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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 31st 2021

The provincial government is today proposing a new Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province of Ontario.

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.


New Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health nominated

The Ontario government is tabling a motion today, that, if passed, would appoint Dr. Kieran Moore as the next Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province of Ontario. Dr. Moore would succeed Dr. David Williams effective June 26, 2021. Previously the local medical officer of health for Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, Dr. Moore is also a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force. Prior to his appointment as the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Moore served as the region’s Associate Medical Officer of Health from 2011 onwards.


Niagara’s municipal flags lowered to honour residential school victims

On behalf of the people of Niagara, Chair Bradley and Niagara’s twelve mayors have asked that flags be lowered at municipal facilities across the region in honour of the 215 children who were recently found in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops. The flags will remain at half-mast for one hour for each of the lives that were taken.

The discovery of this mass grave is a stark reminder of the devastating legacy that the Canadian residential school system continues to have on Indigenous people across our country. As Canadians, we must never forget that residential schools forcefully removed Indigenous children from their families, robbed them of their culture, and exposed many of them to physical, mental and sexual abuse.

For those looking for support, the Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for former residential school students and others by calling 1-866-925-4419.


St. Catharines project aims to ease isolation for seniors

The City of St. Catharines will deliver a new program starting in June that focuses on easing the isolation felt by seniors in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funded by a New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) federal grant, the program will provide 2,700 free take-away bags over the next six months for seniors in the community. The bags will have themes such as home safety, fitness, birding, gardening, and more, and will include activities, equipment and pertinent information.

For more information and details about take-away bag pickup locations and dates, visit www.stcatharines.ca/OAC.


Softwood lumber prices climbed 169% since last year

Prices for products manufactured in Canada, as measured by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), rose 1.6% month over month in April and 14.3% compared with April 2020. The increase in the IPPI was driven mostly by higher prices for lumber and other wood products (+6.4%), which have been on the rise since December 2020. Steadily increasing prices for softwood lumber (+10.1%) led this growth. Over one year, softwood lumber prices have climbed 169.4%, their largest year-over-year increase in history. Persistent demand for softwood lumber in the United States and Canada for construction and residential renovations, combined with lower supply, drove this category upward.


Reading Recommendations

High-flying tech stocks could ‘collapse’

BNN Bloomberg

Legendary investor Stephen Jarislowsky is warning investors may want to stay away from the high-flying tech stocks.

In a television interview Monday, Jarislowsky, the founder and former chairman of Jarislowsky Fraser, said the outperformance of the tech sector since the start of the pandemic could eventually end in tears.

“Short-term, I would say that in high-tech and speculative growth stocks, there could very well be a collapse at some point, because that has been bought by the gamblers,” he said.

Though the rally in the so-called FAANG stocks – Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google parent company Alphabet Inc. – has eased amid inflationary fears, the group remains well above pre-pandemic levels.

Rather than chasing the hot tech sector, Jarislowsky said he favours more staid names that can benefit from long-term trends.


The dangers of decision fatigue

The Economist

“Have a break” is a slogan associated with the popular chocolate snack, KitKat. But it may be pretty good advice for any manager or worker, minus the calories. The longer the shift, the less effective the employee may become.

In a new paper for Royal Society Open Finance, “Quantifying the cost of decision fatigue: suboptimal risk decisions in finance”, Tobias Baer and Simone Schnall examine the credit decisions of loan officers at a leading bank over the course of their working day. The academics write that decision fatigue “typically involves a tendency to revert to the ‘default’ option, namely whatever choice involves relatively little mental effort”. In other words, as you become tired, you get mentally lazy.


Niagara COVID status tracker (May 22)

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 31)

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: 285,279

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 2,297

 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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