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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 19, 2023

Ontario expands GO train service to Niagara, gasoline and vehicle sales take hit in March for first time in eight months, and more.

In this edition:

Ontario expands GO train service to Niagara

Starting May 20, weekday service to Niagara Falls will increase by two daily roundtrips and weekend service will increase by one daily roundtrip, for a total of 21 roundtrips per week. As part of these enhancements, GO trains will also resume service to St. Catharines VIA station. The province is also adding four additional weekday peak express trips in each direction on the Lakeshore West line, offering more travel options between Hamilton, Burlington and Toronto.

Click here to read more.

Gasoline and vehicle sales take hit in March for first time in eight months

Retail sales decreased 1.4% to $65.3 billion in March. Sales decreased in 5 of the 9 subsectors, representing 55.5% of retail trade, led by decreases at motor vehicle and parts dealers (-4.4%) and gasoline stations and fuel vendors (-3.9%).

Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and fuel vendors and motor vehicle and parts dealers—increased 0.3% in March.

The decrease in retail sales in March was led by lower sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers, their first decline in eight months. Lower sales at new car dealers (-4.8%) led the decrease, followed by other motor vehicle dealers (-11.4%). Used car dealers (+2.6%) were the only store type in this subsector to increase in March.

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Governments of Canada and Ontario announce funding for affordable housing

Today, the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario announced an investment of over $46 million to support the construction of 267 new affordable housing units across Ontario. Over $30 million is from the Government of Canada and over $15 million is from the Province of Ontario.

This important funding is being provided through the Canada–Ontario Community Housing Initiative (COCHI) – an initiative of the Canada-Ontario Bilateral Agreement under the National Housing Strategy (NHS).

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City of Welland HR team wins award for most innovative

The City of Welland’s human resources department has recruited a 2023 Innovative HR Team award from one of Canada’s most known HR publications, Canadian HR Reporter (CHRR).

The City of Welland is this year’s only municipality in Canada to be recognized as one of the most innovative HR teams in the country. The CHRR team objectively assessed each entry for detailed information, true innovation, and proven success — along with benchmarking against the other entries — to determine the 28 overall winners, which included industry titans such as the University of Alberta, Air Canada, Metrolinx, and others.

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Business productivity declined across country in 2022

In 2022, business productivity declined in every province except Manitoba and Saskatchewan. However, for most provinces, the decline in productivity was much smaller than in 2021. In the territories, productivity decreased only in Nunavut. At the national level, productivity decreased 1.5%, after a historic decline (-5.8%) in 2021 and record growth (+8.6%) in 2020 resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, business productivity in 2022 exceeded 2019 pre-pandemic levels in nine provinces and territories.

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Teamsters, Alstom reach tentative agreement for Toronto GO Trains

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and Alstom reached a tentative agreement affecting over 850 workers who operate Toronto’s commuter trains. Union members will begin voting next week to ratify the agreement.

The union members are essential to the smooth functioning of GO Trains. They include train operators, mechanics, on-board customer service representatives, warehouse personnel, maintenance workers, and labourers.

Details of the agreement are being withheld from the public until union members have had a chance to view them first.

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Carbon reduction targets unrealistic, says Residential Construction Council

“The targets being set by both the Province of Ontario and City of Toronto are unrealistic,” said Richard Lyall, president of the Residential Construction Council of Ontario, in a column released today.

“The two levels of government are intent on rushing to implement new green building standards and emissions targets at a time when the housing industry is dealing with myriad other issues such as high interest rates, inflation, supply chain and labour shortages, and escalations in the cost of materials.”

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Did you know?

There are more golf courses than McDonald’s restaurants in the USA.

Focus on Sustainability

Peko Produce finds solution for “peculiar” fruit and vegetables

Food waste and rising food costs are two interconnected industry issues that have spawned startups like Too Good to Go and Flashfood in Canada. Peko Produce, which recovers “peculiar” fruit and vegetables and packages them in “mystery boxes” for home delivery at 40% off grocery store prices, is another solution gaining traction.

Made up of about 12 pounds of surplus produce, representing at least nine different vegetables and fruits, each Peko mystery box retails for $26.69 for subscribers (weekly, biweekly or monthly) – that’s 10% off the $32.99 cost for a one-time purchase of a single box.

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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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