In this edition:
GNCC welcomes wine industry supports, border restrictions remain a challenge
Ontario fuel tax cuts take effect tomorrow
Niagara Region commits to addressing anti-Indigenous racism
NACI recommends fall COVID booster
Minister Gould issues statement on passport processing
GNCC welcomes new wine industry support program, but border restrictions remain a business challenge
Yesterday, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced details of a new two-year, up to $166-million Wine Sector Support Program.
As Canada’s most prominent wine-producing region, Niagara’s economy will be particularly assisted by this program. The GNCC welcomed the decision, recognizing its importance to the region.
“Niagara wine is world-class, as we all know,” said GNCC CEO Mishka Balsom. “However, that also means we are on the world stage with wines from France, Italy, California, Australia, and other world industries that often have greater resources available. This program will help Niagara’s wine industry hold and build upon the world recognition it deserves.”
However, news of the program was followed by an announcement that the Government of Canada would continue its COVID-19 border measures, including the use of the ArriveCan app, until at least September 30. The GNCC joins tourism associations, municipal governments, and many others in calling for these measures to be scrapped.
“We have heard many times that these measures, particularly the ArriveCan app, are onerous and present an additional barrier to foreign tourists at a time when tourism is struggling to recover from two years of restrictions,” said Balsom. “This is just another pain point for an embattled industry. We have widespread staffing problems, skyrocketing prices for supplies and materials, supply chain interruptions, and delays and confusion at airports and border crossings.”
The Chamber had previously urged the Government of Canada to abolish the measures before their self-imposed June 30 deadline, and ran a community-driven “Scrap the App” campaign encouraging the government to abolish mandatory use of the ArriveCan app for entry to Canada. The GNCC still hopes that some or all of the restrictions could be lifted before the tourism season ends, and is committed to working with local MPs and with the Government of Canada to do as much as possible to help Niagara’s tourism sector.
Ontario fuel tax cuts to take effect tomorrow
Effective July 1 until December 31, 2022, the gas tax rate will be cut from 14.7 cents per litre to 9 cents per litre, representing a cut of 5.7 cents per litre. The fuel tax rate, which applies to diesel, will be reduced from 14.3 cents per litre to 9 cents per litre, representing a cut of 5.3 cents per litre. The Ontario government is also encouraging the federal government to reduce the cost of the carbon tax.
Gasoline and fuel tax is imposed directly on consumers. To facilitate the collection of this tax, an amount equal to the tax is prepaid to the Ministry of Finance by designated collectors and importers. This amount is then included in the price paid by wholesalers and retailers. The consumer pays the tax at the pump, which offsets the amount the retailer pre-paid to its supplier.
When the gas and fuel tax rates decrease on July 1, 2022, the Ministry of Finance will provide tax adjustments for registered collectors and importers for gas and fuel inventory on hand where the higher tax was paid as of July 1 to reimburse them for the tax adjustment they will provide to retailers.
Niagara Region commits to address anti-Indigenous racism and work towards reconciliation
One year ago, Regional Council adopted Niagara’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, which included the recommendations put forward under the Mno Bmaadziwin (Living the Good and Healthy Life) Indigenous Engagement Report.
Recently, Regional Council endorsed a public statement from CAO Ron Tripp reaffirming Niagara Region’s commitment to addressing systemic discrimination and anti-Indigenous racism within its institution.
Municipal governments, as well as other levels of government in Canada, share responsibility and have an important role to play in eradicating anti-Indigenous racism and discrimination, and fostering equity and respect for all.
NACI recommends fall COVID-19 booster shot in advance of possible future wave in Canada
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is recommending booster shots this fall in advance of a possible future wave of COVID-19 in Canada.
In a release Wednesday, NACI says jurisdictions should plan to offer boosters to people who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID regardless of the number of booster doses they previously received.
It says this should include people 65 years of age and older, residents of long-term care or living facilities, and individuals 12 years of age and older with an underlying medical condition that places them at high risk of severe COVID-19.
The recommendation also includes adults in Indigenous, racialized and marginalized communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences, as well as quarters for migrant workers, shelters, correctional facilities and group homes.
NACI also recommends that boosters be offered to all other individuals from 12 to 64 years of age regardless of the number of booster doses they have previously received.
Minister Gould issues statement on passport processing
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould today issued a statement on steps being taken to accelerate passport processing.
“Recently, Service Canada has made some progress in making lineups at specialized passport sites more manageable and predictable, particularly in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver,” said the Minister. “As of July 4, this approach will also be implemented at specialized passport sites in Calgary and Edmonton.
“Service Canada’s regional staff have put additional amenities in place. Staff have provided water to those waiting in line, waiting areas with better shelter and offered additional facilities including restrooms. While I do not pretend to believe these small steps make the lengthy waits acceptable, I will continue to direct staff to do all they can to create a more hospitable environment for those who are seeking passport services.
“Today, Service Canada began publishing weekly data updates to give Canadians a clearer picture of the current passport volume it is handling. 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.”
Beyond Buzzwords: Canada’s Cultural Problem Around Digital Transformation
In an interview with Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, Senior Director of Digital Economy, Technology, and Innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Alex Webb, CEO at F12.net, discusses how Canada’s fear of failure and risk averseness are becoming one of its biggest risks and how a more proactive and bolder approach to digital transformation will benefit Canadian businesses and the economy in the long run.
Canada’s economy grew in April, but May contraction expected
Statistics Canada says real gross domestic product grew 0.3 per cent in April.
The agency says the growth was led by the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector and client-facing industries.
However, its early estimate for May indicates the economy contracted by 0.2 per cent for the month. The official reading for May is expected on July 29.
“If the May drop holds, it would represent only the second monthly GDP decline in a year (January also fell on Omicron restrictions),” BMO chief economist Doug Porter said in a commentary.
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.