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Mixed feelings from Chamber on Fall Economic Statement

By Adam Riley Nov 24, 2023 | 2:49 PM

The Fall Economic Statement delivered earlier this week the Federal Finance Minister was something of a let down for businesses struggling out of the pandemic.

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson says advocacy for an extension to pay back the Canada Emergency Business Account Loans has fallen upon deaf ears.

“We have concerns that businesses are not gonna be able to pay back that money and take advantage of the grants, and with the high interest rates, may not have the capacity to get financing.”

Robinson notes the restaurant sector will suffer greatly as inflation has prompted people to be more cautious with spending.

Additionally the tourism sector, which Robinson says remains in recovery mode, just had its first full summer to be back at full capacity with many operators just beginning to see regular revenue.

However, the focus on housing and the Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program are items Robinson believes would be beneficial to the region.

On the housing front she says with more supports to speed up property development opportunities will help and in turn feed into other aspects of the economy, specifically labour.

“If people do not have a place to live they obviously can’t really come here to get a job, so we need to make sure we have the housing supply in order to attract talent.”

The Indigenous Loan Guarantee Program will allow First Nations to benefit economically from major projects in or on their territory, and could play a crucial role in the development of the coveted “Ring of Fire”.