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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 20th, 2021

The Ontario government has released a new reopening plan to lift public health measures based on vaccination rate and key health indicators.

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

Visit gncc.ca/workplace-self-screening-kits/ to learn more and reserve kits for your organization.


Ontario releases new three-step re-opening roadmap

The Ontario government has released its Roadmap to Reopen, a three-step plan that aims to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures based on the provincewide vaccination rate and improvements in key public health and health care indicators. In response to recent improvements to these indicators, Ontario will allow more outdoor recreational amenities to reopen, with restrictions in place, effective May 22, 2021 at 12:01 a.m.

Roadmap to Reopen outlines three steps to easing public health measures, guided by the following principles:

  • Step One An initial focus on resuming outdoor activities with smaller crowds where the risk of transmission is lower, and permitting retail with restrictions. This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, outdoor dining with up to four people per table and non-essential retail at 15 per cent capacity.
  • Step Two Further expanding outdoor activities and resuming limited indoor services with small numbers of people where face coverings are worn. This includes outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people, outdoor sports and leagues, personal care services where face coverings can be worn and with capacity limits, as well as indoor religious services, rites or ceremony gatherings at 15 per cent capacity.
  • Step Three Expanding access to indoor settings, with restrictions, including where there are larger numbers of people and where face coverings can’t always be worn. This includes indoor sports and recreational fitness; indoor dining, museums, art galleries and libraries, and casinos and bingo halls, with capacity limits.

The province will remain in each step for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health and health system indicators. If at the end of the 21 days, the following vaccination thresholds have been met, along with positive trends in other key public health and health system indicators, then the province will move to the next step:

  • Step 1: 60 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose.
  • Step 2: 70 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 20 per cent vaccinated with two doses.
  • Step 3: 70 to 80 per cent of adults vaccinated with one dose and 25 per cent vaccinated with two doses.

Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

The provincewide emergency brake restrictions remain in effect while the province assesses when it will be moving to Step One of the roadmap with the Stay at Home order expiring on June 2, 2021.


Canadian Department of Finance announces new minimum qualifying rate for all uninsured mortgages

Earlier today, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced that, effective June 1, 2021, it will implement a new minimum qualifying rate for all uninsured mortgages. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, stated that with today’s official confirmation from OSFI of the new minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages, the federal government will align with OSFI by establishing a new minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages, subject to review and periodic adjustment, which will be the greater of the borrower’s mortgage contract rate plus 2 per cent, or 5.25 per cent.


Grimsby launches first Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) initiative

The Town of Grimsby’s Economic Development Advisory Committee (GEDAC), in partnership with the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farming and Rural Affairs, has now launched their first Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) initiative with local businesses.

To support the Town’s Economic Development Action Plan, local Grimsby businesses are invited and encouraged to participate in the BR&E survey now available on the Town’s Let’s Talk Business portal and engage in an ongoing dialogue by subscribing to the project page.


Brock continues to plan for significant return to campus in September

As Brock University continues to prepare for a significant return to on-campus instruction and activity this September, a Fall 2021 website has launched that includes information for current and prospective students.

The website will be updated regularly to reflect the changing conditions of the pandemic in the months ahead, as well as the evolution of public health measures.

The University is actively planning for three potential scenarios:

  1. Course delivery with a significant return to on-campus instruction, complemented with online and hybrid delivery elements to support students who may wish to study online.
  2. Course delivery with some return to on-campus instruction, with significant online and hybrid delivery elements.
  3. Course delivery almost entirely online, as has been the case, for example, during lockdowns.

Reading Recommendations

Canadians who cross border for vaccine must quarantine on return, Ottawa says

CBC News

Canadians looking to drive across the border to the United States for the sole purpose of getting a COVID-19 vaccine are not exempt from mandatory quarantine upon their return.

In a statement late Wednesday, the Public Health Agency of Canada said quarantine exemptions now in place are not intended for those travelling abroad to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease.

“Testing and quarantine exemptions for travellers returning to Canada after receiving essential medical services in a foreign country was not intended to be used for those seeking to receive a COVID-19 vaccination,” a PHAC spokesperson said in an email.


Ransomware attacks are spiking. Is your company prepared?

With the migration to remote work over the last year, cyberattacks have increased exponentially. We saw more attacks of every kind, but the headline for 2020 was ransom attacks, which were up 150% over the previous year. The amount paid by victims of these attacks increased more than 300% in 2020.

Already 2021 has seen a dramatic increase in this activity, with high-profile ransom attacks against critical infrastructure, private companies, and municipalities grabbing headlines on a daily basis. The amount of ransom demanded also has significantly increased this year, with some demands reaching tens of millions of dollars. And the attacks have become more sophisticated, with threat actors seizing sensitive company data and holding it hostage for payment.


Niagara COVID status tracker (May 15)

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.

The Province of Ontario is currently under a stay-at-home order. The COVID-19 Response Framework does not apply during this order. Click here to review the restrictions currently in place.

▲: Metric has increased since last published measurement

▼: Metric has decreased since last published measurement

— : Metric has not changed since last published measurement

 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

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker (May 20)

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: 239,680

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 4,445

 Percentage of population with one dosePercentage of population fully vaccinated
Niagara82.7%78.2%
Ontario84.6%79.1%
Canada84.7%78.6%
United States75%64%
United Kingdom78%72%
Germany76%74%
France80%77%
Italy83%76%
Japan80%79%
World63%53%

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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