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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: October 23, 2023

In this edition:

  • Ontario reverses official plan for Niagara, undoes changes to urban boundaries
  • St. Lawrence Seaway workers strike, shutting down marine traffic
  • Two Ontario municipalities ask province to compensate them for Greenbelt work
  • Government of Ontario introduces new consumer protection laws
  • Focus on Small Business

Ontario reverses official plan for Niagara, undoes changes to urban boundaries

In a statement issued today, Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said that in keeping with his priority to review past decisions, he would introduce legislation that would reverse the official plan decisions for Barrie, Belleville, Guelph, Hamilton, Ottawa and the City of Peterborough, the Regional Municipalities of Halton, Niagara, Peel, Waterloo and York, as well as Wellington County.

This legislation would wind back provincial changes to official plans and official plan amendments, except in circumstances where construction has begun or where doing so would contravene existing provincial legislation and regulation. This includes winding back changes to urban boundaries.

St. Lawrence Seaway workers strike, shutting down marine traffic

Hundreds of workers at the St. Lawrence Seaway walked off the job on Sunday, halting cargo shipments along the length of the waterway from Montreal to Lake Erie. Goods worth approximately $16.7 billion were moved through the Seaway last year, and this strike has the potential for serious economic impact. This is particularly true for communities such as Niagara which rely on marine traffic for industry, and disruptions to the supply chain from an interruption in shipping will cause the prices of commodities and consumer goods to rise still higher, raising the economic pressure on millions of Canadians. 

The Chamber network, led by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and comprising hundreds of local chambers, including the GNCC, has asked the Government of Canada to use all the tools in its toolbox to see an end to this strike as soon as possible. 

While we respect the right to collective bargaining and the constitutional rights of workers, and recognize the rising cost of living and other pressures on all working Canadians, the Seaway strike has the potential to affect many livelihoods besides the Seaway workforce. The Chamber network has called on all parties to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and on the Government of Canada to do what it can to facilitate a mutually-acceptable long-term agreement.  

Two Ontario municipalities ask province to compensate them for Greenbelt work

Two Ontario municipalities are asking the provincial government to reimburse them for more than $400,000 in costs they incurred while working on the now-reversed Greenbelt land removals in their communities.

Premier Doug Ford admitted last month that his government’s November 2022 decision to remove 15 parcels from the protected Greenbelt for housing development – a move now the subject of an RCMP investigation – was a mistake, and his new housing minister has now started the process to return them.

But Pickering, Ont., the site of the largest parcel of land by far, and Grimsby, Ont., where two other sites had been slated for removal, say they spent a lot of money and staff time working on those plans, and they want to be compensated.

Government of Ontario introduces new consumer protection laws

The Ontario government has introduced new legislation that, if passed, would strengthen protections for Ontarians from unfair business practices such as price gouging, and aims to make it easier for businesses to comply with consumer protection rules.

Consumer protection laws have not been comprehensively reviewed and updated since the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, came into force in 2005.

Changes in the legislation include:

  • Prohibiting unfair business practices such as taking advantage of a consumer’s inability to understand language in a contract.
  • Limiting when businesses can make one-sided contract amendments, renewals, and extensions without express consumer consent.
  • Prohibiting businesses from creating unnecessary barriers when consumers are trying to cancel a subscription or membership-based contract.
  • Providing fairer exit options to consumers and their families who find themselves locked indefinitely into a timeshare contract as well as homeowners tied to long-term leases for home comfort appliances like HVAC systems.
  • Providing stronger enforcement powers to better enable the ministry to hold bad actors accountable including doubling maximum fines to further deter offences and egregious business behaviour.

Click here to read more.

Did you know?

The world’s first hybrid car was built in 1901 by Ferdinand Porsche.

Focus on Small Business

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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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