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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 17th, 2020

The Government of Ontario is helping businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment and providing extra support for businesses required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial public health measures
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 Government of Ontario is helping businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment and providing extra support for businesses required to close or significantly restrict services as a result of provincial public health measures. Funding applications are now open. Your business can apply online for funding from one or more of the following initiatives:
    • Main Street Relief Grant for Personal protective equipment (PPE) providing up to $1,000 for PPE costs to eligible small businesses across Ontario with 2 to 9 employees.
    • Property Tax and Energy Cost Rebate Grants for businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures (modified Stage 2 restrictions or, going forward, in areas categorized as control or lockdown). This provincial application-based grant provides a rebate to eligible businesses in respect of property taxes and energy bills.
  • Today, the GNCC held the second session of the 2020 Niagara Economic Summit, a three-part virtual series. Review the discussion here. Our guests were Inna Breidburg, Senior Analyst, Economics at CMHC; Brock Dickinson, Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo; Doug Giles, Director, Community & Long-Range Planning, Niagara Region; and Karen Pastakia, Partner and Ontario Consulting Leader at Deloitte. The panel was moderated by Dr. Suzanne Johnston, Strategic Advisor to the YMCA of Niagara and former President of Niagara Health.
    • “The progress we had planned for a few years had taken place overnight.” — Karen Pastakia
    • “It’s not that we didn’t build enough homes. We had a significant shift in the types of homes being built.” – Inna Breidburg
    • “We’re expected to grow to a population of about 600,000 people by 2051.” — Doug Giles
    • “We need to think about what comes next. Hyperloops may sound like science fiction, but we already have four proposals for hyperloops in Ontario.” — Brock Dickinson
  • A special meeting of Niagara Regional Council will take place tomorrow at 4:30pm, where Dr. Mustafa Hirji, the region’s acting medical officer of health, will answer questions about the controversial Section 22 order recently placed upon Niagara’s restaurants. A group of restaurant businesses called United Hospitality Niagara has joined the GNCC in calling for the order to be rescinded. Regional Council does not have the power to overturn the order, which can only be done by the Board of Health for the Niagara health unit.
  • The Government of Ontario is now accepting applications from municipalities for local infrastructure projects under the new Local Government sub-stream of the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure stream. Eligible projects include infrastructure to support physical distancing, social infrastructure, active transportation and disaster mitigation projects. Each municipality is allocated a certain amount of funding for which they can apply, with a minimum allocation of $100,000. Successful projects will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and be nominated by the Province to the federal government for approval by March 2021.
  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, introduced the proposed Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020, which modernizes the framework for the protection of personal information in the private sector. This legislation would bring Canada more in line with legislation passed in the European Union some years ago. The core aims of the legislation include:
    • increasing control and transparency when Canadians’ personal information is handled by companies;
    • giving Canadians the freedom to move their information from one organization to another in a secure manner;
    • ensuring that Canadians have the ability to demand that their information be destroyed;
    • providing the Privacy Commissioner with broad order-making powers, including the ability to force an organization to comply and the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information; and
    • ensuring the strongest fines among G7 privacy laws—with fines of up to 5% of revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater, for the most serious offences.
  • The Government of Canada has also launched an online public consultation on the review of the Privacy Act, led by Justice Canada, to ask Canadians to share their views on modernizing the Act. The Act regulates federal public sector institutions’ collection, use, disclosure, retention, and disposal of personal information. Members of the public are invited to share their views by participating in the online public consultation until January 17, 2021. The consultation can be accessed here.
  • NRT OnDemand service is coming to Niagara-on-the-Lake starting Nov. 23. Riders in Niagara-on-the-Lake will be able to book a shared ride for local trips to/from the designated area within their municipality. The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake desired a system to facilitate trips along Regional Rd. 55 (Niagara Stone Rd.) while including the areas of Old Town, Virgil and Glendale. NRT On-Demand will operate in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. The adult fare for trips within the municipality is $3.00. However, riders will be able to connect to Niagara Region Transit conventional service at the transit hub located at the Outlet Collection at Niagara for a $6.00 fare, which includes both the local fare and the transfer.

Reading recommendations:

  • Office workers want to keep working from home, just not every day, Natalie Wong, Bloomberg News
    • Office employees are getting used to the perks of telecommuting, and expect it to continue even after the pandemic ends, but most aren’t ready to abandon the office entirely, according to a survey by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. A majority of employees want to continue working from home at least two days a week, according to the brokerage’s survey of more than 2,000 workers globally. Only 26 per cent want to work from home full time after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.
  • No Office, No Problem: Software Unicorn GitLab’s CEO Warns You’re Probably Doing Remote Work Wrong, Alex Konrad, Forbes
    • GitLab’s CEO says the problem isn’t remote work, but how it’s practiced. Unless you’re employed by one of the handful of companies that have fully embraced the new work reality, Sijbrandij thinks you’re probably doing it wrong. His radical take on remote work: It’s effective only if you go all in. Partial measures will create tiers of employees who will split the workforce over time, driving away top-performing remote workers who don’t want to compete with lesser-achieving on-site colleagues.


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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