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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 13th, 2020

Applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) are now open. The program offers income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19.
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:

  • Applications for the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) are now open. The program offers income support to employed and self-employed individuals who are directly affected by COVID-19 and are not entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Beneficiaries of the program can receive $1,000 before taxes for a two-week period, and can apply for up to 13 periods (26 weeks). 240,640 Canadians have already applied for the program. Get more details or apply here.
  • To provide relief for local restaurants and other businesses impacted by the new public health measures, the Government of Ontario has announced $300 million to help offset fixed costs, including property taxes, hydro and natural gas bills. Last week, the province introduced additional targeted public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts to help slow the spread of the virus. Over the next 28 days, indoor food and drink service at restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments in these regions will be prohibited, but they may continue to offer takeout, delivery and outdoor dining. The government is also supporting small business through its Main Street Recovery Plan by:
    • Committing to permanently allow licensed restaurants and bars to include alcohol with food as part of a takeout or delivery order before the existing regulation expires;
    • Permanently allowing 24/7 deliveries to restaurants;
    • Supporting the distribution of local food and food products by increasing the range of products sold at the Ontario Food Terminal;
    • Providing $57 million with federal partners through the Digital Main Street program and creating new Digital Main Street squads to help small businesses grow online; and
    • Launching a new portal to assist small businesses to quickly find the supports and information they need.
  • The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) has launched a new customizable tool kit resource to help workplaces across Canada operate safely and prevent the spread of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anchored by the COVID-19: Workplace Health and Safety Guide, the online hub provides one-stop access to more than 40 free resources to reduce the spread and protect everyone in the workplace. The guide includes information on the responsibilities of employers and workers, and what workplaces should do to control risks. Topics covered include how the coronavirus spreads, employers’ duties, handling work refusals, hazard and risk assessment identification for COVID-19, and how to control the risk and apply the hierarchy of controls in the workplace. Workplaces can download the guide on its own or bundle other industry and workplace-specific tip sheets, infographics, and posters to create a customized and comprehensive COVID-19 tool kit tailored to their industry or specific workplace needs. The COVID-19 tool kit of health and safety resources can be found on the CCOHS website:
  • Customers eligible for the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) will automatically receive a 33.2% reduction off their energy bill when new electricity rates for Regulated Price Plan (RPP) customers come into effect November 1, 2020. At the same time, customers paying Time-of-Use (TOU) rates under the RPP will also have the option to switch to tiered rate pricing. Time-of-use electricity rates vary by time of day and are comprised of three different rate periods of off-peak, mid-peak and on-peak pricing. Tiered electricity rates provide customers with a set rate for electricity up to a certain level of consumption. Ontario is also introducing a new streamlined Energy Affordability Program (EAP) for households struggling to pay their electricity bills. Beginning the week of January 4, 2021, EAP will:
    • Provide free electricity saving measures to help participating households manage their electricity-use and lower their electricity costs by up to $1,000 per year;
    • Tailor energy-efficiency upgrades based on household income, home heating system, location, and an energy needs assessment; and,
    • Simplify access to new and updated electricity saving measures through a single program that replaces the Affordability Fund Trust and Home Assistance Program, which are ending in 2020.
  • The City of St. Catharines is looking to residents for their input on its next Accessibility Plan. Specifically, the City is inviting residents to weigh in via an online survey that will help guide the development of the 2021-2025 Accessibility Plan, the document that will act as roadmap for continuing accessibility efforts. The City remains committed to developing, implementing, maintaining, and enhancing accessibility by providing integrated services and equitable opportunities while reflecting the principles of dignity and independence. Residents can visit and complete the survey to provide their input before 4 p.m. on Oct. 30.
  • Changes to waste collection in Niagara will begin October 19th. Collection services inside designated business areas may be different between local municipalities, depending on the level of service selected and paid for by each municipality. Find your collection services. Businesses outside a designated business area will now have garbage collection every-other-week with a limit of eight containers. Blue & Grey Boxes and Green Bins will continue to be collected every week. Industrial, Commercial and Institutional properties located outside designated business areas will have a combined limit of eight Blue and Grey Carts and a limit of eight Green Carts.

Reading recommendations:

  • COVID-19 is changing the way men and women split the risk in the workplace, Evan Dyer, CBC News
    • Service-oriented trades that tend to employ a lot of women — such as health care, education and retail — also involve a lot of interaction with the public. That means a heightened risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. That heightened risk may be showing up in the caseload statistics now.
  • This game can stop people from falling for COVID-19 conspiracies, Ruth Reader, Fast Company
    • Members of Cambridge’s Social Decision Making Lab are hoping to reform conspiracy theory believers in the same way that PETA turns meat eaters into vegetarians: by showing them what goes into creating and spreading misinformation.


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.

Remember that a COVID-19 test is only a snapshot of your health on the specific date and time the swab was taken. No testing is perfect and a negative result doesn’t mean you haven’t been exposed to COVID-19. You can still develop symptoms days after your test was taken.

It is important that everyone practice physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Maintain a 2-metre distance from other people. When maintaining distance is impossible, wear a mask or face covering. Wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Avoid touching the face. If you have recently traveled outside the country, you are legally required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Previous updates can be accessed here.

Stay safe and be vigilant. The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.

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