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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 11, 2023

In this edition:

Ontario launches new ultra-low electricity rate

The Ontario government is launching a new Ultra-Low Overnight price plan on May 1, 2023. Customers of Toronto Hydro, London Hydro, Centre Wellington Hydro, Hearst Power, Renfrew Hydro, Wasaga Distribution, and Sioux Lookout Hydro can opt-in to this new optional electricity price plan, with all utilities required to offer it to customers within six months.

The new electricity pricing structure is a third option for electricity customers, in addition to the existing Time-of-Use (TOU) and Tiered plans.

Click here to read more.

Tax questions to be answered in upcoming free GNCC webinar

The 2022 tax year saw several changes, including tweaks to the income tax brackets, doubling the home buyers’ tax credit, the Ontario staycation credit, and new eligible medical expenses.

Join guests Bill Crysler of MNP and and Doug Carroll from Meridian Credit Union for a free webinar on April 13 that will cover an overview of the changes and tax hacks that can maximize your return for 2022.

Click here to register.

Ministry of Labour issues 18 orders for Welland condo project

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development reports it has issued 18 orders following two partial collapses of a 226-unit, five-storey condo project under construction at 350 Prince Charles Dr. in Welland, Ont.

The Upper Vista Welland project suffered a structural failure on Feb. 18 and a further partial collapse on Feb. 26, both on the south side of the building.

Developer Evertrust Developments began a site cleanup in early March after receiving a partial demolition permit from the municipal government.

Click here to read more.

Ford Motor Co. unveils details of plan to spend $1.8B in Oakville to produce electric vehicles

Ford Motor Co. has revealed some details of its plan to spend $1.8 billion on its Oakville Assembly Complex to turn it into an electric vehicle production hub.

The automaker said Tuesday that it will start retooling the Ontario complex in the second quarter of 2024 and begin producing electric vehicles in 2025.

Ford said the transformation of the Oakville site, to be renamed the Oakville Electric Vehicle Complex, will include a new 407,000 square-foot battery plant where parts produced at its U.S. operations will be assembled into battery packs.

Click here to read more.

Niagara Health launches digital platform to improve surgical care experiences for patients

Niagara Health has launched a new digital platform to improve patient outcomes and surgical care experiences.

Called SeamlessMD, the digital platform guides patients with personalized education materials, reminders, progress tracking, post-surgery symptom monitoring and other services. Available on smartphones, tablets and computers, the tool aims to improve recovery outcomes, reduce hospital stays and readmissions, and Emergency Department visits.

Click here to read more.

Canadian office vacancy spikes in Q1

Office vacancy continued to rise in Canada’s major markets in the first quarter of 2023 as tenants adjust to hybrid work and office landlords strive to maintain their appeal.

The result, said CBRE in its Q1 2023 Canada Office Figures report, is a “sector in flux and greater separation forming between uninspired older offices and well-amenitized modern spaces.”

Canada’s overall national office vacancy rate increased to an all-time high of 17.7 per cent, according to the report.

Click here to read more.

IESO doubles incentives for business energy-saving measures

As part of the Local Initiatives Program, the IESO is introducing Retrofit regional adders in some areas of the province where electricity constraints exist.

The purpose of these adders is to encourage further uptake in the Retrofit program to assist in reducing demand for the transmission assets in these constrained areas. The target areas were selected in consultation with the IESO’s system planners and include regions that have been identified as electricity-constrained through the regional planning process.

The adders will be available for a period of six months effective April 3, 2023; during this time, all non-lighting measures will be eligible for double the incentive normally available.

Click here to read more.

Focus on Finance & Economy

Municipal procurement is a challenging environment

Municipalities lack comparatively bottomless resources of more senior levels of government.

They also have less capacity to spread risk and cost. Despite declining real revenues, the demands upon them have been increasing steadily in recent years due to the practice of downloading.

Many municipalities must somehow deal with the problem of an aging infrastructure, while at the same time maintaining a level and range of services consistent with public expectations.

In such an environment it is becoming progressively more necessary to drive if not hard bargains, then certainly economical ones.

Click here to read more.

Debt weighing heavily, as half of Canadians believe ‘worst is yet to come’: MNP survey

Canadians remain concerned about their debt levels amid higher interest rates, a new report has found, with half expecting that economic circumstances will deteriorate further and that “the worst is yet to come.”

That’s according to MNP’s quarterly Consumer Debt Index released Tuesday. While the Index rebounded from an all-time record low last quarter, rising 12 points to 89 points, Canadians are still worried about their indebtedness. Nearly half (46 per cent) said they are concerned with their current levels of debt (down from 47 per cent), and more than half (57 per cent) said if interest rates go up they will be in financial trouble (down from 59 per cent).

Click here to read more.

Through the Daily Updates, the GNCC aims to deliver important business news in a timely manner. We disseminate all news and information we feel will be important to businesses. Inclusion in the Daily Update is not an endorsement by the GNCC.

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