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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: May 12th, 2020, 4pm

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:

  • The Government of Ontario has extended the provincial state of emergency until June 2nd, in a special sitting of the legislature held today. The emergency was first declared on March 17. A full list of emergency orders covered under this legislation is available here.
  • The Government of Ontario also passed the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, which will help people conduct business while practicing physical distancing by:
    • Providing authority to address in-person attendance rules for school board trustees’ meetings in regulation. This would provide the flexibility in certain emergency situations to allow trustees to meet virtually during school closures;
    • Enabling corporations to call and hold meetings virtually, as applicable, and extending the time period in which annual meetings must be held in specific circumstances;
    • Allowing designations of a beneficiary to be provided electronically for Retirement Savings Plans, Retirement Income Funds, Locked-in Retirement Accounts, Life Income Funds and Tax-Free Savings Accounts;
    • Allowing electronic filing of business registration documents, and the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services to accept copies of business registration documents and e-signatures;
    • Allowing for regulations to set out the parameters for remotely commissioning or notarizing a document;
    • Extending, on a one-time basis for 2020, the legislated four-year period during which a Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) election is mandated to be held to give more time to support remote voting.
  • The Prime Minister today announced a series of additional measures to help Canadian seniors and provide them with greater financial security in this time of crisis. These measures include:
    • Providing additional financial support of $2.5 billion for a one-time tax-free payment of $300 for seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension, with an additional $200 for seniors eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS). This measure would give a total of $500 to individuals who are eligible to receive both the OAS and the GIS, and will help them cover increased costs caused by COVID-19.
    • Expanding the New Horizons for Seniors Program with an additional investment of $20 million to support organizations that offer community-based projects that reduce isolation, improve the quality of life of seniors, and help them maintain a social support network.
    • Temporarily extending GIS and Allowance payments if seniors’ 2019 income information has not been assessed. This will ensure that the most vulnerable seniors continue to receive their benefits when they need them the most. To avoid an interruption in benefits, seniors are encouraged to submit their 2019 income information as soon as possible and no later than by October 1, 2020.
  • Premier Ford announced that the province would “hit stage one” of the planned re-opening framework on Thursday. However, the province has only completed 11,957 tests, about half of the Premier’s target of 20,000 tests per day, with a backlog of 10,811 tests, and despite a two-day increase in case numbers after a six-day low. More testing will be the key to re-opening the economy while balancing public safety, as infected individuals can be quarantined and contact-traced.

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.

It is important that everyone practice physical 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 here.

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