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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: March 11th, 2021

Ontario increasing supports for victims and survivors of human trafficking in Niagara region

The Ontario government is investing $1.4 million over the next five years to create a new community-based program to provide more young victims and survivors of human trafficking in Niagara with access to the supports they need. Enhanced protection of children and youth is a key part of the province’s new proposed groundbreaking Combatting Human Trafficking Act, which was introduced last month to help fight this growing crime.

The new program delivered by YWCA Niagara Region is being funded through the province’s Anti-Human Trafficking Community Supports Fund. It will provide a residential program for youth aged 16 to 24, providing access to crisis housing, trauma therapy, peer support and cultural connection.

Based on police-reported incidents, Ontario is a hub for human trafficking. More than 70 per cent of known human trafficking victims identified by police are under the age of 25 and 28 per cent are under the age of 18.

The Combatting Human Trafficking Act introduced on February 22, 2021, includes two new proposed acts – the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 – as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017.


Ontario activates emergency brake in Sudbury Public Health Region

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario Government is activating an “emergency brake” in the Public Health Sudbury and Districts region, and moving it to the Grey-Lockdown level in the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. The decision was made due to the concerning trends in public health indicators and in consultation with the local medical officer of health.

Based on the latest assessment of data, the “emergency brake” is being used to stop the spread, guard against variants and protect public health and health system capacity in the region. From March 3 to 9, 2021, the region’s case rate increased by 54.1 per cent to 75.9 cases per 100,000 people.

The public health region will move to Grey-Lockdown effective Friday, March 12, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

No similar announcement is yet expected in Niagara, but this example shows the Government of Ontario’s willingness to act should indicators trend in the wrong direction.


Ontario to Release 2021 Budget on March 24

The Ontario government will continue to focus on protecting people’s health and jobs through the COVID-19 pandemic when Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance and President of the Treasury Board, releases the 2021 Ontario Budget on March 24. The Ministry of Finance spoke directly with 745 people and organizations and received more than 850 ideas submitted as part of the 2021 Budget Consultations. The Budget will support the province’s comprehensive vaccine distribution plan, along with providing additional resources for the health care sector and initiatives to protect the economic well-being of families, workers and employers. The 2021 Budget will also include a multi-year fiscal plan.


Pelham seeks feedback in Comprehensive Zoning By-Law review

The Town of Pelham is reviewing its Comprehensive Zoning By-Law, approved initially in 1987. The current by-law is outdated, requiring updating as significant time has elapsed since prepared initially more than 30 years ago. A zoning by-law allows the Town to regulate such things as how land and buildings are used, the type of structures that can be constructed, the height of buildings, the size of properties, landscaping requirements, and many other features shaping the physical attributes of buildings and land in Town.

The review ensures the new by-law represents current development trends and will be flexible to respond to future changes. Additionally, the Zoning By-law needs to be updated to conform with the Town Official Plan.

As part of the Town’s public engagement strategy for this review, the Town’s policy planner will be hosting a live Q&A session on the Town’s public engagement site every Tuesday beginning March 16, 2021. Residents can submit questions and request one-on-one appointments through the site or by calling 905-892-2607 x335.

The Town is offering the public an opportunity to be involved in the decision-making process and provide input on land-use issues that affect them. Planning staff want residents to participate in the review process and release draft sections of the proposed zoning by-law for review and comment online. The current schedule is:

Date Topic
March 15-19, 2021 General Provisions
 March 22 – April 2, 2021 Rural/Agricultural Zones
 April 5-16, 2021 Residential Zones and Greenfield Development
 April 19-30, 2021 Commercial Zones
May 3-7, 2021 Definitions
May 10-14, 2021 Review of feedback received

Statistics Canada marks first anniversary of COVID-19 pandemic declaration

The year 2020 was one like no other, and we have the data to prove it.

It started out like any other year, with Canadians mingling freely, celebrating the New Year by visiting family or friends at their homes, going to concerts, sporting events, parties, restaurants and bars. We travelled freely inside the country and around the world.

Then, in March, everything changed.

The year ended with our borders closed to all but essential travel, with much of country under a second lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19. Most Canadians spent the New Year holiday inside a small bubble or at home alone.

Our economy was 3.3% smaller at year end. Millions of Canadians were temporarily underemployed or out of work at some point last year. Almost 16,000 Canadians had died from COVID-19, making it the third leading cause of death in 2020, following cancer and heart disease. About 85% fewer Americans and overseas residents visited us last year, while 75% fewer Canadians returned home from abroad. Perhaps not surprisingly, almost 40% of Canadians said they had become more downcast since the onset of the pandemic.

To mark the anniversary, Statistics Canada is now offering a compendium of tables that track a year of record highs and lows. This year-in-review compendium updates and extends the agency’s analysis of the pandemic’s effects on the health, and social and economic lives of Canadians, based largely on information collected in late 2020 as public health measures began to tighten in response to the resurgence of COVID-19.

For more information please explore Statistics Canada’s COVID-19: A data perspective page, which includes links to articles, dashboards and other information on COVID-19, as well as the compendium “The Social and Economic Impacts of COVID-19: A Six-Month Update.”


Reading recommendations

A year on, the pandemic has exposed what was wrong with our economy — and our country

Kevin Carmichael, Financial Post

March 11 is the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic and some are betting that we’re on the verge of an historic party. Let’s keep things in perspective: the death toll from COVID-19 is 2.6 million and counting, and the economic loss has been epic. Canada’s gross domestic product shrunk by 5.4 per cent in 2020, more than in 2009 (the Great Recession) and 1982 (stagflation).

Statistics Canada on March 10 estimated there were 13,798 more deaths in Canada in 2020 than would have been expected ahead of the pandemic. The agency also observed that while COVID-19 easily explains the initial increase, it doesn’t account for all of the excessive deaths through the autumn. That could be an early indicator that the pandemic is now having an indirect effect on mortality. For instance, Statistics Canada noted a spike in death from overdoses, especially in British Columbia and Alberta.

The numbers are sobering, but things could have been worse. The lockdown was met by an equally epic response by governments and central banks. Household disposable income actually increased last year, according to Statistics Canada. Retail sales last June passed their pre-pandemic level. Housing and equity markets are on fire.


Behind the Kodak Moment

Bonnie Johnson, The Believer

If we examine the overheated rhetoric around the new Kodak moment—the idea that an environmentally damaging product is worth protecting from economic pressures, that directors are entitled to demand a luxury material, that aspiring to elite status means complying with an antiquated system, and that democratic filmmaking means mediocrity—it sounds eerily like an exhortation to make movies great again. The fact that none of these stories around movies were great, and that Kodak itself often hasn’t been great either, tends to fall by the wayside when industry heavyweights glorify celluloid film as if it had talismanic powers. Today, the film world’s visionaries aren’t dwelling in nostalgia for a supposed golden era. They’re exploiting digital filmmaking’s technological benefits to innovative effect, taking care of the people on their sets, finding ways around old limitations, and telling us new stories—the sorts of stories we’ve missed all along.


Niagara COVID status tracker

Niagara’s most up-to-date COVID statistics, measured against the targets for the various stages of the Ontario COVID-19 Response Framework, are presented below. This does not predict government policy, but is offered to give you an idea of where Niagara is situated and how likely a relaxation (or further restrictions) may be. These data are drawn daily from Niagara Region. The Grey-Lockdown level does not have its own metrics, but is triggered when the COVID-specific measurements in a Red-Control region have continued to deteriorate.

 December 18December 25January 1January 8January 15January 22January 29
Reproductive number1.41.81.41.11.00.70.9
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%

Definitions:

  • Weekly Incidence Rate: the number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per week
  • Percent Positivity: the number of positive COVID-19 tests as a percentage of all COVID-19 tests performed
  • Rt: the reproductive rate, or the number of people infected by each case of the virus

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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