From the Desk of the CEO...
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend our 2021 Open House on last week.

Lots of information on the ever-changing programs and supports available from Government in this week’s edition of the e-news. Please continue to take advantage of the Shop Local Brantford-Brant program and our Rapid Testing Kits program as well, and enjoy a safe and peaceful holiday season.

Dave
Do you need Rapid Test Kits over the holidays?
The Chamber office will be closed for the holidays, from December 24th 2021 until January 4th 2022.

If your business requires rapid test kits to use during this time, please schedule an appointment to pick up your kits as soon as possible. Spots are limited and filling up quickly!

A reminder that Rapid Test Kits are for use to strictly keep business open during the pandemic. Tests from The Chamber of Commerce cannot be obtained for personal use (eg. holiday office parties, testing your family over the holidays, etc). Demand has increased significantly and while we have sufficient supply on hand, we are aware of supply transportation challenges and want to make sure all eligible businesses can obtain kits.

Click here to order more kits and schedule your pick-up appointment. 

Contact olivia@brcc.ca with any additional questions.

We appreciate your patience and cooperation!
Chamber Events
Ontario Taking Action to Protect Against Omicron Variant
The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is taking action to further encourage vaccination and help limit the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant. These measures will help reduce the risk of transmission during the winter months and further encourage every eligible Ontarian to get their shot so that Ontario’s hospital capacity is protected.
 
Ontario’s weekly cases incidence rate is below the national average, and recent investments combined with high vaccination rates have meant hospital and intensive care unit capacity remains stable. In line with Ontario’s cautious approach throughout the pandemic and in light of evolving global evidence around the Omicron variant, the province is adjusting its COVID-19 response that will strengthen the province’s proof of vaccination requirements and enhance public health measures. This includes the following measures:

  • Delaying the lifting of proof of vaccination requirements beyond January 17, 2022, aligned with the reopening plan that stipulated that doing so was contingent on the absence of concerning trends.
  • Effective January 4, 2022, requiring the use of the enhanced vaccine certificate with QR code and the Verify Ontario app in settings where proof of vaccination is required. The QR code can be used digitally or by printing a paper copy. Individuals can download their enhanced certificate with QR code by visiting https://covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine/.
  • Strengthening the verification process for medical exemptions and clinical trial exemptions by requiring a certificate with a QR code. Organizations and businesses that are under the provincial proof-of-vaccination system will be advised to no longer accept physician notes as of January 10, 2022.
  • Effective December 20, 2021, requiring proof of vaccination for youth aged 12 to 17 years participating in organized sports at recreational facilities.
  • On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontarians are strongly advised to limit their social gatherings and the number of gatherings they attend over the holiday season. Additional precautions should be taken if all individuals are not fully vaccinated or where vaccination status is unknown. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.

The full suite of measures is outlined in the backgrounder.

To continue providing an additional layer of protection against COVID-19 and variants, as part of its enhanced winter testing strategy the province is launching a holiday testing blitz next week to offer voluntary rapid antigen screening to asymptomatic individuals free of charge. Two million rapid tests will be provided at pop-up testing sites in high-traffic settings such as malls, retail settings, holiday markets and transit hubs.

In addition, starting on Monday, December 13, 2021 at 8:00 a.m., individuals aged 50 and over will be eligible to schedule their booster dose appointment. This will expand booster eligibility to approximately 5.5 million people. Expanded booster dose eligibility to all Ontarians 18 years of age and older will occur on January 4, 2022, with appointments to be booked approximately six months after receiving a second dose.

The COVID-19 vaccine remains the single best protection against COVID-19 and variants. Every eligible Ontarian is strongly recommended to get vaccinated or receive their booster if they are eligible as soon as possible.
Ontario Announces Extension of the COVID-19 Period and Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
The Ontario government is extending its Worker Income Protection Benefit program, which provides paid sick days, until July 31, 2022. Employees can continue to access this paid leave to get tested, vaccinated, self-isolate, or care for a family member.
Under this legislation, employees are entitled to up to three paid sick days, paid at their regular rate, to a maximum of $200 per day. The employee may use this time if they are:

  • under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19
  • acting under an order given under sections 22 or 35 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act
  • ordered to quarantine or isolate by a recognized official body (public health officer, healthcare professional, government, etc.)
  • acting under an employer’s direction to isolate out of concern for transmission of COVID-19
  • providing care to an individual under medical investigation, supervision or treatment for COVID-19, or ordered to quarantine or isolate as above.

In addition, the province is taking action to protect jobs and businesses by extending temporary changes to the Employment Standards Act that prevent temporary layoffs of non-unionized employees from becoming unwanted terminations, which can trigger payments and force businesses to close. This measure will now be extended until July 30, 2022.



The Chamber is here to help your business navigate public policy and legislation. Click here to email our Advocacy Committee with questions.
You Can't Touch This: The Intangible Assets Debate
The structure of our economy has shifted from one driven by the production of physical goods and the delivery of services to one powered by intangible assets including data, technology, software, and copyrights. Current accounting rules treat such assets--which fueled the boom of tech and innovation start-ups in Silicon Valley--as expenses to be managed instead of assets to be cultivated, leading many to ask how those rules should be adapted to support the growing digital economy.

Today, such assets are a key source of innovation and growth across several sectors, including finance and manufacturing. In the report, In Data We Trust – Unlocking the Value of Data in Ontario the Ontario Chamber of Commerce argued that the province’s competitiveness would depend on scaling up and commercializing high-tech, knowledge-economy businesses while also highlighting the social and economic benefits and risks that would result from the data revolution.

The expanding importance of intangibles is bringing an old debate within the accounting profession back to the forefront: should we account for intangible value drivers in organizations, and if so, how?

Over the last several months, CPA Ontario has undertaken research on the changing role of intangibles in our economy and the potential paths forward for the accounting profession. The findings are available in CPA Ontario’s newest whitepaper, “You Can’t Touch This: The intangible assets debate.”

Invitation to Participate: From NIMBY to Neighbour
A team of researchers from Laurier and University of Guelph are conducting research on narratives and perceptions about homelessness in three Ontario cities: Brantford, Guelph, and Cambridge. The purpose of this study is to understand out how different groups might ultimately learn from each other’s perspectives and think differently about homelessness and community safety. 

This team is looking to interview several members of the community, including residents, business owners, and service providers. The interviews will take about an hour to complete and participants will remain anonymous in the study. Because of COVID-19 protocols, interviews will take place virtually, either by phone or video conferencing platform, at a time that works best for the participant.

If you are interested in participating and would like to schedule an interview, or should you have any questions about the study, please feel free to contact me by email at msibley@wlu.ca.
 
If you have questions at any time about the study or the procedures, please contact the study lead, Dr. Erin Dej, at edej@wlu.ca.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
Recovery Activation Program helping local businesses go digital. Click here to learn more and apply
PD27 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy Self-identification Form for Employers. Click here
Government of Canada Covid-19 Alert App: click here to download
Support for your business from the Government of Canada. Click here to find out which supports best fit your business
Support for Individuals from the Government of Canada. Click here to find out which supports best fit your business
Business Resilience Service phoneline: call 1-866-989-1080 to connect with a business advisor from the accounting profession. The service is available 7 days/week from 8 am – 8 pm ET
Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA); This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits. Click here to apply
Develop your Workplace Safety Plan with tools from the Government of Ontario here.
For the most up-to-date provincial & federal programs, take a look at our website.
Chamber of Commerce Brantford-Brant
519.753.2617