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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: August 4th, 2021

For the first time since September 2020, Niagara Health does not have any COVID-19 patients admitted in the hospital.

Zero patients with COVID-19 at Niagara Health

For the first time since September 2020, Niagara Health does not have any COVID-19 patients admitted in the hospital. This achievement is the result of the efforts and dedication of the entire Niagara Health team, said the Executive Lead of the Niagara COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force.

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is critical to preventing a fourth wave and ending this pandemic. The GNCC and Niagara Health encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated with a first and/or second dose to do so as soon as possible.

The Seymour-Hannah vaccination clinic in St. Catharines is open for walk-ins and for booked appointments.

Click here for more information.

Government of Ontario to make announcement about youth job training in Niagara

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, will be joined by MPP Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West, and Sandra Easton, Mayor for the Town of Lincoln, to make an announcement about youth job training in the Niagara Region tomorrow at 10 a.m. in Vineland.

Click here for more information.

Government of Canada launches consultations on reducing credit card transaction fees

Canada has amongst the highest interchange fees in the world.

Payments Canada data indicates that 32 per cent of Canadians are reporting greater use of credit cards since the start of the pandemic, and Statistics Canada reports seasonally adjusted e-commerce retail increased by roughly 100 per cent between February 2020 and May 2021. For a typical small or medium-sized business without access to preferential rates, online payments can attract interchange fees that are over twice as high as those for in-store payments. With the increase in e-commerce, this trend could result in a permanent increase to the cost of doing business for Canadian small businesses.

Today, the Department of Finance Canada is launching consultations with the aim of lowering the cost of doing business by reducing credit card transaction fees. These savings will allow small and medium-sized businesses recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic to direct financial resources toward growth and job creation.

The Government of Canada encourages all businesses processing credit card transactions to share their thoughts by emailing with “Reducing Credit Card Transaction Fees” as the subject line by September 10, 2021.

Ontario to invest $49 million in festivals and events

The Ontario government is investing nearly $50 million to help festival and event organizers deliver innovative and safe experiences. The government is providing $43 million to support 439 festivals and events through the Reconnect Festival and Event Program, representing a record number of supported events in the program’s 14-year history. This investment also includes $6 million to Celebrate Ontario Blockbuster events.

Click here for more information.

Government of Canada highlights support for approximately 1,300 projects under the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, highlighted federal investments of up to $96 million through the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.

This includes $82 million in funding to support approximately 1,300 projects to improve Black-led organizations’ workplaces and community spaces over two years. This funding will be made available in 2021–2022 to assess and fund additional renovation/retrofit and equipment projects from existing applications from an initial call for proposals announced in January 2021.

The Government of Canada will also provide funding of approximately $14 million to the intermediaries to help organizations build the necessary infrastructure they need to better serve Black Canadian communities.

Click here for more information.

Canadian healthcare system ranks second-to-last in 11-country report

A new report from The Commonwealth Fund found that the top-performing countries in healthcare overall are Norway, the Netherlands, and Australia. The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care. Notably, however, the U.S. is an outlier: its performance falls well below the average of the other countries and far below the two countries ranked directly above it, Switzerland and Canada.

Compared to the other countries, the United States and Canada had larger income-related inequities in patient reported experiences.

Click here to read the report.

Reading Recommendations

AstraZeneca recipients frustrated after being forced to cancel international travel plans

CBC News

Some Albertans who received the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine are having to cancel their international travel plans, again.

Several countries and tour operators, including many cruise lines, don’t recognize the Covishield version of AstraZeneca, which is made in India. Others are not accepting travellers who received different types of vaccines for their first and second shots.

How will classrooms be kept safe? PHAC says back-to-school guidelines coming

CTV News

As schools get ready to welcome students back to the classroom in September they’re outlining measures to keep everyone safe from COVID-19, but there’s growing concern about what that means for the youngest cohort.

Canada hasn’t approved a vaccine yet for children under the age of 12. And only about 37 per cent of children between the ages of 12 and 17 have been fully vaccinated.

That means precautions are needed. And the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) plans to release guidance for schools, including those with children under the age of 12, in the next few weeks, agency spokesperson Anne Génier said on Wednesday.

Should menstrual products be free at work?

Canadian HR Reporter

Ottawa is seeking feedback from Canadians on the subject of free menstrual products in the workplace.

The government says it wants to ensure women in federally regulated workplaces have access to menstrual products to reduce the physical and psychological health risks, the prevalence of harassment and violence in the workplace and the prevalence of missed work due to a lack of access to menstrual products.

This will also support the federal government’s commitments to gender equity, it says.

Featured Content

Strategies For Engaging Employees

Pollice Consulting Group

Tasks have sped up in the Canadian workplace at an accelerated rate. The Covid 19 aftermath, the raging war on attracting and retaining the right talent, the quest for better business practices, technological advances and client expectations – just to name a few; are placing tremendous pressure on businesses often to the extent of disruption and performance. Amid this turbulent and unstructured landscape is the fact that several employees are already burnt out, frustrated, disengaged, overworked and struggling for some sort of work life balance. All these factors are forcing businesses to take a fresh approach at how their people experience work.

A 2021 Gallup pole research shows that 85 % of employees consider themselves to be disengaged at work. That is an alarming statistic when you think that only 15 % of the world’s one billion employees are engaged at work. Lower engagement leads to lower productivity, slower economic growth and a downward spiral of human capital.

Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization, and put discretionary effort into their work. Employee engagement goes beyond activities, games, and events; employee engagement drives performance.

Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

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. Lower numbers are better in all metrics.

 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%

Last updated: July 31, 2021

There are currently 0 patients admitted to Niagara Health with COVID-19. There are currently 0 patients with COVID-19 in a Niagara Health Intensive Care Unit.

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

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

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

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

Total doses administered in Niagara: 627,764

New daily doses administered to Niagara residents: 1,856

Last updated: August 4, 2021

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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