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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: September 3rd, 2020

The Ontario government is extending protection to prevent temporary layoffs from automatically becoming permanent job losses. Although Ontario is now in Phase 3 of reopening, this extension will give businesses more time to reopen and return to full operations.
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 extending protection to prevent temporary layoffs from automatically becoming permanent job losses. Although Ontario is now in Phase 3 of reopening, this extension will give businesses more time to reopen and return to full operations. This extension will last until January 2, 2021. Under Ontario labour laws, termination of an employee after 13 weeks of being temporarily laid off triggers costly payouts which, for many businesses, could be the difference between survival and closure. This regulatory amendment delays these terminations and severance liabilities. This measure does not apply to employees represented by a trade union.
  • The Ontario government is providing $37 million to help more than 15,000 people train for new jobs and upgrade their skills to enable them to contribute to the province’s economic recovery. The funding will support 86 projects and provide training in high-demand skills like information technology, advanced manufacturing, truck driving, construction, and horticulture. The programs include internships and other hands-on learning experiences, and in most cases, the training is provided at no charge. The province is working to finalize agreements with training providers. The full list of successful recipients will be available on September 25, 2020.
  • The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and the Honourable Stephen Lecce, Ontario’s Minister of Education, announced additional support for early learning and child care through the one-year Canada–Ontario Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The agreement allocates nearly $147 million in 2020–21 for early learning and child care investments in Ontario. Considering the ongoing extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis, Ontario will allocate funding under this agreement to short-term measures aimed at minimizing the impacts of the outbreak on Ontario’s early learning and child care system. In particular, the province will help fund the operating costs of eligible licensed child care providers and EarlyON centres. This initiative is aligned with both Ontario’s sustainability plan and child care re-opening plan, which will continue to support children, child care partners and staff. In addition, the Government of Canada recently announced $625 million to address the reduced availability of child care and the unique needs stemming from the pandemic across Canada with the Safe Restart Agreement. This year, the Government of Canada will invest nearly $1.2 billion in total in early learning and child care across Canada. The GNCC had requested greater investment in childcare, recognizing that accessible and affordable childcare is essential to a flexible workforce.
  • The GNCC and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are looking for your insight on what matters to business amidst the pandemic. How confident are you in Ontario’s economy and recovery? What is your organization’s outlook for 2021? How happy are you with the pandemic recovery programs offered by government? Share your views by taking a short three-minute survey. This survey is being conducted by Golfdale Consulting, an independent consulting firm. All responses will be kept strictly anonymous and confidential. Closing date is Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at midnight.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) says claimants can expect to see their Canada emergency response benefits (CERB) deposited before the weekend, after many people online reported not receiving their payments earlier this week as expected. A spokesman for the CRA said the agency was being “overly cautious” in making sure payments are going to eligible recipients because of recent cyber attacks. The agency said the payments are expected to be deposited later today or Friday.

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.