Entries in Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (31)


Electricity prices set to go up for small business on May 1

The price of electricity is one of the most consistent concerns we hear from our Chamber members.  Many fit into the time-of-use system.  The Board of Directors has submitted a policy resolution to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM for consideration.  If approved, the resolution will ask the provincial government to complete an apples-to-apples comparison between Ontario and neighbouring jurisdictions as well as a more defined breakdown of the price of electricity.   You can read the submission here.

If you would like to share your electricity price story and its impact on your business or if you have an idea for a solution email: sandra@peterboroughchamber.ca

Media Release today on increased electricity prices starting May 1: 

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) announced new time-of-use (TOU) electricity prices for households and small businesses starting May 1. The price is increasing by approximately $3.13 per month on the "Electricity" line, and about 2.5% on the total bill, for a household that consumes 750 kWh per month. 

Ontarians consumed less electricity than expected over the recent milder winter. As a result of lower usage, Regulated Price Plan (RPP) prices did not recover the full cost of serving RPP customers. One of the main reasons prices are increasing in May is to recover this shortfall.

New summer TOU hours will also take effect May 1. This chart outlines TOU prices and the times they are effective as of May 1, 2016:  


Peterborough Airport (CYPQ): Outlook for Growth 

By: Trent Gervais, CMMIII, EMP, CEO, Loomex Group, Manager, Peterborough Airport

It is estimated that in 2021, Lester B.  Pearson Airport (GTAA) will reach capacity. A year ago Howard Eng, President and CEO, kicked off a regional working group that will define how Regional Airports in Central Ontario can relieve the growing pressures GTAA will be faced with in the future. Eng’s ongoing challenge includes the balance of competing on the World stage to be a top player as an international hub, with meeting the needs of regional travel and cargo business. 

Peterborough Airport (CYPQ) staff have been at the table with other regional airports to identify opportunities for Peterborough.  After engaging with other airports in the region it became very evident that Airports in Central Ontario working together as a “system of airports”, would not only assist the GTAA but would make Central Ontario’s Airports an attractive possibility for aerospace companies looking for a home. 

The group of participating airports includes; Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, Hamilton, GTAA, Oshawa, Kingston, Billy Bishop and Peterborough. Takeaways from the workshop included the decision to:

  • Summarize and share facts about the future of aviation for Southern Ontario
  • Hear from each airport about their aspirations for growth in the next 10 years
  • Identify emerging themes, “quick win” actions, emerging challenges, and approaches to realize opportunities
  • Discuss and align on a set of criteria to evaluate options to handle forecasted long-term growth as a region
  • Agree on next steps 

Included in the discussion has been the need for a ground transportation system that will meet the needs of Airport growth. The 407 extension is a positive for CYPQ, as it helps improve travel time to the GTA area, and also allows doors to open to attract clients from the GTA and Durham areas, to Peterborough. 

Airport leaders are working on how to maximize the potential of working together. Possibilities include joint marketing and identifying the airport capacities, such as available land for development. Airports will also partner to work with various levels of Government on projects such as funding or enhanced Government services to Airports; for example Customs, and CATSA.

It is estimated that 500,000 pilots and over 600,000 aircraft mechanics (AME’s) will retire in the next ten years in North America. Research and Development in Canada is another growing industry. It was reported by the Federal Government that in 2014, R&D contributed $29 billion to the GDP and employed 180,000 people. 

What does all this mean for the future of the Peterborough Airport and the Aerospace sector? 

In 2009, City Council adopted a business plan, which has guided staff on business development. The plan outlined the following areas with high potential:  Education, MRO’s (Maintenance & Overhaul Operators), Research and Development, Aerospace Manufacturing and Engine Overhaul businesses. The overall goal of the Airport is to be an industry leader and economic driver for the region. Major tenants such as the Seneca School of Aviation, Flying Colours, and Kadex not only provide employment but also provide unique services to the Aerospace Sector. 

The Peterborough Airport boasts the longest civil runway between Toronto and Ottawa, competitive serviced land for development, a streamlined construction process, assistance from Peterborough Economic Development, great proximity to Hwy 115 (407), an established aerospace sector in the region, and healthy partnerships with Fleming College and Trent University.  Work/life balance and quality of living are also important factors when companies consider relocating. Peterborough offers great opportunities for employees and their families who choose to locate here. 

The Peterborough Airport has been recognized by its peers for its innovative thinking. Carlson Wagonlit Stewart Travel’s destination charter flights are a great example. Overcoming many obstacles, Stewart Travel is meeting the demands of travellers wanting to fly locally to avoid the drive, higher cost and inconvenience of flying out of Pearson Airport. NextJet’s recent announcement to offer flights to Kitchener, Gatineau (Ottawa) and Montreal will not only help residents of the Peterborough region who travel for leisure or business, but will also be another tool for industry and tourism, to attract visitors to the region.

General Aviation has experienced some substantial growth as well. In the last six years close to thirty private hangars have been built at the Peterborough Airport. General Aviation does not just include small recreation aircraft but also includes twin engine and jet aircraft. 

Over the next few months the Peterborough Airport will continue to work with GTAA and regional airports to determine how it can share in the success of Pearson Airport, as well as how to attract new opportunities to Central Ontario. 

To be successful, the airport will continue on the development path it has been on since the business plan was established. Careful strategic growth that matches industry demand, coupled with strong partnerships, will ensure the success of the Airport. 


It's a question of balance ... and here are the questions

I’ve been participating in Sustainable Peterborough Climate Change Action Plan discussions as a member of the economic and business subcommittee. Throughout the discussions the challenge has become more evident: how do we strike a balance between the current reality and the desired outcome of the future?  

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has spent the past year looking at our natural resources industry through the lens of Why Resources Matter. An infographic released last summer shows natural resources-based industries contributed almost 17% of Canada’s GDP, 14% of Canada’s jobs and resource-based manufacturing represented 46.2% of Canada’s total manufacturing output.  Those numbers show our economy is quite entrenched in this sector and one of the reasons why climate change action plans like the one currently underway for Peterborough and surrounding communities are so important.  We have to figure out how to sustain our economy through a balanced approach to our natural resources.  Take for example the economic impact from a drop in oil prices. How do we push the conversation beyond fear of, for example, nuclear, oil, pipelines, and resource extraction to one of innovation, leadership, and opportunity? 

We have to have a plan and way forward that is sustainable for generations.  The goal of the Climate Change Action Plan is to reduce Peterborough’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  These targets are important because it will foster innovation at all levels of our community.  No one sector, group or level of government can accomplish this goal in isolation. We all have a responsibility.  But do we legislate?  Incentivize?

We also face the challenge of current realities. In the next 25 years the population of the GTHA and the Outer Ring is expected to be around 13.5 million people.  For perspective that’s just slightly below the current population of the entire province (13.8 million approx July 2015).  How will they move around, where will they live, how will we heat their homes, how prepared are our sewage treatment plants? How do we as a province and a municipality prepare?  

The province of Ontario is currently reexamining the legislation around the blue box program.  The current theory is to put the financial responsibility of the program on the producers of materials, with the desired outcome to encourage producers to use more recyclable materials and plan for those products that cannot be. However, I don’t think we can underestimate the responsibility of the consumer as well.  The producer can use a highly recyclable material, but how do we reconcile the issue if the consumer isn’t on board?   

The province announced in the 2016 budget they will be moving toward a Cap and Trade system that is expected to generate $1.9 billion in revenue for the government starting in 2017.  They have also committed to using those revenues to support initiatives to cut GHGs including public transit, clean technology, and making homes and businesses more energy efficient.  Will this sort of incentive legislation work in the business community?  What measures or incentives are there for homeowners?  

In the Peterborough area we are seeing more bike lanes on our streets and more land has been purchased by the City to complete the TransCanada trail.  We are definitely a city and county in tune with our natural environment.  This goes for residents and businesses.   And with a research park around the clean tech sector about spring up at Trent University, it’s quite possible to believe that future companies in this space will help us answer some of the questions above.  However, they need the time, the opportunity, the environment and the support to grow.   The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and GreenUp have the Green Business Peterborough program.  It encourages businesses to formulate goals and a plan of action that will help move them down the path to environmental sustainability.  Check out the program at greenbusinesspeterborough.ca

Canada’s economy is heavily invested in natural resources from water, to forests to minerals to oil and natural gas.  Moving forward from where we are today is going to take strategy, cooperation and balance. 


10 of 50 facts about Peterborough, Ont., Canada 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce building, formerly the original C.P.R. train station, will be part of Doors Open Peterborough on May 7, 2016.  

In preparation, President and CEO Stuart Harrison went hunting in the display cases of historical artifacts we have related to the Chamber and the building.  

What he found was rather interesting.  It's a small book produced by the Peterborough Board of Trade, a past incarnation of the Chamber of Commerce, titled "Fifty Facts about Peterborough, Ont., Canada".  

While a publishing date is not on the document, it refers to the pending annexation of Ashburnham, which happened in 1903.  

It's a very telling read of the culture, economy and status of Peterborough around the turn of the 20th century. As such, we thought why not take those fifty statements, starting with the first ten and compare them to the Peterborough of 2016.  

From my own knowledge of Peterborough history, I was not surprised by number one.  

Go #TeamPtbo.

References: Stats Canada website, Peterborough Economic Development website, Shining Waters Railway website, Peterborough Farmer's Market website, PUC website, City of Peterborough website


What's holding us back? The Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness

What are the issues and policies that are preventing Canadian businesses from realizing their full potential?  

For the fifth year in a row, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has identified the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness.  The 2016 version is a list of key impediments that are preventing Canadian businesses from reaching their goals and, in turn, Canada from improving its productivity and economic prosperity.

As the Canadian Chamber stated in a recent press release, “in a fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs a supportive environment and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This annual list of barriers points to economic hurdles of our own making, self-imposed limits on the growth of Canadian businesses. Through this initiative, the Canadian Chamber is bringing these barriers to the forefront and is urging all stakeholders to act more swiftly to improve our country’s ability to compete globally.”

“Although the policies involved may have started with positive goals, they now hinder business success, and many of the issues on our list were repeated from previous years,” says the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We need to act now. We’ve identified a series of improvements that can be put in place rapidly. We ask the government to remove these obstacles before conditions worsen.”

Top 10 Barriers


  1. Public policies block small companies from becoming bigger To grow Canada’s companies, the government needs to change the corporate tax rates and breaks that penalize growth.
  2. Canada is vulnerable to cyber crime Canada loses $3.12 billion to cyber crime per year, and nearly half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber attack because they are less equipped to handle attacks.
  3. Canada’s trade agenda – new agreements are just the start Canada needs to help businesses scale up internationally. Canada also needs to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, get new deals done with China and India, and cooperate on regulations with its trade partners.
  4. Canadian resources cannot get to world markets Governments need to support pipelines and other infrastructure that will allow Canadians to trade with the world.  The Energy East Pipeline project would create 250 high paying jobs at GE Peterborough. 
  5. Poor literacy numeracy and digital skills are limiting productivity in segments of Canada’s workforce Canada needs a plan to make sure people have the skills for tomorrow’s jobs.
  6. Canada needs a more aggressive and effective innovation strategy Canada needs to reinvest in an innovation ecosystem that supports the capability of business to rapidly respond to change.
  7. Canada is not ready for climate change Canada needs clear federal policy on carbon regulation and a climate adaptation strategy.
  8. Internal barriers to trade cost Canadians billions and restrict investment To get free trade within Canada, the federal government should apply pressure on the provinces and expand the right of private parties to seek redress.
  9. Lack of clarity regarding businesses’ responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples constrains investmentCanada needs meaningful reconciliation with its Aboriginal peoples; however, it is not clear to businesses what reconciliation means and what they need to do to do their part in achieving it. The federal government, as the primary interlocutor between Aboriginal peoples and other constituencies, needs to lead the way.
  10. Canada’s brand does not support business competitiveness The world sees Canada as a great place to live but not to do business, and Canada has not been doing a good job at changing those perceptions. The government must increase its efforts to improve its business brand through tourism and investment promotion.


“These barriers are of our own making. They are the result of acting wrongly or failing to act at all, but we can eliminate them if we have the will to do so,” says Mr. Beatty. “Government can provide the leadership to remove these hurdles. This is the opportunity to take another step towards a Canada that wins.”

Read the full report at peterboroughchamber.ca/policypublications 

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