions in the country. A company based out of the states is the latest to make news on the mergers and acquisitions front by scooping up a major consulting firm based in Ontario. Hub International Canada's latest acquisition -- GMS Insurance Inc. -- strays from its previous deals last year, which were mainly out of the western part of the country.

Hub's president said those deals weren't made specifically because they were located out west, but deals were inked simply when the favourable ones presented themselves. Basically, she said, it's timing more than anything. The president also said that Hub looks to acquire businesses that fit in with the company's niche and that have the capacity for growth in the industry. 

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