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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 1st, 2020

Work to determine Niagara Region’s 2021 budget is underway. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our community hard.
Information on government grants, resources, and programs, and how to apply for them, is available here.
The Government of Canada has a support page with summaries of current programs and application portals.

Vital updates:

  • Work to determine Niagara Region’s 2021 budget is underway. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our community hard. The Regional government wants to learn more about which municipal services you value and believe should remain a priority during this challenging time. To share your input, please complete an online survey by Oct. 5, 2020. Your input will help the Regional government determine which service adjustments Niagara Regional Council should consider during 2021 budget discussions starting this fall.
  • In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is updating its COVID-19 school and child care screening guidance. This additional information aims to help parents determine when it is most appropriate for students, children and their families to seek a test for COVID-19. The school and child care screening guidance is being updated with two sets of questions about symptoms and information to help parents make informed decisions about whether their children should attend school or child care, need to consult a health care provider, or get tested for COVID-19. The guidance can be found immediately at the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children in School and Child Care, and the refreshed online tool will launch on Friday, October 2 for download.
  • The City of St. Catharines is reintroducing its Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses enhance their digital presence thanks to a $72,659 grant from Digital Main Street. Funding for the grant was provided by FedDev Ontario, a federal program. Digital Service Squads were first launched in St. Catharines in 2019 as part of a City-led effort to support businesses in Business Improvement Areas across Niagara. The new program will focus its efforts on downtown St. Catharines, Port Dalhousie, Facer Street and Queenston Street. For more information on the program, visit www.digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants.
  • Today, the Ontario government announced the first phase of regulatory changes related to the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2020 (TRESA). The new changes are intended to modernize rules for registered real estate brokerages, brokers, and salespersons across the province and also to address consumer concerns. Expected later this fall, the second phase of regulatory development will include public consultations with consumers and real estate professionals that focus on further measures to support trustworthiness and the highest ethical standards in the real estate sector. The new measures in Phase One will:
    • Allow real estate professionals to incorporate and be paid through Personal Real Estate Corporations (PRECs).
    • Let salespersons and brokers use additional advertising terms such as “real estate agent” and REALTOR® in their advertisements, better reflecting the services they provide to consumers across the province.
  • From October 5, 2020 all City Hall Services in Thorold will be provided in-person by appointment only. City of Thorold staff ask that you book your appointments with the appropriate department by calling City Hall at 905-227-6613.
  • The Ontario government is investing $461 million to temporarily enhance wages for personal support workers (PSWs) and direct support workers in the home and community care, long-term care, public hospitals, and social services sectors. The temporary wage enhancement will be reviewed on a regular basis and could extend through March 31, 2021, in connection with regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. Over 147,000 workers who deliver publicly funded personal support services will receive additional temporary pay, including:
    • $3 per hour for approximately 38,000 eligible workers in home and community care;
    • $3 per hour for approximately 50,000 eligible workers in long-term care;
    • $2 per hour for approximately 12,300 eligible workers in public hospitals; and
    • $3 per hour for approximately 47,000 eligible workers in children, community and social services providing personal direct support services for the activities of daily living.
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Welland Mayor’s Charity Organizing Committee has cancelled this year’s Mayor’s Charity Event, which was scheduled for Friday, October 16, 2020.

Reading recommendations:


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.