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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 20th, 2020

Premier Ford announced this afternoon that, after extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto and Peel will be moved into lockdown on Monday, November 23rd at 12:01 a.m.
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:

  • Premier Ford announced this afternoon that, after extensive consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Toronto and Peel will be moved into lockdown on Monday, November 23rd at 12:01 a.m. The Premier also announced that he would be doubling supports for impacted businesses, including help for hydro bills and property taxes, and asked all Ontarians to support their local businesses and to shop at local stores, to order takeout from local restaurants, and to avoid doing their holiday shopping with online multinationals such as Amazon. Niagara’s level remains unchanged at Orange-Restrict. The Hon. Christine Elliott announced that tickets and fines would be issued for violations, including breaches of emergency orders put in place by local medical officers of health.
  • Bill C-9, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy), received Royal Assent yesterday evening, implementing new, targeted support to help Canadian businesses. The government has also reaffirmed its intention to introduce legislation to formalize rent payable as an eligible expense, for purposes of the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, as of September 27, 2020. Qualifying organizations will be able to take advantage of the rent subsidy on this basis as soon as the application portal is launched. The measures adopted as part of Bill C-9 are:
    • The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which will provide direct rent and mortgage interest support to tenants and property owners until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The new rent subsidy will support businesses, charities, and non-profits that have suffered a revenue drop by providing support up to a maximum of 65 per cent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Claims can be made retroactively to September 27, 2020.
    • The new Lockdown Support, which will provide an additional 25 per cent through the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy for qualifying organizations that are subject to a lockdown and must shut their doors or significantly restrict their activities under a public health order issued under the laws of Canada, a province or territory (including orders made by a municipality or regional health authority under one of those laws). Combined, this will mean that hard-hit businesses subject to a lockdown could receive rent support of up to 90 per cent.
    • The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until June 2021, which will continue to protect jobs by helping employers keep employees on the payroll and re-hire workers. The wage subsidy will remain at the current rate of up to 65 per cent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020.
  • The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has extended all orders currently in force under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (ROA) until December 21, 2020. The ROA came into force on July 24, 2020 to ensure important measures remained in place after the provincial declared emergency came to an end. Under the ROA, orders can be extended for up to 30 days at a time and the government must report on all order extensions to the Select Committee on Emergency Management Oversight. The list of orders under the ROA that have been extended can be found online on the Government of Ontario’s website.
  • The Ontario government is making an investment in critical maintenance, repairs, upgrades and renewals of $466 million in capital grants over three years starting in 2020-21 for Ontario’s universities and colleges. This investment is intended to allow institutions to address their deferred maintenance backlog, undertake critical repairs, modernize classrooms, upgrade technology and improve their environmental sustainability.
  • The Town of Pelham, the Town of Fort Erie, and the Township of Wainfleet are pleased to announce the joint hiring of Jennifer Stirton as the municipalities’ shared in-house Solicitor. The innovative initiative is expected to reduce legal costs and is, to the municipalities’ understanding, the first such shared in-house position in Ontario. The agreement positions all three municipalities to reduce their legal expenditures, supporting financial sustainability.
  • At its Nov. 19 meeting, Regional Council decided to pursue a full recruitment process to fill the role of Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) on a permanent basis. Acting CAO Ron Tripp will continue to serve in his current role until the recruitment process has been completed.​ Council had previously opted to temporarily delay the CAO recruitment process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Statistics Canada has reported that retail sales rose 1.1 per cent to $53.9 billion in September, the fifth consecutive monthly increase since COVID-19 precipitated a record drop in April. The average forecast of economists was an increase of 0.2 per cent.

Reading recommendations:

Within weeks of the coronavirus pandemic being declared, one premier after another made tough promises to stop price gouging on essential products. Yet, CBC’s Marketplace has learned that despite tens of thousands of reported complaints, little legal action has been taken across the country. Marketplace reached out to all provinces and territories and was told consumer complaints to government only led to one business being charged. It’s unclear how many, if any, charges were laid by local bylaw officers.

Lots of attention has been paid to the financial risk-takers in the pandemic – the people bidding to buy houses, buying expensive stocks and dipping into speculative things like gold and bitcoin. But the ones who may end up doing the most good for our economy are the people who added a stunning $127-billion to savings and chequing accounts and term deposits in the first half of the year.

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.