Entries in economy (13)


CCC: What does 2015 hold for Canadian Growth?

Article By: Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director Economic, Finance & Tax Policy, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Since the Bank of Canada lowered interest rates as “insurance” against the risk of a sharper downturn, many have been asking: How long will it take for the fall in oil prices to impact the broader economy and how severe will the slowdown be? What will it mean for Canadian business? 

Canada’s fourth-quarter GDP growth came in at a brisk 2.4%, which looks pretty good, but when we examine where the growth came from, there is cause for concern. Household consumption was OK, but exports and business investment both declined. Instead, you can see in the adjacent graph that the biggest contributor, accounting for three quarters of the rise in GDP is inventories. 

A sharp rise in inventory can be caused by businesses stocking up in anticipation of stronger sales in the future or, alternatively, if a sharp deterioration in demand leaves unwanted stock. What’s the likelihood that business was stocking up in anticipation of a bonanza at the end of 2014? Not very good. Instead, we’ve heard anecdotally that companies in the oil patch were hit with a particularly sharp drop in sales, and the concerns are broad-based with the auto sector accounting for a big part of rising inventories. 

There are three reasons we’re expecting a significant slowdown in Canada. Firstly, the big declines in capital expenditure have not yet been seen in the broader economy. Remember that oil prices remained above $75 until the middle of November and only fell into the $50 range in December. There were many announcements of cutbacks at the end of 2014 but these will not be seen in operations on the ground until the first half of 2015, a point confirmed by many service providers in the energy industry. 

Secondly, consumption looks soft as retail sales fell by 1.7% in January, signs that consumers are staying home. Also, that big boost from inventories will reverse and become negative in the quarters ahead as the closures of Target, Mexx, Jacob and Sony subtract billions from the inventory tally this year. 

Thirdly, it is true that many manufacturing industries are seeing a boost in sales from the weaker loonie and a stronger U.S. economy. Canada’s auto sector and aerospace industry exports have been particularly stellar. However, oil and gas accounts for 24% of Canadian exports, and those prices have fallen by half. It will take a long time before manufacturing can compensate for a 12% hit to Canadian exports. 

Canada’s domestic economy has a hit a soft patch, so we should be braced for bad news in the first half of 2015. Overall GDP growth should come in around 1.8% this year, and Canadian businesses will have to focus more than ever on exports if they want to maintain the strong growth rates we’ve seen. In the meantime, it looks like we may need that insurance. 


What business needs to know about the Canadian economy

On Friday, March 27th, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce held its 126th Annual General Meeting with about 45 members at the Holiday Inn Peterborough Waterfront.   Along with approving the actions of the Board of Directors and financial statements for 2014, the attendees heard from Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Senior Director of Economic, Financial & Tax Policy Hendrik Brakel.  

Brakel broke down the current state of the Canadian economy from the impact of the US economic recovery to oil to Canadian household debt. 

“Business investment and exports are how the Canadian economy will grow in the near future,” he told the crowd.  “Ontario will be leading the way on both of those fronts for Canada.” 

Oil prices will rebound, Canadian interest rates will remain low and we will see emerging markets slowing their growth compared to recent trends.  One word of caution from Brakel was that the Canadian consumer needs to take a break and start paying down debt. 

Brakel also spoke about the upcoming federal election and on which issues the CCC will be focusing.  

"Identifying the needs of businesses across the country is the first step," says Brakel.  "We know what businesses need to be effective: people, capital, technology and innovation, access to markets and an efficient regulatory environment."

From that the issues flow. The Temporary Foreign Worker file has been a struggle for certain industries since the new rules came into effect last June.  There will be a push for a better approach to environmental regulations and ways to manage our natural resources, along with addressing the skills gap in the labour market, improving access for Canadian goods in new markets and creating a climate for innovation and technology.



Planting the seeds of a diverse Peterborough economy

Peterborough has a solid and balanced economy based on the four identified pillars of Agriculture & Rural Development, Innovation, Manufacturing & Small Business, and Tourism (Peterborough Economic Development Strategic Plan).  On top of that are all of the sports and cultural events which perhaps have far more impact than may be realized.  

An often asked question is “What is the economic impact of (insert festival, tournament, parade here)?” Throughoutthe year Peterborough is host to a number of annual events that are making a large economic impact.  In January, the Peterborough Liftlock Atom Hockey Tournament, a Midget Hockey Tournament and the Reframe Film Festival happen and between the end of June and the end of August it's Peterborough Musicfest.  These are just a few to use as examples in this article, but we recognize that there are dozens more from the Under the Lock Tournament to the Folk Festival and the Hunter Street Hootenanny.  There are probably also some in the works as well.     

So what does it all mean in dollars and cents?

The Liftlock Atom Hockey Tournament has contributed over $10.5 million to the Peterborough community in the past decade alone.

“In 2014, 106 teams participated, with approximately 4 – 5,000 volunteers, players and parents involved overall,” Dan McNamee, Tournament Chair and Mobile Business Development Representative with Kawartha Credit Union told us. “It breaks down to around $600 per participant.”

Hotel rooms are also hard to come by during a tournament weekend.  One hotelier and Chamber member said that “between the Liftlock Atom Tournament and the Midget Tournament in January they can realize up to $45,000 for their business.”  And those are not the only tournaments. Between September and December there were at least five tournaments in Peterborough dedicated to Canada’s official winter sport.  The hoteliers agree that the tournaments are positive economic boosters in that, restaurants, shops and gas stations also reap the benefits.  “There are far reaching ripple effects with these kinds of events.” Many of the hotel managers also felt that the hockey tournament market is a segment of the economy that is growing for Peterborough.

In 2012, the Reframe Film Festival had a monetary showing of almost $585,000. Organizers of the 2015 Reframe Film Festival expected anywhere from 15-17,000 people to take in the films over the three day festival.  Add to that more than 4,500 in local students attending sessions through the schools. “23 per cent of the viewing audience for Reframe travels from more than 100 kilometres away,” says Krista English, Festival Director. “There are many who choose to stay overnight adding to the economic impact.”

Peterborough and the Kawarthas Tourism statistics show that the average spend per person visiting the area is $104, the average overnight spend is $154 and the average spend per person per day is $64.

In 2010, Peterborough Musicfest had delivered an economic impact to the tune of $4.8 million (Vital Signs 2014, CFGP).  Organizers are hoping to complete another economic analysis this year.  The lineup is expected to be released in mid-April.  Last year, 93,000 people took in a Musicfest concert.  

And it’s not only tournaments and festivals that are making an impact.  In a presentation to Peterborough County Council, Executive Director Richard Tucker told council the Canadian Canoe Museum generates about a $9 million economic impact and provides about $2.3 million in tax revenue.  

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce makes these economic and cultural connections as City Council currently contemplates at least two new arenas.  Perhaps we should be thinking about a large multi-purpose facility that allows for more sporting and cultural events such as tournaments, conventions and festivals. 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.     

**Editor's Note: After deadline numbers came in from the Under the Lock Tournament which had 1714 families from out of town.  The food per person per day spend was $27.50.  There were 714 hotel stays overnight at an average of $125/night and about 3/4 of the participants needed to stop for gas.  Over $8000 given back to the committee to breakdown the barrier to play amature hockey in our local area.



Enhancing competitiveness and job creation is the focus of a business-driven economic agenda for Ontario  

The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to release Emerging Stronger 2015.  This is the fourth edition of the document which is a business-driven economic agenda for Ontario.  

The report identifies the immediate steps that government and the private sector must take to enhance Ontario’s economic competitiveness and spur job creation in the province including:

  • Make Ontario’s regulatory system more open and responsive
  • Develop a targeted and coherent intergovernmental strategy for Ontario’s manufacturing sector
  • Modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship system and the regulation of skilled trades
  • Ease the fiscal burden on municipalities by fixing outdated labour legislation
  • Provide information and support to enable Ontario businesses to take full advantage of the Canada-E.U. Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA)
  • Mitigate the impact of pension reform on the business climate 
  • Bend the electricity cost curve

 “The recommendations in Emerging Stronger 2015 speak directly to issues affecting Peterborough businesses”, says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “They encourage improvements for the manufacturing and trades sectors, as well as changes to the regulatory framework for business and the interest arbitration and tendering processes for municipalities.

The Emerging Stronger brand is based on five priorities: 

  1. Fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader
  2. Building a 21st century workforce
  3. Restoring fiscal balance by improving the way government works
  4. Taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy
  5. Identifying, championing, and strategically investing in our competitive advantages in the global economy

Thanks to our research partners, the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto and Leger Marketing.

Find the full report here: Emerging Stronger 2015

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.



Policy Forum 2014: we all have a role to play in public safety

“Turning Public Safety Inside Out” was the topic of a table discussion at Policy Forum 2014: Connecting the Dots.  The event organized by the Young Professionals Group of the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce saw about 45 participants talking about Peterborough, its strengths and setting goals for the future.

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: 

  1. Promoting Entrepreneurship to Achieve Prosperity 
  2. Open Government
  3. Turning Public Safety Inside Out
  4. Rethinking Transportation 
  5. Creating a Sustainable City
  6. Transforming Social Services
  7. Reinventing Local Democracy

So far in this seven-part series we have revealed the table discussions on entrepreneurship, open government and reinventing local democracy.

Entrepreneurship wrapped up with a call for a coordinated strategy.  Having an official strategy would allow all interest groups to map out the united front on entrepreneurship the community wants to present to its own residents, the province and beyond. 

Open government revealed 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. 

The discussion around reinventing local democracy led to a call for community-building activities, such as a parallel council and highlighting Peterborough’s community areas to continue to engage all residents. 

Turning Public Safety Inside Out

Led by Peterborough Police Inspector Dan Smith the group discussed responsibilities within the public safety realm and how a community can work together.  

First off the group discussed what is currently happening in Peterborough with regard to public safety.   

  • Crime rates in Peterborough overall were down in 2014 after a slight increase in 2013.  The group felt that Peterborough is a larger city with a small town feel; for the most part our neighbourhoods are safe; and both post-secondary institutions have positive and safe reputations.  
  • They identified that some areas, mainly the downtown core, are also fighting the perception of crime.  The group feels fighting negative perceptions must be a community effort. The Mayor echoed this idea 
  • in his remarks to the Rotary Club earlier this week and is commiting to several projects to help clean up the perception. The Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA) uses a number of avenues to bring the stories of downtown businesses to life. Furthermore, the Chamber of Commerce recently published an article encouraging businesses with safety concerns to invest in cameras for their business.
  • Police focus on educating youth through the school system about public safety and caring about your community.  They also have proactive programs dealing with mental health issues.  In late December, Chief Murray Rodd committed to a 30-day pilot project of increased police presence in the downtown core.  

As a result of what the group felt was currently happening in Peterborough they devised two quick wins, two short-term goals and a long term goal. 

Quick wins: Getting the Message Out

Mainstream Media

The group feels more can be done to paint a realistic picture of the downtown. This includes both sides of the downtown story.  The group encourages accessing prominent city or youth influencers as messengers where appropriate. 

Social Media
The group encouraged re-branding of official city accounts to use humour and disseminate interesting content that creates community building.  They would also like to see people using social media to express their opinions about public safety, positive or negative, take ownership of their opinions and not hide behind anonymity. 

Short-term Goals: People and Planning


Each member of the public needs to be allowed a role in public safety as everyone has a stake in this issue. The group at the table felt bars and restaurants need to take the lead on ‘zero tolerance’ policies.  


As suburbs develop, the city needs to provide necessities specific to those communities.  For example, have parks and small commercial opportunities within a neighbourhood.  The hope is that this would lead residents to find pride within their corner of the city, which can then extend to the rest of the community.  They also suggested extending public transit hours, creating more opportunities such as a “Pub Bus” to minimize the impact of closing time.  

Long-term Goals: Lighting

Any increase to lighting in the downtown or other crime vulnerable areas would reduce the number of
locations for crimes to happen.

In 2015, a new generation of 911 is expected to be introduced that will offer easier ways to report crime to police.  The group was excited to hear this and felt it was important information given the multitude of ways people communicate. 

Ultimately, the group referenced a quote by Sir Robert Peel: “Police are the public and public are the police.”   They feel that the responsibility for public safety lies with all of us, whether it’s in our role as citizens, business owners, or consumers.   

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.