Briefings

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will spend millions on a study to ‘de-risk’ Via Rail’s expansion

The Via expansion involves a new rail line that runs through Quebec and Ontario. The Infrastructure Bank’s involvement will be announced Tuesday in Trois-Rivières, Que., and Peterborough, Ont. Via’s original proposal was estimated to cost at least $4 billion, with an extra $2 billion if the trains were to run on electric power. The bank will provide millions of dollars in funding, though the exact amount is not yet known. (Globe and Mail)

Bipartisan senators want Big Tech to share how much user data is worth

Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Josh Hawley introduced a bill on Monday requiring firms with over 100 million monthly users that make money off data to disclose the type of data collected, how it’s used and an assessment of its value every 90 days. They’d also need to annually report the aggregate value of all their users’ data. (Axios)

Telecoms lobby Ottawa to make it easier to build 5G tech

Rogers, Shaw, Quebecor, Cogeco and the Canadian Communication Systems Alliance are lobbying to change federal laws over the construction of 5G. The carriers want the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to establish one consistent set of nationwide rules, as they need municipalities and utilities to cooperate with them in laying more fibre cables and adding specialized cell towers to deploy the technology. As part of their lobbying push, they’ve made submissions to an expert panel looking at amending federal broadcast and telecom legislation. One of those includes an opinion from former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Michel Bastarache, who found that the federal government could give the CRTC authority over the issue. (Globe and Mail)

Ottawa moving toward giving temporary foreign workers more mobility

Under the proposed rules, temporary foreign workers will be allowed to work for any approved Canadian business in a specific sector, such as agriculture. Under current rules, workers are tied to one designated employer, so if they lose their job, they are at risk of deportation. The government said it will take submissions from interested parties for 30 days before modifying the regulations. (Globe and Mail)

Toronto-based Xanadu raises $32 million to build quantum technology

Xanadu, which is trying to build a quantum computer using light particles to perform fast computations, had its round led by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. It’s also backed by Georgian Partners, Radical Ventures, Real Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Tim Draper, a billionaire who made early investments in Twitter and Skype. Xanadu is using the funding to commercialize its quantum technology. and from proof-of-concept projects with customers like the Bank of Montreal. It’s also offering software that allows customers to test quantum technology. (BetaKit)

Dream Unlimited opening 24-storey co-living tower in Ottawa

The developer’s tower will include communal apartments and regular rentals. The apartments will be fully furnished, with monthly rent starting at $1,225, which is about 30 per cent less than similar one-bedroom apartments in the area. (Bloomberg)

Private equity firm Hamilton Lane closes US$1.7-billion fund

The fund—half of which has already been allocated—will invest in buyouts and mature companies looking for capital to expand or restructure operations. Investors include public pensions, sovereign wealth funds, Taft-Hartley pension plans, endowments, foundations, high-net-worth individuals and financial institutions. The firm declined to comment when asked if Canadian LPs were involved. Hamilton Lane has US$4.9 billion in assets under management. (The Logic)

Donald Trump administration cuts Chinese supercomputer firms off from U.S. components

The commerce department declared that the firm Sugon and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology were acting against “the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.” Sugon has previously bought chips for its machines from Intel, Nvidia and AMD. The company and the institute are trying to build an exascale computer, which would be able to perform one quintillion—one billion billion—calculations per second. (Wall Street Journal)

British Columbia pension fund selling private equity stakes

The holdings that British Columbia Investment Management (BCI) is looking to sell are worth between $250 million and $500 million. That includes stakes in large buyout funds, including two TPG Capital funds, according to sources. Private equity made up 7.1 per cent of BCI’s assets for the year ended March 31, 2018, compared to 44.3 per cent in public stocks. BCI is one of Canada’s largest pension funds with $145.6 billion in assets. (PE Hub)

Google makes money off millions of fake Google Maps business listings

Google Maps has millions of fake business addresses and names that scam customers by overcharging for services like contracting, according to The Wall Street Journal’s sources. The fake businesses also steal real businesses’ names, or pretend to be in a different location than they really are. Though Google prohibits the practice, it hasn’t been able to fully crack down on the listings due to the volume being added each month. The company technically benefits from the scams because it gets paid for ads; it’s also been adding more ads to its Maps product. A Google spokesperson said the firm has added new defences for business categories at high risk for false listings; it is also looking into several incidents The WSJ pointed out. (Wall Street Journal)