PRESS DIGEST- Canada - June 20

June 20 Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:45am EDT

June 20 (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

* The Conservative government will cap the number of low-wage temporary foreign workers that employers can bring to Canada as part of sweeping policy reforms that will be announced on Friday. The government will limit the number of foreign workers that companies, such as restaurants, can have at any location based on a percentage of their work force. The measure is expected to cut in half the number of people brought into the country each year for low-wage positions, which was 31,000 last year. (bit.ly/1w1LlDC)

* Changes to the way federal transfers to provinces are calculated since the Stephen Harper government took power appear to have made Ontario a big loser under equalization programs and Alberta the big winner, according to Canada's budget watchdog. (bit.ly/1lE8nhD)

* Conservatives - including the Speaker of the House of Commons - have been feting Nigel Wright as Stephen Harper's former chief of staff leaves behind Ottawa and a brutal year to return to the private sector. Wright resigned his post a little over a year ago following the revelation he had secretly paid $90,000 of Senator Mike Duffy's contested expenses. The prime minister repudiated Wright publicly, calling him responsible for the "deception" and saying he was dismissed. (bit.ly/1nnhfDT)

Reports in the business section:

* The chief executive of Canada's best-known technology company was afforded a rare chance to boast on Thursday, as BlackBerry Ltd reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Although the smartphone maker still lost money in its fiscal first quarter on an adjusted basis, the loss was far less severe than most analysts expected. (bit.ly/Ulqde0)

* Approaching July 1 when the first aspects of the anti-spam law come into effect, companies have been taking advantage of their last days in which unsolicited emails are permitted to ask customers, prospective customers, recipients of newsletters, and others for consent to contact them in the future. (bit.ly/1ql5B0t)

* Most of Canada's largest public companies have done little to improve their disclosure to shareholders about their gender diversity practices, despite facing pending new regulations on the issue. A review of companies in the S&P/TSX 60 index show few are improving their diversity disclosure practices in advance of new disclosure rules expected to be finalized later this year by the Ontario Securities Commission, according to Sylvia Groves, president of Calgary-based consulting firm Governance Studio. (bit.ly/1jCvS5c)

* British Columbia Investment Management Corp, which manages money for public sector pension plans and public trusts in British Columbia, said its assets climbed to $114 billion as of March 31 from $102.8 billion a year earlier, due to strong 14.7 percent returns that outpaced passive benchmarks. BCIMC is Canada's fourth-largest pension fund manager. (bit.ly/1qxAYHr)

NATIONAL POST

* Some labor leaders so feared a Progressive Conservative victory in the June 12 election they "sold their souls" to back the Liberals, the president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union said on Thursday. "The labor movement was so afraid of Tim Hudak being elected that they sold their souls to the Liberals," said OPSEU president Smokey Thomas. (bit.ly/1lFa9NT)

* The Council of Canadians and the Canadian Federation of Students announced on Thursday they would challenge the Stephen Harper government's new election bill, hours before Governor General David Johnston was to grant royal assent, making it law. The two groups intend to challenge voter-ID provisions that critics say will make it harder for students, aboriginals and seniors to vote, and changes that limit the mandate of the chief electoral officer to promote voting. (bit.ly/1nnj17X)

FINANCIAL POST

* The Petronas-sponsored Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas project is seeking debt-financing, reportedly for as much as $10 billion-$15 billion, for its LNG project on the West Coast. It would be the biggest debt financing deal in Canada. (bit.ly/1pqwFM4)

* BlackBerry Ltd Chief Executive John Chen recognizes the turnaround is still a work in progress. "Whether we get back to an iconic state, I don't know, but we certainly will try. Certainly there are a lot of opportunities and assets in the company," Chen said. (bit.ly/TdbP6s)

* Statistics Canada said on Thursday that private non-financial corporations increased their cash holdings to $630 billion in the first quarter of this year - up from $621 billion at the end of 2013. Corporations have been singled out by the Bank of Canada for not contributing more to the economic recovery, which has relied heavily on consumer spending for growth since the 2008-09 recession. (bit.ly/1lEeSkC) (Compiled by Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore)

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