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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 5, 2023

Canadian international trade surplus narrows as total exports fall, Ontario strengthens tenant protections, adds more adjudicators, and more.

In this edition:

Canadian international trade surplus narrows as total exports fall

Following strong increases in January, Canadian merchandise exports and imports decreased in February. Exports were down 2.4%, while imports decreased 1.3%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the world narrowed from $1.2 billion in January to $422 million in February. The February surplus is close to the typical bounds for monthly revisions to imports and exports.

The “International trade monthly interactive dashboard” offers the most recent results of Canada’s international trade in an interactive format.

Click here to read more.

Ontario strengthens tenant protections, adds more adjudicators

Ontario is increasing the number of adjudicators and staff at the Landlord and Tenant Board to speed up decision timeframes, as well as strengthening a broad range of tenant protections. The Province will invest $6.5 million to appoint an additional 40 adjudicators and hire five staff to improve service standards.

Ontario is also proposing changes that would enhance tenants’ rights to install air conditioning in their units and to strengthen protections against evictions due to renovations, demolitions and conversions, as well as those for landlord’s own use.

Click here to read more.

West Lincoln approves 6.5% levy increase

Property taxes are going up in West Lincoln, but by an amount that’s less than what was originally proposed.

Residents will see a 6.5 per cent increase, which is down from the previous figure suggested at the Feb. 21 council meeting, which had been a rate of 7.78 per cent.

For an average house, assessed at $386,000, that means residents will pay roughly $291 yearly, or $24.25 per month, more in property taxes this year.

Click here to read more.

YourTV will broadcast GNCC Minister O’Regan event on Friday and Monday

The GNCC’s Spotlight event with federal Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan will be broadcast on YourTV at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 7, and 6 p.m. on Monday, April 10.

Minister O’Regan delivered remarks and answered audience questions on a range of topics including Budget 2023, temporary foreign workers, closing the wage gap, and addressing the labour shortage.

Click here for more.

Queen’s Park raises eligibility cap for energy bill support

Ontario is updating the eligibility for the Energy Affordability Program which provides free home-efficiency upgrades for Ontarians who are looking for support with their energy bills. To ensure families have access to these critical supports and help keep costs down, the income eligibility threshold is being raised by $11,715 for a four-person household, and by $8,285 for a couple.

The Energy Affordability Program offers energy saving measures that can help participating households manage their energy use and lower electricity costs by up to $750 per year depending on eligibility, at no cost to the customer.

Click here to read more.

Niagara College launches vision and action plan for equity, diversity and inclusion

Niagara College and its students are proud to launch an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Blueprint, reflecting a shared commitment and a clear plan to support and enhance EDI initiatives where all members of our community are engaged, valued, and supported.

A reflection of the voices of the College community, the EDI Blueprint was born from tremendous collaboration between NC and the Niagara College Student Administrative Council (NCSAC).

Click here to read more.

Innovate Niagara seeks 120 local businesses to receive seed funding

Applications remain open for Innovate Niagara’s i.d.e.a. Fund, a program that fosters inclusion, diversity, environment and acceleration while contributing to a green recovery.

The program will provide specialized industry expertise to develop growth plans and related strategies in the areas such as talent attraction, raising follow-on investment, product development and quantification of product benefits/market value propositions, commercialization of intellectual property, and market diversification. Up to a maximum of $30,000 in matching seed funding will be distributed to select innovative businesses in various sectors.

Click here to read more and apply.

Rogers takeover of Shaw finalized, deal now official

The head of Rogers Communications Inc. pledged to lower costs for customers and brushed aside competition concerns after the company closed its $26-billion purchase of Shaw Communications Inc. on Monday.

The deal, which was first announced in March 2021, cleared its final regulatory hurdle last week after Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne agreed to the transfer of Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile’s wireless licences to Quebecor Inc.’s Videotron.

Click here to read more.

Prompt payment toolkit aims to help contractors get paid on time

A new Ontario-wide campaign co-ordinated by the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA) aims to raise awareness about prompt payment and adjudication and provides a guide to help contractors get paid on time.

The Prompt Payment and Adjudication Toolkit, an online resource centre, was launched recently.

The toolkit features downloadable documents with information for owners, contractors and subcontractors. Prompt Payment Adjudication 101 provides an overview of the act in layman’s terms and there is also information about holdbacks and proper invoicing.

Click here to read more.

Minister Ng to visit Niagara

The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, will visit small businesses and stakeholders in the Niagara region tomorrow to highlight federal budget investments.

Minister Ng will tour Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery and Ramaker’s Dutch Imports, followed by a small business walk on St. Paul and James streets in St. Catharines, visiting Adam’s Flora, Beechwood Doughnuts, and Wandering Spirits.

Click here to read more.

Cheekbone Beauty celebrates new partnership with Sephora

Niagara-based Cheekbone Beauty, the very first Indigenous-owned and founded cosmetics company, has announced a new partnership with Sephora Canada, a celebration of diversity in the beauty industry.

This partnership is not only a huge milestone for Cheekbone, but also for the Indigenous community, whose voices are so often overlooked in the beauty industry.

We are so incredibly excited to see our brand and message of sustainability, authentic representation and Indigenous education expand to Sephora,” said Cheekbone Beauty CEO and founder Jenn Harper.

Focus on Climate

Royal Bank of Canada Creates Climate Action Institute

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) is expanding its Economics and Thought Leadership group to create a dedicated approach to climate policy research and action across key sectors of the economy.

The RBC Climate Action Institute will bring together economists, policy analysts and business strategists to help research and advance ideas that can contribute to Canada’s climate progress.

Click here to read more.

Climate and Construction: HVAC and AI are game-changers for offices of the future

The interior comfort of commercial spaces has moved beyond just a heat or cool situation. The quality of air and the regulation of interior environments has now become a health and safety issue. Meanwhile, decarbonization of buildings is becoming a government priority.

How can building owners and their operations managers cope with these rapid changes while simultaneously moderating or even reducing their consumption of energy and carbon emissions? It sounds complicated.

But is it?

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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