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Canadian National Railway to invest in Ontario and Alberta, Shopify partners with Twitter, and Hydro One CEO steps down

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By Louis Allen - 

Canadian National Railway (TSX: CNR) has announced plans to invest roughly $430 million in Ontario and $365 million in Alberta this year.

The investments will involve technology, capacity, rolling stock units and company decarbonisation initiatives, on top of network improvements.

This news comes as the company has invested over $1 billion in the two provinces within the last five years.

Canada transport minister Omar Alghabra said the announcement will aid to “improve the fluidity of [Canada’s] rail network against the unprecedented disruptions to service” which have surmounted in the past two years.

The announcement is in light of the continuing strike involving 750 Canadian National rail workers, who are bidding for better wages and benefits.

The company is confident the strike will soon end with an agreement or binding arbitration.


BlackBerry (TSX: BB) has announced its net loss tripled in the first quarter to US$181 million (C$235 million) as a result of the settlement of a 2013 shareholder class action lawsuit over BlackBerry 10 smartphones.

The Canadian software company reached a settlement in April to the lawsuit which alleged it defrauded shareholders by making misleading claims about its new BlackBerry 10 phones.

BlackBerry chief executive officer and executive chairman John Chen said the results indicate the company is on track.

“Our performance demonstrates that our operational plans to achieve those goals are starting to deliver results,” he said.

Internet of things revenue increased 19% to US$51 million (C$66.2 million), while cybersecurity revenue shot up 6% to US$113 million (C$146.7 million).

Back in May, BlackBerry projected revenues would almost double over the next five years with growth from Internet of Things (IoT) overtaking cybersecurity.

In other news this week, shareholders of BlackBerry and CI Financial (TSX: CIX) rejected the companies’ approaches to executive pay.


An estimated 1,800 unionised workers at Bombardier (TSX: BBD.B) have voted in favour of a new contract proposal, which will give workers an average increase of 6.5% in the first year and 3% raises in the second and third years.

The vote was made up of members of the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace workers, in which over 73% voted to accept management’s offer.

Union spokesperson Eric Rancourt said the burden lies on Bombardier to regain trust in its workers.

“Despite the fact that the offer was accepted, Bombardier will have work to do over the next five years to regain the trust of workers and rebuild a sense of belonging,” he said.

The union also alluded to the fact the contract guarantees no work can be outsourced during the span of the agreement. 


Shopify (TSX: SHOP) has announced a new partnership with Twitter which will allow its businesses to access customers on the social media platform.

It will allow Shopify merchants to launch a storefront on Twitter’s shopping platform, which is similar to Facebook and Google’s existing deals.

Merchants will be allowed to display links of up to five products on their Twitter domain, while also selling through Twitter Shops, which is still a work in progress.

Once set up, Twitter Shops will allow a whopping 50 products to be sold.

Shopify president Harley Finkelstein said this is a great opportunity as businesses aim to “sell across every single surface area”.

“Retail does not happen across one channel, it happens across every channel,” he said.

With Shopify shares taking a turn for the worst this year, sinking 76%, this is seen as an encouraging opportunity to subside some of the suffering.

Shopify has also announced a new service of tap-to-pay offering, allowing US shop merchants to process transactions through their iPhones.

Shopify’s Merchant Services vice president Kaz Nejatian said it’s also a great opportunity for merchants who want to become involved in offline retail.

“It’s going to be super easy for them now to experiment with in-person selling without having to invest in buying more hardware or carrying this faceless dongle around that just takes up space for no reason,” he said. 

Hydro One

Hydro One (TSX: H) has announced its chief executive officer Mark Poweska is stepping down.

Assuming the role in 2019, Mark Poweska left his post to take a leadership position at a utility closer to his family later this year.

William Sheffield has been appointed as interim president and chief executive officer, having been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2018.

The company said Mr Poweska will continue to support and offer guidance to Mr Sheffield during his transition.

It has since been confirmed Mr Poweska will become Enmax Corp’s fourth chief executive officer within the last two years.

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