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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: June 30th, 2021

Today, the Province of Ontario moved into Step Two of its Roadmap to Reopen, and the European Union moved Canada onto its safe travel list.

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 online calculator to help businesses apply for the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program

The Government of Canada remains committed to supporting Canadian businesses in the face of the ongoing pandemic. With the recently announced Canada Recovery Hiring Program (CRHP), hard-hit businesses will be able to hire the workers they need to recover and grow as local economies reopen. The CRHP supports payroll as businesses grow, whether as a result of hiring staff, increasing shifts, or increasing overall pay.

Today, the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, launched an online calculator to help eligible employers prepare their CRHP applications. This calculator integrates the new CRHP with the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), automatically showing applicants which subsidy will provide them with more support, based on the information they enter.

EU to add Canada, 10 other states to safe travel list

European Union governments agreed on Wednesday to add Canada and 10 other countries to their list of states from which they will allow non-essential travel, Reuters has reported.

Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 states approved the additions at a meeting on Wednesday, with the change to take effect in the coming days.

Ex-EU member Britain, where the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, is not on the list.

Canada to create 4,500 new homes through Rapid Housing Initiative

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced the creation of 4,500 new affordable housing units across the country with an additional investment of $1.5 billion through the Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI). These housing units will support Canadians who are in uncertain housing situations, experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or living in temporary shelters because of the pandemic.

Ontario to provide up to $24 million to support modernization of municipalities

The Ontario government is providing up to $24 million to support the modernization of 224 small and rural municipalities across the province. This investment aims to help improve the delivery of critical programs and services that people rely on every day, while saving taxpayers’ dollars.

A total of 254 projects have been approved for funding under Intake 2 of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program. Municipalities will use the funding to find efficiencies and implement a wide range of initiatives to digitize, streamline and/or integrate programs and services with neighbouring communities. The funding will help municipalities administer the cost savings measures in time for the 2022 municipal budget cycle.

Exact funding amounts for each municipality are not being disclosed in order to protect the integrity of the procurement process.

Federal minimum wage of $15 per hour to come into effect on December 29, 2021

In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada proposed to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, rising with inflation. Today, the Government is announcing that this important change will come into effect on December 29, 2021, following Royal Assent to Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1. The changes will affect workers in the federally regulated private sector and represent an important step towards reducing poverty and inequality.

Note: Federal minimum wage laws apply only to federally-regulated industries such as banking, airlines, and telecommunications. Other industries are bound by provincial minimum wage laws. If your business is not federally regulated, this legislation does not affect you.

Government expands Canada Workers Benefit to support one million more Canadians

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Mona Fortier, Minister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance, announced that the Canada Workers Benefit will now be available to about one million more Canadians.

With the passage of changes contained in the budget, a million more low-income workers are now eligible for a tax refund of up to almost:

  • $1,400 for workers who are single and without children (a group that does not receive many benefits); and
  • $2,400 for workers with families.

A total of 3.2 million Canadians will now be eligible for this support.

Budget 2021 receives Royal Assent

Last night, Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures received Royal Assent. Key measures to support Canadians will now be enacted, including but not limited to the extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, and Lockdown Support; extension of the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit; and the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program.

Some foreign-based digital economy businesses will begin charging GST/HST on July 1

To level the playing field between Canadian companies and foreign-owned firms, the Government of Canada has introduced new measures to ensure Canada’s sales tax applies in a fair and effective manner to the growing digital economy. As a result, starting on July 1, 2021, Canadians may begin to see GST/HST charges when they make purchases from affected businesses.

The measures will affect businesses that provide the following:

  • cross-border digital products and services, like video or music streaming services;
  • platform-based short-term accommodation, like homestays or vacation rentals; and
  • goods supplied through fulfillment warehouses in Canada.

Affected businesses will be required to register for, charge, collect and remit GST/HST on these products and services. Once registered, businesses will be listed on an online registry, which will be available on as of July 1, 2021.

You can learn more about the GST/HST digital economy measures by visiting GST/HST for digital economy businesses.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) contracts in April for first time in 1 year

Chart 2: Retail trade declines in April Real gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 0.3% in April after 11 consecutive monthly increases. With the first decline in 12 months, total economic activity remained at about 1% below its level before the COVID-19 pandemic in February 2020.

Preliminary information indicates a decrease in real GDP of approximately 0.3% in May. The retail trade, construction and real estate rental and leasing sectors contributed the most to the declines, while the finance and insurance, and wholesale trade sectors posted gains. Because of its preliminary nature, this estimate will be revised on July 30 with the release of official GDP data for May.

Retail trade retreated 5.5% in April, dampening the previous two monthly expansions, as 10 of 12 subsectors were down.

Many provinces and territories reinstated tighter public health measures in April aimed at slowing down the third wave of COVID-19. These measures largely curtailed the strong “non-essential” shopping seen in March.

Clothing and clothing accessories (-21.0%), building material and garden equipment and supplies (-7.9%), sporting goods, hobby, book and music (-18.2%) stores and other traditional brick-and-mortar stores that rely more on in-store traffic recorded the largest declines.

Food and beverage stores (+0.5%) and miscellaneous store retailers (+0.5) were up, offsetting some of the declines.

The construction sector rose 2.4% in April, up for a fifth consecutive month, as all components increased.

Residential building construction (+4.1%) led the expansion, with a fifth consecutive monthly increase. Continued growth in single-family homes and multi-unit dwellings construction more than offset lower activity in home improvements and renovations.

Reading Recommendations

Companies grapple with keeping vaccinated and unvaccinated workers safe as offices reopen

CBC News

Unvaccinated workers returning to the office could be required to continue wearing masks, steer clear of common areas and face a staggered workday — or may even be asked to stay home, experts say.

As workplaces begin to reopen, employers are grappling with how to keep all workers safe, including those who are unvaccinated.

It’s a situation that risks stigmatizing vaccine holdouts and potentially triggering workplace anxiety for some, according to human resources experts.

Some employers have created incentives to encourage workers to get immunized against COVID-19, such as paid time off for inoculations and prizes like gift cards and company swag after a shot.

Others are considering policies that make vaccination a necessary condition of employment that could see workers who choose not to be vaccinated for personal reasons out of work.

‘Too good to be true’: Canadian oil firms could wipe out debt by 2025, start hiking dividends if prices stay high

Financial Post

In the middle of one of the fastest run-up in oil prices in a decade, analysts say their financial models for Canadian oil and gas stocks almost look “too good to be true,” though there are still events that could stop the rally dead in its tracks.

The global oil benchmark Brent traded above US$75 per barrel on Tuesday, more than double its value from the beginning of November, and some international oil executives now believe the commodity could head as high as US$100 per barrel. Not far off from Brent, a barrel of West Texas Intermediate oil for August delivery was at US$73.46 per barrel.

Featured Content

NWPB’s Tourism Employment and Gender-Driven Research Hub Goes Live

Niagara Workforce Planning Board

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NWPB has worked to support the community with updates on our ever-changing labour market conditions. Earlier this year, we published the findings of a project that identified the challenges and opportunities of a labour market where tourism employment was significantly reduced, and employment among women had not recovered to its pre-pandemic levels. As part of our continuing effort to keep those stories at the forefront of Niagara’s recovery, we have launched the Tourism Employment and Gender-Driven Research Hub.

One of the key features of this hub is an interactive dashboard that tracks essential performance indicators for tourism employment and the gender divide in Niagara’s labour market.

At a glance, this tool offers:

  • the latest monthly employment trends from Statistics Canada
  • estimates of employment in six sectors that support the local tourism economy
  • the top jobs in demand within the local tourism sector

This hub also houses links to our recent quarterly update on employment in tourism and as well as the findings of our post-pandemic scenario planning project that first identified these metrics as critical to Niagara’s eventual economic recovery.

These reports as well as job demand tools for both employers and job seekers can be found at our website,

Niagara COVID Stats Tracker (June 26)

 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 (June 30)

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: 448,214

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 8,179

Ontario moves into Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen today.

Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen will begin when Ontario has vaccinated 70-80% of adults with one dose, 25% of adults with two doses, has positive public health indicators, and has been in Step Two for at least 21 days.

 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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