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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 11, 2022

Labour force grows in Niagara, unemployment rate down, Enterprise Centres offer free virtual event for food entrepreneurs, and more.

In this edition:

Labour force grows in Niagara, unemployment rate down
Enterprise Centres offer free virtual event for food entrepreneurs
Port Colborne patio fees waived, season extended
Ontario providing support for ginseng farmers
Government of Canada releases draft legislative proposals to implement Luxury Tax

Labour force grows in Niagara, unemployment rate down

Niagara’s total labour force grew from 228,000 to 233,600 between January and February 2022, while the unemployment rate dropped from 7.8% to 6.3% – now the same as the provincial average. The labour force is considerably larger than it was in February 2020, pre-pandemic, when it numbered 221,300. The unemployment rate is the lowest seen since February 2022, when it was 5.5%.

Statistics Canada reports that national data, showing employment growth of 1.8% in February, more than offset the 1% loss in January as new restrictions took a toll on the economy.

Many employers, particularly in the service sector, have reported difficulty finding workers, while non-profits and charities have had similar trouble recruiting volunteers. A tight labour market tends to drive wages up, exacerbating inflationary pressures, already at historic levels. In January 2022, Canadian inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) surpassed 5% for the first time since September 1991, rising 5.1% on a year-over-year basis and up from a 4.8% increase in December 2021.

On a year-over-year basis, average hourly wages increased 3.1% (+$0.92) in February 2022. Since the fall of 2021, coinciding with strong employment growth, average hourly wages have been on an upward trend on a year-over-year basis, reaching 2.7% in December 2021 before falling back to 2.4% in January 2022. In 2019, when the unemployment rate fell to record lows, year-over-year wage growth averaged 3.5%, and reached 4.6% in November of that year.

Other national indicators point to an increasingly tight labour market in February. Total hours worked increased 3.6%, while the employment rate, or the proportion of the population aged 15 and older who were employed, rose 1.0 percentage points to 61.8%.

Accommodation and food service posted substantial gains nationally, at 12.6%, while information, culture and recreation picked up by 9.9%. Public-sector and self-employed numbers remained flat; the private sector was responsible for all gains seen.

Hours spent working from home declined, as employees reporting spending “most of their time” working from home fell to 37.2% from 43% in January. Absenteeism fell similarly from a record high of 10% in January to 6.2%, a typical rate for the time of year. Both were likely caused by the impact of the Omicron variant in January and its subsequent retreat.

Click here to read more.

Enterprise Centres offer free virtual event for food entrepreneurs

On March 31, 2022, the St. Catharines Enterprise Centre (SCEC), the Niagara Falls Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), and Venture Niagara will bring together leading business professionals in the food and beverage industry to explore ways to build a profitable business. The free virtual event will feature business experts from a variety of industry perspectives discussing topics such as labeling and packaging; inspection requirements; Ministry incentives and regulations; and personal stories.

The keynote presentation will be delivered by Dana Mcauley, Chief Experience Officer of the Canadian Food Innovation Network. The event will also feature a local stories panel moderated by Tiffany Mayer of Eating Niagara. Local business owners from Fiesta Empanada, The Bagel Oven, Incoho, and The Grove will discuss their entrepreneurial journeys, successes and challenges along the way, and provide local perspectives.

Registration is required. Visit for more information and to sign up. Table Talk is a Bridges to Better Business free event, supported by the Province of Ontario, FedDev Ontario, the City of St. Catharines, the City of Niagara Falls, and Venture Niagara.

Port Colborne patio fees waived, season extended

Based on staff report recommendations, Port Colborne council agreed that patio fees be waived for 2022. Other important guideline changes include extending the operating season from April 1 to Nov. 15 and approving patios of up to two (or any space within) parking stalls per business and no more than three pop-up patios per block on West Street. If more patios are requested than the amount permitted, the city will conduct a parking evaluation as well as a lottery for any available spaces.

Business interested in applying for a pop-up patio can contact Bram Cotton, economic development officer, at 905-835-2900 x504 or email

Ontario providing support for ginseng farmers

The Ontario government is supporting the creation of an industry-led pilot loan guarantee program to assist the province’s ginseng farmers in sustaining and growing their business.

The $130 million, three-year commitment to back the Ginseng Storage Loan Guarantee Pilot Program enables participating farmers to borrow up to $1 million against the value of their stored crops with the government guaranteeing up to 25 per cent of any loan portion that cannot be repaid.

The program will launch on April 1, 2022, and will be delivered and financed by the Agricultural Credit Corporation which also delivers the Commodity Loan Guarantee Program.

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Government of Canada releases draft legislative proposals to implement Luxury Tax

n Budget 2021, the government proposed the introduction of a tax on the sale of new luxury cars and aircraft with a retail sale price over $100,000, and new boats over $250,000. The tax would be calculated at the lesser of 20 per cent of the value above these price thresholds or 10 per cent of the full value of the luxury vehicle, aircraft or vessel.

To implement this commitment, today the government released for public comment draft legislative proposals. The draft legislative proposals reflect, and respond to, input received during consultations with stakeholders.

The draft legislative proposals released today build on, and replace, the backgrounder that was released on August 10, 2021, as part of the consultation on the proposed Luxury Tax.

Click here to read more.

Reading Recommendations

Update on Ukraine

Prime Minister announces additional Russian sanctions and new aid for Ukrainians

Today, the Prime Minister announced that Canada is imposing new sanctions under the Special Economic Measures (Russia) Regulations. These new measures will impose restrictions on 32 entities working in Russia’s defence sector and on five current and former Russian senior officials and associates of the regime who are complicit in President Putin’s choice to invade a peaceful and sovereign country. These measures build on a growing number of sanctions previously announced.

While in Poland, the Prime Minister announced additional measures and investments to continue supporting Ukraine amidst Russia’s ongoing aggression, including:

  • Matching an additional $20 million in donations from Canadians to the Canadian Red Cross, for a total of $30 million in government contributions to support immediate and ongoing relief efforts in the region;
  • Allocating $50 million, from Canada’s $100 million contribution for humanitarian aid in the region, to: the World Food Programme, the UN Refugee Agency, the World Health Organization, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, HelpAge, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, and others to provide immediate assistance where it is needed most; and
  • Investing an additional $117 million to implement Canada’s new immigration measures to welcome those fleeing the war in Ukraine. This funding will help set up new immigration pathways, expedite the processing of applications, and provide support to newcomers once they arrive in Canada.

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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