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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: May 28th, 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:

  • The GNCC is conducting a survey on the impact that the proposed 10-paid-sick-day policy will have on your business. We have heard from several members already indicating that this measure would impose an additional cost that they cannot afford, especially now. The results from this survey will form the basis of the GNCC’s lobbying efforts to the provincial and federal governments, and will also be passed on to business organizations including the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce. If this policy would impact your business, please complete the survey now. The survey has only one question and will take a few seconds to complete.
  • Statistics Canada released the March data for its Survey on Payroll, Employment and Hours (SEPH) today.
    • In March, payroll employment in Canada decreased by 914,500 (-5.4%) compared with February, in line with the 5.3% decrease in total employment observed in the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
    • SEPH data further demonstrate that low-paid workers have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 economic shutdown. More than 8 in 10 payroll employees who lost their jobs were paid hourly (unadjusted for seasonality).
    • Results from the LFS indicated that the impact of the COVID-19 economic shutdown was largely confined to the services sector in mid-March, with the majority of job losses among women. By mid-April, the impact had clearly spread to goods-producing industries, with the cumulative impact on men and women being more balanced. SEPH data complete this, showing that the goods-producing sector was affected by the last week in March, with both manufacturing (-104,300 or -6.7%) and construction (-77,600 or -7.4%) posting significant job losses.
    • Average weekly hours for hourly paid employees declined by 1.1 hours to 29.5 hours in March, the lowest level on record. Average weekly hours for all payroll employees declined by 0.7 hours to 32.3 hours per week.
    • Nearly one in four payroll jobs lost from February to March were in the food services and drinking places subsector (-204,800 or -18.0%). A notable decline was also observed in accommodation services (-29,000 or -14.3%), the other subsector in accommodation and food services.
    • In retail trade (-140,900 or -7.0%), payroll employment declined across all 12 subsectors, with the largest proportional decreases in furniture and home furnishings stores (-12,300 or -16.9%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (-11,000 or -13.2%) and motor vehicle and parts dealers (-29,200 or -13.0%).
  • The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, in partnership with Google and Spotify, have created the ShopHERE program, providing free website support and marketing tools to help businesses increase their digital presence. Both commercially-located and home-based businesses are eligible, provided that they are registered and employ fewer than 10 people (or 25 for a restaurant or bar), and are not part of a corporate chain or franchise. Businesses will be matched to volunteer web developers and marketers who will build their website for free. Interested businesses can sign up here.

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.