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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 9, 2023

A diverse workplace is better for people and profit, close to half of Canadians very concerned about ability to meet daily expenses, and more.

In this edition:

Welland City Council approved the 2023 municipal budgets

Welland City Council approved the 2023 municipal budgets on February 7 at their regularly scheduled meeting, bringing forward a budget with a -3.05 per cent tax decrease on the municipal tax levy.

The 2023 operating budgets total just over $107 million. The budgets are comprised of the tax- supported operating budget of $71.4 million, the rate-supported operating budget for water and wastewater of $35.6 million, and the combined capital budgets of $42.8 million.

The 2023 tax-supported operating budget presents a -3.05 per cent tax decrease (municipal portion) after assessment growth of 2.74 per cent and includes over $31.1 million in capital projects this year.

“After a thorough and comprehensive budget review process, the City has passed its 2023 budgets in the best interest of the Welland resident,” said Steven Fairweather, director of finance and CFO. “The 2023 budget reflects a commitment to infrastructure, community services and preparing for the growth the city will welcome in the coming years.”

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Canopy Growth closing Smiths Falls HQ, laying off 800 workers

Canopy Growth Corp. will lay off 800 workers as part of a transformation plan that will see the company close its hallmark 1 Hershey facility and consolidate some of its cultivation operations.

The Smiths Falls, Ont. cannabis company said today that the layoff will impact 35 per cent of its workforce and take place over the next several months.

The move is meant to help the company reach profitability and enable sustainable and long-term growth, said David Klein, Canopy Growth’s chief executive.

Canopy also reported its net loss amounted to $266.7 million or 54 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended December 31. The result compared with a net loss of $115.5 million or 28 cents per diluted share in the same quarter a year earlier.

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Indigo stores and website hit by ‘cybersecurity incident’

Indigo Books & Music Inc. says it is dealing with what it calls a “cybersecurity incident” that has affected customer orders in-store and online.

The incident at the Toronto-based retailer started on Wednesday. As of this morning, Indigo’s website was still offline.

Canadian retailers have increasingly experienced cyberattacks in recent months. Sobeys parent company Empire Co. Ltd. recently grappled with a security breach that shut down its pharmacy services and other in-store functions. Empire said in December the incident is expected to cost $25 million after insurance recoveries.

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Black Entrepreneurship Program is helping Black-owned businesses

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, highlighted the achievement of important milestones for the Black Entrepreneurship Program.

Speaking at a Black Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub event as part of Black History Month celebrations, the Minister noted that, since its launch in 2021, the program has helped more than 5,000 Black business owners and entrepreneurs get mentorship, business training and financing to help their businesses grow and succeed, now and into the future.

The Black Entrepreneurship Loan Fund has provided financial support to hundreds of Black-owned businesses through loans totalling more than $30 million.

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Applications now open for community gardens funding 

The City of St. Catharines is once again supporting community groups looking to establish new community gardens, and/or improving existing ones.

Applications for the annual program are now open, providing the opportunity for incorporated charities and not-for-profit groups to apply to receive matching funds from the City for up to half of eligible start-up costs, including lumber, soil, seeds, rain barrels and other materials and equipment.

The application process includes a requirement to identify sources of projected funding, a proposed budget, and a proposed workplan that details the work that will need to be undertaken, and the timeline for those efforts.

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Focus on Real Estate

The tax on underused home ownership affects more people than expected

Tim Chestnick, The Globe and Mail

The Unused Housing Tax (UHT), which came into effect on January 1, 2022, was originally billed by the government as a tax on foreign investors in residential real estate in Canada but may also apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

It is a 1 per cent tax levied on December 31st each year on the value of homes that are vacant or deemed under-used. But if you look closely at the rules, you’ll find that more people and organizations are required to report than you might expect.

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Majority of Canadians determined to own a home despite affordability challenges: Survey

Iva Poshnjari, BNN Bloomberg

Many Canadians remain undeterred from buying a home despite the soaring costs of entering the market, a survey from NerdWallet showed.

Owning a home is a priority for two-thirds of Canadians (67 per cent) and almost half (43 per cent) of all respondents stated they are looking to buy a property within the next five years.

Despite the optimism, Canadians face a number of barriers such as a rising interest rate environment and high home prices, the report 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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