August 7, 2013 / 9:59 AM / in 4 years

PRESS DIGEST-Canada-Aug 7

Aug 7 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories from selected Canadian newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

* Canadian companies are facing higher pension costs after the Canadian Institute of Actuaries published new research that suggests workers are living longer than previously thought. The numbers matter to business because most corporate pension plans use the institute's mortality tables as a starting point when calculating the future cost of pensions. ()

* The federal government's push to reduce the number of Roma refugees from Hungary appears to be working, with a drop of hundreds to only dozens of Hungarians filing for asylum since the crackdown late last year. The number of Hungarian asylum seekers declined to just 33 between January and March this year, compared with 724 for the same period last year. ()

Reports in the business section:

* Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp is limiting guarantees it offers banks and other lenders on mortgage backed securities. The measure comes amid the federal government's efforts to protect taxpayers from financial risks in the housing sector, further cool lending and add upward pressure to mortgage rates. ()

* The Alberta Energy Regulator has conditionally approved Athabasca Oil Corp's Dover oil sands project in northern Alberta, paving the way for the company's partner, PetroChina, to exercise an option to take full control of the venture for C$1.3 billion ($1.25 billion). ()

* HSBC Bank Canada, the country's seventh-largest bank, said in an earnings report this week that second-quarter pretax profit at its commercial banking unit tumbled 53 percent from the same period in 2012. The drop provides more evidence of the damage caused by lenders trying to undercut each other on pricing. ()

NATIONAL POST

* Former Toronto MP Ken Dryden who lent himself $300,000 to take part in the 2006 Liberal leadership race, has no plans to raise money from individual contributors to pay off his outstanding campaign debt, says his lawyer. Although it's against the rules, Elections Canada can't do anything about it. ()

* The Opposition is crying cover-up in the latest canceled gas plant controversy, after their questions about Liberals pressuring the Speaker of the Ontario legislature to change a preliminary finding of contempt were ruled out of order. ()

* The federal government has spent C$70 million since 2005 to clean up leftover explosives from Canada's military past that litter hundreds of sites across the country, the Vancouver Sun has learned. Fifteen people have been killed and at least 20 others seriously injured at Canadian sites that are confirmed or under assessment for having unexploded ordnance. ()

FINANCIAL POST

* The latest tightening of mortgage rules might come down to a couple of thousand dollars for the average Canadian consumer but that still has many wondering why Ottawa is cracking down once again on housing. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp has notified banks, credit unions and other mortgage lenders that they will each be restricted to a maximum of $350-million of new guarantees this month under its National Housing Act Mortgage-Backed Securities program. ()

* Alberta's Energy Regulator conditionally approved on late Tuesday the Dover oil sands project proposed by Athabasca Oil Corp. The project was opposed by the Fort McKay band, which was worried about its effect on traditional land use and requested a 20-kilometre environmental buffer between the project and its reserve near Fort McMurray. ()

* Three big-name bidders for Rio Tinto's majority stake in Canada's largest iron ore producer are now out of the running, sources familiar with the talks said on Tuesday, after offers came in well below the mining group's targets. The sources said private equity firm Apollo, which had been working with Canadian pension fund CPPIB, rival Blackstone and commodity trader and miner Glencore were no longer in the race after a second round of bids last month. ()

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