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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: February 26th, 2021

Niagara to move into Red-Control on March 1st

Niagara will move into the Red-Control stage of the provincial reopening framework as of 12:01am on Monday, March 1st.

Trips outside the home are still only recommended for essential purposes (work, school, groceries/pharmacy, health care, assisting vulnerable individuals or exercise and physical activity). Families should not visit any other household or allow visitors in their homes – people who live alone can gather with one household, and all social gatherings should still be avoided.

Moving to the Red-Control Zone means that:

  • Places of worship can open at 30% capacity
  • Restaurants can open with a limit of 10 patrons
  • Gyms and recreational sports can open with 10 indoors, 25 outdoors
  • Retail moves to 50% capacity
  • Social gatherings are limited to 5 indoors, 25 outdoors
  • Event and meeting spaces open with 10 indoors, 25 outdoors
  • Personal care services, excepting those which require a face covering to be removed, can return

Further details of the Red-Control stage can be viewed here.

Ontario government announces regulatory amendments for child care and early years sector

The Ontario government announced regulatory amendments aimed at the support of working families and improving the child care and early years sector while advance the province’s dual priorities of accessibility and affordability for parents.

The regulatory amendments, which take effect on March 8, 2021, will:

  • Exempt certain authorized recreational providers from their three-hour operating limit.
  • Enhance health and safety protections in licenced child care settings, such as requirements to support contact tracing by local public health, new requirements for home-based child care and updates to the safe storage of potentially poisonous and hazardous items.
  • Reduce regulatory/administrative burden on child care operators by removing redundant and unnecessary requirements for all providers. These include the removal of duplicate requirements related to the collection of children’s emergency contact information, allowing records and documents required by the regulation to be kept in digital format, and no longer requiring licensees to seek ministry approval for children 44 months and up to bring their own meals from home.

Niagara Region calls on Province of Ontario to support wine industry

Niagara Regional Council has passed a motion from St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik which calls upon the province to:

  • Eliminate the 6.1% tax on VQA and 100% Ontario-grown wines in the 2021 budget
  • Enable Ontario wineries to delivery directly to grocery stores, with margin
  • Establish long-term support for VQA wines at LCBO stores, with more shelf space for VQA wines
  • Eliminate import taxes on 100% VQA wines
  • Continue working towards more equitable inter-provincial trade on wines

The GNCC wholeheartedly supports the motion, and has proposed all of these measures to the Government of Ontario in the past. The GNCC, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is also asking the Government of Canada to pause the excise tax on alcohol. The GNCC had previously asked for the escalating excise tax to be scrapped, but recognizes that the Government of Canada may wish to deliberate that decision – but should pause the tax during the current economic crisis.

Canada to receive 2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Following Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 COVID-19 vaccine, the Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced today that Canada has secured 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India.

AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks and will quickly be ready for distribution to the provinces and territories. The remaining 1.5 million doses will arrive by mid-May.

The 2 million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses.

Health Canada authorizes AstraZeneca and Verity COVID-19 vaccines

Today, Health Canada authorized two vaccines; the COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University, and, the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Health Canada received an application for authorization from AstraZeneca on October 1, 2020, and from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements.

Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.

These are the first viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines authorized in Canada. The vaccines are authorized for use in people over 18 years of age. They are administered as a two-dose regimen and can be kept at refrigerated temperatures (from 2˚ to 8˚C) for at least six months, facilitating distribution across the country.

These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order Respecting the Importation, Sale and Advertising of Drugs for Use in Relation to COVID-19. This process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canada’s high standards.

Niagara expands COVID-19 vaccinations for healthcare workers

Across Niagara, 20,265 COVID-19 vaccines have now been administered to long-term care and retirement home workers and residents, essential caregivers, and hospital staff and physicians.

Niagara Health’s vaccination clinic at the Seymour Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre in St. Catharines will begin vaccinating community healthcare workers identified in the highest and very high priority groups as set out by the Ministry of Health in its risk-based guidance document. This work will take place over the next several months.

The next healthcare providers to be immunized at the hospital clinic in the Highest Priority Group will include:

  • Medical First Responders such as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), firefighters and police
  • Community healthcare workers serving Indigenous populations
  • Community healthcare workers serving specialized populations, including needle exchange and home and community care

Healthcare providers in the Very High Priority Group to be immunized will include:

  • Community healthcare with high-risk exposure serving general population such as primary care, community-based specialists, dentistry, pharmacies and walk-in clinic staff
  • Congregate settings such as Hospices, assisted living, supportive housing, corrections and shelters
  • Laboratory services

Statistics Canada releases digital intensity economic impact study

Adoption of digital technologies by Canadian industries is associated with higher labour productivity growth and greater resilience to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2002 to 2019, labour productivity grew 22.1% in digitally intensive sectors—more than three times higher than in non-digitally intensive sectors.

Over the past two decades, Canada has embraced digital technologies at an unprecedented pace and breadth as businesses and individuals have relied increasingly on digital products and services. Two articles released today in Economic and Social Reports provide results from a new composite index developed by Statistics Canada researchers to provide a comprehensive measure of digitalization so that its impact on the Canadian economy can be better analyzed and understood.

The final composite index suggests that Canada’s economy-wide digital intensity increased continually from 2000 to 2015, growing by more than 60% across industries. However, this intensification of digitalization has been uneven across industries. Digital intensity in some industries was high at the beginning of the sample period and grew markedly over time. These industries were information services; telecommunications; professional, scientific and technical services; machinery, computer and electronic product manufacturing; and transportation equipment manufacturing. The digital intensity of other industries such as agriculture, mining and construction, as well as most manufacturing and transportation industries, was low in the beginning and increased slightly over the period.

For information on the other articles released in Economic and Social Reports please see the Economic and Social Reports release.

Reading recommendations

The wrong way to respond to employee activism

Megan Reitz, John Higgins, Emma Day-Duro, Harvard Business Review

Employee activism is on the rise and we expect it to become a defining feature of the workplace in the coming years. Employees are increasingly aware of social inequality and climate change and how their companies contribute to these ills, with millennials in particular seeming to be unwilling to turn a blind eye to their employers’ complicity. Climate strikes, calls for unionization, and support for Black Lives Matter and the #MeToo movement are becoming part of the reality in organizations, reinforced by the growing pressure from investors targeting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) aims.

But our last seven years of research into how employees speak up at work — and our more recent research into politics in the workplace specifically — have shown us that leaders tend to be ill-equipped to handle their outspoken employees.

A closer look at the vaccines Canada is betting on to stem the spread of COVID-19

Emily Chung, CBC News

Canada has signed deals with several teams of vaccine developers to reserve millions of doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including ones from Pfizer-BioNTechModerna and AstraZeneca that have now been approved in Canada under interim orders.

Government officials say it’s part of an effort to make sure Canadians are at the front of the line when it comes to vaccine distribution.

Ottawa announced agreements with Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech on Aug. 5, 2020; with Novavax and Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, on Aug. 31; with Sanofi/GSK on Sept. 22; with AstraZeneca, which is manufacturing a vaccine developed at the University of Oxford, on Sept. 25; and with Medicago on Oct. 23.

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.

 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%


  • 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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