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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: June 13, 2022

Service Canada to hire 600 employees to help with passport backlog, 1 in 4 homeowners would have to sell if interest rates rise, and more.

In this edition:

Service Canada to hire 600 employees to help with passport backlog
Nearly 1 in 4 homeowners would have to sell if interest rates rise
Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19, for second time
Canadian stocks re-enter correction territory
Port Colborne hosting open house for affordable housing strategy
Residential construction investment rises for 7th straight month

Service Canada to hire 600 employees to help with passport backlog

Over the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, the volume of passport applications was relatively low, due to a reduction in travel following the imposition of public health restrictions and travel advisories. With the easing of restrictions and the resumption of travel, Service Canada has experienced an increase in passport applications across the country. In the first two years of the pandemic, only 20% of normal passport volume was received (from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021- 363,000 passports, and from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 – 1,273,000 passports issued).  Since April 1, 2022, over 542,000 applications were received. As a result, Service Canada is experiencing increased passport processing times and is prioritizing those travelling imminently.

In a statement, Minister Gould said that these wait times were “far from acceptable.”

Already, Service Canada has hired approximately 600 new employees this year, and will continue to hire up to 600 additional employees, along with continued internal reassignment of staff to work on delivery of passport services.

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Nearly 1 in 4 homeowners would have to sell if interest rates rise more, survey finds

Nearly one in four homeowners say they will have to sell their home if interest rates go up further, according to a new debt survey from Manulife Bank of Canada.

The survey, conducted between April 14 and April 20, also found that 18 per cent of homeowners polled are already at a stage where they can’t afford their homes.

Over one in five Canadians expect rising interest rates to have a “significant negative impact” on their overall mortgage, debt and financial situation, the survey found.

The Bank of Canada remains on a rate-hike path as it tries to tame inflation, which is now at a 31-year high at 6.8 per cent. On June 1, the central bank increased its key interest rate by half a percentage point to 1.5 per cent.

The Manulife survey also found that two-thirds of Canadians do not view home ownership as affordable in their local community.

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Prime Minister Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19, for second time

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has tested positive for COVID-19, for the second time.

In a tweet posted Monday morning, Trudeau said he’ll be “following public health guidelines and isolating.”

Last week, Trudeau was in Los Angeles to attend the Summit of the Americas, where he met with a number of top officials, including U.S. President Joe Biden.

“I feel okay, but that’s because I got my shots. So, if you haven’t, get vaccinated – and if you can, get boosted. Let’s protect our healthcare system, each other, and ourselves,” the prime minister posted.

Click here to read more.

Canadian stocks re-enter correction territory amid rate hike nerves

Canada’s main stock market tumbled back into correction territory on Monday and the dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart as investors raised bets on how high central banks would lift interest rates to tackle inflation.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 2% at 19,867.43, which left it 10.1% below the record closing high it notched in March.

A correction is confirmed when an index closes 10% below its record closing high. The TSX did that on May 11 and May 12 but then rallied.

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Port Colborne hosting open house for affordable housing strategy

Tim Welch Consulting, the consulting firm hired to complete the City of Port Colborne’s affordable housing strategy, will be joining city staff to host an open house on Tues., July 5, 2022, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the L.R. Wilson Heritage Research Archives, 286 King Street.

The consultants will lead the open house with a short presentation about housing needs in Port Colborne, followed by opportunities for attendees to browse poster boards, ask questions, and provide input on the vision, goals, and recommendations of the affordable housing strategy.

The open house will be split into two identical sessions, one beginning at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m., and the other at 8 p.m. Space is limited, and online registration is required at

Click here to read more.

Residential construction investment rises for 7th straight month

Investment in building construction increased by 2.7% to $20.9 billion in April. Gains were reported in both the residential (+3.2%) and the non-residential sectors (+1.4%). Residential construction investment rose for a seventh consecutive month, up 3.2% to $15.7 billion in April. British Columbia (+8.3%) led the way and reached a record high.

Investment in the non-residential construction sector advanced 1.4% in April, with seven provinces posting increases. Investment in industrial construction increased 1.7% to $931 million, with Ontario accounting for most of the net growth.

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Reading Recommendations

Crypto market crashes anew as trading platform Celsius freezes up

CBC News

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies plunged through the weekend and into Monday as high inflation sent investors running for the exits and caused major trading platforms to seize up.

Bitcoin was changing hands below $23,000 US at one point on Monday morning, down 20 per cent since Friday and enough to push the value of the world’s dominant cryptocurrency down to its lowest point since December 2020.

The sell-off prompted a major crypto exchange, called Celsius, to halt withdrawals on Sunday evening, meaning investors can’t take what’s left of their money out. “We are taking this action today to put Celsius in a better position to honour, over time, its withdrawal obligations,” said the exchange, which had roughly $11 billion in customer deposits on its books.

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The Clues You Missed: 5 Super-Obvious Signs We Were in a Financial Bubble

New York Magazine

We should have seen it coming. At least that’s what a lot of investors (big-time ones and Robinhood speculators alike) are telling themselves right now with financial assets of all sorts in freefall this year. More than ten years of a bull market, a flood of money from the Federal Reserve, and a new world of technology in everything from money to cars and even art made the future seem limitless. Only now are some people finding out — many of them for the first time — that the laws of the market have not been repealed. Inflation, the war in Ukraine, and rising interest rates are pummeling the markets, and no one knows when it will end.

The S&P 500 — the stock index that most likely is in your 401(k) — is down 19 percent this year to date. That is perilously close to the official definition of a bear market: 20 percent or more from the peak. Meanwhile, the NASDAQ, where the lofty tech names trade, is down 28 percent this year, SPACs and crypto have collapsed, and private markets are seizing up.

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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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