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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: November 27th, 2020

The Ontario government is moving five public health regions to new levels with stronger public health measures, effective Monday, November 30, 2020.
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, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, local medical officers of health, and other health experts, is moving five public health regions to new levels with stronger public health measures. Effective Monday, November 30, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., Windsor-Essex County will be moved into Red-Control, Haldimand-Norfolk into Orange-Restrict, and Hastings Prince Edward, Lambton, and Northwestern into Yellow-Protect. Niagara’s status remains unchanged, in Orange-Restrict. No health units were moved into less restrictive levels.
  • The Ontario government is calling on the federal government to immediately lay out its plan to allocate COVID-19 vaccines across the country as the province continues to prepare for the distribution and administration of COVID-19 vaccine doses. The request comes on the heels of the Prime Minister’s admission that Canadians will not be the first to receive vaccines, and could receive doses months after citizens of countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Spain, or Mexico roll out their programs. The majority of the Canadian population may not be vaccinated until almost a year from now.
  • The Ontario government has signed agreements with public colleges and universities that ties funding for Ontario’s colleges and universities to student outcomes. The agreements, which are in effect from 2020-2025, introduce a new ‘made-in-Ontario’ performance-based funding model that places a higher weighting on student and economic outcomes. The government will measure performance against a set of 10 metrics. Institutions will report on indicators such as graduate employment rates in related fields, experiential learning and graduate earnings.
  • Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services will host their annual fill-the-fire-truck toy drive in Support of Port Cares tomorrow between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the fire hall on 3 Killaly Street West. Toys will be collected in socially distanced safe ways, including a drive-through donation drop-off. Residents are encouraged to bring new unwrapped toys for children ages 0-18 and non-perishable food items. The Fire Hall will have designated drive-through lanes and participants are asked to roll down their windows and hand over unwrapped toys and non-perishable food items to Fire Fighters who will be wearing personal protective equipment, or participants can open their vehicle trunks. At no point will participants need to leave their vehicles. Drop-off locations will also be available until Dec.15, 2020 at the front entrance of the fire hall and at the Port Colborne Christmas Market on Friday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, has outlined three specific components that businesses are seeking from the Fall Economic Statement.
    • First, what will be an uneven recovery will require a new approach for government support programs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all strategy, governments should shift to smaller, more targeted programs to help the most vulnerable Canadians and sectors survive the pandemic’s impacts.
    • Secondly, Canada must move from simply reacting to the pandemic to actively managing it. The pandemic will continue at least until a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated. We urgently need a coherent COVID-19 management strategy, based on solid data and sound science, that will bring down infection rates and allow Canadians to safely resume their normal lives as rapidly as possible.
    • Thirdly, the Fall Economic Statement should aim to boost Canada’s declining business investment and competitiveness. This is not a time to be introducing permanent programs that were unaffordable before our debt reached $1.2 trillion. Our priority must be to restore economic growth.
  • Niagara Health President Lynn Guerriero today issued a COVID-19 update, outlining various preparations for the health system’s response to the second wave, visitation and safety protocols, and long-term care. Guerriero reminded the public that with the rising number of cases in Niagara, it is especially important that we remain vigilant with our infection prevention and control practices to maintain a safe environment for all, including screening, masking, physical distancing, and hand washing.
  • Empire Co., which owns chains such as Sobey’s, IGA, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, Foodland, and Freshco, has brought back “hero pay” for its hourly workers in Winnipeg, Toronto and Peel region, which are currently in lockdown. Sobeys workers on hourly wages in those regions will get between $10 and $100 extra per week, depending on hours worked.
  • Today is Black Friday, and the GNCC encourages everyone in Niagara to support their local businesses, local jobs, and the regional economy by making their purchases from Niagara stores, utilizing safe options such as curbside pickup or delivery. The GNCC runs the Shop Local campaign, powered by Meridian Credit Union, where you can find local options for your shopping needs. Niagara residents can also keep up with local business announcements, sales and new offerings with the Shop Local Facebook group.

Reading recommendations:

It’s hard to overstate the power tax collector’s wield over regular Canadians, especially business owners. Draconian tax assessments and outrageous and unreasonable behaviour can ruin lives. For the first time, a judge ruled the CRA owed a “duty of care.” Duty of care is a legal obligation requiring CRA agents to maintain a certain standard of care in the way they treat taxpayers. It also makes the CRA liable for damages if it fails to meet that basic standard. Unfortunately for Canadian taxpayers, this obligation of duty of care is not firmly established.

More than just a design trend, tiny living has become a social movement. It emphasizes individual agency, free-market ingenuity, and private ownership—often as false correctives to the bigger problems of housing insecurity and inequality. But our housing challenges are far too complex to be solved by individual consumer choices, like building a shed in the woods. As we look down the barrel of record government deficits and environmental catastrophe, we should be skeptical of the tiny house as a full-blown solution to our housing problems. More likely, the resurgence of tiny living is a symptom of the situation’s severity.

 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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