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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 13, 2022

Ontario invests in Norgen Biotek, Niagara Public Health says vaccination more important than ever, Chambers urge clarity on provincial reopening

Ontario invests $1 million in Norgen Biotek for COVID-19 tests

The Ontario government is supporting a more than $13 million investment by Norgen Biotek to scale up production of its COVID-19 saliva-based test kit, with $1 million in support through the Ontario Together Fund.

Norgen is investing in its Thorold facilities to support upgrades, modifications and equipment and production materials. The project will scale up production of COVID-19 saliva-based diagnostic kits, including the component saliva collection and preservative devices, ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation/purification kits, and viral detection kits. Forecasted production capacity upon project completion is 100,000 diagnostic kits per day. This investment is expected to create 105 jobs.

“Norgen Biotek and their COVID-19 saliva-based test kit is another example of Ontario innovation at its very best as homegrown manufacturers continue to enhance our resilience to any challenge while strengthening our economy,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“I want to thank the Ontario government under the leadership of Doug Ford and Minister Fedeli for coming up with the Ontario Together Fund. It is very timely, indeed,” said Yousef Haj-Ahmad, President and CEO of Norgen Biotek.

“Companies like Norgen Biotek have stepped up to the plate during the pandemic, showing the Ontario Spirit by scaling up production of COVID-19 saliva-based test kits,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.

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Getting COVID-19 vaccine “more important than ever:” Niagara Region Public Health

Today, Thursday Jan. 13, marks one year since the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Niagara. Great strides have been made in keeping Niagara communities safe in the past year, including over 900,000 vaccines that have been given to Niagara residents, and almost 77 per cent of eligible residents now having a full series of two doses.

However, the danger of the new Omicron variant looms large. Due to its increased transmissibility compared to the Delta variant, infections, severe illness, and hospitalizations are at all time highs, putting unparalleled strain on hospitals and healthcare facilities with limited capacity.

The COVID-19 vaccine, including booster doses, is not only the single best protection against the Omicron variant, it is now more important than ever before.

It is recommended that everyone five years of age and older get vaccinated, and receive their booster if they’re eligible, as soon as possible. Public Health is adding appointments often, and encourages those looking for a booster dose to check the provincial COVID-19 vaccine booking portal regularly.

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Chambers urge Province to provide immediate clarity on next steps of reopening

Echoing a call by the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) made last month, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has “implored the government to immediately clarify” if and when Ontario could move out of Stage 2 of its Roadmap to Reopen plan.

“Businesses, particularly small businesses, have suffered greatly over the last two years and continue to face unprecedented challenges amid a prolonged crisis,” said Rocco Rossi, CEO of the OCC. “We ask the Government of Ontario to develop a clear and consistent long-term plan for managing the pandemic that ties restrictions to data-based metrics and provide employers with the necessary guidance around reopening when it is safe to do so.”

In its December 20 media release, the GNCC remarked that “businesses also clamour for predictability in the uncertain age of the pandemic. While we hope that further restrictions will not prove necessary, we must make contingency plans, but plans require some foreknowledge.”

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Reading Recommendations

So long Toronto: COVID-19 pandemic hastens Canada’s urban exodus


Canada’s urban exodus picked up steam into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with tens of thousands of people leaving Toronto and Montreal for smaller cities or rural areas, official data showed on Thursday.

More than 64,000 people left Toronto for other parts of Ontario from mid-2020 to mid-2021, up 14% from the previous 12-month period, according to Statistics Canada population estimates, with another 6,600 moving out of province.

10 ways boards can act on sustainability in 2022

Harvard Business Review

We have some optimistic news to kick off 2022: Climate change is at long last on the corporate-governance agenda, according to our research. When we surveyed 301 directors of companies headquartered in 43 countries, three-quarters of our respondents said they recognize climate as very important to their companies’ strategic success.

At the same time, however, our findings revealed a stark disconnect between what boards say and what they do. For example, in our survey 72% reported being confident that their company will reach its climate goals, but 43% haven’t yet established any carbon-reduction targets.

The good news is that our research also suggests that the gap between good intentions and climate action is surprisingly easy to bridge. Here are ten things every board should do in 2022 in order to prepare their company for this species-critical issue.

Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

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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