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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 14, 2023

In this edition:

Bank of Canada discussed raising rates at latest policy meeting

he governing council of the Bank of Canada discussed raising interest rates at its policy meeting earlier this week before deciding to leave them on hold, the central bank’s governor, Tiff Macklem, said on Friday.

Asked whether any council members were in favor of hiking rates at the meeting, Macklem said: “When I say that we’ve discussed whether we’ve done enough, that does imply that one of the things we discussed is whether we need to raise rates.”

On Wednesday, the Canadian central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 4.50%, as expected, but struck a hawkish tone, playing down market expectations for a rate cut this year as the risk of a recession diminished.

Macklem reiterated on Friday that interest rates may need to stay “higher for longer” to get inflation back to the central bank’s 2% target.

Click here to read more.

Manufacturing sales post 3.6% decline for February

Canadian manufacturing sales declined 3.6% to $71.5 billion in February, following a 4.5% increase in January. The decreases were observed in 12 of 21 industries, led by the petroleum and coal product (-14.9%), motor vehicle (-12.3%) and primary metal (-4.2%) industries. Conversely, the machinery (+3.0%) and electrical equipment, appliance and component (+6.0%) industries posted the largest increases. Year over year, total sales were up 3.8% in February.

The monthly decline resulted from lower volumes and prices as sales in real terms decreased 2.4% in February and the Industrial Product Price Index edged down 0.8%.

The capacity utilization rate for the manufacturing sector decreased from 78.9% in January to 77.0% in February, with lower capacity utilization rates in 14 of 21 industries.

Click here for the transcript of the Chair’s address.

Loblaw to invest $2B in the Canadian economy, creating jobs and opening dozens of new stores

Loblaw Companies Limited plans to invest over $2 billion dollars into the Canadian economy in 2023. The Company’s capital investments this year are expected to create thousands of jobs and see it grow and improve its store network, opening 38 new and/or relocated stores and converting or renovating nearly 600 others.

Loblaw’s network of corporate and independent operations employs approximately 220,000 Canadians. The company’s investments are expected to create over 6,000 new jobs, in retail, supply chain, technology, and construction.

Click here to read more.

Canadian home sales continued to rise in March as markets tighten

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were up on a month-over-month basis in March 2023.

Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems posted a 1.4% increase from February to March 2023. The small rise built on an increase of the same size in February, marking the first back-to-back monthly gains in more than a year. A standout in March was a big bounce in sales in B.C.’s Fraser Valley.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price was $686,371 in March 2023, down 13.7% from March 2022 but up almost $75,000 from its January 2023 level, resulting from outsized sales increases in the Great Toronto Area (GTA) and B.C. Lower Mainland, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets.

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CP Rail and KCS officially combine under Canadian Pacific Kansas City banner

The merger of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. with Kansas City Southern Railway Co. is now official.

The fusion, under the banner of Canadian Pacific Kansas City, marks the continent’s first major railroad rail merger in more than two decades.

It combines the two smallest of North America’s seven Class 1 railroads, after the U.S. rail regulator approved the US$31-billion deal last month.

That green light cleared the final hurdle in CP Rail’s bid to buy KCS and create the only railway stretching from Canada through to the U.S. and Mexico.

Click here to read more.

Millennial renters need to save 50% more than homeowners to fund retirement: Report

Millennials who rent for the duration of their career will need to save substantially more to adequately fund their retirement when compared to homeowners, according to a new report.

Mercer Canada, a global consultancy firm, said in a report Wednesday that renters of millennial age would need to accumulate 50 per cent more in savings to retire comfortably than their home-owning counterparts.

“Homeowners, in retirement, do not have to pay nearly as much for it. Homeownership also gives retirees flexibility, as retirees who downsize may be able to access a significant amount of money,” the report said.

Click here to read more.

Focus on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

A leader’s introduction to the intersection of inclusion, psychological safety

Many employers are investing resources and energy into the inclusion, diversity, equity, and accommodations (IDEA) framework to ensure all workers’ differences and individual needs are considered. What is expected of IDEA is clear. However, the meaning and accountability to bring each element to life vary, based on an employer’s commitment and competency.

Many decision-makers accountable for facilitating the IDEA mission do not understand the details required to implement its elements. For example, accommodations guidelines are driven by provincial human rights legislation regarding leaders’ responsibility to remove barriers that discriminate against workers.

Physical accommodations like making buildings accessible and providing aids for visual- and hearing-impaired employees are clear for most employers, but they are just starting to understand how they can better protect and support employees working with a mental illness.

Click here to read more.

Why diversity programs fail – and what works better

Businesses started caring a lot more about diversity after a series of high-profile lawsuits rocked the financial industry. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Morgan Stanley shelled out $54 million—and Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch more than $100 million each—to settle sex discrimination claims. In 2007, Morgan was back at the table, facing a new class action, which cost the company $46 million. In 2013, Bank of America Merrill Lynch settled a race discrimination suit for $160 million. Cases like these brought Merrill’s total 15-year payout to nearly half a billion dollars.

It’s no wonder that Wall Street firms now require new hires to sign arbitration contracts agreeing not to join class actions. They have also expanded training and other diversity programs. But on balance, equality isn’t improving in financial services or elsewhere. Despite a few new bells and whistles, courtesy of big data, companies are basically doubling down on the same approaches they’ve used since the 1960s—which often make things worse, not better.

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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