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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: January 26, 2022

The pandemic has made mental health more important than ever. Our Daily Update contains links to resources in Niagara and beyond.

In this edition:

Bell Let’s Talk Day focuses on mental health
Lincoln accepted into Age-Friendly Communities Global Network
Bank of Canada maintains policy rate
Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report
Initiatives aim to increase inclusiveness in federal procurement

Bell Let’s Talk Day focuses on mental health

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused Ontarians to experience a prolonged period of uncertainty and change. Households, schools, childcare centres, and businesses have had to adjust. Some also experienced the grief associated with the unexpected loss or sudden illness of a loved one. The pandemic also sparked or worsened feelings of fear, anxiety, and social isolation for others.

Many employees struggled with the sudden shift to remote work, which blurred the line between professional and personal lives. While some employees appreciated the cost-savings associated with this shift, remote work was challenging for some Ontarians, such as those juggling work and child and elder care responsibilities, and not feasible for others, including those in certain sectors (e.g., retail, food service, accommodations, etc.) where face-to-face interaction is critical. Since physical distancing is not feasible for health care and essential workers, many experienced heightened anxiety over contracting COVID-19 in addition to heavier workloads.

Click here to read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Mental Wellness in the Workplace playbook for employers.

  • To find the right mental health and addictions supports and get information about many confidential and free options, please visit Regional services are listed at Niagara Region’s website.
  • Niagara Region Mental Health offers free counselling, treatment and case management services for youth, adults and seniors with serious and persistent mental illness at 905-688-2854 ext. 7262.
  • Health care workers from anywhere across Ontario can access services confidentially by going directly to a partner organization or via the Ontario Supports for People website.
  • If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566 (24/7).
  • Breaking Free Online is a free online therapy tool designed to help Ontarians aged 16 and older reduce or stop the use of over 70 substances, such as tobacco, alcohol and drugs, including opioids.
  • Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST) helps people in Niagara who are in crisis and have a mental health concern at 1-866-550-5205.
  • Start Me Up Niagara offers assistance with addiction, mental illness, poverty, homelessness and unemployment support at 905-984-5310.
  • Distress Centre Niagara offers a free, confidential 24-hour distress line. Call 905-688-3711 in St. Catharines or Niagara Falls,
    905-734-1212 in Port Colborne or Wainfleet, 905-382-0689 in Fort Erie, or 905-563-6674 in Grimsby or West Lincoln.
  • ConnexOntario provides free and confidential information to people experiencing problems with mental health, alcohol or drugs, and/or problem gambling. ConnexOntario’s system navigator specialists are trained in emergency mental health interventions and answer calls, e-mails or web-chat requests 24/7.
  • The Family Support Network of Niagara provides online support and education for families who have a relative with mental health issues at 905-894-6808.
  • Kids Help Phone provides 24/7/365 professional counselling services for children, teens, and young adults across Canada with Ontario being the largest user of its service.
  • Good2Talk/Allo j’écoute is Ontario’s bilingual mental health support service, providing professional counselling, information, and referrals, and is available to all postsecondary students 24/7, 365 days a year.
  • Hope for Wellness Helpline offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention for all Indigenous peoples across Canada (available in some Indigenous languages).
  • Talk 4 Healing offers Indigenous women help, support, and resources seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with services in 14 languages.
  • BounceBack is a free cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) program that offers guided mental health self-help supports for adults and youth 15 and older.
  • To find local home and community care and for information about supportive housing options, please visit

Town of Lincoln accepted into Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities

The Town of Lincoln is now a member of the World Health Organization’s Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. Membership into the network is a commitment to share experience, achievements, and lessons learned with other cities and communities.

The Town of Lincoln Age-Friendly Advisory Committee was formed in May 2019 to create a vibrantly healthy and diverse community where the quality of life, inclusivity, and ageing is supported through all stages of life. The Committee focuses on crucial aspects such as accessibility, inclusion, recreation, and civic participation and strives to connect with the community. The Town’s Age-Friendly Advisory Committee applied to the global network in 2021. Community consultation was a priority for the Committee and contributed to the application’s success.

Click here for more information.

Bank of Canada maintains policy rate, removes exceptional forward guidance

The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ %, with the Bank Rate at ½ % and the deposit rate at ¼ %. With overall economic slack now absorbed, the Bank has removed its exceptional forward guidance on its policy interest rate. The Bank is continuing its reinvestment phase, keeping its overall holdings of Government of Canada bonds roughly constant.

The global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is strong but uneven. The US economy is growing robustly while growth in some other regions appears more moderate, especially in China due to current weakness in its property sector. Strong global demand for goods combined with supply bottlenecks that hinder production and transportation are pushing up inflation in most regions. As well, oil prices have rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels following a decline at the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Click here for more information.

Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report – January 2022

Comprehensive collection of initiatives aim to increase inclusiveness in federal procurement

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, launched the Supplier Diversity Action Plan at the 4th Annual Diversifying the Federal Supply Chain Summit, organized by the Office of the Procurement Ombudsman. The Plan outlines concrete steps to increase the participation of businesses from underrepresented groups in federal procurement.

As a cornerstone of the Plan, PSPC has developed a Policy on Social Procurement, which articulates how the department will use procurement as a vehicle to reduce barriers, increase supplier diversity and enhance economic and social opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Click here for more information.

Reading Recommendations

U.S. Federal Reserve holds rate steady, but signals hike in March

CBC News

The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to begin raising its benchmark interest rate as soon as March, a key step in reversing its pandemic-era low-rate policies that have fuelled hiring and growth but also escalated inflation.

With high inflation squeezing consumers and businesses and unemployment falling steadily, the Fed also said it would phase out its monthly bond purchases, which have been intended to lower longer-term rates, in March.

In a statement issued after its latest policy meeting, the Fed it “expects it will soon be appropriate” to raise rates.

Omicron subvariant BA.2 reported in Canada: PHAC

CTV News

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it has detected more than 50 cases of a new Omicron subvariant known as BA.2.

In an emailed statement to on Wednesday, PHAC confirmed that 51 cases of the BA.2 subvariant have been reported in Canada, mainly from international travellers.

BA.2 is a descendant of the highly transmissible Omicron variant and has been found in at least 40 countries as of Wednesday, according to global coronavirus data sharing platform GISAID.

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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