Entries in manufacturing (8)

Wednesday
Feb182015

The business community is driving the 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
  • Create an entrepreneurship advantage in Ontario
  • 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  • Ease the fiscal burden on municipalities by fixing outdated labour legislation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 manufacturing, trades, entrepreneurs, as well as changes to the regulatory framework for business and the interest arbitration and tendering processes for municipalities."

Create an entrepreneurship advantage in Ontario

Ontarians start fewer businesses per capita than any of their provincial peers. Many point to a lack of entrepreneurial culture in Ontario to account for this trend. Government can take corrective action by creating a grade 11 ‘Introduction to Business and Commerce’ course. Further, the province should consider emulating
successful programs from elsewhere that pair students with local business people to create a business, design a product, and sell it. Businesses also have a role to play. Business leaders need to invest more time mentoring.

Ease the fiscal burden on municipalities by fixing outdated labour legislation

Many municipalities face ballooning costs as a result of faulty labour legislation and processes. This fiscal burden can be eased in two ways: 1. Reform the interest arbitration system. Partly as a result of Ontario’s broken interest arbitration system, emergency service costs are outpacing inflation. Last year, we recommended that, among other things, arbitrator decisions consider municipalities’ ability to pay. Unfortunately, little progress has been made. We urge the government to reform this system so that arbitrator decisions consider a municipality’s economic and fiscal environment. Further, disincentives should be put in place that discourage negotiators from relying on the interest arbitration mechanism. 2. Reform tendering of
municipal contracts. Ontario should reform its tendering rules by leveling the playing field for all qualified
construction companies when competing for public contracts. Municipalities are treated as businesses under Ontario’s Labour Relations Act. As a result, the Ontario Labour Board has been applying collective-bargaining rules for construction companies to municipalities. This has forced a growing number of municipalities to restrict tendering, resulting in higher costs for taxpayer-funded construction projects. Closing this loophole would ensure municipalities make the most of their infrastructure and taxpayer dollars.

Modernize Ontario’s apprenticeship system and the regulation of skilled trades

Ontario continues to have some of the highest apprenticeship ratios in the country.  The ratio is the number of
apprentices allowed per journeyman.  Although some progress has been made by the Ontario College of Trades to reduce ratios, more can be done. Lowering ratios will allow businesses, particularly SMEs, to hire more
apprentices and contribute to higher apprenticeship completion rates (which currently stand at 50 percent on average).  In 2014, the Government of Ontario commissioned a review of some aspects of the Ontario College of Trades. This is a positive step. However, the review must be comprehensive and include the decision-making processes on apprenticeship ratios. To ensure that the apprenticeship system is more flexible and responsive to local labour markets, Ontario should transfer government apprenticeship administration to colleges. In addition, colleges should work more closely with local employers to determine the best mix of apprentices locally and how best to fill the need for apprenticeship positions.

Develop a targeted and coherent intergovernmental strategy for Ontario’s manufacturing sector

Ontario’s days as a manufacturing hub are far from over. The province is home to an ever-growing number of specialized and niche manufacturers. Further, some manufacturing is reshoring from emerging markets. However, American and Mexican jurisdictions are increasingly aggressive in attracting investment. The provincial and federal governments need to develop a shared and targeted strategy focused on attracting and fostering manufacturing investments in areas where Ontario can be globally competitive. For their part, Ontario businesses need to invest more in productivity-enhancing technology.  A previous Emerging Stronger recommendation is worth repeating: firms and sector organizations need to benchmark their productivity relative to their global peers and, where they fall behind, invest more in productivity-enhancing technology.

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.

What the provincial leaders are saying about Emerging Stronger 2015

Andrea Horwath Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats – “People are the economy. New Democrats believe that Ontario’s economy can only emerge stronger if hardworking families are doing well. Like the authors of Emerging Stronger, New Democrats believe that by investing in people, and putting a strategic focus on research and innovation, we can lay the groundwork for a sound economic future. By targeting tax incentives, government can help business across sectors to create and protect good-paying jobs here at home in Ontario.”

Jim Wilson, Interim Leader of the Ontario PC Party - “Emerging Stronger is a leader in promoting pragmatic public policy to create more private sector jobs. The Ontario PC Party will always stand by your side in supporting innovative ideas to drive economic growth. On behalf of the Ontario PC Caucus, I thank you for your valuable and thoughtful contributions to building a stronger Ontario.”

Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario -  “As our economy continues to create more opportunities for people, our
government is focused on completing the transition from recovery to growth by delivering our four-part economic plan. And once again, Emerging Stronger has valuable insights for government, business and not-for-profits, as we work together to build Ontario up. In a federal election year, these insights are particularly important. Ontarians have an opportunity to choose a federal government that helps our province and our country reach its full economic potential. I recommend they review the valuable recommendations contained in Emerging Stronger 2015.”

Read the full report

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Feb042015

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.

 

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.
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