Economic and Investment Update – January 2022

Key Highlights

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) continues to rise at a record pace: 4.8% on a year-over-year basis in December and 3.4 per cent in 2021 – the fastest pace since 1991
  • National unemployment rate remains slightly above pre-pandemic levels, full-time employment continued to rise in December
  • Wholesale sales in Ontario rise for the fourth consecutive month in November – up 2.2% over the previous month
  • Retail sales rose slightly in November from the previous month in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) – up 6.3% over the same period last year
  • Year-over-year sales in the food services and drinking places subsector are on the rise, but remain lower than pre-pandemic levels
  • Top industries seen for consultation by the Small Business & Entrepreneurship advisors were from the Professional, Scientific & Technical Services, Retail Trade, and Healthcare & Social Assistance
  • Martinrea International partnered on an $8 million project to address the urgent supply chain crisis affecting manufacturers and consumers globally
  • Insights Success magazine placed Vaughan-based Corum Digital Corporation on its global list of Top 10 Most Innovative Companies for Revolutionizing Digital Signage
  • The Vaughan-based Mech Solutions was one of the recipients of York Region’s 2021 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund administered by ventureLAB
  • Vaughan-headquartered Danavation Technologies partnered with Mexico’s largest distributor of electrical and lighting equipment to expand its international reach
  • Busy Bee Tools announced expansion of their National Distribution Center in Vaughan to keep up with double digit growth in back-to-back years

SELECT Economic Indicators

Inflation rises at fastest pace since 1991 on an average annual basis

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 3.4% CPI rose 3.4% on an annual average basis in 2021, following an increase of 0.7% in 2020. This marked the fastest pace since 1991, which saw an increase of 5.6%. Seven of eight major components saw increase, with transportation prices rising at the fastest pace, up 7.2% over 2020 in 2021. The only major component to decrease was clothing and footwear, where prices decreased 0.3% in 2021.

Prices for goods were up 4.7% on an annual average basis in 2021, while prices for services increased 2.3% on an annual average basis in 2021. In Ontario, CPI rose by 3.5%, slightly above the national level.

Unemployment rate remains slightly above pre-pandemic levels

National unemployment rate was 5.9% in December, while Ontario’s unemployment rate sat slightly higher at 6.4% and the Toronto CMA remained higher than both provincial and national unemployment rate at 7%. In Ontario, the unemployment rate was highest among youth (aged 15 to 24) at 11.4%, while adult women (25 years and older) saw an unemployment rate slightly above adult men, with rates of 5.7% and 5.4% respectively.

Employment rose slightly in December, up 0.6% over the previous month in Ontario, driven by gains in the goods-producing sector

Wholesale sales rise for fourth consecutive up 2.2%, in November over the previous month in Ontario

Wholesale sales in Ontario rose for the fifth consecutive month, up 2.2% to $38.2 billion in November. The increase was led by the building material and supplies subsector, up 7.7% to $5.2 billion. This was closely followed by the motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts and accessories subsector, up 4.8% and the miscellaneous subsector, up 6.3%. The gains in these three subsectors totalled $1.0 billion. These gains were diminished by a 3.8% fall in sales of food, beverage and tobacco. Notwithstanding decreased sales in three of seven subsectors, wholesale sales in Ontario were also the highest on record.

Retail sales rise 0.1% in Toronto CMA in November, Ontario retail sales up 0.5% in same period

Retail sales in Toronto CMA rose 0.1% in November from the previous month, but were up 6.3% from the same month last year. Ontario retail sales were up slightly higher than Toronto CMA in November, seeing an increase of 0.5% over the previous month, but up only 3.3% over the same month in 2020.

On an unadjusted basis, national retail e-commerce sales were up 1.1% year over year to $4.3 billion in November, accounting for 6.9% of total retail trade. The share of e-commerce sales out of total retail sales fell 0.4% compared with November 2020, coinciding with limited Cyber Monday sales at retailers amid supply chain constraints in November 2021.


Small Business and Entrepreneurship sees demand for consultations driven by Professional, Scientific & Technical Services, Retail Trade, and Healthcare & Social Assistance

ED’s Small Business and Entrepreneurship top five industries seeking consultations in December were:

  1. Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (18%)
  2. Retail Trade (16%)
  3. Healthcare & Social Assistance (16%)
  4. Accommodation & Food Services (12%)
  5. Arts, Entertainment & Recreation (11%)
Invest Ontario highlights Martinrea International’s success

Invest Ontario, the provincial agency responsible for communicating is a top-tier destination for investment and strategic business growth focusing on advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and technology, recently highlighted Vaughan-headquartered Martinrea International in their success story blog series.

Martinrea International partners on $8 million project to address supply chain crisis

Technology leaders ThinkData Works Inc. and Palantir Technologies Canada have partnered with Vaughan-headquartered Martinrea International to develop an industry-wide platform for supply chain resiliency to help manufacturers predict, prevent, and mitigate disruptions. Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization behind Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, has announced $8 million in collaborative funding, including $3.5 million in co-funding.

Delays in the global supply chain continue to slow down recovery for many industries. In particular, the lack of computer chips, shortage of shipping containers, port congestion, and environmental disasters have presented serious disturbances to many manufacturers and distributors of goods. Supply chain disruption is expected to continue into 2022. Ontario’s manufacturing sales have been affected primarily on lower sales of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts due to the lack of semiconductor parts.

Vaughan-based Corum Digital Corporation makes global list of Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Revolutionizing Digital Signage in 2021

Insights Success magazine has placed Vaughan company Corum Digital Corporation on its global list of Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Revolutionizing Digital Signage 2021. Corum Digital is a leader in digital signage for its technological advancements in the industry and has also received other awards and recognition in the digital signage industry, including the Excellence in Technology Award from Frost and Sullivan (a research and consulting company) and the CTIA Emerging Technology Award (CTIA represents the U.S. wireless communications industry).

Vaughan-based 3D printing company Mech Solutions recipient of the York Region Entrepreneurship Fund

Vaughan-based Mech Solutions was recently announced as one of nine recipients of the York Region Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund for 2021, receiving a grant of $10,000. The fund support companies and organizations in York Region that demonstrate innovative solutions or services that support the development of the innovation network.

Mech Solutions is a one-stop-shop for all 3D printing needs. In addition, Mech Solutions is creating their AIFocusBot software, an innovative product currently in the beta testing stage that will be launched to the market in early 2022. Mech Solutions uses AI and applied deep learning to train solutions to avoid errors and improve accuracy.

Vaughan-headquartered Danavation Technologies partners to bring innovative technology to Mexico’s Largest Distributor of Electrical and Lighting Equipment

Vaughan-headquartered Danavation Technologies has partnered with Unoretail, to install Danavation’s Digital Smart Labels™ within a location for Impulsora, Mexico’s largest distributor of electrical and lighting equipment. This represents the first entry into Mexico for Danavation Technologies, an Internet of Things (IoT) technology company and provider of micro e-paper displays.

Busy Bee Tools announces expansion of their National Distribution Center in Vaughan

Busy Bee Tools announced an addition of 20,000 sq. ft. to their National Distribution Center in Vaughan. Busy Bee Tools is tool retailer with 10 stores across Canada, which has seen unprecedented growth over the past few years. Busy Bee Tools sister company,, also operates out of the same Distribution center. has grown into a multimillion-dollar e-commerce retailer of home healthcare products.