Wednesday
Jun152016

Peterborough Chamber submits two policy resolutions for CCC AGM

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) depends on the policy resolutions and recommendations from local chambers and boards of trade, such as Peterborough, to determine advocacy issues important to the business community. 

On the CCC website (chamber.ca), the policy process is described as culminating in a democratic vote on the floor of our annual general meeting (AGM). 

Following approval at the AGM, the CCC, along with our members, can move forward in our advocacy efforts based on the resolutions contained within our Policy Resolutions Books. Each resolution, once approved, has an effective lifespan of three years.

For consideration in 2016, the Peterborough Chamber has submitted the following:  

Advancing Canada's Competitiveness Using Shortline Rail

This resolution asks for capital investment tax incentives for shortline rail companies 

Restoring Canada's Innovative Competitiveness

This resolution asks the federal government to improve the SR&ED tax credits to encourage more private sector innovation

These policy resolutions will now be assessed by the CCC Policy Committees to see if they will be on the floor for debate at the Annual General Meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan in September.

Wednesday
Jun152016

One project in one sector and the economic impact 

“The nuclear sector has been identified as a significant opportunity for the Peterborough area, with over 20 local companies making up a nuclear cluster,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The Darlington Nuclear refurbishment offers the opportunity for local businesses to be a part of the supply chain that will see the project through to completion.”

Recently, the Peterborough and Ontario Chambers of Commerce hosted the Hon. Jeff Leal, MPP of Peterborough, Ontario Power Generation, and local vendors in the nuclear industry including Rolls-Royce and Canadian Instrumentation Services Group Ltd. The goal of the roundtable was to discuss how the Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment project will impact the Peterborough and provincial economies.  

"Refurbishing Darlington is an investment in clean air, in lower energy prices, in jobs, and an important investment in Peterborough,” said Boris Vulanovic, Director Operations & Maintenance at OPG.  “OPG and our suppliers and partners are working as one team to deliver the project safely, on time and on budget." 

Discussion centred around the nuclear supply chain and skilled trades.

 

Wednesday
Jun082016

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.  

Entrepreneurship

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.  

Tourism 

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.  

Agriculture

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. 

Wednesday
Jun012016

Going green takes strategy, cooperation and balance 

We are in the midst of learning about the Government of Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. What we know so far can be found in the Climate Change Strategy, this includes a number of overarching ideas such as:

 

  • Meeting the overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050
  • Cultivating a prosperous low-carbon economy
  • Releasing a detailed five-year action plan with specific commitments to meet the 2020 emissions reduction target, and establish the framework necessary to meet targets for 2030 and 2050. Actions will be implemented after further consultation, where appropriate, and will focus on all areas of the economy, including transportation, buildings, industry, energy, waste, agriculture, forestry, and government. 
  • Introducing a Cap and Trade program to limit greenhouse gas pollution
  • Investing in clean technology 
  • Fostering innovation that supports a low-carbon economy
  • Building green infrastructure

 

Thinking green and climate change isn’t just happening at the provincial level.  Through Sustainable Peterborough’s Climate Change Action Plan program the city, county, townships and First Nations Communities are preparing their own plans to reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.  This week Peterborough City Council discussed their strategic priorities which include four areas of focus, including sustainability.  

Peterborough is in the enviable position of embarking on the Trent Research and Innovation Park project at the right time with the government looking to invest in clean tech companies and innovations.  

While the business community recognizes the need to address climate change, there are concerns about the impact on the economy.  In a letter dated May 12, 2016, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) asked the Minister of 

Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray for a one year delay in the Cap and Trade program to 2018 and for clarity on four main issues:   

 

  1. What will be the economic impact of the cap and trade system?
    The Ontario government has since released an economic analysis from EnviroEconomics that states the Cap and Trade impact on the provincial GDP in 2020 would be equivalent to a drop in growth of 0.03%.
  2. How will Cap and Trade revenue be invested and administered?
    $1.9 billion in revenues is projected to come to the province through the program and a good portion of that should be designated to helping businesses transition.
  3. How, and when, will offsets be available?
  4. What will the Cap and Trade system look like after 2020? 

 

Measures around climate change are not happening in isolation from other measures that will increase the cost of doing business for businesses.  So, when we learn the details of the Climate Change Action Plan from the government, recognizing the need to help businesses transition is the key to success. 

Cap and Trade regulation comes into effect July 1, 2016 with reporting not required until January 1, 2017. 

Wednesday
May252016

Taking care of tourism is important for Peterborough

Tourism is a pillar of the Peterborough economy.  Over 1,000 businesses are directly involved in this sector, employing over 13,000 people in the Peterborough and Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, Brock ridings, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.   At the recent Annual General Meeting for Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism, Director of Tourism and Communications Fiona Dawson offered the following details:  

  • 3.45 million visitors annually, representing 57% of all visits to Region 8 in the province
  • Those visitors spent $358 million in the local economy
  • Most visitors are spending their time here on outdoor activities, checking out parks and historic sites

The spotlight will continue to shine on tourism as the province of Ontario is working toward developing a new strategic framework for this sector. The past few years have been challenging after the federal budget for tourism promotion was cut by 20% in 2013.  

Knowing that the Ontario tourism industry is a “critical economic driver”, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has made a submission to the provincial government with some initial feedback in five areas:

 

  1. Where possible, steps should be taken to reduce the cumulative burden experienced by tourism operators  As tourism crosses many ministries of government effort must be made to create a regulatory environment that is conducive to business growth.
  2. Improved coordination in Ontario’s tourism ecosystem is needed, especially to maximize the impact of scarce marketing resources  Strategic marketing is needed to minimize duplicative or contradictory efforts because marketing is an essential component of tourist attraction and growth.
  3. Greater cooperation between the provincial and federal governments should be a priority How can Ontario leverage the efforts of the federal government to grow the tourism market in this province?
  4. Invest in trade-enabling infrastructure to facilitate greater travel within Ontario and internationally  Such investments in road, air and rail will make tourism destinations more accessible for tourists.
  5. Outcomes of the strategic framework should be clearly defined and monitored Develop clearly defined and quantifiable targets to reach within a specific time frame to help determine the success of the new framework. 

 

Over the next few months the OCC will be writing a more “substantive work on the steps needed to be taken to grow and support tourism in the province.”  The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce will be part of the OCC’s working group on the report to be released in the fall.  

We also attended the province's consultation session on the proposed framework in April.   

If you are in the tourism sector and would like to provide feedback, reach us at:
sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca

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