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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: December 20, 2022

StatsCan reports retail sales up 1.4 per cent in October, expert says plastics ban will have ‘sizable effect’ on our ecosystems, and more.

In this edition:

Statistics Canada indicates that retail sales up 1.4 per cent at $62.0 billion in October

Retail sales increased 1.4 per cent to $62.0 billion in October, posting its largest increase in five months. Sales were up in 6 out of 11 subsectors, representing 84.4 per cent of retail trade. The increase was led by higher sales at gasoline stations (+6.8 per cent) and food and beverage stores (+2.2 per cent).

Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and motor vehicle and parts dealers—increased 0.9 per cent. In volume terms, retail sales were unchanged in October.

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Plastics ban will have ‘sizable effect’ on Canada’s ecosystems, expert says

Effective today, plastic straws, bags, cutlery, stir sticks and takeout containers are being phased out in Canada. The federal government’s regulation bans the manufacturing and import for sale of plastic items. It is phase 1 of a plan to eliminate plastic waste by 2030.

Under this timeline, businesses are allowed to sell plastic items, but will need to replace them with compostable or sustainable alternatives. The sale of these items will be prohibited on Dec. 23, 2023.

Miriam Diamond, a University of Toronto earth sciences professor, indicates that the legislative change will have a “sizable effect” on the environment. “Plastic garbage, 47 per cent of that, is mostly single-use plastic,” Diamond said. “So, what this ban will do, it’s intended to remove from the waste stream, about 30,000 tonnes of plastic, of which about 29,000 tonnes make their way into the environment.”

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Number of job vacancies down in the third quarter

Statistics Canada says the number of job vacancies fell in the third quarter after reaching a record high in the second quarter.

The agency says employers in Canada were actively seeking to fill 959,600 vacant positions in the third quarter, down 3.3 per cent from 992,200 in the April-to-June period.

However, job vacancies in the third quarter remained elevated compared with before the pandemic.

The job vacancy rate – which corresponds to the number of vacant positions as a proportion of total labour demand – was 5.4 per cent in the third quarter, down from 5.7 per cent in the second quarter, but up from 3.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Public invited to talk dollars and sense for Welland’s 2023 operating budget

The City of Welland’s Budget Review Committee (BRC) is underway for the deliberations of the 2023 operation, capital, and water and wastewater budgets.

Council provided staff directions for preparing the 2023 budget, which included, but were not limited to, such tasks as maintaining 2022 service levels while targeting a minimal impact on the tax rate after assessment and growth, preparing a capital budget and forecast for 2023-2032, and that all 10 years of the capital forecast be fully funded.

To engage the public, the City created a Your Budget Talks 2023 page on the City’s Engage Welland page for idea sharing, the opportunity to learn about the impacts of a municipal budget, and to view the timeline for various budget deliberations.

In addition to the online engagement, two public meetings are scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, 2023 (tax-supported and capital budgets), and Thursday, January 26, 2023 (water and wastewater operating and capital), both at 5 p.m.

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21 small businesses receive grant to accelerate their digital transformation

The small business community in Port Colborne is accelerating its digital transformation thanks to the support of Digital Main Street. The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) provides up to $2,500 to qualifying small businesses to help cover the cost of adopting digital tools and technologies.

“Near the end of the first quarter this year, the city received a $50,000 Digital Service Squad Grant to fund a part-time team member over two years,” said Gary Long, manager of strategic initiatives. “Our squad’s commitment to customer service excellence has once again paid off as 21 small businesses are the recipients of this latest round of grant funding.”

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Focus on Finance and Economy

Charitable donations in Ontario fall with economy

With the holidays approaching, communities across GTA are feeling the harsh reality of today’s economic climate. The rising cost of living and steep interest rate hikes following the enormous financial strain of the pandemic are affecting our ability to donate.

According to a survey conducted by Ignite Lab on behalf of Imagine Canada, just over half of Toronto residents say they will donate to a charity or non-profit this season – the lowest rate in a long time. And of those who do, two-fifths say they will give less. Only 14 per cent plan to do voluntary work.

At the same time, inflation is deeply damaging to personal finances, as more than one in ten Torontonians engage the services of a charity or non-profit organization. That rate was even higher among our youngest, with 18 per cent of those under 25 requiring such services across the country.

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Bank of Canada missed the mark on rising inflation, Tiff Macklem says, but a turnaround is near

Canadians have good reason to be upset with Tiff Macklem. Even Tiff Macklem says so.

At the start of the year, the Bank of Canada expected inflation would be close to 2 per cent by the end of 2022. It’s roughly 7 per cent.

“That’s a very big forecast error,” the central bank Governor said in a year-end interview with The Globe and Mail. “So, yes, we have some explaining to do.”

When the year began, the bank maintained a record-low policy interest rate of 0.25 per cent, and an explicit pledge to keep it there until the pandemic-battered Canadian economy had returned to full speed. It ends the year with a policy rate of 4.25 per cent, a 15-year high.

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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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