Entries in education (2)


What we're hearing: Small Business Too Big to Ignore 

Policy advocacy on behalf of our members and business in our communities is a core priority of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce & Tourism. We want to know the policy issues that are important to you so that we can effectively represent your interests.

To that end, two roundtable events were held on Thursday, June 23, 2016 in Lakefield at the Marshland Centre and in the Station Boardroom at the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.   

Twenty-eight business owners and business advocates attended the two hour sessions discussing issues relevant to small business in our communities.  The roundtables were part of the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign launched in May 2016 in partnership with these two local chambers, other chambers and boards of trades across the province, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.  

Top 3 Obstacles to Small Business Success 

This introductory report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce lays out three obstacles that are common across the province:

1. Lack of Access to the Workers We Need

2. Key Infrastructure Gaps

3. The Rising Cost of Doing Business

The campaign is designed to highlight the importance and contributions of small business in Ontario.  The feedback from our local roundtables and others across the province will inform a final report on the factors critical to the success of small businesses. The final report will be released during Small Business Week in October 2016.

The participants of the roundtables were divided into small groups and talked about the challenges for small business.  Both groups identified the following as the top challenges:


  • education for employees and the workforce
  • compliance with legislation
  • procurement
  • workplace attitudes
  • succession planning
  • sustainability


In discussing solutions for the challenges the number one suggestion was:


  • removing red tape 


followed by:


  • understanding the government’s expectations around enforcement and inter-ministerial awareness 
  • improved education programs for apprentices and retraining for current employees 
  • grant programs for small and medium enterprises


Both groups felt the role of the Chamber was to be the voice of business and that there was strength in numbers.  There were suggestions for increasing collaboration between the Peterborough and Kawartha
Chambers and identifying how a mid-size city region such as Peterborough can bridge the policy gap between rural and urban issues.  

Read our roundtable report and add your voice to the Small Business Too Big To Ignore campaign by filling out a short survey, found on our website peterboroughchamber.ca/small-business-too-big-to-ignore.html


Educating in dollars and sense

Over the past few months, both the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) have issued reports on education of workers.  In both cases, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has featured the reports on this page and in the Chamber blog.  The OCC report deals with workplace training and the CCC report discusses how we can address the gap in the skilled trades.  

As we talk student success and creating a work-ready workforce, we can’t allow financial literacy to melt away like a mid-November snow.  In fact, many of the arguments being applied to training and skilled trades can also be applied to the argument for increased financial literacy. 

The Chamber Network through the OCC policy process has been lobbying for financial literacy to be a permanent fixture in the high school curriculum making it a requirement of graduation.  

The policy resolution approved by the Chamber Network had the following recommendations:  

  1. Create a mandatory grade eleven “Introduction to Business and Commerce Course” from existing business curriculum and designate it as a compulsory credit to obtain the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. 
  2. Dedicate a specific section of the course to financial literacy. This would include, but not be limited to personal and family budgeting, the value of credit, mortgages, insurance, debt management, and the accountability to pay. 

The OCC resolution has a very targeted approach and in the end is looking for a targeted result.  By highlighting various aspects and having such learning be a graduation requirement, the schools would be emphasizing the importance of financial literacy, just as they have done with the volunteer-hours

“Across the country, there is a growing understanding that closing the skills gap means better aligning our education and training systems to our labour market needs,” writes Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, CCC in his message at the beginning of the report: “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment”.  

Could this not apply to financial education as well?  By pushing for increased focus on financial literacy we will be creating generations that leave secondary schools with a greater understanding of the basics when it comes to their own finances.   It gives power and a leg up to those who want to be entrepreneurs.  

In fact, with the recent Entrepreneurship Week events, the push for people to explore or take on entrepreneurship is being strongly encouraged in all corners of our economy.  Julia Deans is the CEO of Futurpreneur, a group that provides mentoring, financing and support to young Canadians.  In an opinion piece in the Medicine Hat News on Monday, November 17, 2014 she says, “the climate is ripe for young entrepreneurs” and that support in the form of early and ongoing education is vital to young Canadians looking to bring their ideas to market. 

By instituting the requirement that students learn about money management in high school we would be making a statement that this type of knowledge is a key to success.  A basic knowledge of financial literacy not only helps future business leaders, but it helps the economy.  

In teaching students the true value of credit, debt management and budgeting skills, the potential is there to create a more secure economic base. Student debt-load is growing, but perhaps if they understood what they were getting into, there would be more opportunity to better manage their money to begin with.  

The 2008 recession turned how we think about work and our livelihoods on its head.  It’s a different world and a different set of skills are required to excel within it.  We are asking employers to become more involved in training to “address Ontario’s workforce needs” (The Future of Training in Ontario, OCC report) and at a federal level are also asking for a more focused approach in post-secondary.  

The problems of underemployment and skills gaps have been identified by the business community.  The provincial and federal governments appear committed to putting the legislative tools in place to the see improvements in workplace preparation for our younger generations.  The Chamber network sees financial literacy as one of those tools and asks that those legislative tools include a required financial curriculum.  

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.