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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 27, 2023

In this edition:

Canada Summer Games generated $350m in local economic activity

The Canada Summer Games in Niagara was not only a sporting success but also a financial success, reports Doug Hamilton, Host Society Board Chair.

According to an economic impact report, “the economic activity generated from the games was more the $350-million.” Hamilton added, “we are in a very fortunate position to have generated a cash surplus as well.”

The games society reports that the games finished with a surplus between $3-3.5-million dollars.

Hamilton says that the money has been earmarked to establish a sport legacy fund which will be used to advance sport in Niagara through a an organization called Sport Niagara. Sport Niagara will focus on assisting the bidding and hosting of future sport events in Niagara, on delivery of sport programs, and on other services.

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Niagara Health COVID assessment centre to close

Niagara Health’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre and COVID, Cold and Flu Care Clinics (CCFCC) will permanently close on Friday, March 31, 2023.

COVID-19 testing will be available at select pharmacies across the region, and the prescription drug Paxlovid will continue to be available through family physicians and at select pharmacies across the region. Remdesivir infusion therapy, which aids in treating COVID-19, will be available in the community.

Niagara Health’s first Assessment Centre opened on March 17, 2020 at our Niagara Falls Site and have since administered more than 327,000 swabs. The centres served as the primary screening and testing locations for COVID-19 in the region. The Niagara Falls centre is the final of the three to close.

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Canada met 2021 targets for broadband but rural communities, First Nations still lacking

A release by the Auditor General of Canada found that 90.9% of households had access to minimum connection speeds of 50/10 Mbps (50 megabits per second for downloads and 10 megabits per second for uploads) across Canada, ahead of the federal government’s commitment to connecting 90% of Canadians to high‑speed Internet by 2021 and 98% of Canadians by 2026 and 100% of Canadians by 2030.

However, only 42.9% of households on First Nations reserves had access at those speeds and only 59.5% of households in rural and remote areas had access at those speeds.

The strategy introduced targets for high-speed Internet and included a suite of funding initiatives to support infrastructure projects intended to improve connectivity in rural and remote areas. However, both Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had few indicators to measure progress on the quality and affordability of Internet and mobile cellular access. The approach by both the department and the CRTC to measuring affordability focused only on price, without considering income. However, price alone does not indicate whether a Canadian household can afford Internet or mobile cellular service, the Auditor General noted. Connectivity, if unaffordable or of poor quality, is no more of an improvement to the lives of Canadians living on First Nations reserves or in rural and remote areas than having no connectivity at all.

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GO Transit makes major schedule changes to routes including Lakeshore East/West

GO Transit is making several schedule changes to various routes starting on March 25.

The lines in question are Lakeshore West and East, Barrie, Kitchener, Milton and Stouffville. Starting April 8, GO Transit will be temporarily replacing some late night and early morning train services with GO bus service to help progress on infrastructure maintenance projects. On April 8 and 9, work will continue on integrating the Ontario Line. This work will bring important service improvements to the Lakeshore East Line and can only be done when trains are not running on certain tracks.

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Government extends temporary measures under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Canada’s economic recovery and critical labour shortages in key sectors are driving higher demand for workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). In response, the Government of Canada is taking a balanced approach to improving the program, with measures designed to respond to emerging labour market needs while also protecting Canadian workers.

Temporary measures introduced during the COVID-19 Pandemic and through the TFWP Workforce Solutions Road Map will therefore be extended. The continued measures, intended to provide greater stability for employers and workers, include:

  • permitting employers in seven sectors with demonstrated labour shortages (such as accommodation and food services, construction, and food manufacturing) to hire up to 30 percent of their workforce through the TFWP for low-wage positions;
  • keeping the Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIA) validity period at up to 18 months; and,
  • maintaining the maximum duration of employment for low-wage positions at up to two years.

In a statement, GNCC CEO Mishka Balsom said, “the biggest issue facing businesses across Niagara and the country right now is the labour shortage. We are glad to see the Government of Canada taking action to address this shortage by extending temporary measures under the foreign worker program. The GNCC had asked the government to take this step, and we are encouraged by their responsiveness to the needs of Canada’s business community.”

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Millennial Canadians dealt generational losing hand, layered in debt: insolvency trustee

Insolvency trustee Doug Hoyes encounters a lot of Canadians with money troubles, but he’s become particularly sympathetic to the plight of young people who find themselves financially underwater.

For more than a decade, his Ontario-based firm Hoyes Michalos has been crunching bankruptcy and insolvency numbers for its annual “Joe Debtor” analysis, with its latest results released last month ahead of tax season.

He’s concluded that millennial Canadians have been dealt a generational losing hand as they face student loans layered with bad debts from credit cards, high-interest loans, and post-pandemic tax debt from collecting CERB.

“I think there’s a whole bunch of whammies that have hit millennials.” Hoyes said. “The CERB was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.”

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Federal budget’s affordability measures could risk fuelling inflation: Economists

The federal government needs to walk a fine line in rolling out a slate of new measures aimed at helping Canadians deal with the surging cost of living, without further fuelling inflation and risk keeping interest rates higher for longer.

The budget, to be tabled in the House of Commons Tuesday, will contain a so-called grocery rebate aimed at low-income Canadians that will be linked to the GST credit, CBC News has reported, citing a senior government source.

The one-time rebate will not be based on grocery receipts or have to be spent on groceries specifically, the CBC source said.

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The Manic Maker brings freeze-dried candy creations to Fort Erie

Much like inside Willy Wonka’s factory, the walls of The Manic Maker candy shop in Fort Erie are filled with colourful candy creations of all kinds.

“I have four kinds of skittles. I have sour, the originals, the tropical and the wild berry,” explained Manic Maker owner Dana Nadeau. “There’s nerd clusters, and they’re awesome, the little ones.”

“One day we were just doing markets and the next day we were looking at real estate. Then two days later, we had done the lease, six weeks to renovate and here we are,” said Nadeau.

The location of the store on Jarvis Street also holds special meaning to Nadeau, having felt a connection to the area since she moved to Fort Erie several years ago before she dreamed up the idea of The Manic Maker.

“When we were driving in with the moving truck and everybody was in the truck with us, I just turned around and said, ‘Do you see that street?’ I said, ‘See that street boarded up and dilapidated and sad? We’re going to have a store there.’”

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Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program to hold info session on recruiting and retaining foreign workers

Businesses facing labour shortages and looking to hire foreign workers can attend a free info session on March 30th. Join to learn hwo the Business Immigration Services team can help your company understand immigration programs and how to leverage temporary residence pathways or transition an employee to permanent residence, based on your particular needs.

Find out how your business can hire global talent using Canada’s various economic immigration options and services.

Click here to register.

Focus on Small Business

Are your digital platforms wasting your customers’ time?

As digital tools proliferate and their capabilities multiply, one thing remains constant: what people don’t have more of is time. Our time is, arguably, one of the most precious resources we have on this planet.

Over the past eight years, as a part of our research for our annual Collaboratives programs, which focus on large cross-industry challenges, we have been asking consumers and companies to describe for us their desires and beliefs about new digital experiences. While their responses have varied, one common thread has run through every field study, survey, and interview we’ve conducted: no one wants digital tools that waste their time, while everyone wants digital experiences to offer time well spent. Too many apps, URLs, and devices do the opposite. There are two false premises that hinder the time value of digital experiences.

Click here to read more.

Consider using community as a marketing tool

For business owners, marketing is essential to running a successful operation. This can include many aspects of marketing and it can be overwhelming trying to think about the best approach to getting the message out about your brand.

Have you ever considered using community as a marketing tool? Building and nurturing a community can be an incredible asset to your small business, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

A community relies on a shared interest, common goal, or belonging to a geographical location. When building a community around your business, it’s important to identify what drives your audience and connect with people on those values.

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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