Entries in 2015 (2)


Jobs, jobs, jobs: Federal Election 2015

With most of the candidates in place for the Peterborough-Kawartha, Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and Northumberland-Peterborough South ridings, it’s time to start breaking down the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) 2015 Federal election platform called “A Canada That Wins”.  

In his presentation at the March Peterborough Chamber Annual General Meeting, Hendrik Brakel Senior Director, Economic, Financial & Tax Policy at the CCC spoke to much of what is in the official platform.  As with the provincial election and to an extent the municipal elections in 2014, jobs are quickly becoming a main focus of this campaign. The following is a segment called “5 Minutes for Business:  The Top 3 Issues in the Federal Election – Jobs, Jobs, and Jobs” penned by Brakel.   

"Jobs are always a top issue in a federal election, but with this shaky economy, it’s fast becoming the number one priority. Opposition parties have made much of the recent bad news: in the first quarter, Canada’s GDP shrank by 0.6%, exports tumbled 5.6% and corporate profits fell by 14% as the drop in oil prices slammed the Canadian economy.

And yet the Canadian labour market has held up well, adding an average of 20,000 jobs per month since the beginning of 2015. In fact, Canada added a rip-roaring 59,000 jobs in May. What gives? Where are these jobs coming from in the midst of economic despair?

Our regional differences are as stark as ever. Energyrich provinces once drove job creation while the manufacturing sector of Central Canada lagged behind. Now lower oil prices and a weaker Loonie have flipped the numbers. Still, the outlook is very mixed.

There are now 25,000 fewer jobs in the Alberta oil patch, but there is good reason to believe that the worst is behind us. Firstly, oil prices have stabilized around the $60 range and are headed slightly higher. The market no longer fears a drop to $20 as Citibank had predicted. Secondly, oil sands projects require huge upfront investments, but once those are made, they can go on producing for years with relatively low costs. And they need to keep operating continuously: most can’t be shut down without damaging the equipment. Thirdly, new investments are on-track with 10 new oil sands projects scheduled to start this year and 7 set for 2016 with total capacity over 300,000 barrels per day, according to Oil Sands Review. These are probably safe because once they’re partially paid for, “you don’t stop a project mid-cap-ex”. Some exploration and drilling activity has been scaled back, but job losses should ease.

In manufacturing, the outlook is much improved and the parties have all pledged support for the sector, which is certainly welcome. The challenge is that manufacturers are increasing production by investing in capital and new technologies: they’re becoming more efficient and more competitive. As a result, we’ll see an impressive resurgence in manufacturing and exports, but it may not translate into big job gains.

The political parties are missing the big picture by focusing so much on jobs in manufacturing and natural resources because together they account for just 11% of the labour force. The overwhelming majority (78%) of Canadian employment is in the service sector and recently it’s been the fastest growing part of our economy.

Services are a poorly understood grab bag of different occupations. It’s sometimes perceived as low-paying because it includes retail and restaurants, but there are also scientists, engineers, lawyers and financiers.

Over the past year, Canada’s fastest job growth is in sectors like business and support services (up 4.5% compared to last year), education (up 4.1%), finance and insurance (up 3.5%) and professional, scientific and technical (up 1.7%), while retail has barely budged (0.3%). And the gains in high-end services employment are spread right across the country.

With the election just around the corner, we would love to hear a politician say: “we need highly specialized skills to compete and succeed in the service economy. That’s why we must invest in Canadian education and training to make it the best in the world.”

Our Peterborough Chamber members and members of the public interested in the economy have the opportunity to make their voices heard at a meeting held by the Peterborough-Kawartha federal liberal candidate, Maryam Monsef.  The meeting is Friday, July 24, 2015 from 8-10am at the Holiday Inn.  Liberal MP Ralph Goodale will also be in attendance.  

Also running in the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding are Mike Skinner for the Conservatives and Dave Nickle for the NDP. In Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock running for MP are Jamie Schmale as the Conservative candidate, David Marquis for the Liberals, Mike Perry for the NDP, and William MacCallum for the Green Party. In Northumberland-Peterborough South Adam Moulton is running for the Conservatives, Kim Rudd for the Liberals, Russ Christianson for the NDP, and Patricia Sinott for the Green Party.

For more election information you can check out the Peterborough Chamber’s 2015 Federal Election Hub on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fedelection2015ptbo

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce does not endorse any one candidate, but we encourage and support all candidates, which is the reason for the page. The Chamber works with all elected representatives municipal, provincial and federal. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn. 


Economic Outlook 2015: Strong growth in 2014 means modest growth in 2015

After a strong 2014, economic growth in Peterborough is expected to slow over the next two years, according to a new economic outlook from the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Credit Unions of Ontario.  

Economic conditions in Peterborough exhibited surprising strength last year, as residential and non-residential investment surged and total employment grew by 9 percent. As a result, the unemployment rate dropped slightly in 2014 to 8.3 percent. 

On balance, employment growth is forecast to ease considerably following last year’s strong growth, with forecast gains of 1.0 percent in 2015 and 1.8 percent in 2016. Growth will be underpinned by a general improvement in economic conditions in the province and higher tourism levels. Unemployment is expected to decline slightly to 7.8 percent by 2016. 

According to the outlook, job creation in the area is forecast to record modest growth over the next two years as non-residential construction activity begins to taper off. While the investment flows of previous projects in the broader region should continue to benefit the economy, the value of non-residential building permits is expected to decline this year by about 30 percent before recovering in 2016.

Stronger U.S. demand and a weak Canadian dollar should buoy the region’s manufacturing sector, while tourism-related industries such as accommodations and food services, are expected to benefit from increased visits from outside the region.

“The challenges faced by Peterborough businesses in the past number of years have forced some companies to reach into other segments of the economy to fill in space left by traditional clients”, says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. 

Some recent developments bode well for Peterborough’s future prospects. The new Nordia call centre opened in November 2014 and management plans to hire about 400 people in the first 12 to 18 months of the facility’s operation. Minacs, another call-centre operation in the city, will also be hiring another 60 people in the coming months. In addition, the GE Canada plant in Peterborough has won a tentative contract from TransCanada Corp. to build electric motors for the Calgary-based company’s Energy East pipeline project. The contract win for the plant follows the $65 million modernization of the facility over the past five years and is expected to create 250 jobs at its Peterborough facility and across its local supply chain over a two-year period. 

“It’s anticipated recent and long-term investments in transportation will have a positive economic impact on the Peterborough area”, adds Harrison. “The announcement of the construction of the 407 to the 35/115 expected to start in the fall and further growth at the Peterborough Airport will continue to open Peterborough to new markets and introduce new markets to Peterborough.”

Population growth, which is primarily attributed to net positive flows of people from other parts of the province, is forecast to rise to 0.7 percent in 2016. 

On the housing front, sales in Peterborough are forecast to increase to approximately 1.9 percent in 2016. Demographically driven demand and low interest rates have generated a stable environment for the regional housing market, which should help home prices rise moderately over the forecast horizon. 

Key Facts and Highlights:


  • Population growth, which is primarily attributed to net positive flows of people from other parts of the province, is forecast to rise to 0.7 percent in 2016. With more retired people moving into the area, less interprovincial outflow, and improving employment growth, total net migration is seen rising above 3,000 persons in 2016.
  • Housing sales in Peterborough are forecast to increase to approximately 1.9 percent in 2016. Demographically driven demand and low interest rates have generated a stable environment for the regional housing market, which should help home prices rise moderately over the forecast horizon.
  • Unemployment is expected to decline slightly to 7.8 percent by 2016 compared to 8.3 percent last year. 



 Download the full Economic Outlook  

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.