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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: June 3

In this edition:

  • Fort Erie welcomes $10 million of commercial investment
  • To cut or hold interest rates – all eyes are on the Bank of Canada
  • Investors reshaping Canadian agriculture
  • A CBSA strike could soon snarl border traffic. Here’s what you need to know
  • St. Catharines Council adopts Waterfront Access Master Plan (WAMP)
  • Loblaw testing out small format No Frills grocery stores
  • Immigration provides important buffer for Canadian economy as population greys: RBC
  • June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada
  • Focus on Health and Safety

Fort Erie welcomes $10 million of commercial investment

The Town of Fort Erie is delighted to announce the official ground-breaking construction of the long-awaited Ridgeway Centre, a new multi-use, retail commercial development at the intersection of Gorham Road and Dominion Road, servicing the Ridgeway, Crystal Beach, and Stevensville areas.

With an initial investment of $10 million, Phase 1 of the development includes 16,000 square feet of commercial space. The anchor tenants include McDonald’s and the LCBO. McDonald’s is expected to be open by late July with the LCBO opening by the end of 2024.

Additional units are available for lease and range in size from 1,200 square feet to 6,700 square feet. Phase 2 development planning for the Ridgeway Centre is already underway.

Long-time Fort Erie developer David Kompson and his business partner Anthony Annunziata have provided a steadfast determination to bring this project to life. Their shared vision, creativity, and focus on the community, will enhance Fort Erie’s commercial business landscape.

Click here for more details.

To cut or hold interest rates – all eyes are on the Bank of Canada

This Wednesday’s rate-setting announcement will be closely watched for the obvious reason that some expect the Bank of Canada to cut rates for the first time since it began cranking them up in March 2022.

A less obvious reason is that a failure to cut or at least signal that a trim is coming very soon risks grinding the economy to a harmfully slow pace.

“It would be a mistake to maintain this degree of pressure on the economy now that inflation is decelerating sharply,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets, adding that a cut to the current five per cent overnight rate would be “well justified” in June.

“Standing pat for too long while inflation tumbles risks dishing out more economic pain than necessary to hit the two per cent (inflation) target,” he said.

Click here for more details.

Investors reshaping Canadian agriculture

Experts say the economic forces now reshaping agriculture are similar to ones that have transformed residential real estate over the last two decades, with investors – from pension plans to well-to-do urban families – fuelling speculation and driving up real estate prices.

“Any time you increase the amount of buyers and increase the demand, it’s definitely going to contribute to the increases in values,” said Ryan Parker, an agricultural real estate appraiser with London-based, Valco Consultants.

In the 11 counties Parker monitors in southwestern Ontario, farmland values have risen 60 per cent from 2020 to 2023, to an average of about $35,000 an acre — a price that puts land acquisition out of reach for many.

Click here for more details.

A CBSA strike could soon snarl border traffic. Here is what you need to know

Just as the summer travel season gets into gear, Canadians and visitors could find themselves waiting in long lines at the border — delays that could also deal a blow to the economy.

It all depends on what happens with a potential strike by workers at the Canada Border Services Agency, which could start as soon as Thursday.

What’s going on?

More than 9,000 Public Service Alliance of Canada members who work for the CBSA, including border guards, have secured a strike mandate. The two sides go into mediation on June 3, and the union will be in a position to strike as of June 6.

Click here for more details.

St. Catharines Council adopts Waterfront Access Master Plan (WAMP) 

The City’s WAMP provides recommendations to improve access, connectivity, and enjoyment of the Lake Ontario waterfront at City-owned shoreline properties.

The project study area runs the entire shoreline, including the beaches, parks, trails, and other access points along the waterfront. Existing waterfront access is via either beach, boat launch, lookout, or stairs.

The City completed the WAMP as a guiding document to determine how existing and future access points could be provided to residents and visitors in a safe, accessible, and equitable way.

Click here for more details.

Loblaw testing out small format No Frills grocery stores

Loblaw is testing smaller-format discount stores across the country this year as shoppers increasingly look for ways to save on their grocery bill.

The company has a handful of smaller discount stores already but plans to “lean in” to the strategy as a way of reaching more customers, said Melanie Singh, who leads Loblaw’s discount division that includes No Frills and Maxi.

Click here for more details.

Immigration provides important buffer for Canadian economy as population greys: RBC

Carrie Freestone, an economist with RBC, said Canada’s retirees are still consuming goods and services, including health care, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits, creating an imbalance between demand and what the economy can produce. As fewer people pay into public service programs and more people become recipients, Freestone added it widens the gap between government tax revenue and money needed to pay for services.

“That’s a problem,” she said in an interview. “If we have fewer people working and producing goods and services and we have more people consuming, there’s a mismatch between supply and demand.”

With Canada’s recent scale-backs to its immigration policies, the country’s population size is expected to be 2.5 per cent smaller in 2027, compared with the original estimates if the policy remained unchanged, the report said. The cap on non-permanent residents means 1.1 million fewer people in Canada by 2027.

Click here for more details.

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada 

This is an opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions and experiences of First Nations, Inuit and Métis. It is a time to honour the stories, achievements and resilience of Indigenous Peoples, who have lived on this land since time immemorial and whose presence continues to impact the evolving Canada.

Each week throughout the month of June, specific aspects of Indigenous history, cultures and perspectives will be highlighted. Explore learning resources on each theme:

  • June 1 to 9: Environment, traditional knowledge and territory
  • June 10 to 16: Children and youth
  • June 17 to 23: Languages, cultures and arts
  • June 24 to 30: Women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people

Click here for more details.

Did you know?

Boeing’s Starliner test flight was scrubbed on Saturday after hold in final countdown. The ground launch sequencer computer called a hold at T-minus 3 minutes, 50 seconds.

Focus on Health and Safety

Union members and allies marked Injured Workers’ Day in locations across Ontario

OHS Canada

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) supported several events across Ontario on June 1, as injured workers and their allies marked Injured Workers’ Day in the province.

In Toronto, over 100 people joined a rally at Queen’s Park, which included speeches by injured workers and supporters.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. It is the largest provincial labour federation in Canada.

Click here to read more.

Why Canada needs to prioritize public safety

BNN Bloomberg Editorial 

As we head into summer, Canadians across the country are bracing for what could be another intense wildfire season. So too are the country’s first responders, who will once again be working day and night to keep citizens and the country’s forests safe. While firefighters and other emergency personnel have many tools needed for the job, there is one area that needs improvement: wireless communications.

According to a 2022 Public Safety Canada report, the country’s emergency response system has potentially hazardous shortcomings that could make a tough situation worse. Most notably, Canada’s first responders rely largely on legacy land mobile radio (LMR) networks – walkie-talkies – and for data connectivity they tap into commercial cellular networks without any specialized security or prioritization. “This effectively creates communication silos that make coordination a significant challenge,” according to the report.

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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