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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: August 2, 2023

Minister of Labour requests inquiry into possibility of negotiated settlement in BC strike, Niagara Region seeks applicants for committees, and more.

In this edition:

  • Industry associations call for more time to repay CEBA loans
  • Canada and Ontario announce $7.5 million investment in agri-food businesses
  • Canadian businesses performed majority of R&D since 2016: Statistics Canada
  • Ontario spending $7.2bn less than planned by end of 2022-3: FAO
  • Canada announces invitations for Express Entry newcomers with trades experience
  • Early 2023 workforce stats for women look strong
  • Fasken releases ‘Doing Business in Canada 2023’ report: Agribusiness
  • Sherri-Marie Millar named City of Welland interim CAO
  • Rehab of St. Catharines train station will see return of covered commuter platform
  • Reading Recommendations: Climate

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Industry associations call for more time to repay CEBA loans

On July 24, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, along with over 280 industry associations including the GNCC, sent an open letter addressed to Minister Freeland, urging the government to extend the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline.

Despite their best efforts, high interest rates, inflation and increased labour costs are making it difficult for small-and-medium size businesses to keep their heads above water, let alone make any dent in the debt many had to take on to survive pandemic restrictions. A recent analysis of over 15,000 Canadian businesses found that inflation, input costs, and interest/debt costs are the three most acute obstacles faced by business (at 56%, 40% and 38%, respectively), and the smaller the firm, the more constrained they are by debt.

Click here to read more.

Governments of Canada and Ontario announce $7.5 million investment in agri-food businesses

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $7.5 million through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) to help eligible agri-food businesses and contributors enhance their biosecurity measures to support animal and plant health, and food safety.

The Biosecurity Enhancement Initiative (BEI) is a new, cost-share offering that will help farmers, food processors, and other essential farm-supporting agri-food businesses protect their operations against disease, enhance operational resilience and heighten public trust in the food supply system.

Click here to read more.

Canadian businesses performed majority of R&D since 2016: Statistics Canada

Research and development (R&D) plays a vital role in fostering innovation and technological advancement, driving economic growth and Canadian competitiveness in a global economy. R&D can lead to the development of new or improved products and processes that enhance our quality of life in areas such as healthcare and technology.

According to the most recent release of the Gross domestic expenditures on R&D, Canada’s business sector has consistently performed over half of the R&D activities since 2016.

Total in-house R&D expenditures by the Canadian business sector have shown a consistent upward trend over a five-year period, rising from $18.7 billion in 2016 to $27.3 billion in 2021. This represents a compounded annual growth rate of approximately 7.9%.

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Ontario spending $7.2bn less than planned by end of 2022-3: FAO

Although the Province increased its 2022-23 spending plan by $1,294 million to $194.3 billion, by the end of 2022-23, actual unaudited spending was only $187.1 billion. Overall, this was $7.2 billion (3.7 per cent) less than planned. The $7.2 billion in below-planned spending (or net savings) will be used to reduce both the budget deficit and Ontario’s net debt, the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) reported today.

All sectors spent less than planned, led by ‘other programs’ (-$2,407 million, 6.4 per cent), health (‑$1,693 million, 2.2 per cent), interest on debt (-$452 million, 3.5 per cent), postsecondary education (‑$277 million, 4.0 per cent), children’s and social services (-$275 million, 1.5 per cent), justice (-$163 million, 2.7 per cent) and education (-$141 million, 0.4 per cent).

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Canada announces invitations for Express Entry newcomers with experience in the trades

Canada’s Express Entry system is reportedly tailored to provide a more streamlined and efficient pathway for individuals with expertise in critical fields. By prioritizing the invitation of skilled newcomers with experience in the trades, Canada aims to meet the increasing demand for talent and fill key positions that contribute to the nation’s economic growth and advancement.

On May 31, Sean Fraser, the previous Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced changes to Express Entry through category-based selection. These changes help address labour shortages that support an identified economic goal by inviting candidates with specific work experience or French language ability to apply for permanent residence.

Early 2023 workforce stats for women look strong

Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (LFS) data over the past few months appear to show significant numbers of women entering the national construction workforce.

BuildForce Canada’s analysis of the June 2023 LFS data reported the number of women in the construction labour force increased by over 25,000 compared to June 2022. The male labour force increased by 15,500 workers.

That follows the LFS for May which concluded the number of females employed in construction had increased over the past 12 months from 194,300 in May 2022 (12 per cent of total industry employment) to 221,900 (14 per cent of total industry employment) in May 2023.

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Sherri-Marie Millar named City of Welland interim Chief Administrative Officer

Sherri-Marie Millar, the City of Welland’s director of infrastructure services, has been named the interim CAO.

Millar has spent the last four years with the City, with prior municipal experiences with the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Fort Erie.

“The importance of filling this role, even on an acting basis, cannot be understated,” said Mayor Frank Campion. “As a municipality on the rise, we need someone at the helm, and we entrust Sherri-Marie with that responsibility and believe she will lead us to where we need to go.”

Click here to read more.

Rehab of St. Catharines train station will see return of covered commuter platform

St. Catharines’ century-old train station is on track for a rehabilitation that includes preserving its hipped roof, opening up walls and removing a 1980s addition.

The transformation will see the 1917 Grand Trunk Railway station become a contemporary Metrolinx commuter passenger hub as part of Niagara Region’s and the city’s efforts to welcome more GO Train service to Niagara.

The proposed changes, still in the early stages, were presented to and supported by the St. Catharines heritage advisory committee during its meeting last week.

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

Microsoft Office originally launched for the Apple Mac in 1989. A Windows version followed a year later.

Focus on Climate

Canada’s federal single-use plastics ban: What they got right and what they didn’t

There is little dispute these days over the need to regulate single-use plastics. But there is ample confusion around what plastics to address and how to do so.

In 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the intention to reach zero plastic waste in Canada by 2030, spurred on by a ban on some plastic items in 2022.

As the UN continues to develop its own global regulations, Canadian businesses and consumers are starting to feel the impacts of our single-use plastics ban, and some industries are finding it more challenging than others to adapt.

Click here to read more.

Climate change made July hotter for almost every human on earth

Human-caused global warming made July hotter for four out of five people on Earth, with more than 2 billion people feeling climate change-boosted warmth daily, according to a flash study.

More than 6.5 billion people, or 81% of the world’s population, sweated through at least one day where climate change had a significant effect on the average daily temperature, according to a new report issued Wednesday by Climate Central, a science nonprofit that has figured a way to calculate how much climate change has affected daily weather.

“We really are experiencing climate change just about everywhere,” said Climate Central Vice President for Science Andrew Pershing.

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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