Partners of the Our Restaurants Campaign are sharing their perspectives and insights on the issues facing the industry. Alexandra Cioppa provided the following story about “Tre Mari Italian Bakery” a Toronto bakery she frequented growing up. 

She writes: “Prior to COVID-19, Tre Mari’s team consisted of 30 – 35 employees (which included bakers, front of house, pastry chefs, and cake decorators). The Tre Mari space featured a small indoor sit down area in addition to a small outdoor patio, a hot food counter, a bakery counter, and a grocery section with an antipasto bar, freshly baked breads, and Italian pantry staples. 

When lockdown orders came down in Ontario, Tre Mari shut their downs. However, all was not lost. Receiving messages from regulars inquiring about delivery pushed them to start taking orders. 

Three days after closing up shop, Tre Mari began to take orders online, using Instagram to highlight their offerings and spread awareness. Through Instagram, the team was able to quickly and easily communicate with consumers and answer any questions. They launched free home delivery in the local area (executed in house by the core team) and within three days, were able to deliver a customer’s order. Tre Mari brought their signature cannolis, Italian buns, and prepared foods directly to consumers’ doors. 

Spending decades building this relationship with the neighbourhood meant that throughout quarantine, Tre Mari found incredible and immense support from the community which helped carry them through this uncertain and precarious time. The foodservice industry has been devastated by COVID-19, and while affected by the pandemic, Tre Mari has been able to grow and evolve – something that many larger operations have been unable to do.

Read the full story here.

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The Ontario government is reducing limits on the number of people permitted to attend unmonitored and private social gatherings across the entire province. 

“Over the past several days, we have seen alarming growth in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province,” said Premier Ford. “Clearly, the numbers are heading in the wrong direction. That’s why we are taking decisive action to lower the size of the unmonitored private social gatherings in every region of Ontario”. 

Unmonitored and private social gatherings include functions, parties, dinners, gatherings, BBQs or wedding receptions held in private residences, backyards, parks, and other recreational areas.

The new limit on the number of people allowed to attend private social gatherings is:

  • 10 people at an indoor event or gathering (previous limit was 50)
  • 25 people at an outdoor event or gathering (previous limit was 100). 

*indoor and outdoor events cannot be merged together.

For additional protection, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smartphone from the Apple and Google Play app stores.

To read the full news release, click here.

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A floating trash can installed in the St. Clair River at Sarnia Bay Marina is part of a wider effort to clean up the Great Lakes. 

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Project involves two innovative projects targeting plastic litter in the Great Lakes and the loss of valuable materials to landfills in Ontario.

NOVA Chemicals is making a $200,000 commitment to become the lead corporate sponsor of the project. 

Mark Fisher, President and CEO of the Great Lakes Region Council said the funding will help with the installation of 25 Seabin skimmers in system waterways by season’s end. 

The project will help us understand the plastic pollution problem in the Great Lakes, but more importantly, the pathways and how we stop plastics from entering the environment, adding, we need to create a more circular economy and stop the take, make, dispose kind of model.

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This article was prepared by Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS):

Epidemiologists warn a second wave of COVID-19 may be inevitable, but the severity could depend on how ready we are. 

“Now is the time for workplaces to take action,” says Stephen Shaw, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services’ Director of Integrated Operations. “The goal is to help you pivot quickly — keeping your employees healthy, and ensuring your workplace continues operating.”

Stephen offers 12 suggestions as a possible plan of action. You can expand on or customise them to reflect your workplace requirements.

  1. Review your response to COVID-19 so far. What worked well? What could you have done differently? For instance, could decision-making and implementation proceed more quickly? Are employees and customers following your COVID-19 precautions? If not, what’s stopping them?
  2. If you haven’t conducted a thorough COVID-19 hazard assessment, do it now. Are the new hazard control measures working? Could new measures implemented since the outbreak began have introduced new hazards? 
  3. Integrate new COVID-19 policies and procedures into your established policies and procedures (e.g., first aid, travel, working from home, sick leave, housekeeping, etc.).
  4. Draw up contingency plans for a possible return to a lower stage of opening — even a full lockdown.
  5. Keep your emergency contact list up to date. Include alternative contact methods.
  6. Record contact information for all visitors for contact tracing purposes. 
  7. Continue monitoring COVID-19 in your area so you know what stage your region is in and how the pandemic is trending. How would a change affect your customers and suppliers? 
  8. Ensure you have enough PPE and other supplies on hand in the event of a second wave. Line up preferred suppliers now.
  9. Keep employees engaged in minimizing COVID-19 hazards. Rotating members on your COVID-19 recovery team, increasing the frequency of joint health and safety committee inspections, and creating an ideas incubator are just three possibilities.
  10. Up your efforts to minimize employee stress and anxiety. The risk of burnout and other mental health issues will only increase. What can you do to minimize this risk? For example, have you surveyed employees to assess anxiety levels and identify issues (e.g., “Have you had sufficient training to interact safely with customers and co-workers? Do you feel you have the right PPE? Do you have child care or elder care issues?”).
  11. Consider your options for continuing or restarting health and safety training, including orientation training if you are hiring new employees or bringing employees back after an extended period away from the workplace.
  12. Promote flu vaccinations to keep employees healthy and away from emergency departments. If a second wave coincides with flu season, more employees may be off work, and for longer periods.
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The Conference Board of Canada’s Economist Anna Feng offers the following insights on today’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) Data. 

  • The year-over-year growth in the Consumer Price Index edged up 0.1 per cent in August, matching the increase in July.
  • The surge in world coronavirus cases last month has slowed down the path of economic recovery, thus weakening global demand for oil. As a result, gasoline prices declined 0.8 per cent in August compared to July, following three consecutive months of rapid growth. This leaves gas prices 11.1 per cent lower than where they stood a year-ago. Excluding gasoline prices, inflation was up 0.6 per cent in August on a year-over-year basis.
  • As tourism activities remained in the doldrums, prices for air transportation (down 16.0 per cent) and traveller accommodations (down 25.4 per cent) further dropped in August, both weighing heavily on CPI growth last month.
  • As we expected, businesses have started to transfer some of the extra costs related to health and safety measures to consumers through price increases. For instance, prices for personal care services rose 7.2 per cent in August compared to a year-ago. In the coming months, cost-push price hikes are expected. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the price of jewelry skyrocketed (up 9.9 per cent monthly) in August, resulting from record high gold prices amid economic uncertainties.
  • The average of the Bank of Canada’s three measures of core inflation inched up 1.7 per cent in August, moving closer to the Bank’s 2.0 target.
  • Overall, August’s 0.1 inflation reflects weak consumer demand and suppressed oil prices. Out of the eight major components of the CPI basket, prices for clothing, transportation and recreation were lower than their level a year ago. Nevertheless, we expect more businesses to start passing additional COVID-19 safety-related costs down to consumers. This will continue to be a source of upward pressures on prices in the near term.
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The Safe Restart Agreement (SRA) is a federal investment of more than $19 billion to help provinces and territories safely restart their economies and make our country more resilient to possible future surges in cases of COVID-19. 

Federal efforts will focus on seven priorities to address Canadians’ immediate needs within the next 6 to 8 months. 

Priorities to safely restart Canada’s economy:

  1. Testing, contact tracing, and data management
  2. Health care system capacity
  3. Vulnerable populations
  4. Municipalities
  5. Personal protective equipment for health and non-health workers
  6. Childcare for returning workers
  7. Pan-Canadian sick leave

To learn more about the Safe Restart Agreement, click here.

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Rayond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility announced that the Ontario government is providing $467,500 to the Older Adult Centres’ Association of Ontario (OACAO) to administer the new Senior’ Centre Without Walls Micro-Grants program and other capacity building initiatives.

The funding will support a broad range of seniors’ organizations and help people stay connected to their communities through telephone-based social and educational programs. 

“Our government is committed to ensuring that our seniors have the support and resources they need to maintain their health, wellbeing, and a good quality of life” Minister Cho says. 

This program will help organizations deliver remote teleconference programming to meet the unique needs of older adults in Indigenous and Francophone communities, as well as seniors living in rural and remote areas of the province. 

To learn more about this government initiative, click here.

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