Rapid testing is one of several tools that will help us beat COVID-19. While several countries are bracing for a devastating fourth wave, Ontario appears positioned to continue its positive momentum in reopening as vaccination rates rise and cases drop.
To help keep our workplaces as safe as possible and hopefully avoid local outbreaks, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and Kawartha Chamber of Commerce and Tourism have partnered with MPP Dave Smith to provide rapid test kits to businesses in the City and County of Peterborough.
The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative was launched by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Government of Ontario, and Government of Canada as an additional tool to help keep workplaces safe.
The program is for people who feel healthy, but are part of a busy and active workplace. The latest
information from Health Canada suggests that up to one third of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic, with over 50% of known cases transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier. This makes it incredibly important to find asymptomatic carriers in order to combat the spread and get to a more normalized community life.
“The rapid testing kit
program is a very effective way for businesses to further protect their staff and
customers, and stop any further spread in the parking lot. We are grateful that MPP Dave Smith was able to help us with the logistics," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO of the Greater
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The test can be done at work and results typically take less than 10 minutes. This program is free for all
Peterborough City and County business with less than 150 employees. Larger employers can access rapid testing kits directly from the provincial and federal
The rapid tests aren’t a replacement for the standard PCR COVID-19 tests
Peterborough Public Health, but rather are used to quickly identify potential
asymptomatic carriers for further testing. Anyone who tests positive or inconclusive through the rapid tests will be referred to Peterborough Public Health for a PCR test.
We have a simple six step registration system at PeterboroughChamber.ca that includes designating someone to supervise the screening (they do not need any prior medical or clinical experience), watch a 6-minute training video, fill out some basic business information, and order kits. Business can order a two-week supply of kits based on the number of employees. Pickup is coordinated with MPP Dave Smith’s office with a location next to his constituency office.
The whole rapid testing process has minimal impacts for daily operation of a business, costs only a bit of time, and can help avoid outbreaks that impact the health of people in our community, create costly business shutdowns, and risk further outbreaks and health restrictions in our region.
If your workplace involves people working in close proximity, consider signing up for the rapid testing initiative and use one more tool to keep our community safe, healthy, and open for business. Get the details at PeterboroughChamber.ca
Pressure is mounting on the Ontario government to lay out its plan for working with the federal government on childcare funding.
Back in April, the federal government unveiled its 2021 budget, which includes $30 billion toward cutting
childcare costs in half in the next 18 months and down to $10 per day per child within five years — all in
partnership with provincial and territorial governments.
Two weeks ago, British Columbia signed the first childcare funding agreement with the federal government. B.C. will work with the federal government to cut fees in half by the end of 2022 and reach an average of $10-per-day childcare in regulated spaces for children under six before 2027, creating 30,000 new spaces over the next five years.
Since then, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have signed similar agreements.
Parents, educators, and employers are anxiously waiting to hear what Ontario plans to do. Ontario has
potentially the most to gain from a strong partnership with the federal government, with many Ontario cities ranking at the top for most expensive places in Canada for childcare.
It’s not just needed from a social perspective — it’s a key business issue. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is on the record with multiple resolutions advocating for more accessible childcare services.
It’s no secret that our business community is facing critical workforce shortages
in some sectors. It’s a complicated issue with a multitude of factors including workplace safety,
opportunities to retrain, wages, and government supports.
Though we’ve made progress in the form of modernizing traditional gendered parental roles with men taking on a larger share of child rearing, COVID-19 created a
situation where many families had to pick one parent to work and the other to stay home with the kids as schools and daycares closed. Some households found ways to try and manage both parents’ careers while taking care of and teaching their child, whether it meant burning the candle at both ends or getting grandparents involved. But the numbers show that women have taken on the largest share of the childcare burden.
Back in March, RBC published a report that nearly 100,000 women had left the
workforce altogether. That was before we hit our next round of lockdowns and school closures as we rode the third wave.
Even the childcare centres themselves are struggling to maintain the staffing levels they require. They’ve gone through the ups and downs of closing, reopening and restricted capacity, creating a high level of anxiety and
uncertainty for workers. Much of their workforce is comprised of women who are trying to balance their own childcare needs.
Workers debating whether it’s worth going back to lower paying jobs will have more financial incentive if a large part of their pay isn’t going straight to childcare,
providing a boost both for families and for businesses struggling to hire a new workforce.
Childcare costs and
availability were a big issue before this pandemic. Now, it’s a critical part of our economic recovery. While workforce issues aren’t going away overnight, making it accessible and affordable to pay for childcare will go a long way.
We live our lives online now more than ever. It’s where we socialize, it’s where we work, and it’s where our kids have been going to school.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated our use of digital technology. This increased use of online
connections has also opened the door to cybersecurity issues. Statistics Canada’s Canadian Survey on Business Conditions shows 1 in 5
Canadian organizations experienced cybersecurity incidents in 2020. Additionally, 1 in 4 organizations reported that adopting technologies was “somewhat” or
“extremely” challenging. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer shows Canadians are more worried about cyber attacks than COVID-19.
The Government of Ontario
recently released their Building a Digital Ontario strategy and a white paper titled Modernizing Privacy in Ontario: Empowering
Ontarians and Enabling the Digital Economy. The goal is to create a framework for digital progress that
prioritizes privacy and security.
Meanwhile, the Government of Canada is working on Bill C-11: Digital Charter
Implementation Act, a move aimed to address privacy and data collection issues by
putting Canadians in charge of their data.
Digital expansion and
adaptation have big
implications for business growth. It’s key for
streamlining processes and reaching markets. Similarly, our governments are moving towards digital, allowing them to be more accessible and efficient. But addressing
security concerns is critical to
maintaining consumer and business confidence.
Neglecting cybersecurity will cause us to lag behind at a crucial time as the world moves forward at an ever increasing pace.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has highlighted key issues regarding
• Canada has a strong
cybersecurity foundation in place, with some of the top global cybersecurity
companies being Canadian.
• Investment in cybersecurity is essential to boosting the productivity and efficiency of the Canadian economy.
Despite our strong
cybersecurity foundation, Canada is now at risk of being left behind. Canada’s federal investments in cybersecurity are orders of magnitude smaller than the investments being made by our global competitors.
• Digital expansion has been accelerated by COVID; there is a significant opportunity right now to seize the
moment and solidify Canada’s position as a global cybersecurity leader. This moment might never come again.
• Cybersecurity has tremendous potential to create high-skilled, well-paying jobs, increase exports, and contribute to Canada’s economic recovery.
• Cybersecurity best-practices and awareness are crucial elements in keeping your business and your customer information safe from bad actors. Canadian cybersecurity companies are among the best in the world to provide the protection and training you need.
• The 2021 budget provided funding for SMEs to invest in digital tech. This is a clear message that cybersecurity investments should go hand-in-hand with
investment in IT modernization and other digital technologies.
• Increased investment in
cybersecurity stands to benefit communities across Canada from both job creation and from improved made-in-Canada
cybersecurity accessibility and protection.
• Keeping our data secure and protected matters to every single one of us.
Our province is part-way through its re-opening process, entering Step 2 a couple days early. People are once again getting haircuts, shopping in the mall, and gathering socially indoors.
It’s a move toward business as usual, but we still have a long way to go.
Here’s a quick recap of some of the changes:
• Outdoor gatherings
increase from 10 to 25 people
• Indoor social gatherings and public events for up to 5 people
• Outdoor dining increases from 4 to 6 people per table
• Essential retail is open to 50% capacity, non-essential to 25%
• Shopping malls have re-opened
• Outdoor religious services, rites, or ceremonies,
including wedding services and funeral services, capped at the number of people that can maintain a physical distance of two metres
• Personal care services where face coverings can be worn at all times at 25% capacity
• Outdoor fitness classes are capped at the number of people who can maintain 3 metres of distance
• Outdoor meeting and event spaces at 25% capacity
• Outdoor amusement and water parks at 25% capacity
• Outdoor sports games, leagues and events at 25% capacity
• Outdoor cinemas,
performing arts, live music events and attractions at 25% capacity
• Outdoor horse racing and motor speedways at 25% capacity
For the full Step 2 details, visit Ontario.ca
According to the Roadmap to Reopen, we now wait another 3 weeks to move to Step 3. With the move to Step 2 bumped two days ahead of schedule, there is speculation about the move to the final step. Ontario has already achieved the vaccination targets required for Step 3.
Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a statement regarding the reopening steps:
“Many businesses – particularly small business and those in industries hit
hardest by the crisis – continue to struggle to survive as they operate under extremely strict regulations. As the indispensable partner of business, we have continued to call for evidence-based metrics for reopening Ontario’s economy as we work together towards a steady, robust, and inclusive recovery.”
“The facts are clear about Ontario’s reopening plan: we have achieved benchmarks for Step Three, yet we are taking a modest earlier move into Step 2. With nearly one-third of Ontarians fully vaccinated and our positivity rate dropping to the lowest since early Fall, we urge government to closely monitor the indicators for reopening so we can confidently move to the next stage of a safe reopening of our economy sooner than anticipated. Continued supports, such as an additional round of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, will be critical to help keep businesses afloat.”
We urge everyone who is eligible and able to please get vaccinated. Do it for yourself, your loved ones, and for your favourite local businesses whose ability to operate depends heavily on our collective ability to beat this virus.
Many Canadians will return to in-person work in the coming months. However, the nature of work has changed significantly in the last 18 months.
The focus right now is on getting out of this health crisis, but it’s important to plan ahead for important issues, including the return to the workplace. For many people, going back to the office represents a return to normal.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has released a 21-point plan to provide guidance for businesses and policy recommendations for governments on four key areas for the re-opening of the economy: health/safety, teleworking, skills/training and the future of customer engagement.
Here are the key points from the Canadian Chamber:
Health and Safety
There are numerous considerations for employers to think through now to be able to react quickly,
particularly the need to manage a workforce that may not be entirely vaccinated. Although vaccination and herd immunity will be the long-term solutions to the pandemic, a suite of complementary measures will need to be used by businesses to rebuild trust that the workplace is safe to return to. These include rapid screening, ventilation upgrades and monitoring, as well as masking and
In order to do so successfully, the government must provide clarity on what employers can ask of their employees’ vaccination status, harmonize vaccine credential systems, provide clear guidance on workplace infection prevention and consistent criteria for safe re-opening of businesses.
The world of work has changed. Social distancing
and health and safety protocols imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic forced firms to introduce telework on a large scale. Once the pandemic is over, many of these changes are anticipated to remain in the form of a hybrid work cycle for most businesses. There are several actions businesses can take to build a “new normal” workplace that aims to
incorporate the positive aspects of teleworking and limits the risks, including
synchronizing the physical and remote workplace,
reframing the office as a hub for engagement and
To facilitate this shift, governments must improve Canada’s digital
infrastructure, provide fiscal incentives to support remote work and establish national
Developing enduring workforce skills and talent pipelines is critical to building the resilience of companies and workers in order to grow in the post-pandemic economy. Although this has always been important for businesses, it takes on an added importance given the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption, automation and other technologies. There are key actions companies should implement to improve workforce upskilling and reskilling, build a culture of lifelong learning and better utilize their existing
Employers also need a closer alignment of business needs, the labour market and
education programming to inform both education policy and appropriate fiscal
Consumer spending habits changed drastically during the pandemic, resulting in a considerable increase in e-commerce and curbside pickup. Although many
consumers will want to revert to in-person experiences, more activity is likely to structurally shift to remain online. The pandemic has also not
abated the increasing consumer desire to purchase products that have been
Businesses should keep a close eye on emerging
environment, social and
governance (ESG) initiatives.
Governments can help
businesses make these
transitions to the new
digitized environment by
updating Canada’s privacy rules to protect customer data.
For more information on the Canadian Chamber’s 21-point plan, visit chamber.ca
Advocacy is an important part of how the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce supports local businesses. We have an opportunity to submit two resolutions to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to go before its membership in the fall for a vote on whether to include these items as part of the Canadian Chamber’s national advocacy efforts.
Our two resolutions are:
The CEBA program has been a vital lifeline for businesses with nearly 900,000
approved for loans. The generous terms of this loan have been exactly what many businesses needed.
Circumstances have changed since this program launched in early April of 2020. The government has shown
flexibility in expanding
eligibility criteria and
increasing access to funds, but the repayment terms have not been updated to reflect the length of time businesses have been
expected to reduce their
access to the public.
Unfortunately, the economic impact of COVID-19 has hit some businesses harder than others. Many businesses in sectors including food service, hospitality, tourism, arts and entertainment, retail, and personal service have spent a significant portion of the last year and a half heavily
restricted — if not
completely closed — to the public. It’s not uncommon for businesses to carry a debt in good times, but one can only imagine the level of debt some business owners have incurred just to survive. They carry debt to their lending institutions, landlords,
suppliers and in some cases, have leveraged personal assets and borrowed from friends and family.
Under the current terms, the loan is interest free until December 31, 2022, at which point it increases to 5%. Those who pay back 67% of the balance of their loan by that date will have the remainder of their loan
forgiven. Full repayment is due by December 31, 2025.
The result is the most
vulnerable businesses will also get the least benefit from this program, resulting in significant interest incurred and the requirement to pay back 100% of the
principal — dragging out their recovery even longer. Additionally, the
government will be forced into the unpopular position of collecting on their debts from the most vulnerable
businesses who often employ our most vulnerable people.
We’re asking the
Government of Canada to allow businesses to re-apply for the CEBA loan annually with a schedule that shows that businesses who have struggled to recover will not incur interest and will get a larger portion of their debt forgiven. For those who have not yet recovered by the end of 2025, we’re asking that the entire loan be forgiven.
High Frequency Rail Strategy
VIA Rail, a Crown
operates the only national passenger rail service,
controlling most passenger service outside of urban
commuter networks. In most areas of the country,
passenger service operates on the same network as freight. Passenger service typically must yield to much slower freight service. These network conflicts happen regularly and result in slow and inconsistent service.
High Frequency Rail networks eliminate this conflict by
providing a dedicated
network for passengers.
VIA is currently working to improve service along the busy Windsor — Quebec City corridor. This includes a proposed High Frequency Rail network with dedicated tracks between Toronto –
Ottawa – Montréal – Québec City. This proposal will assure the corporation can maximize ridership and revenue and improve their on-time
performance to over 95%.
The hybrid electric-diesel trains running on this route will dramatically reduce
carbon emissions by 12.5
million tons of CO2e, the equivalent of a car-pool reduction of 2.8 million vehicles.
Dedicated tracks solve VIA’s congestion problems, increase its efficiency and profitability, create economic development while
remaining environmentally friendly, and will give
commuters better access to communities not
traditionally served by transit. It is important to note that track improvements for passenger service will offer significant benefits to current and future freight users.
This will increase economic development, improve
environmental sustainability, and allow for movement of people and goods in unprecedented ways — all of which enhance the lives of Canadians. The busy Windsor – Quebec City rail corridor currently services an area where 19 million Canadians reside.
The VIA HFR project has been under consideration by the federal government since 2016. The 2021 federal budget included nearly $500 million in funding toward due diligence, de-risk and
infrastructure projects that support the proposal. The project is in the mandate
letter for the Minister of Transport. But the federal government has yet to
provide a funding
commitment to build the line nor has a timeline for construction been set.
We’re asking the Government of Canada to prioritize high frequency rail service as a key part of meeting our climate change target as well as
commit funding and set a timeline for the
implementation of the VIA High Frequency Rail Project between Toronto and Quebec City.
Roadmap to Reopen
The Government of Ontario recently announced its Roadmap to Reopen, a new framework for re-opening our economy and relaxing social restrictions. While it is encouraging to see increased transparency in our government’s plans, the plan itself falls short of our recommendations in the
Responsible Business Protocol resolution recently adopted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
We are asking the Ontario Government to:
1) Establish a Safe Operating Framework with a uniform and equitable set of safety standards, in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, for all businesses regardless of products/services or establishment size — not based on a perception of essentiality — enabling businesses to continue serving the public during a health crisis, including the current
2) Establish a Community Contact Reduction
Framework that applies the same capacity limits for all public-facing businesses, based on regional virus spread, identifying a clear framework for reducing individual contacts.
We will continue working with the Ontario
Government to create a
re-opening plan that is fair and equitable for all
Tax Reform Input
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has been asked to provide the Canada Revenue Agency with ideas for tax reform. We’re looking for your input on specific suggestions for tax forms to be digitized, consolidated or eliminated through our Tax Form Buster.
Everyone has an opinion on taxes. We would love to hear yours! Visit thinkgrowth.ca/ to get-involved.
June is Seniors Showcase month, the largest
seniors-focused event in the region. This year’s event is entirely online and
features a whole series of free workshops, a panel discussion, and a variety of local exhibitors.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Age Friendly Peterborough, is presenting the 2021 Seniors Showcase virtually, running for the entire month of June on peterboroughchamber.ca and the Chamber’s social media channels.
Check it out at
Chambers of Commerce across Canada are joining the campaign “Faster, Together.” This national vaccine
confidence campaign is about bringing us back together, faster. The sooner all of us who are eligible and able get immunized, the sooner we can gather together with friends and family and the sooner our businesses can reopen and get back to providing us with our favourite products and services.
The Faster, Together.
initiative is made up of more than 100 organizations, including business
associations, labour unions, entertainment groups, influential individuals, and national brands. The initiative is co-chaired by Bruce Anderson (Abacus Data, spark* Advocacy) and Hassan Yusseff (Canadian Labour Congress) and has been built on a volunteer basis with the goal of fast-tracking Canada’s
recovery from COVID-19. Visit fastertogether.ca for more information.
Capital Is Key
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released a new policy brief titled Capital Is Key: Financing Entrepreneurship in Ontario after COVID-19. As per the OCC:
“Ontario’s small business owners are armed with grit and creativity, which proved instrumental as they
adapted to public health restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, managing cash flows and debt became a challenge as the crisis forced many businesses to suspend, adapt, or
restructure their operations. Meanwhile, as the pandemic accelerated digital
transformations, many of Ontario’s
innovation-oriented firms flourished.
entrepreneurship will be fundamental to Ontario’s economic recovery and it will require access to the right forms of capital. Recognizing that newer and smaller businesses are inherently riskier to finance, Ontario must develop policies to bridge gaps for entrepreneurs who will be in greatest need of support as they rebuild and grow in a post-pandemic world. This means enhancing access to capital for firms that were less well-financed before the crisis, as well as high-growth firms with the potential to drive long-term competitiveness.”
Our workforce is undergoing significant changes, including a large shift in the skills our businesses are looking for.
Peterborough’s Workforce Development Board has been diligently monitoring these changes and engaging businesses to help them meet their needs. Recently, they partnered with workforce planning boards across
Eastern Ontario to conduct this year’s EmployerOne Survey. Highlights from the survey include:
Direct Impact of the Pandemic
This pandemic has had a substantial negative impact on 40% of businesses surveyed, with only 6% of businesses reporting a significant positive impact. We can also see that businesses took advantage of assistance offered to them, including 39% using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. It has shifted how people work, with 52% of local businesses having at least one employee working remotely.
Turnover & Recruitment
Turnover is a concern for many employers. The main reason for employees leaving is quitting, with sales and service occupations struggling the most.
Compounding issues with high turnover are struggles with recruitment, including a general lack of applicants. Recruitment woes point to a few things, including a tight labour market where the most qualified workers are already employed. Other factors include not enough promotion for vacancies and concerns that the workplace may not have sufficient employee protection protocols for working during the pandemic.
While online job boards, social media, and company websites are used extensively, word of mouth is the most popular form of recruitment.
Specific positions and sectors are facing the most
challenges in recruitment. Currently, the most difficult positions to fill are:
• Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations
• Construction trades
• Sales and account
representatives for wholesale trade
Why are some positions so difficult to fill? Of the local businesses surveyed, 70% cited lack of applicants and 53% pointed to lack of work experience from the
applicants they did get.
What are employers looking for?
When it comes to new hires, employers are looking for computer skills (including working remotely) topped by soft skills like the ability to work independently, time management, problem
solving, teamwork and
And businesses are looking to hire, with 54% anticipating they will hire in 2021. The main reasons for hiring are:
• Increase in sales
• Change in work processes
• Reorganization of
• Change in products or services
• Acquisition of new
• Adoption of new
While ridding the world of COVID-19 and moving out of our current social and
business restrictions will go a long way toward building a thriving business community, that’s not happening right away nor will it happen
quickly. It’s clear that
re-skilling and re-training are key to moving ahead. Various organizations, educational institutions, governments, and businesses are all working on new programs to train our workforce for the future. But it also hinges on our willingness to adapt. The jobs lost due to the pandemic aren’t the same ones that are popping up on job boards.
The success of our economic recovery hinges on
investments in our workforce to adapt to the changing needs of local employers.
The last year has given new perspectives and new voices for business issues. Business issues that were once more easily pushed aside, dismissed, or ignored have been placed front and centre.
Traditionally, when we talk about business issues it’s discussed as a solitary entity, independent of life outside the business world. Then COVID-19 came along and turned everything upside down. As Joni Mitchell said, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” We’ve gone through a reckoning and have seen just how intertwined business is with everything else. I think many of us have known for a long time the importance of social issues for our economy and various movements have pushed that cause over the years.
Our recovery from this pandemic gives us an opportunity to take a huge step forward. When we talk about the “new normal,” let’s talk about what we want the future to look like.
Gender inequality is a business issue. COVID-19 has had a disproportionate economic impact on women. Women are more likely to beemployed in sectors facing shutdowns and layoffs, female entrepreneurs tend to be newer or smaller with less financial backing, and women have taken on the largest role in childcare and home-based education. This inequality is not a new challenge for the workforce, but the pandemic has illuminated shortcomings. Our governments are working to find ways to implement what has been dubbed the “she-covery.” Failing to address this issue will impact our nation’s economic recovery and drag it out longer. This is not just a moral obligation — it’s critical for our economy.
Childcare is a business issue. Quality childcare is nearly impossible to maintain while also working a full day of work, especially for jobs that can’t be done from home. When the childcare centres closed, thousands of adults removed themselves from the workforce.
Childcare has been an ongoing issued made much more challenging by the pandemic. Childcare spaces have been in short supply for years and the cost is a
significant challenge for families. The federal government is taking steps to address these issues through the 2021 budget, pushing more subsidies, increasing spaces, and investing in quality care. Giving parents the option of quality, affordable childcare is essential to engaging the full potential of our workforce.
Our schools are a business issue. Anyone attempting to help our children with online learning can attest to this. Much like childcare, many parents have had to make the choice to either remove themselves from the
workforce or burn the candle at both ends and get their work done after the kids are done school (or gone to bed).
Investing in our schools both helps our economy by training a better future
workforce and makes it so those who don’t want to be homeschool teachers can focus on our work. This is a resource a generation of parents will never take for granted again.
The line between the
workplace and home has become a bit blurred. While work has moved more into our homes, our lives have also become more entwined with our work. We’ve seen more prioritizing of physical health, mental health, and schedule flexibility. These are all part of the future business community.
As your Chamber of
Commerce, it’s our duty to advocate for a thriving
business community. We know addressing social
issues goes hand-in-hand with advocating for
traditional business issues.
This recovery is our chance to work together and make some positive change.
It’s no secret that businesses thrive on a certain level of consistency and stability.
Knowing what to expect allows business owners and managers to plan and invest for the future. That same logic applies to plans for next weekend as well as five years down the road. It impacts how many staff to bring in and how much product to order as well as investments in expansion, renewal, and succession.
Unpredictability has become one of the few constants for many businesses. Being able to accurately predict economic and social trends has always been a key part of running a business, but not to this level.
Pressure is mounting on our federal and provincial governments to release their plans for moving into
recovery from this pandemic.
The current stay-at-home order expires May 20. While there is an expectation that some form of lockdown will continue, especially in certain regions, there are insights that could be shared that would help businesses figure out staffing, product/supplies, and promotions for the
coming weeks and months.
Federally, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is adding some pressure by calling on the government to release a roadmap for the restart of domestic and international travel. At this point, air travel isn’t expected to fully recover until 2024. This impacts tourism, international business, and cargo capacity.
As per the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Canada cannot afford to wait until after the pademic is over to develop the travel restart plan given, the lead-time required for implementation. In executing a roadmap,
government needs to present a plan that is underpinned by three traits: clarity in its intent and objectives rather than based around outlier
issues; trustworthiness that is it based on solid evidence that it will protect the health of Canadians; and
predictability that the plan is durable and will only be changed under well
telegraphed circumstances.” (see full letter at chamber.ca)
I would emphasize that we can’t afford to wait until the pandemic is over to
develop recovery plans for any economic or business sector. Knowing the “how” without a firm date on the “when” will still add a significant level of certainty for some sectors. Not only how are we going to roll back restrictions, but what is the path forward. The future of business is going to be different from where we left off in 2019 — rolling back restrictions doesn’t roll back the clock.
We know our governments can’t predict every zig and zag of this health crisis. Many of the public health and economic experts the
governments have been relying on have made their assessments and best-guesses public. We know they’re hard at work on getting us through this and into better times. That has been the focus of the recent federal and provincial budgets.
Sharing their plans for recovery will give businesses assurance that there is indeed a plan ready to go, provide expectations of how things will roll out, and hopefully give a bit of stability and certainty to our business community.