Entries in employment (5)

Wednesday
Jan282015

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.
Friday
Oct242014

Government announces independent review of Ontario College of Trades, pauses trade classification

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced the appointment of Tony Dean, former Secretary of Cabinet and Head of Ontario Public Service, to lead an independent review of the Ontario College of Trades and other key areas of Ontario's skilled trades system.

Included under the purview of the review will be issues related to the scope of practice performed by a tradesperson, as well as the process for the classification of compulsory versus voluntary trades. Findings will be presented to both the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities and the College of Trades in October 2015.

The Government of Ontario also announced that all trade classification reviews will be paused during the duration of Mr. Dean's review. Currently, the College is mandated to consider applications that seek to change the certification of trades from voluntary to compulsory. A compulsory trade is one in which workers must acquire a certificate of qualification from a government-accredited school in order to perform work in that trade. Workers in trades classified as compulsory must pay the College an annual membership fee of $120.

This review comes at a pivotal time. In its current form, the College is poorly positioned to deliver on many of the core elements of its mandate, which includes oversight of journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios, ensuring industry compliance and certification, and addressing labour market shortages by promoting careers in the skilled trades.

The announcement is a first step towards supporting the success of the skilled trades in the province. Over the last year, concerns have mounted over the College’s compulsory membership structure, as well as bias in the College's trade classification review process. However, the review does not touch upon other key areas of the College's mandate, including Ontario's high journeyperson-to-apprentice ratios and low apprenticeship completion rates, as well as the low number of youth entering the skilled trades as a career.

Since the College’s creation in 2009, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber Network have led the conversation about reforming the College of Trades. In October of 2013, the OCC released the report, Caution: Work Ahead, which highlights several serious issues facing the College and provides six recommendations that will make the College more responsive to employers’ needs.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce will participate vigorously in the review and continue to advocate for changes in the ratio review process.

Peterborough Chamber Voice of Business Articles: 

College of Trades failing to make the grade with industry and its tradespeople - January 10, 2013 

OCC: Apprentice ratios under the microscope - March 7, 2013

OCC: Policy resolution on Ontario College of Trades now on the books - May 16, 2013

Apprenticeship ratio reviews, membership ... still a lot of questions around the Ontario College of Trades - September 19, 2013

OCC: Reform needed for the College of Trades - November 7, 2013

 

 

Thursday
Oct232014

Building bridges between business and post-secondary education

The report from the Canadian Chamber “A Battle We Can’t Afford to Lose: Getting Young Canadians from Education to Employment” comes at a time when not only is Canada as a whole struggling with a skills shortage, but so are its individual provinces and municipalities. The issues of skills, young workers and preparing for a large cohort of retirees have been a very large part of discussions around the future of Peterborough. 

The Chamber’s involvement: 

 

  • In May of 2012, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) hosted an Ontario Economic Leadership Series roundtable. One of several recommendations was continuing to build bridges between Fleming College, Trent University and the business community. 
  • In November of 2013, the Young Professionals Group hosted a policy forum discussion around youth unemployment and under-employment. Result: Call for a more cohesive strategy on jobs in Peterborough. 
  • At the recent Chamber, DBIA and Women’s Business Network Mayoral Debate candidates spoke of a desire to integrate students of Trent and Fleming into the downtown and by extension the business community. 
  • There is talk of an Entrepreneurship Centre at Trent through the Trent Business Council. 
  • The Chamber currently offers student memberships to Trent University and Fleming College. These are distributed by the educational institutions to help aspiring business students to start building career contacts prior to graduation. 
  • The Chamber is planning to hold a Business Summit in 2015, with the Young Professionals Group spearheading the event. 

 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce report begins with the following letter from President and CEO Perrin Beatty. 

As Canada comes to terms with its skills challenges and the numbers of unemployed and under-employed workers, employers, educators and governments are facing great uncertainty about whether we will have enough graduates in high-demand fields or with the skills most sought after. 

If Canada is to successfully tackle its skills gap and ensure its economic growth, we have to give special attention to the largest cohort of labour force entrants each year: young people. 

The skills issue facing youth is the focus of great concern. Canada’s results in international education surveys have been mixed. Our highly-educated youth may still be falling short of the skills needed for our economy to succeed. Without action, this shortage is likely to increase in future as labour market needs continue to evolve. 

Youth unemployment rates have also remained high in the post-recession period, prompting the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to study youth employment and table a report in June 2014. 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. It is a concern that led the federal Minister of Employment and Social Development, Jason Kenney, to organize a mission to Germany, Europe’s strongest labour market where the “dual training” system enables post-secondary students to segue seamlessly into employment via apprenticeships across 350 occupations. 

At a national skills summit in June 2014, a strong consensus emerged on the need for better labour market information to help youth connect to available jobs and for more responsiveness in the educational system to labour market needs. Three weeks after that summit, provincial-territorial education and labour market ministers jointly hosted a skills symposium with stakeholders to similarly probe improving education-employment linkages. 

“We have to do a better job in preparing young people for the labour market,” is a common refrain among key players on this topic. For Canadian youth, it is essential the education or training they get is relevant to the job market they will enter. First, they need to know where the jobs will be. Second, they need to know what those jobs will be so they can plan their education and training accordingly. Third, they need education that is not just job training but equips them to be adaptable. 

Employers do not always provide clear and strong signals to youth. That needs to change, and this report explores how to improve it. At every step of this discussion on youth, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been engaged with government and stakeholders. With our members in both the employer and educator communities, the Canadian Chamber brings a demand-meets-supply perspective to the need for better labour market information and improving connections between business and post-secondary education. 

With this report, we investigate the state of key factors affecting youth’s successful transition to employment in Canada: 

  1. Labour market information 
  2. Career decision-making 
  3. Work-integrated learning 

Let us do our best to help young people make more informed decisions on their future education and the skills they need. Let us give them the best opportunities to find employment in Canada's dynamic economy. 

The report makes 14 recommendations around the broader topics over improved labour market information (LMI) and work-integrated learning and skills development. 

Full Report

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Thursday
Oct162014

Business issues drive mayoral debate

On Thursday, October 9, 2014, in conjunction with the DBIA and Women’s Business Network, the
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce hosted a mayoral debate.  

15 questions pertaining to business issues, from job creation to availability of land to transit to the experience needed to be Mayor were asked of five of the six mayoral candidates in front of a crowd of about 200 at The Venue.   

The Chamber has identified 10 areas of concern in this election:  

 

  1. Broader Community Vision 
  2. Business Corridors (Downtown, Lansdowne, Chemong, Industrial Park)
  3. Employment & Job Creation
  4. Finances
  5. Infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc)
  6. Inter-government Relations & Government Accountability
  7. Interest Arbitration Process
  8. Planning Process (What can be done to make it easier for business?)
  9. Transportation
  10. Taxation & Development Charges

 

Find videos of each question and answer on the Chamber YouTube channel 

Comment through the “Peterborough Chamber” group of LinkedIn.   

Thursday
Sep112014

Training the workforce: the employer's role

 

It’s not a stretch to say that job creation and employment are issues on the minds of the Peterborough business community. Both will most likely highlight the upcoming municipal election campaign. The role of government is to create the environment or framework within which a business can succeed and grow. Employers are also part of the equation. They are not only the beneficiaries of any government programs; they need to use them. 

Part of employment and job creation revolves around employee training. If you are able to train and improve the knowledge of current employees, thereby making them more productive, the chances are greatly increased that your business will need to expand its human capital to meet demand. In Peterborough, Economic Development officials have said that any new job growth will come from companies with five employees or less. This statement lends even more importance to effective employee training programs that employers can easily tap into. 

A new report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), Essential Skills Ontario (ESO) and co-released with the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce encourages that training programs funded by the federal government and designed and implemented by the province in the form of the Canada Job Grant must adhere to the following five principles: 

  1. Strike a balance between program integrity and emloyer usability 
  2. Facilitate efficiency and effectiveness in the provider market 
  3. Encourage flexibility with respect to how training is delivered 
  4. Encourage sector-based approaches to training 
  5. Drive awareness of training programs within the business community 

The OCC policy group held consultations in eight Ontario communities and met with small and medium enterprises, multi-national firms, industry associations, human resource professionals, training service providers and post-secondary institutions (Report, September 2014). The OCC also used data collected from the membership survey completed earlier this year. 

Since the announcement of the Canada Job Grant program in the 2013 federal budget, a lot has happened. The report from the OCC and ESO details the parameters the Government of Ontario will follow in rolling out upcoming programs: 

 

  • Available to businesses and non-profit organizations to train workers and unemployed Ontarians in need of skills upgrading 
  • Up to $10,000 provided from government for training costs per person, including tuition and training materials 
  • Requirements for employers to contribute one-third of total training costs, up to $5,000 (with some flexibility for small employers) 
  • Eligible training is limited to short-duration training provided by a third party trainer 

 

Ontario and many other jurisdictions are in the midst of change, as many sectors of the economy are branching out and taking on challenges to remain competitive. “Employer investments in training lead to gains for the economy. 

Employers who actively invest in the skills of their employees utilize these skills to increase productivity and market-share.” (Report, September 2014). The report also quotes the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which suggests that “even if 10 percent more employers could be persuaded to take this ‘high road’, the Ontario economy would move to a significantly higher skill equilibrium.” 

To support the six recommendations, the report “The Future of Training in Ontario” offers ten actionable suggestions: 

  1. Minimize administrative burdens on employers 
  2. Develop one access point for all government-funded workforce, training and employment services 
  3. Provide flexibility in employer financial contributions 
  4. Reserve funding for small to medium employers and first-time program participations 
  5. Encourage competition and consolidation in the service provider market 
  6. Enable third parties to play a brokerage role 
  7. Where no third party training provider is available, allow employers to train in-house 
  8. Build on existing partnerships between employers and training providers 
  9. Promote a consortia approach to training; allow employers with similar human capital needs to pool resources 
  10. Execute an employer engagement and marketing strategy in collaboration with employer organizations 

The document recognizes employers will need to develop an employee training strategy and that such a strategy has a certain amount of risk, such as losing employees to competitors once the training is complete. Esri Canada, a company that specializes in geographic information system solutions, has had a training program for employees since 2009. A representative told the OCC in 2013 that the company is willing to take the risk of training people and it’s paying off. That being said it’s crucial that any government programs make it easy for businesses to access them and put them to work. 

What does this all mean for employers in Peterborough? It means there will be increased options for training. It means employers will be investing in their workforce, their human capital, just as they invest in their tangible assets. In various roundtables with government officials, again and again, there is a plea from employers to make these type of programs no-brainers. Many employers would take advantage of them if they were easy to use, navigate and complete in a timely manner. 

Employer involvement in training of employees is just one way of pushing the Ontario economy forward, of pushing the greater Peterborough area economy forward and we must keep our options open. 

The full report can be found on the OCC website occ.ca and on the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce website peterboroughchamber.ca 

Comment on this article through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.