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Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce

GNCC Welcomes Fall Economic Statement

Yesterday marked the release of the Government of Canada’s Fall Economic Statement, and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) is pleased to see the many additional and extended supports to help Canada’s business community through this exceedingly difficult time.

With several promising vaccine candidates announced, it seems that the end of this pandemic will soon be in sight. The GNCC’s position is that, in the long-term, it will be much more cost-effective and cause considerably less economic dislocation if we shepherd struggling businesses to the end of the pandemic, instead of allowing them to fail and hope that they will rebuild.

Tourism industry representatives in Niagara have opined that it will take that sector perhaps three years after the end of the pandemic to recover, for instance; that sector would likely collapse entirely and recovery could then take decades unless assistance were provided. The same is true of the food service industry.

The GNCC is encouraged that the Government of Canada has opted to offer such assistance. Many of the implemented solutions were policy suggestions that the GNCC and Canada’s Chamber of Commerce network had suggested, such as returning the wage subsidy to a maximum of 75%, extending both that program and the rent relief options, and more credit availability. We also suggested more targeted supports for the most affected industries and sectors and are grateful to see those suggestions reflected in the statement, with substantial government-backed loans at below-market rates for the tourism sector. The GNCC believes that these loans could be improved with more options for flexible repayment or even forgiveness tied to the state of the economy and the financial status of the recipient, and we hope that this will be forthcoming.

We believe that this set of policies will help ensure that Canadian businesses and the Canadian economy suffers as little harm as possible from the pandemic and will encourage a swift recovery.

However, while the focus on small businesses is welcome, we note that in the private sector, almost one in three people work for a medium or large employer, and that at least some of those employers are struggling. Large employers are also often the lifeblood of a town, employing thousands, and the loss of those jobs would have a huge impact on their communities. While solutions for large employers must often be tailor-made, we encourage the Government of Canada to earmark funds for their assistance in order to preserve jobs in Canada’s medium and large firms.

The GNCC also echoes the call of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for an early budget to be delivered in 2021, with further details concerning a deficit reduction plan and options for a childcare program, which we believe will be a significant boon for the Canadian workforce and whose implementation is long overdue. As always, the GNCC is ready and willing to support governments at all levels in their pursuit of economic recovery.

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


Mishka Balsom, CEO,  Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce or 905-684-2361

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