8. SNC-Lavalin hit with fraud, corruption charges
The charges followed an investigation into two of SNC-Lavalin’s subsidiaries’ business dealings in Libya, between 2001 and 2011. The RCMP at the time had alleged SNC-Lavalin paid nearly $47.7 million to induce public officials in Libya to use their influence on the company’s behalf. As the year progressed, the company became a target of influence-peddling investigations in several countries, including The United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Cambodia.
7. Canadian armoured vehicle maker combines bling with bang
Toronto-based Conquest Vehicles Inc. made news when it quietly let slip that National Basketball Association star Dwight Howard rode around Houston’s hotspots in a custom made US$700,000 Conquest Knight XV (pictured at the top of the page). Hand-made in Toronto, there are only 17 in the world and often sold to the likes of Middle Eastern royalty.
6. Warren Buffett says Keystone delay ‘is a thumbing of the nose at Canada’
The infamous Keystone XL pipeline got an emphatic endorsement from Buffet, a powerful backer of President Barack Obama who questioned the handling of the file. Buffet even told CNBC that he would have passed the multi-billion dollar project. However, the billionaire celebrity investor owns interests in the rail industry in addition to oilsands holdings, and there had been some speculation that he might have stood to benefit from a Keystone rejection.
5. Tim Hortons announces layoffs at HQ, regional operations
When Tim Hortons was taken over by Burger King Worldwide Inc. in 2014, analysts widely expected the new parent company to cut office jobs. And in January of 2015, that’s exactly what happened.
4. U.S. Steel announced plans to move production, suspend pensions; USW freaks out
U.S. Steel Canada announced Sept. 17, 2015 that it was seeking a court order to extend its protection from creditors into 2016. The U.S. steel giant’s Canadian arm said it would unlikely be able to continue operations at its Hamilton and Nanticoke plants if it did not receive the order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The United Steelworkers union condemned the move and filed a court order of its own to stop U.S. Steel’s reallocation of Canadian production to the U.S.
3. Canadian firm builds giant ‘scrubber’ to pull CO2 from the air
Calgary-based Carbon Engineering is not convinced the age of hydrocarbons is necessarily over. But unlike a conventional energy company, the six-year-old cleantech outfit is wholly dedicated to pulling—or scrubbing—carbon dioxide from the air and using it to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuel that has an ultra-low or no carbon footprint.
2. Prevailing winds: Canada’s infrastructure problem and the return of the Zeppelin
The logistical nightmare of delivering supplies and capital assets in Northern Canada and similar geographies around the world has more than a few large companies looking for a solution. And instead of clearing muskeg to build roads or using innovative techniques to lay track on permafrost, some experts believe Zeppelins can efficiently connect Canada’s scattered northern communities to the twenty first century, at a fraction of the cost.
And the most-read story on CanadianManufacturing.com in 2015 was….
1. Construction of world’s first large-scale vegetable ‘factory’ underway
We didn’t expect our manufacturing audience—with its gruff, working-with-your-hands image—to be very interested in this story. We were wrong, and readers flocked to read about Japanese vertical farmer Spread Co., which had begun construction on what it called the world’s first large-scale vegetable factory. The facility will be fully automated from the seeding process to harvesting and be capable of producing 30,000 heads of lettuce per day. This was not only the top story of 2015, but was the most-read story ever published on CanadianManufacturing.com.