For those of you who may not have noticed, the Canadian Economy is hanging on the edge of a very big bust, with the price of Oil plummeting, there is a real chance that the Canadian economy is going to plotz. There are already ramifications with layoffs in Alberta, but the ripple effects will start being felt elsewhere very soon. It is going to be a very interesting “bust” in Canada, given the lower oil prices may kick the US Economy into hyperdrive, so we end up with neighbour economies going in opposite directions (at very high velocity). The interesting problems that may arise are on many levels

  • A quickly weakening Canadian Dollar means many imports are going to get very expensive (very quickly). The other side of that sword is Canadian exports (that are not commodity based) suddenly get cheaper (to the rest of the world).
  • American investments in your RRSPs will strengthen with the weakening dollar, but Canadian stocks may take a hit, due to the weakening economy.
  • Interest rates? Could go either way really, given imports will increase in price, but gas prices continuing to drop may offset.

Buckle up folks this is going to be a very rough (economic) ride ahead.

In Ottawa we have been having our standard bitter cold (not bitter cold like in Alert, but still cold), which means the Rideau Canal skateway is open, and driving is quite exciting with all of the black ice. Too bad it’s going to cost more to vacation down south this winter (again with the weakening Canadian Dollar).

Repeat Site note: If you feel so inclined my site now has a cert, so you can now read if you so choose. I am still knocking the kinks out of things, but it should work just fine for you.

My Writings for Week Ending January 16th

I turned 54 this week, life continues on, but I am 1 year closer to my retirement? Maybe (and more likely, maybe not):

Scotia Bank Value Visa

Click here for more really Great Financial Articles


2015 The Financial Year of the Mason Jar

Mrs. C8j is an avid reader of many diverse sites, and trawling Pinterest and such (where you can find Big Cajun Man as well), and she thinks that the new big exciting thing in personal finances and budgeting for this year is the Mason Jar.

As a Small Cajun Man, when I grew up, Momma C8j (my mother) had lived through rationing in the UK (and WWII) so she was very frugal and very careful with all kinds of food so we had an entire pantry full of mason jars for canning of:

  • Tomatoes, that Momma C8j had grown in the garden, and then used throughout the year in all kinds of wonderful sauces, soups and stews.
  • Strawberry, and Raspberry Jam, that she bought at the Jean Talon market in large quart baskets, when they were in season, and we enjoyed fresh jam all year round.
  • Some lovely pears and home made fruit cocktail, again from the market when in season, so we had this for the winter.
Mason Jar and Budgeting

Behold the Wondrous Mason Jar, for Tomatoes and Cash?

Growing up I viewed the mason jars as a part of life, and a way to make sure we had tasty food all year ’round. Momma C8j is the ultimate frugal lady, she worked hard to stretch a dollar as far as she possibly could (I wish that was genetic, but I never quite got the hang of it).

Later on, when I got to University a Mason Jar was used to hold Long Island Iced Teas or Bloody Caesars or the like. It was an odd site for me, seeing the frugal masonry jar being used as a liquor container, but, life changes.

Now mason jars are an entire bloody industry. You can buy candles that reek of cinnamon, cranberries or other obnoxious odors, in a masonry jar, absolutely not a frugal usage of this divine device.

Getting back to Mrs. C8j’s (my wife) observation, the main new exciting use of the humble mason jar is for budgeting and saving money. Strangely enough Big Daddy C8j (my late father) used a mason jar to hold his spare change (but that was because we had so many of the darn things), so I guess he was way ahead of his time, but I digress.

Many years ago, our friend Gail Vaz-Oxlade had her show “YOU SPEND TOO DAMN MUCH MONEY YOU MORON!” (I think it was called that, I might be mistaken), but she used the humble mason jar as a way to budget and segregate your funds to ensure you didn’t misspend your moneys on the wrong thing (they were all labeled carefully). This seems to be the new “In Vogue” way of doing budgeting (I guess Gail was way ahead of her time too).

I think this is an interesting “thinking differently” idea for folks who are used to living out of their wallets and using their debit cards (i.e. use cash only and segregate that into specific “pots”), but I am now wondering if maybe I should be buying stock in Corning or whoever makes these mason jars? Will there be a sudden shortage due to the glut of budgeting folks (and malodorous candles)?

Budget however you like, but if you use mason jars as your methodology and you fail do not blame the humble mason jar, it is the Symbol of Frugality to me, and should be held in great esteem!

Welcome 2015 the year of the Mason Jar.


Jobs ? in Canada in December ?

The story of jobs from November to December in 2014 was an odd mix, where there are a few less jobs, but there are more full-time folks, so a mixed bag of news. The real number is 4300 less jobs from November to December, but, if you look at the year over year numbers, there are 186,000 more jobs than last year at this time (and a lot of that growth is in the second half of 2014), so good news there.

The graph for employment reflects the “meh..” aspect to the numbers from last month:

Employment in Canada Past 5 years

Employment Graph for Past 5 years

As usual, the enigmatic unemployment rate remained unchanged, but what does that mean?

Unemployment in Canada for past 5 years

Unemployment for Past 5 years

We created 54,000 full-time jobs and lost 58,000 part-time jobs? Two edged sword, bad to lose jobs, good that we have more full-time jobs. Not good news for women over 25, let’s hope that gets remedied soon too.

Labour force characteristics by age and sex – Seasonally adjusted

I have edit’ed the table a little for readability on this site, you want the full picture, check it out on the Stats Canada web site.

Std err1 Nov to Dec 2014 Dec 2013 to Dec 2014
thousands (except rates) change in thousands (except rates)
Both sexes, 15 years and over
Population 29,165.9 29,190.0 24.1 346.3
Labour force 19,236.6 19,225.4 29.1 -11.2 74.0
Employment 17,957.9 17,953.6 28.9 -4.3 185.7
Full-time 14,511.0 14,564.5 39.2 53.5 190.3
Part-time 3,446.9 3,389.2 36.1 -57.7 -4.5
Unemployment 1,278.6 1,271.8 24.9 -6.8 -111.7
Participation rate 66.0 65.9 0.1 -0.1 -0.5
Unemployment rate 6.6 6.6 0.1 0.0 -0.6
Employment rate 61.6 61.5 0.1 -0.1 -0.1
Part-time rate 19.2 18.9 0.2 -0.3 -0.2
Youths, 15 to 24 years
Population 4,403.2 4,399.9 -3.3 -40.0
Labour force 2,860.2 2,866.7 17.2 6.5 50.6
Employment 2,487.7 2,484.4 15.8 -3.3 62.5
Full-time 1,258.2 1,293.0 18.6 34.8 43.6
Part-time 1,229.5 1,191.5 19.7 -38.0 19.0
Unemployment 372.6 382.3 14.6 9.7 -12.0
Participation rate 65.0 65.2 0.4 0.2 1.8
Unemployment rate 13.0 13.3 0.5 0.3 -0.7
Employment rate 56.5 56.5 0.4 0.0 2.0
Part-time rate 49.4 48.0 0.7 -1.5 -0.5
Men, 25 years and over
Population 12,132.3 12,145.8 13.5 194.6
Labour force 8,688.8 8,702.6 15.1 13.8 64.4
Employment 8,182.9 8,209.7 16.4 26.8 127.4
Full-time 7,541.9 7,560.0 22.0 18.1 118.9
Part-time 641.0 649.8 18.0 8.8 8.6
Unemployment 506.0 492.9 14.5 -13.1 -62.9
Participation rate 71.6 71.7 0.1 0.1 -0.6
Unemployment rate 5.8 5.7 0.2 -0.1 -0.7
Employment rate 67.4 67.6 0.1 0.2 0.0
Part-time rate 7.8 7.9 0.2 0.1 0.0
Women, 25 years and over
Population 12,630.4 12,644.4 14.0 191.8
Labour force 7,687.5 7,656.1 16.6 -31.4 -41.0
Employment 7,287.4 7,259.5 16.4 -27.9 -4.3
Full-time 5,711.0 5,711.6 25.7 0.6 27.9
Part-time 1,576.5 1,547.9 24.0 -28.6 -32.2
Unemployment 400.1 396.6 13.3 -3.5 -36.7
Participation rate 60.9 60.5 0.1 -0.4 -1.3
Unemployment rate 5.2 5.2 0.2 0.0 -0.4
Employment rate 57.7 57.4 0.1 -0.3 -0.9
Part-time rate 21.6 21.3 0.3 -0.3 -0.4

1. Average standard error for change in two consecutive months. See “Sampling variability of estimates” in the section “About the Labour Force Survey” at the end of the publication Labour Force Information (Catalogue number71-001-X) for further explanations.


The sum of individual categories may not always add up to the total as a result of rounding.


CANSIM table 282-0087.



Money Tweets of the Week

I used to do this more often let us see where this leads, now that I have figured out how to easily include a Tweet, a Facebook entry or any other stuff in my articles.

Very topical and useful tweet from the Money Media Maven himself Preet

The man who invented cubicles hated them? No kidding, I hate them, but I hate open concept even more

I’d like to think this was a joke, but I suspect, it is not

This one is a way cool graphic and very useful to show the Bull and Bear markets

That wasn’t me, must have been a moose:

I am a sucker for Kerry’s writing, and when she adds hooks like Fluff in the teaser, I gotta read it

And this is why newspapers and URLs don’t mix well

A tweet of tweeting? That is recursive isn’t it?


Frigid Temps, Plunging Oil, Paris and #BestThisWeek

The Winter has come to Ottawa, with frigid temperatures, that remind us that the concept of Global Warming is a bit of a misnomer, but climate change might be nice (a little warmer in January please). When your wheels freeze squared you know it is a cold day in Canada.

Thanks to a glut of oil on the market, gas prices continue to plummet to 20th Century levels. Here in Ottawa we have seen 88.6 cents per litre gasoline and there are rumors of even deeper price cuts coming very soon. This is not very good news for the Canadian economy, with many layoffs in the Oil Patches, and Oil related businesses. What is causing this? I really don’t know, but it is causing troubles for countries like Russia and Venezuela, I wonder if someone is trying to make this happen? Interesting political intrigue if that is the case.

Normally I wouldn’t write about the horrific events in Paris, but seeing as I am a member of the media (note the small m) I am appalled by the events. Je suis Charlie, has become the battle cry for those in France, and I am glad to see the outpouring from the Political Satirists around the world. When 12 people are murdered in this fashion, for the reasons put forward, it is simply an abomination.

Site note: If you feel so inclined my site now has a cert, so you can now read if you so choose. I am still knocking the kinks out of things, but it should work just fine for you.

My Writings for Week Ending January 9th

The raw cold reminds me why I love the summers so much, and how I should cherish those days:

  • Last week I wrote a quick note about Quicken and transferring Mutual Funds which really wasn’t about Quicken, it was more of a step by step on how to transfer I series Mutual Funds at TD to the much lower MER E-Series Funds
  • Happy Financial New Year is me again reminding you of the importance of starting the new year on the right foot (or left foot if you wish) and some of the things you should be thinking about.
  • Are the money media folks going into Financial Jargon Overload ? I think some of the TV outlets are way over the top, but most financial writers try to not overdo some of the more, shall we say, trite claptrap we here in other areas.

Scotia Bank Value Visa

Click here to read more great stories