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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 17, 2023

In this edition:

Canada’s public workers to strike if no wage deal by Tuesday evening

Some 155,000 public workers in Canada will go on strike at midnight on Wednesday if they are unable to reach a wage deal with the federal government, the leader of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) union said on Monday.

PSAC President Chris Aylward said he was “setting a clock on this round of bargaining” and that a strike would be called if there is no deal by 9 p.m. ET (0100 GMT) on Tuesday.

The strike would affect federal services and could delay tax refunds since about 35,000 workers at the revenue agency would walk out in the middle of tax filing season.

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Wholesale trade falls from record high in January

Wholesale sales declined 1.7% to $85.6 billion in February. Sales fell in five of seven subsectors. The decrease of sales was mainly led by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories and the food, beverage and tobacco subsectors. Excluding motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories, wholesale sales were down 1.0%. Despite the monthly decrease in the sector, wholesale sales were higher (+7.4%) than in February 2022.

Constant dollar sales fell 1.8% in February 2023.

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Builders say federal government must ante up more funds for housing and related infrastructure

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is calling on the federal government to do its part and begin investing more of the excessive tax revenue it collects from new home construction into housing supply and public infrastructure that supports growth.

A report authored by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis shows that taxes on the purchase of a new home in Ontario accounts for 31 per cent of the price, up from about 24 per cent in 2012. The federal government’s share of those taxes is 39 per cent, yet it only invests 7.1 per cent in public infrastructure. The report also indicates that the tax burden on new home construction is two times higher compared to other sectors of the economy. Infrastructure-dependent products and sectors such as cars, electronics and manufacturing are not taxed nearly as much.

While the federal government reaps most of the benefits of growth through the taxation of new homes, the report notes it has not been a significant participant in funding public infrastructure investment.

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Governments of Canada and Ontario to invest up to $6 million through Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $6 million through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to help eligible agri-food businesses and industry organizations expand into domestic and foreign markets.

The Grow Ontario Market Initiative is a new, cost-share initiative that will help food and beverage processors, farm businesses and agri-food sector organizations take actions to reach new markets. Examples of eligible projects could include market analysis and planning, product development activities and/or new market-entry promotional efforts to expand opportunities for Ontario food products.

Under the Grow Ontario Market Initiative, applicants can receive up to 50 per cent cost share for eligible costs, to a maximum of $60,000 per business for producers and food and beverage processors, and up to $125,000 for sector organizations. Eligible businesses can apply for support through this program starting on May 19, 2023.

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Young Canadians faring well, earning more in today’s economy: Desjardins

Young, educated workers today are earning more than in previous generations, according to a new report from Desjardins.

But it’s not all rosy for young Canadians, with women in particular facing declining mental health and ongoing barriers in the labour market.

The new report from Desjardins is the first in a series looking at how young Canadians are faring in today’s economy. For the report, Desjardins compared the earnings of Canadians who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1991 versus in 2001.

They found the younger cohort earned several thousand dollars more each year, adjusted for inflation, than those who graduated a decade earlier, suggesting the return on education is rising.

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Government of Canada to support $470m Ericsson project

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the Government of Canada will support a project from wireless networking technology company Ericsson Canada to advance research and development toward next-generation 5G and 6G networks – meaning faster and more secure wireless services for people here at home and beyond.

Valued over $470 million, this project will create and reskill hundreds of jobs in Ottawa, Ontario, and Montréal, Quebec. It will establish Canada as one of Ericsson’s leading global research and development hubs and help strengthen Canada’s leadership in the development of wireless technologies. The project will also support research in other cutting-edge fields, including artificial intelligence and quantum technologies.

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PenFinancial announces changes to Board of Directors

Following another successful virtual AGM and Board Director vote, several changes have been announced for the PenFinancial Credit Union Board of Directors. Sandy Henderson was elected as the new Board Chair, while Kirbi Simpson will assume the role of Board Vice-Chair. Angie Walker returns as Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee, and Elizabeth Grimmond has been appointed the
new Chair of the HR and Governance Committee. Dr. Ryan D’Sa joins the Board as a new Board Director and will also Chair the Nominating Committee.

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Loblaw rolls out first battery electric transport truck

Loblaw Companies Limited says it has reached a major milestone in its net-zero carbon emissions strategy with the roll-out of its first fully electric transport truck.

The vehicle is a battery-electric Freightliner eCascadia manufactured by Daimler Truck North America (DTNA) – the first series production eCascadia handed over to a customer in Canada, and one of five Loblaw expects to put into service in the months ahead. In 2017, Loblaw pledged that by 2030 it would decarbonize its fleet of more than 160 company-owned day-cab trucks.

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Amazon searching for mass grocery format worth expanding

In his second letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy stressed that grocery is a big growth opportunity for the company, even indicating that it’s working hard to identify and build the right mass grocery format for Amazon to develop.

Jassy affirmed that Amazon would “go big” on brick-and-mortar grocery stores back in February, following a pause in operations for some Amazon Fresh locations. In an interview with the Financial Times, he noted that the e-commerce company’s foray into on-the-ground food retailing has been slowed by a series of external circumstances, citing lack of normalcy in the business environment.

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Focus on Small Business

The AI Dilemma For Entrepreneurs: Pivot Now Or Wait It Out?

In November 2022 Chat GPT made artificial intelligence widely accessible to entrepreneurs, arguably for the first time. What followed was a wave of business owners figuring out how they could use AI to save time, ramp up production, make more money and stand out in their field.

The bandwagon followed the buzz resulting in new tools launching on an hourly basis. After that came a feeling of disillusionment in users as the reality didn’t live up to the hype and the sales pages were found to have overpromised. You might be left wondering, is now the time to get involved in AI, or should you hang back and wait a while?

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5 Surprising Benefits of Professional Networking That You Need to Know About

For those yet to understand its value, professional networking can often be viewed as a necessary evil — something you must do to build your career or grow your business. Networking has long been recognized as an essential element of building a career, establishing oneself in a community or growing a business. But the benefits and impact of professional networking go far beyond simply making connections.

Professional networking can open doors that may have previously been inaccessible, expand your thinking and allow you to innovate, making it one of the smartest investments you will ever make. Here are some of the surprising benefits of professional networking:

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Did you know?

Starbucks USA spends more on health care insurance for its employees ($300 million) than on coffee beans.

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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