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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: April 27th, 2020, 2:00pm

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:

  • Premier Ford delivered his roadmap for re-opening the province, outlining how the economy would be gradually re-opened once the benchmarks for public safety had been met. The government is waiting for data indicating that the infection rate is sufficiently low (and decreasing) and that healthcare capacities are adequate to cope with a re-opening. The plan, when implemented, will be in three stages, each lasting 2-4 weeks to allow for close monitoring of cases and the opportunity to reverse in the event of a second wave of infection. After each period, the province’s medical officer may advise to reapply restrictions, maintain status quo, or progress to the next stage. No dates have been provided. For now, the Premier and Minister Elliott called on Ontarians to exercise their extraordinary resolve and continue to stay home.
    • Stage 1
      • Businesses that can meet public health guidance and occupational health and safety, for instance through curbside pick-up or delivery, can re-open.
      • Some parks and outdoor spaces will be re-opened.
      • Some events, e.g. funerals, will be allowed a greater number of individuals in attendance.
      • Hospitals will begin to offer some services such as non-urgent scheduled surgeries.
      • Continued protections for vulnerable populations and practice of physical distancing.
    • Stage 2
      •  More workplaces will be re-opened based on risk assessments. This may include service industries, offices, and retail stores.
      • More outdoor spaces will be opened; larger public gatherings will be permitted.
      • Continued protections for vulnerable populations and practice of physical distancing.
    • Stage 3
      • All workplaces will be responsibly opened.
      • Public gathering restrictions will be further relaxed.
      • Large public gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events, will be restricted for the foreseeable future.
      • Continued protections for vulnerable populations and practice of physical distancing.
    • The criteria for re-opening the economy will be:
      • a consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID‑19 cases
      • sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including access to ventilators and ongoing availability of personal protective equipment
      • approximately 90% of new COVID‑19 contacts are being reached by local public health officials within one day, with guidance and direction to contain community spread
      • ongoing testing of suspected COVID‑19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations, to detect new outbreaks quickly
  • The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched the application process for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal. Representatives can apply through Represent a Client.
    • All claims that are approved through the CRA’s automated verification process will be sent for payment on May 5, so that payments being made through direct deposit should begin to appear in employers’ accounts as of May 7.  Some applications will require a secondary verification, done manually, and in these cases the CRA may contact employers to verify information.  It is expected that these secondary verifications will take no more than 72 hours in the vast majority of cases.
    • The CRA has again partnered with financial institutions to enroll Canadian employers for direct deposit, and employers can now register business payroll accounts for direct deposit with the CRA through their bank portals.
    • Signing up for direct deposit will enable employers whose applications are approved to receive their CEWS payments quickly and securely.  Employers can sign up for direct deposit with their financial institutions even after applying for the CEWS.
    • This morning, the Prime Minister reported that 10,000 businesses had already applied for the subsidy.
  • The Ontario government is providing frontline staff with a temporary pandemic payment. This increase will provide four dollars per hour worked on top of existing hourly wages, regardless of the qualified employee’s hourly wage. In addition, employees working over 100 hours per month would receive lump sum payments of $250 per month for each of the next four months. Those eligible to receive the payment will be staff working in long-term care homes, retirement homes, emergency shelters, supportive housing, social services congregate care settings, corrections institutions and youth justice facilities, as well as those providing home and community care and some staff in hospitals.
  • Ontario parks and schools will remain closed until May 31, 2020.
  • Governor Cuomo of New York State outlined plans that would allow “low-risk” businesses up-state to reopen in mid-May. The border, however, would remain closed to tourist and recreational traffic regardless.

If you are showing symptoms, you must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days. Call a public health authority immediately. Do not visit any healthcare provider in person before you have been directly advised to by public health authorities.  

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, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

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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