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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 21, 2023

In this edition:

Retail sales fall as rising prices lead consumers to pull back

Retail sales decreased 0.2% to $66.3 billion in February. Sales decreased in 4 of 9 subsectors, representing 48.0% of retail trade. The decrease was led by lower sales at gasoline stations and fuel vendors (-5.0%) and general merchandise retailers (-1.6%).

An advance estimate of retail sales suggests that sales decreased at the faster rate of 1.4% in March.

We’re starting to see consumers tighten their belts,” retail analyst Bruce Winder said. “Canadian consumers are incredibly cautious right now.”

The annual rate of inflation in Canada dropped to 4.3% in March, but grocery prices climbed 9.7% on a year-over-year basis, Statistics Canada reported on Tuesday.

Click here to read more.

Niagara Region moves forward with sale of Material Recycling Facility in Niagara Falls

Niagara Region is proceeding with the sale of the Material Recycling Facility in Niagara Falls. Following a public procurement process initiated in December 2021, Halton Recycling, doing business as Emterra Environmental, is the successful proponent for the purchase of the Region’s facility with a closing date of April 21, 2023.

In June 2021, the Province of Ontario introduced a new Blue Box regulation under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act.
The new regulations will make producers of products and packaging fully responsible for the cost and operation of the residential Blue Box program in Ontario.

Starting July 1, 2023, all Ontario municipalities will begin to transition out of the collection and processing of residential recycling programs, with the last municipalities transitioning out by Dec. 31, 2025. Niagara Region is set to transition out on Jan. 1, 2024.

Click here to read more.

Welland community invited to provide input on strategic plan

The City of Welland is seeking input from its residents on the draft Strategic Plan (2023-2026). The plan outlines the city’s vision and priorities for the next four years, seeking input from residents, businesses, service agencies and not-for-profit organizations, to ensure the plan reflects your collective needs and aspirations.

The Strategic Plan is an important document that will guide the city’s decision-making and resource allocation over the next four years. It includes key priorities such as improving health and wellbeing, economic growth, and livability while promoting the need to care for our environment.

Click here for more information, the online survey, and to find open house times and locations.

Premier and Prime Minister highlight VW battery plant, but others question subsidy costs

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, were joined today by the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, and Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli, to highlight Volkswagen’s $7 billion investment to establish its first overseas electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in St. Thomas, Ontario.

The plant, Volkswagen’s largest to date, will create up to 3,000 direct jobs and up to 30,000 indirect jobs. Once complete in 2027, the plant will produce batteries for up to one million electric vehicles per year.

A Canadian Press story, however, highlighted the $13 billion subsidy that was necessary to secure the plant. The subsidy closely mirrors what’s offered in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act that contains some $370 billion in funding to create a cleaner economy, but Rob Gillezeau at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management remarked that the auto industry and the economy in general is already humming, and Canada has numerous wins on electric vehicles already that secure an electric vehicle manufacturing base.

Meridian launches new corporate strategy, Meridian for Good

Meridian’s new corporate strategy, Meridian for Good, ushers in a new day for Ontario’s largest credit union and second largest in Canada.

“We’re leaning into our bedrock values as a financial cooperative to better integrate our purpose into everything we do,” said Jay-Ann, President & CEO, Meridian. “The end goal of Meridian for Good is to deliver on our purpose – “helping you achieve your best life” and on our vision “to be recognized as an inclusive, transparent, and people-focused financial partner.”

As part of the strategy, Meridian will focus on growing Business Banking through expansion into new industries and partners, including Indigenous communities. The new strategy puts emphasis on working with small and medium sized enterprises that are on the path to growth and are purpose-led, looking for trusted relationships with their financial partners.

Click here to read more.

Niagara College CICE program shines with Star Award from Habitat for Humanity

A Niagara College program that enhances employability for students with disabilities has won a Star Award from Habitat for Humanity Niagara.

The award was announced on the evening of April 19 at Habitat Niagara’s Volunteer Dinner and Awards Ceremony in St. Catharines, in recognition of the work CICE students do at Habitat ReStore locations for their program field placements.

“Habitat Niagara works with many educational partners across the region in different ways. The CICE program is special; it’s designed to provide individuals with disabilities and other learning challenges the opportunity to experience college life and enhance their employability, academic and social skills,” said Manager, Volunteer Recruitment and Engagement Amanda Laprise.

Click here to read more.

CUPE members in Port Colborne and Wainfleet reach tentative deal

CUPE 2276 has announced that it reached a tentative deal last night on behalf of its roughly 100 members in Port Colborne and Wainfleet.

After more than a year of bargaining with Community Living Port Colborne-Wainfleet, the union local went on strike on April 4th.

The main outstanding issue was what workers call being “stuck on shift” – coming to the end of a scheduled shift, but being unable to leave for hours or even days because no replacement has arrived.

Click here to read more.

Mother Earth Day returns for 2023, presented by PenFinancial Credit Union

Mother Earth Day, presented by PenFinancial Credit Union and hosted by the Park in the City Committee, returns to Firemen’s Park on Saturday, May 13, from 10 am until 4 pm (rain or shine).

The free admission event offers a free tree giveaway, environmental demonstrations, youth activities, earth-friendly vendors, food & drinks and fun for the entire family – an excellent opportunity for residents to come together to learn, interact, and celebrate positive environmental action. Visit for a complete list of programming.

Click here to read more.

Human Resources

The art of due diligence in workplace safety: Don’t learn the ‘right’ way the ‘hard’ way

We have all experienced it: We hear something in the news or through the grapevine that send chills up our spines, and plants fear into our very cores.

A workplace incident or accident has occurred. A horrific and tragic sequence of events led to a terrible mishap, and a worker — or workers — have been injured. Or worse, have died. Perhaps all workers were thankfully safe but there is significant damage to property, the result of some freak event. Business owners everywhere shutter at the thought: “What if this happened to me?”

Employers spend time and resources making sure they are compliant in the law. The hassle associated with a visit from authorities that results in orders or fines is something they wish to avoid at all costs.

Click here to read more.

Employee resilience isn’t the magic bullet solution to adversity that organizations think it is

The combination of supply chain issues, rising inflation and labour challenges has had wide-ranging impacts on businesses. In order to deal with these obstacles, many organizations have turned to employee resilience to the weather the storm.

Studies have found that managers respond to business turbulence by emphasizing employee resilience in the workplace. Employee resilience is an individual’s ability to adapt to and cope with stressors and challenges in the workplace. The better an individual is at bouncing back from adversity, the more resilient they are.

While employee resilience seems appealing — especially in such uncertain and unpredictable times — it isn’t a cure-all for adversity. Rather than being beneficial, the overuse of employee resilience can actually jeopardize an organization’s effectiveness.

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

90% of the world’s data was generated in the last two years. 

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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