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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: December 13, 2021

The Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada stated that their primary objective in monetary policy is to maintain low, stable inflation.

Bank of Canada commits to controlling inflation, admits to uncertainty over “sustainable” level of employment

In a media release issued Monday, the Bank of Canada and the Government of Canada stated that “the primary objective of monetary policy is to maintain low, stable inflation over time,” and that they intended to return to the usual 2 percent rate of inflation in the intermediate-term future.

The global financial crisis and COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on the global economy and financial system, and major trends such as shifting demographics and new digital technologies are altering the economic landscape. Because of these and other concerns, the Bank opined that neutral interest rates are likely to be lower than in the past, which means that central banks will have less room to lower their policy interest rates in the face of large adverse shocks to the economy.

Major forces, including demographics, technological change, globalization, and shifts in the nature of work, are having profound effects on the Canadian labour market. These evolving forces have increased uncertainty about the level of maximum sustainable employment (i.e., the level of employment beyond which inflationary pressures arise).

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Auditor-General: access to last-resort assistance for Canadian small businesses affected by pandemic “uneven”

Today, a report from Auditor General Karen Hogan, tabled in the House of Commons, concludes that although the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund delivered last-resort assistance to thousands of businesses and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, several weaknesses in program management lessened its efficiency, fairness, and transparency.

The audit found that regional development agencies worked with Science and Economic Development Canada to develop and launch the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund in less time than it typically takes to design and rollout a program. In order to process applications quickly, regional development agencies leveraged their experience, existing systems, and knowledge, and relied on information provided by applicants. However, efforts to administer the program quickly may have led to the weaknesses in program management that the audit report also raises.

The audit also found that the full impact of the program will not be known for a few years. In particular, the impact on jobs maintained will be difficult to measure, notably because of the poor quality of data reported.

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New Brunswick signs $10-a-day childcare agreement

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, today announced an agreement that will support an average of $10‑a‑day child care in the province, significantly reducing the price of child care for families. Through the agreement, the governments of Canada and New Brunswick will work together to improve access to high-quality, affordable, flexible, and inclusive early learning and child care programs and services. This includes creating 3,400 new licensed early learning and child care spaces by the end of March 2026. With federal funding of almost $492 million over the next five years, New Brunswick will also see a 50 per cent reduction in average parent fees for children under the age of six in regulated child care by the end of 2022.

Earlier this year, the Government of Canada reached similar agreements with the governments of British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The governments of Canada and Quebec also reached an asymmetric agreement to strengthen the early learning and child care system in the province.

Ontario has yet to sign the agreement.

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Free parking offered in St. Catharines for holiday shopping

The City of St. Catharines is offering up to three hours of free parking between noon and 6 p.m. on weekdays from Monday, Dec. 13 to Dec. 31.

Free afternoon parking is available downtown at City-owned on-street metered spots and City-owned parking lots with pay machines. Visitors taking advantage of free afternoon parking are still subject to the City’s three-hour time limit for parking in the downtown.

New this year, downtown visitors will also be able to park at the Ontario Street Garage as part of the promotion. Free parking at the garage will be available from noon to 6 pm., for up to three hours. Those parking at the garage who are visiting a downtown business can ask for a voucher from the business, providing for three hours of free parking at the garage.

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Niagara-on-the-Lake extends temporary patio program

Niagara-on-the-Lake Town Council approved the extension of their Temporary Patio Program until January 1, 2023. Through the streamlined process, existing permits will be extended upon submission of a renewed certificate of insurance for the year 2022.

The Town’s Temporary Patio program was originally approved and implemented in the summer of 2020, allowing food and drink premises to create outdoor dining spaces at a time when indoor dining was not permitted as per Provincial Regulations. Council extended this program in January of 2021.

For more information about the Town’s Temporary Patio Program, including patio design standards and safety requirements, or to complete an application, visit

Reading Recommendations

Canada could soon see rapid surge in COVID-19 cases as Omicron spreads locally


COVID-19 cases in Canada may rapidly rise in the coming days due to community spread of the Omicron variant, mirroring the situation in the country’s most populous province of Ontario, Canada’s top health official said on Monday.

The surge of COVID-19 cases in Ontario, which accounts for almost 40% of Canada’s population of 39 million people, has prompted the provincial government to suspend easing of restrictions that were planned to be lifted ahead of the holiday season.

The province reported 1,536 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, a more-than 70% jump from a week ago, including 80 cases of the Omicron variant, which has spread across over 60 countries since being first detected last month.

Why omicron is overtaking delta — and what that means for our fight against COVID-19

CBC News

In the battle of the variants, omicron is poised to win.

While delta has long dominated the bulk of Canada’s coronavirus cases, the latest variant of concern is set to overtake other variants both here and abroad as it spreads through more than 60 countries around the world.

Early evidence suggests omicron is more adept at infecting people who’ve already had COVID-19 or multiple doses of leading vaccines, and the heavily mutated variant also has an uncanny knack for transmitting between people in the same home.

In other words, it’s likely incredibly contagious, and capable of leaving delta in its dust.

While there are hopeful signals that vaccination still protects against serious disease, with boosters offering a stronger shield against any level of omicron infection, multiple medical experts who spoke to CBC News warn it’s time to buckle down for a tough stretch ahead — since this variant will find its way to the vulnerable, even if most Canadians who get infected are largely unscathed.

Pfizer or Moderna: Which COVID-19 booster shot should you get?

CTV News

Ontario is one of the latest provinces to expand its booster dose eligibility, announcing that residents aged 18 and older will be able to book their third dose appointment as of Jan. 4.

This comes shortly after the release of new guidance from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) regarding COVID-19 boosters. As more people become eligible for their third dose, and the number of Omicron cases in Canada continues to rise, it’s likely that more and more Canadians are wondering what type of booster shot to get.

As of now, only mRNA vaccines are authorized for use as a booster in Canada – this includes both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Based on NACI recommendations, it’s also clear that mRNA vaccines are the preferred boosters for most of the population.

Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

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.

Through the Daily Updates, the GNCC aims to deliver important business news in a timely manner. We disseminate all news and information we feel will be important to businesses. Inclusion in the Daily Update is not an endorsement by the GNCC.

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