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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 24, 2023

In this edition:

2023 Ontario budget roundup

Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley states, “I am pleased to see that our advocacy on a number of critical issues has helped to motivate the provincial government to provide much needed increases in funding.”

Ontario Chamber of Commerce President Rocco Rossi remarks, “we appreciate the government’s focus on fiscal responsibility while maintaining growth-enabling investments that support greater productivity.”

CBC News reports on “biggest-ever $204B budget, but one with little to ease daily affordability issues.”

The Toronto Star reports that the budget has “more money for health care, but little to help fight inflation.”

TVO Today calls it “good news for the government, bad news for big cities.”

CTV News said the budget placed “an emphasis on industry in an effort to support an uncertain economy.”

The Toronto Sun commented on the “ambitious goal to build an end-to-end electric vehicle industry. ”

Restaurants Canada says it is “pleased to see several welcomed initiatives announced in yesterday’s Ontario Budget.”

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses was “encouraged that [the] budget continues the Ontario government’s consistent ‘do no harm’ approach to small business policy.”

The Ontario Road Builders’ Association “congratulates and thanks the Ontario Government’s significant increase in transportation infrastructure investments announced yesterday in the 2023 provincial budget.”

The Ontario Home Builders’ Association said the budget took “important steps forward to help accelerate the delivery of housing supply.”

The Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) “welcomes the Ontario Government’s continued investment in critical infrastructure.”

Applications now open for STCPatio program

The City of St. Catharines is helping restaurants, bars and food establishments get their seasonal patios up and running for the start of patio season.

Applications are open for the City’s new Seasonal Temporary Commercial Patio (STCPatio) Program to support businesses wanting to expand their service areas outside with temporary patios for the upcoming season.

St. Catharines City Council recently approved the amalgamation of the City’s Temporary Outdoor Patios During COVID-19 Recovery and the Sidewalk and Curbside Patio programs to create a new program offering one annual application supporting STCPatios on both municipal and private property.

Click here to read more.

Wainfleet, Grimsby pass budgets with tax hikes

Wainfleet Council passed its 2023 municipal budget at their regular meeting held on Tuesday March 21, 2023. The Budget includes a tax levy requirement of $6,175,639 for local operating requirements, a $1,273,887 infrastructure levy, and a $872,655 capital levy.

The combined Township of Wainfleet municipal rate (consisting of the above-mentioned operating, infrastructure and capital levies) will mean an increase of about $0.35 cents per day in property taxes for the average residential home assessed at $320,000. This amounts to $129.98 over the course of the year – a 5.45% increase versus 2022.

Grimsby councillors approved the 2023 town levy on Tuesday, March 21, giving staff the green light to hire six new staff, increase its legal fees budget and fund several capital projects. All told, the average home assessed at $442,000 will be paying $129 more in 2023 on their overall tax bill.

As part of the consolidated budget, councillors also approved the roughly $52-million capital budget, which funds major one-time projects. This year includes a couple of major projects, including the Peach King Centre expansion as well as Casablanca Boulevard and GO station improvements.

Welland receives Longstanding Community Service Award from the United Way

The City of Welland has announced its receipt of the United Way’s Longstanding Community Service Award, an honour acknowledged on March 22 at the United Way’s Campaign Celebration event.

Throughout the year, the City’s United Way Committee organizes events and fundraisers for City staff to participate in, with all funds going to the United Way. Some of these events include the Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas fundraisers, which include 50/50 draws, special draws, a pizza tailgate, a Superbowl fundraiser, the Period Promise, Let’s Get Busy fundraisers, and payroll deductions (dress down days).

Click here to read more (PDF link).

Car and gasoline sales take lead in January retail bump

Retail sales picked up 1.4% to $66.4 billion in January, Statistics Canada reported today, with increases posted in seven of nine subsectors, representing 88.7% of retail trade. The increase was led by higher sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers (+3.0%) and gasoline stations and fuel vendors (+2.9%).

Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers—increased 0.5% in January. In volume terms, retail sales increased 1.5%.

Given the continually evolving economic situation, Statistics Canada is providing an advance estimate of retail sales, which suggests that sales decreased 0.6% in February.

Click here to read more.

Trudeau and Biden issue joint statement on growing clean economy and job creation

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, welcomed the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to Canada from March 23 to 24. The leaders issued a joint statement with commitments to drive significant progress on shared priorities including growing the middle class, making life more affordable for people, and creating good jobs through clean growth and economic integration, taking ambitious climate action and protecting the environment, and defending North America and advancing peace and security around the world.

The Prime Minister announced that Canada is moving forward with a new investment tax credit for clean technology manufacturing and the leaders launched an Energy Transformation Task Force to accelerate our work together over the next year across the spectrum of the clean economy. The leaders agreed to work together to promote trade in clean goods, including clean steel and aluminum, and continue to collaborate on renewable energy and electric vehicle supply chains, the critical minerals value chain, nuclear energy, and aligning zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure.

A cross-border semiconductor manufacturing corridor plan was also announced, beginning with the signing of an arrangement between Canada and IBM to expand domestic research and development and advanced packaging of semiconductors.

Click here to read more.

CRTC launches consultation to improve Broadband Fund

The CRTC is launching a consultation to improve its Broadband Fund, which helps bring high-speed Internet and mobile services to communities across Canada.

The CRTC is proposing to make the application process faster and easier. The CRTC also wants to create a new funding stream for Indigenous communities and to fund projects that would increase the reliability of rural and remote networks.

A summary of the notice of consultation is also available in various Indigenous languages.

The CRTC is accepting comments until July 21, 2023. Comments can be submitted by:

  • filling out the online form,
  • writing to the Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0N2, or
  • sending a fax to (819) 994-0218.

Click here to read more.

Sunset Beach renovation project awarded $4.4 million in provincial funding

On Friday, March 24, the Provincial government joined the City of St. Catharines for a funding announcement at an event at Sunset Beach.

The project is set to take place in two parts. Phase one starts this fall and will include improvements to the parking lot, reconstruction of the existing boat ramp and shoreline protection efforts. Phase two will include improvements to existing park amenities such as trails and picnic tables and a complete replacement of the playground structure.

The project is part of the Sunset Beach Community Vision which was approved by Council in July 2019. In November of that year, staff applied to the Community, Culture and Recreation stream of the ICIP grant.

Click here to read more.

Focus on Human Resources

Accessibility obligations and upcoming deadlines for federally-regulated entities

By June 1, 2023, most larger federally-regulated entities (i.e. those with 100 or more employees) will be required to publish their initial Accessibility Plan in accordance with the requirements set out in the Accessible Canada Act (“ACA”).

The ACA created an accessibility regulatory regime designed to remove barriers to accessibility in seven key areas. The regime includes separate and overlapping sets of regulations issued by the Governor in Council (“GC Regulations”), which apply to most federally-regulated entities, the Canadian Transportation Agency (“CTA Regulations”), which apply to entities regulated under the Canada Transportation Act, and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC Regulations”), which apply specifically to entities that are regulated under the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act.

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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