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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 14, 2023

Canadian premiers accept C$46-bln federal govt healthcare funding offer, Vineland Research to hold Automation Cluster Event, and more.

In this edition:

Canadian premiers accept C$46-bln federal govt healthcare funding offer

Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers on Monday said they will accept an additional C$46.2 billion ($34.64 billion) in healthcare funding from the federal government over the next 10 years, but warned the amount falls short of what is needed.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with premiers last week to hammer out a deal to fix the overburdened public healthcare system, which has been under strain due to the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages.

In return for additional funding, the federal government has asked the provinces to commit to some conditions, including better data gathering and sharing.

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Canada’s job growth is challenging basic economic theory. Are the models wrong?

Canada’s economy added a stunning 150,000 jobs last month. It’s the second straight month that jobs numbers blew well past expectations. And it’s yet one more data point that challenges the narrative that Canada needs to shed jobs to bring inflation under control.

“We’re seeing a key test of our theories of how labour market tightness translates to wages and from wages to prices,” said Brendon Bernard, chief economist at the job search site Indeed.

Economic theory tells us that unemployment and inflation are inextricably linked. As unemployment falls and more people work, inflation increases. And as unemployment increases, inflation drops.

But that’s not what’s happening here. Inflation peaked in June at 8.1 per cent. It has decelerated considerably since then. In December, it had fallen to 6.3 per cent and is expected to fall all the way to 5.6 per cent when we get January’s numbers later this month.
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KPMG 2023 auto poll shows a bumpy road to zero-emission vehicles in Canada

As many as six in 10 Canadians will buy a new vehicle within the next five years and would prefer a greener alternative to carbon-emitting gasoline-powered vehicles. But most will end up settling for a gas-powered one instead of electric due to higher financing costs, delays in delivery, and concerns over battery range and charging reliability, finds new KPMG in Canada poll research.

“It’s not that EVs have lost their appeal but rather that lack of inventory and long waiting lists over the past couple of years are giving consumers reasons to pause,” said Damiano Peluso, Partner and National Automotive Industry Leader, KPMG in Canada. “And now with expectations of a recession and sharply higher financing rates, our poll research shows consumer sentiment has shifted to pragmatism over ‘the machine of a dream’. As more EV models come to market this year and next, we will see sales pick up but a lot hinges on the price point and how well these persistent concerns about range and charging infrastructure can be addressed.”

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St. Catharines looking for proponent to help redevelop surplus Geneva Street property into housing

The City of St. Catharines has reinitiated its efforts to see 320 Geneva St. redeveloped into a project that includes affordable housing.

On Monday night City Council approved the issuing of a negotiated request for proposal for the property, in an attempt to once again redevelop the surplus City lands into a mixed-income housing development that includes a long-term affordable requirement. To address some ongoing health and safety concerns, the City will also move forward with demolition of remaining buildings on the property.

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MPs summon big grocery store CEOs to testify in Ottawa over food inflation

Members of Parliament have summoned the heads of Canada’s largest grocery store chains to answer for rising grocery prices.

On Monday, a House of Commons committee studying food price inflation called on the CEOs and presidents of Loblaw Companies, Metro and Empire Company Limited — which operates chains including Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo — to attend an upcoming meeting.

The hearing has not yet been scheduled.
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Government of Canada launches Canada Brand refresh for agriculture and agri-food products in international markets

The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, unveiled today a modern new refresh of the Canada Brand program, plus a digital toolkit to help Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses showcase their products in global markets.

More modern, flexible, easy-to-use and optimized for digital platforms, the updated Canada Brand program delivers on industry’s need to respond to new market realities in today’s digitally-driven marketplace. The strategy and tools are free to use, and were developed in collaboration with industry and provincial governments, through focus-testing, research, and consultation meetings.

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Vineland Research to hold Automation Cluster Event

Vineland is excited to wrap up an eventful five years of applied research focused on Canada’s Agricultural Automation Cluster. This event will showcase applied research and facilitate discussions on the future of automation in Canadian horticulture.

Join Canadian scientists, engineers, companies and end-users to communicate results of cluster projects to the agriculture sector and demonstrate technology prototypes, hear from leading international experts on the latest developments in the science of automation, create connections and opportunities for research collaboration, create connections with companies who can take prototype technologies to the next stage of commercial development, and create international awareness and promote Canadian automation innovation.

Click here to read more and register.

Focus on Finance & Economy

Rise in Canadian shareholder activism faces test next month with new rules in place

A recent rise in Canada’s shareholder activism faces a reality check next month when a new law that gives more powers to investors to pick board nominees will be put to the test and could spur more campaigns this year, lawyers say.

Canada is a perfect environment for activists with advantageous regulatory rules, but has failed to attract huge swathes of activists to its shores.

The country has lagged the rising trend of activism seen globally, but that could be about to change, lawyers say. Some 53 Canadian companies faced activism campaigns in 2022, a 17.8% rise over the previous year, compared with a 10.6% rise in the U.S to 511, showed data from Insightia, a Diligent brand.
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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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