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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 28, 2023

In this edition:

Economic growth flat in Q4, declined in December

Real gross domestic product (GDP) was nearly unchanged in the fourth quarter, according to data released today by Statistics Canada, following five consecutive quarterly increases. Slower inventory accumulations along with declines in business investment in machinery and equipment and housing offset higher household and government spending and improved net trade.

After reaching a record-high level in the second quarter, the incomes of non-financial corporations declined in both the third and the fourth quarters. This followed a continuing decline in the value of energy exports, which fell 13.5% in nominal terms in the fourth quarter, primarily because of weakening energy prices, after peaking in the second quarter.

Real GDP edged down 0.1% in December, following a 0.1% uptick in November. Goods-producing industries (-0.6%) declined, while service-producing industries (+0.0%) remained essentially unchanged.

A recession is usually defined as negative GDP growth for two successive quarters.

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MPs summon Google CEO to Ottawa for blocking news access for some Canadians

The CEO of Google and other top executives are being summoned to appear before a parliamentary committee after the company decided to temporarily block some Canadians from accessing news through its search engine.

They are expected to testify at a meeting of the House of Commons heritage committee on Monday.

The committee is also requesting documents related to Google’s news ban.

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Meridian Credit Union makes $10,000 donation to end period poverty in Niagara

The campaign to end period poverty in Niagara has received a big boost.

United Way Niagara has announced Meridian Credit Union has joined the 2023 Period Promise campaign as a presenting sponsor with a $10,000 donation.

The agency says inflation has affected many women, and in 2019, roughly one in three, or 34 per cent, of women and girls in Canada had to often or occasionally make budgetary sacrifices in order to afford menstrual products.
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Minister Bibeau to tour Clean Works Corporation in St. Catharines

The Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, Chris Bittle, and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services and Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, Vance Badawey, will tour Food Waste Reduction Challenge finalist, Clean Works Corporation. Clean Works’ innovative solution to prevent spoilage of pre-harvest crops has secured them as a finalist in the ‘novel technologies’ stream of the challenge.

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St. Catharines water/wastewater bills to increase by average of $85

On Monday, St. Catharines City Council approved rates for water-wastewater services in its 2023 water and wastewater budget. The new rates, represent a $84.58 increase over the year for the average ratepayer – or the equivalent of less than a quarter a day. The increase comes as Niagara Region continues to increase its water and wastewater rates annually to ensure program sustainability (the Region controls about 45 per cent of water expenditures and 72 per cent of wastewater expenditures), resulting in increased costs charged to the City for both the purchase of water and treatment of wastewater.

In a statement, city staff highlighted their work to reduce the infrastructure deficit with critical investments in infrastructure. Between replacement of City and Region watermains and sanitary sewers, the City is contributing more than $14.8 million to water and wastewater capital infrastructure in 2023 – with $11.6 million to be funded through the City’s water and wastewater budget.

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Focus on Finance & Economy

‘Bottom not falling out of economy:’ What the experts are saying about GDP

Statistics Canada reported flat GDP for the fourth quarter of 2022, surprising analysts who called for 1.6 per cent annualized growth.

Declines were reported in several sectors including inventories, housing and business investment.

“Inventories applied significant downward pressure on GDP. In the manufacturing retail, and wholesale sectors, the build of goods inventories was significantly lower, following record builds in 2022 Q3 and Q4,” said TD Economic’s James Orlando in a note on Feb. 28.

Housing investment fell 8.8 per cent in the quarter registering the “third consecutive decline after the Bank of Canada started to raise interest rates more aggressively at the beginning of 2022,” said Claire Fan, an economist at RBC Economics.

However, “a far bigger concern,” for Stephen Brown at Capital Economics, was “the 27 per cent annualized slump in machinery and equipment investment.” Overall, quarterly business investment fell 5.5 per cent.

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Flat economy suggests Bank of Canada rate hikes are working: Economists

A flat Canadian economy at the end of 2022 is a promising sign that monetary policy is working to bring down inflation, economists said Tuesday as Statistics Canada reported real gross domestic product (GDP) for last year’s fourth quarter.

StatsCan said real GDP was unchanged in the last three months of the year, following five quarters of growth.

Pedro Antunes, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, told BNN Bloomberg that it’s “good news” to see no growth in the numbers.

“What that’s telling us is that hopefully monetary policy will continue to have success in taming down the economic activity so that we can get the inflation numbers down,” Antunes said.

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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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