Entries in business (13)

Wednesday
Dec092015

The role of business at a time of giving

In a recent letter to Chambers of Commerce across the country, Canadian Chamber President & CEO Perrin Beatty sums up how business can meet the challenge and contribute to welcoming Syrian refugees. 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is also a member of the Peterborough Immigration Partnership (PIP).  Through PIP, the New Canadians Centre has informed us of their ongoing efforts.  They are currently working with 19 sponsor groups in the City and County of Peterborough and another 18 in municipalities around Peterborough. Three families have already arrived, including one earlier this week.  

A Refugee Resettlement Task Force is in place through the New Canadians Centre. The task force will work at a strategic level, to ensure community collaboration behind the inventory of resources (housing, clothing, medical, etc.) that can be accessed to support refugee resettlement. Information on donation of goods, ways to help and/or volunteer, and how the process works is available on the New Canadians Centre website: www.nccpeterborough.ca

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Thursday
Jul092015

Stats Canada: Business Dynamics Measures released

Statistics Canada: CANSIM Table 527-0001

On June 30, 2015, Statistics Canada released "Business and employment dynamics data at the national level, 2013".  

The report includes a series of charts detailing the number of private sector businesses in Canada from 2009 to 2013, how many businesses were formed and how many disappeared.  In 2013, there were 1,090,500 private sector businesses in Canada - an increase of almost 8,000 over 2012. 

The numbers are also broken down by industry classification and contribution and destruction of employment creation. 

Retail Trade (16.3%), Manufacturing (13.1%) and Accommodation and Food Services (10.1%) made up the largest share of the Canadian economy in 2013. 

The industry to contribute the most to employment creation was Construction at 13.3%, with Retail Trade second and Accommodation and Food Services third.  

Interestingly, those industries also contributed the most to employment destruction.  

Business and employment dynamics data at the national level, 2013

Wednesday
Mar182015

Business barriers or opportunity for innovation?

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2015 version of its Barriers to Competitiveness for Canadian business.  As the issues are identified, recommendations made, and any progress locally is highlighted, the barriers become more like opportunities - opportunities for change and hopefully, improvement in the business climate.  

The goal of the report is simple, “identify and implement real, tangible solutions to break down the barriers to our competitiveness” as laid out by Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber of Commerce President. “And create more opportunities and greater prosperity for Canadian businesses and families.”  

As you’ll see in reading this article there are a number of local initiatives, projects, and organizations such as the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce that are working to turn these current barriers into opportunities.  

Silos in skills development

There are shortages and high demand forecast in a wide range of occupations and Canada is not producing enough graduates with the skills needed for the economy.  The Temporary Foreign Worker Program no longer presents an effective path to meet short-term labour shortages.  As a result stronger efforts are needed to coordinate between education and employment with the help of educators, government and employers (Canadian Chamber, 2015).

To officially break down the silos will require a new way of thinking.  Many have suggested changing the education system to reflect programs and outcomes the economy needs.  Germany has taken this type of approach.  This sort of change also requires a lot of labour market information and data.  The local Workforce Development Board is working on gathering and disseminating such information for the Peterborough area.  The Labour Market Gateway is the start of hard concrete data to inform organizations, educators and employers.  

Entrepreneurs lack capital for Canada’s fastest-growing companies

Access to capital is one of the most critical determinants of competitiveness, especially for start-ups and companies moving from innovation to commercialization.  Consultations with fast growing companies in 2014 revealed that one of the biggest hurdles is securing capital to take their companies to the next level.  Canada’s venture capital (VC) industry is still small compared to larger VC industries in the U.S. (Canadian Chamber, 2015).

Through the actions of a number of organizations from the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster to Peterborough Economic Development to the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (close to half of the
membership is made up of small and medium enterprises) Peterborough has self-identified that entrepreneurship is an area of focus.The local activity in this area is evident from the growth of the Bears’ Lair entrepreneurial competition, the entrepreneurial focus of the Chamber’s 2015 Business Summit, the very active Peterborough Regional Angel Network, and the Conference Board of Canada identifying that the area has the highest number of immigrant entrepreneurs.   One of the main reasons offered by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as to why the VC industry is small is that traditionally Canadians are risk averse.  And yet as each of these activities plays out or receives attention we are helping to knock down and chip away at this barrier.

Canada’s tax system is too complex and costly

The country over-relies on income and profit taxes rather than on taxes on consumption, which are relatively easy to collect and are least harmful to growth.  Canada must undertake a comprehensive review of its tax system with the aim of reducing its complexity and improving the way it raises tax revenue.  To that end one of the recommendations is that the income threshold for the small business tax rate be increased to $1,000,000 from $500,000 (Canadian Chamber, 2015).

Canadian trade is constrained by infrastructure deficiencies 

Public investment in infrastructure has not kept up with Canada’s economic needs and now monetary investment needs far exceed the availability of public funds.  To see the infrastructure system back to a level to support prosperity will require ongoing support from all levels of government, active engagement with private stakeholders and a greater appreciation of the opportunities that a modern public infrastructure could provide (Canadian Chamber, 2015). 

Last summer, the provincial government announced that the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund will be a permanent source of funding for roads, bridges, etc. in small and rural communities.  This is exactly the type of commitment from government that is needed.  However, as the Canadian Chamber and Ontario Chamber have said on this topic, it’s not the only type.  We also need the political will and foresight to recognize a project that will open up opportunities to an area, for example, pushing the 407 out to the 115 or a rail link between Peterborough and the GTA that avoids the 401 corridor.  

Canada is uncompetitive in the world’s tourism sector

Canada has slid from the seventh largest tourist destination in the world to the 18th. The travel and tourism industry is critical to its economy (Canadian Chamber, 2015).

Travel and tourism are a large part of the Peterborough economy, with over 1,000 businesses involved in the industry, employing over 13,000 people (http://tiac.travel/Tourism_Jobs.html).  An opportunity to improve the awareness of the area to a broader audience will be through the Travel Media Association of Canada Conference which will be held in Peterborough and the Kawarthas in June. 

Innovation rate is not sufficient to help manufacturing rebound

A modern manufacturing win is usually the result of a strong commitment to innovation, yet this continues to be a challenge.  Canada is currently ranked 22nd by the World Economic Forum for its capacity for innovation.  The innovation policy framework that exists in Canada is not sufficient to overcome a number of serious barriers for the manufacturing sector (Canadian Chamber, 2015). 

With the commitment to the Innovation Cluster in Peterborough and continued success of an advanced manufacturing sector that has embraced innovation, Peterborough is setting a precedent. The challenges are by no means small, but the help of the federal government is paramount. Manufacturing and innovation are not in isolation from many of the other Top 10 issues in the list. In fact the issue has links to the concerns in skills development, entrepreneurship, the Canadian tax system and infrastructure.  Allowing the companies to have the best climate under which to innovate is paramount.

This discussion centres on issues that have both a federal and local scope.  The goal of the Canadian Chamber report was to “find tangible solutions and opportunities that will lead to prosperity for Canadian businesses and families”.  Doing so will require innovation – a new way of thinking about an on-going challenge, but most importantly creating local solutions.

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Tuesday
Dec162014

Policy Forum 2014: celebrating community to reinvent local democracy

A recent discussion about “Reinventing Local Democracy” at Policy Forum 2014: Connecting the Dots suggests that we should energize democracy through community building.  The discussion participants were participating in the policy forum hosted by the Young Professionals Group (YPG) of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce with about 45 business and community leaders.  The event was held November 27th at the Holiday Inn Waterfront Peterborough.

The policy forum was based on an article by best-selling author, economist, thought leader and current Chancellor of Trent University, Don Tapscott. The article called “As Toronto dithers, Guelph sets sights on 21st century” was first published in the Toronto Star on Friday, October 17, 2014.  It identifies seven key areas for improving a community: 

  • Promoting Entrepreneurship to Achieve Prosperity 
  • Open Government
  • Turning Public Safety Inside Out
  • Rethinking Transportation 
  • Creating a Sustainable City
  • Transforming Social Services
  • Reinventing Local Democracy

So far in this series we have revealed the table discussions on entrepreneurship and open government. Entrepreneurship wrapped up with a call for a coordinated strategy.  Having an official strategy would allow all interest groups to map out a united front on entrepreneurship the community can present to its own residents, the province and beyond. 

Open government made six recommendations in total including two quick wins: 1. Putting the councillor
handbook online as a guide to government for all residents and 2. Use external language vs. internal language to communicate better with residents and businesses. 

Reinventing Local Democracy

The table participants lead by newly-elected councillor Diane Therrien identified the following concerns as
barriers to municipal politics: 

  • a lackluster attitude toward voting and some issues; 
  • trust in government officials 
  • the balance of representation on city council

The group felt the best chance for success was through exercises that engage the community and that build up community spirit. They felt that democracy is about being active – active physically and mentally in the community and identified the following opportunities for Peterborough: 

  1. Parallel council 
    This mock council would be made up of people reflecting all ages and segments of our community and would make “decisions” on the same issues as the elected council.  
  2. Youth
    Taking any and all opportunities to encourage young people to find and pursue jobs and/or careers that are in demand in Peterborough.   
  3. International Students 
    More encouragement and programs to keep Trent University and Fleming College international students in Peterborough 
  4. Continued community dialogue
    This can happen in a variety of ways, according to the group:
    Town Halls: Mayor Daryl Bennett encouraged councillors to take up these kinds of initiatives in his inaugural address to the 2014-2018 council on December 1, 2014.
  • Council meetings outside of council chambers
  • Referendums 
  • Social Media

5. Areas to promote: Trail system, waterway and public square

The table participants felt that continued promotion of these public areas increases a sense of community and the end result of which is a community more in tune and engaged in its local government.

In the article by Chancellor Tapscott he wraps up the “Reinventing Local Democracy” section with a suggestion to move from an “us vs. them” relationship to “we’re in this together.” Interestingly enough, it’s a sentiment gaining ground in Peterborough City and County Councils, and community and business associations such as the Chamber of Commerce as we head into 2015. In the Chamber world, we lobby governments for improvements to the business climate municipally, provincially and federally. To do this we find strength in being the collective voice for our member businesses.  Peterborough, City and County, it seems that the time is ripe for collaboration and energizing democracy in the Peterborough area. 

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber” group of LinkedIn

Wednesday
Dec032014

Increasing Gender Diversity in Corporate Leadership - Press Release Government of Ontario Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The following press release was issued by the provincial government.  Would love your thoughts - "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.  - Sandra

Ontario Securities Law Changes Promote Greater Representation of Women on Boards and in Senior Management

Ontario has taken action to increase the number of women in high-ranking positions in the workforce by approving securities law rule amendments that will encourage greater representation of women on corporate boards and in senior management teams.

In order to promote the inclusion of more women in senior roles, companies will now be required to disclose: 

The number of women on the board and in executive officer positions
Policies regarding the representation of women on the board
The board's or nominating committee's consideration of the representation of women in the director identification and selection process
Director term limits and other mechanisms of renewal of their board

Enforced by the Ontario Securities Commission, the new amendments will promote a proactive approach through a "comply or explain" model rather than prescribed diversity quotas. The rule changes will come into force on Dec. 31, 2014, in time for the required information to be included in 2015 annual reports.

Supporting more executive women in the workforce is part of the government's economic plan for Ontario. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.

QUICK FACTS

The amendments are based on input from a public roundtable and Ontario Securities Commission led consultations with subject matter experts and publicly traded companies listed on the TSX.
Of 448 firms that responded to the survey from the Ontario Securities Commission, 57 per cent have no women directors and 53 per cent have women in less than 10 per cent of their executive officer positions.
Almost 90 per cent of the survey respondents do not publicly disclose the proportion of women employees in the whole organization.
Women make up 48 per cent of the workforce yet account for only about 16 per cent of board members of Canada’s FP500 companies.
Studies by Catalyst Canada, Credit Suisse and McKinsey & Company have found that gender diversity in corporate leadership is linked to improved performance on both financial and non-financial measures. Benefits include strong financial performance, heightened innovation and enhanced client insight.

LEARN MORE

Read the OSC’s report on Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices
Learn about the Ontario Securities Commission
Read the Business Case for Women on Boards


QUOTES

"Enhancing gender representation on companies’ boards and in senior management teams will not only make corporations more productive, it will also help attract new investment and grow our economy. Greater gender diversity on corporate boards will contribute to a stronger Ontario economy."
— Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

"Increasing the number of women in corporate leadership is good for the economy and good for business. Helping women reach their full potential by supporting women in leadership is part of this government’s commitment to creating a strong and fair Ontario and is a critical step towards achieving gender equality across all sectors."
— Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues

"We are delighted that these regulations are now law, and we commend the provincial government for helping put the issue on the front burner. These requirements will push more companies to have the conversations they should be having around board and executive committee diversity and, hopefully, their talent development. Businesses need to tap the full pool of smart, talented people to stay competitive and strengthen our country’s economic future."
— Alex Johnston, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada