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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 25, 2022

Musk to buy Twitter, Ontario launches tuition-funding program, further interest rate hike warned, and more.

In this edition:

Musk to buy Twitter
Ontario launches tuition-funding program
Further interest rate hike warned
Canada Games Park officially opens
Retail sales post slight increase in February
Public Order Emergency Commission announced
Call for applications: Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

Elon Musk to buy Twitter for $44B

Elon Musk is going to acquire Twitter for $44 billion.

The move comes after the richest man in the world started buying shares in the company in March, complaining that the social media network wasn’t doing enough to ensure free speech.

The company rebuffed his advances for weeks before the two sides struck a deal over the weekend that was made official on Monday.

The purchase price of $54.20 US a share is a 38 per cent premium to what the shares were worth before Musk’s stake became public.

“The Twitter board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing,” Twitter chair Bret Taylor said. “The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

Click here to read more.

Ontario launches tuition-funding program for in-demand skilled workers

Starting this Friday, Better Jobs Ontario will pay up to $28,000 in tuition and other costs for short-duration training programs that allow job seekers to match their skills with the needs of hiring employers in the community. Expanding on the current Second Career program, more applicants will now be eligible for up to $500 per week in financial support for basic living expenses. The new program funds tuition for training programs of 52 weeks duration or less, including eligible college and some university courses, micro-credential programs, and other vocational training programs.

Concurrent to launching this new training program, the government is continuing to transform the Employment Ontario services in York, Halton and Stratford-Bruce Peninsula to improve outcomes, based on the first three integrated regions in Peel, Hamilton-Niagara and Muskoka-Kawarthas, where 87 per cent of clients completing their employment plans have found jobs and 81 per cent are working more than 20 hours a week.

Click here to read more.

Interest rate could go up another half percentage point

The governor of the Bank of Canada is signalling Canada’s key interest rate could go up another half percentage point in June to help wrestle inflation under control.

Tiff Macklem is appearing at the House of Commons standing committee on finance today.

Two weeks ago the central bank raised its key interest rate a half point to one per cent and warned more rate hikes would be coming as it works toward an inflation target of two per cent.

Macklem says the bank will be considering another oversized, half-percentage-point interest rate increase at its next rate decision in June.

Canada’s inflation rate hit a three-decade high of 6.7 per cent in March, well above what the central bank projected in its January monetary policy report.

Click here to read more.

Canada Games Park officially opens

Friday marked the official grand opening of Canada Games Park and the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre.

A legacy project for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, Canada Games Park is located at the corner of Merrittville Highway and Sir Isaac Brock Way in Thorold, Ontario, and is home to new state-of-the-art sport facilities. This facility will be the main venue for a majority of the competitions throughout the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, running from August 6-21.

These facilities include the 200,000-square-foot cutting-edge Walker Sports and Abilities Centre, along with the entry plaza found right outside the facility, which is known as the Walker Founder’s Plaza.

Click here to read more.

Retail sales post slight increase in February

Canadian retail sales edged up 0.1% to $59.9 billion in February. This was the fourth increase in the last five months. Higher sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores (+15.1%) and gasoline stations (+6.2%) were offset by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-5.1%).

Sales were up in 6 of the 11 subsectors, representing 47.2% of retail trade.

Core retail sales—which exclude sales at gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers—increased 1.4%.

Given the rapidly evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales increased 1.4% in March 2022. Owing to its early nature, this figure will be revised.

Niagara data is not available, although Toronto recorded a 2.8% increase between January and February.

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Prime Minister announces Public Order Emergency Commission

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the establishment of the Public Order Emergency Commission, an independent public inquiry following the invocation of the Emergencies Act.

The Commission will examine the circumstances that led to the declaration being issued and the measures taken in response to the emergency. This includes the evolution of the convoy, the impact of funding and disinformation, the economic impact, and efforts of police and other responders prior to and after the declaration.

The Act requires such a commission to be formed within 60 days of the expiration of the emergency. By law, the inquiry must complete its report and submit it to Parliament by February 20, 2023.

Click here to read more.

Call for applications: Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, announced a call for applications to deliver the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative (IWVCI), a new $15 million investment under the $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

The IWVCI is a three-year program to build a more inclusive VC environment for Canadian women entrepreneurs. It will support projects that help strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to access VC funding, contribute to increasing the representation of women in the VC industry, or help ensure that the VC industry is sensitive to gender and potential unconscious bias.

Applications are open to Canadian not-for-profit organizations. Applications from organizations working in partnership are also welcome. For further details on eligibility and the application process, please see the IWVCI application guide on the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy website.

Reading Recommendations

Urban exodus slowing down as Canadian homebuyers return to the office: BMO

Financial Post

As Canadians are being beckoned back to their downtown offices in the post-pandemic recovery, a new survey has found that homebuyers are also turning their attention back to major urban cities.

The Bank of Montreal found in its latest home finance survey that the so-called “urban exodus” that took hold in the early days of the pandemic is slowing down, with interest in purchasing homes in major city hubs up by five per cent since last year, despite soaring prices.

“Market conditions are quickly changing,” BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic said in a press release. “We could see much more balanced conditions very soon, as the Bank of Canada is expected to raise interest rates further through the remainder of the year. That will bite into affordability and possibly temper market psychology.”

Click here to read more.

Why is upskilling so hard?

While many recent surveys have shown that providing training opportunities for employees is an excellent tool for attraction and retention, a new survey shows that employers are lacking in this area.

Only 21 per cent of respondents to a survey by done by D2L, a training organization, feel confident there are enough skills in-house in the company to achieve future growth — compared to 47 per cent for U.S. businesses.

It’s a new type of social contract, says Malika Asthana, manager of strategy and public affairs for Canada at D2L in Toronto.

“People of all generations — particularly people who are a bit earlier in their careers, gen Z and millennials — are interested in opportunities that will enable them to grow and see a path through themselves in the organization. And investment in skills development, on an ongoing basis, is a way to cultivate that trust with workers, and to say, ‘We are invested in your growth and you’re not just a worker for us.’

“It’s an easy thing to invest in to make sure that people feel that they’re growing in an organization.”

Click here to read more.

Update on Ukraine

As Canadians rush to help Ukrainian refugees, fear of human trafficking looms

CBC News

In the past three weeks, Yulia Weber says she’s helped about a dozen Ukrainian women find housing, line up job interviews and settle into their new lives in Ontario after their escape from the war in their homeland.

But she and advocates like her are raising the alarm about what can happen to women who fall into the hands of traffickers when they get to Canada. And some say giving them refugee status will make them safer.

“It could be a great situation because people are generous,” said Weber, an entrepreneur who immigrated from Russia in 1999 and now lives in Mississauga, Ont. “But then it’s questionable who is actually picking you up from the airport.”

Click here to read more.

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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