Ontario will allocate half of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities
Approximately 800,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are expected to arrive in Ontario per week at the start of May, ramping up to 940,000 doses per week by the end of May. In response, the Ontario government is preparing to ramp up its rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to further support at-risk communities. This includes a targeted commitment to allocate 50 per cent of upcoming vaccine shipments to hot spot communities as identified by postal code, to help decrease COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations.
As the next step in Ontario’s vaccine rollout, effective April 30, at 8:00 a.m., individuals aged 55 and over are eligible to book a vaccine appointment. The Phase Two schedule can be seen here.
Norm Sterling appointed Chair of the Greenbelt Council
The Ontario government has appointed former minister of environment and founding member of the Niagara Escarpment Commission Norm Sterling as Chair of the Greenbelt Council. The Greenbelt Council was created to provide advice to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on land use matters related to the Greenbelt, including education and outreach to promote the goals of the Greenbelt Plan.
The first round of public consultations on growing the Greenbelt concluded on April 19, 2021 and the input is being reviewed. Further engagement and consultation will continue through the summer.
Government of Canada highlights support to wine sector
Budget 2021 proposes to provide $101 million over two years, starting in 2022-23, from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, to implement a program for the wine sector that will support wineries in adapting to ongoing and emerging challenges, in line with Canada’s trade obligations.
Budget 2021 also proposes to allocate $21 million over three years, starting in 2021-22, to:
- Work with provincial and territorial partners to enhance the capacity of the Internal Trade Secretariat that supports the Canadian Free Trade Agreement in order to accelerate the reduction of trade barriers within Canada.
- Advance work with willing partners towards creating a repository of open and accessible pan-Canadian internal trade data to identify barriers, including licensing and professional certification requirements, that we can work together to reduce them. Pursue internal trade objectives through new or renewed discretionary federal transfers to provinces and territories.
Payroll employment increases in February
The number of employees receiving pay or benefits from their employer—measured in the SEPH as payroll employment—increased by 43,400 (+0.3%) in February, Statistics Canada reports. This followed a notable decline in January, when employment losses associated with the tightening of public health restrictions were recorded by both the SEPH and the LFS. The February increase in SEPH payroll employment was smaller than the LFS employment increase (+259,000; +1.4%), partly because of lags in new or returning employees receiving their first paycheques.
The largest increases in payroll employment were in Quebec (+27,200; +0.8%), Alberta (+19,600; +1.1%) and British Columbia (+9,400; +0.4%). These increases were partially offset by a decrease in Ontario (-20,800; -0.3%). Average weekly earnings were $1,140 in February, up 0.7% compared with January and 9.0% compared with one year earlier. Payroll employment increases in the services-producing sector (+64,000; +0.5%) were partially offset by a decline in the goods-producing sector (-13,200; -0.5%) in February.
New briefing from Niagara Region Public Health
Ontario paid sick days “a step in the right direction”
Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce CEO Mishka Balsom and Ontario Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rocco Rossi released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Proposal announced today:
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is a step in the right direction to protect essential workers. The proposed provincial top up to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is also encouraging but is contingent on federal government participation and does not address other shortcomings of the federal program, such as processing delays. We would like to see all levels of governments open to further adjustments of their programs – as they have been with other programs rolled out in the pandemic – to ensure programs meets the needs of workers and the market in Niagara.
“Our position continues to be that business, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce support the notion of a temporary paid sick program that is paid for by government for the duration of the pandemic. Any paid sick day program must be fully and immediately accessible to workers who need it with a quick and seamless reimbursement for employers. When workers protect themselves, they protect their colleagues, their employers, and their communities.”
Canada’s deputy chief public health officer offers technical briefing on vaccine distribution
Bitcoin is facing a make-or-break moment following a recent bout of selling, according to technical analysis.
Though the cryptocurrency has rebounded above its average price over the past 100 days, it’s still trading below its 50-day moving average. Such a dynamic typically indicates an asset is nearing an inflection point.
If Bitcoin can’t overtake its 50-day mean — which currently sits at about US$57,000 — then it might be in for a period of volatility as the gap between the two trend lines converges. Technical indicators suggest breaking out might not be an easy feat — Bitcoin failed to do so on several occasions last week.
Martin Crutsinger, Paul Wiseman, Associated Press
Powered by consumers and fueled by government aid, the U.S. economy is achieving a remarkably fast recovery from the recession that ripped through the nation last year on the heels of the coronavirus and cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs and businesses.
The economy grew last quarter at a vigorous 6.4% annual rate, the government said Thursday, and expectations are that the current quarter will be even better. The number of people seeking unemployment aid — a rough reflection of layoffs — last week reached its lowest point since the pandemic struck. And the National Association of Realtors said Thursday that more Americans signed contracts to buy homes in March, reflecting a strong housing market as summer approaches.
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 rate||Percent positivity||Rt|
|Niagara Current||180.7 ▼||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)
No updated information available for April 29.
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 dose||Percentage of population fully vaccinated|