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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 17, 2023

Industrial product price index up 5.4% year-over-year, GNCC presents requests for business during Ontario budget consultations, and more.

In this edition:

Industrial product price index up 5.4% year-over-year

In January 2023, the Industrial Product Price Index increased 0.4% month over month, following two consecutive months of declines, and rose 5.4% year over year.

Prices for energy and petroleum products rose 0.4% month over month, following a 10.2% decline in December. Year over year, prices were 19.8% higher in January compared with January 2022. In January 2023, the price of finished motor gasoline was up 8.8% and jet fuel rose 14.1%, while diesel fuel fell 4.8%.

The price of conventional crude oil, the raw material used to make refined petroleum products, rose by 1.3% in January. In late December, US refinery utilization dropped as a result of severe cold weather conditions, putting upward pressure on refined product prices. The 14.1% jet fuel price increase was the largest January month-over-month increase on record, and the sixth-largest month-over-month gain overall.

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GNCC presents requests for business during Ontario budget consultations

Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Stephen Crawford and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Red Tape Reduction Sam Oosterhoff held community consultations on the upcoming Ontario budget.

At the consultations, the GNCC presented requests and suggestions on behalf of the business community. The Chamber’s input ranged from the general, such as requests for infrastructure investment that would support anticipated housing development in areas such as municipal services, transmission lines, and public transit, to specific suggestions, such as eliminating the 6.1% basic wine tax (a tax only levied in Ontario and without equivalent in other provinces) and fully funding a VQA support program to boost the local wine industry, or increasing the charitable donation tax credit (currently the lowest in Canada) to a competitive level to encourage more charitable giving and help charities provide much-needed community services that would otherwise have to be provided from the tax base.

The Government of Ontario seeks continued input on the budgeting process, and encourages Ontarians to provide comments and suggestions by emailing

Port Colborne scraps waterfront welcome centre from cruise ship plans

The “crown jewel” of the city’s waterfront cruise ship project has been plucked from the royal ornament and cast aside due to the rapidly increasing cost associated with it.

The waterfront welcome centre, which the city said would have hosted the farmer’s market, Canal Days festivities and other local events, may get built at a later date, but has been dropped from the initial phase of waterfront redevelopment.

Unveiled in 2021, both staff and council were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the waterfront welcome centre when it first surfaced, but during a presentation at city hall on Feb. 14, all were quick to downplay the significance of the building and write off its demise as little more than a minor trifle.

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Foreign investment in Canadian securities reached $21.2 billion in December 2022

Foreign investment in Canadian securities accelerated in December and reached $21.2 billion, the largest investment since August. At the same time, Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $2.3 billion after buying $14.7 billion in November.

As a result, international transactions in securities generated a net inflow of funds of $23.5 billion in the Canadian economy in December. For the whole year, cross-border portfolio investment resulted in a net inflow of funds in the economy of $151.1 billion in 2022, up from $52.6 billion in 2021.

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Canadians share their views on plastics labelling and tracking plastic products nationally

The Government of Canada has released a report on what it heard from two public consultations focused on developing rules for recyclability and composability labelling and establishing a federal plastics registry for the plastic products industry.

From July 25, 2022, to October 7, 2022, the Government asked Canadians, stakeholders, industry, and provincial, territorial and local governments to share their views on new labelling rules that would better inform consumers and strengthen recycling and composting of plastics in Canada. The Government also sought views on developing a registry for producers to report on the plastics they put into the economy.

New labelling rules are being developed that would prohibit the use of the circular three-arrow symbol (often referred to as the chasing-arrows symbol) and other recyclability claims on plastic packaging and single-use plastics unless specific conditions are met. These conditions may include that at least 80 per cent of Canadians have access to recycling systems that accept, sort, and re-process these plastics.

In addition, new rules are being considered to control the use of terms such as “compostable”, “degradable”, or “biodegradable” in the labelling of plastic packaging and single-use plastic items. The labelling rules would be part of new regulations that would also require minimum levels of recycled plastic in certain products.

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Rogers-Shaw deal deadline extended for fourth time pending final approval

Canada’s Rogers Communications on Friday extended the deadline for its C$20 billion merger with Shaw Communications for the fourth time to March 31 as the companies await the final nod from industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.

The deal to create Canada’s No. 2 telecoms company was previously expected to close on Feb. 17 following a successful end to the long-drawn battle with the competition bureau for approval.

The bureau’s biggest concern was the deal would lessen competition in a country where wireless bills are already among the highest in the world.

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Canada’s overheated economy is still putting upward pressure on prices, says Tiff Macklem

As the Bank of Canada monitors the economy’s response to higher interest rates, governor Tiff Macklem says it is still overheated and the labour market is too tight.

The governor’s comments come after Statistics Canada’s most recent labour force survey revealed the economy added 150,000 jobs last month as the unemployment rate hovers around record lows.

While testifying before the House of Commons finance committee on Thursday, Macklem told MPs the economy is in excess demand, which is putting upward pressure on prices.

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Focus on Crypto

First Mover Asia: Crypto momentum falters as bitcoin retreats to $23.6K

Bitcoin was rising again Thursday, and then it wasn’t, as investors seemed to have second thoughts about persnickety inflation, Federal Reserve monetary policy and crypto industry woes.

The largest digital asset by market capitalization was recently trading at about $23,618, down 4.8% over the past 24 hours and well off its high earlier in the day above $25,100. That mark represented BTC’s first sojourn above $25,000 since August, reflecting rising optimism about inflation and the economy. But both seemed to vanish in the space of a few hours as an unexpected 0.7% month-over-month spike in January’s producer price index (PPI) suggested that the U.S. central bank monetary had not yet succeeded in taming price increases that have bedeviled the economy for more than a year.

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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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