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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: May 7th, 2021

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses has launched across the province.

COVID-19 rapid testing for businesses

The Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative for small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses through participating local chambers of commerce and other organizations. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community.

The GNCC is pleased to be a partner in this initiative and more information on the distribution of these kits will be available on our site and in our Daily Updates early next week. Questions can be directed to

Niagara sees full-time employment gains in April

April 2021 saw 5,300 more people in employment compared to March 2021, reports Niagara Workforce Planning Board. These gains were the result of 5,700 more people in full-time employment and 300 fewer people in part-time employment.

Niagara’s unemployment rate decreased from 13.0% to 12.5%. At the same time, the employment rate increased from 48.7% to 50.1%.

The employment rate rising as unemployment falls is generally an ideal pairing of labour market indicators. Given how past lockdowns impacted local employment trends, these are unexpected outcomes that are not aligned to provincial and national trends that reported overall employment declines, fewer average hours worked, an increase in people working from home, and employment declines in the accommodations and food services sector – which is the sector where Niagara saw its largest month-over-month employment gains.

If these data hold steady in next month’s Labour Force Survey release, it will be an indicator that Niagara has managed to weather the third wave of COVID-19 with an unexpected level of success. However, it is also quite possible that the full impact of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is not captured in April’s employment data. As such, the May Labour Force Survey data, scheduled to be released on June 4, 2021, will offer essential insights on the state of Niagara’s employment landscape.

Labour force characteristicsMarch 2020April 20202020 AnnualFeb 2021March 2021April 2021
Labour force211,200204,100211,200206,400208,900213,600
Full-time employment149,500142,200147,200137,500142,500148,200
Part-time employment43,30039,80043,40042,40039,10038,800
Unemployment rate8.7%10.8%9.8%12.8%13.0%12.5%
Participation rate57.0%55.1%56.9%55.4%56.1%57.3%
Employment rate52.1%49.1%51.3%48.3%48.7%50.1%

Reading Recommendations

Amazon postpones Prime Day in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks

The Canadian Press/CBC News

Amazon’s annual Prime Day marketing event in Canada has been put on hold this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario’s Peel Region.

The postponement of the event was put in place to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, Amazon said in a notice to sellers obtained by The Canadian Press.

“As we continued to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in Canada, we have decided to pause plans for Prime Day 2021 in Canada,” said the company.

Air Canada pleads with Trudeau for plan to ease travel rules

Sandrine Rastello, Bloomberg News

Flush with bailout funds, Air Canada called on the government of its home country to lay out a plan for reopening borders as vaccination progresses.

Canada’s biggest air carrier is in a position to ramp up operations after reaching a deal for nearly $5.9 billion (US$4.8 billion) in debt and equity with the federal government last month. Chief Executive Officer Michael Rousseau said it’s now “essential” for officials to follow the U.S. in easing rules that have stopped most air travel.

Niagara COVID status tracker (May 1)

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 7)

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: 195,738

Total doses administered in Niagara since yesterday: 2,295

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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