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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 15, 2023

Canadian home sales begin 2023 at fourteen-year low, manufacturing sales fall for second month running, and more.

In this edition:

Canadian home sales begin 2023 at 14-year low

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales were down on a month over-month basis in January 2023.

Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged back down 3% between December 2022 and January 2023, giving back all of December’s small gains and rejoining the mild downward trend observed since last summer. (Chart A)

Gains in Hamilton-Burlington and Quebec City were more than offset by declines in Greater Vancouver, Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) number of transactions in January 2023 came in 37.1% below the second-best January ever in 2022. The January 2023 sales figure was the lowest for that month since 2009.

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Manufacturing sales fall for second month

Manufacturing sales fell 1.5% to $71.0 billion in December, the second consecutive monthly decrease. Sales decreased in 14 of 21 industries in December, led by the petroleum and coal product (-6.4%), wood product (-7.5%), food (-1.5%) and plastics and rubber (-4.0%) industries.

On a quarterly basis, sales increased 1.1% to $215.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, following a 2.1% decrease in the third quarter. The transportation equipment (+3.5%), petroleum and coal product (+2.7%), chemical (+3.6%) and food (+1.6%) industries contributed the most to the increase, while the wood product industry (-7.3%) posted the largest decrease.

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Ontario releases 2022-23 Third Quarter Finances

Today, the government released the 2022-23 Third Quarter Finances, to provide an update on Ontario’s economic and fiscal outlook since the release of the 2022 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review.

Overall, the report shows that despite global geopolitical conflict, high inflation, rising interest rates and ongoing supply chain challenges, Ontario’s economy continues to be resilient, with real gross domestic product (GDP) estimated to have increased by 3.7 per cent in calendar year 2022.

“While today’s update is positive, Ontario and the rest of the world continue to face ongoing economic and geopolitical uncertainty,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Though the road ahead may not be easy, our government’s Plan to Build is a responsible and prudent approach to getting Ontario through the challenges of today while planning for tomorrow.”

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Wholesale sales declined in December

Wholesale sales fell 0.8% to $82.2 billion in December. Declines in the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the miscellaneous goods subsector led the losses. Sales fell in five of seven subsectors, which represented 68% of wholesale sales.

Constant dollar sales fell 1.2% in December.

Sales in machinery, equipment and supplies fell 3.1% to $17.2 billion in December. Despite this decline, sales in the subsector were 8.6% higher than in December 2021. In December 2022, three of the four industry groups reported a rise in sales; however, the decline of the construction, forestry, mining, and industrial machinery, equipment and supplies industry group (-10.4% to $5.5 billion) offset the overall subsector growth. The monthly decline of this industry group was due to multiple project completions and deliveries in November. Excluding this decline, the subsector grew by 0.9%.

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Major investment strengthens Ontario’s end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain

Ontario has secured a $471 million investment by Magna International, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, to expand the company’s Ontario operations. With support from the government, this transformative investment will strengthen Ontario’s end-to-end electric vehicle supply chain while adding more than 1,000 new good-paying jobs for workers across the province.

“This investment represents another tremendous show of confidence in the growing strength and resilience of our province’s auto sector,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Together, with our industry partners, we’re putting Ontario back on the map as we build up Ontario’s electric vehicle supply chain from mining to manufacturing. The cars of the future and the batteries that power them will be built right here in Ontario, by Ontario workers.”

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Local program certifies Niagara’s newcomers for success

A shortage of skilled workers is being felt across multiple job sectors, and the federal government has been stepping up efforts to attract more immigrants to fill vacancies in areas such as health care.

But skilled immigrants such as doctors and nurses have several hoops to jump through before they can see patients in Canada.

That’s where a program like the Niagara Foreign Credential Recognition Program offered through the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre comes into play.

The credentials program helps newcomers navigate their way to continuing their profession in Canada, assisting with foreign credential assessment and with the steps necessary to obtain the proper certification. The program also offers financial planning advice and, more importantly for those seeking certification, financial assistance.
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Wainfleet hits building activity record of $49.35 million

Township chief building official Benjamin Hopkins gave Wainfleet council members an update on building activity in the township during 2022 at the most recent council meeting.

Hopkins said 149 building permits were issued in 2022 with a total estimated building value of $49.35 million, far above the 10-year average of $18.79 million and about $27 million more than the second highest construction value of about $22.4 million set in 2020.

Hopkins said even when the sizeable value of the new two-board Wainfleet elementary school under construction on Sugarloaf Street that will replace the Niagara Catholic District School Board’s aging St. Elizabeth Catholic Elementary School and consolidate two District School Board of Niagara elementary schools is figured in, the record still stands.

The province committed $15 million toward that new school.
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Labour force study reveals layoffs and exits outnumber entrances into the market

Canada’s economy has seen a constant stream of layoffs hitting companies from the tech sector and beyond in recent months while many employers lament a shortage of workers, but neither seems to be weighing heavily on the country’s jobs numbers.

Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey said on Feb. 10 that January’s unemployment rate held steady at five per cent — just above the record low of 4.9 per cent reached in the summer — as the country added a whopping 150,000 jobs.

Some 326,000 jobs have been added since September alone, bucking forecasts predicting the higher cost of borrowing would slow the economy down significantly this year and create employment level upheaval.

What is going on in the labour market right now?

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Niagara committee supports emergency declarations for mental health, addictions and homelessness

Niagara’s public health and social services committee members approved a motion by the committee’s co-chair Pat Chiocchio, Tuesday, declaring states of emergency for the three areas of concern, while declaring homelessness a federal humanitarian crisis as well.

“We need to think differently and out of the box, and we can’t do this without receiving additional funding from the provincial government,” Chiocchio said while speaking about his motion.

“I’m commending the work that we’re doing out there, but we need more. This is the only way we’re going to do it, to get the province’s attention.”
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Focus on Climate

A third of companies linked to deforestation have no policy to end it

A third of the companies most linked to the destruction of tropical rainforests have not set a single policy on deforestation, a report reveals.

Research by Global Canopy has found that 31% of the companies with the greatest influence on tropical deforestation risk through their supply chains do not have a single deforestation commitment for any of the commodities to which they are exposed.

Many of those who have set policies are not monitoring them correctly, meaning deforestation to produce their commodities could still be taking place. Of the 100 companies with a deforestation commitment for every commodity to which they are exposed, only 50% are monitoring their suppliers or sourcing regions in line with their deforestation commitments for every commodity.
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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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