Taking Peterborough's business voice to the provincial level

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is constantly looking to ensure the voice of Peterborough business is heard at the provincial level.  

Over the winter months and continuing throughout the summer months of 2016, the Peterborough Chamber has or will be part of three provincial working groups under the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) examining areas of great importance to Peterborough and the province.  All three subject areas were identified in the Chamber’s Top 10 Opportunities for Peterborough.  They are entrepreneurship, tourism and agriculture.  


The timing is right for entrepreneurship. In Peterborough there has been an intentional and concerted effort to build and create a sustainable ecosystem for startups and new business through the StartUp Ptbo program.  That said, it is important to understand the tools available to business for growth.  Where are the gaps and overlaps?  

Recognizing that this is a Top 10 Opportunity for the Peterborough area, the Chamber was part of a working group examining the issues and helped facilitate feedback via a survey about the needs of entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.  We also connected the OCC with several local businesses for an interview and attended the launch of the resulting report at the Ryerson DMZ. The Breaking Barriers: Ontario’s Scale Up Challenge report presented six recommendations to position Ontario for long-term success including improved access to talent with scale up experience, adressing gaps in the right kinds of financing, and increasing incentives to growth offered through public programs. 

In their 2016 budgets, both the federal and provincial governments mentioned the importance of scaling up to the Canadian and Ontario economies, and according to Statistics Canada small business represents 98% of all firms and created 77.7% of all jobs between 2002 and 2012.  


This sector of our economy is also a staple. Proof is in the numbers recently released by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism (PKT) which show the Peterborough area welcomes 3.45 million visitors annually and that these visitors spend $358 million locally.

The OCC has formed a working group to examine and participate in the provincial discussion around a proposed strategic framework for the tourism sector.  The Peterborough Chamber is once again part of the working group on this matter and work has already begun with a submission to the provincial government on the proposed framework.  Thank you to Brenda Wood at RTO8 and Fiona Dawson at PKT for their information and contributions to this work.  The submission put forward suggestions in five areas including: improving the cumulative burden facing businesses in the tourism sector and improving the coordination of the tourism ecosystem.  


In the Peterborough area agriculture is a key building block of the economy, with over $400 million in economic activity each year, according to Peterborough Economic Development.  Agriculture is also a sector that is changing rapidly with the use of technology and land availability.  How we grow our food, get it ready for market and get it to market are areas of important study.  The Peterborough Chamber is committed to being part of a working group through the OCC that will be releasing a report later this summer focusing on innovation, competitiveness and market development in the agri-food sector. The OCC and the working group are committed to developing recommendations to ensure Ontario producers and processors have the tools and resources they need to continue to innovate and reach emerging markets.  We will be reaching out to our agriculture community for feedback and information on the issues that are impacting the sector. 

The federal and provincial governments have also indicated that agriculture is an important sector. The Premier has made commitments to improve the climate for agri-business and the federal government, in Budget 2016, continued with the Growing Forward 2 program to 2018 as well as $30 million over six years for advanced research in agricultural science. 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of these working groups contributing to the narrative in these sectors.  We look forward to presenting the findings to our member businesses and beyond. 

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