Dear Members, Partners and our Business Community at large,

In addition to updating you, every two days, with analysed and curated communications from TIAO (Tourism Industry Association of Ontario) TIAC (Tourism Industry Association of Canada) and The Canadian Chamber of Commerce we are adding to our Newsletter resources that may be useful at different government levels. Every day we are working to find ways to make sure that we will be ready for the comeback.

These are uncertain times for our industry, our colleagues, and our friends and families. As we move through this disruptive period, I want to remind you that Niagara-on-the-Lake Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL are here for you. Our e-doors are open, and we stand, safe and fully functional, ready to assist you with any aspect of your business as we work together through this challenging time.
There is an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in our tourism industry executives that may help others navigate these challenging times. From Monday March 23th at 10:00am we are starting a fully functional platform on a remote basis, so the community can come together to chat discuss and exchange. Sometimes hearing from others awakens ideas that can make a difference.


Please take a few moments to fill in the latest survey from TIAO (see below). The survey will close at 8 am on Monday March 23 rd

We are confident the hospitality industry will recover but recognize that there will be some challenging times ahead. We will continue to monitor the situation and offer insights and information as we move forward. If we can be of help to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally. We want to make sure that we are all ready for the comeback.
I look forward to hearing from you and wish you and yours well.

The team at the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism NOTL
Business Community Chat
Please join us at 10 am Monday- Friday for a conference call style chat with fellow members of our Niagara-on-the-lake business community.
This will give you an opportunity to speak with others and share your stories and experiences during this challenging time.

All you need to do is call
1-646-663-6070 and
use the PIN # 29671098 

We look forward to chatting with you!
UPDATED INDUSTRY SURVEY: FILL IN AND SHARE ACROSS YOUR NETWORKS 

In cooperation with partners, members, stakeholders and the office of Minister Lisa MacLeod, TIAO has today released an updated COVID-19 industry survey.
The updated survey marks a shift in focus from measuring the broad impact of COVID-19 on the industry, to measuring the specific economic impact of the disruption on the ground to help shape an economic recovery package.
The survey asks about cancellations, lay-offs and temporary or permanent closures caused by COVID-19.
Please take a moment to complete the survey, email it to your members and share it with your partners and stakeholders. Please put the link on your website, social media channels and any other ways you think will help drive traffic to the survey.
A larger sample size means we will paint a much more reflective picture of the economic impacts COVID-19 is having on the front-line and, in turn, a recovery plan that meets those challenges.

Please note the survey will close at 8am on Monday 23rd March so that we can collate and analyze the information before our weekly conference call with Minister MacLeod.


STAKEHOLDER MEETINGS Q & A NOTES  

On Tuesday we held a series of industry stakeholders conference call meetings. They were incredibly well attended, with over 700 different organizations from across the sector and province represented.
Due to the sheer number of questions posted and asked we've tried to collate some notes of the questions asked and the answers given. Please note that with the speed in which the news is moving, some of the details may have now been superseded by current events. You can read and download the Q & A notes  here.  


TIAC LETTER TO FINANCE MINISTER  

Over the weekend we were asked by TIAC to consult you on what steps the Federal Government should take to support the tourism industry. 
Our recommendations were fed into TIAC's recommendations to the Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and you can read it  here.

RESULTS FROM TIAO's FIRST COVID-19 SURVEY - TOP LINE ANALYSIS

The data reported  here  is from a province wide survey that the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) put out from March 12th to March 16th 2020, to measure the impact of COVID-19 containment responses on tourism operations in Ontario. A sincere thank you to all the stakeholders who shared this across your networks, the Regional Tourism Organizations, and of course to the more than 2,000 survey respondents. This data is a crucial part of our communication of evidence driven discussions with government on how to support recovery efforts for our industry.
This analysis is just the beginning. TIAO is in direct and ongoing conversation with Minister MacLeod who is supporting our survey by distributing it across her channels and providing us with direct questions so that we can inform her of the state of our industry. Each week we will look to you, the industry, to lead this conversation on what the economic recovery tools and plans will look like for tourism in Ontario. 

Our Amazing Community
Vintage Hotels  dropped off cases of milk, eggs, produce and more to the YWCA Niagara Region. Their generous donation will give their clients a chance to enjoy healthy meals during this pandemic. This is a great example of our community supporting each other in this challenging time.
Thank you Vintage Hotels!

COVID-19 | Business Resilience 
COVID-19 Update

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. At the time of writing, there are 424 confirmed cases within Canada.
 
Last Friday and in subsequent announcements, the Government of Canada announced a $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund that includes:
  •  $50 million to support the Public Health Agency of Canada’s COVID-19 communications and public education efforts. 
  • $500 million to the provinces and territories for critical health care system needs and to support mitigation efforts as needed.
  • Waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits (for those eligible for EI benefits). 
  • Exploring additional measures to support other affected Canadians, including income support for those who are not eligible for EI sickness benefits.
  • Enhancing the Work-Sharing Program to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing a downturn in business due to COVID-19, doubling the length of time that employers and workers are eligible to the program from 38 to 76 weeks, and streamlining processes so help can be accessed as soon as possible. 
  • $100 million to support federal public health measures such as enhanced surveillance, increased testing at the National Microbiology Laboratory, and ongoing support for preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities. (This is in addition to an initial $50 million that was provided to support the immediate public health response.)
  • $275 million to enhance Canada’s capacity in research and development, including research on medical countermeasures, including antivirals, vaccine development and support for clinical trials (in addition to the recent $27 million announcement to fund coronavirus research in Canada). 
  • $50 million to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support purchases of essential protective medical equipment by the provinces and territories, as well as to address federal needs.
  • $50 million to support the efforts of the World Health Organization and other partners to address the worldwide outbreak and help more vulnerable countries prepare for and respond to the virus. 
Credit Facility Program
There are also a number of government programs currently in place to support business. They are:
As you know, COVID-19 will significantly interfere with normal operations for business, the health care system and the health and well-being of people across Canada and around the world. According to feedback we received from members, the pandemic has also highlighted the fact that many small businesses do not have business continuity plans in place and need tools and resources to help them develop plans.
Where and when appropriate, we will continue to advocate for those policies and measures that businesses require to remain resilient in the face of this unprecedented public health crisis.
While the federal government has announced measures to support employers and employees, we will continue to provide support to businesses and represent their collective voice with government. 

Recommended Policy Measures
Based on input from our members, partner business associations and the broader Canadian business community, to date, we recommended the following measures for governments to implement to support Canadian business through this crisis and ensure a more effective recovery.
  • Deferring tax deadlines, audits and payments (both for individuals and businesses) to both assist with short-term liquidity and allow them to focus on dealing with the pandemic. 
  • Offering flexibility on remittance payments (e.g. consider eliminating interest penalties).
  • Reducing tariffs on essential goods and medical supplies needed to deal with the pandemic. 
  • Building upon previous announced measures to help affected businesses of all sizes access credit and capital swiftly.
  • Helping businesses, SMEs particularly, pay furloughed employees and finance remote work options.
  • Accelerating government payments owed to private sector and non-profit vendors.
  • Postponing government consultations that are not germane to COVID-19 and place a moratorium on the introduction of new regulations and policies that are nonessential to avoid forcing businesses to divert their attention from dealing with the crisis at hand.
  • Providing provisional extensions for temporary foreign workers already in Canada.
  • Identifying and supporting front line workers for essential goods and services.
Pandemic Preparedness For Business. A reminder that we have an online resource for information and tools to support business through the pandemic. This is an interim page until we launch a more comprehensive online hub for information, tools and engagement. Our pandemic preparedness page can be found  here .
 
For those businesses who are still working through preparedness, this landing page provides access to a  Pandemic Preparedness Guide  for Business. 
 
Our Pandemic Preparedness web page   also has a number of other timely resources, including information on webinars you can sign up for.
Update from Johnson Insurance to Its Policyholders
As COVID-19 continues to evolve, our EBS partner Johnson Insurance has important information to share with its policyholders regarding MEDOC travel insurance.