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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 14th, 2020

The Ontario government has hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting work this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November
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 hired 100 new contact tracers, many of whom are starting work this week, with up to 500 more recruits expected to be hired by mid-November. Ontario Public Service (OPS) staff are also volunteering for redeployment to provide surge support for contact tracing this fall and winter, and over 600 Statistics Canada employees have been onboarded since July to assist with contact follow-up. There are currently more than 2,750 case and contact management staff active across all public health units, tracing and managing COVID-19 cases ― up from approximately 1,500 staff in the spring. These 600 new recruits and 600 personnel from Statistics Canada will bring the total number of case and contact management staff to nearly 4,000.
  • Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, has appealed to all Canadians to get their flu shot, which provides protection against infection with influenza A and B viruses. Although the flu shot doesn’t provide protection against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, it will help reduce the risk of contracting the flu before, during or after a possible COVID-19 infection. Having both illnesses close together in time, or at the same time, could put patients at higher risk for severe illness. The GNCC asks all employers to encourage their employees to get the flu shot as a means to reduce workforce absenteeism during the flu season, which is particularly important during a pandemic that is already impacting the workforce. More information on the flu shot, including where to get it, is available at Niagara Region Public Health.
  • The Niagara Community Observatory is inviting the Niagara community to an upcoming presentation held in partnership with the Women in Leadership series at Brock University. On Friday, Oct. 30 from 1-2 pm, Dr. Joanne Heritz, assistant professor of political science, will present NCO policy brief #48, Looking Ahead and Looking Up: Affordable Housing in Niagara,  in which she provides an analytical overview of the affordable housing situation in Niagara. Dr. Heritz will present her research followed by a panel discussion including Lori Beech (executive director of Bethlehem Housing) and Elisabeth Zimmermann (executive director of the YWCA Niagara Region). The event will be held virtually using Microsoft Teams. Interested parties are invited to RSVP by emailing Dr. Carol Phillips at
  • The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, following the recommendation of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Christmas Parade Committee and in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has decided to officially cancel the 2020 edition of the Niagara-on-the-Lake Christmas Parade. Holding the standard parade would put the health of residents and visitors at risk. The media release is available here (PDF link).

Reading recommendations:

  • COVID-19 masks FAQs: How can cloth stop a tiny virus? What’s the best fabric? Do they protect the wearer? Catherine Clase, Edouard Fu, Juan Jesus Carrero, The Conversation
    • Face masks reduce the spread of viruses passed on from respiratory secretions. While cloth masks are imperfect, widespread use of an imperfect mask has the potential to make a big difference in transmission of the virus. We started reading the research on cloth masks and face coverings at the start of the pandemic, looking for ways to protect our vulnerable dialysis patients and our dialysis staff. We found a total of 25 studies, advocated for mask use and summarized our findings in a peer-reviewed publication.
  • How Employee Assistance Programs Can Help Your Whole Company Address Racism at Work, Jodi Jacobson Frey, Harvard Business Review
    • It may surprise some employers to know that when employees experience racism and/or other forms of discrimination and oppression, one of the places they can turn for help is their Employee Assistance Program or EAP. EAPs are in a unique position to help employees work through the trauma of racism and to provide workplace leaders with an invaluable insider view of complex workplace problems, including racism.


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.