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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 16th, 2020

The Ontario government has announced the establishment of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency that will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing goods and services.
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:

  • The Ontario government has announced the establishment of Supply Ontario, a new centralized procurement agency that will enable a whole-of-government approach to purchasing goods and services. The GNCC had previously expressed its concerns over this move, since very few small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would be able to participate in a procurement process that supplied the entire Government of Ontario. In fact, we felt that contracts were now far more likely to go to large international firms not even based in Ontario or Canada at all. The GNCC has partnered with the Thunder Bay, Greater Peterborough, North Bay & District, Sarnia Lambton, Sault Ste Marie, Timmins, and Ontario Chambers of Commerce in asking for regional procurement hubs that mandate public buyers to use a blended portfolio of national, provincial, and regional suppliers to derive the greatest total value for purchases. The signatory chambers feel that total value is not just cost to taxpayers, but a balanced consideration of price, regional economic impact, and other important factors including but not limited to sustainability and cultural inclusion.
  • Moderna has become the second firm to report positive results from a COVID-19 vaccine trial, with 95% effectiveness reported. Unlike the earlier vaccine from Pfizer, this vaccine can be stored and shipped with standard refrigeration. Moderna claims it can manufacture a billion doses by the end of 2021, in addition to 1.3 billion from Pfizer/BioNTech. Assessment by regulators is pending.
  • Niagara Region has reported that it is continuing to enforce provincial COVID-19 regulations. Between Sept. 18 and Nov. 7, Regional by-law officers conducted 126 inspections of Niagara businesses in every municipality, including bars and restaurants, retail locations and others. Those inspections have resulted in seven Part I Provincial Offence tickets ($750 fine) and three Part III summons (elevated fine) being issued for infractions under the Reopening Ontario Act, O.Reg. 364/20. Niagara Region’s by-law officers will also be supporting enforcement of Public Health’s order under Section 22 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act. The aim of enforcement, the Region claims, is not to punish local businesses, but rather to ensure that they are able to stay open safely. The GNCC has expressed its opposition to the Section 22 order and called for it to be rescinded immediately. Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens, and Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch have called on the Government of Ontario to offer more support to the restaurant and bar industry.

Reading recommendations:

  • The meaning of RCEP, the world’s biggest trade agreement, The Economist
    • Some see RCEP as so unambitious as to be largely symbolic. Others see it as an important building block in a new world order, in which China calls the shots all over Asia. The truth lies somewhere in between. RCEP does not herald a dramatic liberalisation of Asian trade. Its origins are as a kind of tidying-up exercise: joining together in one overarching compact the various free-trade agreements (FTAs) between the ten-member Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and several other countries in the Asia-Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
  • Don’t Get Too Excited About the Coronavirus Vaccine, Aaron E. Carroll, Nicholas Bagley, The New York Times
    • This development doesn’t mean we can all relax and start doing more things. It means we need to tighten up even further until the vaccine becomes available. The goal is now no longer to learn to live indefinitely with the virus. It’s to get as many people through the winter as possible without getting sick.


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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