There are strange waters for business to navigate these days between NAFTA negotiations, newly inked trade agreements CETA (Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, interprovincial challenges and the desire for business tax reform by the federal government. But despite the challenges of the current climate, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is pushing forward with the 2018 edition of the campaign “10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins”. This document will be a guide for advocacy for chambers of commerce like ours.
Make Canada an Agri-Food Powerhouse
“Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector has a strong and well-earned reputation for efficient production, innovation, food quality and safety that has propelled Canada to be the fifth largest exporter of agricultural
and agri-food products in the world.”
The CCC report goes on to say that the agri-food industry, from primary producers to advanced food
manufacturers to agri-food based technologies to data analytics, accounts for 7% of GDP and one in eight jobs across the country.
In 2018, the Chamber Network will focus on championing a more integrated approach involving federal and provincial governments in the development of policy in this area. This will be a key area as a provincial policy around agricultural mapping and the larger targets under the Places to Grow legislation are raising concerns for land use in rural areas. Transition time between policies is necessary to ensure understanding of projects in the development process.
There is also a continued desire to work with the government to develop a long-term vision for growing Canada’s agri-food sector.
On the economic development front in Peterborough, Peterborough & The Kawarthas Economic Development Agriculture Advisory Committee has identified three priority areas for 2018:
Develop Agile Workforce Strategies
Accessing talent has been identified as one of the biggest challenges to business competitiveness in
Peterborough and across the province. The ability to make a difference in this space requires targeted strategies at all levels of government. Among the policy areas identified as priorities from the CCC and Chamber Network are workforce strategies that:
The CCC report identifies that jobs of today require essential skills such as literacy and numeracy,
communication, problem-solving, teamwork and interpersonal skills, along with trades and technical skills.
Businesses will always be up to the challenge to build a “Canada that wins”, looking for new ways to grow and reach new customers and markets, but governments and policy makers cannot lose sight of the importance of a policy climate that allows for business success.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is working in partnership with the Ministry Responsible for Small Business to ensure that small businesses across the province are aware of a new website. The web portal is designed to be a one-stop shop for small business owners and the questions they have with regard to funding, growing and regulations that apply to their business.
The website was officially launched at a news conference with Ontario Chamber President & CEO Rocco Rossi and Minister Jeff Leal.
The Peterborough Chamber will be hosting a workshop on it to inform our local businesses and help provide feedback to the provincial government at the end of March. The website and gathering of information important to small business was part of a policy resolution submitted by the Peterborough and Sudbury Chambers of Commerce and passed by delegates at the 2017 Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting
Have a look at the site, call the hotline if you need to and let us know about your experience!
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), has released a comprehensive analysis of data and emerging trends on the economic health of the
province. Original economic research from the report reveals that 77 per cent of Ontario businesses say access to talent has the largest impact on their competitiveness and nearly half report a lack of confidence in the province’s economy.
The overarching document is titled “2018 Ontario Economic Report” (OER). The report is broken down into three sections:
“This important report identifies key vulnerabilities within our economy, and provides decision makers and community leaders with the understanding needed to find the solutions that will drive our economy forward,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “This year, the Ontario Chamber Network will continue to engage and advocate on behalf of Ontario’s business
community to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions for a more prosperous Ontario.”
This week we’ll dive into the Business Confidence Survey. First off, thank you to the dozens of
Peterborough businesses who responded to the OCC’s fall survey. As a result we have data that we can share with you specific to our region.
What is the Business Confidence Survey?
Since 2012 the OCC, through the Chamber Network, has been asking businesses how confident they are in their own business outlook and how confident those same businesses are in the province. Supplementary questions then ask why a business is or is not confident.
What did the 2018 Survey reveal?
Overall, 48 percent of businesses lack confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook. That is up from 41 percent in 2017. The number one explanation, cited by three-quarters of respondents, is economic policy from government. This is followed by the high price of inputs such as raw materials and electricity, high business tax rates and a high level of provincial debt. Over half also indicated overregulation of the economy is cause for concern (OER 2018 pg 11).
According to OER findings, 68 percent of firms say the minimum wage increase is predicted to have a negative impact on their business. Compared to last year, they are more likely to project a decline in revenue and a shrinking of their workforce.
Of the almost 80 responses from Peterborough businesses, 42% were not confident in Ontario’s economic outlook, with economic policy and high input costs being the foremost reasons for the lack of confidence.
Hiring and retaining staff continues to be a challenge for business, particularly small business.
Provincially, the survey shows 44 percent of businesses continue to struggle in this area and that number jumps to 57 percent when looking at medium-sized businesses.
Looking at the Peterborough numbers, 30 percent of respondents told us their workforce increased while 67 percent say it stayed the same in the last half of 2017. Where it turns troubling is when businesses were asked to look ahead to the next six months. In answering that question, 27 percent (21 businesses) expected their workforce to decrease, 54 percent expected it to stay the same and 18 percent expected their workforce to grow.
Even though challenges exist some Ontario businesses are expressing optimism around economic growth and population growth projections.
What is going on in the community related to workforce?
Issues around workforce have consistently been a challenge for Peterborough. Over the past number of years we have seen significant swings in unemployment and participation in the labour market.
Businesses have told us that in the skilled trades it’s difficult to find the people they need, but that there are also challenges in finding employees for jobs across all sectors. This was evident throughout the Chamber’s 2017 Leaders Lunch series, which explored trends in workforce through an examination of the millennial generation, tourism, agriculture, and aerospace.
The Workforce Development Board’s (WDB) Labour Market Gateway tells us that local employers have job openings. In the third quarter of 2017, there were almost 1,200 online job postings in Peterborough. The WDB is also working on its latest Community Labour Market Plan that presents a high-level overview of local and regional key labour market indicators as well as informing priorities for the coming year.
The Local Employment Planning Council Pilot Project, business organizations such as the Chamber, employment agencies, labour organizations and others are working to paint a picture of the Peterborough labour market.
Municipally, the City and County are asking what draws people to the Peterborough area, what keeps them away and what keeps them here through a Wellbeing Plan exercise.
Read the full OER Report
Round Six of NAFTA negotiations has wrapped up and a quick scour of the landscape concludes a much more positive tone was achieved between negotiators from Canada, United States and Mexico.
That said there is more work to be done Canadian Chamber has been informing the dialogue since the beginning of the process and offers this insight:
“NAFTA Modernization is a reasonable goal: It’s a fact that NAFTA was negotiated more than two decades ago.
How to Modernize
We need to keep a few guiding principles in mind in order to succeed:
The latest round of negotiations included discussion around automobiles, dispute resolution and the proposed review clause.
Round 7 of negotiations will be in Mexico starting on February 26th.
Bill 148 has resulted in a significant number of changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act, from the amount of minimum wage to the calculation used in determining statuatory holiday pay to the definition of an independent contractor.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wants to hear how your business has chosen to approach the changes that came into effect on January 1, 2018.
The answers will inform our continued advocacy efforts to the provincial government on this issue.
Thank in you advance for taking the time to fill out this brief survey of three questions. It should take you no more than five minutes.
On the Chamber's Advocacy Bill 148 page you will find links to:
You can access the survey through the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Bill 148 Advocacy page.
Take the Survey
The City of Peterborough continues to be a city in transition. And that’s a good thing as new ideas and
processes have the potential to move our community forward in a positive way. That said, councillors will have some decisions ahead of them that will have an impact on our members. At the General Committee meeting of January 15th, councillors were presented with several reports on these issues including:
Legalization of Cannabis
Peterborough has been identified as one of 40 Ontario communities to have an Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC) store open this year, with another 110 across the province by the end of 2020. The report by City Solicitor Patricia Lester outlines what is known about the role of the municipality under this new federal and provincial legislation. Lester highlights that as a creature of the province, the municipality cannot deny a business license and that the final location choice is in the hands of the OCRC.
Read the Report
E-Tendering and E-Bidding System
The City of Peterborough is planning to change its online tender and bidding system to a group called Bids and Tenders. In her report to council Director of Corporate Services Sandra Clancy states that "issuing the City’s procurement documents through Bids and Tenders will streamline the process for staff, create efficiencies within the departments and reduce the number of non-compliant bids being submitted by vendors.”
The new system, which will be implemented between June and September of this year, also comes with a lower annual membership fee of $165 compared to the current $250.
Read the Report
Brownfields Tax Assistance Program
The tax incentive only applies to properties requiring environmental remediation. During the length of the agreement with the property owner, the City does receive taxes based on the assessment of a clean property. However, the owner receives a rebate equal to the difference between the taxes of the clean and unclean property, to cover the cost of remediation. After the agreement the City then realizes the full amount of taxes based on the assessment of the cleaned up property.
The view is that there is more value in the long run to the City on a remediated property than one that stays as is. The Director of Corporate Services concludes that, “The BTAP program is having a positive impact on enabling development to happen at locations that are environmentally challenged that would otherwise likely not be redeveloped.”
Read the Report
Development Charges Amendment Study
The goal of the amendments is to encourage more development in the downtown core. Doing so will help the municipality on several fronts including meeting provincial Places To Grow targets and opening up a variety of residential opportunities.
The current by-law has a life cycle of five years before a full review is required. Therefore, any amendments
approved by Council will be in place until January 1, 2020. At the will of Council, they could continue in the next iteration of the by-law as well.
The study presented to Council examines the following:
A public meeting on the amendments will be held on Monday, February 5th, 2018 at 5:00pm at Council Chambers and a secondary report will be presented to Council sitting as General Committee on March 26th.
Read the Report
The next City Council meeting is Monday, January 29th, 2018.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC) Industry Business Engagement Working Group.
The LEPC is a provincial pilot project that is in the process of developing a clear picture of the workforce landscape in eight Ontario communities, including the City and County of Peterborough.
One of the projects is a study of Newcomer Employment Activity by Laridae and the Workforce Development Board (WDB).
Our Peterborough Chamber members can help out by completing a short survey on their views, concerns and needs with respect to recruiting and hiring newcomers to Canada.
Take the survey
The survey will be open until February 5th. It should take about ten minutes to complete. Your response will be anonymous. In addition, please share the survey with other employers.
Thank you for taking the time to provide input to this project. Your opinion is valued!
*About the Newcomer Employment Integration Project
The federal government released its long-awaited draft legislation on the federal carbon pricing regime. Provinces and territories must put into place carbon pricing systems that meet certain criteria, called a “benchmark”.
For those jurisdictions that do not meet these criteria, the federal government will impose its own carbon pricing regime – referred to as a “backstop.” The backstop has two parts. First, is a carbon levy that distributors of fuel will have to pay. It won’t be charged at the pump, although it will increase the price of natural gas and petroleum and, in some places, electricity. Second, is a separate regulation that will only apply to facilities that emit a large amount of greenhouse gases.
Since provinces and territories have until September 1, 2018 to outline their approach to carbon pricing, it is not yet certain where exactly the federal systems will apply. However, carbon pricing systems in BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are generally expected to meet the federal government’s criteria and won’t be subject to the federal law as well.
The chamber network has supported carbon pricing since 2011. However, as mentioned in a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and signed by the CEOs of the provincial and territorial chambers, we are concerned that government is choosing to layer regulation on top of carbon pricing policies. This approach not only adds costs but negates one of the main benefi ts of carbon pricing: the fl exibility it offers to business.
We’ll continue to make the case that, as Canada moves forward with ambitious climate policies, government should consider lowering costs elsewhere. A good place to start is comprehensive review of the Canadian tax system.
If you have any questions on this policy file, please reach out to our Natural Resources Policy Director Katrina Marsh, firstname.lastname@example.org . If you do please cc Peterborough Chamber Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck email@example.com
PETERBOROUGH: On Tuesday, January 16th, the Chamber celebrated the inaugural meeting of the 2018 Board of Directors, under the direction of Jim Hill of James F. Hill Financial Management Services as Chair of the Board.
As Chair, his focus is on the impact our member-driven organization can have on the business community. “We will continue to create innovative and exciting forums and events for all our members,” says Hill. “It is our goal to attract businesses of all sizes and cohorts to the Chamber by eschewing the status quo and continuing to evolve the Chamber to meet the needs and expectations of today's business owners.”
Chair - Jim Hill, James F. Hill, Financial Management Services
Vice-Chair – Ben vanVeen, Century 21 United Realty Inc., Brokerage
Treasurer – Dawn Hennessey, Business Development Bank of Canada
Secretary – Stuart Harrison, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Directors-at-Large – Joe Grant, LLF Lawyers LLP
– Allison Seiderer, Living Well Home Medical Equipment
Sofie Andreou, Sofie Andreou & Associates
Tim Barrie, Merit Precision Moulding Ltd.
Chris Calbury, Emmatt Digital Solutions
Gwyneth James, Cody & James CPAs Professional Corporation
Mary McGee, Little Lake Cemetery Company
Lorrie McMullen, The Venue Peterborough
Neil Morton, PTBOCanada.com
Amy Simpson, MicroAge Technology Solutions
Morgan Smith, Signarama
Mayor Daryl Bennett, representing the City of Peterborough
Sherry Senis, Selwyn Township Deputy Mayor, representing the County of Peterborough
Lorie Gill, representing Women’s Business Network
Paul Glenn, representing the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture
PETERBOROUGH, Monday, January 15, 2018 – Today, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) provided the Ontario government with 11 recommendations for the upcoming provincial budget that will help businesses manage costs and secure the province’s competitive advantage. The submission, presented to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, calls on the government to implement taxation reforms and smart infrastructure and transportation spending to maximize growth and benefit all regions of Ontario.
As the cost of doing business in the province continues to increase, and Ontario employers take on one of the largest wage increases in recent history, Ontario’s Chamber Network is recommending the government reinstate the scheduled corporate income tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 10 per cent. The submission also calls on the harmonization of the Business Education Tax across the province, as well as targeted reductions to the Employer Health tax.
“Employers in the Peterborough area are feeling the pressure from rising costs,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The recent minimum wage and labour and employment standard changes will cost Ontario businesses an estimated $23 billion over the next two years. When HST was introduced so were measures to help mitigate the cost of changes. This is a similar situation where transitional support is needed for business.”
The pre-budget submission also recommends that the government create additional small business deduction tax brackets, as well as delay taxation on corporate income growth to overcome the scale-up challenge. Currently, all businesses with an annual income of $500,000 or less are taxed at a flat rate. A bracketed taxation system would give start-ups and SMEs more room to grow. Currently in Ontario, 71 per cent of private sector jobs can be attributed to the activities of small and medium sized enterprises.
“Ontario needs a competitive taxation system that encourages investment and minimizes red tape,” said Harrison. “As the U.S. pursues tax reform that would lower their federal corporate tax rate by 15 per cent, and with the uncertain future of NAFTA, we must find ways to keep Ontario competitive.”
The recommendations outlined in the OCC’s pre-budget submission all come directly from Ontario’s Chamber Network through policy resolutions at the OCC’s AGM. Among them is one from the Peterborough and Kingston Chambers to increase the levy paid by post-secondary institutions, hospitals and jails in lieu of taxes.
are struggling with a multitude of financial pressures and the current levy of $75 per head and bed no longer accurately reflects the cost of delivering services,” said Jim Hill, Chair of the Board of Directors, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “For Peterborough, adjusting the levy to $100 per head and bed would see $274,000 in additional funds each year in the municipal budget.”
Read the full submission and all 11 recommendations here.
For more information please contact:
Sandra Dueck, Policy Analyst/Communications Specialist
705.748.9771 x215 or firstname.lastname@example.org