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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 28, 2023

In this edition:

Economy ticked upward in February, but may have shrunk in March

Real gross domestic product (GDP) edged up 0.1% in February, following a 0.6% increase in January. Both services-producing industries and goods-producing industries edged up 0.1%. Overall, 12 of 20 subsectors increased.

The public sector (educational services, health care and social assistance, and public administration combined) expanded 0.2% in February, up for the thirteenth consecutive month, with increases in all three subsectors. The professional, scientific, and technical services sector also posted gains, rising 0.6% in February.

Wholesale trade contracted 1.3% in February, partially offsetting the large January gain, with five of nine subsectors decreasing in the month, while retail trade retreated 0.5% in February, recording its first decline in three months.

Advance information indicates that real GDP edged down 0.1% in March. Decreases in retail and wholesale trade sectors, as well as in the mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) subsector were partially offset by increases in the public sector, in professional, scientific and technical services, and in administrative and support, waste management and remediation services.

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Ontario hospital nurses awarded additional pay after Bill 124 struck down

Ontario hospital nurses should get retroactive pay for three years during which they were subject to a wage restraint law that has since been ruled unconstitutional, arbitrators have ruled.

The 2019 law, known as Bill 124, capped wage increases for the nurses and other public sector workers at one per cent a year for three years.

It was ruled unconstitutional in November and though the government is appealing that, the Ontario Nurses’ Association sought retroactive pay through an arbitrator, since the contracts were subject to be reopened if Bill 124 was repealed or declared invalid.

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Canadian foreign investments grow

Canada’s net direct investment position with the rest of the world reached $725.7 billion at the end of 2022, up $128.2 billion from 2021, as growth of Canadian direct investment abroad continued to outpace growth of foreign direct investment in Canada.

The stock of Canadian direct investment abroad increased 11.2% (+$199.8 billion) to $1,989.6 billion at the end of 2022, following valuation gains from a weaker Canadian dollar, notably against the US dollar.

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Vendors wanted for family-friendly event in Port Colborne

The Main Street BIA is planning a party at Lock 8 Gateway Park and are looking for food and market vendors who would like to come.

“So far, we have had an overwhelming response for vendors which is exciting. We are hoping for more handmade makers to add to the line up as well,” BIA member Carey Benvenuti said.

Mainstreet BIA Day in the Park will be held at Lock 8 Gateway Park on June 10 from noon until 4 p.m.
For more information about the event, or to apply as a vendor send an email to or call 289-968-0043.

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It’s past time to rebuild our health human resources: Niagara Health CEO

We don’t have enough physicians to continue operating as we always have.

Some people claim COVID-19 created this problem. I disagree. The pandemic exposed, and accelerated, challenges our industry has faced for years, even decades. Fewer health-care workers helping more and more people. Increased wait times. Burnout.

Because of these challenges, and the unique needs of Niagara’s growing and aging population, we are driving transformational change at Niagara Health, change that will increase our capacity, enhance patient care and encourage more people to pursue careers in health care in our community.

When it comes to health human resources, the ‘do nothing and hope for the best’ approach simply won’t work. We’ve made tough decisions to cope with staffing shortages, including temporarily closing the Port Colborne and Fort Erie urgent care centres. Most recently, an ongoing anesthesiologist shortage caused a wind-down of after-hours emergency surgeries at Welland hospital. For the past few summers, we’ve asked physicians to forgo vacations, work overtime and stretch themselves thin. We can’t keep doing that. We won’t.

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National Day of Mourning for Fallen Workers observed

The National Day of Mourning is not only a day to remember and honour those lives lost or injured due to a workplace tragedy, but also a day to collectively renew our commitment to improve health and safety in the workplace and prevent further injuries, illnesses and deaths.

Traditionally on April 28th the Canadian flag has flown at half-mast on Parliament Hill and on all federal government buildings. Employers and workers have observed Day of Mourning in a variety of ways over the years.

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Focus on Technology

A rise in self-service technologies may cause a decline in our sense of community

Automation, once hidden behind closed doors in factories, is increasingly moving into public view. Customers can pay for groceries or clothing at a self-checkout machine, order fast food from a touchscreen kiosk or even pickup coffee from a “robo-café.”

These technologies, which substitute human contact for robot-based interactions, are examples of self-service technologies — innovative public-facing automation which “enable customers to perform entire services on their own without direct assistance from employees.”

While self-service technologies have the potential to improve efficiency, reduce costs and improve user experience, these technologies raise complex economic and political questions.

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Why do electronics manufacturers need to optimize quality control?

Quality control is a critical step in any manufacturing line. Mistakes or inefficiencies at this stage can lead to considerable losses, delays and waste, so optimizing it as much as possible is essential. Electronics manufacturers face more pressure to optimize their quality control than most.

The electronics industry’s rapid growth is one of the most significant reasons quality control is crucial in this sector. There are almost 4,000 consumer electronics manufacturers alone as of early 2023, which has steadily grown since 2020. As the industry becomes increasingly crowded, product quality will become a more important differentiator between competitors.

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Should we automate the CEO?

Last August, NetDragon Websoft — a Hong Kong-based online gaming firm with $2.1B in annual revenue — appointed a CEO to helm its flagship subsidiary.

The new chief, Tang Yu, was responsible for all of the typical duties of a company figurehead: reviewing high-level analytics, making leadership decisions, assessing risks, and fostering an efficient workplace. 

She worked 24/7, didn’t sleep, and was compensated $0 per year.

But there was a catch: Yu wasn’t a human. She was a virtual robot powered by artificial intelligence.

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Did you know?

The first oil company in North America was founded just southeast of Sarnia in 1854.

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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