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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: January 21st, 2021

Regional Chair Bradley announces membership of Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination

As part of Niagara’s response to the ongoing pandemic, Regional Chair Jim Bradley has announced the members of the Community Coordination Task Force for COVID-19 Vaccination. Dr. David Dec has accepted the role of task force chair. In this role, Dr. Dec will provide critical leadership, and will act as the group’s primary community spokesperson. Dr. Dec will also serve as the direct liaison between the task force and the Board of Health (Regional Council).

Additionally, the task force will draw on the expertise of professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds, including:

  • Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
  • Dr. Mustafa Hirji, Acting Medical Officer of Health, Niagara Region
  • Lynn Guerriero, President & Interim CEO, Niagara Health
  • Chief Bryan MacCulloch, Niagara Regional Police Service
  • Chief Kevin Smith, Niagara Emergency Medical Services
  • Shelley Chemnitz, CAO, St. Catharines
  • Ron Tripp, Acting CAO, Niagara Region
  • Mike Kirkopoulos, CAO, Town of Lincoln
  • Tom Kuchyt, CAO, Town of Fort Erie
  • Adrienne Jugley, Commissioner, Community Services, Niagara Region
  • Dr. Karl Stobbe, Medical Director, REACH Niagara
  • Frank Ruberto, Executive Director, Niagara Medical Group Family Health Team
  • Martha Mason, Executive Director, Fort Erie Multicultural Centre
  • Brian Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Bethesda
  • Nancy Garner, Executive Director, Quest Community Health Centre
  • Martina Rosza, Vice President, Home and Community Care, HNHB LHIN
  • Sean Simpson, President, Pharmacists Association of Niagara
  • Lucie Huot, Executive Director, CERF Niagara
  • Jennifer Dockstader, Executive Director, Fort Erie Native Friendship Centre (IHN)
  • Kathleen LaForme, Diabetes Wellness Coordinator, Indigenous Diabetes Health Circle (IHN)

Regular EI beneficiaries down slightly from record number in October

In November, 1.3 million Canadians received regular EI benefits, down 3.4% from a record 1.4 million in October. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), a total of 1.7 million Canadians were unemployed during the week of November 8 to 14. The vast majority of the unemployed (1.5 million) were looking for work, while 253,000 still had a connection to a job, either because they were on temporary layoff or had arrangements to begin a new job in the near future.

In November, 12.4% of all regular EI beneficiaries qualified for EI as a result of temporary changes to eligibility rules introduced to the EI program in September 2020, up from 11.2% in October (not seasonally adjusted). The proportion of regular EI beneficiaries qualifying under the new rules increased in every province. Ontario (+4,100; +0.9%), Quebec (+5,400; +1.9%) and Manitoba (+3,800; +9.6%) recorded increases in the overall number of EI recipients. The seven other provinces reported decreases.

In November, 75.3% of regular EI recipients last worked in the services-producing sector, compared with 59.5% in the same month a year ago (not seasonally adjusted). The industry hardest hit by public health measures—accommodation and food services—accounted for 18.5% of regular EI beneficiaries in November, up from 7.0% in November 2019.

Canadian core public infrastructure is greener

Canada’s public transit and solid waste management infrastructure was greener in 2018 compared with two years earlier. This was partially attributable to almost one-fifth more electric and hybrid buses and 52.2% more exclusive rights-of-way, or roadways reserved at all times for public transit use or other high-occupancy vehicles. The number of waste diversion facilities (recycling, composting and anaerobic digestion facilities) surpassed the number of active disposal facilities for the first time in 2018.

Public transit systems had a modest boost in their rolling stock from 2016 to 2018. In 2018, municipalities and regional, provincial and territorial governments owned 18,132 public transit buses (+280 from 2016) and 3,646 railcars (+167 from 2016). While diesel buses comprised more than two-thirds (67.9%) of public transit bus fleets in 2018, the inventory of electric and hybrid buses grew by 18.6% from 2016 to 2018 and accounted for 12.8% of all buses. Bio-diesel buses accounted for another 14.9%.

One in six Canadian small business owners seriously contemplating permanently closing

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), in an update to its earlier estimate on business closures this past summer, has found that 181,000 Canadian small business owners are “seriously contemplating” a permanent closure, putting more than 2.4 million jobs at risk, or 20 per cent of private sector jobs.

The number of threatened businesses could be as low as 71,000 or as high as 222,000 (between 7 and 21 per cent of all businesses) depending on how the coming months unfold, jeopardizing between 962,000 and 2,951,000 jobs.

Reading recommendations

A W-shaped recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could trigger a nearly 50 per cent drop in housing prices and a peak unemployment rate of 25 per cent, if the government doesn’t offer relief, says the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. A W-shaped recovery is when an economy begins to rebound from a recession quickly but then rapidly falls into another period of downturn before recovering again. CMHC found that a W-shaped recovery with government support would curtail the severity, be more manageable and only cause a roughly 32 per cent drop in home prices and a 24 per cent unemployment rate.

The Bank of Canada says a stronger loonie has re-emerged as a risk to its outlook for inflation, warning that the currency’s recent rise could weaken the competitiveness of the country’s goods and services. The Canadian dollar has shot up to its highest level since early 2018, chiefly because of weakness in its U.S. counterpart, the Bank of Canada said in a monetary policy report released on Wednesday. A stronger dollar was also explicitly included on the monetary policy report’s list of risks to the Bank of Canada’s inflation outlook for the first time since July 2011, when oil prices were almost double what they are today and the loonie was trading at around US$1.

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

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here.The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.
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