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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: September 10th, 2020

The Ontario government is providing $14.75 million to increase access to mental health and addictions services across the province. The funding is being distributed as follows:
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:

  • The Ontario government is providing $14.75 million to increase access to mental health and addictions services across the province. The funding is being distributed as follows:
    • $7 million to safely expand in-person mental health and addictions services to bridge current gaps brought on by COVID-19, including community-based services, congregate living and supportive housing;
    • $4.75 million to support culturally safe services for Indigenous communities, with a focus on children and youth; and
    • $3 million to expand virtual and online services including addictions supports, Internet-based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) and an online peer support community for mental health.
  • The Canadian Minister of Health also announced an investment of $11.5 million in mental health funding for organizations across the country to promote mental health and wellbeing in our communities, and to tackle systemic challenges and barriers, including those faced by Black Canadians. Funding ahas been distributed through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Mental Health Promotion Innovation Fund ($6.6 million) and the Promoting Health Equity: Mental Health of Black Canadians Fund ($4.9 million). COVID-19 has produced an uptick in the number of Canadians seeking mental health assistance. Canada’s mental health and substance use support Wellness Together has helped 428,000 Canadians since its launch, and in July 2020, the Canada’s Suicide Prevention Service responded to double the requests from March.
  • The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing more than $7.9 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to help farmers improve their business operations and bring more safe, high-quality foods to markets. This funding will support more than 670 projects across Ontario for eligible farmers and agri-food businesses.Examples of projects supported through this programming include:
    • Improving food safety systems on farms to meet or exceed international certification standards;
    • Planting over-wintering cover crops to improve soil health and reduce soil erosion losses;
    • Actions to help prevent pest damage at greenhouse operations;
    • Developing a product that will open new sales markets for a farm business; and
    • Upgrades to animal-handling equipment and improved biosecurity measures.

    The funding is in addition to programming launched this year to assist the sector in meeting challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Such programming includes the launch of a portal to connect farms and other agri-food sector business with labour needs to job seekers; the creation of the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program; and the recent investment of an additional $50 million into the Risk Management Program for this year, one year earlier than originally promised.

  • Ontario is investing over $2.9 million to fund eight research projects that aim to support Ontario’s response to COVID-19. These projects will focus on a wide variety of areas such as supporting the mental health and well-being of families and children, assessing the long-term health effects of COVID-19, the development of an app to better manage the care of patients, and an evaluation of the effectiveness of wearing masks to block the virus.More information on these projects can be found here.
  • A new report from the Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation (CMHC) found that 760,000 Canadians had taken advantage of mortgage deferral programs offered by Canadian banks in response to the COVID-19 crisis, deferring, on average, over $1 billion in mortgage debt each month since the pandemic began. The Bank of Canada said earlier this year it expects the mortgage arrears rate could spike to twice as high as it hit in the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.

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.