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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 17th, 2021

Government of Canada invests in training to help Canadians become certified in the skilled trades

The Government of Canada is making targeted investments, so that key groups facing barriers – like women, newcomers, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and Black and racialized Canadians – can better find work in the skilled trades through projects led by unions and their partner organizations.

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced $63.5 million, over five years, for 68 projects as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) 2020 call for proposals. This investment will help certify skilled tradespeople and prepare them to fill available jobs as the economy restarts.


Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy

The goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aim to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure all people are able to live in peace and prosperity. Today, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Ahmed Hussen, and the Minister of International Development Karina Gould, launched Moving Forward Together – Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy, in an effort to implement the 2030 Agenda and make progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in Canada and abroad.

To support the strategy’s whole-of-society approach, Minister Hussen also announced approximately $11.3 million in funding to 32 organizations through the 2020-2021 SDG Funding Program. For questions or additional information on Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy contact


COVID-19 activity statement from Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 831,577 cases of COVID-19, including 21,397 deaths reported in Canada. Routine national surveillance data shows a steady decline in COVID-19 activity. Currently, there are 35,669 active cases across the country. The latest national-level data show a continued downward trend in daily case counts, with a 7-day average of 2,969 new cases daily (Feb 10-16). Over the past week (Feb 7-13), there were on average of 101,072 tests completed daily across Canada, of which 3.1% were positive for COVID-19. As of February 16, all provinces have reported detections of variants of concern. The emergence and spread of certain SARS-CoV-2 virus variants is a cause for concern.

While surveillance data and modelling forecasts suggest that community-based measures are having an effect and that our collective effort is continuing to make a difference, it is crucial that strong measures are kept in place in order to maintain a steady downward trend.


Ontario announces Greenbelt consultation

The Ontario government has launched a 60-day consultation seeking input on how to grow the size and quality of the Greenbelt and help protect more of the province’s natural environment – including farmlands, forests, wetlands and watersheds – from future development. The consultations could result in the largest expansion of the greenbelt since its creation in 2005.

“This is truly a unique opportunity to grow the Greenbelt and protect Ontario’s environmental, groundwater and agricultural resources for future generations,” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The Premier has been steadfast in his commitment to protect the Greenbelt and our government will not consider any proposals to remove or develop any part of it.” Comments are welcome by email: or through the Environmental Registry of Ontario by April 19, 2021.


New legislation to help Ontarians resolve legal matters faster

The Ontario government has introduced legislation with the goal to improve access to justice for people across the system by modernizing processes and breaking down barriers in the province’s courts, tribunals, estates law, family law and child protection sectors. The Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021, if passed, would also fill judicial vacancies faster.

In response to COVID-19, Ontario implemented a number of urgent measures to move more justice services online and closer to communities. If passed, the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021 would build on these modernization initiatives by:

  • Helping fill judicial vacancies faster so people will be able to have their matters heard by a judge more quickly and with fewer delays. These changes would maintain current legislated qualifications to become a judge, as announced in February 2020, and reflect feedback received from justice partners and lawyers. Changes will also support broader efforts to encourage more lawyers to apply by moving the applications process online.
  • Permanently allowing the virtual witnessing of wills and powers of attorney to make it easier for people to get these important affairs in order, without the limitations of travelling to access these services in-person.
  • Promoting the interests of children by giving them a greater voice in the court process, and better focusing resources of the Office of the Children’s Lawyer.
  • Increasing access to justice in French by expanding and guaranteeing the ability of Francophones to file documents in French at all Ontario courthouses and for all matters, including civil and family law.


Niagara Health resumes vaccinating healthcare workers against COVID-19 at St. Catharines arena

Today, Niagara Health reopened its COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic for high-risk healthcare workers at the Seymour Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines. The larger clinic space will allow the hospital to get more needles into arms, as vaccine supply becomes available.

The Niagara Health clinic will continue its work administering first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to long-term care and high-risk retirement home staff and essential caregivers, as well as hospital staff and physicians. At the same time, Niagara Region Public Health will continue its work deploying mobile teams to vaccinate residents at long-term care and high-risk retirement homes.

Niagara Health plans to vaccinate 500 people today and another 500 people on Thursday February 18. Following this initial launch, the clinic staff will then move to vaccinate 1,000 people per day and will stay at that level pending vaccine supply and provincial direction. As the Province of Ontario provides further updates on expected vaccine shipments, Niagara Health and the Region will provide information on what this means at a local level.

At this time, the new clinic will only be in use for highest-risk healthcare workers, and any future updates about mass immunization planning for the general public will be made available on Niagara Region Public Health’s website:


Reading recommendations

Planting crop – and carbon, too

The Washington Post

To prevent climate change from irrevocably damaging human civilization and the world’s ecosystems, humans must reduce carbon emissions enough to prevent the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, scientists say.

As scientists came to appreciate the threat posed by climate change over the past few decades, some wondered whether carbon already in the atmosphere could be captured and returned to the soil. They estimated in early 2020 that if soil was protected and replenished globally, it could provide nearly 10 percent of the carbon dioxide drawdown needed to avert near-term climate catastrophe.


Investor who pushed for GameStop’s rise, sued for securities fraud

Financial Post

Keith Gill, one of the most influential voices that pushed GameStop on the WallStreetBets Reddit forum, was hit with a lawsuit that accused him of misrepresenting himself as an amateur investor and profiting by artificially inflating the price of the stock.

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.

 October 30November 6November 13November 20
Reproductive number11.31.10.8
New cases per 100,00025.940.342.631.5
New cases per day (not including outbreaks)13.419.420.918.3
Percent of hospital beds occupied103.1%93.3%100.3%96.3%
Percent of intensive care beds occupied84.9%83.3%86.4%86.4%
Percentage of positive tests2.6%3.6%3.5%2.7%


  • 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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