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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 1, 2023

In this edition:

Governments of Canada and Ontario reach landmark 5-year agri-food agreement

Farmers and the province’s wider agri-food sector will benefit from an upcoming new, five-year agreement between the governments of Canada and Ontario. The agreement will provide a range of investments that will help improve productivity, competitiveness and resilience in this key area of the economy and enable the province to meet goals outlined in Ontario’s Grow Ontario Strategy.

The governments have negotiated a Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership (Sustainable CAP) for Ontario that will see upwards of $1.77 billion in support for the agri-food sector over the life of the agreement. Through Sustainable CAP, $569 million will be invested in strategic initiatives, which is a 25 percent increase over the previous funding agreement. There will also be roughly $1.2 billion for continued, demand-driven, business risk management supports for farmers.

Sustainable CAP will also boost investments in research and innovation and other strategic areas to strengthen the sector. The agreement will include the launch of the new Resilient Agricultural Landscape Program (RALP), a funding initiative to mitigate climate change and support the agricultural sector in better addressing sustainability outcomes.

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Skyway twin now in active procurement as part of $35bn provincial P3 infrastructure package

The Ontario government is investing more than $159 billion over the next decade to support infrastructure, including transit, highways, schools, hospitals, and long-term care projects. To build many of them, the government is leveraging Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO) public-private partnership (P3) delivery model and other innovative approaches to help strengthen communities and support economic growth. IO’s latest Market Update, released today, lists 38 major infrastructure projects, with an estimated value of $35 billion (in design and construction costs).

In a media release, the government highlighted the Garden City Skyway Twinning project. The new 2.2-kilometre-long bridge would be built north of the existing skyway connecting St. Catharines and Niagara-on-the-Lake and will take about four years to complete.

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Provincial spending in 2022-2023 $6.4 billion less than planned: FAO

The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) today released the Expenditure Monitor 2022-23: Q3, which provides information on spending by the Government of Ontario (the Province) through the first three quarters of the 2022-23 fiscal year (April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022).

Combined, over the first three quarters of 2022-23, the Province expected to spend $129.2 billion. However, actual unaudited spending was $122.8 billion. This was $6.4 billion (5.0 per cent) less than expected.

All sectors spent less than expected, led by ‘other programs’ (-$3,534 million), health (-$1,251 million), education (-$844 million), children’s and social services (-$458 million), postsecondary education (-$175 million), justice (-$88 million) and interest on debt (‑$87 million).

Programs with the largest lower-than-expected spending include Metrolinx and municipal infrastructure projects (-$1,197 million), electricity subsidy programs (-$665 million), Ministry of Infrastructure capital programs (‑$644 million), public health (-$605 million), Metrolinx and municipal transit operating funding (-$462 million), social assistance programs (-$453 million), elementary and secondary education programs (-$432 million) and child care programs (-$396 million).

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Ontario Grape Harvest Report 2022: Quality vintage, tiny yields, high expectations

One Niagara winemaker took a literary view of the Ontario harvest in 2022, calling it “Dickensian … a tale of two vintages. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

In that, Creekside and Queenston Mile winemaker Rob Power is spot on with his assessment. With yields cruelly slashed in half in many parts of Ontario, it was the worst of times in terms of grape yields. But, as a wide range of Ontario winemakers, winery owners and growers detail in this annual Wines in Niagara Harvest Report, the grapes that did make it to the crush pad are of a high quality and should produce some excellent wines once they finally get bottled.

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RBC reiterates forecast for moderate recession after profit beat

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) said on Wednesday it expected a softer landing for the economy, but the country’s largest lender reiterated its forecast of a moderate recession this year after setting aside bigger provisions for potential bad loans.

The views come against the backdrop of the Bank of Canada hiking its key interest rate to a 15-year high in January to rein in inflation, with tighter monetary policies fueling economic turbulence.

The Canadian central bank had also said in January it would hold off on further increases as long as prices eased as expected.

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ArriveCan app to be reviewed by Canada’s auditor general

Canada’s auditor general will be conducting a performance audit of the federal government’s ArriveCan application, CTV News has confirmed.

According to Auditor General Karen Hogan’s office, how long it takes to conduct performance audits can vary depending on their size and scope. With the spring round of audits into other topics nearing completion, it could take some time before this probe’s findings are presented to Parliament.

In an email, spokesperson for the Auditor General’s Office Vincent Frigon said because the scope and timeline have yet to be confirmed, he “cannot comment further at this time.”

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Pearson airport to cap number of flights at peak travel times

Toronto Pearson International Airport plans to cap the number of flights into and out of Canada’s largest air hub at peak travel times this year.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority said it will impose a “hard limit” on how many commercial planes arrive at and depart from Pearson at any given hour during March break and the summer season.

It will also put a ceiling on the number of passengers that can arrive from abroad or depart to the U.S. within a given 60-minute period.

The measures “strike a balance between airline requests and the capabilities of the entities across the entire airport ecosystem,” spokeswoman Rachel Bertone said in an emailed statement. She pointed to strains on air navigation service NAV Canada as well as the U.S. and Canadian border agencies

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Service reduction in Canadian cities can lead to transit ‘death spiral’: researcher

Canadian cities should be nimble and prioritize service if they want to sustain and strengthen public transit systems in a time of declining ridership and labour challenges, a transit researcher says.

While cities like Montreal and Halifax are reducing bus routes to save money or deal with staff shortages, a transit and rail research consultant and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto says these decisions contribute to a transportation “death spiral.”

“There are two negative feedback loops going on in transit,” Willem Klumpenhouwer said in a recent interview. When routes are cut and transit is less frequent or convenient, ridership declines. When there are fewer riders paying fares, cities lose income and are inclined to further reduce routes.

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Competition Bureau issues warning over crypto investment scams

Are you looking to invest? Thinking about cashing in on the crypto craze? Think twice. It’s possible that the promise of a way to make quick, easy money is just an easy way to separate you from your money.

Canadians are being scammed out of record-breaking dollar amounts via cryptocurrency investment fraud. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians reported losses of $308.6M to investment fraud in 2022 compared to $164M in 2021. Of those reports, many involved Canadians investing in cryptocurrency after seeing a deceptive ad.

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Focus on Climate

A 7-point checklist to reduce emissions in your manufacturing plant

In the face of ever-growing environmental concerns, manufacturing plants have to be proactive and adopt environmentally-friendly practices. Whether you’re an established manufacturing business or you’re just starting out, here are 7 strategies to help reduce your emissions. By implementing these strategies, not only will manufacturing plants reduce their carbon emissions, they will gain recognition for their sustainability efforts.

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How ’15-minute cities’ turned into an international conspiracy theory

Type “15-minute cities” into social media and be prepared for a barrage of claims the idea will usher in dystopia, people will be fined for leaving their “district” or it is “urban incarceration.”

The concept, however, is pretty simple: Everything you need should be within a roughly 15-minute walk or cycle from your home, from health care and education to grocery stores and green spaces.

The aim is to make cities more livable and connected, with less private car use — meaning cleaner air, greener streets and lower levels of planet-heating pollution. Around a fifth of the world’s human-caused, planet-warming pollution comes from transportation, and passenger cars make up more than 40 per cent of this.

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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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