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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 28, 2023

In this edition:

This edition of the Daily Update was delayed to include details of the 2023 federal budget.

Federal budget announced

Today, Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland presented the government’s 2023 budget to Parliament. Key highlights included:

  • A total of approximately $30 billion in new spending over the next five years
  • A $40.1 billion deficit in 2023-24, up from the $30.6 billion deficit forecast in the fall
  • A reduction in revenues of $5.7 billion this fiscal year owing to the slowing economy
  • An additional $30 billion in health care and dental care investments over five years
  • A 15 per cent refundable tax credit to utility companies that invest in “clean electricity” technologies, to cost $7.3 billion over the next five years
  • A complete overhaul of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) regime, which will now apply to Canadians in the top income tax bracket (over $173,000) who will see their capital gains inclusion rate jump to 100 per cent and a host of eligible tax deductions, like moving or employment expenses, dropped to 50 per cent. This is projected to generate $3 billion in tax revenue over five years
  • $2.5 billion in “targeted inflation relief” to 11 million low- and modest-income Canadians via a boost to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit, pitched as grocery price relief
  • $15.4 billion in cuts over five years to federal consulting, professional services, and travel for federal agencies, departments, and crown corporations
  • $13 billion for dental care to include seniors and children under 18
  • The federal alcohol excise tax will be capped at 2%, normally set to increase at the rate of inflation, which would have been 6.9%
  • Measures without cost included cracking down on “junk fees” often attached to concert tickets and other services, moving to an automated tax-filing system, a standardized charging port as found in the EU, a right-to-repair framework, capping interest charged by predatory lenders, and a crackdown on tax evasion
  • No major spending or initiatives on housing supply were announced

Ontario invests to double number of skilled immigrants

The Ontario government is investing an additional $25 million over three years in its flagship immigration program to support doubling the number of skilled immigrants the province can welcome to tackle the labour shortage and help build Ontario.

The Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program allows the province to nominate individuals for permanent residence who have the skills and experience to contribute to Ontario’s economy in industries like the skilled trades and health care. Earlier this month, the province and federal government announced a doubling of the number of economic immigrants the province selects to a historic high of 18,000 by 2025. The new investment in Budget 2023 will speed up processing and ensure those coming to Ontario can start working in their professions quickly.

Click here to read more.

Statistics Canada develops experimental Environmental, Social, Governance dashboard

The landscape in which businesses operate is evolving because of an increased awareness of environmental degradation and the importance of diversity and inclusion, changing the expectations for corporate behaviour. Whether considering the transition to a low-carbon economy or a more diverse workforce, shareholders are more than ever looking beyond financial performance when making investment decisions.

Within this context, Statistics Canada developed an experimental dashboard presenting a series of Environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators that demonstrates the non-financial performance of a selection of industries. In this second release, the dashboard has been expanded with additional indicators (breaches of privacy and employment vacancy rates) and industry sectors (construction, utilities, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing).

Click here to read more.

Canada heading into ‘mild recession’ as tight monetary policy squeezes growth: Report

New research says Canada is heading into a mild recession as elevated borrowing costs, a downturn in the U.S. and persistent inflation dial up the country’s economic uncertainty.

Deloitte Canada’s latest economic outlook, released ahead of the federal budget on Tuesday, says tight monetary policy is set to squeeze economic growth this year.

But the research suggests the recession won’t be as deep as previously forecasted thanks to the resiliency of the labour market, which is keeping incomes strong.

The report is forecasting real gross domestic product to fall by 0.5 per cent this year before rebounding with two per cent growth in 2024, while inflation is expected to cool rapidly throughout the rest of this year.

Click here to read more.

St. Catharines flower pot for business program returns

The City’s annual flower pot program is back, helping add a touch of colour to local businesses from late spring through to early fall.

St. Catharines businesses can now submit orders to rent professionally designed 24-inch pots filled with colourful flowers and plants which can be placed out front of their stores, offices and other businesses. Flower pots are delivered in the late spring (installation is weather dependant), and remain in place through to the early fall.

“This program is a great way to partner with local businesses to liven up our neighbourhoods and green and beautify our community with some bright, colourful displays,” said Development Horticultural Technician Ilyse Norton. “The flower pot program provides an instant beautification opportunity for business owners, while promoting civic pride and a greener St. Catharines.”

Click here to read more and order.

Fibre internet coming to 7,000 Lincoln homes and businesses

Bell today announced the expansion of pure fibre Internet service to homes and businesses in the Town of Lincoln. Part of Bell’s capital expenditure for investment in next-generation network infrastructure, the expansion program will bring all-fibre broadband access to approximately 7,000 additional locations in the Town of Lincoln by 2024.

Fully funded by Bell, this broadband expansion program will provide fast and high-capacity 100% fibre connections with Internet download and upload speeds of up to 3 Gbps and access to leading Bell services such as Fibe TV. Today’s announcement is part of a $17 million investment to bring direct fibre network connections to locations throughout the Town of Lincoln over the next two years.

Click here to read more.

Niagara College signs Sustainable Development Goals Accord and Nature Positive Pledge

On March 27, Niagara College deepened its commitment to sustainability, signing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord and the Nature Positive Pledge.

“Niagara College is very proud to sign the SDG Accord and Nature Positive Pledge, both of which align with the commitment to environmental sustainability in our Strategic Plan,” said President Sean Kennedy. “We are committed to stewarding our unique and beautiful campuses with a keen awareness of our impact on the environment.”

The SDG accord signals the College’s commitment to embedding the UN’s 17 urgent calls to action within its education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities to help tackle climate change. The Nature Positive Pledge links NC to a global higher-education collective – Nature Positive Universities – working to restore species and ecosystems on campuses.

Click here to read more.

Focus on Finance & Economy

$491B federal budget invests heavily in green economic transformation

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s 2023 federal budget promises “transformative investments” in Canada’s green economy as the country tries to maintain its place in the global clean tech revolution and realign its supply chains toward allies who won’t use energy as a political weapon.

“Together these two great shifts represent the most significant opportunity for Canadian workers in the lifetime of anyone here today,” Freeland said Tuesday in the House of Commons, according to her prepared remarks.

The budget promises to add more than $8 billion in new program spending in the coming fiscal year with a deficit of $40 billion.

Click here to read more.

Here are the key takeaways in Canada’s budget

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland released a budget in Ottawa on Tuesday that deepens Canada’s fiscal deficit as the Trudeau government books $43 billion (US$31.6 billion) in new costs over six years. New spending focuses on bolstering the health-care system, keeping up with the U.S. on clean-technology incentives, and helping low-income Canadians cope with inflation. Debt as a proportion of total output will climb as a result, before resuming its downward trajectory. No return to budgetary balance is forecast.

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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