The Government of Ontario has announced that on June 12, selected regions of Ontario will be allowed to move to Stage Two of the provincial re-opening framework. Niagara was not among those selected, and remains at Stage One, along with the rest of the core golden horseshoe.
We understand that this decision was undertaken at the provincial level without input from local health authorities, which the GNCC feels was a mistake. Local public health authorities are the most familiar with the reality on the ground, and could explain whether a recent spike in cases, for example, is due to generalized community transmission which needs to be contained, or to an isolated group which has already been contained. Local health authorities must be a part of these decisions.
Furthermore, we do not know the criteria for moving to Stage Two, and we feel that these criteria need to be publicly available. At the moment, we are trying to reach a goal without having been told what that goal is. This crisis calls for transparency in decision-making, and for everyone affected to have an understanding of the process, or at least to be able to access information about the process.
The GNCC is calling on the Government of Ontario to make their re-opening decision-making and criteria open and transparent, and if it will not give control to local public health authorities, to at least allow them input in these decisions.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in Niagara and the second-largest Chamber of Commerce in Ontario, with 1,500 members representing 50,000 employees. More information on the GNCC is available at gncc.ca.
For more information and interviews, contact:
Mishka Balsom, President & CEO of GNCC
Mishka@gncc.ca or 905-684-2361