On September 25th, the Government of Ontario announced immediate changes applying additional measures and restrictions to restaurants, bars and other food and drink establishments.
The government stated that the decision was made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, but did not reveal what the nature of that consultation was, who recommended the changes, who decided to legislate the changes, and what data that decision was based upon.
These changes will negatively impact many businesses which are already struggling to survive under the pressure of the pandemic. The GNCC does not prioritize business over public health, but simply asks that decisions which harm businesses include a clear and tangible demonstration of benefit to public health, with data that include projections of cases with and without the measure.
The GNCC offered similar suggestions when Niagara was not among the regions selected to move to Stage 2 of the provincial re-opening. While we respect the decision of the government and encourage all of our members to comply with legislation, the government’s case would be better-made if the data they were basing their decisions on, and the methods by which they reached them, were publicly available.
We ask that the Government of Ontario commit to greater transparency in dealing with the business community and the public at this very difficult time.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the third-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,600 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
Mishka@gncc.ca or 905-684-2361