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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 15th, 2020

The Government of Canada confirmed its intention to extend the wage subsidy until June 2021. Enhancements are being proposed to the program.
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 Canada confirmed its intention to extend the wage subsidy until June 2021 and is providing details on the parameters of the wage subsidy that are proposed to apply until December 19, 2020. In addition, other enhancements are being proposed to the program to ensure that it provides continued support to employers and responds to the health and economic situation as it evolves. These changes complement the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy. The wage subsidy consists of a base subsidy for all employers whose revenues have been impacted by the pandemic, as well as a top-up subsidy for employers that are hardest hit. There is a separate rate structure for furloughed workers. It is proposed that the base subsidy rate for September 27 to October 24, 2020 continue to apply from October 25 to December 19, 2020. As such, the maximum base subsidy rate would be set at 40 per cent for this period, and the maximum top-up subsidy rate would remain at 25 per cent.
  • After experiencing a brief decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in residential and commercial construction in Niagara has largely recovered and is on the rebound, according to new figures from Statistics Canada. On Oct. 14, Niagara Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee received a report from Economic Development staff illustrating how commercial, residential, industrial, and government and institutional construction investment was affected by the initial stages of the pandemic. The data covers the period of January to July 2020 (the most recent month of available data). The full downloadable report can be found on the Niagara Economic Rapid Response Team’s (ERRT) website​ (PDF link).
    • Commercial and residential investment and construction activity were significantly affected in April 2020, but rebounded quickly and have remained stable.
    • Industrial, institutional and government construction projects, which are typically larger, fewer and take longer to complete, remained relatively stable throughout the same period.
    • 2020 is still on track to be a very strong year with investment and building permit values expected to surpass 2019, which was a record year.
  • The City of Port Colborne has made an operational decision to close the Farmers’ Market early. The final day for residents and visitors to enjoy the Farmers’ Market is Friday, Oct. 30, 2020 from 6 a.m. – 1 p.m. The Farmers’ Market normally runs year-round, but this year, the need to protect the health of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic has led city staff to close the market at the end of the month. Anyone interested in participating as a market vendor next year can contact the Market Clerk by email at
  • Those who are using Zoom as part of their virtual working environment will be able to use apps, including third-party apps, through the company’s new Zapps integration platform. Zapps are third-party applications that integrate into Zoom’s existing workflow so users can more easily access information and collaborate while on video calls. Simultaneously, Zoom is also launching OnZoom, an integrated online events platform. The company plans to launch with some 35 Zapps partners later this year, including Atlassian, Dropbox, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Slack.

Reading recommendations:

  • Central banks must move faster on digital currencies amid COVID-19, Bank of Canada says, CBC News
    • A Bank of Canada official says pandemic-related shifts in how people shop means central banks must speed up work on creating their own digital currencies. COVID-19 has meant more people are shopping online, and foot traffic for brick-and-mortar storefronts hasn’t caught up to pre-pandemic levels for many small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Health of Canadian economy hinges on helping startups protect intellectual property, scale up: report, Barbara Schecter, Financial Post
    • The global pandemic is forcing many small businesses to choose between survival and preparing for a technology-driven future, a situation that should prompt policymakers to create incentives for innovators to protect their intellectual property and scale up, according to new research from the Information and Communications Technology Council.
  • What happens when companies devolve power, The Economist
    • Many commentators paint a bleak picture of the future of work. Automation will spread from manufacturing to services, eliminating well-paid white-collar jobs. The workforce will be divided into a narrow technocratic elite and a mass of low-skilled, insecure jobs in the “precariat”. But it does not need to be this way, according to Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini, two management consultants whose new book, “Humanocracy”, is as optimistic as its title is off-putting. They envisage a world in which low-skilled jobs can be enhanced—if only employees are given the chance to use their initiative and change the way they operate.


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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