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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 15th, 2021

Ontario government to provide frontline workers with free emergency child care

The Ontario government is providing eligible health care and other frontline workers with free emergency child care for school-aged children, starting Monday, April 19, 2021. The announcement was made following the province’s decision to move elementary and secondary students across the province to remote learning following the April spring break.

Eligible parents and guardians with a school-aged child or children looking to access an emergency child care program should contact their local service system manager for information on availability, program locations and registration.

Click here to read more.

Ontario government announces new funding to help non-profit organizations

The Ontario government is providing more than $42 million to help 559 non-profit organizations across the province to support staff and volunteers, reimagine programing and renovate facilities as they deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Resilient Communities Fund provides grants of up to $150,000 to eligible non-profit organizations to cover a broad and flexible range of needs, such as:

  • Mental and physical health and wellbeing supports for staff or volunteers
  • Support to adapt or reimagine program delivery and services to meet the needs of communities, employees and volunteers, incorporate new health and safety processes, or purchase new technology and personal protective equipment
  • Renovations and facility updates to meet the changing needs of the communities they serve.

The Ontario Trillium Foundation’s $83-million Resilient Communities Fund continues to help more eligible non-profit organizations impacted by COVID-19. Application details will follow soon. For more information on the OTF’s Resilient Communities Fund, including a full list of grant recipients, please visit the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s website.

Spring Red Tape Reduction Package announced

Today, Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, announced Ontario’s Spring Red Tape Reduction Package and introduced the Supporting Recovery and Competitiveness Act.

The proposed legislative changes in the act, along with other measures in the package, include:

  • Helping consumers save money on electricity by making it easier for them to track their energy usage
  • Helping to ensure Ontario remains a global leader in the connected and automated vehicle industry by supporting innovative pilot programs – like consulting on adding new vehicle types such as automated farm vehicles, and removing certain restrictions around modified automated vehicles
  • Modernizing Ontario by bringing more processes and services online, including developing new applications that will allow online sticker renewal for heavy commercial vehicle licence plates in mid-2022
  • Enhancing protections for workers by strengthening policies that keep them safe – like reviewing the working at heights training program to improve standards for training content and delivery
  • Supporting the not-for-profit sector and other corporations by allowing them to continue to hold virtual meetings during the pandemic.

Click here to read more.

St. Catharines latest Community Improvement Plan launched

The plan, known as 2020CIP, is designed to encourage investment in the city by providing incentives to the private sector.

Since 2004, the City has approved 98 CIP applications with a commitment of approximately $20.75 million. Once all projects are completed as approved, they will represent the generation of approximately 2,100 new residential dwelling units, 280 permanent new jobs and an estimated increase in property tax assessment of approximately $396 million.

Applications are now open for the 2020CIP Tax Increment Finance Program (TIF), Brownfield Tax Increment Finance Program (BTIF), Brownfield Tax Assistance Program (BTA), and the Façade Improvement Program (FIP).

The incentives provided by these programs will offset a portion of project costs related to redevelopment, reuse and rehabilitation of the city’s built environment.

Interested parties can find more information and download application guidelines and forms at

Reading recommendations

U.S. imposes wide array of sanctions on Russia for ‘malign’ actions

Trevor Hunnicutt, Arshad Mohammed, Andrew Osborn, Reuters

The United States on Thursday imposed a broad array of sanctions on Russia, including curbs to its sovereign debt market, to punish it for interfering in last year’s U.S. election, cyber-hacking, bullying Ukraine and other alleged “malign” actions.

The U.S. government blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and barred U.S. banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia’s central bank, national wealth fund and finance ministry. The United States warned Russia that more penalties were possible but said it did not want to escalate.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase goes public in march toward the mainstream

Thomson Reuters/CBC News

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc was valued at almost $100 billion US in a Nasdaq debut on Wednesday that marked another milestone in the development of bitcoin and other digital assets.

The company’s stock market debut, done through a direct listing where no shares are sold ahead of the opening, comes amid a surge in the value of cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase’s stock opened at $381 per share, up 52.4 per cent from a price point of $250 per share set on Tuesday.

Zoom: All the times virtual meetings didn’t go as planned this year

Megan Fisher, BBC

2020 was the year everything went online. From virtual meetings and teaching online to socialising on a screen, a lot of us have spent a lot of time logged in.

But with interruptions from pets and children – and even someone catching fire during a virtual meeting – people haven’t exactly mastered it yet.

Here’s a look at some of the times when online didn’t quite go to plan.

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

 Incidence ratePercent positivityRt
Target: Green<10<0.5%<1
Target: Yellow10-24.90.5-1.2%1
Target: Orange25-39.91.3-2.4%1-1.1
Target: Red≥40≥2.5%≥1.2
Niagara Current180.7 ▼7.9% ▼0.8 ▼


  • 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 15)

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: 120,087

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 3,490

 Percentage of population with one dosePercentage of population fully vaccinated
United States46%35%
United Kingdom53%27%

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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