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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 3, 2023

Bank of Canada to hold rates steady at 4.50% through this year, residential building declines for second consecutive month, and more.

In this edition:

Bank of Canada to hold rates steady at 4.50% through this year

The Bank of Canada will keep its key interest rate on hold at 4.50% for the rest of this year, according to economists polled by Reuters, who said the bank was more likely to sound a hawkish tone on March 8 than dovish as inflation remains a worry.

A slowing housing market, weak business investment and consumer spending and data showing a halt to economic growth at the end of 2022 suggest 425 basis points of BoC rate hikes over the past year are starting to take hold.

With inflation heading lower, BoC Governor Tiff Macklem has said the central bank can now afford to wait and see before doing anything more but has made clear a pause is conditional on supportive incoming data.

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Residential building declines for second consecutive month

Residential permits decreased 6.6% to $6.1 billion in January with seven provinces posting decreases.

The downward trend of multi-family homes continued as construction intentions declined 8.3% in January. Most of the decline stemmed from British Columbia (-27.9% or -$301.2 million) following a month of significant urban development intentions. Conversely, Manitoba posted a notable increase (+106.0% or +$63.0 million) in January.

Total permit values for single-family homes decreased 4.4% in January, with Quebec (-13.5% or -$74.6 million) contributing the most to the decline. Alberta (+0.8%) and British Columbia (+0.6%) were the only provinces to post increases for this component.

The monthly total value of all building permits in Canada decreased 4.0% in January to $9.8 billion.

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Lincoln announces hiring freeze in 2023 Budget

The Town of Lincoln’s Budget Committee of the Whole has endorsed a hiring freeze as part of the 2023 Budget approval. The Committee of the Whole approved the 2023 Capital Budget on February 15 and the Operating Budget on March 1. The Budget is scheduled to be ratified by Council on March 6.

“A municipal budget needs to go beyond the numbers and understand community health and well-being, and I believe the Town’s 2023 budget achieves this goal,” said Town of Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton. “Council recognizes the importance of having the budget reflect the needs of our community, while remaining respectful of taxpayer dollars. I’m pleased the hiring freeze will help keep staffing costs inline with the overall goal of maintaining a budget that balances affordability, while delivering on the high-quality services our residents expect of us.”

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Ontario Nurses’ Association says bargaining with hospitals has broken down

Contract talks between nurses and the Ontario Hospital Association have broken down and will now head to arbitration, the nurses’ union said Friday.

The two sides began bargaining in late January and mediation had started on Wednesday but no deal was reached.

“This round of negotiations has been incredibly difficult and frustrating,” said Bernie Robinson, interim president of the Ontario Nurses’ Association, in a news release.

“ONA’s elected bargaining team went into talks with a strong and clear set of priorities that come from our front lines, and they have been met with an extremely disappointing and disrespectful response from the employers.”

The news comes a day after hundreds of Ontario nurses rallied in Toronto to advocate for what they want to see in a new contract. The deal will affect about 60,000 registered nurses and other health-care workers.

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Nominations open for 2023 Niagara Impact Awards

Nominations for the 2023 Niagara Impact Awards are now open.

Established in 2021, the Regional Chair’s Niagara Impact Awards recognize community members and organizations who have made significant efforts to help build a more resilient and welcoming region.

Residents are encouraged to go online to nominate individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations who have shown community spirit while demonstrating the value of volunteerism.

New to this year’s Impact Awards program is the addition of the prestigious T. Roy Adams Humanitarian of the Year Award. This award is bestowed annually to a Niagara resident who best exemplifies former Regional Councillor Adams’ values and dedication to community service: a person who sees volunteerism as integral part of their life.

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Ontario Liberals to set stage for leadership race at weekend AGM in Hamilton

Ontario Liberals are gathering this weekend for another attempt at party renewal following a second consecutive disastrous election result, and one of the main items on the agenda is setting the stage for a leadership race.

The party’s annual general meeting in Hamilton is set to be the largest in 20 years, the Liberals say, with 1,500 people expected to attend.

Members are set to pick a new party executive and vote on several constitutional amendments, including whether to stick with delegated conventions or to move to a form of direct voting for the leader.

The Liberals had a similar debate in 2019, when a push to move to a one-member-one-vote system failed.

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Focus on Technology

How to turn an open source project into a profitable business

Fespite the premise of open source software distribution being “free,” multibillion dollar companies like RedHat, MongoDB, GitLab and Elastic have already broken ground building profitable businesses with open source at their core.

But is it possible for a smaller open source project to find its way into this land of commercial opportunity?

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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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