True North Free Trade Forum explores ways to increase interprovincial trade
The Ontario government’s first True North Free Trade Forum brought together over 900 businesses, government and stakeholder organizations from across Canada to explore ways to increase interprovincial trade in Canada.
Forum participants underscored the need for a pan-Canadian solution to restore nation-wide supply chains that are being affected by the pandemic. With global supply chains continuing to face disruptions, maintaining strong internal trade networks will contribute to Ontario’s and Canada’s economic recovery and growth.
Ontario exported C$145.1 billion of goods and services in 2019 to other provinces and territories and imported C$111.5 billion, resulting in two-way trade of C$256.6 billion and a trade surplus of C$33.6 billion. Ontario’s services exports to other provinces and territories amounted to C$108.8 billion on their own, accounting for 42 per cent of Ontario’s total internal trade of goods and services.
The forum was a fully virtual experience supported by the ministry’s new Digital Export Market Development Initiative (DEMDI).
The GNCC has led calls for the liberalization of interprovincial trade as a key policy for many years, especially the liberalization of interprovincial trade in beverage alcohol, as this would deliver a significant sales boost to Niagara’s wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
New clinic dates available for vaccinations in Niagara
As clinics through April 10 have filled up, new clinic dates have now gone live in the provincial booking system for Niagara Region Public Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Niagara residents who are turning 70 or older in 2021 (born in 1951 or earlier) and wish to make an appointment – or an individual trusted to make an appointment on their behalf – can book an appointment either online at Ontario.ca/bookvaccine or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Information Line number at 1-888-999-6488.
New clinic dates now available through the portal include:
- April 11 & 12 – Niagara Falls, MacBain Community Centre
- April 13 & 14 – Port Colborne, Vale Health and Wellness Centre
- April 15 & 16 – Grimsby, Niagara West YMCA
- April 17 & 18 – Welland, Niagara Centre YMCA
Niagara Falls businesses invited to join Green Movement
The City of Niagara Falls, Park in the City Committee, Mayor Diodati and Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee (NFMYAC) invite local residents and businesses to join the Green Movement: a series of eco-friendly lifestyle challenges designed to foster greener everyday habits in a city-wide competition with prizes from Zappi’s Restaurant and Norwex.
The Green Movement competition runs from April 1st to 21st and winners will be announced on Earth Day (Apr 22) at the City’s spring tree planting event. To compete, individuals and teams will use the GooseChase app to find and record challenges with photos or videos of their efforts.
Bonus challenges sponsored by local businesses may be added at any time to ramp up the competition and help promote local, eco-friendly products and services.
Any local businesses who wish to donate a prize, sponsor a challenge, and be featured on the Green Movement website should contact Community Development Coordinator, Jeff Guarasci at 905-356-7521 ext. 3341 and visit the City’s website niagarafalls.ca/greenmovement for more details.
Bank of Canada releases results from consultations on inflation and monetary policy
Every five years, the Bank of Canada renews its monetary policy framework with the federal government. Before every renewal, the Bank conducts research and talks to experts about how effective the current framework has been at keeping inflation low, stable and predictable.
This time, the Bank expanded these discussions to include a broad range of public interest groups and individual citizens.
Q4 2020 tourism spending in Canada declined 2%
Tourism spending in Canada declined 2.0% in the fourth quarter, closing an otherwise volatile year in the tourism sector. Tourism spending was almost cut in half (-48.1%) in 2020. Tourism gross domestic product (GDP) decreased 3.3% in the fourth quarter and was down 47.9% annually.
The decline in tourism spending in the fourth quarter was mostly driven by lower spending on food and beverage services (-11.6%), which coincided with tighter restrictions on indoor dining. Spending on vehicle fuel (-3.6%) also contributed to the decline. The drop was partially offset by a 23.6% increase in passenger air transport, which continued to recover from the 94.9% decline in the second quarter. Annually, passenger air transport was down by almost three-quarters (-72.4%), the largest contributor to the overall decline in tourism spending in 2020.
Ontario doubles parent support with new COVID-19 Child Benefit
The Ontario government is providing parents with $980 million in direct support as part of the Ontario COVID-19 Child Benefit. Under this new round of funding, payments will be doubled to $400 per child and $500 for a child with special needs to help offset additional learning costs.
The government is automatically providing this round of payments to parents who received Support for Learners payments, and they can expect money to begin flowing on April 26, 2021. Parents who did not apply for or receive the Support for Learners program can apply for the new funding starting May 3 with a deadline of May 17.
Parents will receive $400 for each child aged 0 to Grade 12 and $500 for children and youth 21 years old or younger with special needs, doubling the $200 and $250 received in the last round.
Ontario invests $55 million in new vaccine facility
Ontario is investing $55 million through a performance-based loan, toward construction of Sanofi’s $925 million state-of-art vaccine facility to meet growing demand for flu vaccines, specifically for populations at greater risk of influenza. The company is also committing to an average of $79 million a year in research and development in Ontario or more than a half a billion dollars over the life of the agreement.
The investment will enable Sanofi to bulk manufacture Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine, a flu vaccine approved for people 65 years and older, at its historic Connaught site in Toronto.
Lucas Powers, CBC News
At a news conference Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he is “extremely concerned” about both rising ICU admissions and daily case counts.
Asked by a reporter about the possibility of any further restrictions coming into effect to help curb current trends, Ford said “stay tuned” and added that an announcement is coming Thursday.
Kate Gautier, Lalith Munasinghe, Harvard Business Review
In our consulting practice, where we help companies bring a data-driven approach to their people management practices, we have encountered several executives who want to understand where their organizations stand in terms of gender equity.They sometimes have a sense of the problem, but aren’t sure what to measure or where to start.
To solve this problem, we have been using an analysis framework that uses internal data to identify and measure six distinct but interrelated dimensions of equity. Our focus here is on gender, but this framework can easily be applied to measure equity along other axes, including race or ethnicity.
Niagara COVID status tracker (March 21-27)
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 the most recent published by 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.
▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement
▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement
|December 18||December 25||January 1||January 8||January 15||January 22||January 29|
|New cases per 100,000||101.2||267.3||469.8||575.8||507.1||295.5||250.6|
|New cases per day (not including outbreaks)||60.7||178.7||311.7||376.9||325.4||182.7||145.7|
|Percent of hospital beds occupied||97%||95.2%||98.2%||103.2%||104.5%||103.6%||106%|
|Percent of intensive care beds occupied||78.8%||77.3%||87.9%||87.9%||90.9%||89.4%||93.9%|
|Percentage of positive tests||6.1%||15.6%||28.1%||28.6%||26.6%||21.2%||16.2%|
- 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