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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 18, 2022

In this edition:

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program open
Niagara Public Health Omicrom update
Ontario cuts electricity rates

Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program now accepting applications

Eligible businesses required to close or reduce capacity due to the current public health measures put in place to blunt the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 can apply for the new Ontario Business Costs Rebate Program starting today. The program will provide eligible businesses with a rebate payment of up to 100 per cent for property tax and energy costs they incur while subject to these restrictions.

Eligible businesses required to close for indoor activities, such as restaurants and gyms, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 100 per cent of their costs. Those required to reduce capacity to 50 per cent, such as smaller retail stores, will receive a rebate payment equivalent to 50 per cent of their costs.

In communications with the Government of Ontario, the GNCC has pointed out that this program only benefits businesses which pay property tax and/or energy bills themselves, and suggested that a supplemental program should be introduced for businesses who do not but are still affected by restrictions. At this time, no response has been received.

Click here for more information.

Click here to access the application portal.

Niagara Medical Officer of Health offers Omicron update

Ontario cuts electricity rates for small business and residential customers

As of 12:01 AM today, electricity prices have been lowered to the off-peak rate of 8.2 cents per kilowatt-hour — less than half the on-peak rate — 24 hours per day. This relief will last 21 days, as long as the modified Step Two restrictions are expected to be in place.

The rate cut will be applied automatically to both Time-of-Use and Tiered rate plans on the bills of residential customers, small businesses and farms who pay regulated rates set by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).

Low-income Ontarians can also access the Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) grant to help with bills.

Click here for more information.

Reading Recommendations

House Price Index rose 26% in 2021, fastest pace on record

CBC News

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s House Price Index rose by 26.6 per cent in the 12 months up to December, the fastest annual pace of gain on record.

The group, which represents more than 100,000 realtors and tabulates sales data from homes that listed and sell via the Multiple Listings Service, said the supply of homes for sale at the end of the month hit an all-time low.

After pausing for a few weeks in the early days of the pandemic, Canada’s housing market has been on an absolute tear for the past two years, as feverish demand from buyers wishing to take advantage of rock-bottom interest rates has drastically outpaced the supply of homes to buy.

That imbalance is a major factor contributing to higher prices, as buyers have to pay more and more to outbid others because of the lack of alternatives.

Small business confidence plunges to lowest since pandemic began amid Omicron chill

Financial Post

Small business confidence in Canada hasn’t been this low since the dark days at the beginning of the pandemic.

Renewed lockdowns and restrictions amid the Omicron outbreak sent the 12-month outlook spiralling to its lowest since April 2020, preliminary results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s Business Barometer showed today.

Nearly a quarter of business owners expect to have to cut full-time staff in the next few months, the survey found. Three in 10 (31 per cent) say their business is in bad shape while 29 per cent say it is in good shape. In December those figures were reversed, said CFIB.

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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