Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce COVID-19: Update
Dear TDCC Members ,

We have been carefully monitoring of the COVID-19 issue. The health, safety, and well-being of our staff, members and community are of the utmost importance to us. We have therefore made some changes to how we work until the public health risk related to COVID-19 reduces.

Our office will be closed until further notice. We have decided to opt for virtual meetings and suspend in-person activities for the time being. This means we are suspending outside visitors to our offices and we will not participate in in-person events or activities. We will, of course, continue to assess this position based on the best advice of public health officials and partners.

The Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce is deeply committed to providing the highest levels of service to all our members and these changes only reflect how we work. Our services to our members, availability, and responsiveness remain unchanged. We will continue to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 closely and work with our members, partners and all levels of government to provide support to local business.

We are all in this together.
 
Tell us how we can best support you. We are taking concerns from the business community and communicating them to all levels of government. On March 18, Hon. Victor Fedeli, Minister of Economic, Job Creation and Trade, will join the Ontario Chamber Network conference call to share the latest information on what the Government of Ontario is doing to address the concerns of business and employees. The Minister is interested in hearing the key concerns and asks of you, our business members.

We are also preparing a business continuity toolkit which includes prevention techniques to limit the spread of disease and an explanation of legislation governing business continuity and staffing obligations.
 
Please contact  Brittany Van Den Brink , Policy & Communications Coordinator, with any issues you are currently facing due to challenges related to COVID-19. She will communicate with our counterparts at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce, who will in turn work closely with our government partners to ensure your voice is heard.

If your company is working on any pandemic related initiatives to support public health efforts or your employees, please also let Brittany know.

If you or your employees are experiencing symptoms, we encourage local businesses to heed expert advice and not overwhelm our medical system. The COVID-19 self assessment tool  can be used if you are experiencing symptoms. Our emergency rooms should not be used as a first response. The Ontario Ministry of Health is asking the public to first contact  Telehealth Ontario  or their local public health unit if individuals are experiencing symptoms.

A Note on Non-Essential Travel 
The Governments of Canada and Ontario have advised to avoid non-essential travel outside of Canada until further notice.
 
Many countries have put in place travel or border restrictions and other measures such as movement restrictions and quarantines. Airlines have cancelled flights. Additional screening measures are being implemented at airports. While Canada has not closed its borders, new restrictions may be imposed with little warning. For more information, please see:  https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories .

Local Response
The Town of Tillsonburg is continuing to take action in response to the spread of COVID-19 in Canada. It is continually reviewing its business practices to help minimize the risk of infection in our community, in conjunction with the regional health authorities. This includes facility closures and program cancellations. Updates can be accessed here .

Southwestern Public Health has also issued the following documents:


Government of Ontario Response 
The Government of Ontario has announced it will introduce legislation that will include protected leave and remove the requirement for employees to obtain sick notes prior to taking time off for self-isolation or quarantine.

Further, as of tod ay, March 17, the Government Government of Ontario announced that it is taking decisive action by making an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. In doing so, Ontario is using every power possible to continue to protect the health and safety of all individuals and families.

As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, the following establishments are legally required to close immediately:
  • All facilities providing indoor recreational programs;
  • All public libraries;
  • All private schools as defined in the Education Act;
  • All licensed child care centres;
  • All bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery;
  • All theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and
  • Concert venues.

Further, all organized public events of over fifty people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.

Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to the province’s announcement today introducing further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

“Public health and safety are priorities for us all. We welcome the Government of Ontario’s further measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Today’s measures will affect our members and their families in every corner of the province: we are in this together and all have a part to play to protect employees and safeguard public health.

We call on all levels of government to implement measures to support small business owners who are most vulnerable at this time.”

The March 25 provincial budget will be reduced to a fiscal update with the full budget to be released at a later date. 
 
Government of Canada Response 
In response to Prime Minister Trudeau's statement March 16, to close the border to most foreign nationals, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement:

“The Canadian Chamber supports the government’s efforts to ensure the continued flow to trade and commerce while implementing measures to restrict travel from non-residents." ... Read more .

Last week, the Government of Canada  announced  $10 billion available through the Credit Facility Program to the BDC and EDC for Canadian businesses. This is in addition to the $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund  announced  on March 11 th .
 
In addition, the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions  announced  it is lowering the Domestic Stability Buffer by 1.25%. This means an increase of lending capacity, resulting in an additional $300 billion for bank loans.
 
The House of Commons and Senate and their related committees will adjourn until mid-April. They will continue to work virtually to take additional actions and may be recalled together on an emergency basis as required.
 
We will continue to provide updates as they become available and please let us know how else we can support you.

Suzanne Renken, CEO
Tillsonburg District Chamber of Commerce