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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 20, 2023

In this edition:

Cost of carbon emissions nearly five times higher than previously thought: analysis

The economic cost of greenhouse gas emissions is nearly five times higher than previously thought, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Wednesday.

The minister told attendees at a climate change conference in Ottawa that the government used updated scientific knowledge and economic models to revise the way it evaluates how much climate change is costing Canadians.

The new numbers have been in development for months but come after a recent report from the parliamentary budget officer on the economic costs of the carbon price. That report did not specifically equate the cost of the price on carbon to the costs of climate change itself.

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Full climate-related financial risk supervision still years away: Auditor-General

Climate change poses significant risks to the safety and soundness of Canada’s financial system by affecting the operations of institutions and their balance sheets—we call these climate-related financial risks.

Overall, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI), as a key supervisor of Canada’s financial institutions, has recently made meaningful progress toward integrating climate-related financial risks in its supervisory framework for federally regulated financial institutions, but more work is needed.

“It is encouraging that OSFI and the international community of financial supervisors have recognized that climate change poses risks to financial institutions and the broader financial system and that they are moving forward in addressing this issue,” the Auditor General’s office stated, “but action is overdue and is now urgent.”

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CMHC reports annual pace of housing starts in Canada slowed in March

Construction of new homes picked up in several of Canada’s major cities last year, said the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), but the agency foresees a slowdown as interest rates weigh on building costs.

Growth in residential construction was mixed across six key areas the CMHC studied in 2022, but the bulk saw more shovels hit the ground, the national housing agency said in its annual housing supply report released Wednesday.

Housing starts — a measure of when construction on homes begins and a key indicator of how Canada is addressing housing supply gaps — increased in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa, CMHC said.

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Town of Fort Erie purchases property for natural heritage preservation

On Thursday, April 13, 2023, The Town of Fort Erie agreed to purchase 65,665 m2 (64.57 hectares) of vacant land at 0 Prospect Point Road North, Fort Erie, Ontario.

The property is adjacent to Shagbark Nature Park and effectively expands preserved Town-owned municipal nature areas by nearly 65 hectares. The wooded property will be protected and maintained through an ongoing relationship and stewardship agreement between the Town of Fort Erie and Bert Miller Nature Club.

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Niagara Community Foundation invests $250k into microlending program

Niagara Community Foundation (NCF) today announced a $250K investment into Windmill Microlending, supporting internationally-educated immigrants and refugees looking to restart their careers in Canada. This announcement is in alignment with NCF’s social impact investment priorities, focusing on building social capital, alongside asset growth here in Niagara.

Windmill Microlending is a national organization with offices across Canada. With a loan of up to $15,000, loan recipients can pursue the steps to Canadian accreditation, including English-language training, credential assessments, examinations, professional and membership fees and preparatory courses.

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First increase in EI claimants recorded in eight months

In February, 388,000 Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up by 11,000 (+3.0%) from January. This was the first monthly increase since July 2022. Despite the increase, the number of regular EI recipients in February 2023 was the second lowest on record (outside of the period when the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit was in place from March to September 2020), following the record low of January 2023.

According to the Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.0% in February, just shy of the record-low 4.9% observed in June and July of 2022.

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Niagara developer and allies break ground for studio condos to help renters achieve homeownership

After nearly five years in the making, ground was broken on Monday, April 17th, in St. Catharines along Oakdale Ave with the aim of helping 28 people achieve homeownership or downsize.

The studio condos are currently the lowest price on the market for a new build condo in St. Catharines, starting at $250,000. Other features have also been considered throughout the building to ensure financial and environmental sustainability for future residents, such as electric vehicle carshare options, e-bikes and e-scooters, bulk cable and internet, rented parking spaces to reduce condo fees, as well as the ability to control and monitor heating and hydro from an app.

“A major factor driving down the vacancy rate in Niagara is lack of supply and people failing to move from renting to homeownership,” says Drew Toth, developer at Elevate Living, adding that “these condos are a great opportunity for people who are looking to enter homeownership and build equity.”

The unit reservation waitlist is currently available at

77 storey condo building approved in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls has given a green light to a massive condo building, approving amendments to their official plan to permit a new 77 storey project at the corner of Robinson Street and Allendale Avenue.

City staff did not support the changes, citing that the building is above the 30-storey maximum for the area. They also voiced concern regarding wind, shadow and the number of parking spaces included in the plan.

Council nevertheless approved the development.

The developer is expected to set aside 20 units for attainable housing aimed at those with incomes under $80,000 a year.

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Focus on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

An invitation to dinner is not enough

Imagine receiving an invitation to eat at a neighbor’s house. You have heard of them and admired them from afar and are excited for the opportunity to finally meet them. Besides, you have heard that the husband is a great cook, and the family is very respected in the community.

When you first arrive at their home, you notice a beautiful welcome mat on the porch that puts your butterflies at ease. You knock on the door and are invited in, but after you enter, everything changes. You notice the family is not very friendly. You try to make conversation with everyone, but it is difficult. Everyone seems to talk but never include you in the conversation. At times they appear to listen to you, but something always seems to distract them.

You also notice that while you are eating, everyone has filet, while they have served you Spam. You are perplexed as to why you were invited in the first place when the vibes signal that you are different and don’t belong. You pause for a moment and reflect on the nice invitation and the beautiful welcome mat that caught your attention, but seriously doubt you were ever welcome in the first place. Why was I invited? Were they just checking their diversity box?

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Why leaders need to focus on DEI efforts now more than ever

Equal employment and affirmative action laws enacted during the tumultuous 1960s are the roots of today’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Six decades and a global pandemic later, companies have come a long way from initial attempts to diversify their workforce. What began as simply “diversity” has become significantly more complex.

It can sound like a lot of internal and external distractions corporate leaders would rather avoid than deal with. Many would prefer to concentrate only on producing a great product or service, gobbling up market share and enjoying increasing profits.

Although DEI is changing, it isn’t going away. Leaders need to focus on their DEI strategies now more than ever. Here are a few reasons why.

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Did you know?

Samsung is responsible for one-fifth of South Korea’s economy.

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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