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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 13

In this edition:

  • Government of Ontario to legislate referendum requirement for carbon pricing
  • GNCC successfully lobbies for Municipal Development Corporation in St. Catharines
  • Minister was warned about possible negative impacts of lifting international student work limit
  • Government of Ontario will not appeal Bill 124 decision
  • Canadian Chamber “surprised and disappointed” at lack of standalone competition bill
  • Ontario projects $4.5B deficit in 2023–24, less than projected in 2023
  • Nominations open for 2024 Niagara Impact Awards
  • Lincoln to consider short-term rental licensing, seeks public input
  • Ontario licence plate renewals to be scrapped
  • Focus on Finance & Economy

Government of Ontario to legislate referendum requirement for carbon pricing programs

The Ontario government is introducing legislation that, if passed, would require the government to first obtain the consent of Ontario voters through a referendum before implementing a new provincial carbon tax, cap-and-trade system or other carbon pricing program.

“With the Bank of Canada’s high interest rates and the cost of living still so high, it’s never been more important to keep costs down for people and businesses,” said Premier Doug Ford. “I’ve always said, the carbon tax is the worst tax.”

This measure is part of upcoming legislation that will kick off the spring sitting of the legislature on February 20, 2024.

Click here to read more.

GNCC successfully lobbies for Municipal Development Corporation in St. Catharines

Yesterday evening, GNCC CEO Mishka Balsom made a delegation to St. Catharines City Council in support of the creation of a Municipal Development Corporation (MDC). An MDC is an arm’s-length corporation to manage the city’s real estate portfolio, fully transparent and accountable to City Council. It lets the City deal more easily and efficiently with developers and promotes the use of the City’s land for housing, industry, and commerce.

The GNCC is happy to report that Council approved this stage of MDC development and will move to the next. This is part of the agreement for the City receiving $25.7M in federal Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF) money, and HAF will fund the MDC for the first four years of its existence, after which the organization should be self-funding.

Click here to read more.

Photo credit: Collision Conf.

Allowing international students to work more than 20 hours a week could distract from their studies and undermine the objective of temporary foreign worker programs, public servants warned the federal government in 2022.

The caution came in documents prepared for former immigration minister Sean Fraser as Ottawa looked at waiving the restriction on the number of hours international students could work off-campus — a policy the Liberals eventually implemented.

Click here to read more.

Government of Ontario will not appeal Bill 124 decision, plans to exempt non-unionized and non-associated workers

The Government of Ontario announced that it will not appeal yesterday’s Court of Appeal decision and will instead take steps to repeal Bill 124 in its entirety in the coming weeks.

To solve what the government called “the inequality of workers created by today’s court decision,” the province will urgently introduce regulations to exempt non-unionized and non-associated workers from Bill 124 until it is repealed.

Click here to read more.

Canadian Chamber “surprised and disappointed” that government did not develop standalone competition bill

In a joint letter to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said that it, and its fellow signatories, were “surprised and disappointed that, just hours after releasing the consultation paper, [the] government opted not to develop “well-calibrated proposals for Parliamentary consideration” through a stand-alone competition bill.”

Signatories included the Business Council of Canada, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Canadian Marketing Association, and Retail Council of Canada.

“We urge the government to go back to the drawing board,” the letter concluded. “The government should remove the proposed Competition Act changes in Bill C-59 and recommit to its promised stakeholder consultation process to ensure a modernized Act truly benefits all Canadians. ”

Click here to read more.

Ontario projects $4.5B deficit in 2023–24, $1.1B less than in 2023 Fall Economic Statement

Today, the government released the 2023–24 Third Quarter Finances, to provide an update on Ontario’s economic and fiscal outlook since the release of the 2023 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review (also referred to as the Fall Economic Statement, or FES).

While inflation-related pressure has eased slightly across the province, high interest rates and unpredictable consumer price inflation continue to pose risks to the province’s economic outlook. In spite of this, Ontario’s economy is expected to see continued growth in 2024.

The 2023–24 Third Quarter Finances projects a deficit of $4.5 billion in 2023–24, an improvement of $1.1 billion compared to the outlook published in the 2023 Fall Economic Statement. The improvement to the deficit is primarily due to increased revenue and lower interest on debt expense. The 2023 Budget published in March 2023 projected a deficit of $1.3 billion.

Click here to read more.

Nominations open for 2024 Niagara Impact Awards

Nominations for the 2024 Niagara Impact Awards are now open.

Established in 2021, the Regional Chair’s Niagara Impact Awards recognize community members and organizations who have made significant efforts to help build a more resilient and welcoming region.

Residents are encouraged visit to complete a nomination for an individual, business or non-profit organization that has shown community spirit while demonstrating the value of volunteerism.

Click here to read more.

Lincoln to consider short-term rental licensing, seeks public input

The Town of Lincoln is considering amendments to the existing Zoning By-law provisions and the implementation of a Licensing By-Law propose to regulate and license Short-Term Accommodations (STA) for the purpose of protecting the health and safety of persons residing in residential properties, minimizing potential impacts to surrounding properties and neighbourhoods, and to protect the residential character and stability of residential areas within the Town.

View the project webpage at for further information. The Town encourages all members of the public to attend the meeting to provide valuable feedback.

Click here to read more.

Photo credit: Dillan Payne

Ontario licence plate renewals to be scrapped

After the Toronto Star reported more than one million drivers in Ontario were riding around with expired licence plates, Premier Doug Ford said he’s going to scrap licence plate renewals altogether.

Ford spoke to reporters at a Mississauga gas station Tuesday, Feb. 13 morning, where he said the legislative change will happen soon.

Until that happens, drivers must still renew their licence plates every two years. Drivers face a fine of up to $1,000 for failing to do so.

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

The first known reference to insurance policies is found in the Code of Hammurabi, written between 1755 and 1750 BCE.

Focus on Finance & Economy

U.S. inflation slows but remains elevated in sign that price pressures are easing only gradually

Annual inflation in the United States cooled last month yet remained elevated in the latest sign that the pandemic-fueled price surge is only gradually and fitfully coming under control.

Tuesday’s report from the U.S. Labor Department showed that the consumer price index rose 0.3 per cent from December to January, up from a 0.2 per cent increase the previous month. Compared with a year ago, prices are up 3.1 per cent.

That is less than the 3.4 per cent figure in December and far below the 9.1 per cent inflation peak in mid-2022. Yet the latest reading is still well above the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two per cent target level at a time when public frustration with inflation has become a pivotal issue in President Joe Biden’s bid for re-election.

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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