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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 5, 2023

Canada entered trade deficit in November, rule requiring negative COVID-19 tests for travellers from China now in effect in Canada, and more

In this edition:

Canada entered trade deficit in November

In November, Canada’s merchandise exports decreased 2.3%, in large part because of a decline in exports of energy products, new data from Statistics Canada revealed today. Meanwhile, imports were down 2.1%, partly on lower imports of consumer goods. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world went from a surplus of $130 million in October to a deficit of $41 million in November.

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Rule requiring negative COVID-19 tests for travellers from China now in effect in Canada

Airline passengers leaving China, Hong Kong and Macau will have to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test when they enter Canada starting today.

The Canadian government announced last week that the travellers would need a negative test administered within 48 hours of their departure as cases soar in China.

Other countries, including the United States and several European nations, imposed similar rules despite protest from China.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson criticized the change in requirements this week, saying some countries were attempting to manipulate COVID measures for political purposes and it would take countermeasures.
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Lower child care fees a relief for parents, but will provinces meet rising demand?

The Liberal government earmarked $30 billion over five years in the 2021 budget to set up a long-promised national child-care program.

Under the agreements between the federal, provincial and territorial governments, fees will come down to $10 a day, on average, by 2026.

As parents breathe a sigh of relief, however, some in the child-care industry are ringing alarm bells over concern there won’t be enough spaces to meet demand.

“What I’m worried about is staffing,” said Lyndsay Macdonald, a professor of early childhood education at Humber College and a co-ordinator with the Association of Early Childhood Educators Ontario.

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Packaging for beverages is growing more sustainable

PET or glass bottle, aluminium can, beverage carton or maybe even a paper bottle, single use or multiple use – there is a huge range of choices for packaging beverages. But which is the most sustainable? The focus has increasingly been placed on ecological aspects over the last few years in this sector. And not only for packaging material: these aspects have also become important for filling and actual packaging processes.

Some beverages simply come with classic packaging. We usually buy beer or wine in a glass bottle, milk in a carton and soft drinks in a PET bottle. Over the last few years, however, customers have become ever more critical, and sustainability issues have grown in importance for the beverages sector. Plastics especially now have a bad reputation – which is often undeserved. How well a type of packaging fares when looking at the ecological balance depends on many different factors. Experts therefore are hesitant to give general advice.

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Dance Expressions latest business to receive Port Colborne Main Street grant

Dance Expressions Inc. of Port Colborne is the latest recipient of a My Main Street non-repayable funding contribution of $10,000. This contribution will allow Dance Expressions Inc. to support findings from the market research provided by My Main Street to drive economic growth and attract new customers to its business and the Port Colborne community.

The My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program is delivered by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an overall Government of Canada investment of $23.25 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to support the recovery and strength of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario.

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Ontario and British Columbia headed for a buyer’s market, RBC says

High interest rates will continue to hold back homebuyers into the new year, except in Ontario and British Columbia, a new report by RBC says.

The report released Thursday said those purchasing real estate in Ontario and B.C. in 2023 will hold a stronger hand as conditions in these provinces continue to favour buyers as opposed to sellers.

In the report, Robert Hogue, assistant chief economist for RBC, said nationwide real estate conditions look reasonably stable with sales-to-new listings in “balanced territory.”

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Bed Bath & Beyond expresses ‘substantial doubt’ it can stay in business

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. said it might not be able to continue as a going concern, bringing another United States retail chain to the precipice of bankruptcy.

The Union, N.J.-based company said it’s pursuing an array of strategic alternatives, including restructuring debt, selling assets or filing for bankruptcy-court protection, but “these measures may not be successful.”

The company is continuing to pursue steps to improve its cash position, it said in a filing Thursday, but its recurring losses and negative cash flow in the nine months ended Nov. 26 leave “substantial doubt” that the company can stay in business.

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Focus on Technology

Burned by layoffs, tech workers are rethinking risk

Tech isn’t as collegial as it used to be. Rocket ships are being unveiled as sputtering messes, mission-driven startups don’t feel so mission-oriented when responding to investor pressure, and widespread layoffs offer a loud reminder that jobs are breakable contracts, not sacrosanct vows.

Over the past few months, thousands of employees from Meta, Twitter, Stripe, Amazon, DoorDash and countless other companies that don’t have the privilege of being household names are back on the job market. A job market that includes hiring freezes, salary cuts and a general malaise that industry experts warn won’t be over this year.

So where does tech’s talent go from here?

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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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