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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

COVID-19 Business Update: September 9th, 2020

The Bank of Canada reiterated its pledge to keep interest rates at historic lows for years to come, but dialed back its willingness to take even more aggressive action and said it could adjust its bond purchase program.
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 Bank of Canada reiterated its pledge to keep interest rates at historic lows for years to come, but dialed back its willingness to take even more aggressive action and said it could adjust its bond purchase program. In a decision Wednesday from Ottawa, policy makers led by Governor Tiff Macklem held the bank’s benchmark rate at 0.25 per cent and said they’ll leave it unchanged until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 per cent inflation target is “sustainably achieved.”
  • Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines, and Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, invite you to join them on a virtual Niagara tour with the Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors. First is a virtual tour of Small Scale Farms at noon, September 10, to highlight Welland Downtown BIA’s New Horizons for Seniors Program grant, while also learning more about Small Scale Farms and how it is serving seniors in the Niagara Region during this pandemic. Attendees include Alexis Higginbotham, Executive Director, Welland Downtown BIA; His Worship Frank Campion, Mayor of Welland, Niagara Region; and Renee Delaney, Founder, Small Scale Farms. At 2pm a virtual town hall with local residents on seniors’ issues during COVID-19 will follow.
  • The Ontario government has gradually reopened all 24 provincial centres for apprenticeship and trade-related certifications, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer and provincial health authorities. Apprentices and skilled tradespeople can now book their final exams at their local apprenticeship office. Exam centres were closed for regular in-person exams in March due to COVID-19. Apprentices and journeyperson applicants normally have a 12-month deadline to pass the trade exam in order to maintain their status. A six-month extension was provided on March 18, 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • Today, the Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte, announced the launch of the 2020–21 New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) Call for Proposals for community-based projects. This year, organizations will be able to apply for funding to support seniors dealing with the pandemic by submitting project proposals that offer specific COVID-19 relief and recovery activities for seniors. Organizations are still welcome to submit proposals for more traditional NHSP projects that they plan to deliver in 2021–22. The 2020–21 NHSP community-based Call for Proposals is open until October 20, 2020. For details on how to apply, click here. Organizations are invited to apply for funding that supports the NHSP national priorities for this cycle:
    • Supporting healthy ageing
    • Preventing elder abuse and fraud
    • Combatting ageism, celebrating diversity and promoting inclusion
    • Improving seniors’ access to government services and benefits
    • Adapting community-based organizations to a more virtual environment
  • Amazon.com plans to open two new distribution centres in Ontario that will create more than 2,500 new full-time jobs, including a new 79,400 square-metre warehouse adjacent to Hamilton’s airport that will have more than 1,500 employees who will pack and ship small items such as books, electronics and toys. The centres are expected to open next year.

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.