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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 19, 2023

In this edition:

Bargaining continues as federal workers picket, major service disruptions expected

Canada’s largest federal public-service union and the federal government continue to negotiate as workers go on strike.

Federal workers were hitting the picket lines across the country on Wednesday after Canada’s largest federal public-service union and the government failed to reach a deal by a Tuesday evening deadline.

In a statement, the Government of Canada said that it “has done everything it can to reach a deal and avoid disrupting the services that Canadians rely on… The Government has presented a fair, competitive offer to the PSAC and responded to all their demands.”

Chris Aylward, PSAC national president, said in a release that “we truly hoped we wouldn’t be forced to take strike action, but we’ve exhausted every other avenue to reach a fair contract for Canada’s Federal Public Service workers.”

Approximately 46,000 workers are deemed essential, but Canadians should anticipate major disruptions to non-essential services. PSAC has announced that the passport office in the Pen Centre will be picketed, but no other picket lines in Niagara are planned.

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Raw material prices down 16.5% year over year

Prices of products manufactured in Canada, as measured by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), edged up 0.1% month over month in March and fell 1.8% year over year. Prices of raw materials purchased by manufacturers operating in Canada, as measured by the Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI), decreased 1.7% on a monthly basis in March and were down 16.5% year over year.

Prices for crude energy products fell 3.3% in March, a fifth consecutive monthly decrease. In March, the price of conventional crude oil declined 3.4% month over month and was 28.2% lower compared with March 2022. This was the largest year-over-year decrease for conventional crude oil since November 2020 (-28.9%).

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St. Catharines recognized for efforts to adapt to climate change with award

The City of St. Catharines received a Climate Action Award from the Water Environment Association of Ontario. Presented in partnership with the Ontario Water Works Association, the award recognizes and acknowledges innovations in infrastructure that adapt to climate change (resilient infrastructure) or reduce climate impacts by significantly decreasing greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation).

The news of the award came on the heels of a recent University of Ottawa research paper which ranked the City’s Climate Adaptation Plan third of about 15 plans from across the province evaluated for comprehensiveness –  finishing ahead of communities like Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener, among others.

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$500,000 gift in honour of Laura Sabia to support women in STEM, aspiring entrepreneurs

Women students and researchers working and studying in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as those developing their own business ideas, got a substantial boost Wednesday thanks to a generous gift from Brock University Chancellor Hilary Pearson and her husband Michael Sabia.

The $500,000 gift — made in honour of noted Niagara politician, journalist and women’s rights leader Laura Sabia — will support students and researchers in the Yousef Haj-Ahmad Department of Engineering and in the Entrepreneurship Co-op program. Laura Sabia was the mother of Michael Sabia and a strong public advocate for women’s success in business and professional occupations.

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St. Catharines will spend $250,000 on study to protect downtown heritage buildings

St. Catharines will spend $250,000 on a study to assess how the Ford government’s new housing bill will impact heritage buildings, and how the city can protect them.

Councillors voted 11-2 to fund the study, possibly creating a downtown heritage district in order to protect more than 100 buildings.

There are currently five heritage districts in the city, including the Yates Street and Port Dalhousie areas.

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Investigation paused at Port Colborne dig site

Jennifer Dockstader has concerns about how an investigation into a potential burial ground with Indigenous artifacts in Port Colborne has been handled so far.

But the executive director of the Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre said she is grateful the investigation has been paused so the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) can have a chance to lend its expertise.

“The HDI protects and preserves the heritage of Haudenosaunee people and Indigenous people. Their involvement brings a level of expertise to the potential finds of Indigenous people and will bring expertise with regard to the Indigenous artifacts found,” Dockstader said.

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Focus on Climate

How Sweden electrified its home heating — and what Canada could learn

In the 1970s, three quarters of Swedish homes were heated with oil boilers. Today, electric-powered heat pumps have all but replaced oil in single-family homes (most multi-family homes rely on district heating). That has driven greenhouse gas emissions from oil heating of buildings down 95 per cent since 1990, according to the Swedish Energy Agency, said Martin Forsén a Swedish heating industry veteran and president of the European Heat Pump Association.

So how did that happen? And are there lessons for Canada’s transition away from fossil heating?

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How a Supreme Court case could decide the future of Canadian climate policy

On the heels of the latest United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report declaring a “rapidly closing window of opportunity” to secure a liveable future, the Supreme Court of Canada recently heard a case that could decide the future of Canadian climate policy.

Late last year, the Alberta Court of Appeal said the federal Impact Assessment Act — which seeks to minimize the environmental impacts of major economic projects — was unconstitutional because it intruded into provincial jurisdiction over natural resources development.

The federal government, on March 21 and 22, asked the Supreme Court of Canada to overturn the Alberta Court of Appeal’s opinion.

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Did you know?

Pepsi was first invented in 1898 by pharmacist Caleb Bradham and sold as “Brad’s drink.”

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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