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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: August 19th, 2021

Mail-in ballots could delay results in federal election 2021

Stéphane Perrault, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, expects that the majority of mail-in ballots in the upcoming federal election will be counted after election day, delaying the final result.

Elections Canada is expecting between two million and five million people to cast ballots by mail, which would be a dramatic jump from the 2019 federal election. Pandemic-related reluctance to travel to voting locations is expected to drive the increase. For more information, click here.

Ontario investing in agri-food innovation

The Ontario government is investing in new partnerships in agri-food innovation, including pilot projects in robotics and artificial intelligence.

The Innovator Stream is the targeted second phase of the Agri-tech Innovation Program, a $22 million program launched in April to provide up to 60 per cent funding for eligible costs, to a maximum of $750,000.

“The Agri-tech Innovation Program has been, and will be, instrumental to further mobilize the Ontario agricultural innovation and technology supply chain and support the sector in meeting the demands of today and the future”, said Ian Potter, PhD, President and CEO, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland). For more information, click here.

Ontario government reaffirms partnership with municipal governments

Here are some of the announcements made during the virtual 2021 Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference this week:


  • Plans to invest $1.1 billion to enhance the province’s housing programs and support homeless populations in 2022-23
  • Additional funding under the Social Services Relief Fund for a total support to communities of over $1 billion in 2020-2021
  • Providing $57 million to launch a third intake of the Municipal Modernization Programand Audit and Accountability Fund.

To further support public health units as they continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario government is investing approximately $47 million to extend one-time mitigation funding through 2022.

The Ontario government is also maintaining the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund (OMPF) at $500 million, as well as the overall structure of the program, for 2022. The OMPF provides funding to 389 municipalities across the province that can be used to support the local priorities and specific needs of each community. For more information, click here.

Ontario teachers’ unions want more detailed, mandatory COVID vaccination policy

Ontario teachers’ unions are calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible staff and students at the province’s schools, saying the government’s immunization policy for the sector doesn’t go far enough.

The unions joined other stakeholders Wednesday in calling for stronger measures to fight off a rising fourth wave a day after the province said many health and education workers would either have to be immunized or regularly tested for COVID-19. For more information, click here.

81 Toys “R” Us stores in Canada to be sold to new Canadian owner

Putman Investments will purchase Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us Canada from Fairfax Financial. Doug Putman is the owner of Sunrise Records, who also purchased the Canadian assets of HMV and launched T. Kettle chain of shops in former DavidsTea locations. Fairfax took over the toy retailer’s Canadian assets when the U.S. parent went insolvent a few years ago. For more information, click here.

Reading Recommendations

How Europe’s top tech start-ups get it right

McKinsey and Company

European start-ups are being created and growing at an unprecedented pace these days, attracting the attention of global investors, customers, and corporate partners alike. In the process, they are proving the conventional wisdom wrong: launching a start-up amid the continent’s fragmented value pool doesn’t necessarily have to be such a challenging proposition.

McKinsey and Company studied Europe’s top 1,000 start-ups to learn how they succeed in the region’s fragmented value pool and found the answers lie in four distinct strategic plays.

The Delta variant is already leaving its mark on business

Wall Street Journal, Theo Francis, Grynn, Guilford, Inti Pacheco

Repercussions from the Delta variant of Covid-19 are starting to ripple across companies, raising staffing costs in senior housing, disrupting production of potato chips and leading some companies to rein in profit projections.

Still unclear: whether the highly contagious strain of the virus will be a momentary stumble in an improving global economy—one that businesses and consumers are now better equipped to handle—or something more serious.

Niagara COVID-19 data

These data show the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Niagara. The Province of Ontario is now using a provincewide approach to reopening, and these data no longer have any influence on Niagara’s restrictions.

Current number of admitted Niagara Health patients with COVID-19: 4

Patients with COVID-19 in Niagara Health ICU’s: 2

Data are drawn from Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara Health.

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

Last updated: August 19, 2021

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: 648,009

New daily doses administered to Niagara residents: 1,314

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

Free rapid COVID-19 testing kits are now available to businesses. Visit to learn more and reserve kits for your organization.

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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