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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: January 15th, 2021

The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant.
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 Ontario government has opened  applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown. More information about the Ontario Small Business Support Grant and other rebates is available on Eligible small businesses include those that:
    • Were required to close or significantly restrict services due to the Provincewide Shutdown being imposed across the province effective 12:01 a.m. on December 26.
    • Have fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level.
    • Have experienced a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline in April 2020 compared to April 2019. New businesses established since April 2019 will also be eligible if they meet the other eligibility criteria.
  • The Ontario government has hired more case managers and contact tracers, building the provincial workforce to 1,600 by February 15, 2021. Along with staff who work in or have been redeployed within public health units, this support brings the total number of case and contact tracers in the province to nearly 5,600 staff.
  • The Insurance Bureau of Canada has launched a website to help businesses with commercial insurance. The website, accessible at, has resources for businesses looking for business insurance or experiencing issues with insurance. A The Business Insurance Action Team focuses on Ontario-based small businesses in the hospitality sector, specifically restaurants, bars, pubs and banquet halls, but businesses in all industries can utilize the resources and helpline. Businesses can also call 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422) for assistance, or email
  • Real gross domestic product (GDP) of the natural resources sector edged up 0.3% in the third quarter, following a record 10.7% decline in the second quarter. Gains in the minerals and forestry subsectors were mostly offset by continued declines in the energy subsector, partly owing to weak international trade. In contrast, economy-wide real GDP rose 8.9% in the third quarter, following an 11.3% drop in the second quarter—the sharpest fluctuations ever recorded. A 3.0% decline in the energy subsector was attributable in large part to decreased extractions of crude oil (-3.9%) and natural gas (-6.8%) for three consecutive quarters.
  • Global supply issues are temporarily delaying Canada’s vaccine shipment from Pfizer-BioNTech, but Procurement Minister Anita Anand says they will be made up with accelerated deliveries in February and March. Anand said Friday that production issues in Europe will temporarily reduce promised doses to Canada, as well as all countries that receive vaccines from Pfizer’s European facility. While the company assured Canada it will still be able to deliver four million doses by the end of March, Anand admitted that is no longer guaranteed. Canada has received about 380,000 doses of the vaccine so far, and was supposed to get another 400,000 this month and almost two million doses in February.

Reading recommendations

Israel leads the world in vaccination rate per capita. It’s been less than a month since its vaccination campaign began on December 19, and more than 20 percent of the country’s population of about 9 million have already gotten the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine as of January 14. In total, it’s about 2 million people. Over the past few weeks, the country delivered shots to about 150,000 people per day. Priority went to people over 60 and health workers; however, in an attempt to avoid wasting any shots that might spoil, other Israelis got the vaccine if they happened to know the right clinic or happened to be in the right place at the right time.

National home sales set an all-time record in December, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported Friday. Sales were up 47.2 per cent compared to December 2019, the largest year-over-year increase in monthly sales in 11 years. The spike in sales from November to December, 7.2 per cent, was driven by gains of more than 20 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Greater Vancouver. It was a new record for the month of December by a margin of more than 12,000 transactions.

Niagara COVID status tracker

Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are drawn daily from Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.

Note that the Provincewide Shutdown is not the same as the Grey-Lockdown level listed in the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, which has been suspended for the duration of the shutdown. Additional restrictions for businesses apply during the Shutdown. Businesses should not use the Response Framework as a guide during this time, but should instead refer to the Shutdown guidelines.

 December 18December 25January 1January 8January 15January 22January 29
Reproductive number1.
New cases per 100,000101.2267.3469.8575.8507.1295.5250.6
New cases per day (not including outbreaks)60.7178.7311.7376.9325.4182.7145.7
Percent of hospital beds occupied97%95.2%98.2%103.2%104.5%103.6%106%
Percent of intensive care beds occupied78.8%77.3%87.9%87.9%90.9%89.4%93.9%
Percentage of positive tests6.1%15.6%28.1%28.6%26.6%21.2%16.2%


  • Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
  • Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
  • Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus

 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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