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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 25, 2023

In this edition:

Government of Ontario creates Advanced Manufacturing Council

As announced in the 2022 Budget, Ontario is establishing an Advanced Manufacturing Strategy to help boost the long‐term competitiveness and resilience of the sector. As a next step, the government is creating the Advanced Manufacturing Council to help inform the strategy and provide input into its development.

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BlackBerry report shows banks, healthcare providers and food companies are top targets for cybercrime

BlackBerry Limited released its latest Quarterly Global Threat Intelligence Report, highlighting an increase in cyberattacks directed at financial institutions, food retailers and healthcare providers, with 60 percent of all attacks targeting these three key industries.

BlackBerry’s Global Threat Intelligence Report also notes that ongoing tensions between Western and Eastern countries are fueling a more fragmented world, which has consequences for the cybersecurity threat landscape as Western governments call for more cyber defenses to protect their citizens and infrastructure.

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Almost one third of mortgages now have amortization periods longer than 30 years

Almost one third of homeowners with a mortgage will pay off that debt over a more than 30-year period due to higher interest rates — a significant increase over the once standard 25-year amortization period.

These lengthy amortization periods have recently come under scrutiny, including by Canada’s banking industry regulator in its latest report.

Amortizations — the length of time it takes to pay off a mortgage in full — are climbing at many of the major banks. At CIBC, the proportion of mortgages with amortization periods longer than 30 years is 30 per cent. At RBC it’s 25 per cent, and at BMO it’s more than 32 per cent, according to their latest regulatory filings.

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Health Canada proposes restrictions on marketing food and beverages to children

Health Canada’s new policy update proposes an approach to restricting the advertising of food and beverages to children, starting with advertising on television and digital media. This approach prioritizes media where children spend much of their time and where they are highly exposed to food advertising, including ads that air during a children’s program or on a children’s website.

To inform this work, Health Canada has been monitoring the nature and extent of advertising of food and beverages to children in Canada. The data demonstrates that television continues to be a large source of exposure to food advertising. Most children report seeing ads for fast food, snacks, sugary drinks, desserts/treats, and sugary cereals at least once a week.

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Ontario industrial, commercial, institutional construction sector (ICI) will grow to peak in 2028

BuildForce Canada forecasts Ontario’s ICI construction sector will continue to grow towards a peak in 2028, putting pressure on already tight recruiting conditions in the province.

Ontario’s largest market, the Greater Toronto Area, will be supported by a series of large-scale projects that bring non-residential employment to a max in 2027, says BuildForce. Meanwhile, the GTA’s residential sector is expected to emerge from a short contraction by 2024. Overall construction employment in the GTA should grow by 27,200 workers (16 per cent) over 2022 levels by 2032.

The forecasts are found in the 2023–2032 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward report for Ontario, released today.

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Brock awarded funding for research on youth and social media, and biases in health care

Renata Dividino and her colleagues are concerned about how social media algorithmic bias is shaping young people’s engagements with political and social issues.

In less than a generation, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others have evolved to become “platforms of fake news, disinformation and propaganda that empower disruptive, divisive voices and conspiracies,” says the Brock University Assistant Professor of Computer Science.

Supported by the federal government’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF), announced April 25 by Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne and Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos, Dividino and her research team aim to help young Canadians develop ‘digital citizenship’ skills on social media.

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Niagara College Broadcasting Professor Peter VandenBerg receives two awards of excellence

A respected professor from Niagara College’s School of Media has achieved national and global recognition for his dedication to student success both in and outside of the classroom.

Peter VandenBerg – affectionately known to students, colleagues and friends as “Dutch” – received two prestigious 2023 Awards of Excellence this week – a gold Leadership Excellence Award for Faculty from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and an Outstanding Educator Award at the silver level from the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics (WFCP). Both awards were presented at World Congress, a global postsecondary leadership event co-hosted by CICan and WFCP from April 23 to 25 in Montreal.

VandenBerg, who is Program Coordinator of NC’s Broadcasting – Radio, Television and Film (BRTF) program, noted he was humbled and honoured to be recognized for his work.

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Independent bookstores ‘have deeper meaning in community’

Saturday, April 29 marks Independent Bookstore Day in Canada.

“The things that (independent bookstores) sell have a kind of a deeper meaning in the community and we’re supporting the artists and writers who live (in the community),” said Jessica Walker, vice-chair of the board of directors for the Canadian Independent Bookstore Association. “Our bookstores are kind of information hubs. And so being an independent bookstore, we all do things incredibly differently.”

Walker points out Amazon started as a bookstore, and the giant it has grown into is one of the biggest threats to the industry.

“Bookstores were really one of the industries that was threatened by the kind of big box and online shopping experience,” she said. “So (Independent Bookstore Day) is a way to raise awareness of what independent bookstores do contribute to the literary and artistic community in the country. It’s bigger than just kind of the retail bookselling part of it.”

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Developer behind 77-storey condo tower says foreign investors ‘looking for something spectacular’ in Niagara Falls

Pawel Fugiel says he envisions the future as the developer behind a 77-storey condominium tower proposed for Niagara Falls.

“This city will change massively. We need to bring something spectacular,” said the president and chief executive officer of Fugiel International Group.

Its official plan and zoning bylaw amendment applications were approved by city council last week, thereby permitting the 962-unit building.

Fugiel is looking to invest $1.6 billion during the next decade to build 7,000 residential-condo units through several developments in Niagara Falls.

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Focus on Finance & Economy

How will Canada meet housing targets when there’s a construction slowdown?

Canada faces a construction conundrum.

For housing to be affordable for Canadians, the industry needs to build more homes in the near future. Ontario projects 1.5 million new homes will be needed in the province over the next decade, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) anticipates over 22 million housing units will be needed by 2030 “to help achieve housing affordability for everyone living in Canada.”

The problem?

Rising interest rates, a skilled-labour shortage and what many in the industry call red tape at the municipal level have contributed to a stagnating construction industry over the last number of months.

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Canadian investors reduce exposure to foreign securities for third month running

Foreign investment in Canadian securities totalled $4.6 billion in February, led by acquisitions of corporate bonds. Meanwhile, Canadian investors reduced their exposure to foreign securities by $1.6 billion, a third consecutive month of divestment. As a result, international transactions in securities generated a net inflow of funds of $6.2 billion in the Canadian economy in the month.

Non-resident investors bought $10.9 billion of private corporate bonds in February, the largest investment since July 2022. The activity in February 2023 was led by new issuances of US dollar denominated bonds abroad by financial corporations.

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Did you know?

Canada has more donut shops per capita than any other country in the world. 

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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