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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: July 10th, 2020

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.

Vital updates:

  • Statistics Canada has released the results of the June, 2020 Labour Force Survey. The unemployment rate was 12.3% in June, a drop of 1.4 percentage points from a record-high of 13.7% in May. While this was the largest monthly decline on record, the unemployment rate remains much higher than February, when it was 5.6%. Approximately 2.5 million Canadians were unemployed in June, a decrease of 167,000 (-6.4%) from May but more than double the February level (1.1 million).
  • From February to April, 5.5 million Canadian workers were affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. This included a drop in employment of 3.0 million and a COVID-related increase in absences from work of 2.5 million. By the week of June 14 to June 20, the number of workers affected by the COVID-19 economic shutdown was 3.1 million, a reduction since April of 43%. Building on an initial recovery of 290,000 in May, employment rose by nearly one million in June (+953,000; +5.8%), with gains split between full-time work (+488,000 or +3.5%) and part-time work (+465,000 or +17.9%). With these two consecutive increases, employment in June was 1.8 million (-9.2%) lower than in February. The number of Canadians who were employed but worked less than half their usual hours for reasons likely related to COVID-19 dropped by 823,000 in June. Combined with declines recorded in May, this left absences from work 1.4 million above pre-COVID levels.
  • The employment losses resulting from the COVID-19 economic shutdown were unprecedented in their speed and depth. In just two months, employment fell to 15.7% below pre-COVID February levels. By comparison, the 1981/1982 recession resulted in a total employment decline of 5.4% (-612,000) over approximately 17 months. With the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in May and June, the initial recovery of employment—to within 9.2% of pre-COVID levels—has been sharper than in previous downturns, when recovery to pre-downturn employment has taken from two to five years.
  • In Ontario, where the easing of COVID-19 restrictions began in late May and expanded on June 12, employment rose by 378,000 (+5.9%) in June, the first increase since the COVID-19 economic shutdown. The proportion of employed people who worked less than half of their usual hours declined by 6.5 percentage points to 14.1% in Ontario. The unemployment rate declined 1.4 percentage points to 12.2% as the number of people on temporary layoff declined.
  • In the accommodation and food services industry, three in four jobs (74.5%) involve close physical proximity with others. In retail trade, the equivalent figure is 63.4%. Both industries, which were hardest hit by the employment losses resulting from the COVID-19 economic shutdown, recorded large employment gains for the second consecutive month in June. Employment rose by 164,000 in accommodation and food services and by 184,000 in retail trade. In June, nearly all workers in accommodation and food services (93.6%) reported having access to personal protective equipment, with the proportion only slightly lower in retail trade (87.7%).
  • The employed workforce in Niagara dropped slightly from May to June, from 171,300 to 170,000, while the number of unemployed increased from 24,600 to 25,300. The unemployment rate increased from 12.6% to 12.9%. These figures are based on a three-month moving average, which can skew the current month’s data towards an average of the two previous months. It is possible that unadjusted Niagara numbers actually reflect the general trend of recovery. However, Niagara is also affected by other factors, such as our concentration in the tourist sector and the poor tourist season currently underway.
  • Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) have launched the Ontario Made program, supported by the Government of Ontario. Funding for Ontario Made is made possible through the $50 million Ontario Together Fund launched on April 1, 2020. This funding will be used to help retailers and consumers identify local products by:
    • Creating a new Ontario Made logo that manufacturers can use to help consumers identify their made-in-Ontario products. CME will also meet with major retailers to promote Ontario Made products in-store and increase visibility for customers;
    • Launching a new website that will connect consumers and supply chain partners to manufacturers of made-in-Ontario products through one directory;
    • Promoting Ontario Made through a digital newsletter to raise awareness of Ontario goods and products online and through social media.

Reading recommendations:

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.

Remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. When maintaining distance is impossible, use a face mask. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

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

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