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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 17, 2023

Ontario invests $12.5m in business health and safety, residential building construction fell in March while industrial posted gains, and more.

In this edition:

Ontario invests $12.5m in business health and safety

The Ontario government is investing an additional $12.5 million in Ontario’s six health and safety associations, which provide safety training and resources to businesses and workers across the province.

Ontario is also updating standards for mandatory working at heights training to address one of the leading causes of workplace deaths in industries like construction. These updates will help improve the quality of training and safety knowledge of participants when working in various settings including with ladders, skylights and damaged equipment. Over one million workers have completed this training since it began in 2015.

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Residential building construction fell in March while industrial construction posted gains

Investment in building construction declined 1.3% to $20.3 billion in March. The residential sector fell 2.1% to $14.6 billion, while the non-residential sector went up by 0.9% to $5.7 billion.

Investment in single family homes was down 1.8% to $7.9 billion for March, with seven provinces posting declines. Multi-unit construction fell 2.4% to $6.7 billion in March. Ontario (-4.7%; -$135.6 million) played the largest role in the decline, more than offsetting notable gains in Quebec (+4.8%; +$58.9 million) and Saskatchewan (+28.6%; +$22.8 million).

Industrial construction investment increased for the 16th consecutive month, up 3.4% to $1.2 billion in March. Overall, eight provinces posted gains, led by Ontario (+5.0%; +$27.4 million).

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CIP tax incentives approved for residential projects in St. Catharines

Two major residential projects planned for downtown St. Catharines and the former GM property on Ontario Street have been approved for tax incentives.

City council approved the tax breaks for 88 James St. and 10 Pleasant Ave. through the city’s community improvement plan (CIP) following a two-hour discussion Monday night.

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Pelham to craft living wage policy for town employees

Pelham is making the move toward becoming a living wage employer but will not seek certification from the Ontario Living Wage Network (OLWN).

Instead, town politicians directed staff to develop a living wage policy for council to consider in August. One of the main issues for councillors was that certification required that contractors the town deals with must also pay their employees a living wage.

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Highway 413: Needed to address growth or just a plan to push sprawl?

Highway 413 is not a transportation plan, but it is an arm of a plan to push sprawl into places where it otherwise wouldn’t happen, said Environmental Defence’s Phil Pothen, during a recent Transport Futures webinar.

But proponents say it’s needed to accommodate expansive growth in Ontario.

“It is really a publicly subsidized loss leader to prop up an offer from sprawl developers which otherwise wouldn’t be very appealing,” said Pothen, the program director with the environmental advocacy group, at the session, Highway Stakeholders: Diverse perspectives on the future of highways.

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Higher tech in the grocery store

During the pandemic, grocers big and small made significant strides in improving their e-commerce platforms to make online shopping a viable way to buy groceries. But now that shoppers are back in-store again, they’re looking for the same conveniences they’ve become accustomed to online.

With brick-and-mortar stores still being the primary sales channel and driver of long-term loyalty in grocery, analysts say retailers who want to keep tech-savvier customers coming back will need to use technology tools that help meet evolving in-store shopping expectations. That means implementing solutions that will create a frictionless and more engaging in-store experience.

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Did you know?

The Dutch East India Company is the largest company to have ever existed. At its peak in 1637, it was worth $8.28 trillion. The largest company in the world today is Apple, with a market cap of $2.65 trillion.

Focus on Climate

Changing weather requires changes to planning and response for emergencies

As weather patterns change and climate emergencies become more common, so too does the planning and response that municipalities have for them.

“The weather has changed in the last 10 years. It’s changed in the last 20 years, 30 years, so what we used to plan for…is not necessarily what we plan for now,” Rick Bernard, manager of emergency management with the City of Brampton, told those in attendance at the Good Roads conference session Which Comes First: Emergency Preparedness or Disaster Recovery.

Bernard spoke about an emergency that occurred last February in the city, an ice jam that caused widespread flooding in the neighbourhood of Churchville.

In Ontario, all 444 municipalities need to have a hazard identification risk assessment list that identifies threats and hazards the community may face and they are prioritized.

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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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