In this edition:
- Economy grew 0.3% in May, but wildfires caused decline in energy sector
- Government of Canada “very disappointed” in U.S. softwood lumber tariffs
- New housing minister says closing door on newcomers is no solution to housing crunch
- Chair Bradley calls projected 9% increase in 2024 Regional budget “unacceptable”
- Almost two-thirds of surveyed enterprises adopted an advanced technology in 2022
- Shining a light on West Lincoln businesses in the “Your Niagara” campaign
- Niagara-on-the-Lake to consider master business licence program
- Declining travel impacting Canadian business travellers’ careers, SAP Concur survey finds
- More price increase requests from large global brands in Q2, Loblaw execs say
- Reading Recommendation: Human Resources
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Economy grew 0.3% in May, but wildfires caused decline in energy sector
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 0.3% in May, Statistics Canada has revealed today, following a 0.1% uptick in April. Services-producing industries were up 0.5%, while goods-producing industries partially offset the increase with a 0.3% decline in May. Overall, 12 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.
A rebound in wholesale and public administration helped boost GDP, with the latter bouncing back in May as most federal government workers who were on strike returned to work by the end of April.
The energy sector, which was severely impacted by wildfires in May, was down 2.1%. This was the sector’s first decline in five months and its largest since August 2020. In May 2023, the energy sector was most impacted by declines in mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction, which fell 2.9%.
Government of Canada “very disappointed” in U.S. softwood lumber tariffs
“Canada is very disappointed that the United States continues to impose unwarranted and unfair duties on Canadian softwood lumber,” said Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development Mary Ng in a statement issued today. “The only fair outcome would be for the United States to cease applying these baseless duties. Canada will continue to vigorously defend its softwood lumber industry and the entrepreneurs, workers and communities it supports.”
The new combined “all others” duty rate that will apply to most softwood lumber exports after the fourth administrative review by the U.S. Department of Commerce is 7.99%, compared to the previous rate of 8.59% from the third administrative reviews.
New housing minister says closing door on newcomers is no solution to housing crunch
Canada’s new housing and infrastructure minister says closing the door to newcomers is not the solution to the country’s housing woes, and has instead endorsed building more homes to accommodate higher immigration flows.
Sean Fraser, who previously served as immigration minister, was sworn in recently as part of a Liberal government cabinet shuffle aimed at showcasing a fresh team ahead of the next federal election.
He comes into the role at a time when strong population growth through immigration is adding pressure to housing demand at a time when the country is struggling with an affordability crisis.
“The answer is, at least in part, to continue to build more stock,” Fraser told reporters after being sworn in.
Chair Bradley calls projected 9% increase in 2024 Regional budget “unacceptable”
Niagara Regional Councillors have started work on the 2024 Regional budget. Currently, a 9 per cent increase is projected for next year.
In a statement, Regional Chair Jim Bradley said that he found “an increase of this amount to be unacceptable, and it is my expectation that senior staff will work with Regional Council to find ways to manage the increase and bring in a budget that is more affordable to taxpayers.
“Last year’s property tax increase from the Region and the local municipalities was unaffordable for many and those elected to public office need to do more to keep taxes under control,” the Chair continued.
Almost two-thirds of surveyed enterprises adopted an advanced technology in 2022
In 2022, 62.1% of enterprises in sectors covered by Statistics Canada’s 2022 Survey of Advanced Technology (SAT) adopted at least one type of advanced technology, led by enterprises in utilities (80.5%), professional, scientific and technical services (75.2%), finance and insurance (75.1%) and manufacturing (74.9%).
The top three obstacles reported by enterprises that did not adopt advanced technologies were related to low returns on investment or long payback periods from such investments (40.6%), recruiting skilled staff (36.7%) and difficulty to integrate new advanced technologies with existing systems (34.7%).
Shining a light on West Lincoln businesses in the “Your Niagara” campaign
When people think of Niagara, they often overlook the remarkable contributions of all twelve municipalities. That’s why Niagara Region Economic Development, in collaboration with GNCC, local agencies, chambers, and partners, launched the “Your Niagara” digital campaign. Each month, it features a different Niagara municipality and showcases key businesses within the community. This July, the spotlight shines on West Lincoln.
Niagara-on-the-Lake to consider master business licence program
Not every new business in Niagara-on-the-Lake is going to get a friendly fire safety reminder from a neighbour, and that’s why a town councillor has asked for a new business licensing program to be explored.
Coun. Maria Mavridis brought forward a motion at the July 25 council meeting calling for staff to “investigate options (including a shared services option), costs, required resources, benefits and impacts of implementing a Master Business Licence Program in the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.”
Declining travel impacting Canadian business travellers’ careers, SAP Concur survey finds
Research from SAP Concur reveals the most pressing challenges facing Canadian business travellers today. Serving as an annual touchpoint to assess the realities of the business travel landscape, the survey uncovers how factors including economic inflation, job security, and safety concerns are impacting corporate travel.
The survey polls 3,850 business travellers in 25 global markets which includes 250 respondents within Canada.
Even as the logistics of business travel become increasingly subject to economic volatility, 94 per cent of Canadian travellers say the future of their career depends on successful business travel in the coming year.
More price increase requests from large global brands in Q2, Loblaw execs say
Loblaw’s top brass have doubled down on their sentiments towards consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies and what the grocer views as unjustified cost increase requests.
On the company’s second quarter earnings call Wednesday (July 26), chief financial officer Richard Dufresne said that, since inflation began, one of Loblaw’s largest vendors submitted price increase requests totalling a quarter of a billion dollars.
The food retail giant also called out multinational CPGs on its Q1 call in May for “outsized” cost increase requests.
Did you know?
Sensitive radiological equipment cannot be manufactured with steel made since 1945 owing to trace contamination from nuclear weapon tests. Steel scavenged from pre-war shipwrecks is often used instead.
Focus on Human Resources
Unlocking business potential: The link between workplace safety, the bottom line and employee retention
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) has conducted its Health and Safety Leadership Survey for the past four years to shed light on trends, attitudes, and behaviours and assist leaders in planning and decision-making.
Survey respondents include leaders, employees, health and safety and human resources decision-makers and influencers from organizations of all types and sizes. Responses are categorized based on level of maturity.
We’ve watched attitudes and trends shift as we’ve approached the pandemic, moved through it, and now are emerging from it. Despite all the variables and challenges over this time, one thing remains the same: Leading organizations have a distinct advantage over others in the less mature categories.
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.