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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 4th, 2021

Ontario to provide $2 billion in new supports for public education

The Ontario government is providing more than $2 billion in new supports to advance and protect public education for the 2021-22 school year. The support includes more than $1.6 billion in resources to respond to COVID-19 and an $85.5 million commitment to support learning recovery and renewal in response to the ongoing pandemic. It also includes a $561 million increase to this year’s Grants for Student Needs, bringing the 2021-22 total GSN investment to $25.6 billion.

Niagara Medical Officer of Health offers new COVID briefing

RBC and Futurpreneur launch Black Entrepreneur Startup Program

The Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will support Black entrepreneurs age 18-39 in starting their business. Over a five-year period, RBC will provide up to $40 million in financing for Futurpreneur to offer up to $60,000 in small business loans, mentorship and business resources to Black entrepreneurs for up to two years. Participants in the program will also have opportunities to engage with a national network of Black entrepreneurs and community organizations through entrepreneurship events.

The hope is that by providing inclusive financing, mentorship, and community partnerships, the Black Entrepreneur Startup Program will help young Black entrepreneurs thrive. And, by leveraging Futurpreneur’s proven model for starting a successful business, RBC and Futurpreneur can help inspire a new generation of Black entrepreneurs and diverse innovators who can help drive economic diversity, inclusion, and resiliency across Canada. With access to the right networking opportunities, support systems, knowledge and capital, aspiring Black entrepreneurs will be better equipped to realize their ambitions and achieve their full potential.

March sees record-setting number of building permits for third consecutive month

Statistics Canada’s latest assessment of building permit statistics found that March 2021 marked the third consecutive month of record-setting numbers as building permits rose 5.7% to $10.9 billion, reflecting a booming residential sector. Constant dollar estimates are available, for the first time, for the building-permit series dating back to 2011. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), building permits increased by 4.0% to $8.1 billion, a number only surpassed by the April 2019 value of $8.2 billion.

The residential sector climbed 15.9%, clearing the $8.0 billion mark for the first time in March. Multi-family dwellings jumped 24.5% compared with February to an unprecedented $4.3 billion. This gain resulted largely from permits being issued for residential towers in the cities of Toronto, Burlington, and Vaughan. Single-family homes also reached new heights, increasing 7.6% to $3.8 billion. The census metropolitan area of Oshawa was responsible for just over one-third of this growth.

Commercial permits decreased 14.6% to $1.5 billion, about 25% lower than the average monthly value reported in 2019. After declining slightly in the first two months of 2020, commercial permits took a large hit at the start of the pandemic, and have since averaged around the $1.5 billion mark observed in March.

Industrial permits, the only component to report a gain in the non-residential sector, rose 16.4% to $650.5 million.

Reading Recommendations

Trudeau, Tam say all vaccines are safe and effective after NACI guidance causes confusion

John Paul Tasker, CBC News

A day after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) said viral vector COVID-19 vaccines like those offered by AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are not the “preferred” products, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sought to reassure Canadians today that all vaccines approved for use in this country are safe and effective.

Speaking to reporters at a COVID-19 briefing today, Trudeau said Canadians should have no qualms about receiving a dose of the AstraZeneca product.

With Canada in the middle of a third pandemic wave, Trudeau said it is prudent for people to get the first shot offered to them to help drive down case counts and hospitalizations.

Posthaste: Here’s why Canadians pay the highest insurance bills in the OECD

Yadullah Hussein, Financial Post

Canadians’ insurance bills are the highest in the OECD as a percentage of GDP, according to a new report by C.D Howe Institute.

“Canada’s auto, property and liability gross written premiums from 2015 to 2018 amounted to 2.7 per cent of its GDP on average, compared to an OECD average of 1.6 per cent and a G7 average of 2 per cent,” the think tank said in a new report published this morning.

All told, Canadians paid almost $50 billion — or around 2.3 per cent of GDP — between 2015 to 2018 in insurance premiums to private insurers for the three main lines of property and casualty insurance: liability, property and auto.

The Story of How McDonald’s First Got Its Start

Lisa Napoli, Smithsonian Magazine

Before southern California’s glorious, golden landscape was etched with eight-lane superhighways and tangles of concrete flyovers choreographing a continuous vehicular ballet; before families became enchanted with the thrill and convenience of popping TV dinners into the oven; before preservatives and GMOs allowed food in mass quantities to be processed, preserved and transported in refrigerated trucks and served up in disposable packaging at fast-food franchises for quick consumption on the go to harried, hungry travelers, there were oranges. Millions of oranges, fragrantly punctuating thousands of acres.

In this plentiful agricultural bounty at the dawn of the automotive age, visions of dollar signs danced in entrepreneurs’ heads. They erected giant facsimiles of the brightly colored orbs, cheerful and whimsical and visible from a distance to motorists as they bumped and bumbled their way down the open road. Inside these stands, they pressed fresh, thirst-quenching juice, a nickel a glass, to revive the overheated motorist. (For this was before air-conditioning in cars, too.)

Squeezing citrus was hardly the aspiration of two brothers named McDonald from frosty Manchester, New Hampshire.

Niagara COVID status tracker (April 28)

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.
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%


  • 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 4)

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: 188,621

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 2,517

 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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