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.