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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 14th, 2021

Ontario launches public consultation on municipal codes of conduct

The Ontario government has launched a 90-day consultation to obtain feedback on how to strengthen municipal codes of conduct.

Under the Municipal Act, 2001, all municipalities are required to establish a code of conduct for councillors and certain local boards. They are also required to provide access to an integrity commissioner.

The government is also collecting feedback on AMO’s recommendations for holding municipal councillors accountable, including increased financial penalties, suspension for certain violations, removal from office in certain circumstances, and better training and standards for integrity commissioners.

Comments for the consultation are welcome through the online survey by July 15, 2021. Anyone can participate in the online survey to provide feedback.

Click here to read more.

More COVID-19 vaccination clinic dates available for booking

To continue to meet the demand for COVID-19 vaccination appointments, Niagara Region Public Health is pleased to announce the following clinic dates have now been added to the provincial booking portal:
  • April 19-20 – Pelham, Meridian Community Centre
  • Apr. 23-27– Niagara Falls, MacBain Community Centre
  • Apr. 29-30 – Niagara Falls, MacBain Community Centre
Appointments are also still available for the Public Health vaccination clinics in May:
  • May 3-8 – West Lincoln, West Lincoln Community Centre
  • May 10-15 – Port Colborne, Vale Health and Wellness Centre

The provincial booking portal is currently open to Niagara residents who are turning 60 or older in 2021 (born in 1961 or earlier). Those 50+ with a postal code starting with ‘L2G’ can also book an appointment through the portal.

In partnership with over 15 local Indigenous leaders and Niagara Region Public Health, three Indigenous specific pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics are open for bookings on April 21, 22, and 28 at the MacBain Community Centre in Niagara Falls.

Indigenous adults 18+, as well as those in their household who are 18+ and not Indigenous, are eligible to register through an online registration form supported by the De dwa da dehs nye>s Aboriginal Health Centre. Registrants will be contacted with their appointment time and date.

Residents 55 years of age and older are welcome to book an appointment at one of many Niagara pharmacies providing vaccinations. Visit the Province of Ontario vaccination locations webpage for a list of pharmacies in Niagara and information on how to book an appointment.

St. Catharines adopts Transportation Master Plan

On Monday, St. Catharines City Council approved the adoption of a new Transportation Master Plan. The document is the product of extensive public consultation — including technical workshops, in-person open houses and online information sessions — and study that first began in 2017. The TMP will provide a roadmap for the development of new transportation infrastructure and redevelopment for decades to come, with an eye towards meeting changing transportation needs; increased active transportation; public transit use; and changing technologies.

Click here to read more.

Ontario Chamber: Supplier Diversity Has Economic and Social Benefits

Today, Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a statement in support of the Ontario NDP’s Private Member’s Bill, the Supply Chain Management Amendment Act (Provincial Diverse Vendor Strategy), 202.

As the largest customers in the economy, governments have tremendous power to incentivize suppliers. Currently, Ontario’s public-sector request for proposal processes are driven almost entirely by short-term cost considerations.

Both the Governments of Ontario and Canada should adjust their procurement processes to expand opportunities for diverse businesses and suppliers that champion diversity. Changing the incentive structures is the most powerful way to change outcomes.

Supplier diversity has been shown to increase innovation, reduce risk, and open new opportunities for economic development.

The GNCC has lobbied for government procurement and supply policy to be more open to the province’s small and medium-sized enterprises, and, in partnership with several other chambers of commerce in Ontario, sponsored a successful policy resolution to that effect at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM.

Click here to read the statement.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce calls new permanent residency program “an important step towards inclusive pandemic recovery”

Immigration will continue have an important place in filling labour market gaps as Canada starts planning for economic recovery and getting Canadians back to work. International students and temporary foreign workers are essential sources for talent pipelines for communities and industries across this country. We have long been advocating for the government to facilitate pathways to permanent residency for temporary residents.

Immigration plays a vital role in the inclusive growth and diversity of Canadian workforces and communities, and we will continue to encourage innovative and effective policies and programming to support new Canadians and permanent residents with community and labour market integration.

The GNCC has previously called for government policy that will encourage more immigration of skilled workers that will grow our talent pool, particularly for regions such as Niagara which attract comparatively few immigrants.

The focus of the new pathway will be on temporary workers employed in hospitals and long-term care homes and on the frontlines of other essential sectors, as well as international graduates.

To be eligible, workers must have at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in a health-care profession or another pre-approved essential occupation. International graduates must have completed an eligible Canadian post-secondary program within the last 4 years, and no earlier than January 2017.

Click here to read the statement.

Government of Canada establishes Critical Drug Reserve to bolster Canada’s supply of drugs used to treat COVID-19

Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced the establishment of a Critical Drug Reserve, an additional safety net of key drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms.

Canada is procuring an initial 3-month supply of 12 drugs. The reserve targets the drugs that hospitals rely on most to treat patients who are critically ill with COVID-19, and are at risk of shortage. In selecting which drugs to procure, the Department looked at Canada’s experience with COVID-19 to date, as well as advice from the provinces and territories and critical care health experts.

Health Canada established the reserve with provinces and territories and other partners. The Critical Drug Reserve complements other federal, provincial and territorial drug shortage management efforts, and functions as a safety net by augmenting the supply of key drugs used in treating patients with COVID-19 in Canada.

Click here to read more.

Health Canada provides update on safety review of AstraZeneca and COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccines

After a thorough, independent assessment of the currently available scientific data, Health Canada has concluded that these very rare events may be linked to use of the vaccine. This is in line with the findings of other regulators. As a result, the Department has updated warnings in the product information to inform Canadians of the possible side effects and to provide information about the signs and symptoms and when to seek prompt medical attention following vaccination.

Based on the review of available data from Europe and from the United Kingdom and AstraZeneca, no specific risk factors have been identified. Therefore, Health Canada is not restricting the use of the vaccine in any specific populations at this time.

In the very rare event that someone experiences unusual blood clots with low platelets, there are treatments available.

For further information on COVID-19 vaccines authorized by Health Canada, including post-market updates, please visit Health Canada’s COVID-19 vaccines and treatments portal.

Click here to read more.

Statistics Canada: 2020 “a year without precedent” for international trade

Strong declines for exports and imports in 2020

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of Canada’s annual merchandise exports decreased 12.4% in 2020 to $524 billion, while annual imports fell 8.5% to $561 billion. Consequently, the merchandise trade deficit with the world more than doubled from $15.4 billion in 2019 to $37.3 billion in 2020. When international trade in goods and international trade in services are combined, Canada’s total trade deficit went from $36.9 billion in 2019 to $44.8 billion in 2020.

To explore Canada’s international merchandise trade statistics for 2020 in an interactive format, see “The International Trade Explorer” and the “International merchandise trade monthly interactive dashboard.”

Extreme movements within 2020 for Canada’s merchandise trade

Even before the effects of the pandemic, the year 2020 had already been marked by several events that affected Canada’s international trade activity. By the end of 2019, a car assembly plant closed in Ontario; a strike in the rail industry impacted the movement of goods; and a pipeline rupture in North Dakota, which lasted for weeks, affected crude oil exports to the United States. Some export products were impacted by global trade tensions, and rail blockades threatened to further constrain Canada’s merchandise trade. These events were overshadowed by lockdowns in early spring 2020 and their extraordinary impact on Canada’s trade activity.

With the shutdown of several industries in Canada during the first wave of the pandemic in March, April and May, both exports and imports of goods and services fell to historic lows. Merchandise trade then recovered fairly quickly as goods-producing industries, in Canada and abroad, progressively reopened. Global demand for goods also remained strong, with households spending more on goods rather than on services, and with governments investing in infrastructure projects and providing financial assistance to support the economy.

Click here to read the report.

Auditor-General finds government was not as ready for pandemic as it could have been

In her opening statement to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Karen Hogan, Auditor General of Canada, remarked that while her office found that the government was not as ready as it could have been for a pandemic of this magnitude, the public service mobilized, prioritized the needs of Canadians and quickly delivered support and services. They did not observe the same service mindset and inter-departmental coordination in the audit of the Investing in Canada Plan, which was unable to present a full picture of results achieved and progress made.

In contrast, the AG observed nimbleness during audits of the government’s COVID‑19 response, including the CERB and CEWS programs.

Lastly, the AG found that the Public Health Agency of Canada was not as well prepared as it could have been to respond to the COVID‑19 pandemic. Not all emergency and response plans were up to date or tested, and data sharing agreements with the provinces and territories were not finalized. The Agency relied on a risk assessment tool that was untested and not designed to consider pandemic risk.

Click here to read the Auditor General’s opening remarks.

Featured Content

The long and short of it

Nicholas Pollice, Pollice Consulting Group

The saying; The Long & Short of It is from a play called “The Merry Wives of Windsor”.  It is a comedy written in 1595 by William Shakespeare, played to an audience in Berkshire, England in 1602 and centres around an individual (John Falstaff) who decides to court two wealthy married women in his search for financial stability.

The saying itself means the plain and simple truth or substance of discussion when numerous details are being presented and you wish to cut to the so called facts by removing yourself from all of the rhetoric.

The other day I was reading a piece by Tim Arnold the President of Leaders for Leaders located in the Niagara Region of Ontario. Tim does a wonderful job in inspiring our leaders of today and preparing them for the challenges of tomorrow. Tim wrote about his interview with Allison Alley, President & CEO of Compassion Canada; a not for profit Canadian organization located in London, Ontario. What Allison and Tim had to say inspired me to take heed of the content and put some colour and private sector credibility into what was said. Not all content in this article is mine, it really belongs to Allison and Tim however, the real life, drama and experiences are mine and I’d like to share them with you.

Reading recommendations

Lessons from Quebec City’s gym outbreak, one of Canada’s largest COVID-19 superspreading events

Benjamin Shingler, Adam Miller, CBC News

We still don’t know exactly how it started — a runner on a treadmill, or perhaps someone lifting weights — but an outbreak at a gym in Quebec City has become one of the largest recorded COVID-19 superspreading events in Canada.

The Mega Fitness Gym 24H, tucked behind a busy highway in an industrial section of the provincial capital, became a major source of contagion for the B117 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, which now accounts for 70 per cent of all cases in Quebec City.

The gym was shut down March 31 as the city was once again put under lockdown. To date, there have been 224 people infected at the gym, and another 356 related cases involving outbreaks at 49 workplaces. A 40-year-old man who trained at the gym has died.

But officials have yet to provide key details on the outbreak that can help inform the public, including whether it was sparked by the more contagious and potentially more deadly variant and whether it was driven by aerosol transmission — or microscopic airborne particles.

The soft power of Yuri Gagarin

Stephen Dowling, BBC Future

Yuri Gagarin belied the West’s austere impression of the Soviet Union – a charming, easygoing Russian with a ready smile. The first man in space became a powerful propaganda tool.

It was the smile that clinched it.

The first cadre of Soviet space explorers gathered together numbered 20. Among them were Gherman Titov, still the youngest person to fly in space (aged 26), and Alexei Leonov, the first person to venture out of the safety of a capsule to conduct a spacewalk.

But these pioneers still followed in the footsteps of another.

The cosmonaut who would become the first man in orbit needed to be a calm and confident pilot, someone able to function on a mission no person had ever encountered without going to pieces. But there was more to this selection process than pure technical skill.

Yuri Gagarin’s smile, it’s been said, could melt the stoniest heart, and not even those at the highest echelons of Soviet power were immune. When Sergei Korolev – the USSR’s chief rocket designer – first met the cadre of pioneering cosmonauts, he spent most of that first meeting chatting to the charismatic Gagarin. Korolev would later call him his “little eagle”.

Niagara COVID status tracker (April 4 – April 10)

Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are the most recent published by Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.

▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement

▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement

December 18December 25January 1January 8January 15January 22January 29
Reproductive number1.
New cases per 100,000101.2267.3469.8575.8507.1295.5250.6
New cases per day (not including outbreaks)60.7178.7311.7376.9325.4182.7145.7
Percent of hospital beds occupied97%95.2%98.2%103.2%104.5%103.6%106%
Percent of intensive care beds occupied78.8%77.3%87.9%87.9%90.9%89.4%93.9%
Percentage of positive tests6.1%15.6%28.1%28.6%26.6%21.2%16.2%


  • Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
  • Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
  • Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker (April 13)

Niagara’s most up-to-date vaccination numbers are presented below, along with comparison data from Ontario, Canada, and G7 countries.

Total doses administered in Niagara: 116,500

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 3,270

Percentage of population with one dosePercentage of population fully vaccinated
United States75%64%
United Kingdom78%72%

Data are drawn from Niagara Region, the Government of Ontario, and Oxford University’s Our World in Data project.

Information on government grants, resources, and programs, policies, forms, and posters for download and use, are available here.The GNCC is here to support you. Contact us with any questions you have.
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