Entries in Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (31)

Wednesday
Nov042015

Don't miss out! Business Summit 2015: Energize Your Business

Erica Cherney Photo Credit: Lance Anderson, Peterborough This WeekThe inaugural Peterborough Business Summit will take place in two weeks on November 19th at the Peterborough Golf & Country Club.  The half-day event is the evolution of the Young Professionals Group Policy Forum.  “By taking the time to attend this event, we hope that you will gather the information, motivation, and connections to “Energize your Business” for the upcoming 2016 year and beyond,” say event co-chairs Lacey Richard and Jim Baird.  “Drawing on the strength of the Peterborough business community, we are pleased to be able to provide you with access to fourteen industry leaders ready to share their knowledge.”

Economic Outlook 2016

Pierre Cleroux, Chief Economist, BDC will speak to the economic state of Canada, Ontario and Peterborough heading into 2016. What issues will have a major impact on our economy?  How will Peterborough be impacted by what is happening at the provincial and federal levels?  What will happen with interest rates, the dollar, and trade opportunities?  What is going on in other countries such as the U.S., Europe, and China? 

Workshops & Panel Discussions

Each panelist will have the opportunity to speak for 10 minutes on the topic that highlights their expertise.  After each has spoken, the workshop will be opened up to questions from Summit participants.  We anticipate lively discussion with a great flow of ideas for businesses large and small, new and not as new.

1A: Taking of the Training Wheels: The First Three Years

Jamey Coughlin, Business Development Lead, Rural and Agriculture, Peterborough Economic Development will be speaking on “The Three Year Business Plan Check Up” and answering: "How can a refresh of your business plan help your business?  How do you evaluate what’s working and what isn’t?  

Paul Hickey, Owner, BrandHealth will be talking about how you can “Build your Brand”;  what goes into building a brand?; and how to stay true to your product or service.  

Allan Knott, Sales Manager – Small Business, Kawartha Lakes and Durham Markets, RBC, will talk about “Managing Your Money” through the first three years.  What should you keep an eye on?  How do you keep your money working for you? 

1B: Best Kept Secret in Business: Building an Advisory Board

Pierre Cleroux, Chief Economist, BDC, has written a book on the topic of Advisory Boards.  He will speak to the importance of mentorship networks and how those relationships can propel your business forward. 

Rhonda Barnet, Vice President Finance, Steelworks Design Inc. will speak about her experience with her Advisory Board, and how and when to tap into the knowledge you’ve assembled.  Earlier this year, Rhonda was featured in a video by BDC on Advisory Boards. 

As a longtime business owner Tim Barrie, President of Merit Precision Moulding Ltd, is often asked for
advice from new entrepreneurs.  He has served on advisory boards and has built one himself.  He will be speaking  to the makeup of an advisory board and how to choose one that best suits your business.

2A: Let’s Get Growing: Managing Your Growth Phase

Jim Gastle, a registered patent agent and owner of Gastles will speak about patents and protecting your intellectual property.  How do you start?  What do you protect?  How you navigate the requirements for patents and trademarks. 

Bill Lockington, founding partner and lawyer at LLF Lawyer, will dissect the “Keys to Growth”. How do you know if your business is ready to grow? What are the legal requirements needed before taking on a large new contract, or exporting to new markets etc.

Bob Gauvreau is President and CEO of Gauvreau & Associates.  He will bring an accountants perspective to growth and leave you some tools to “assessing your readiness” for growth. How do you know if you have the financial stability to take on a new employee, look for a new location, or buy a new piece of equipment?

2B: Business 20/20: Into the Future

Mike Watt, Owner of Plush/Flavour/S.O.S, will speak to the latest trends coming down the pipe for business. How do you know which trends will be best for your business?  How do you action an idea?  How do you stay on top of the trend and when do you bail?

Anita Huntley of Anita Huntley Professional Corporation, will be speaking on e-commerce and knowing when to make the leap.  What can you expect when your e-commerce friendly website goes live and how do you prepare for a store that is open 24 hours a day? 

Leslie Scott of Walton Wood Farm knows how to stand out in crowded market place.  What are some tips she has picked up while developing her business and product lines?  What makes being different work? Is your idea a conversation starter or stopper?  How do you test an idea that may seem over the top?

Lunch with Erica Cherney

Once the workshops are complete, Summit participants will sit down for lunch and hear from a Peterborough business icon, Erica Cherney of Cherney Realty Inc.  Erica will be interviewed by Chamber President & CEO Stuart Harrison on “Lessons Learned” in business and in life, including what advice she would give to her 25 year old self.  

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Oct282015

Emerging Stronger 2016: How confident are you in Ontario's economy? 

Grab a coffee and take the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's latest survey to add your voice to Canada's most credible survey of business opinion.  The answers to this survey will inform the Ontario Business Confidence Index and Emerging Stronger 2016 documents which will be released in early 2016.

By taking a moment to complete this short survey, you will be entered into a draw to win two roundtrip tickets to anywhere Porter Airlines flies.

FIND THE SURVEY HERE: 

http://bit.ly/1O3v6lm

Chamber Members: At the end of the survey please indicate that you belong to the Peterborough
Chamber of Commerce.  If you choose to be entered into the draw you will be asked for your
information in the next question.  You can also choose not give your information at that time. 

Please note that only the prize winner will be contacted. Promotional consideration for this survey has been provided by Porter Airlines.


The Peterborough Chamber is asking business to fill out this survey as it is a useful tool in gauging the economic situation in Peterborough, City and County.   The more businesses who fill out this survey from the area, the better the statistics we can generate to determine the economic climate. 

From the 2015 version of the survey by the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Chamber of Commerc and Leger Marketing, we found out that: “The recommendations in Emerging Stronger 2015 speak directly to issues affecting Peterborough businesses, in that 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 Ontario Business Confidence Index assesses businesses’ confidence in their own organizations and the broader provincial economy.  In 2015, the Index summarized feedback from almost 1,500 businesses across the province. Compared to 2014, businesses are much less confident in Ontario’s economy and in their own organizations’ economic outlook, with an overall confidence rating of 58% in 2015 vs. 74% in 2014.

#BeHeard for 2016 and take the survey. 

Wednesday
Oct072015

In their own words: What the local candidates are saying re: rail and pipelines

With a week and a half to go until Election Day, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce continues its series on what the candidates are saying with regard to issues of local business significance.   In this article are the responses to issues of passenger rail service and where the candidates stand on the Energy East Pipeline project.   Each candidate was asked to keep their responses to 500 words per question.  Captured in this article are the answers to two of the questions.  

What is your party’s position on (and why)?:

1. The Federal component of the funding to upgrade the rail line and reintroduce passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto.

Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Conservative government’s commitment of $150M towards the reestablishment of a passenger rail service still remains.  We are very willing to work with the province and the Shinning Waters Railway to continue this project along.  As the elected MP, this will be one of my primary priorities once the election is over.

Dave Nickle, NDP: The NDP has been defending VIA Rail services vigorously since the Conservatives started drastic cuts to passenger rail services in 2012. These cuts have hit Ontario especially hard.  Cutting VIA Rail services is pushing us further away from having an efficient and accessible regional rail in Ontario and is impacting our local tourism and business sectors.  

Eliminating service and driving away current and potential riders is not an acceptable way to modernize a competitive rail passenger service. These cuts did not improve VIA’s service offering nor boost its financial performance.  Reduced passenger rail service has undercut the economic stability of communities in Ontario. Reducing train service deprives Canadians of safe and affordable travel options.  VIA Rail provides a vital service and these routes have allowed our local communities to grow and prosper. Canadians travelling for business, school or recreation rely on VIA Rail to provide efficient, affordable and accessible services.  It’s shameful that Conservatives are cutting services so recklessly.

Only the NDP has stood up to propose legislation to mandate minimum service levels and an NDP Government will make it a priority to invest in efficient, safe and sustainable passenger rail services.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I fully support the proposed upgrade of the rail line between Havelock and the GTA. The availability of an upgraded and well maintained freight line is critical to maintaining and attracting new industry to our region. Businesses such as Quaker Oats and Unimin Mines depend on the ability to move product to and from the GTA. The Federal and Provincial governments have set aside funding in their fiscal
frameworks for these projects and work should begin as soon as possible.

I support the re-establishment of passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto as long as there is a realistic and comprehensive business plan that demonstrates that such a service is financially viable, and will not result in local taxpayers having to take on new financial obligations.

2. The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant.

Dave Nickle, NDP:  Canada’s natural resources are a tremendous gift and, managed properly and sustainably, can be important drivers for our economy.  Refining Canadian oil in Canada makes sense – but we need to ensure that a strong environmental review regime is in place to determine if projects like Energy East are safe and sustainable before they can proceed.  Unfortunately, the Conservatives have systematically dismantled environmental assessments and limited public input into major project reviews, meaning that a rigorous and credible assessment just isn’t possible under these circumstances. An NDP government will strengthen the environmental assessment regime to restore public confidence and ensure that the public interest and our environment are protected.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I believe our long term goal must be to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for energy production. As a party, Liberals are committed to working with the Provinces to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop green-energy sources and encourage sustainable consumption practices. 

TransCanada describes their Energy East Project as a proposed $12 billion 4,600 km-long pipeline that will carry 1.1-million barrels of unrefined oil sands crude oil per day. It would run west-to-east from Alberta to existing refineries and new terminals in Saskatchewan, Quebec and New Brunswick. 

In the short and medium term, I support the need for Canada to invest in new infrastructure, including pipelines, to move our energy resources to domestic and global markets. The risks involved in moving petroleum products by rail need to be mitigated and safer options employed. I support a robust regulatory review process. Such a process needs to provide independent and scientifically-based analysis. The overall review and decision process needs to incorporate key principals that include:

 

  • Building public trust
  • Consulting with and addressing the concerns of local communities
  • Respecting Aboriginal rights, and
  • Not placing our lands, waterways or ecosystems at risk. 

 

Mike Skinner, Conservative: 
The Energy East pipeline project which, if approved by the National Energy Board, will bring 250 new jobs to Peterborough’s GE large motor plant and 4,200 to the province of Ontario.  An elected conservative government supports this pipeline.  Today over 600,000 barrels of oil are delivered to the Province of Ontario via Rail or Truck, a pipeline will increase the safety and efficiency of this oil being delivered to Ontario.

Next week the Peterborough Chamber will post the answers from the candidates on the following question: “What is your personal statement to the Peterborough business community?”

Find the candidate answers on the Federal Election 2015 page of  the Chamber website

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

 

Be Informed:

The federal election involves many issues affecting the business community, from the economy to job creation to taxes to innovation and access to new markets, capital and a skilled workforce.

Learn more about what the parties are saying.   

Also on the webpage, more from:

 

 

With the new riding boundaries in effect for this election, there are links to Elections Canada.  There you can find out where to vote, when the advance polls are open, and ensure you are on the voters list.  

Election Day is Monday, October 19, 2015.  

Thursday
Oct012015

In their own words: What the local candidates are saying re: CPP & labour market information

As of today (Thursday, October 1, 2015), the 2015 federal election is just over three weeks away.  The polls continue to have all three main parties within percentage points of each other.   The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wrote to the candidates in the Peterborough-Kawartha riding asking them to respond to five questions with local business significance.  Each candidate was asked to keep their responses to 500 words per question.  Captured in this article are the answers to two of the questions.  The answers to the remaining three questions will be published in the next few weeks.  

What is your party’s position on (and why)?:

1. Increasing the allowable contribution level to CPP by employees to help encourage further retirement savings?

Dave Nickle, NDP: Middle-class families are worried about their retirement. They’re working harder and harder, but falling further behind. Too many Canadians won’t have enough savings for a secure retirement. As many as 5.8 million Canadians - nearly a third of our work force - are facing a steep decline in their standard of living when they retire, according to the CIBC’s chief economist. For many young Canadians, the situation will be worse. The Canada and Québec Pension Plans are proven, reliable savings vehicles. The health of the Plan is closely monitored by the Chief Actuary of Canada. But the challengesfacing Canadians who plan for retirement today, are vastly different than those facing their parents and grand-parents, a generation ago. Only about one third of Canadians now have access to a workplace pension plan, down from 41% a little over two decades ago. That is why we need to strengthen the CPP to ensure all Canadians can retire in dignity.  Canadians overwhelmingly support increasing the CPP to help them top-up their retirement savings. 

Tom Mulcair and the NDP will ensure CPP delivers retirement security.  Within six months of forming government, Tom Mulcair and the NDP will convene Canada’s First Ministers to develop broad-based agreement on enhancing CPP benefits.  We will seek agreement to establish key benchmarks and timelines for enhancements and ensure that any changes are implemented in a way that complements Canada’s economic recovery.  The process will include consultations with both business and labour and will consider and respect provincial proposals for pension enhancement as well as existing programs.

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: Providing an opportunity for Canadians to save for their retirement is an important responsibility of government. We presently have a number of tools that enable Canadians to do this including RRSPs, TFSAs, the CPP, the OAS and the GIS. 

Some of these tools provide their benefit based on a person’s income, with the greatest impact going to those who earn the most. Others are targeted at those with little income and still others address the needs of middle class Canadians.

In examining how to reform our system and encourage people to save more for their retirement, I believe the emphasis needs to be on middle and lower income Canadians first.

I believe one of the best ways to do this is through an enhanced CPP that followsthe current model of being jointly funded by employers and employees, and whose investments are managed by an arm’s length body.

Ensuring Canadians can enjoy their retirement after a lifetime of work is the right thing to do. It also makes good economic sense. The more income retirees have, the more purchasing power they possess and the more they can support local businesses and the economy.

Mike Skinner, Conservative:   

Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
The purpose of the CPP is to provide contributors and their families with modest basic earnings replacement upon the retirement, disability or death of a wage earner. 

Approximately $37.3 billion in benefits was paid to almost 5.2 million Canadians (2013–2014). These benefits are comprised of retirement pensions, disability, death, survivor and children’s benefits. Quebec operates its own comprehensive public pension plan, the Quebec Pension Plan. The 26th Actuarial Report on the CPP was tabled in Parliament in December 2013, confirming that the CPP remains financially sustainable at the current 9.9 per cent legislated contribution rate for the next 75 years. 

Old Age Security (OAS) Program
The OAS program is a non-contributory, residence-based program, financed through general tax revenues. 

The objective of the OAS program is to provide a minimum level of income to seniors aged 65 and over in recognition of the contribution that they have made to Canadian society and the economy. 

In 2013–2014, the OAS program provided $42.6 billion in benefits to 5.4 million beneficiaries.

In Budget 2012, the Government announced several initiatives for the OAS program: a proactive enrolment regime that will eliminate the need for many seniors to apply for OAS benefits as it is phased in, beginning in 2013; the voluntary deferral of the OAS pension for up to five years in exchange for a higher, actuarially-adjusted pension of up to 36 per cent by age 70, effective July 1, 2013; and a gradual increase to the age of eligibility for the OAS pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from age 65 to 67, starting in April 2023, with full implementation by January 2029. 

Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The GIS is an income-tested monthly benefit paid to OAS pensioners with little or no income other than the OAS pension. Along with the OAS pension, the GIS ensures that the overall income of eligible seniors does not fall below a specified threshold. 

The OAS program plays a critical role in keeping the income of most low-income seniors above Statistics Canada’s after-tax Low Income Cut-Offs. 

Budget 2011 enhanced the GIS by providing a top-up of up to $600 annually for the lowest-income single seniors and $840 for the lowest-income senior couples (indexed quarterly). This represents an investment of more than $300 million per year for close to 680 000 seniors across Canada, and is the largest increase
for the lowest-income GIS recipients in a quarter century. 

In addition the Government has: 

  • Increased the GIS by a total of $36 per month for unattached seniors and $58 per month for couples, in January 2006 and January 2007, representing a 7 percent increase of the monthly GIS amount over and above regular indexation; 
  • Increased the GIS earnings exemption from a maximum of $500 to $3,500, which allows GIS recipients who work to keep more of their hard-earned money (Budget 2008); and 
  • Reduced the onus on seniors by introducing automatic GIS renewal for seniors who file annual income taxes. 

 

2. The need for detailed labour market information that is important for businesses, educational institutions and communities to plan for the future. 

Maryam Monsef, Liberal: I believe that valid labour market information is critical for servicing individual businesses as well as for community planning. I was so disappointed with the Conservative’s cancellation of the long form census. The census yielded essential information and data that was used to inform labour market planning. 

Calling on the government to take a science-based approach to policy development—rather than being driven by rigid ideological positions—is not political rhetoric. It is an approach that addresses the best interests of our businesses and community.

Locally, we are fortunate to be serviced by the Workforce Development Board. This organization brings together labour, business, trainers, educators and government in a collaborative effort to understand the labour needs of our community today and tomorrow. The WDB works with employers to understand the skills their employees need and to inform both trainers and potential employees about the type of education and training they ought to seek. Further, the WDB works to project these needs into the future, which helps students make informed decisions about their career path.

Assisting the development of labour market information is an important part of my local jobs plan.

Mike Skinner, Conservative:  There is a great website called Working in Canada. It provides detailed information on local labour markets – here it is for the Peterborough region. 

http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/LMI_bulletin.do?cid=3373&loc=Peterborough%2C+Ontario&AREA=8792&INDUSTRYCD=&EVENTCD=# 

Dave Nickle, NDP: The NDP believes that good data is essential to make government work. It allows government to effectively target and evaluate programs, thus, improving service quality and lowering costs.  The NDP fought tooth and nail to prevent the Conservatives from eliminating the long-form census. The NDP believes that the long-form census must be restored to provide social scientists, governments, communities and businesses the data they need. We also tabled Bill C-346 to reinstate Statistics Canada’s long-form census and increase the independence of the Chief Statistician. 

The NDP strongly supports an evidence-based approach to policy making, which requires robust support for research and data gathering.  This federal government has, however, fired thousands of scientists and cancelled the long-form census, hurting our ability to gather information. 

The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is hosting a Federal Candidates PBX at The Junction, October 6th from 4-6pm.  The candidates will be answering the question “What is your personal statement to the business community?”

 

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

Wednesday
Sep232015

Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of employers call for clarity and express deep concern over proposed Ontario pension plan

PETERBOROUGH, SEPTEMBER 23, 2015: The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), and a coalition of major Ontario employers are calling on the provincial government to outline to the employer community the details of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. In a letter addressed to Premier Kathleen Wynne, a coalition of more than 150 organizations laid out five specific questions that reflect the collective concerns of Ontario employers.

“The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Ontario’s employer community know that without greater clarity, the proposed pension plan could have a direct, negative impact on jobs and the economy,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber. “This is why we continue to advocate for a solution that supports business growth. The concerns summarized in today’s letter illustrate that we have not yet found that solution.”

The primary concern of the employer community remains with the ORPP’s potential economic impact. Businesses in the province face increasing costs from a number of sources - rising electricity rates, a new cap and trade system, and some of the highest workplace safety insurance premiums in the country. There is deep concern that the proposed pension plan will further contribute to this cumulative burden. This joint letter followed the government’s recent revision to the proposed plan’s comparability rules under the ORPP, which now include defined contribution (DC) pension plans with a combined contribution rate of 8 percent and where the employer contributes at least 4 percent.

The coalition includes employers of all sizes, in addition to companies across a diverse range of sectors, including construction, insurance, manufacturing, and mining. More than 40 organizations across the Chamber Network have also signed on, in addition to industry and trade associations. Other questions that need to be addressed are: 

  • How will the ORPP impact Ontario’s GDP, jobs, and investment?
  • What assumptions has the Government made to arrive at its revised definition of comparability?
  • How will the government ensure that the ORPP is a cost-effective plan?
  • How will Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs) be implemented while preserving their advantages for employers?

“Government is moving ahead with a brisk timeline and some employers will begin making ORPP contributions in less than 18 months,” added Allan O’Dette, President & CEO, OCC. “With so much uncertainty around plan components, Ontario businesses are not ready. We are concerned that a lack of clarity means that the Government doesn’t have answers for the very important questions which remain unresolved.”

“The Peterborough Chamber and Ontario employers will continue to work with the provincial government to find a solution that will meet the needs of Ontario’s business community while addressing the challenges Ontarians face later in life,” adds Harrison.

For a copy of the full letter, visit the OCC website.