In this edition:
- GNCC celebrates three years of the Daily Update
- Raw material prices fall
- Inflation is easing but Ottawa faces pressure to help those who have fallen behind
- Businesses expect slower sales in short term as cost, labour issues persist: survey
- PM launches Housing Accelerator Fund
- Canada vs. Finland hockey match to be held in Niagara Falls
- Welland Canal to open Wednesday
- Canadian investors make largest divestment of foreign securities since March 2022
- Ontario to provide $1.25bn for hiring and retaining long-term care home staff
- Military reservists to be provided with job-protected leave
- Meridian recognized in 2023 Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces
- NPCA and Knight Archives partner for Earth Day
GNCC celebrates three years of the Daily Update
On March 17, 2020, we issued the first-ever GNCC Daily Update. Governments around the world were struggling to deal with the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. There was a near-constant stream of new directions and requirements, sometimes only hours apart. To try and reduce this confusion, we started to send an update at the end of every day summarizing the important changes.
What began as a COVID-19 update grew and evolved. The crisis of the coronavirus was replaced with labour shortages, inflation, supply chain issues, and fears of recession. The Update pivoted as well, and we began to include business news, business updates from all levels of government, data products, and reading recommendations.
The Daily Update is now received by four thousand people every day. You will have seen adverts and paid content as well, which help us maintain the Update as a free service to the community. Advertisers, in return, receive space in the region’s premier business news source and an industry-leading open rate. If you would like to see your business featured in the Daily Update, please contact us.
We hope that you have find the Daily Update useful and that it helps you and your organization stay up-to-date on the news you need to know about. It is our pleasure to serve you.
Raw material prices fall
Prices of products manufactured in Canada, as measured by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), declined 0.8% month over month in February and rose 1.4% year over year. Prices of raw materials purchased by manufacturers operating in Canada, as measured by the Raw Materials Price Index (RMPI), decreased 0.4% on a monthly basis in February and were down 5.2% year over year.
Prices for energy and petroleum products fell 5.8% on a monthly basis in February. Prices decreased for diesel (-11.7%) and finished motor gasoline (-2.9%), while prices for primary ferrous metal products (+1.7%) were up month over month for the first time since June 2022, and prices for softwood lumber rose 7.4% month over month in February, after falling for six consecutive months.
Inflation is easing but Ottawa faces pressure to help those who have fallen behind
Canada’s inflation rate likely took another dip last month, but with many Canadians still struggling with the cost of living, the federal government is facing pressure to deliver more help in the upcoming budget.
Statistics Canada is set to release its February consumer price index report on Tuesday, giving its most up-to-date reading on inflation ahead of the federal government’s budget on March 28.
Desjardins and RBC are both forecasting the inflation rate fell to 5.4 per cent last month, down from 5.9 per cent in January.
But even as inflation eases, the federal government has signalled the budget will include affordability measures to help Canadians still challenged by the cost-of-living.
Desjardins’ chief economist Jimmy Jean said all eyes are on Ottawa to balance affordability priorities with fiscal restraint.
Businesses expect slower sales in short term as cost, labour issues persist: survey
Businesses expect subdued sales in the short term as they face continued cost and labour pressures, despite slowing inflation, according to a survey by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s Business Data Lab released the results of its first-quarter poll on business conditions on Thursday, which found one-third of companies expect to raise prices next quarter.
The retail, accommodation and food services sector, along with wholesale trade, construction and manufacturing sectors, reported feeling the most impacted by ongoing price pressures.
Businesses said they expect inflation to remain the top obstacle over the next three months at 58 per cent, followed by input costs at 46 per cent and interest rates and debt costs at 40 per cent. Inflation slowed to 5.9 per cent in January, down from 6.3 per cent the month prior. Statistics Canada is expected to release February’s inflation rate next Tuesday.
Most companies with at least five employees said they are still concerned about labour challenges, which businesses plan to address through higher wages, more flexible work arrangements, and enhanced training, according to the survey.
PM launches Housing Accelerator Fund
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was in Guelph, Ontario today to launch the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), a $4 billion initiative that will provide funding for local governments to fast track the creation of 100,000 new homes across Canada. Local governments are now invited to develop innovative action plans, in line with the flexible criteria, to remove barriers to building more homes, faster.
The Fund aims to help cities, towns, and Indigenous governments unlock new housing supply by speeding up development and approvals, like fixing out-of-date permitting systems, introducing zoning reforms to build more density, or incentivizing development close to public transit. Local governments are being encouraged to “think big” and be innovative in their approaches. They could be accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, encouraging affordable housing units, and more. The Fund will provide upfront funding to support implementation, as well as additional funds upon delivering results.
Canada vs. Finland hockey match to be held in Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is set to host Canada vs. Finland at Gale Centre in Niagara Falls on Saturday, April 1, at 7 pm. In total, six communities across southern Ontario will play host to seven pre-tournament games featuring all 10 competing federations from March 29–April 2. The 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship tournament begins April 5 in Brampton.
Niagara hockey fans interested in attending the Canada vs. Finland game at the Gale Centre can purchase tickets at Gale Centre’s Box Office in advance for $20 per ticket (includes tax).
Visit HockeyCanada.ca for more details on the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Welland Canal to open Wednesday
The start of the 2023 shipping season will begin with the traditional Top Hat Ceremony on Wednesday, March 22nd. Port Colborne Mayor Bill Steele, representatives from federal and provincial governments and the marine industry will welcome the captain of the first downbound vessel for a brief ceremony.
Everyone is invited to attend.
Canadian investors make largest divestment of foreign securities since March 2022
Canadian investors reduced their holdings of foreign securities by $16.2 billion in January, the largest divestment since March 2022. Meanwhile, non-residents acquired $4.2 billion of Canadian securities in January 2023, down considerably from a $21.2 billion investment in December 2022.
As a result, international transactions in securities generated a net inflow of funds of $20.4 billion in the Canadian economy in January 2023, following a net inflow of funds of $151.0 billion in 2022.
Ontario to provide $1.25bn for hiring and retaining long-term care home staff
The Ontario government is providing up to $1.25 billion to long-term care homes this year to hire and retain thousands more long-term care staff across the province, to continue increasing the amount of direct care time provided to residents. This is part of the government’s historic four-year, $4.9 billion commitment to hire and retain more than 27,000 registered nurses, registered practical nurses and personal support workers over four years and ensure residents receive, on average, four hours of direct care per day by March 31, 2025.
Military reservists to be provided with job-protected leave
The Ontario government has introduced new legislation that, if passed, would guarantee military reservists can return to their civilian jobs after deployment, even if they need additional time off to recover from physical or mental injuries. Of the Canadian 40,000 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan, nearly one in seven developed a mental injury attributed to trauma from their mission.
In addition, the proposed legislation would make Ontario among the first in Canada to allow reservists to respond and deploy to domestic emergencies – including search and rescue operations, recovery from national disasters such as flood relief, and military aid following ice storms – even if they just started a new job. Similarly, reservists would be eligible for job-protected leave when deployed abroad or upgrading their military skills after just two months – as opposed to the current three.
Meridian recognized in 2023 Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces
Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, and second largest in Canada, has been named one of the 2023 Achievers 50 Most Engaged Workplaces® in North America. The annual award recognizes top employers demonstrating leadership in innovative employee engagement and recognition.
The award evaluates organizations based on the eight elements of employee engagement, including manager empowerment, culture alignment, wellbeing, recognition and awards, purpose and leadership, professional and personal growth, accountability and performance, and belonging, equity and inclusion.
NPCA and Knight Archives partner for Earth Day
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) and Knight Archives are pleased to once again partner for an Earth Day fundraising campaign. From April 3 to 28, 2023, Knight Archives will be donating proceeds from their purges and walk-in paper shredding to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Foundation for the purchase of trees to be planted in Grimsby.
Knight Archives is a local document management business in Beamsville. Their 2022 Shredding Earth Day campaign raised $3,000 to plant 2,206 trees at Two Mile Creek Conservation Area. The planting completed at this site was an important part of a forest and stream rehabilitation project started in 2021, to address concerns of invasive species and ecosystem diversity at the conservation area.
Proceeds from this year’s campaign will support the planting of native trees along the 40 Mile Creek corridor in Grimsby, through a joint project between the NPCA and the Town of Grimsby.
Focus on Crypto
Here’s how ChatGPT-4 spends $100 in crypto trading
PT-4, the latest version of artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, believes the events of the last seven days could be bullish for Bitcoin, Ether, and Cosmos’ ATOM, according to an AI-trading experiment run by Cointelegraph.
The experiment is aimed at understanding GPT-4’s potential biases toward certain cryptocurrencies, how the events of last week could impact investment decisions, and whether it can adjust strategy to eventually turn a profit.
The experiment began on March 17, instructing the chatbot to allocate $100 to “make as much money as possible in the shortest time.” The prompt had to be written in a way so that GPT would be comfortable giving out trading instructions.
Microsoft is testing a built-in crypto wallet in Microsoft Edge
Microsoft is working on a non-custodial built-in Ethereum crypto wallet for Microsoft Edge to allow users to send and receive cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Public keys can be shared with others to receive payments, while private keys should be kept secret and can be used to authorize transactions when you want to spend your cryptocurrency.
Microsoft sleuth Albacore who first spotted the new Edge Crypto Wallet tweeted some screenshots and expressed his puzzlement about the possibility of it ending up as a new Microsoft Edge feature.
It is not yet rolling out to Insiders, and it’s most likely only available to Microsoft Edge Dev Channel users as part of a very limited test phase.
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.