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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: December 6, 2022

FedDev Ontario invests $3 million in Smithville manufacturer, residential sector building permits cool off for second month, and more.

In this edition:

FedDev Ontario invests $3 million in Smithville manufacturer

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of $3 million for Niagara Pallet and Recyclers Ltd. (Niagara Pallet) to adopt new technologies that will allow the company to respond to wood pallet shortages across Canada and support the transition to a more sustainable and circular economy. This investment will also create 30 skilled jobs across the Niagara Region.

Located in Smithville, Niagara Pallet is a rural, family-run company that manufactures and repairs wood-related shipping materials, including wood pallets, for suppliers and distribution centres. With this investment, through the Jobs and Growth Fund (JGF), the company will implement new, first-in-Canada, custom automated systems to measure, sort and cut used wood pallets—allowing them to process more recycled pallets and identify a higher proportion for repair.

Click here to read more.

Residential sector building permits cool off for second month

The value of residential permits declined 6.4% to $6.5 billion nationally in October. Similarly, the number of new residential units decreased 4.6%, mainly due to single-family dwellings (-9.3%) which fell for the fifth consecutive month.

The value of building permits in the multi-family component decreased 6.9%, with Ontario posting its second consecutive decline after reaching its peak in August.

The total permit value of the non-residential sector increased 9.5% to $3.5 billion in October.

Construction intentions in the commercial component sharply increased by 18.0% in October. Ontario posted the largest gain, with multiple projects valuing over $20 million, while in September, one permit was reported above this level.

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Canada’s trade surplus doubles in October

In October, Canada’s merchandise exports rose 1.5%, while imports increased 0.6%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade surplus with the world widened from $607 million in September to $1.2 billion in October.

A large proportion of import and export transactions are completed in US dollars and must be converted to Canadian dollars to compile monthly trade statistics. When the Canadian dollar depreciates against the US dollar, converted monthly trade values in Canadian dollars are higher.

Total exports rose 1.5% to $67.0 billion in October. Gains were observed in 8 of the 11 product sections. In real (or volume) terms, total exports edged up 0.1% in October, while export prices rose for the first time in five months.

Exports of consumer goods (+9.7%) were the largest contributor to the overall increase in exports in October. Pharmaceutical products (+20.7%) contributed the most to the gain, led by higher exports of medicinal products to the United States. After falling 36.7% from June to September, exports of miscellaneous goods and supplies rebounded in October (+ 30.7%), mainly on higher exports of gold bars and coins to the United States.

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Towns of Lincoln and Fort Erie comment on Bill 23

The Town of Lincoln and Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop (PDF link) today issued statements on how Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022, will affect their communities.

“Changes to the Development Charges Act and the Planning Act will inevitably result in loss of revenues that will need to be recovered,” said Lincoln CAO Mike Kirkopoulos, “and will very likely result in construction delays to support growth and pay for community amenities. It is my hope that if the Provincial changes result in municipalities forgoing revenue that they might otherwise receive, there should be a compensatory investment in municipal projects to make them whole.”

In Fort Erie alone, about 2,800 housing units have been approved or draft approved. This represents the equivalent an over 8 year supply of housing at the current rate of issuance of building permits,” commented Mayor Redekop. “re the Premier and Minister [of Municipal Affairs and Housing] not aware that one-third of their housing target has already been met if the government simply required developers to build what has already been approved?”

Mayor Redekop joined Kirkopoulos in raising concerns over changes to the Development Charges Act, adding that “the elimination or reduction of development charges will significantly benefit developers with no guarantee that it will result in reduced housing prices. It will also shift the financial burden of growth from new development to existing residents/taxpayers.

As a result of Council direction, the Town of Lincoln is preparing a letter to the Provincial government to be sent in December 2022, expressing concerns specific to how Bill 23 affects the Lincoln community. Mayor Redekop has personally corresponded with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing about the Town of Fort Erie’s concerns and what they perceive to be unintended consequences of Bill 23.

St. Catharines launches filmSTC to promote city as destination for film, TV, and streaming industries

The launch of the filmSTC campaign through a dedicated website,, comes as St. Catharines gains interest as a choice filming location. According to Ontario Creates, the film and TV industry contributed a record-breaking $2.88 billion to the province’s economy in 2021, creating 48,135 high-value full-time equivalent direct and spin-off jobs. showcases the diverse amenities that make St. Catharines the picture-perfect setting for any film production. Residents and property owners can also use the website to find out how to register to promote their homes, buildings and properties as an ideal backdrop for upcoming film opportunities.

The City received more than 40 inquiries for filming in 2021.

To learn more about filming opportunities and support available in St. Catharines, how you can register your property, or how you can support the industry visit

Click here to read more.

Port Colborne bistro receives $10,000 through My Main Street

Port Colborne-based Bambi’s Bistro has received a non-repayable contribution of $10,000 through the My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program.

This contribution will allow the business to support findings from the market research provided by My Main Street to drive economic growth and attract new customers to the business and the entire Port Colborne community.

Bambi’s Bistro is an eclectically decorated café, serving fresh home-made food. Owner Jacquie Vezeau is happy she chose Main Street as home for her bistro, as this area of Port Colborne boasts an impressive array of restaurants with several more opening in the next few months. Vezeau was even happier after receiving the results of her custom market report that indicated the average spend on food from restaurants in her area is $3,080, or 12 percent higher than the rest of Port Colborne, with a whopping $813 being spent at bakeries.

Click here to read more.

Government quickly delivered COVID-19 benefits to Canadians, but post-payment verification work is falling short: AG

A report from Auditor General Karen Hogan tabled today in the House of Commons concludes that the Canada Revenue Agency and Employment and Social Development Canada effectively delivered COVID‑19 emergency programs to provide relief to individuals and employers affected by the pandemic and help the economy rebound. However, the agency and department have not followed through on the need to undertake comprehensive post-payment verification work.

The audit found that the Canada Revenue Agency and Employment and Social Development Canada’s post-payment verification plans did not include verifying payments made to all identified recipients at risk of being ineligible for COVID‑19 benefit programs. As the COVID‑19 pandemic evolved, the department and agency delayed their plans for post‑payment verifications. This means that the government may be running out of time to identify and recover amounts owing because of legislated time frames to verify recipients’ eligibility.

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PCB levels remain high at former GM property in St. Catharines

The level of PCBs around the former GM property in St. Catharines remains high, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks remarked in an update provided to St. Catharines City Council last night.

The ministry says testing done in the first half of 2022 shows that PCB levels in some locations around the property are still significantly higher than the Provincial Water Quality Objectives (PWQO).

Click here to read more.

Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade offers free webinar on Accessing International Markets

Are you a technology company looking to scale internationally? The Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade is hosting a webinar with key experts in Canada’s export ecosystem.

Key insights will be offered into:

  • International market entry strategies
  • Financing and insurance solutions
  • Export planning programs and resources
  • An Ontario tech company success story

Click here to register.

Focus on Finance and Economy

Costco CEO weighs in on the great recession debate

Costco (COST) has had an awesome year in a challenging economic climate. But even the CEO of Yahoo Finance’s Company of the Year is seeing a few storm clouds taking shape going into 2023.

“You know, a little bit,” longtime Costco CEO Craig Jelinek told Yahoo Finance (video above) when asked if he sees signs of a recession forming in the U.S. “Our jewelry business has slowed down. If you look at the really high-end television sets, they’ve slowed down. I think right now people are very, very value-conscious. They’re always value-conscious, but I think more so now than ever.”

Costco didn’t have a perfect sales record in November (though sales were still relatively impressive) as shoppers spent more cautiously amid news of increasing layoffs and stubbornly high inflation.

Click here to read more.

Consumer debt tops $2.36 trillion in third quarter, up 7.3% from last year

Equifax Canada says an increase in borrowers helped push total consumer debt to $2.36 trillion in the third quarter for a 7.3 per cent rise from last year, even as mortgage volumes decline.

It says average non-mortgage debt rose to $21,183 for the highest level since the second quarter of 2020, with early signs of strain starting to show in auto loans and credit cards.

Overall non-mortgage debt came in at $599.9 billion for a 5.3 per cent climb from last year, and up 1.9 per cent from the third quarter of 2019, as the number of borrowers rose by 3.1 per cent.

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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