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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: August 22, 2023

Niagara unemployment rate rises as 2,200 workers leave local labour force, blockbuster report bolsters effort to uncork wine industry, and more.

In this edition:

  • Queen’s Park will appoint facilitator for Niagara by September 11
  • Brock research discovers new, inexpensive material for solar panels
  • Four in five Canadian workers commuting to work as return to office continues
  • Managers embrace AI, workers feel mixed depending on generation and profession
  • Toronto equity forecasts reduced as downside risks lurk
  • Reading Recommendations: Finance & Economy

Queen’s Park will appoint facilitator for Niagara by September 11

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark today announced at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference that the province intends to appoint regional facilitators in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Waterloo, York and Simcoe County by September 11, 2023. These facilitators will be tasked with assessing local governance structures in these communities to ensure they are prepared to support future growth and meet the needs of their residents, particularly when it comes to building homes and housing-enabling infrastructure.

“Our government remains intently focused on helping Ontarians find the homes they need and deserve,” said Minister Clark. “We are working closely with our municipal partners to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their housing targets and will keep fighting to reach our goal of 1.5 million homes by 203

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Brock research discovers new, inexpensive material for solar panels

Silicon has been the dominant material used in solar panels for several decades. Now, new Brock research is challenging conventional technology by introducing a highly efficient solar absorber that is significantly less expensive.

Jianbo Gao, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Affiliated Professor in the Yousef Haj-Ahmad Department of Engineering, is leading the novel research in collaboration with international partners from Brown University, Clemson University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the U.S.

The research proposes that perovskite nanocrystalline is a less expensive alternative to silicon for use in photovoltaics, a method of converting solar radiation into electricity.

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Four in five Canadian workers commuting to work as return to office continues

In May 2023, 15.9 million Canadians or four in five workers were commuting to a location outside their home for work, up from both 2021 (+3.3 million) and 2016 (+457,000). This national-level increase in the number of commuters follows a notable drop recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the 2021 Census of Population, the number of commuters was 2.8 million lower in May 2021 than in May 2016. The recent rise in commuting was driven in part by a decline in the proportion of employed Canadians working from home, as well as historically high population growth and marked gains in total employment.

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Managers embrace AI, workers feel mixed depending on generation and profession, research shows

The use of generative AI has workers feeling a mixture of emotions about their skills and career prospects, research from Robert Half shows.

According to a survey of over 1,140 workers in Canada, 27 per cent think generative AI will have a positive impact on their career, compared to 17 per cent who worry it could make their skills obsolete. More than three in 10 respondents (32 per cent) feel generative AI will have no impact on their job prospects, and a quarter are unsure.

Gen Zers (46 per cent) and millennials (36 per cent) are more optimistic about generative AI than Gen Xers (20 per cent) and baby boomers (16 per cent).

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Toronto equity forecasts reduced as downside risks lurk

Canada’s commodity-linked main stock index is expected to rise less than previously expected over coming months and could see a correction as investors grapple with a slowdown in China and higher borrowing costs, a Reuters poll found.

The median prediction of 24 portfolio managers and strategists in the August 9-21 poll was for the S&P/TSX Composite Index to advance 3.5% to 20,479 by year-end, compared with 21,000 expected in a previous poll in May.

It was then expected to climb to 21,800 by end-2024, stopping short of the record closing high it set in March last year of 22,087.22.

Did you know?

Canada has 9% of the world’s forests.

Focus on Finance & Economy

Housing is a direct federal responsibility, contrary to what Trudeau said. Here’s how his government can do better

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated that “housing isn’t a primary federal responsibility” at a funding announcement in Hamilton, Ont. on July 31.

This statement is neither accurate nor politically smart, with recent polls suggesting that 70 per cent of Canadians think the Liberal government isn’t adequately addressing the high and growing cost of housing.

While the word “housing” isn’t mentioned in the 1867 Constitution Act or 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms as a federal, provincial or municipal responsibility, the rights to “life, liberty and security of the person” as well as “equal protection” in the Charter can’t be achieved without adequate housing.

The right to housing — which Canada has promised to enforce in numerous international covenants — was enshrined in Canadian law by the current government in 2019.

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Canadian investment in foreign securities at highest level since November 2022

Canadian investment in foreign securities totalled $14.4 billion in June, the largest amount since November 2022. The activity in June 2023 targeted US government bonds and, to a lesser extent, non-US foreign bonds. Overall, Canadian investors increased their holdings of foreign securities by $14.6 billion in the second quarter, after reducing them by $23.4 billion in the first quarter.

In June, Canadian investors increased their exposure to US government bonds by $8.9 billion, after two months of divestment. US long-term interest rates were up in June. At the same time, Canadian investment in non-US foreign bonds, mainly bonds of foreign governments and international organizations, reached $4.6 billion. In contrast, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign equities by $1.2 billion in June, nearly all of which were non-US foreign shares.

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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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