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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 12th, 2020

Local restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and other food and beverage service operators will soon be required to ask for information including if patrons have any symptoms of illness, and to confirm that patrons are dining only with their household or persons essential to maintaining physical and mental health
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:

  • Local restaurants, bars, wineries, breweries, and other food and beverage service operators will soon be required to ask for information including if patrons have any symptoms of illness, and to confirm that patrons are dining only with their household or persons essential to maintaining physical and mental health. A workplace-based checklist that can be used when questioning patrons can be downloaded here. Acting Medical Officer of Health for Niagara Region Dr. M. Mustafa Hirji has issued a message to the Niagara community urging everyone in Niagara to:
    • Limit in-person social interactions to people within your household and avoid in-person social interactions with friends, with co-workers when not at work, and with extended family. Dining at restaurants, going to the movies, or partaking in other social activities should be limited to household members.
    • Stay home if you have any symptoms of illness, however mild.
  • The City Council of St. Catharines has approved the 2020 Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to provide funding for redevelopment projects that include the provision of affordable housing, commercial buildings and heritage preservation, in addition to brownfield sites to ensure contaminated land is cleaned up and restored. Since 2004, the City has approved 98 CIP applications with a commitment of approximately $20.75 million. Once all projects are completed as approved, they will represent the generation of approximately 2,100 new residential dwelling units, 280 permanent new jobs and an estimated increase in property tax assessment of approximately $396 million. Formal passage of the by-law will be before Council on Nov. 16.
  • Heddle Shipyards has reached a new long-term agreement with Vancouver-based shipyard Seaspan to fabricate Ontario-made ship components under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Over the next decade, Heddle Shipyards will be the primary supplier for ladders, gratings and handrails for the JSS 1 (currently under construction), JSS 2, and an Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel. These components will be manufactured at their facilities in St. Catharines, Hamilton, and Thunder Bay.
  • The Ontario government is investing $500 million over four years to make public sector services more customer-focused, and more efficient and cost effective. The funding is flowing through the Ontario Onwards Acceleration Fund to support modernization projects such as making government services more digitally accessible, reducing red tape and simplifying policies, and improving government purchasing to save both time and money. This initiative is part of the 2020 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover. Details were announced today by Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital and Data Transformation, Amy Fee, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and Michael Harris, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • The Ontario Onwards Acceleration Fund will help with the implementation of projects that emphasize digital-first and lean methods to ensure efficient and effective delivery, while also providing seed funding to set up pilot projects that test-drive new initiatives that show promise. In some cases this could include collaboration with the private sector. Projects eligible for funding must have:
    • A strong return on investment and deliver immediate benefits to the people and businesses of Ontario
    • Focus on the outcomes and needs of Ontarians
    • Clear governance to ensure accountability and support the tracking and reporting of results
  • European Union regulators have filed antitrust charges against Amazon, stating that the company is using data from companies selling products on its website in order to gain an unfair advantage for its own offerings. This is the latest in a salvo against Big Tech from EU regulators, including a total of $10 billion of antitrust fines levied against Google and two antitrust investigations into Apple. It also follows last month’s filing of antitrust charges against Google by the U.S. Department of Justice and an investigation into Amazon by the Competition Bureau of Canada.
  • To gain more insight on COVID-19’s impact on the retail sector, Niagara Workforce Planning Board is conducting one-on-one engagements and focus groups with local retailers. If you would like to participate, please contact NWPB Project Manager Thalia Semplonius at

Reading recommendations:

  • Contact Tracing Apps Were Big Tech’s Best Idea for Fighting COVID-19. Why Haven’t They Helped? Alejandro de la Garza, Time
    • While researchers have worked for months to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, contact-tracing apps like COVID Trace have been touted as one of the technology world’s most promising contributions to the fight against the pandemic. But seven months into the U.S. outbreak, such apps have made slow progress across the country, hampered by sluggish and uncoordinated development, distrust of technology companies, and inadequate advertising budgets and messaging campaigns.
  • ‘It’s heartbreaking’: Inside the fall of a family restaurant, Financial Post
    • Restaurant advocates warn that this winter will be even more destructive for the sector than the early shutdowns last spring, since anxiety over COVID-19 is once again rising and patios are closing. But what’s easy to miss in all the talk of mass closures, public health restrictions and government subsidies is that this is a crisis playing out thousands of times over, one flailing restaurant after another, each a protracted and painful time for the people who built that business.


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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