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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: July 14th, 2021

The Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, today launched a Task Force to conduct the most extensive review of the Employment Equity Act since its introduction.

Free rapid COVID-19 testing kits are now available to businesses

Visit to learn more and reserve kits for your organization.

Government of Canada launches Task Force to review the Employment Equity Act

The Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, today launched a Task Force to conduct the most extensive review of the Employment Equity Act since its introduction. The Minister made this announcement along with the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, Bardish Chagger, and the newly announced Chair of the Task Force, Professor Adelle Blackett.

Over the next months, the Task Force will study the Act and consult with stakeholders, communities and Canadians on issues related to employment equity. Operating at arm’s length from the Government, the Task Force includes 13 members, including the Chair, Professor Blackett and vice-chairs, Professors Marie-Thérèse Chicha and Dionne Pohler, who bring a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives and fields of expertise to this important work. The Task Force will hold its first in a series of meetings on July 15, 2021.

Canadians and stakeholders are invited to visit the Employment Equity Act Review Task Force webpage for more information. They can also share their views on the review of the Act by email at

Federal government delivers $5 billion in pandemic support to provinces and territories for vaccines and health care

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, announced the payment of $5 billion to the provinces and territories, distributed equally per capita, to further support vaccination campaigns and ensure our health care systems remain resilient and responsive to Canadians’ needs.

As first announced on March 25, 2021, the Government of Canada is providing $4 billion through a one-time top-up to the Canada Health Transfer to help address the extreme pressures that COVID-19 has put on our health care systems.

In addition, the Government of Canada is providing $1 billion to support vaccine rollout campaigns across the country and helping Canadians receive their first and second doses as quickly as possible.

Bank of Canada maintains policy rate and forward guidance, adjusts quantitative easing program

The Bank of Canada today held its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of ¼ percent, with the Bank Rate at ½ percent and the deposit rate at ¼ percent. The Bank is maintaining its extraordinary forward guidance on the path for the overnight rate. This is reinforced and supplemented by the Bank’s quantitative easing (QE) program, which is being adjusted to a target pace of $2 billion per week. This adjustment reflects continued progress towards recovery and the Bank’s increased confidence in the strength of the Canadian economic outlook.

In Canada, the third wave of the virus slowed growth in the second quarter. However, falling COVID-19 cases, progress on vaccinations and easing containment restrictions all point to a strong pickup in the second half of this year. The Bank now expects GDP growth of around 6 percent in 2021 – a little slower than was expected in April – but has revised up its 2022 forecast to 4 ½ percent and projects 3 ¼ percent growth in 2023.

Consumption is expected to lead the recovery as households return to more normal spending patterns, while housing market activity is projected to ease back from historical highs. Stronger international demand should underpin a solid recovery in exports.

The Bank of Canada Governing Council judges that the Canadian economy still has considerable excess capacity, and that the recovery continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support. The Bank remains committed to holding the policy interest rate at the effective lower bound until economic slack is absorbed so that the 2 percent inflation target is sustainably achieved.

Manufacturing sales down in May

Manufacturing sales fell 0.6% to $57.9 billion in May, the second consecutive monthly decline. The machinery, chemical and fabricated metal industries were mainly responsible for the decline. Sales of wood product manufacturing increased the most, followed by primary metal. Year over year, total sales were up 42.6%.

Following record high sales in April, sales of machinery declined 16.9% to $3.1 billion in May, mainly due to lower sales of agricultural, construction and mining machinery. On a year-over-year basis, sales were still up 25.7%. A number of machinery manufacturers indicated that the lack of raw materials (including microchips) and delay in shipments affected their production in May.

New commissioner appointments to the Canada Employment Insurance Commission

Today, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, Carla Qualtrough, announced the appointment of Nancy Healey as the new Commissioner for Employers and the reappointment of Pierre Laliberté as the Commissioner for Workers at the CEIC. Ms. Healey is appointed for a two-year term, effective July 26, 2021. Mr. Laliberté was reappointed as the Commissioner for Workers for a three-year term, effective October 9, 2020.

Government of Canada provides additional funding to invest in trade corridor projects

Today, the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced that the National Trade Corridors Fund has officially received additional funding of $1.9 billion and that projects can now be financed. Applications are now being accepted and assessed under the fund’s continuous call for proposals. Applicants who wish to explore funding opportunities for their initiatives are encouraged to speak with Transport Canada officials, who can provide guidance on the process.

Grimsby Awarded Provincial/Federal Funding for Gibson Bridge Replacement & Library HVAC Improvements

On Thursday July 8th, 2021, the Honourable Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma announced that through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream, the Town of Grimsby has been awarded $435,965 in federal and provincial funding.

These investments will support the installation of a new HVAC system at the Town’s Library and Art Gallery, and replacement of the Gibson Street pedestrian bridge that connects Gibson St. over the 40 Mile Creek for pedestrian uses.

Pelham and Lincoln Library Boards receive Provincial funding for merger review

The Pelham and Lincoln Public Library Boards will receive funding through the Municipal Modernization Program to facilitate a review of their potential merger, which was announced earlier this year.

The potential merger of the Lincoln and Pelham Public Library Boards is poised to streamline administrative functions and expenditures in order to provide enhanced delivery of library services for our two communities and dedicate more resources directly to programs and materials. The municipalities will receive $60,000 in funding through the Municipal Modernization Program. This grant will be applied to the cost of an independent third-party reviewer who will deliver a final report with specific and actionable recommendations for cost-savings and efficiencies by both municipalities by November 30, 2021.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce announces BIPOC Leadership and Inclusion Council

A new council, approved by the Canadian Chamber’s Board of Directors in June, will inform the Canadian Chamber’s initiatives in supporting BIPOC, drive meaningful action to address the identified challenges and opportunities BIPOC face in participating in the Canadian economy, share and recognize best practices and advocate for changes that facilitate diversity and inclusion.

The Canadian Chamber has repeatedly advocated that inclusion is a key economic driver. Improved participation rates could add 2.2 million workers to the labour force by 2040, including more women, Indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, thereby growing our economy by $101 billion.

For more information about the Canadian Chamber’s Inclusive Growth strategy, click here.

Reading Recommendations

Bank of Canada rosy on rebound, sees hot inflation in near term


The Bank of Canada on Wednesday took a mostly optimistic stance on the country’s economy, saying the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic had largely passed while warning inflation would remain hot in the near-term.

The central bank held its key interest rate at a record low 0.25% and cut its weekly net purchases of Canadian government bonds to a target of C$2 billion, expressing confidence growth would rebound strongly and this time be more durable.

EU unveils tough new climate rules, including tax on foreign polluters

CBC News

European Union policy-makers on Wednesday unveiled their most ambitious plan yet to tackle climate change, aiming to turn green goals into concrete action this decade, and in doing so lead the way for the world’s other big economies.

The European Commission, the EU executive body, set out in painstaking detail how the bloc’s 27 countries can meet their collective goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030 — a step toward “net zero” emissions by 2050.

This will mean raising the cost of emitting carbon for heating, transport and manufacturing, taxing high-carbon aviation fuel and shipping fuel that have not been taxed before, and charging importers at the border for the carbon emitted in making products such as cement, steel and aluminum abroad. It will consign the internal combustion engine to history.

Posthaste: That cash mountain Canadians are sitting on may not be as big as we think

Financial Post

Government support during the COVID crisis more than offset the losses of jobs and income suffered when the economy shut down, resulting in a 10.3% increase in nominal personal disposable income last year, according to Oxford Economics.

Because we couldn’t spent it, we saved it. The personal savings rate soared from 2% in the last quarter of 2019 to a record high of 27.4% in the second quarter of 2020. By year end that declined to a still-high 11.9%, but rose again at the beginning of 2021, when lockdowns returned. Oxford figures it likely rose further in the second quarter with another round of lockdowns.

That sounds like a big stockpile in savings that many believe will boost the economy when COVID restrictions are finally lifted and Canadians are free to spend.

But what if that cash mountain isn’t as big as we suppose?

Niagara COVID Stats Tracker (July 10)

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%

These data show the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Niagara. The Province of Ontario is now using a provincewide approach to reopening, and these data no longer have any influence on Niagara’s restrictions.

Data are drawn from Niagara Region Public Health.


Reproductive number: the average number of new cases each case causes. If each person infects one other person, the rate is 1; if each person infects two people, the rate is 2. Under the outdated COVID-19 response framework, the target for “green-prevent” was less than 1.

New cases per 100,000: the total number of new cases per week identified per 100,000 population. Under the outdated COVID-19 response framework, the target for “green-prevent” was less than 10.

New cases per day: the total number of new cases identified per day over seven days using a rolling average. This number does not include identified outbreaks.

Percent of hospital beds occupied: the total percentage of the Niagara Health System’s hospital beds currently in use. The average occupancy rate of both acute care beds and total hospital beds in Ontario was 96 per cent in 2018-19. It should be noted that this rate was the highest (worst) in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Percent of intensive care beds occupied: the total percentage of the Niagara Health System’s intensive care hospital beds currently in use. The average occupancy rate of both acute care beds and total hospital beds in Ontario was 96 per cent in 2018-19. It should be noted that this rate was the highest (worst) in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Percentage of positive tests: the percentage of COVID-19 tests that were positive. Under the outdated COVID-19 response framework, the target for “green-prevent” was less than 0.5%.

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker (July 14)

Niagara’s most up-to-date vaccination numbers are presented below, along with comparison data from Ontario, Canada, and G7 countries.

Total doses administered in Niagara: 553,718

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 6,764

Ontario is currently in Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen.

Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen will begin at 12:01 a.m. on July 16, 2021. Step Two began at 12:01 a.m. on June 30, 2021.

Percentage of population with one dosePercentage of population fully vaccinated
United States75%64%
United Kingdom78%72%

Data are drawn from Niagara Region, the Government of Ontario, and Oxford University’s Our World in Data project.

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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