Entries in business (13)

Thursday
Oct022014

For business, cameras make sense

It’s not just an election issue, it’s not just a downtown issue… it’s a business issue. Video surveillance has a place in the business community. In Peterborough, the issue of cameras has sparked a lot of discussion over the past decade. Locally, business owners who have put in cameras believe it increases the chances of catching someone damaging property or involved in a theft. Businesses would also be able to help police with an investigation. They view it as another way to protect their investment and the people they employ. 

“The Chamber had its own incident to deal with recently,” says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO of the Chamber. “And we believe that cameras could have helped police solve a crime and further protect a community heritage building.” 

Business owners care about the communities in which they operate. However, the reality is that businesses are constantly treading a line between operating an economic enterprise which helps fuel the economy of their community and being part of the front line to social issues such as poverty, addiction and unemployment. This is true whether a business exists in a downtown area or a business corridor. 

The incident at the Chamber led to correspondence with Peterborough Lakefield Police around processes and what can be done to ensure safety. As a 

result, the Chamber is wholeheartedly in favour of a working group to come up with ideas to improve the city for all residents as suggested by Inspector Dan Smith. “There are no simple solutions and we all must work collaboratively to deal with these problems,” he stated in an email. “Every enforcement initiative we undertake just displaces the activity to another location and doesn't provide a permanent solution. I would like to form a working group of interested persons to see if we can come up with some ideas.” 

The number of businesses choosing to set up cameras is gaining momentum for a variety of reasons. It’s a move the Chamber encourages for several reasons. First, protection of a significant monetary and human capital investment. Second, the ability to help law enforcement should the need arise. 

Global research firm IHS, stated in a press release in January of this year, “The worldwide market for video surveillance equipment is expected to expand by more than 12 percent this year. Revenue in 2014 is expected to rise to $15.9 billion, up from $14.1 billion in 2013.” 

And it’s not just large corporations making the investment. A Globe and Mail article from October 2012 indicates “a significant portion of this growth will be the small to medium-sized business market.” The author of the article Robert Moore goes on to say, “There are many reasons for a company to invest in surveillance technology: staff safety, to deter crime, monitor traffic and improve operations.” 

There is another side to the story and it involves privacy. Do cameras in/on a business invade an individual’s privacy? The easy answer is no. However, when it comes to privacy issues employers must adhere to the Personal Information Protectionand Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). This is federal legislation that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is aware of the trend, recognizing that, “as technology has evolved and costs have fallen dramatically, video surveillance is increasingly accessible to a large range of organizations.” 

That being said, the Privacy Commissioner wants businesses to know that privacy laws do still apply and has put together the following list as a way of guiding businesses. 

10 things to do when considering, planning and using video surveillance:  

  • Determine whether a less privacy-invasive alternative to video surveillance would meet your needs. 
  • Establish the business reason for conducting video surveillance and use video surveillance only for that reason. 
  • Develop a policy on the use of video surveillance. 
  • Limit the use and viewing range of cameras as much as possible. 
  • Inform the public that video surveillance is taking place. 
  • Store any recorded images in a secure location, with limited access, and destroy them when they are no longer required for business purposes. 
  • Be ready to answer questions from the public. Individuals have the right to know who is watching them and why, what information is being captured, and what is being done with recorded images. 
  • Give individuals access to information about themselves. This includes video images. 
  • Educate camera operators on the obligation to protect the privacy of individuals. 
  • Periodically evaluate the need for video surveillance.  

These guidelines are not meant to dissuade a business but make them aware of the issues around privacy that could be questioned. 

Even ten years after the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/ Ontario completed a Privacy Review on “Video Surveillance Programs in Peterborough” (December 2004) there are questions about privacy. The report mainly focused on municipal cameras in public places. However, there was attention paid to private businesses installing cameras. Concerns included would cameras be pointed to a public street and if a number of businesses install them does that become a cohesive system? 

Done right, with customer awareness and measures to ensure security of the video, cameras in a business have the ability to protect the business owner and potentially solve a crime -- all in a day’s work. 

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Oct012014

Peterborough Chamber helps set federal policy agenda for business

Incoming 2015 Board Chair Pat Marren of Glenn Windrem Trucking (right) and Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Stuart Harrison voting during the policy plenary at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Charlottetown, PEI. 

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and delegates from chambers across the country debated 72 policy resolutions.  Those that were carried become part of the federal policy agenda for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC).  

Along with a dozen other Ontario Chambers, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce lent its direct support to a policy resolution calling on the government to undertake an expedient review of the full impact that competitor jurisdictions' business attraction efforts are having on Canada's economy.  This would be done in co-ordination with businesses and chambers of commerce from across Canada and examine the impact in terms of both GDP losses and job losses.

"This is what we call the Parliament of Business," explains Stuart Harrison, Chamber President & CEO. "By discussing these issues and voting on policy resolutions chambers across the country collectively begin to speak with one very strong voice."

What this means for our members: 

The CCC will present the policies to federal government officials, meet with representatives and make known the position of local chambers on issues important to the business community.

At the 2014 AGM those asks were: 

  • improving the innovation climate through tax incentives and revising current programs to help SMEs and larger innovators
  • improving labour market information availability
  • removing interprovincial trade barriers
  • investigating the importance of effective child care in relation to number of spaces and cost
  • improving the newly-redesigned Temporary Foreign Worker Program
  • improving productivity for Canadian companies through tax incentives, subsidies and grants
  • improving some of the requirements for business to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) 
 

 

Thursday
Sep252014

Taking care of the "Parliament of Business"

As chambers come together in the home of Confederation, Charlottetown, PEI for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM, they will not only reconnect but participate in spirited debate and development of policy resolutions. The delegates are aware of the ability of our Founding Fathers to look beyond their own borders to see the possibility and strength of Canada as a whole. 

The core purpose of a chamber is to improve the business community within our own municipalities, regions, provinces, territories and country. It is a privilege to be part of this process. The purpose of this meeting is not to pit one part of the country against another, but to develop solid policy resolutions for the greater good of the entire nation. If the past years have taught us anything, it’s that moving forward as one is much more powerful than going it alone. Ideas and policies developed in various corners of Canada must become our collective policies, ones that we as a group stand behind, promote and use at any given opportunity to foster discussion. 

We can be the best wordsmiths, the best researchers, and the best at debating amongst ourselves, but if our voice isn’t strong enough or isn’t used at all then our efforts for change will fall short. Trade, export/import, hydro rates, minimum wage, taxes, red tape, start-up 

capital, EI, pension plans, pressure from the United States, the dollar - any business in Canada, from the smallest to the largest, can add commentary to any of these issues. Currently, there are chamber network policy resolutions being presented to provincial governments on these issues and now we will be setting the agenda to move forward at the federal level. Lobbying for a welcoming and investment-worthy business climate that creates jobs and encourages business expansion in each province and territory makes for a strong Canada. It is also a way for business to give back to its home communities. 

The obligation of conference delegates is to ensure the chamber network and its push for policy improvement continues to matter. It is in this way that we write the script that becomes the Voice of Business for Canada. 

This is what Peterborough Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stuart Harrison, volunteer in-coming Board Chair Pat Marren and myself will be partaking in come this weekend at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM in Charlottetown, PEI. 

It’s fitting that this process is happening in PEI as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference. That meeting of 23 delegates from the Maritime Provinces and the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) was where the concept of confederation was formed. Canada would become a nation less than three years later on July 1, 1867 (http:// pei2014.ca/history_pg1). 

It's also a significant anniversary for the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce that is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in Peterborough. "The Chamber has been supporting the business community since 1889 with one core business," explains Bob Doornenbal, 2014 Board Chair and Director Franchise Sales & Marketing, Driving Miss Daisy. "That has been turned into our Vision Statement - Channeling the collective strength of the business community." 

In part, that is done through the policy process. This year, 69 policy resolutions and at least double that in the number of actionable recommendations to the federal government will be on the floor. Topics for the "Parliament of Business" include Finance and Taxation (16), Transportation and Infrastructure (10), Environment and Natural Resources (8), Human Resources (15), Industry (7), International Affairs (9), and Special Issues (4). 

From the list of 69 resolutions here are nine that standout: 

  1. Small Business Deductions 
  2. Ensuring Viability and Safety in Our National Airport System 
  3. A Climate Change Adaption Strategy for Canada 
  4. Temporary Foreign Worker and Skills Gap issues 
  5. Innovation Box Regime for Canada and Technovation: a shift in philosophy, an investment in Canada’s future 
  6. Recognizing and devising strategies to counteract the generous incentives offered by competitor jurisdictions 
  7. Improving regulatory processes to support the growth of Agri-business 
  8. Leveraging CETA to eliminate interprovincial trade barriers 
  9. Reforming Canada’s Child Care Plan 
  10. Reinstate the Canadian mandatory long-form census 

Policies are made through government legislation and are the framework within which business must operate. We are constantly striving for good, effective policy that makes being in business easier. It’s not an easy subject to wade through on your own, but as part of the Chamber network your business has a champion. 

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber” group of LinkedIn. 

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