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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 24, 2023

In this edition:

Finance markets expect no interest rate change in 2023: survey

Today, the Bank of Canada released the Market Participants Survey results, based on questionnaire responses from about 30 financial market participants.

The respondents did not expect interest rates to fall until 2024, although they felt that the rate would likely be brought down to 3% in stages over the course of the next year. Most believed the rate of inflation would be between 1 and 3% by the end of 2023, and a majority believed it would remain elevated above 2% throughout 2024.

The housing market was one of the chief concerns for financial market participants, with 70% identifying a weakened housing market as a downside risk for their growth scenario, and 48% said a strengthened housing market was an upside risk. The housing market has cooled in recent months but remains elevated, and the uncertainty over its future seemed reflected in the market outlooks offered.

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Small business owners working eight-day week equivalent due to staff shortages: study

A new study says the average small business owner is working the equivalent of an eight-day workweek due to staffing challenges, especially in Western Canada.

The report found 59 per cent of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses were affected by labour shortages, forcing the average owner to work 54 hours per week to compensate.

The study indicates the problem is getting worse. The number of small businesses affected by labour shortages has increased from 55 per cent in November 2021.

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JLL outlook outlines if the construction sector is on the road to normalcy

In its first combined United States/Canada construction outlook report, global real estate and investment management specialist JLL is predicting a return to normalcy for the construction sector after the turmoil caused by COVID-19, rising material prices and constricted supply chains.

The reasons include a “prolonged decline” in building material prices in the latter part of 2022, the easing of supply chain issues for some categories, and the end of the few remaining global COVID control measures.

However, while the construction industry is exceptionally busy, it’s also fraught with cautious action in anticipation of a downturn and economic indicators point to broader uncertainty.

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Canadian Minister of Tourism celebrates National Tourism Week 2023

“From our three wildly beautiful coasts to the remarkable interior, Canada has memorable experiences to offer travellers, no matter the season or the region,” said the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance in a statement issued today.

“As a country, tourism is Canada’s top service exports, even ahead of financial services and artificial intelligence innovation,” the Minister continued. “The government is committed to seeing the industry continue to contribute to the country’s GDP; after all, Canada’s economic growth is directly tied to tourism’s growth.

“Spring is in full swing and summer is just around the corner. Like all those working in tourism—from hoteliers, to tour guides and operators, to transportation providers—I look forward to welcoming both first time and returning visitors to Canada, to share the spirit of respect, diversity and inclusion that Canadians embody every day.”

Click here to read the full statement.

Canada to make airlines pay passengers for major service disruptions

Airlines must compensate passengers for major service disruptions except in limited cases like snowstorms, a measure included in consumer protection proposals in the country’s budget legislation, Canada’s transport minister said on Monday.

Passenger complaints against airlines over lengthy delays or flight cancellations have risen as commercial air traffic rebounded following the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during a period of peak congestion last summer.

The rules would impose a greater burden on carriers to compensate a passenger who complains unless the airline can prove otherwise.

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NC-led SONAMI awarded $290,000 investment from Intellectual Property Ontario

The Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI), led by Niagara College, has been awarded $290,000 from Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON) to participate in the pilot program augmenting the capacity of Ontario postsecondary institutions’ innovation and commercialization efforts. This program is part of the Commercialization Mandate Policy Framework which was first introduced by the Government of Ontario in January 2022 to help colleges and universities advance the shared goal of ensuring that “made-in-Ontario” research and innovation benefit Ontarians.

The investment will allow Niagara College to hire a commercialization specialist to work alongside SONAMI staff to maximize engagement in commercialization among industry partners (small- and medium-sized businesses) in the manufacturing sector. The goal will be to educate and enhance Intellectual Property (IP) opportunities with SONAMI industry partners who have started or completed an applied research project with the network.

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Newcomers can help fill Niagara’s employment gap: Advocates

A shortage of skilled workers can be alleviated by allowing newcomers with appropriate skills access to employment, says the executive director of the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre.

“We have many newcomers already here in Niagara who are not able to return to their professions at the level of their skills because of the lengthy process for regulated professions,” said Janet Madume. “The employment gap can be helped by assisting the many skilled newcomers already here to be able to access their professions.”

Those professions include everything from health professionals to engineers, architects, teachers and lawyers.

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What’s Going on Here? FirstOntario Credit Union Thorold

When it came time to update its more than 30-year-old digs at the corner of Albert and Pine streets in Thorold, FirstOntario Credit Union decided it was time for a change of scenery instead.

Not that the move was too far; actually it’s about a nine iron drive away — on the other side of Albert and across the parking lot at Pine Street plaza beside Foodland.

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Focus on Small Business

Big Data left small business behind. Until now.

Canada’s private-sector business data market is dominated by a small number of big players. These providers offer a range of market data, news, research, and analytics. Such tools support data-driven business strategies—something that is always important to boost business performance but is even more critical now. With forecasters expecting Canada’s economy to soon fall into recession, businesses need to stay on top of changing business conditions and trends.

Unfortunately, business data has a paywall problem. Data services can be prohibitively expensive, making them inaccessible for most businesses and teams.

Which is why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Business Data Lab (BDL) is launching its Business Conditions Terminal (BCT)—to help democratize access to business data and insights.

Click here to read more.

How loyalty programs can deliver the savings shoppers want: Report

The rising cost of food is undoubtedly affecting shoppers’ behaviours, whether they’re switching to private-label brands or cutting back on pricy meats. A new report from Eagle Eye, a global digital marketing technology company, suggests grocery retailers can leverage their loyalty programs to better engage their customers – and deliver the savings they crave.

The survey found that saving at the shelf is a top priority for consumers. Nearly two-thirds of grocery shoppers (64%) are buying more items on sale or special; 57% are using loyalty program points, discounts or savings, and 48% are finding and using coupons more often. Other ways shoppers are trying to save money are shopping among different retailers to find the best price on certain items (46%), shopping more at discount stores (46%), buying more private-label items (42%), and finding ways to make meals that eliminate food waste (31%).

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

Apple had a third co-founder who left after 12 days and forfeited his shares for $2,300. If he still held his 10% stake today, he would be the world’s richest person. 

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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