October is national cyber security month. The federal government has put together a toolkit, which can be found online at www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/csam-tlkt-en.aspx
Each week of the month highlighted a different aspect of cyber security including:
Most recently, delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Saint John, New Brunswick passed a resolution asking for more government integration to punish cyber criminals as well continued investment in the national cyber security centre to ensure Canada is investigating and warning the public about new and emerging cyber threats.
A policy resolution in 2017 authored by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce sparked by MicroAge Technology with the recommendation that the federal government allow SMEs to write off 100% of their business investments in cybersecurity-related software, equipment and other costs (support services and outsourcing costs) in the year those investments are made.
This is the week that is set aside nationally to celebrate small business in Canada.
The statistics speak for themselves as to the importance of small business in our national, provincial and local economies.
Here are a few:
“We need our small businesses to thrive and be successful and to have an environment in which there are fewer barriers, so that they can create more jobs and have more opportunities to give back,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “The strength of the community is reflected in the strength of the business community.”
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has also launched Small Business Too Big To Ignore, a campaign
highlighting the important contributions of small businesses to communities across the province.
“Small businesses of 100 or fewer employees are the core of our membership and employ nearly 3 million Ontarians. They are powerful economic drivers in local communities and across the province. That is why for Small Business Week, we’re identifying the challenges small business owners face and celebrating everything they give back to our province,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has also triggered its #iheartsmallbiz campaign which includes testimonials such as this one from Matthew Strentse, Co-founder and COO of Iversoft:
"If you want to see true creativity and innovation, ask an SME to solve a problem. SMEs in Canada are the ones taking risks, pushing boundaries, developing new and disrupting all industries. We are not afraid of tech, we are not afraid of change and we embrace it all to create the advantages we need to compete - and win.”
The encouragement and promotion of small business is not limited to just one week of the year, in fact it’s the Chamber’s concern year-round.
We know from a report by the OCC titled Obstacles and Opportunities: The Importance of Small Business in Ontario, that the top three obstacles for small businesses in Ontario are:
In Ontario, small businesses make up 30% of provincial GDP and at the national level small business contributes 41% of GDP.
Recently, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce celebrated over 50 businesses at the Peterborough Business Excellence Awards night. The videos profiling all finalists are available on YouTube and are a shining example of the great work and workplaces we have in Peterborough.
Often the most telling part of that evening is the comments from the recipients. The first people to be thanked are usually the team and it goes without saying that the work team is crucial. However, we’d like to broaden the thank you to the owners and franchise owners and say thank you for taking the risk. Thank you for making the conscious decision to give back to your community in the form of employment
opportunities and sponsorship of community events, sports teams, the arts and so much more.
Check out the #ExcellencePtbo finalists and recipients and learn more about the businesses in our community.
There was a yellow school bus touring Peterborough’s main manufacturing area recently. However, it wasn’t a bus full of high school students, but rather their co-op teachers, guidance counsellors, and student success teachers. For over a year, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, Workforce Development Board, Kawartha Manufacturers Association and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce along with the Kawartha Pine Ridge School Board (KPRDSB) and Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland, Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB) have worked together to host an event called “Manufacturing Doors Open”.
The premise of the event was to connect industry and local high school educators. This was accomplished during a full day of visiting three local manufacturers (AVIT Manufacturing, Flying Colours, and Siemens Milltronics). Then, while travelling between those businesses, we completed a driving tour to introduce the educators to about 25 more companies. The event culminated in a 90-minute facilitated discussion about what the educators learned, what they needed from business and what business needed from them to build the workforce of the future.
Manufacturing is an industry that has deep roots in Peterborough. It is a foundational industry to this community and yet in the past decades it has not stayed stagnant, but has changed and developed with the times. It hasn’t been easy and the adjustments have had an impact. That said, the manufacturing sector of today is a thriving group of companies spanning Major Bennett Industrial Park, Neal Drive, Technology Drive, other pockets of the city and soon enough Cleantech Commons at Trent University.
One of the most pressing issues facing employers and business owners is access to talent or finding the right people for the jobs that are open. This situation is particularly prevalent in the skilled trades and by extension the manufacturing industry.
“When manufacturers are asked what challenges they face, finding and retaining skilled trades people is always near the top of the list. Hopefully initiatives like this one will help encourage students to explore manufacturing as a long-term career opportunity,” says Tom Sayer, President, Kawartha Manufacturers Association
An important takeaway from the day was that at each stop, each business in their description of the skills they look for spoke about looking for employees that fit their company culture in attitude, energy, and flexible skill sets. Each also expressed an interest in providing on the job training, as well as opportunity.
"It’s important for educators to interact with industry first-hand, to see the technical skills required in today's manufacturing sector,” says Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. “There is large growth potential for this sector and in this region. By introducing our educators to these opportunities and showcasing the value that STEM skills provide, we’re confident this message will be passed along to local youth and will equip them to become ready for the future.” Jennifer Lamantia, CEO, Workforce Development (WDB) echoes that sentiment: “WDB/LEPC was pleased to support and participate in the Manufacturing Doors Open Tour as it provided local educators with the opportunity to learn about the scope of job opportunities in manufacturing in Peterborough. The manufacturing sector as a whole is expected to grow over the next five years and in combination with the aging manufacturing workforce this increased demand for talent will ideally be filled by our local youth as they plan their careers.”
WDB provided the educators with a number of significant statistics about the skilled trades such as that the average age of one-third of workers in the skilled trades is 55+ and that wages can range from $19-$45 per hour. These tell us that there will be well-paying jobs to be had in areas such as precision painting, electrical
engineering, upholstering, welding and many other skilled trades.
The reaction of the educators to seeing manufacturing in the 21st century in Peterborough was positive and by all accounts an eye-opening experience that they will be able to take back to the students. One educator found it useful to learn that there are positions available for every level of student from high school to university while another commented on the precision and cleanliness of all operations.
The learning from this event will continue through the production of a video that will be distributed throughout the schools and a white paper on the facilitated discussion. The long term goal is to mimic this event in other sectors such as agriculture and construction.
Ontario statistics from Workforce Development Board
The cost of mental illnesses to the Canadian economy is estimated at over $50 billion annually, with $20 billion of that stemming directly from workplace losses. On average, mental health issues cost businesses almost $1,500 per employee, per year.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed a toolkit to help employers put policies and strategies in place.
According to the report, a mentally healthy workplace features:
Recently, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Kawartha Manufacturers Association, Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Association of Realtors, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Homebuilders Association, Women’s Business Network and Peterborough & District Construction Association collaborated to host a federal candidates debate on business & the economy.
In the 2.5 hour time frame, the candidates for the Liberal, Conservative, NDP, People's Party and Green Party presented their position on about 15 issues. Among the issues discussed were trade, small business taxation, environment, innovation, housing, agrifood, debt, workforce, diversity of workforce, mortgage stress test, the carbon tax, and infrastructure.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce also sent the candidates a survey based on the Canadian
Chamber's Vote Prosperity platform.
The above chart is the candidate's answers to three of the seven questions.
You can learn more about the candidates and the Vote Prosperity Platform at peterboroughchamber.ca
Candidates for the Peterborough-Kawartha Riding:
Maryam Monsef - Liberal Party of Canada
Michael Skinner - Conservative Party of Canada
Candace Shaw - NDP
Andrew MacGregor - Green Party of Canada
Alexander Murphy - People's Party of Canada
Ken Ranney - Stop Climate Change Party
Robert Bowers - Independent
Candidates for the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock Riding:
Jamie Schmale - Conservative Party of Canada
Judi Forbes - Liberal Party of Canada
Barbara Doyle - NDP
Elizabeth Fraser - Green Party of Canada
Gene Balfour - People's Party of Canada
Candidates for the Northumberland-Peterborough South:
Kim Rudd - Liberal Party of Canada
Philip Lawrence - Conservative Party of Canada
Mallory MacDonald - NDP
Jeff Wheeldon - Green Party of Canada
Frank Vaughan - People's Party of Canada