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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 11th, 2020

The Government of Canada is providing $1.75 billion to advance large, high-impact projects to connect Canadians to broadband internet across the country
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:

  • Originally announced in Budget 2019 as a $1 billion program, the Government of Canada is now providing $1.75 billion to advance large, high-impact projects to connect Canadians to broadband internet across the country, which will leverage partnerships including with the Canada Infrastructure Bank broadband initiative. The program will include a $150 million Rapid Response Stream with an accelerated application process that will allow shovel-ready projects to get started right away. In Southern Ontario, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $174 million in 14 projects, which will connect 25,661 households.
  • The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer (CCEO) has taken a number of enforcement actions, including issuing over $100,000 in penalties, against several real estate, investment and mortgage agents and brokerages. The agents and brokerages hired a telemarketing firm to recruit prospective clients, which did not abide by the CRTC’s Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules. Among other things, individuals and businesses who hire a firm to make calls on their behalf must ensure that the telemarketer is updating its calling list and that no calls are being made to consumers whose telephone numbers have been registered on the National Do Not Call List for more than 31 days. Should the telemarketer fail to do so, the contracting individual or business can be held liable for their violations. Businesses can review the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules here.
  • The Government of Canada has designated Hamilton as a Foreign Trade Zone Point, the third announced in Ontario and one of 14 in Canada. The program aims to make regions more attractive to businesses and foreign direct investment by offering a single point of access to resources and information relating to programs that relieve duties, tariffs and taxes for business. Niagara was designated as a Foreign Trade Zone Point in 2016.
  • The Government of Canada has announced $5.1 million in funding to support 46 new projects to protect and restore the Great Lakes through the Great Lakes Protection Initiative in 2020–21. The Great Lakes Protection Initiative supports projects that address key Great Lakes priorities such as restoring areas of concern, preventing toxic and nuisance algae, reducing releases of harmful chemicals, engaging Indigenous Peoples on Great Lakes issues, and increasing public engagement through citizen science.
  • The GNCC and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are looking for your insight on what matters to business amidst the pandemic. The interactive results from the second round are live! Click here to see the preliminary results. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring government understands the issues impacting business in this province. That’s why we need your help to express the voice of business loud and clear at Queen’s Park. This survey will take a deeper dive on business confidence, government support programs, as well as other pressing issues. Tell us how confident you are in Ontario’s economy and recovery, and what your organization’s outlook is for 2021. Please share your views by taking a short three-minute survey. This survey is being conducted by Golfdale Consulting, an independent consulting firm.

Reading recommendations:

  • How Canada’s emergency virus spending is leaking to other countries, Shelly Hagan, Erik Hertzberg, Financial Post
    • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should direct more of his government’s COVID-19 plan to programs that encourage consumers to spend on services like restaurants, minimizing leakage of cash out of the economy, according to Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Canadian households are spending a disproportionate share of emergency support money on imported consumer goods, meaning government efforts aren’t as effective as they could be. More than 50 per cent of every dollar spent on clothes, for example, goes to pay suppliers abroad, compared with services such as haircuts, where most of the money goes toward paying staff and fixed costs like rent.
  • Building back better, during and after COVID-19, with faster broadband, Helen Hambly, David Worden, The Conversation
    • We estimate that at least half of residential internet users across southern Ontario are currently working remotely full-time during the COVID-19 pandemic. New data from Durham Region indicates that for three days a week, the remote worker saves nearly $19,000, with an estimated annual environmental benefit of 3,205 kilograms of carbon dioxide offset by not commuting an average of 96 kilometres per day. There is little doubt that Ontarians all over the province need improved connectivity. R2B2 researchers recently examined more than 18 million internet connection tests conducted by Ontarians in 2019 and found average effective download speeds below five Mbps for 127 out of 740 grouped communities in Ontario. This means that 17 per cent of Ontario communities were found to have extremely poor quality internet access.


Niagara Economic Summit Series 2020

Where are we now, how did we get here, and where do we go? This year’s summit, taking place between November 10 and November 24, brings experts and leaders together from across the country to identify where we are economically, what our future opportunities are, and how we can seize them. Find out more and get a calendar save-the-date here.

 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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