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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 22

In this edition:

  • Government of Ontario announces new details of $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund
  • Canada cuts international student positions by 35%
  • Niagara Health receives highest-possible level of accreditation
  • First containers roll through new Hamilton rail terminal
  • Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor calls for focus on shared services, not amalgamation
  • Focus on Human Resources

Government of Ontario announces new details of $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund

The Ontario government announced the latest steps in its plan to invest in rural communities and municipalities at the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference. Premier Ford announced new details regarding the expansion of Ontario’s $1.2 billion Building Faster Fund (BFF) to small, rural and northern municipalities that have not been assigned housing targets by the province. Ten per cent – or $120 million – of the BFF will be reserved for these municipalities to help them build housing-enabling infrastructure.

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Canada cuts international student positions by 35%

The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced today that the Government of Canada will set an intake cap on international student permit applications for two years. For 2024, the cap is expected to result in approximately 360,000 approved study permits, a decrease of 35% from 2023. Individual provincial and territorial caps have been established, weighted by population, which will result in much more significant decreases in provinces where the international student population has seen the most “unsustainable” growth, the Government of Canada said in a statement.

Study permit renewals will not be impacted. Those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, and elementary and secondary education are not included in the cap.

“This should have happened some time ago,” Mike Moffatt, an assistant professor at the Ivey Business School at Western University, said shortly before Miller’s announcement.

“The provinces should’ve acted first … But it’s good to see the federal government bring back some rationality back to the number of international students.”

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Niagara Health receives highest-possible level of accreditation

Niagara Health has received the highest-possible level of accreditation for the third consecutive time.

Accreditation Canada says Niagara Health has met all of its required organizational practices in its commitment to ensure safe, quality care for patients and their families.

Officials spent a week assessing Niagara Health sites in November.

First containers roll through new Hamilton rail terminal

In a significant step forward for southern Ontario importers and exporters, Hamilton Container Terminal (HCT), in collaboration with Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA Ports), and Canadian National Railway (CN), proudly announces the creation of a direct intermodal rail service between Hamilton, ON and Montreal, QC. The inaugural Hamilton-Montreal intermodal freight train, carrying export-bound shipping containers, successfully completed its journey and is set to transition into a regular weekly service. The partners expect to gradually increase volumes through the new terminal, pending Canadian Border Services Agency approval for bonded movements.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor calls for focus on shared services, not amalgamation

In a statement made today, Niagara-on-the-Lake Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa emphasized his request to the Province to prioritize funding for shared services at the local level, advocating for municipalities to explore efficient service delivery options tailored to the community’s needs.

“I am advocating for a focus on shared services rather than amalgamation for the Niagara Region,” Lord Mayor Zalepa said in a statement, “including Niagara-on-the-Lake. While amalgamation is often viewed as a means to access a larger pool of resources, our Town’s unique identity, distinct heritage, and small-town charm must be preserved.”

Mayor Zalepa’s statement follows other statements from Regional Chair Jim Bradley and Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele.

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Did you know?

The Strait of Malacca is 2.7km wide at its narrowest point. If it were blocked, nearly half of world shipping would have to be re-routed.

Focus on Human Resources

Employers should use skill-based hiring to find hidden talent and address labour challenges

A concerning trend known as qualification inflation has been plaguing hiring practices for years. Qualification inflation — also known as degree inflation — refers to the growing number of employers requiring degrees and extensive experience for jobs.

As highlighted in a 2017 Harvard study, job listings now often demand that applicants have degrees and experiences that were previously unnecessary, with some job requirements even surpassing the qualifications of current employees.

The origins of qualification inflation can be traced back to the rise of online application platforms and the 2008-09 financial crisis, both of which resulted in larger job applicant pools. Economic and technological shifts have also given rise to new roles that require unique skills.

Some employers adapted to these changes by adding qualifications to job listings without removing outdated ones, leading to qualification inflation. While this has been an ongoing issue for years, it is becoming increasingly urgent as many Canadian businesses are reportedly grappling with recruitment and retention challenges.

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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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