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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 7, 2023

Analysts say lawmakers should push grocery industry for transparency on profits; TSX dragged lower by weakness in energy & miners, and more.

In this edition:

Lawmakers should push grocery industry for transparency on profits, food analysts say

As members of Parliament gear up to grill the CEOs of Canada’s largest grocery store chains, experts say elected officials should push for more transparency on why grocers are making so much money.

The CEOs and presidents of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Metro Inc. and Empire Co. Ltd. — which operates chains including Sobeys, Safeway and FreshCo — are set to testify before the House of Commons agriculture committee on Wednesday as part of its study on food inflation.

Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, said the upcoming meeting “is very much about political theatre.”

Other executives from the companies have already testified in front of MPs, but New Democrats in particular signalled their dissatisfaction with the absence of the CEOs themselves.

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TSX dragged lower by weakness in energy stocks, miners

Canada’s main stock index tumbled on Tuesday as shares of miners and energy firms were pulled lower by concerns around demand from China, while hawkish remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve chief further strained sentiment.

At 10:23 a.m., the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 147.61 points, or 0.72%, at 20,367.19.

Energy shares fell 0.7% and materials shed 2%, tracking commodity prices lower, after China’s weak trade data followed its modest annual growth target on Monday.

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‘Record-high number’ of Canadians don’t think they’ll ever afford a home: survey

As home prices and interest rates remain elevated, a record number of non-homeowners think they’ll never afford a house, according to a new survey.

A report released by Mortgage Professionals Canada on Tuesday found about a third of respondents believe they’ll never be able to afford their first house.

“The rapid decline in affordability—thanks to both high home prices and now high interest rates—has played a central role in Canadians’ view towards homebuying,” the report said.

“The survey revealed a record-high number of non-owners believe they will never be able to buy a family home, at 33 percent, growing by 8 points in just six months and a whopping 15 points year-over-year.”

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3 reasons the Bank of Canada may be set to pause interest rate hikes

It’s been almost exactly one year since the Bank of Canada began aggressively raising its key overnight lending rate. Since then, Canadian households have struggled with ever-increasing debt payments. Borrowing costs are up a stunning 425 basis points in the last 12 months.

But the days of relentless rate hikes may be about to draw to a close. On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada unveils its latest interest rate policy. Many expect it to make good on a promise to hit the pause button.

“The bank will almost certainly hold the key overnight rate at 4.50 per cent on March 8,” said James Laird, CEO of and president of mortgage lender CanWise Financial.

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FirstOntario 1Awards seeking small business owners who could use some support

The FirstOntario 1Awards are back with a call to small business owners who could use some support to step up their services.

Entrepreneurs in the Niagara region, Hamilton, Halton, Brant, and surrounding areas are welcome to apply for a chance to pitch, win and share in the prizes.

This year’s prize pool pushes the program past the $2 million mark of funds reinvested back into small businesses communities through 11 years of the 1Awards program.

Full details can be found at

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Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake extends patio program through 2023

At a council meeting on Feb. 28, 2023, Niagara-on-the-Lake town council passed a temporary use bylaw to permit the extension of restaurant and bar patios, subject to the town’s temporary patio program requirements, until Feb. 28, 2024.

The extension of the temporary use bylaw allows the continuation of the temporary patio program in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the 2023 season and for the review of the program itself.

“The extension of this program will assist in strengthening the economic prosperity of our community, and support our many wonderful local food and drink establishments,” stated Lord Mayor Gary Zalepa.

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Niagara Health recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2023

Niagara Health is being recognized for having exceptional workplace diversity and inclusive programming as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in 2023.

Presented by independent evaluator MediaCorp. Canada Inc., Canada’s Best Diversity Employers honours national leaders in creating inclusive workplaces for women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.

“People are the basis of everything we do at Niagara Health and delivering safe, quality care starts with educating and supporting our team members,” says Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO, Niagara Health. “We are so grateful to have an incredible team that recognizes the importance of a respectful and caring culture.”

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Focus on Climate

All those tiny homes made from shipping containers aren’t as sustainable as you think. Here’s why

In recent years, shipping containers have become a trendy building material around the world, used for everything from pop-up shops to hotels. They’re seen as a way to extend the life of a container that would otherwise be discarded, and an eco-friendly alternative to manufacturing new materials. More popularly, they’ve been touted as viable structures for sustainable housing, particularly with the rise of the tiny house movement and housing shortages around the world.

This trend may see an even bigger upswing, as millions of extra shipping containers were produced during the pandemic—a desperate attempt to alleviate supply chain issues. Due to empty containers not arriving back to their point of origin on time, as many as 4.3 million extra containers were manufactured. Many of these are no longer needed, and the excess containers have been left in ports across the U.S., including the Port of Savannah, which at one point had 30 ships anchored waiting to unload thousands of containers the port didn’t have space for.

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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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