In this edition:
- Ontario to restore Greenbelt lands, introduce legislative safeguards
- Businesses report economic activity slowing down, expectations lowered
- Unifor members at GM vote 80 per cent in favour of new contract
- Ontario releases first-ever Marine Transportation Strategy
- Manufacturing sales growth borne on higher prices as volume drops
- Rising cost of living remains primary concern for Canadian consumers
- Minister Valdez kicks off Small Business Week with nearly $3m in funding for women entrepreneurs
- WSIB extends double rebates for small business to help with health and safety
- Focus on Retail
Ontario to restore Greenbelt lands, introduce legislative safeguards
Today, the Ontario government introduced legislation that, if passed, would restore all properties that were redesignated or removed from the Greenbelt and the Oak Ridges Moraine areas in late 2022. If passed, this legislation would also enhance protections for the Greenbelt and the Oak Ridges Moraine areas by ensuring any future boundary changes can only be made through a public and transparent process that would require the approval of the legislature. The Greenbelt Statute Law Amendment Act, 2023 would also restore protections previously provided by the Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Act.
Established under the Greenbelt Act, 2005, the Greenbelt is a broad band of protected land that currently includes over 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) of property in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
Businesses report economic activity slowing down, expectations lowered
Today’s results from the Business Outlook Survey and the Business Leaders’ Pulse show that firms expect their sales growth to be subdued over the next 12 months. This slowdown in demand is reducing capacity pressures and weighing on businesses’ plans for investment and employment. Although cost and pricing pressures continue to moderate, they are still expected to be higher than normal in the coming year. Firms’ inflation expectations edged down but remain higher than they were before the COVID‑19 pandemic. Many expect returning inflation to the Bank of Canada’s 2% target will take longer than three years.
Unifor members at GM vote 80 per cent in favour of new contract
Canada’s largest private-sector union says workers at General Motors Co. have a new three-year collective agreement, with 80.5 per cent of them ratifying it in a vote held online and in person.
The newly bargained agreement covers more than 4,300 workers at the Oshawa Assembly Plant, St. Catharines Powertrain Plant and Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre in Ontario.
Unifor national president Lana Payne expressed pride in GM workers’ solidarity throughout the strike action and for ratifying the contract.
Ontario releases first-ever Marine Transportation Strategy
Today, the Ontario government released The Future of the Great Lakes Economy: Ontario’s Marine Transportation Strategy, outlining actions the province will take to strengthen Ontario’s position as a leader in marine transportation. Part of the government’s plan to build Ontario, the strategy will create more jobs, trade and economic opportunities for the future.
“Linking to our railway and road networks, the marine sector plays a vital role in keeping goods, people and our economy moving every single day,” said Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, Minister of Transportation. “As we continue to build a stronger Ontario, the new marine strategy is an exciting opportunity to grow the marine transportation industry, unlocking more good-paying jobs and attracting new investments to our rapidly growing province.”
Manufacturing sales growth borne on higher prices as volume drops
Canadian manufacturing sales rose 0.7% to $72.4 billion in August on higher sales in 9 of 21 subsectors, led by the petroleum and coal (+10.5%), food (+1.5%) and machinery (+2.4%) subsectors. This was the second consecutive monthly increase. Meanwhile, sales of fabricated metals (-3.5%) and miscellaneous (-9.4%) declined the most in August.
The monthly increase was due mostly to higher prices as sales in real terms decreased in August (-0.7%). The Industrial Product Price Index rose 1.3%.
Rising cost of living remains primary concern for Canadian consumers
The growing cost of living remains the most pressing concern for consumers, the Bank of Canada’s quarterly Survey of Consumer Expectations has revealed. High inflation and rising interest rates have had a negative financial impact on most households and are causing more households than last quarter to reduce spending.
Consumers’ perceptions of current inflation remain elevated and are leading to persistently high expectations for inflation over the next 12 months, the Bank reports. The gap between perceptions of inflation and actual inflation is unusually wide, likely because many consumers form their views based on their own shopping experience. Households with a large gap expect high price growth for essentials like food and housing.
Minister Valdez kicks off Small Business Week with nearly $3m in funding for women entrepreneurs
Today, the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, kicked off Small Business Week 2023 by announcing that the École des entrepreneurs du Québec (EEQ) [French page] is receiving $2.7 million to help women entrepreneurs start a business and put their plans for growth into action.
- Make the move to launch your business—for those who have an idea or project but don’t know where to start
- Make your business thrive—for those facing challenges in reaching set targets and looking to increase their profits and customer base
- Make it grow—for those facing challenges in growing their business and moving from strategy to execution
WSIB extends double rebates for small business to help with health and safety
Employees at small businesses are 44% more likely than those at large ones to experience a work-related injury, according to a recent study highlighted by Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). A driver of that might be weaker health and safety policies and procedures at small employers, and the fact that business owners are facing a lot of challenges in the current economy, it said.
To help smaller businesses prioritize improving health and safety, extra incentives through the WSIB’s Health and Safety Excellence program (first announced in June 2022) are being extended through the end of 2024. This means smaller businesses (with up to 99 full-time employees) can:
- earn double the rebates in both 2023 and 2024
- receive $1,000 towards their health and safety plan in both 2023 and 2024
Did you know?
Focus on Retail
Millennial, gen Z grocery shopping habits change as cost of living increases: Study
Millennials and gen Z are important audiences for the grocery sector, as Canadians between the ages of 16 to 40 are in one of these two generational cohorts. Like a lot of the population, they are feeling the squeeze of cost-of-living increases. Leger’s sixth annual Youth Study sheds some light on how inflation is changing their behvaiour.
The study is based on a survey of 3,015 Canadians, with respondents divided almost equally between millennials (28 to 40 years of age) and gen Zers (16 to 27 years of age). Among all respondents, 39% were homeowners, 33% were renting and 26% were living with their parents.
When the Youth Study asked if rising cost of living has made them change their financial habits in seven key areas, “foods” was said second-most, at 68% of respondents, behind only “saving money” (73%).
The rising cost of living is eroding brand loyalty as consumers seek more cost-effective alternatives
As Canadians grapple with the rising cost of living, many consumers are reevaluating their daily choices and purchase habits. The cost of groceries is forcing many households to make difficult decisions, like having to choose between food quality and affordability.
Amid these economic pressures, the concept of brand loyalty — the preference consumers have for a particular brand over others — is undergoing a significant shift. Brand loyalty is the result of a mix of factors, including trust, habit and the perceived value of goods.
Brand loyalty significantly benefits retailers by boosting sales. Not only do existing customers spend more money than new customers, but brand loyalty also reduces the amount brands need to spend on advertising. Effective loyalty programs increase customer retention and result in positive word-of-mouth, meaning companies can spend less on marketing.
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.