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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 18, 2023

In this edition:

Inflation rate rises again for first time since June 2022

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 4.4% year over year in April, following a 4.3% increase in March. This was the first acceleration in headline consumer inflation since June 2022. On a year-over-year basis, higher rent prices and mortgage interest costs contributed the most to the all-items CPI increase in April 2023.

On a monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.7% in April, following a 0.5% gain in March. Prices for gasoline (+6.3%) contributed the most to the headline month-over-month movement. Excluding gasoline, the monthly CPI rose 0.5%. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.6%.

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Manufacturing sales pick up in March after February decline

Following a 3.6% decline in February, Canadian manufacturing sales increased 0.7% to $72.3 billion in March, led by the motor vehicle (+8.6%), aerospace product and parts (+18.8%), and primary metal (+4.6%) industries. Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry (-2.0%) declined the most. On a quarterly basis, sales were up 1.4% in the first quarter of 2023, mostly due to higher sales in the transportation equipment industry.

Sales in constant dollars rose 1.1% in March from the previous month, indicating that a higher volume of goods were sold in March.

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Canadian plywood makers seek duties as cheap Chinese rivals carve out half the market

The president of the Canadian Hardwood Plywood and Veneer Association, Carlos Zarate, warns of an industry in decline, but not due to falling demand for things like kitchen cabinets, decorative wood panels, furniture, and other non-structural wood products.

Zarate said the association’s members have seen their market share in Canada drop because they are unable to compete with plywood products imported from China at prices domestic producers could never hope to match, let alone beat.

The industry wants duties imposed on Chinese exporters, who they say enjoy unfair advantages such as heavy government subsidies and access to illegally harvested wood, flooding global markets with cheap goods that drastically undercut competitors.

But they’ve been dumbfounded by their inability to convince Canadian authorities to crack down on the Chinese products, which have been subject to hefty duties in the U.S. since 2017.

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Auditor General report finds Ontario’s air and Great Lakes water quality improving

Today, Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, along with Dr. Tyler Schulz, the Commissioner of the Environment, released a report that gathers information from various Ontario government ministries and other sources to produce an overview of the state of Ontario’s air, water, land and waste, climate, and nature and wildlife.

The report found that Ontario’s air and Great Lakes water quality have improved in many ways over the past several decades. However, there are exceptions for some contaminant trends, as well as some hotspot areas with elevated levels of air pollution. A warming climate from increased global greenhouse gas emissions has raised Ontario’s surface air temperature, in turn reducing Great Lakes ice cover and increasing the number of weather-related disasters.

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Convenience stores take action against food waste

According to a 2022 report from Second Harvest Canada, 45% of 127,000 potential business food donors are left with a surplus. Yet only 4% of Canada’s surplus food gets rescued or redistributed.

Some c-store players have stepped up to reduce food waste, in a way that helps cash-strapped customers and boosts the bottom-line.

Circle K recently finished a pilot at select locations in Montreal with Too Good to Go Canada, which operates an app that invites consumers to purchase “Surprise Bags” of food nearing the end of their lifecycle. Bags can be bought at different price points, depending on the original value of the food inside.

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Niagara restaurant ranked fifth-best in Canada

A Niagara restaurant has been named one of the best in the country. Restaurant Pearl Morissette sits 5th on the Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List.

The popular Jordan Station spot was also named the Best Destination Restaurant for 2023 by the magazine. Montreal dominated the list with 27 eateries among the top 100.

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Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship Fund helps with ideas, but little access to capital and resources for growth: Council for Aboriginal Business

The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business’ (CCAB) Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship Fund (IWEF) was created to assist Indigenous women who have traditionally faced significant obstacles accessing financing through the usual means.

The fund, which is presented by LNG Canada with a contribution from Paper Excellence, is open to Indigenous women-owned businesses that have encountered systemic barriers to lending relationships and have been impacted by the pandemic.

CCAB research has demonstrated that access to appropriate credit and lending is one of the main barriers for Indigenous businesses. The Indigenous Business Survey, Phase II: Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs, which was released in 2021 by CCAB, found close to half (47 per cent) of Indigenous women-owned businesses report no current lending relationships with any financial institutions, compared to almost one-third of male-owned businesses.

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Niagara College Teaching Distillery shines with three international medal wins

The NC Teaching Distillery won two silvers and a bronze at the 2023 U.S. Open Whisky and Spirits Championship. Silver medals were awarded for Spirits 101 Single Malt Whisky (Canadian Whisky category) and Spirits 101 Spiced Rum (Rum Spiced/ Flavoured category) while School Spirits Vodka (Vodka category) won bronze.

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Federal funding boosts work-integrated learning opportunities for Brock students

It will be easier than ever for Brock students to participate in the University’s renowned work-integrated learning (WIL) programs after the announcement of new bursary funding.

More than $500,000 from the Government of Canada, distributed via Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada’s Innovation Hub (iHub), will support a University-wide bursary to reduce barriers to participating in WIL.

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Did you know?

Facebook’s main colour is blue because Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colourblind.

Focus on Finance & Economy

Interest rates will likely stabilize around these levels: Sun Life CEO

Investors and businesses should get used to interest rates hovering around these levels for at least the next year, according to the head of Canada’s second-largest insurer.

“I don’t believe that you’re going to see the types of increases that we saw last year where rates went up so rapidly, but I do believe that you’re going to see rates be somewhat stubborn where they are, and could go up a little bit or even down a little bit,” Kevin Strain, president and chief executive officer of Sun Life Financial (SLF.TO) (SLF), told Yahoo Finance Canada in a phone interview.

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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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