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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: November 4, 2021

Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.

Government of Ontario releases 2021 Fall Economic Statement

Today, Minister of Finance Peter Bethlenfalvy released the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review: Build Ontario.

Highlights include:

  • Approximately $2.6 billion for 2021–22 in support of the Ontario Highways Program
  • Doubling annual investment in the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund
  • Nearly $4 billion over six years for affordable, reliable high-speed internet
  • Increasing the general minimum wage to $15 per hour effective January 1, 2022, and to eliminate the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers by raising it to the general minimum wage
  • Develop Ontario’s first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy
  • A new two-year $40 million Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream
  • An additional $90.3 million over three years starting in 2021–22 for the Skilled Trades Strategy
  • Extending the Ontario Jobs Training Tax Credit to 2022, providing an estimated $275 million in support to about 240,000 people
  • Investing an additional $5 million in 2021–22 to expand the Second Career program
  • A new temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for 2022 providing an estimated $270 million to encourage tourism
  • Investing $1.1 million in 2021–22 to support a dedicated team of officers to undertake focused inspections of temporary help agencies and recruiters of migrant workers

Niagara Region maintains ‘AA’ credit rating and ‘stable’ outlook

Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings (S&P) has reaffirmed Niagara Region’s “AA” credit rating and stable outlook.

In a confirmation report released Oct. 18, 2021, the rating agency notes that although the region’s economy was hampered by COVID-19 travel restrictions and the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-commercial traffic, Canada’s strong vaccination rate has allowed the reopening of more businesses and the gradual easing of lockdown measures.

To date, Niagara’s budgetary performance remained stable as tax revenues continued to flow and management took actions to offset the revenue loss and the increase in expenditures. In addition, the region received funds from the federal and provincial governments, which we expect will fully cover the related financial impact of COVID-19. As a result, we expect the Region will continue to generate the required funding for its operations.

Click here for more information.

Welland to offer reduced transit fares for low-income riders and will regulate short-term rentals

Welland transit riders actively registered with the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) will benefit from a reduced fare structure beginning January 1, 2022. The current price for an adult 31-day municipal pass is $85. The price for the reduced pass would be $50.

Additionally, short-term rentals in the City of Welland will be regulated and licensed early in 2022. A short-term rental is defined as a dwelling unit rented for 28 consecutive days or less but does not include a bed and breakfast, hotel/motel, or boarding or lodging house.

Click here for more information.

Government of Canada invites small businesses to develop fiber-optic sensing and AI decryption technologies

Today, Innovative Solutions Canada launched a new challenge led by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to build on their innovative ultrafast laser inscription of fiber Bragg grating technology and another led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to address challenges in accessing encrypted data seized during the course of criminal investigations.

Through the Innovative Solutions Canada program, government departments are inviting small businesses to come up with a new innovative product, service or solution that answers a specific challenge they face. Winning small businesses may receive up to $150,000 to refine their research and development and, if accepted into phase 2, receive up to $1 million to develop a working prototype. The government can then act as a first customer, helping these businesses commercialize their innovations, scale up their business and create good middle-class jobs across Canada.

Small businesses will have until December 16 to apply to the challenges.

Click here to apply.

Reading Recommendations

Bank regulator OSFI gives banks OK to raise dividends, boost exec pay again

CBC News

Canada’s banking regulator says it has cleared the way for banks and insurers to raise dividends and resume share buybacks.

Peter Routledge, head of the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, says the reasons for the ban that was implemented in the early days of the pandemic no longer stand.

In the early days of the pandemic, the banking regulator forbade Canada’s big banks from raising their dividends or hiking executive compensation, in case that cash was needed for the pandemic uncertainty to come.

‘Personal freedom’ and ‘health concerns’: Why unvaccinated Canadians say they won’t get the COVID-19 shot

CTV News

The top reasons Canadians unvaccinated against COVID-19 say they have avoided getting the jab are “personal freedom” and “health concerns,” a new poll has found.

The survey, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) and published on Wednesday, found that 58 per cent of unvaccinated Canadians said their main reason for skipping the shot was due to “personal freedom,” while an equal number of respondents cited “health concerns” as their reasoning.

The online survey, conducted between Sept. 29 and Oct. 3 of this year, also found one-third (34 per cent) of unvaccinated respondents said they have not received the vaccine because they do not believe the virus is a serious health threat.

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to help protect ourselves, and our families and communities against COVID-19. Learn more here.

Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

Free rapid COVID-19 testing kits are now available to businesses. Visit to learn more and reserve kits for your organization.

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.

Through the Daily Updates, the GNCC aims to deliver important business news in a timely manner. We disseminate all news and information we feel will be important to businesses. Inclusion in the Daily Update is not an endorsement by the GNCC.

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