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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 6, 2023

In this edition:

Niagara unemployment rate ticks down, employment increases

In December, an additional 2,500 people joined Niagara’s workforce, and 3,100 more people were working, causing the unemployment rate to edge down from 5.4% to 5.1%. Little corresponding change was seen in Ontario and Canada, with neither recording any more than 0.1 percentage point changes to labour market statistics (excepting the employment rate in Ontario, which edged up 0.2 percentage points).

The data are seasonally adjusted, and therefore should take into account factors such as busier retail trade in the run-up to the holiday season.

Nationally, employment growth was led by an increase among youth aged 15 to 24, which recouped cumulative losses observed for this group from July to September.

The number of employees increased in the private sector, while it held steady in the public sector. There were broad-based employment gains across several industries, including construction, as well as transportation and warehousing.

In December, 8.1% of employees were absent due to illness or disability, up from 6.8% in November. This was higher than the pre-pandemic average of 6.9% recorded in the month of December from 2017 to 2019 (not seasonally adjusted).

Year-over-year growth in the average hourly wages of employees remained above 5% for a seventh consecutive month in December, up 5.1% (+$1.57 to $32.06) compared with December 2021 (not seasonally adjusted).

Total hours worked were little changed on a monthly basis in December, and up 1.4% compared with 12 months earlier.

As part of a Statistics Canada data collection initiative on new forms of employment, new data for December show that about 250,000 Canadians had provided ride or delivery services through an application or digital platform in the previous 12 months.

In a statement, Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, said that “today’s job numbers show that our government’s plan to build a stronger Ontario is working. With many more good-paying jobs across multiple sectors, we have added over a half-million jobs since our government took office in June 2018 and are leading the nation in job creation.”

Click here to read more.

Click here to see Statistics Canada’s interactive Labour Force Survey map.

Labour Force in data

Tourism spending marks sixth consecutive increase, still below pre-pandemic levels

Tourism spending in Canada grew 3.2% in the third quarter, a sixth consecutive quarterly increase. Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) (+4.2%) and jobs attributable to tourism (+3.7%) also rose in the third quarter.

Despite the tourism sector’s continued recovery in the third quarter, tourism spending remains below (by 18.4%) the third and fourth quarter of 2019 levels, before the COVID-19 pandemic. Spending by international visitors was 32.2% below pre-pandemic levels, a slower recovery than that of tourism spending in Canada by Canadians, at 13.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

Passenger air transport (+5.8%) contributed the most to the growth in tourism spending in the third quarter, followed by accommodation (+2.9%) and food and beverage (+2.4%) services.

Click here to read more.

Global food prices in 2022 hit record high amid drought, war

Global prices for food commodities like grain and vegetable oils were the highest on record last year even after falling for nine months in a row, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said, as Russia’s war in Ukraine, drought and other factors drove up inflation and worsened hunger worldwide.

The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the international prices of commonly traded food commodities, dipped by 1.9% in December from a month earlier, the Rome-based organization said Friday. For the whole year, it averaged 143.7 points, more than 14% above the 2021 average, which also saw large increases.

Click here to read more.

All-Canadian-made zero-emission concept vehicle unveiled at CES

On Jan. 5, Project Arrow, the first, all-Canadian, zero-emission connected vehicle, designed and built in Ontario, was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Project Arrow makes use of Ontario’s complete end-to-end automotive supply chain and tries to demonstrate the province’s automotive capabilities and innovation on a global stage.

“The unveiling of Project Arrow, the first all-Canadian concept vehicle, is a historic milestone that showcases the best of Ontario’s automotive and technology sectors,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Our government is proud to support this innovative project and the continued collaboration between industry partners. Innovations like this will foster new opportunities as we continue to build a stronger Ontario.”

Click here to read more.

Niagara Transit Commission launches

New for 2023, the Niagara Transit Commission is the realization of a vision of many at Niagara Region and the 12 local area municipalities to connect all of Niagara through a single transit system called Niagara Region Transit. The Commission is responsible for integrating our local transit systems (Niagara Region Transit, Niagara Falls Transit, St. Catharines Transit, Welland Transit and Fort Erie Transit) into a single organization that operates public transit across Niagara.

On May 26, 2022, Regional Council approved the first Commission Board and the elected representatives recommended by their local councils to serve on it. The Board has representation from Regional and local municipal councillors to ensure that all municipalities have a voice.

Click here to read more.

96 per cent of Niagara’s child-care centres opted into $10-a-day program

Provincially, 92 per cent of licensed operators signed on but Niagara’s number is higher, about 96 per cent said Satinder Klair, Niagara Region’s director of children’s services.

Niagara has just under 8,000 eligible spaces.

“Generally we did really well and our providers were excited to be enrolled into the program. It’s just a few that haven’t and we’re still working with a few to finalize their agreements,” he said, adding of those who opted-out, many were either not operating full-time or religious-based organizations where fees were low.

While $10-a-day fee is the end result by September 2025, it is being rolled out in an escalating fashion.

Click here to read more.

Focus on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion

How can organizations improve workplace equity?

Many companies are enhancing their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. But too often, they place more emphasis on diversity and inclusion than they do on equity.
A new report by the SHRM Research Institute and Work Equity, an initiative of the Center for Social Innovation at the Boston College School of Social Work, revealed the importance of equity in the workplace, the root causes of inequity and other DE&I-related findings that could help organizations create more-equitable workplaces.

“Organizations often overlook workplace equity,” said Ragan Decker, SHRM-CP, lead researcher with the SHRM Research Institute. “Yet without equity, DE&I initiatives can fail or even backfire.”

Click here to read more.

What it takes to be a fair-pay workplace

Today’s employees, consumers, investors, and legislators have reached a resounding consensus: Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace matters.

And not only does it matter, it should be at the top of employers’ to-do lists in an increasingly competitive labor market. Now more than ever, employers must assess how they can better serve their employees, and in turn, their communities. Number one on the list? Pay equity — ensuring that employees who perform similar work are paid fairly, regardless of their gender, race/ethnicity, or other protected class factors. In other words, equal pay for equal work.

Click here to read more.

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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