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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

Daily Update: October 22nd, 2021

Ontario will slowly and incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures over the next six months.

Ontario will lift capacity limits on bars, restaurants and gyms Monday, other restrictions to be gradually lifted by end of March 2022

Ontario will slowly and incrementally lift all remaining public health and workplace safety measures, including the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination and wearing of face coverings in indoor public settings, over the next six months.

Effective October 25, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., Ontario will lift capacity limits in the vast majority of settings where proof of vaccination are required, such as restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments; indoor areas of sports and recreational facilities such as gyms and where personal physical fitness trainers provide instruction; casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments; and indoor meeting and event spaces. Limits will also be lifted in certain outdoor settings.

At this time, the government will also allow other settings to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements if they choose to require proof of vaccination, including:

  • Personal care services (e.g., barber shops, salons, body art);
  • Indoor areas of museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos, science centres, landmarks, historic sites, botanical gardens and similar attractions;
  • Indoor areas of amusement parks;
  • Indoor areas of fairs, rural exhibitions, festivals;
  • Indoor tour and guide services;
  • Boat tours;
  • Indoor areas of marinas and boating clubs;
  • Indoor clubhouses at outdoor recreational amenities;
  • Open house events provided by real estate agencies; and
  • Indoor areas of photography studios and services.

Locations where a wedding, funeral or religious service, rite or ceremony takes place may also implement proof of vaccination requirements for services, rites, or ceremonies at the location.

On November 15, the government intends to lift capacity limits in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, such as nightclubs or strip clubs.

On January 17, the province intends to begin gradually lifting capacity limits in settings where proof of vaccination is not required.

On February 7, the government intends to lift proof of vaccination requirements in high-risk settings, including night clubs, strip clubs, and bathhouses and sex clubs.

On March 28, it is intended that remaining public health and workplace safety measures will be lifted, including wearing face coverings in indoor public settings. In addition, the provincial requirement for proof of vaccination will be lifted for all remaining settings, including meeting and event spaces, sporting events, concerts, theatres and cinemas, racing venues and commercial and film productions with studio audiences.

All dates are contingent upon the ongoing assessment and monitoring of key public health and health care indicators, such as the identification of any new COVID-19 variants, increases in hospitalizations and ICU occupancy and rapid increases in transmission.

Click here for more information.


Canada scraps advisory to avoid foreign travel, cites COVID-19 vaccination success

Canada has scrapped an official advisory urging its citizens to shun non-essential foreign travel, given the successful campaign to inoculate people against COVID-19, the country’s top medical officer said on Friday.

The warning was issued in March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic erupted.

Ottawa removed the advice to avoid unnecessary travel late on Thursday and reverted to its usual practice of issuing notices for individual countries.

The Canadian government, however, is still telling people to avoid cruise ship travel outside of the country.

Click here for more information.


Welland will waive all business license fees and permit temporary patios and outdoor displays for 2022

Welland City Council has approved waiving all business license fees, minus fire inspection, and continues to permit temporary patios and outdoor displays for 2022.

For restaurants, though indoor dining has resumed, and proof of vaccination is required for those sitting down to meals, patios have proven to be a significant lifeboat for establishments to remain open and serve more customers.

Though licensing fees are waived for 2022, businesses are still required to obtain a valid license and all required inspections and applications still need to be completed.

Click here for more information (PDF link).


Canadian Chamber of Commerce releases recommendations for multi-billion-dollar-impact cannabis industry

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s National Cannabis Working Group has tabled their key recommendations for the review of the Cannabis Act in a letter to the Prime Minister. They include:

  • Increase export opportunities outside of Canada for medical cannabis, through the support of Global Affairs Canada;
  • Remove the prohibition of medical commercial imports, which will permit new medical cannabis products to be developed and delivered to patients while encouraging domestic investment;
  • Create a dedicated group within Innovation, Science and Economic Development to cover cannabis-related issues, which ensures a point of contact within government to address economic matters facing the industry;
  • Review the federal excise tax regime as it applies to medical cannabis, given that medicines are not taxed in Canada;

Click here for more information.


August retail sales up, clothing sales surpass pre-pandemic levels for second month running

Retail sales were up 2.1% to $57.2 billion in August, led by higher sales at food and beverage stores (+4.8%), gasoline stations (+3.8%), and clothing and clothing accessories stores (+3.9%). Surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the second month in a row, sales at clothing and clothing accessories stores rose in August to reach its highest level on record. The increase coincided with fewer restrictions on in-person shopping and recreational activities and was led by higher receipts at clothing stores (+5.2%). Shoe stores (-2.0%) were the only store type within this subsector to see a decrease.

Lower sales were reported at furniture and home furnishings stores (-2.4%). The decrease was the largest among all subsectors and was driven by lower sales at furniture stores (-2.7%), which coincided with supply constraints on retailers within this subsector.

Click here for more information.


Canadian Competition Bureau obtains court order to advance an investigation of Google

The Competition Bureau has obtained a court order to advance a civil investigation into conduct by Google related to its online advertising business. The Bureau is investigating whether this conduct is harming competition in Canada.

The Bureau is investigating whether Google has engaged in certain practices that harm competition in the online display advertising industry in Canada. This industry is made up of various technology products that are used to display advertisements to users when they visit websites or use apps.

Click here for more information.


Reading Recommendations

I’m a burnt-out barista, and I don’t know if I’ll return to my minimum wage job

CBC News

“We’re hiring!” signs adorn the doors and windows of seemingly every business in Montreal, and yet nobody seems to be applying. Everyone is wondering where the workers have gone, and yet nobody is checking in on those workers — often students and young people — who still occupy these service jobs.

The reality is that we’re burned out. I speak from experience as I am a 21 year old currently on medical leave from my job as a barista due to the enormous stress of this seemingly easy job.

Even before the pandemic, young people were speaking out about the low minimum wage in Quebec, about employers not being flexible enough with our work schedules to accommodate school and internships, about clientele being increasingly rude and demanding much more. Since then, our list of frustrations has gotten exponentially longer.


Workers who resist vaccine mandates may not be eligible for EI, according to feds

CTV News

Workers who lose their job over a refusal to vaccinate against COVID-19 may not be eligible for employment insurance benefits, according to updated guidelines from the federal government.

Employment and Social Development Canada has issued a notice to employers enforcing vaccine mandates to help them fill out records of employment, a document needed to apply for EI benefits.

The department said if an employee doesn’t report to work or is suspended or terminated for refusing to comply with a vaccine mandate, the employer should indicate that they quit, took a leave of absence or were dismissed — potentially disqualifying them from EI.


Featured Content

MLTSD Proposal on Addressing Workforce Challenges

Last month we shared two Canadian partnerships NWPB has participated in that provide resources for employers seeking to support a diverse workforce. This week, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development proposed a plan to change legislation, making it easier for internationally trained professionals to gain employment in their fields of expertise.

This is of particular importance as national-level data from Statistics Canada indicate that for individuals aged 25 to 54 with a university degree, immigrants who have arrived within 5 years have notably higher unemployment and lower employment rates than individuals born in Canada.  For example, even before the pandemic (i.e. 2019), the unemployment and employment rates for newcomers were 8.8% and 73.6% respectively, while these same indicators were 2.7% and 91.4% for individuals born in Canada.

Supporting newcomers and promoting diversity is essential to a successful workforce. We offer a number of downloadable resources for newcomer professionals and other members of the community hoping to advance diversity and inclusion in the local workforce available here.

All of NWPB’s resources can be found on our website, www.nwpb.ca.


Niagara COVID-19 statistics tracker

These data show the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Niagara. The Province of Ontario is now using a provincewide approach to reopening, and these data no longer have any influence on Niagara’s restrictions. Lower numbers are better in all metrics.

 October 30November 6November 13November 20
Reproductive number11.31.10.8
New cases per 100,00025.940.342.631.5
New cases per day (not including outbreaks)13.419.420.918.3
Percent of hospital beds occupied103.1%93.3%100.3%96.3%
Percent of intensive care beds occupied84.9%83.3%86.4%86.4%
Percentage of positive tests2.6%3.6%3.5%2.7%

Last updated: October 16, 2021

Click here for definitions of terms used in this table.

On October 21, there were 11 patients admitted to Niagara Health with COVID-19, 7 of whom were unvaccinated and 4 of whom were fully vaccinated. There were 7 patients with COVID-19 in a Niagara Health Intensive Care Unit.

Over the last 28 days, a Niagara resident vaccinated with 1 dose was 3 times more likely to contract COVID-19, and an unvaccinated person was 5.9 times more likely. The average weekly rate of hospitalized cases in unvaccinated Canadians was 36 times higher compared to fully vaccinated people. Niagara Health has reported that no vaccinated patients have required intensive care to date.

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

Data are drawn from Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara Health.


Niagara COVID vaccination tracker

Niagara’s most up-to-date vaccination numbers are presented below, along with comparison data from Ontario, Canada, and G7 countries.

 Percentage of population with one dosePercentage of population fully vaccinated
Niagara78.2%75.5%
Ontario78.9%75.9%
Canada79.5%75.8%
United States70%59%
United Kingdom76%69%
Germany71%68%
France77%70%
Italy78%73%
Japan79%77%
World56%44%

Total doses administered in Niagara: 724,344

New daily doses administered to Niagara residents: 799

Last updated: October 22, 2021

Data are drawn from Niagara Region, the Government of Ontario, and Oxford University’s Our World in Data project.

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


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.

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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