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Business in the Canadian Context-adms 1010 Calendar Description

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Business in the Canadian Context—ADMS 1010

Calendar Description

We will look at key issues and companies in Canadian business. How has Canada achieved prosperity? How might we maintain it in a globalized economy? We will examine how our geography, our people and our legal and political institutions have shaped business and business has shaped government. We will use business case studies to look at political, economic and legal issues in the Canadian context.

Important Information: The fine print

Prerequisite: AP/ADMS 1000 3.00. Course credit exclusions: None. PRIOR TO FALL 2009: Prerequisite: AK/ADMS 1000 3.00. Course credit exclusions: AK/ADMS 1010 3.00, AK/ADMS 2410 3.00 (prior to Summer 1999), AK/ADMS 2420 3.00 (prior to Summer 1997), AK/ADMS 2430 3.00 (prior to Summer 2005).

Additional Requirements: AK/ADMS1000 3.0 or previously completed AK/ADMS2000.03 Note: Not open to students who have taken AK/ADMS 2410 3.0 or AK/ADMS 2420 3.0 or AK/ADMS 2430 3.0 Students are personally responsible to ensure that they have the required prerequisites as stated in the course outline or in the course calendar.


Please BE AWARE: Students CANNOT write exams or submit any work for sections that they are not registered in. Students must confirm the correct section within the first two weeks of class. The instructor/course director has NO AUTHORITY to enroll students into the course. Please direct all registration questions to the main office of the Administrative Studies ( ). DO NOT contact the instructor/course director in these matters. Students who do not have the prerequisites are at risk of being dropped from the course at any time during the course. The School will not be responsible for refunds resulting from students being dropped from a course due to a lack of the appropriate prerequisites.

This section is going to be managed through Moodle.

Course objective:

You will know how Canada’s business culture and laws have evolved, how Canadian business has failed and succeeded, and you will know better where business in Canada is going.

Required Course Text / Readings

Joe Martin. Relentless Change: A History of Canadian Business. University of Toronto Press, 2010

Civics Canada Online Textbook. Open Educational Resources.

Students will be expected to read and discuss current Canadian business issues and events. These can be found in sources such as The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, the Toronto Star, the National Post,, and Canadian Business magazine.

Links to good sources for global business and economic news can be found in the Business Section of Google News.

Evaluating your performance

  1. Final exam 35%

  2. Midterm test (Week 7) 30%

  3. Two Quizzes (Week 5 and Week 10) 25%

  4. Best two of three in-class projects (Week 3, Week 8 and week 11) 10%

Expanded Course Description

Week 1: Introduction

  • What are we going to do for 12 weeks?

  • What is Canada?

  • What is business?

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Relentless Change, pp. 1-14

Civics Canada Online Textbook

EXERCISES – Why are you in Canada? Why are you going into the business world?

Week 2: Defining Canada — Currency and banks

THE Canadian Confederation and Canadian Institutions, Currency and banks

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Case: Relentless Change, Bank Act of 1871, pp. 20-37

Civics Canada Online Textbook

James Powell. A History of the Canadian Dollar.Currency Reforms 1841-1871 History of the Canadian Dollar The chapter you want is Currency Reforms (1841-71).

Confederation (civics textbook) Talks about the enormously complex precursors to the Government of Canada: fur companies, French crown, English military, the First Nations, United Canadas, etc. Why do the Europeans need or want better government in North America? What does this have to do with business?

Canadian Financial institutions A Government of Canada explanation.

  • Canadian Government Structure

  • Confederation: What is it?

    • Confederation vs Unitary State

  • Difference between Canada and US Confederation

  • The evolving nature of Canada’s Confederation

  • The fiscal and institutional arrangements of federal-provincial relations

  • ·Differing Approaches to regional economic diversities and disparities

  • Effect on Canadian Business

EXERCISES –Rules for banks

Week 3: Canada expands—Agriculture and Manufacturing

Case: The Massey Harris Company, pp. 60-78

Settlement and economic development—Forest to farmland

The Role of Agriculture and Manufacturing

Protectionism and The National Policy

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Civics Canada Online Textbook

Agriculture in Canada

Manufacturing in Canada

Statscan Information on Manufacturing

Stuff to know on Trade Policy: Go look up these words. Know them!

Generic: Tariffs, Mercantilism
Canadian historical: National Policy, Reciprocity Treaty
There's material all over the web about these topics. You don't need to be a trade economist and learn them in depth. Just know what they mean and be able to talk about them sensibly. Trade policies determine a lot of what firms can do successfully.

Case: Relentless Change, Massey Harris Company, pp. 60-76

Week 4: CNR—The Government in the Economy

Case: Relentless Change: Wars, Depressions and Dynamic Growth, pp. 79-94 AND CNR, pp. 100-117

The railroads

Keynesianism and the Depression

Readings (to be done prior to class):


Keynes in Canada

The Depression in Canada

Social Welfare in Canada

Crown Corporations in Canada

Rasmussen's slides on Crown Corporations

Railways in Canada

CN today

WEEK 5: Automobile Industry

Case: The Canadian Automobile Industry, pp. 120-136

How did the Canadian government first support this dominant industry? What were the costs and benefits? What can it tell us about business and government today?

Manufacturing and FDI

The role of the auto sector in the Canadian economy

History of US Canada trade and investment

Readings (to be done prior to class):

The Auto Industry—Canadian Encyclopedia

Foreign Ownership of Canadian Companies A Wikipedia article!

Foreign Investment in Canada

Great Depression in Canada

Photos of the Great Depression in Canada

Government of Canada's ppt on Auto Sector

WEEK 6: The Rise of the Canadian Consumer and Canadian Retail

Case: Eaton’s and Simpson’s-Sears, pp. 140-157

Increasing prosperity and the Role of Consumerism in the Canadian Economy

  • Economic Expansion after WWII

  • The US Retail Invasion and its impact on Canada

  • Impact of the Canadian Dollar

  • Future Impact of Globalization on Canadian Retail

the role of retail as cultural institution in Canada.

Women in the work force

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Eaton’s: A Canadian Institution

Competition: The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy by Michael E. Porter

History of Women in the Candian Workplace

Retail Council of Canada

R. B. Bennett The Prime Minister when H. H. Stevens was Finance Minister. Set up the Royal commission on Price Spreads to appease discontent.

The Eaton Family: Can a family business last four generations? ,

H. H. Stevens Interesting guy. Chair of the Price Spreads Commission.

Week 7: The Midterm—February 26

WEEK 8: The Bank of Canada: Financial Institutions, laws and policies in Canada

Case: The “Cone Affair’, pp. 181-199

The founding of the bank


The independence of the Bank

Why monetary policy matters

David Olive on James Coyne

Jack Layton’s big mistake re the Bank of Canada

US Federal Reserve Bank and Politics

WEEK 9: Canadian mining—the Case of Inco

Case: A New World at Inco, pp. 200-220

Natural resources and the environment

Canadian ownership and global companies

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Canadian Suppliers of Mining Goods and Services, pp. xiii-xv.


Activists and watchdogs

Nice history of mining in Canada Download the pdf and you're good to go.

The industry association

How First Nations negotiate with mining companies Inco and Voisey's Bay

How much is left? A really interesting interactive page that tells you how much is left of critical natural resources.
Check out the minerals (orange in the time line).
Funky newspaper from Inco in the 1960's Imagine what life was like when the company was everything.

WEEK 10: Oil in Alberta

Nationalism and regionalism

Foreign Direct Investment

Readings (to be done prior to class):

History of the petroleum industry in Canada

Stories in the news: It seems there is a debate in the US over whether importing oil from Alberta is a bad idea. National Geographic Magazine and the Tar Sands A couple of years ago, NG published a critique of the tar sands. It created a lot of debate. Check it out.

  • Profile of the Oil Industry in Canada

  • History of the Oil Industry in Canada

  • Impact of Oil on Regional Disparity in Canada

  • Oil and NAFTA

  • Environmental Concerns

  • Need for Regulation or Deregulation

Case: Canada’s Black Gold, pp. 221-239, Oil Sands, pp. 318-339

WEEK 11: Wine in Canada

Case: The Challenging Years, pp. 243-260 AND Wine Industry, pp. 265-283

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

Readings (to be done prior to class):

More readings to follow.

  • History of the Wine Industry in Canada

  • Profile Today of the Wine Industry in Canada

  • Review of Protectionism

  • Role of Free Trade Agreements

  • Key Stumbling Blocks to Global Free Trade

  • Comparative advantage

WEEK 12: Confederation Life and RBC

Case: Confederation Life, pp. 286-301 and RBC, pp.303-317 and Conclusion, pp. 340-355

More readings to follow.

Profile of the Financial Services Industry in Canada

Canada’s Financial Service Industry Compared to US

Role of the government in managing risk

A Case of the merging of Canadian Banks.

Risk, concentration and regulation in Canada’s Financial Industries

Readings (to be done prior to class):

Additional Information

Deferred standing may be granted to students who are unable to write their final examination at the scheduled time or to submit their outstanding course work on the last day of classes. In order to apply for deferred standing, students must complete a Deferred Standing Agreement (DSA) form and submit their request no later than five (5) business days from the date of the exam. The request must be properly submitted with supporting documentation directly to the main office of the School of Administrative Studies (282 Atkinson), NOT to the Course Director. These requests will be considered on their merit and decisions will be communicated to the students by the main office. Students with approved DSA will be able to write their deferred examination during the School's deferred examination period,which for Winter term courses will be administered during the period Friday May 13 through Sunday May 15. No further extensions of deferred exams shall be granted. The format and covered content of the deferred examination may be different from that of the originally scheduled examination. The deferred exam may be closed book, cumulative and comprehensive and may include all subjects/topics of the textbook whether they have been covered in class or not. Any request for deferred standing on medical grounds must include an Attending Physician's Statement form; a “Doctor’s Note” will not be accepted.

DSA Form:

Attending Physician's Statement form:


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• York's Academic Honesty Policy and Procedures / Academic Integrity Web site

• Access/Disability

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Additional information:

• Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

• Alternate Exam and Test Scheduling

• Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy

The Senate Grading Scheme and Feedback Policy stipulates that (a) the grading scheme (i.e. kinds and weights of assignments, essays, exams, etc.) be announced, and be available in writing, within the first two weeks of class, and that, (b) under normal circumstances, graded feedback worth at least 15% of the final grade for Fall, Winter or Summer Term, and 30% for ‘full year’ courses offered in the Fall/Winter Term be received by students in all courses prior to the final withdrawal date from a course without receiving a grade.

• Important University Sessional Dates ( you will find classes and exams start/end dates, reading/co-curricular week, add/drop deadlines, holidays, University closings and more.

• "20% Rule"

No examinations or tests collectively worth more than 20% of the final grade in a course will be given during the final 14 calendar days of classes in a term. The exceptions to the rule are classes which regularly meet Friday evenings or on Saturday and/or Sunday at any time, and courses offered in the compressed summer terms.

• Final course grades may be adjusted to conform to Program or Faculty grades distribution profiles.

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The Atkinson Centre for Mature and Part-time Students (ACMAPS) maintains and strengthens York University’s ongoing commitment to welcome and to serve the needs of mature and part-time students. For further information and assistance visit:

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Last modified: August 18, 2011

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