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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 2, 2022

Canadian Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday ousted Erin O’Toole as leader.

In this edition:

O’Toole ousted in confidence vote
Grimsby free business digital transformation service
Value of building permits down in December
Overall GDP likely unchanged in December
Winter storm watch, parking advisories announced

Canadian Conservative leader O’Toole ousted in confidence vote

Canadian Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday ousted Erin O’Toole as leader, angry over the main opposition party’s third straight loss to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in a 2021 election.

Legislators voted 73 to 45 to replace O’Toole, who took over as head of the party in August 2020. He had vowed to defeat Trudeau but instead led the right-leaning party to a disappointing finish in the Sept. 20 election.

Some of the disenchanted Conservative parliamentarians said O’Toole had pulled the party too far into the middle during the election campaign, announcing major policies without any consultation.

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Last chance for Grimsby businesses to access free digital transformation advice

The Town of Grimsby’s Digital Main Street Service Squad program ends February 28, 2022. This is the last chance for local brick-and-mortar businesses to take advantage of a FREE digital assessment and one-on-one digital support.

Since July 2021, Grimsby’s Digital Service Squad (DSS) member, Tianna Thomas, has connected with 97 local businesses owners who are eager to achieve their digital goals. Tianna provides one-on-one support for social media and email marketing, branding, video creation and product photography.

Grimsby’s DSS member can also provide 360˚ photos of your business location, Google My Business listing and website improvements, and e-commerce setup (ShopHERE). These services are provided at zero cost to the business owner.

Local businesses who are interested in learning more about Digital Main Street and the Service Squad are encouraged to email Tianna ( before February 28th. Where COVID-19 restrictions are in place, business owners can meet with our DSS member virtually through Zoom.

Click here to learn more.

Value of building permits down in December

The total value of building permits decreased 1.9% to $11.2 billion in December, Statistics Canada reports. Declines were reported in both the residential and non-residential sectors. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100) the total value of building permits decreased 3.1%.

The total value of building permits surged 25.6% to $126.5 billion in 2021, the strongest annual growth ever recorded. However, material price and labour cost increases in the construction industry accounted for almost two-thirds of the increase. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100) the total value of building permits still increased by a robust 9.3% to $88.5 billion.

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December GDP losses in some industries likely offset by gains in others for no net change

Advance information indicates that real gross domestic product (GDP) for December was essentially unchanged. Widespread increases led by the manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, utilities and wholesale trade sectors were offset by declines in the accommodation and food services, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction and retail trade sectors.

GDP rose 0.6% in November, following 0.8% growth in October. Increases across almost all sectors contributed to the sixth consecutive monthly expansion, bringing the level of real GDP 0.2% above its February 2020 level, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both services-producing (+0.6%) and goods-producing (+0.5%) industries were up, as 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases in November.

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Winter storm watch, parking advisories announced

A winter storm is forecast with total snowfall accumulations of 20 to 30 cm expected by Friday. Reduced visibility due to heavy snow and local blowing snow is likely Wednesday afternoon through Friday morning.

St. Catharines, Lincoln, Pelham, and Port Colborne have announced parking restrictions to aid in snow removal.

Click here to learn more.

Reading Recommendations

Bank of Canada governor says it’s unclear how quickly inflation will drop

Reuters/Financial Post

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem said on Wednesday there was uncertainty about how quickly inflation would come back down due to the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped drive up prices.

Macklem, speaking to the Senate banking committee, reiterated that interest rates would have to start going up this year to tackle inflation, which is currently 4.8 per cent, more than double the central bank’s 2 per cent target.

“There is some uncertainty about how quickly inflation will come down because we’ve never experienced a pandemic like this before,” he said.

With labour markets tightening and evidence of capacity pressures increasing, rate rises were essential, he said.

Do Your Diversity Initiatives Promote Assimilation Over Inclusion?

Harvard Business Review

Recently, a client asked us to put together a program to accelerate promotion opportunities for what it referred to as its “diverse talent.” Based on our additional research, we realized the requirements for promotion at this company were skills that many employees were struggling with at the time — both those folks with marginalized identities and those without.

By targeting only a select few with this promotion program, it created a false narrative that only individuals from underrepresented backgrounds needed help developing these skills and that something was inherently wrong with how they performed. What’s more, these kinds of programs set a single standard for professionalism and therefore promote and lead to assimilation — the opposite of real inclusion.

Approaches like these might broadcast that the company devalues the need for change at all levels. It is not uncommon to see the group with the least privilege expected to change its behavior to help achieve equity in an organization. Rarely does anyone feel safe and included in any dynamic where they are the only ones expected to change. We suggest examining your company’s expectations of professionalism, reframing professional development programs, adjusting feedback processes, and focusing on relationships. This way, your organization can create an inclusive culture that celebrates diversity instead of flattening it.

Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.

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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