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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: December 13, 2022

$11.3 million investment in Thorold’s CHAR Technologies, tourism industry needs comprehensive growth strategy to ensure recovery, and more.

In this edition:

$11.3 million investment to expand CHAR Technologies’ facility in Thorold

The governments of Ontario and Canada are investing more than $11.3 million to expand CHAR Technologies’ facility in Thorold to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and biocarbon – creating the largest facility of its kind in Canada, and the only RNG facility in the country to exclusively use woody biomass. Expanding CHAR’s Thorold facility will create close to 40 new direct and indirect jobs, as well as 20 construction jobs.

“This new facility will produce clean alternative fuels and increase sustainability in the forest sector through new and emerging uses of renewable forest biomass,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

CHAR Technologies has developed new technology to produce clean energy from woody biomass, including unused tree parts and mill by-products like bark, shavings and sawdust. Each year, the new facility will produce 10,000 tonnes of biocarbon as a coal fuel alternative for Ontario’s heavy industries, and enough renewable natural gas to heat over 5,500 homes.

Click here for more details.

Ontario’s tourism industry needs comprehensive growth strategy to ensure full recovery

While domestic and inbound tourism improved in the latter half of 2022, the industry is not expected to fully recover from the pandemic until 2025 – a situation that looks grimmer as a recession approaches, cost of living goes up, and consumer spending behaviour shifts. Ontario’s tourism sector is calling for a comprehensive strategy to address ongoing impacts of COVID-19 border closures, capacity restrictions, and structural issues.

In need of a path forward, the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released The State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, offering a blueprint to support the industry’s recovery and growth.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Focus workforce development strategies on making the case for careers in the tourism industry, reforming immigration to help alleviate regional and sector disparities and optimizing work placement opportunities for post-secondary students.
  • Tap into underexplored markets from Indigenous and Francophone tourism sectors and emerging industries, such as cannabis.
  • Eliminate barriers to growth by revisiting taxes for the industry, such as the annual basic beer tax increase, federal excise taxes and municipal accommodation taxes.
  • Address major infrastructure gaps from public transportation and roads to housing and broadband.

Click here for more details.

Canada expands pilot to help more skilled refugees build their careers in Canada, giving employers access to a new pool of talent

The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced today new funding for partner organizations to help expand Canada’s Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) to more skilled refugees. Over the next few years, Canada is aiming to work with employers and communities across the country to expand the pilot and welcome 2,000 skilled refugees to fill specific labour shortages in high-demand sectors, such as health care, skilled trades and information technology.

Through the EMPP, partner organizations help skilled refugees overseas connect with employers who need to fill critical labour shortages in occupations like nurse aides and personal support workers, chefs and cooks, and skilled tradespeople. Once candidates receive a job offer, they can apply to immigrate to Canada through existing economic programs, using EMPP measures that remove barriers refugees may experience due to their displacement.

Click here for more details.

New Brock program to give boost to early-stage entrepreneurs

A new Brock University program will put budding business ideas to the test, with the goal of setting new entrepreneurs up for success.

Welcoming its first cohort in January, NAVIGATE is designed to support students – as well as alumni and community members – who are looking to explore and develop their business ideas.

Run by the Brock LINC, the program is built around the ‘lean start-up’ methodology, which focuses on testing and iterating a business idea through extensive customer feedback.

“The NAVIGATE program is an evolution of the entrepreneurship programs we’ve traditionally offered at Brock,” says Cassie Conte, Program Manager at the Brock LINC, the University’s hub for creativity, innovation, research and entrepreneurship. “This is less about the steps to starting a small business and more about how to set up the right foundation for your business idea to succeed.”

Click here for more details.

The Niagara College Teaching Distillery rolls out first student-crafted whisky

After three years of aging, Spirits 101 Single Malt Whisky is now among the Teaching Distillery’s growing list of small batch spirits crafted by students from the College’s trailblazing Artisan Distilling program.

“Following the success of our School Spirits products over the past three years, we are very excited to release the highly anticipated first whisky from Canada’s first Teaching Distillery,” said Steve Gill, General Manager of NC’s Learning Enterprises. “Each spirit from our Teaching Distillery gives the public a taste of what Canada’s future leaders in the growing craft distilling industry are producing.”

Click here for more details.

City of St. Catharines supports IceDogs efforts to host the Memorial Cup

City Council agreed to waive a number of fees for the 2024 bid to bring the 10-day junior hockey championship to the city.

IceDogs Owner Darren DeDobbelaer says the support will not cost the city anything: “If we guarantee $2-million but only bring in $1.8-million then the IceDogs will be on the hook for the extra $200-thousand shortfall. We are not looking to the city for this whatsoever we are just looking for free rent, free ice for those 10 days.”

The IceDogs have already filed their intent to bid with the Ontario Hockey League, but a full bid proposal has to be submitted by the end of January. Kingston and Sault Ste. Marie have also signalled that they will be bidding for the tournament.

Click here for more details.


Focus on Finance and Economy

Bank of Canada says monetary policy is working, sticky inflation a risk

The Bank of Canada’s rapid-fire rate hikes are starting to slow the economy, its governor said on Monday, and while the bank wants to avoid a recession, there is a risk sticky inflation will require “much higher” rates.

Click here to read more.

Storm only just beginning in the real estate investment market and two other trouble spots

A portfolio manager’s job is to always flush out risks and factor them into the investment decision-making process, though year-end is naturally a time to look back and ahead.

Looking at things from a risk-per-unit-of-return basis has served us very well in markets such as the current one. With that in mind, here are three areas you may want to keep a very close eye on along with what we think are some much better alternatives.

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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