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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 4, 2023

In this edition:

PenFinancial and Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce launch Environmental, Social and Governance resource site for business

Investors, consumers, and workers alike are increasingly looking for enterprises that make a difference, have a positive impact, and are governed responsibly, with an eye on equity, tolerance, and contributing to the greater social good. A fairer, more sustainable, and more just future is in everyone’s interests, and the business community can be a valuable partner in building that future.

To enable Niagara businesses to go the extra mile in social responsibility, the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) and PenFinancial Credit Union have partnered to deliver a free Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) resource website.

Click here to read more.

Canada Revenue Agency reaches tentative deal with striking PSAC employees

Last night, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reached a 4-year tentative agreement with the Public Service Alliance of Canada – Union of Taxation Employees (PSAC-UTE). Upon ratification, this agreement will apply to approximately 39,000 PSACUTE employees working at the CRA. Employees represented by PSACUTE will return to work this morning.

The tentative agreement includes wage increases of 11.5% over four years, retroactive to 2021, that will cover periods until 2025. The third year also includes an allowance of 0.5%. Employees would also see a number of improvements over the life of the agreement, as well as a one-time payment of $2,500.

Click here to read more.

Shopify to reduce workforce by 20 per cent and sell logistics business

Shopify Inc. says it will reduce its head count by about 20 per cent and sell its logistics business to Flexport, a supply chain management company.

The Ottawa-based e-commerce giant announced the moves Thursday morning and positioned them as a way to help it focus on its main quest: making commerce easier.

But achieving that feat means reducing “side quests” which chief executive Tobi Lutke described as “always distracting because the company has to split focus.”

Click here to read more.

Canada has nothing to fear from U.S. protectionist rhetoric, envoy to Ottawa insists

Canada threw a “hissy fit” over President Joe Biden’s original plan to boost the sales of American-made electric vehicles, the U.S. envoy to Ottawa said Wednesday as he insisted that his country is not out to undermine its largest trading partner.

The stated goal of David Cohen’s appearance at the Wilson Center’s Canada Institute in Washington, D.C., was to finally put to rest the persistent Canadian fear that’s conjured every time his boss utters the words “Buy American.”

But his characterization of Canada’s months-long, ultimately successful bid to be carved in to Biden’s tax-credit scheme, which originally reserved the sweetest plums for union-built vehicles assembled in the U.S., is likely to raise some eyebrows.

Click here to read more.

Canada’s merchandise trade balance moved into surplus in March

In March, Canada’s merchandise imports decreased 2.9%, while exports were down 0.7%. As a result, Canada’s merchandise trade balance with the world moved from a revised $487 million deficit in February to a $972 million surplus in March. As was the case in recent months, the March trade balance was close to the typical bounds for revisions, and only represented 0.8% of total exports and imports combined.

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Niagara College-led Greenhouse Technology Network expands membership

Brock University and the University of Windsor are the newest members of Greenhouse Technology Network (GTN), a Niagara College-led consortium of academic research institutions supporting the research needs of greenhouse and related technology businesses through applied projects.

In 2019, the new network for research and technology in southern Ontario’s greenhouse sector was established with support from a $5-million Government of Canada investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

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Tourism partnership between St. Catharines and Lincoln to become reality

A tourism partnership between St. Catharines and Lincoln that capitalizes on their urban and rural vibes is aimed at attracting visitors and their money to the areas longer, city council heard this week.

St. Catharines councillors received an update Monday on a joint destination marketing organization with Lincoln that’s been in the works since 2020.

The plan now is for the organization, or DMO, to be incorporated this year and have its first marketing program running by spring or summer 2024.

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Illegal vacation rentals ‘endangering’ Niagara Falls neighbourhoods: hotel association director

It’s time to get tough on illegal vacation rentals in Niagara Falls, says a local hotel industry official who describes the ongoing situation as “the crisis next door.”

“It’s endangering neighbourhoods,” said Doug Birrell, executive director of Niagara Falls Canada Hotel Association. “Niagara Falls is inundated with illegal vacation rental units in almost every neighbourhood.”

He said there are 1,284 active vacation rentals, according to AirDNA, which provides research and market statistics. Just 16 are licensed.
Click here to read more.

‘Excruciating delays’ at Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board: Ombudsman

A backlog of cases at Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board has grown to 38,000 and it is taking an average of seven or eight months – sometimes up to two years – for a hearing to be scheduled, the province’s ombudsman said Thursday.

The findings are part of a large report from Ombudsman Paul Dube, who has issued 61 recommendations aimed at improving the functioning of the board and its “excruciating delays.”

When the pandemic hit, the backlog was already at 20,000 applications, and the subsequent move to virtual hearings and a moratorium on evictions impeded the board’s efforts to chip away at the backlog, he said.

Click here to read more.

Canada urgently needs more competition: Canadian Commissioner of Competition

Canadians are seeing the impact of increasingly concentrated sectors dominated by giant corporations. They worry about rising bills and grow frustrated by limited choices and poor customer service.

The government of Canada has rightfully taken notice, and is taking action. It introduced initial improvements to Canada’s Competition Act last year, and then quickly launched a comprehensive consultation on Canada’s competition framework.

The recommendations for modernizing our law made by the Competition Bureau in March as part of that consultation are far from radical. They simply aim to get us to the starting line alongside our global trading partners who make competition a pillar of their economic policy.

But not everyone is interested in better and stronger competition laws.

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

McDonald’s started as a hot dog stand in 1937. By 2013, they were selling 4,500 hamburgers every minute.

Focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Brock Trustee Trecia McLennon earns Canadian Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Award

Trecia McLennon has been recognized for her commitment to helping the University foster a culture of inclusion and equity through her work on the Board of Trustees.

McLennon, Director of EDI Culture and Education and staff trustee on the Board, was named one of seven winners of WXN’s Canadian Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Awards in the Corporate Board Directors category.

The award recognizes self-identifying women who hold the role of Corporate Board Director. In their positions, nominees demonstrate outstanding commitment to creating a mission, vision and strategy that prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion. They embody inclusive leadership and cultivate the same in others around them, championing practices and policies that foster positive long-term change in key performance metrics, employee experience and public perception.

Click here to read more.

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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