Last week, we had announcements by the provincial and federal governments that gave hope….and confusion.
The Chamber and the business community welcomed the new $10,000 grant supports announced by the Ontario government. The Ontario Chamber network had advocated for more immediate relief beyond the electricity rate relief and other programs announced previously. And, while we appreciate the government’s responsiveness to our feedback, Chambers are still deeply concerned about those businesses that will be left behind and the confusion over qualifications.
As noted by the Ontario Chamber, “…the grant is too narrow as it only applies to businesses that were required to fully close. It misses those that are at limited capacity or those losing revenue as a result of restrictions affecting their clients (such as food service suppliers). On the other hand, the electricity subsidy is too broad as it will largely benefit ratepayers that are not impacted by current restrictions.”
We continue to lobby for improvements.
The Canadian Chamber Network has played a key role in getting rapid antigen test kits into the hands of local businesses across Canada. Over 175 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been working diligently to help protect workers in local businesses. In Milton, we have distributed approximately 65,000 tests valued at $1.3 million.
But that is not enough. Unfortunately, our supply of rapid test kits was depleted just before the holidays. The surge of Omicron created a surge in demand for test kits.
The Prime Minister recently announced that more rapid test kits are on their way – 140 million tests, in fact. That is welcome news. Now, we need the kits to get to the provincial government so they can continue to utilize our valuable and efficient Chamber distribution channel.
In Milton alone, we have a wait list for about 55,000 tests. We’re told the kits will be sent to us in late January/ early February. Hopefully, the supply we’re given will exceed demand so we can operate into the months ahead.
Shift Back to Virtual
All January events for our Chamber have shifted back to virtual.
Our Sports Celebrity Dinner & Auction, which supports our Chamber Scholarship program, has also been postponed. With the uncertainty of hosting live events in the upcoming weeks, the event has been moved to Tuesday, April 5th. Watch your e-news for updates.