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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 16th, 2021

 Ontario Expands Eligibility for Main Street Relief Grant

The Ontario government is expanding the number of small businesses that can apply for the Main Street Relief Grant to help offset the costs of purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE). Small businesses with 2 to 19 employees in all eligible sectors – expanded from 2-9 employees – including those in the arts, entertainment, and recreation sector, can now apply for up to $1,000 in financial support. This one-time grant reimburses main street businesses for PPE costs incurred since March 17, 2020. Eligible businesses for the Main Street Relief Grant  include those in the following sectors:

  • retail trade;
  • accommodation and food services;
  • repair and maintenance;
  • personal and laundry services;
  • gyms and yoga studios; and
  • arts, entertainment, and recreation.


Ontario Improving Farm Safety for Agri-Food Workers

The Government of Ontario is providing up to $118,500 to develop specialized COVID-19 resources to better protect the health and safety of temporary foreign workers and others employed in the agri-food sector. Informed by health, cultural and support organizations, these new resources, entitled the “Cultural Resources Library,” will be designed by the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association in a variety of languages and formats and will be distributed to farms, greenhouses and food processing operations across Ontario.


Federal Government tables gun-control bill

The Liberal government has tabled its long-awaited legislation to further restrict the possession of guns. The bill does not institute a nation-wide ban on handguns, but does allow municipalities to put in local bans through by-laws. The bill also increases the criminal penalties on many gun-related offences. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a buyback program will follow.


Canadian Chamber of Commerce announces leading Canadian CEOs to form COVID-19 Recovery Leadership Council

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has brought together 19 CEOs and senior executives to help accelerate the deployment of COVID-19 mitigation tools on the ground by connecting companies creating vaccines, delivering testing, tracing and other support programs for the businesses requiring these services.

The new COVID-19 Recovery Leadership Council will help develop practical solutions to reduce and ultimately eliminate COVID-19 in Canada and pave the way for a business-led economic recovery. The council will be comprised of the following business leaders:

  • CAE – Marc Parent – President and CEO (Council Co-Chair)
  • Pfizer Canada – Cole Pinnow – President (Council Co-Chair)
  • T&T Supermarkets – Tina Lee – CEO (Council Co-Chair)
  • Akawe Technologies – Leanne Bellegarde – President
  • BFL Canada – Barry Lorenzetti – CEO and Founder
  • BlackBerry – Marjorie Dickman – Chief Government Affairs and Public Policy Officer
  • Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec – Charles Emond – President and CEO
  • Canada Life – Jeff Macoun – President and COO, Canada
  • Cogeco – Philippe Jetté – President and CEO
  • Franchise Management Inc. – Arlene Dore – Chief Financial Officer
  • Franco Nevada – Paul Brink – President and CEO
  • Get Ready – Scott Ashley – President and CEO
  • Greater Toronto Airports Authority – Deborah Flint – President and CEO
  • Mosaic Forest Management – Jeffery Zweig – President and CEO
  • Paramount Fine Foods – Mohamad Fakih – President and CEO
  • Providence Therapeutics – Brad Sorenson – CEO
  • RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust – Ed Sonshine – CEO
  • Shoppers Drug Mart – Jeff Leger – President
  • WestJet – Edward Sims – President and CEO


Reading recommendations

None of Ottawa’s new travel rules apply to the largest group of people entering Canada — truckers

CBC News

None of the federal government’s recently announced new travel measures — which include COVID-19 testing upon arrival — apply to the largest group of people regularly entering Canada: Commercial truck drivers. Of the 10 million entries into Canada since March 21, 2020, close to half — 4.6 million — were made by commercial truck drivers crossing by land, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. Because truck drivers deliver essential goods across the border during the pandemic, the government has exempted them from quarantine and all COVID-19 test requirements. Ottawa says it’s exploring tests for truckers at the border but has not yet presented concrete plans.

Canadian home sales hit new January record; prices reach new highs

BNN Bloomberg

Canadians didn’t let COVID-19 or a lack of housing supply stop them from flocking to the real estate market in January as they snatched up a record number of homes and shelled out more than they had in previous years. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday that January sales were up 35.2 per cent compared with a year earlier and up two per cent when compared to December. The increase came as the national sales-to-new listings ratio rose to 90.7 per cent, the highest level on record. The previous monthly record was 81.5 per cent set 19 years ago.

Niagara COVID status tracker

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 drawn daily from 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.

Note that the Provincewide Shutdown is not the same as the Grey-Lockdown level listed in the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, which has been suspended for the duration of the shutdown. Additional restrictions for businesses apply during the Shutdown. Businesses should not use the Response Framework as a guide during this time, but should instead refer to the Shutdown guidelines.

 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 Current23.61.1%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

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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