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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: December 8th, 2020

The City of St. Catharines and the St. Catharines Downtown Association have announced that downtown visitors now have three hours of free parking at select City spots between noon and 6 p.m.
Information on government grants, resources, and programs, as well as policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Vital updates:

  • The City of St. Catharines and the St. Catharines Downtown Association have announced that downtown visitors now have three hours of free parking at select City spots between noon and 6 p.m. on weekdays from Monday, Dec. 7 to Thursday, Dec. 31, making it easier to support small businesses this holiday season. Free afternoon parking is available downtown at City-owned on-street metered spots and City-owned parking lots with pay machines. Long-term parking at the City’s parking garages at Garden Park / Carlisle Street and Ontario Street are not included in the promotion, but remain available for visitors who need more time to complete their business downtown.
  • The Bank of Canada is expected to keep extremely accommodative policy intact tomorrow, with an outside chance it will do even more to support the recovery. Economists predict the central bank will restate a pledge to hold its overnight interest rate at 0.25 per cent until at least 2023, while continuing bond purchases at the current pace of $4 billion per week. The bank releases its December policy decision at 10 a.m. in Ottawa.
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has completed its broad consultations into tax reform, and is sharing the preliminary results. A comprehensive report will follow next year. The full set of thirty recommendations can be read here. The Chamber’s simple tax reform suggestions to help Canadians and businesses include:Support Canadians by:
    • Automating filing for simple returns
    • Enhancing the deduction for childcare
    • Simplifying the work-space-in-the-home deduction
    • Improving the use of electronic communications, including the broader use of email and permitting documents to be electronically attached to filings.

    Support small employers by:

    • Introducing a temporary GST/HST holiday to spur local purchases
    • Demonstrating continued leniency with small business audits during the pandemic
    • Simplifying rules around income-splitting with children
    • Removing tax disincentives that arise on the sale of a small business to family members.

    Support large employers by:

    • Processing work-space-in-the-home deductions without a T2200 form
    • Deferring the CRA’s right to collect disputed tax amounts
    • Increasing deductibility on capital expenditures in the year incurred
    • Accelerating the ability to turn tax losses into cash.

Reading recommendations:

The average Canadian family will pay up to an extra $695 for food next year, as the pandemic, wildfires and changing consumer habits drive up grocery bills to the highest increase ever predicted by an annual food price report. Rising bread, meat and vegetable prices are expected to lead the overall food price increase of three to five per cent, according to Canada’s Food Price Report 2021 released Tuesday. For an average family of four, that means a $13,907 grocery bill.

As we come to the end of three and half years of often tortuous negotiations over, first, the terms of the UK’s departure from the EU and, second, the future relationship, we’re still none the wiser as to whether we can get a deal over the line by December 31. The whole process has been a mixed bag, if it’s analyzed using the principles of negotiations we teach in our executive programs at Oxford. While we aren’t privy to what’s going on behind closed doors, it’s still possible to make some general observations as to where certain negotiation techniques have been used well and others have not.

 If you are showing symptoms, contact your health care provider, call the Public Health Info-Line at 905-688-8248, or chat to Public Health online. For testing, call 905-378-4647 ext. 42819 (4-CV19) for information on test centres in Niagara and to book an appointment.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.

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