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The Winnipeg Chamber’s Director of Policy, Colin Fast, highlights five things Winnipeg businesses should be aware of this week.
1. Province seeks input on homelessness strategy
The provincial government is seeking input to help develop a whole-of-government strategy to end homelessness. Manitoba Families is leading a province-wide engagement process to inform the strategy’s approach, priorities and actions. This includes seeking input from the business community and the membership of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. Interested members can view a discussion paper outlining the strategy’s approach and pillars here, and reach out to [email protected] if you would like to participate in an engagement session or provide feedback.
2. Provincial cabinet shuffled
Premier Heather Stefanson shuffled her cabinet this week, featuring new roles for many previous cabinet ministers and the addition of three new members. Most significantly for the business community, Cameron Friesen returns to the role of Minister of Finance, while also overseeing Manitoba Hydro, and Cliff Cullen takes over as Minister of Economic Development, Investment and Trade, while also serving as Deputy Premier. The full list of new cabinet appointments can be found here. The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce will be reaching out to all members of the new cabinet to share our members’ policy priorities in the weeks ahead.
3. City considers new funding models for police services
Residents are invited to provide feedback on five proposed funding models to help ensure planning certainty for the City of Winnipeg and sustainable and predictable funding for the Winnipeg Police Service.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s budget currently represents over a quarter of the City’s annual operating budget, and City Council believes developing a sustainable funding model will help ensure the overall financial health of our city.
Residents can provide input by completing an online survey, available until February 2; participating in a telephone town hall on Tuesday, January 25 at 7 p.m. – 8 p.m., or registering to participate at one of several community events. Input gathered will help inform recommendations for Council’s consideration in March 2022.
For more information on the project, proposed funding models, and how to get involved, see: winnipeg.ca/policefundingmodel.
4. Study measures tax competitiveness of Canada vs. U.S.
How tax competitive is Canada versus the United States as both countries fight for business investment to grow their economies and shore up vital supply chains? A new study from The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and PwC looked at three sectors that are a priority for the federal government: advanced manufacturing, health and biosciences, and natural resources. The findings showed that while Canada has a small advantage in attracting manufacturing and health and biosciences operations, there is very little room for corporate tax increases. Meanwhile, the U.S. offers a significantly better climate for investment in natural resource projects. The full report can be found here.
5. Inflation hits 30-year high
Inflation in Canada hit a 30-year high of 4.8% in December, according to new data released by Statistics Canada this morning.
Canadians continued to feel the impact of rising prices for groceries last month, as unfavourable weather conditions during the growing season and supply chain disruptions put upward pressure on prices. Supply chain disruptions also led to higher prices for durable goods, including passenger vehicles and household appliances, while higher construction costs and the increased frequency and severity of weather events contributed to rising home and mortgage insurance costs. These increases were offset somewhat by declining prices for gasoline in response to the rise of the Omicron variant.
It’s expected the persistent strength of inflation will put pressure on the Bank of Canada to begin raising interest rates, possibly as soon as next week.