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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: October 23rd, 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:

  • As part of its continued response to the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Niagara Regional Council passed a by-law to amend Niagara’s temporary Face-Covering By-law to include common areas of residential apartment buildings and condominium buildings, including lobbies, elevators and other common-use facilities. Niagara’s temporary Face-Covering By-law (2020-46) requires residents to wear face-coverings in all enclosed public places and on Regional and municipal transit. On Sept. 17, the by-law was extended to remain in effect until April 1, 2021 in recognition of the ongoing threat posed by the pandemic. Residents and businesses are reminded that the by-law includes a number of exemptions. Not everyone can wear a mask and many disabilities are invisible. There’s no requirement for people to prove they are exempt.
  • The deadline to apply for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) to receive the one-time payment has been extended from September 25, 2020, to December 31, 2020. The one-time payment will help persons with disabilities deal with the expenses incurred during the pandemic, such as:
    • expenses related to hiring personal support workers and accessing other disability supports;
    • paying for increased costs for medical supplies and medication;
    • the purchase of personal protective equipment;
    • higher costs associated with physical distancing and working from home; and,
    • the increased use of transportation and home delivery services to obtain groceries and prescriptions.
  • The Government of Canada and the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) have finalized an agreement to compensate current and former employees who may have been impacted by the Phoenix pay system and the late implementation of the 2014 collective agreements.
  • The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, Literacy Link Niagara, and the Niagara Workforce Planning Board are conducting a survey on the local impacts of COVID-19 on the retail trade sector, focusing on the dynamic between e-commerce and physical retail with regard to how local businesses are trying to sustain operations through this pandemic. All responses will be anonymous. The survey can be completed here.
  • St. Catharines City Council has approved the launch of a new waste management strategy that includes a waste reduction pilot project being rolled out at City facilities. In the coming weeks, residents and staff of the City of St. Catharines will notice new garbage, recycling and organic waste bins at City Hall, St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre and Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre. These bins will offer new options for recycling different types of material, as well as organics.
  • The City of Thorold is seeking members for the following Council Committees & Boards. Interested parties can apply here; the deadline for applications is November 13, 2020 at 4:30 p.m:
    • Lake Gibson Preservation Task Group – 1 agricultural rep.
    • Thorold Active Transportation Advisory Committee – 5 at-large
    • Thorold Tourism Advisory Committee – 1 at-large
    • Thorold Business Business Improvement Area (BIA) – 1 at-large
  • Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, released a statement regarding the urgent need for legislation on CEWS, rent subsidy, and other important changes. The Chamber is calling for updates to the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program so it can be fairly accessed by all struggling businesses, and ensuring CEWS supports provided to businesses during this second lockdown are consistent with those provided during the first.

Reading recommendations:

  • Banking watchdog says no plans to bring back special treatment for deferred loans despite second wave, Geoff Zochodne, Financial Post
    • Canada might be in the middle of a second wave of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean a federal banking regulator is about to enable a second wave of deferred mortgage payments.
  • An expert in nonverbal communication watched the Trump-Biden debate with the sound turned down – here’s what he saw, Patrick Stewart, The Conversation
    • President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met on Oct. 22 for the final debate in the 2020 election and, like the first debate, it was unusual. COVID-19 forced social distancing and largely took the studio audience, with their laughter, cheering and booing out of the equation. What’s more, with norm-breaking interruptions and stealing of speaking time an inherent part of Donald Trump’s debate strategy, the contentious crosstalk between the two candidates and the moderator made long sections of the candidates’ first debate nearly impossible to hear or follow. The threat of having the microphone cut off effectively muted this aggression. But is what they say as important as we think?


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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