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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: April 28th, 2021

This daily update was delayed to include the announcement below.

Ontario will give workers 3 paid sick days and reimburse businesses for costs

At a televised address this afternoon, the Honourable Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance, announced the Putting Workers First Act which would grant all workers three paid sick days to self-isolate during the pandemic. The province will reimburse employers with a payment of up to $200 a day for a maximum of three days. Eligible employers would need to make their application for reimbursement within 120 days of the paid leave. 

The paid sick days can be claimed for:

  • going for a  test
  • staying home awaiting the results of a  test
  • being sick with
  • going to get vaccinated
  • experiencing a side effect from a covid 19 vaccination
  • having been advised to self-isolate due to  by an employer, medical practitioner or other authority
  • taking care of a dependent who is:
    • sick with  or has symptoms of
    • self-isolating due to

Claiming employees must be:

An employee may be required to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances for entitlement to the leave. Employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence.

Employers should note that this legislation has not yet passed, although it will be retroactive to April 19 and will end on Sept. 25. The program will be administered through the Workplace Insurance and Safety Board.

More details can be found at

Ontario to allow patient transfers without patient consent to preserve hospital capacity

The province is amending regulations under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) to provide hospitals with the flexibility to transfer patients when their doctors have determined that they no longer require hospital care to long-term care or retirement homes without obtaining the consent of the patient or, where the patient is incapable, their substitute decision maker. The amended order can only be used during major surge events where the demand for critical care threatens to overwhelm a hospital and compromise care.

Based on the latest modelling data, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU occupancy are continuing to increase rapidly and are now at their highest levels since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. The Science Advisory Table projects that the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU will reach 1,100 and around 1,200 acute care COVID admissions by May.

As of April 22, there are 4,288 patients in hospitals who physicians have determined no longer require acute hospital care, of which 1,854 are waiting for a long-term care home (LTCH) bed. As of April 14, there are 5,401 LTCH vacant beds available for new residents.

Click here to read more.

GNCC offers statement on Day of Mourning

Today, Canada observes a national day of mourning for workers who have died, been injured, or become ill from their work. This year, we must also remember those Canadians who have become ill or died from COVID-19, especially the healthcare and essential workers we have depended upon to carry us through this crisis. Every workplace death, injury, or illness is a tragedy, even – perhaps especially – when it is one of many.

Retail sales climb 4.8% in February

Sales up in 9 of 11 subsectors

Retail sales were up 4.8% to $55.1 billion in February, according to a new report from Statistics Canada. Sales increased in 9 of 11 subsectors, led by higher sales at motor-vehicle and parts dealers and gasoline stations. Core retail sales—which exclude gasoline stations and motor-vehicle and parts dealers—rose for the first time in three months, increasing 3.8% in February on higher sales at general merchandise stores and at clothing and clothing accessories stores.

Based on respondent feedback, approximately 12% of retailers were closed during February. Sales at motor-vehicle and parts dealers increased for the second consecutive month, rising 5.0% in February. The increase was mostly because of higher sales at new car dealers (+5.6%) and automotive parts, accessories and tire stores (+9.2%). After two consecutive months of declines, core retail sales also increased 3.8% in February, led by higher sales at general merchandise stores (+6.1%).

Reading Recommendations

Federal pledge to publicly disclose who owns some private companies catches provinces off-guard

Ivan Angelovski, Zach Dubinsky, CBC News

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland committed in last week’s budget to do something anti-corruption crusaders and experts on white-collar crime have been urging for years: create a publicly accessible database of the “beneficial” owners of companies.

“To ensure our system is fair, this budget will invest in the fight against tax evasion, shine a light on beneficial ownership arrangements, and ensure that multinational corporations pay their fair share of tax in Canada,” Freeland said in French in the House of Commons.

But some transparency experts say the change will be toothless without the support of the provinces and territories, which all have their own laws for incorporating and regulating companies. CBC News found they were largely caught by surprise at the federal government’s announcement; most haven’t committed to taking part.

‘Reasonable and sustainable’: Chrystia Freeland says spending won’t dent Canada’s brand

Kate Bolongaro, Bloomberg News/Financial Post

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said her debut budget lays out a “reasonable and sustainable” debt track that maintains Canada’s reputation as a fiscal stalwart.

The fiscal plan forecasts a declining debt ratio in coming years once COVID-related spending is no longer needed, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s finance chief said in an interview Wednesday. The nation’s deficit, meanwhile, will also drop to pre-pandemic levels.

Freeland, who was appointed finance minister in August, released her first full fiscal plan on April 19, adding more than $100 billion (US$82 billion) in new outlays to already record deficits. Still, most of the new spending will be temporary or one-off measures that will allow for a return to small deficits in coming years.

Niagara COVID status tracker (April 11 – April 17)

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.

The Province of Ontario is currently under a stay-at-home order. The COVID-19 Response Framework does not apply during this order. Click here to review the restrictions currently in place.

▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement

▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement

— : Metric has not changed 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 28)

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: 171,492

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 3,852

 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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