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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: April 15th, 2020, 4:00pm

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Today’s vital updates:

  • The Prime Minister announced this morning that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, which offers funding to individuals who have lost income owing to COVID-19 and are not eligible for employment insurance or other benefits, has been expanded. This includes self-employed individuals, small business owners, independent contractors, and “gig economy” workers. Eligible individuals can apply for the CERB here.
    • Canadians earning less than $1,000 per month, and/or whose EI benefits have recently run out, will now be eligible for the CERB.
    • Out-of-work seasonal workers and frontline workers who work a limited number of hours will be eligible.
    • Artists can now exclude copyright revenues from their income to help them qualify.
  • The Prime Minister also announced that assistance would be forthcoming for businesses struggling to make commercial rent payments.
  • The Government of Ontario has amended the Planning Act to provide municipalities the time they need to focus on local public health priorities by making it possible to suspend certain planning decision timelines during a declared state of emergency. These changes will temporarily pause the need for municipalities and planning boards to make planning decisions within specified timelines without the risk of appeal. If municipalities choose to process planning applications, they may still do so by holding virtual/electronic public meetings and making decisions on planning matters during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The Government of Ontario has amended the Development Charges Act to ensure municipalities can continue to count on a vital source of revenue that helps pay for local growth-related infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewers as well as fire and police services. This change allows municipalities with an expiring development charge by-law to use their existing by-law during the current emergency and for six months following the end of the emergency declaration, so they can continue to charge fees on new construction.
  • The Niagara Economic Rapid Response Team has released the results of its COVID-19 impact survey, which are available here (PDF link). 97% of responding businesses reported an impact from COVID-19 and 92% had lost revenue as a result. Alarmingly, almost half – 43% – had lost between 76 and 100% of their revenue. 66% have reduced staffing levels and more than 1 in 4 businesses surveyed have had to close, at least temporarily.

If you are showing symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days. Call a public health authority. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before calling.  

It is important that everyone practice social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Remain at home unless absolutely necessary. Minimize contact with other people. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. Maintain a 2-meter distance from others if you are required to be out in public. If you have recently traveled outside the country, self-isolate for 14 days. This means that you must not leave your home under any circumstances. Have supplies delivered and left at your door. 

Previous updates can be accessed at 

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have. 

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