Coming out of a difficult year and into an uncertain one means the upcoming 2021 federal budget is going to be a mix of pandemic relief and potential recovery stimulus. How the Government of Canada balances these two priorities will provide insight into how our country’s leaders anticipate we will handle the global pandemic.
The budget will prioritize getting Canadians through the pandemic, including providing people with the supports they need. Prime Minister Trudeau has already announced an extension to the number of weeks that people can claim benefits under several income support programs, including the Canada Recovery Benefit and the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has submitted our priorities for the 2021 federal budget, including:
VIA High Frequency Rail
The VIA High Frequency Rail (HFR) plan is ready and waiting for approval. It is part of the mandate letter provided to the new Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra.
VIA’s proposal for dedicated tracks for high frequency trains between Toronto – Peterborough – Ottawa – Montréal – Québec City will assure the corporation can maximize ridership and revenue and improve their on-time performance to over 95%. Dedicated tracks for passenger service will reduce trip times while also increasing VIA’s profitability, effectively eliminating the need for a Government subsidy within a few years.
A dedicated passenger corridor will create significant economic development along the route, including an estimated 336,000 person years of employment. The hybrid electric-diesel trains running on this route will dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 12.5 million tons of CO2, the equivalent of a car-pool reduction of 2.8 million vehicles.
In addition to the benefits of more efficient inter-city travel, VIA’s proposal will increase access to affordable housing in the new rail corridor and provide new residents with a transit option for commuting.
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.
Expansion of Broadband Internet Access
The need for rapid expansion of access to high-speed internet has never been greater. Broadband access is a necessity for business, both as a location for offices and facilities as well as access and integration of their workforce.
While we’ve made progress over the last decade, 2020 highlighted some major gaps in access to high-speed internet. Though largely a rural issue, it’s likely not as rural as many would believe with large service gaps just on the edge of the city. For 2021, we need to make sure that all Ontarians have the ability to work and learn from home.
Targeted Investment and Relief COVID-19 has required business in some sectors to close or drastically change their service model while others have continued with few changes. Those hardest hit include accommodation, food service, arts, entertainment, recreation, and retail.
We’ve had a year to study the impacts of the pandemic. We know how who and how businesses are being impacted. We need our government to target relief efforts to the specific areas that need it most.
Greater Access to Capital for Small Businesses
Small businesses are investing not only in what they need to thrive through this crisis, but also in the future sustainability of their business well beyond 2021. Businesses that are investing in themselves are businesses that will continue employing people in our community and hopefully expand and hire more.
Additionally, many businesses have used government and other loan programs to assist them through the pandemic. As they borrow more and deal with reduced income, it makes it even more difficult to borrow further funds without assistance.
The 2021 federal budget will be one of the most challenging in recent times. It should provide some key insights into what our government expects this year to bring.
Lockdowns — something unheard of only a year ago — have become something we are getting all too familiar with.
With many businesses opening up this week, it seems that many are already bracing for a dreaded third wave. Whether it’s this public health crisis, or the next one, it’s important that we learn from our experience. Locking down the province is no doubt a decision that is not taken lightly, but it’s proving to be a very blunt instrument.
Small businesses in Ontario have taken the utmost care to abide by the regularly-evolving rules, regulations and guidelines. Business owners genuinely want to keep their staff, customers and themselves safe and healthy. In fact, keeping staff and customers safe has always been the top priority when operating a business. Compliance with safety standards impacts every size and sector, from retail and restaurants to construction and manufacturing.
Businesses are accustomed to having their ability to operate depend on their compliance with current safety standards.
Businesses in Ontario follow the Occupational Health and Safety Act closely or face penalties that can include jail time and fines of $100,000 for individuals and $1.5 million for corporations. They work within the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, Human Rights Code, Canada Labour Code, Ontario Fire Code, Liquor Control Act, Ontario Building Code, Health Protection and Promotion Act of Ontario, and more, each with their own set of financial penalties and
potential restrictions to conduct business.
Currently, businesses are being shut down or forced to significantly change their service model not because of their adherence to safety protocols, but because of the products they sell or the services they offer. This shuts down some businesses while allowing others to operate with very few restrictions.
Despite being locked down, people have not stopped shopping — resulting in a system that favours large international department and online retailers over
To both support the economy and keep Ontarians safe, the system defining which businesses are essential requires reform. Restrictions should hinge on compliance, not solely on perception of essentiality, sector, size, product etc. Businesses that can provide evidence of compliance with COVID-19 health and safety protocols should be allowed to operate. Those that are not compliant, should not.
We are confident that businesses and lawmakers can work together to create an equitable framework where businesses can
operate in compliance with new safety protocols that will both help Ontario work toward the eradication of COVID-19 and provide sustainability and consistency to the business community.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce — with the support of our colleagues at the Brampton Board of Trade, Barrie Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Milton Chamber of Commerce, and 1000 Islands Gananoque Chamber of Commerce — are putting forward a resolution to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Our request to the Government of Ontario is:
• In order to continue serving the public during a health crisis, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, enhance lockdown or grey zone regulations based on a uniform and equitable set of safety standards for all businesses, in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, rather than on perception of essentiality.
Advocacy is a big part of what we do at the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. Every year we highlight certain issues to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for chambers across the province to debate. The approved resolutions remain a key part of the chamber advocacy for three years, at which point they are reviewed and re-submitted if the issue is still pressing.
We’re happy to say one of our 2018 resolutions, Cutting Red Tape for Motor Vehicles, was successful in its advocacy by streamlining the process for vehicle dealerships to process registrations without having to physically attend a Service Ontario location for each sale.
However, two of our issues remain and will continue to be a point of advocacy.
Maximizing Growth in Built Areas Housing is a big issue in Peterborough. Simply put, there isn’t enough. There isn’t enough affordable, mid-range, or high-end housing. There aren’t enough apartments or houses.
Vacancy rates have been chronically low and demand is only increasing. There are a lot of plans in the works, including new subdivisions, apartment buildings, and higher density developments.
But in the middle of all this, quite literally in the middle of our city, sits a large supply of unused housing — the 2nd and 3rd floor residences above many of your favourite local shops and cafes in downtown Peterborough.
Redevelopment of these upper floor units is happening, but the pace is slow. Despite the demand and increasing rising real estate and lease rates, many of these units remain too costly to renovate. It’s no surprise that buildings built more than 100 years ago — long before building or fire codes — would require a lot of work to make them safe and liveable again. But with the right incentives, these underused assets could provide our community with desperately needed housing and become an economic catalyst in the heart of our city.
We are asking the Government of Ontario to:
1. Designate the Downtown Revitalization Program to be used for a pilot project that allows private building owners and municipal officials to study and assess, using an independent
consultant and without punitive action, the needs of a building or series of buildings in a downtown core.
2. Allow for a renovation plan or commitment to be worked out that is agreeable to the property owner and the municipality.
3. Allow for a coordinated approach to intensification and heritage preservation that takes into consideration a community’s current building stock and its ability to function in a contemporary economy.
4. Allow for intensification districts just outside the core, but within the designated built-up area that can be developed in tandem with the Urban Growth Area and not impact the current
5. Study the effect of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act on the viability of the
intensification projects of existing buildings.
Heads and Beds Levy
The provincial government does not pay property tax on its real estate holdings. Instead, it makes payments in lieu of property taxes as a way to compensate municipalities. For places like colleges, universities, hospitals, and correctional facilities, that payment comes through a “heads and beds” levy. This rate increased from $50 set in 1973 to $75 in 1987. The rate has remained unchanged ever since.
In 1987, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was negotiating a free trade agreement with the US, Michael Jackson’s “Bad” was on its way to the top of the charts, and I was just learning to walk. It’s safe to say a lot has changed since then.
If the “Heads and Beds” levy had kept pace with inflation, the province would currently be paying $148. We realize that’s a tall ask, especially given the current budget constraints. We’re asking the Province to increase the levy to $100 and tie future increases to inflation.
Why is this important? Because right now the tax payers of Peterborough — residents and businesses alike — are subsidizing provincial buildings. The nature of Provincial services is that they serve a broad role for a larger community as part of a high-level strategy for a stronger province. The “Heads and Beds” levy is supposed to keep things fair by having all Ontario residents pay their share for provincial services, but without an update to the levy, it’ll be up to the tax payers in the City of Peterborough to make up the difference.
Businesses in the Muskoka-Kawartha Region are twice as confident in their economic outlook as some areas of the province, according to the fifth annual Ontario Economic Report by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. While some other areas rely heavily on international tourism, the Kawarthas has been a popular destination for Ontarians travelling regionally. This confidence translates to less expected job losses than other regions.
However, only 21 per cent of businesses in Ontario are confident in the overall Ontario economic outlook. Last year was unprecedented in many ways and there is a lot of unpredictability in the year that lies ahead. While the Ontario Economic Report digs deep into the woes businesses are facing, it also highlights some key strategies for our leadership.
Priorities for recovery:
1. Help businesses acquire credit or capital
2. Reform and/or lower business taxes
3. Encourage Ontarians to buy local
4. Invest in broadband infrastructure
“No business, region, sector, or demographic should be left behind in the pursuit of economic recovery and growth,” says Daniel Safayeni, co-author of the report and Acting Vice President of Policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Support programs and pro-growth policies should be targeted towards those experiencing the most pronounced challenges. A focus on reskilling as well as widespread access to broadband infrastructure and capital will be necessary to the revival of small business and entrepreneurship as well as an inclusive and robust economic recovery.”
Let’s Talk Budget
We want your input on the 2021 federal budget. Canadians, including businesses and organizations, can participate directly by completing an online questionnaire or uploading a submission.
These pre-budget consultations are an opportunity for Canadians from across the country to share their ideas and priorities for how the government can make investments to grow the economy. They want to hear your ideas on how to create new jobs and build a greener, more competitive, more innovative, more inclusive, more resilient Canada.
To participate, visit letstalkbudget2021.ca. Or if you’d prefer to have your voice added to the Chamber’s pre-budget submission, just email your input to firstname.lastname@example.org
Broadband Internet Expansion
Broadband internet access continues to expand throughout rural Ontario. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for years to have the Province expand high speed internet access to all areas of Ontario. In just the last month, the Province has successfully launched broadband expansions in Wellington County, Niagara Region, Brant County and Caledon — a huge improvement for nearly 10,000 people. Similarly, the Peterborough Chamber has advocated for the EORN (Eastern Ontario Regional Network) which has been successful in improving cell and internet access and continues to push initiatives such as their 1 Gig Project. https://www.eorn.ca/en/index.aspx
Access to reliable high-speed internet has been essential for people and businesses for more than a decade, but its importance has never been greater. People are shopping, conducting business, connecting with loved ones, and learning online like never before. Expanding high-speed internet to people in other areas of the province not only helps those areas, but expands the potential market for businesses in the Peterborough area as well.
CRA Increases Service Ahead of 2021 Tax Season
In preparation for what is likely to be a more complicated and involved tax season across the country, the Canada Revenue Agency is expanding its capacity to handle your questions through:
• More agents to increase call centre capacity
• New automated callback service so you don’t have to spend time on hold if when wait times reach a certain length
• Extended call centre hours to 9am to 9pm on weekdays and 9am to 5 pm on Saturdays (starting Feb. 27)
• Expanded resources on Canada.ca
The Canadian Chamber has called for a Royal Commission on Tax Reform for many years. This year the Chamber Policy Staff are working on their own recommendations to the tax code, which hasn’t been updated since the Leafs won the cup.
A strong recovery will depend on many factors, from business confidence to a regulatory system that encourages business.
The annual Bell Let’s Talk Day took place this week. A day to raise awareness on mental health, promote discussion to erase the stigma and share resources for people in need of help. This day seemed more important than ever.
The pandemic has left so many feeling isolated, stressed and hopeless.
In December, Canadian Mental Health Association stated that according to a survey, 44 percent of Ontarians felt their mental health had deteriorated since the beginning of the
COVID-19 pandemic. The highest rate across Canada. Of those, 13 percent experienced suicidal thoughts.
How do we move forward from here?
A fellow employee once said, “We spend so much time together at work; we need to take care of each other”.
We are all in this together.
In the workplace, even working remotely, we can support and take care of each other.
Keep communication open. Talk about how coworkers are dealing with their new work environments. Be clear on expectations. Be open about personal struggles.
Keep flexible. Working from home might mean some staff are now working at home with children, limited internet access and other obstacles that wouldn’t be there in the workplace.
Make time for selfcare. Find time during the day to do something you enjoy.
Enjoy a good meal, read a book, revisit a hobby you may have been neglecting.
Keep active. Take a walk. Take advantage of the online fitness programs (Full Tilt is currently offering theirs free during the lockdown).
Reach out for support when you need it. To anyone struggling with mental health and addiction at this time, the Canadian Mental Health Association - Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge has programs and services that can be
accessed anytime. Four County Crisis can be reached 24/7 at 705-745-6484 or
Fortunately, mental health has become much easier to talk about and do something about. Thanks to initiatives such as Bell Let’s Talk Day, much of the stigma around mental health has been erased and there is much more support from employers.
81% of businesses believe that it is important to support their employees’ mental wellness in the workplace; however, only 35% of small business, 65% of medium sized business and 76% of large business have mental health strategies.
Bell Let’s Talk day is a remarkable initiative that to date has injected exactly $86,504,429.05 into the conversation on mental health. The campaign is focused on four pillars:
One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma attached to it. The annual Bell Let’s Talk awareness campaign and Day is driving the national
conversation to help reduce this stigma and promote awareness and understanding, and talking is an important first step towards lasting change.
Care & Access Bell supports a variety of organizations including grassroots agencies, local hospitals, and universities to help provide Canadians with support services when and where they need it.
Research holds the greatest promise to better understand treatments and cures. Bell is investing in best-in-class research programs with the potential to have a
transformative impact on the mental health and well-being of Canadians.
Workplace health Mental health is the leading cause of workplace disability in Canada and represents 15% of Canada’s burden of disease. Bell is committed to leading by example in their own workplace by adopting the voluntary Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, and is encouraging greater corporate engagement across Canada.
As the pandemic continues, it’s important to know that one day we will be out of this, and look back at this nightmare for what it was. A time with struggle, but we were able get through it together. A time with sadness, but we were able to offer each other hope and inspiration. A time we were isolated from the world, but were able to offer support that brought us closer together.
Pivot. Adapt. Be resilient.
It’s been the mantra for businesses this past year. While it would be easy to be crushed under the avalanche 2020/21 has dumped on us, some have turned the tables and made this past year into one of opportunities.
During the Great Depression, General Motors changed their business model to offer more affordable cars to struggling citizens who could no longer afford their luxury automobiles. This lifted GM to tycoon status, leaving their competitors, in the proverbial dust. Presently, we have local inspirational stories like this.
Alicia Doris was laid off in early 2020 because of the pandemic. She had seen the idea of gathering local wares and selling them in a package, and thought the idea would do well in Peterborough. What started as a passion project quickly turned into a viable business: Living Local - subscription & gift boxes.
She credits the Innovation Cluster’s Starter Company Plus Program and community support for her success. During the Holiday season alone, she sold 300 custom boxes, delivering hem not only in Peterborough, but all across Canada.
“Peterborough has so much to share,” said Doris, happy that people are able to
appreciate the handmade products made in Peterborough.
Owners of The Boardwalk Board Game Lounge weren’t able to have customers in during the lockdown, so they quickly decided to take the games directly to their customers.
"With our dining and playing space closed, the Boardwalk Board Game Lounge is
offering curbside pickup and contact-free delivery to help everyone get their hands on games to help keep them occupied with their lockdown buddies. Every once in a while we offer a Game Night To-Go package, bundling food, drinks, snacks, and games together,"explained co-owner Dylan Reinhart.
Owners of Full Tilt Cycle, a boutique cycling studio in Peterborough, also had the idea to bring their services directly to their customers. Their channel, @fulltiltvirtual on Instagram, is currently offering over 100 classes for free during the lockdown.
“Everyone wants home fitness right now,” explained co-owner Erin Marshall. Marshall – who had already displayed her business mogul feathers by launching Full Tilt with her partner in
Peterborough, has expanded her wingspan again. She is now the sole Canadian distributor of the RealRyder Canada bikes.
Traynor Farms, a family-owned beef farm, decided to offer online sales and delivery last year. They were overwhelmed with the response.
"It really boosted our sales," said Grag Traynor.
These are just some examples of how businesses were able to adapt and change during these challenging times.
And just as our local businesses are doing their best to survive in these struggling times, we as a community must stand behind them. Order takeout. Purchase for curbside pickup. Love them on social media. Share their stories. Invest in businesses that have invested in the economy of
Guest Editorial – Peterborough Chamber 2021 Board Chair Joe Grant, LLF Lawyers
If you are like me, all those internet memes we consumed over the last six months trashing 2020
convinced you on some level that flipping the calendar January 1 was going to herald in a great change and that all the frustration, isolation, and uncertainty that we ascribed to last year would somehow disappear – or that at least the troll’s foot would ease off the gas a little.
While there is certainly cause for optimism, it is apparent a couple of weeks into 2021 that a new calendar has done little to alter our state of frustration, isolation, and uncertainty. I would argue that our level of uncertainty is at an all-time high.
As members of the public, we are all unsure about:
The virus itself – How fast it will spread and if it will mutate again;
Rollout times and long-term efficacy of the various vaccines;
The long and short-term impact of lockdowns on the economy; and
When our children will return to school.
Arguably, nowhere is uncertainty more prevalent than in the business community. In addition to the uncertainty felt by the public, the business community faces additional layers of
Uncertainty surrounding government support for business; uncertainty about whether your
sector is going to be supported, to what extent and for how long;
Uncertainty surrounding employees – Whether or not laid-off employees will still be available
after restrictions affecting the business have been lifted; and Rapid changes to our regulatory environment – In Ontario a colour-coded tiered system of progressively stricter measures based on trends in Covid numbers was instituted. Many businesses adjusted and expended a lot of money based on our region’s colour, only to be put in a lockdown with little warning – a lockdown with an uncertain end.
Uncertainty is compounded by the fact that our faith in our ability to predict the path of the virus and its effects has been tested. Some prognostications in March had the pandemic petering out after a brief lockdown, but also had the stock market tanking, house values falling by 20% around this time and our economy falling into a deep and wide recession.
Despite all the uncertainty and challenges, we are seeing a lot of examples of
resiliency from business owners. Owners are
adapting quickly by adopting new business models,
tweaking service delivery, or even starting new ventures.
I spoke with a local bar owner on one of the last days before the latest lockdown and I asked him for his thoughts about the impending restrictions. His response was a shrug while he exclaimed, “Hey, it’s a new business every month”: from a bar with glass partitions to operating exclusively as an outdoor patio to a takeout restaurant and beer delivery service. This is the type of drive that needs to be supported.
My vision for 2021 is not sexy – but these are not sexy times. I want our members’
businesses to be as resilient as possible and I want the Chamber to be there to support them as much as possible.
Resilience and overcoming uncertainty in this environment begin with good information. In an era with easy access to so much
misinformation and partial truths, and with the
constantly, it is imperative that our members have
access to accurate and timely information so they can make important decisions about their businesses.
The COVID-19 Business Portal on the Chamber’s website is an excellent resource. It
contains information about compliance that is factual and easy to understand. We need to ensure this is maintained and additional information and resources are added as the events and
trends of this year dictate. We also need to absorb the feedback of our
membership to ensure any gaps are addressed.
The programs that we
provide may also be altered as this year plays out. The topics we explore, for example, may need to be tailored to issues and
challenges that we are not aware of yet, but will be important to helping our members to be as resilient as possible.
I would like to commend Stu and the Chamber staff for doing such a great job of leading by example. We have been able to put the government wage subsidy program to its intended and proper use; we have pivoted to online meetings; and we have tweaked our Business Excellence Awards to a virtual platform in spectacular fashion. Our business model has not fundamentally changed, but we have shifted where we have needed to shift and from my vantage point have done so very smoothly.
On the other side of this, whether that is somehow April, or sometime past my term as Chair, I want our Chamber to be viewed as an organization that helped our membership and our
community be as resilient as possible. Whether that is simply surviving, altering business plans or taking advantage of new opportunities that these unprecedented times may present.
MP Maryam Monsef released an op-ed earlier this week titled “Looking forward to 2021”.
It’s a thoughtful piece, touching on a number of topics of importance to the business community, so I thought I would share both the op-ed, and my own personal reactions (in italics)
In difficult times we look to one another, to our friends, neighbours, and community, to pull each other up and ensure that everything is going to be okay. We needed each other more than ever in 2020, and this community responded with the kind of resiliency and compassion that makes me so proud to call Peterborough-Kawartha home.
Indeed, I think we can all be proud of our community, from the thorough response of Peterborough Public Health, to the way we (generally) followed their advice. From the way local businesses adjusted to the lockdown, to the way the community rallied support for those local businesses. And while we are back in lockdown, the fundamentals are in place for most businesses to survive.
As we work towards rebuilding, we know that some things cannot go back to business as usual. The pandemic has given us the unique opportunity to fix the vulnerabilities in our societies that have been exposed.
Seniors living in long-term care homes have been immensely affected during this pandemic, and we will work to ensure that something like this never happens again. We'll work with the provinces and territories to set new, national standards for long-term care, so seniors get the best care possible.
Let’s hope the lessons we didn’t learn from the SARS outbreak are being relearned and will stick this time…
While our robust health care system has managed the pandemic well, it has made the need for things like access to a primary care physician, mental health services, virtual healthcare services, and universal pharmacare more obvious. We look forward to working with the provinces and territories to achieve these goals and strengthen our healthcare system.
The multi-jurisdictional mess we call a health care system, will unfortunately take a lot of work to fix. However, perhaps the table has been set.
Working from home has been a possibility for many sectors of the economy, thanks to a world-class internet infrastructure. Unfortunately, some rural Canadians haven't been able to fully participate in this evolution in the same way. That's why we're accelerating timelines and ambitions of the Universal Broadband Fund, so every Canadian, no matter where they live, can have access to reliable high-speed internet services.
Kudos to all levels of Government for continuing to treat this important piece of business infrastructure as a priority. Organizations like the Eastern Ontario Regional Network have led the way. And while broadband is specifically mentioned, it’s important to realize that the pandemic has changed everything. While we all long for a return to “Normal”, I think we’ll find that it won’t be there, not really. Several business fundamentals have changed. From how we reach our customers through marketing, to how we reach them through product and service delivery. It doesn’t matter if you are stamping out widgets, putting on a rock concert, serving up a burger, selling boats, raising money, you name it, it won’t be the same.
The future is green. Long-term competitiveness will be achieved through clean growth while fighting climate change. The time is now to transition away from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy, increased energy efficiency, and reliable public transportation options.
Emphasis on transition…
Despite the challenges put in front of us in 2020, we continue to move forward with our vision for Peterborough-Kawartha. Today, more affordable housing is being built, major infrastructure projects like the Causeway and EORN Cell Gap Project are progressing, Peterborough is getting an upgraded bus fleet and a new composting centre, Curve Lake is closer to clean water than it has been in 50 years, and we now have two federally-funded teams of frontline workers on the streets fighting the opioid crisis 24/7.
While this list is obviously federal, it serves to illustrate the relationship between all levels of Government, the service delivery agencies, the business community, and various stakeholders. Politics aside, the Pandemic has forced partnerships and cooperation that simply didn’t exist before. It will take vision and strategy to maintain some of these new relationships.
There is much more work to do, but know that as we move forward, we move forward together - as fellow Canadians, neighbours, and as a community. Wishing you and yours all the best in 2021 and beyond.
“All the best” is a good choice of words. Community leaders, and not just our elected leaders, were thrown into the deep end, nearly a year ago. I can say from personal experience, and having shared multiple conversations with my counterparts from the business community, multiple community agencies, and first nations, municipal, provincial and federal elected leaders, that everyone did their best, and will continue to do so.
You can’t turn around without hearing a buy local message these days, or in the case of the Chamber of
There is a good reason for it. This pandemic has been unfairly harsh on small local companies, and the more we can do to support them, the better. I thought this week I’d provide a mash-up between the top ten reasons to support local business, and 12 specific ways to do it, a riff on the 12 days of Christmas.
Starting with the Top Ten:
1. Discover interesting things & people - One-of-a-kind shops and restaurants are part of what makes our community a great place to live!
2. Support for Not-For-Profits – Support local business owners, who in turn provide significant support for not-for-profits and charities!
3. Reduces environmental impact - By shopping locally, you're contributing to less pollution, traffic congestion, habitat loss and resource depletion!
4. Personal Connection - Getting to know the store owners and employees is a great reason to shop local.
5. Make a Personal Investment in the Community - When you shop locally, you're making a personal investment.
6. Support Future Growth - Shopping locally is the best way to show pride in your community and help protect the businesses that make our City and County unique!
7. Keep Money Local - Local businesses are more likely to shop with other local
businesses, keeping money in our local economy longer.
8. Local Businesses Invest in our Community - Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's welfare and future.
9. Competition & Diversity leads to more consumer choices - Local competition and diversity lead to more product choices for customers.
10. Locally Made Products - When you shop at local businesses, you're likely getting something that's unique and exclusive!
And here are 12 specific ways to support local businesses, sing along if you are really into it!
12 days of a local Christmas...
On the first day of Christmas: buy a gift card from a local business.
On the second day of Christmas: leave a positive google review of a local business.
On the third day of Christmas: share a social media post of a local business.
On the fourth day of Christmas: reward yourself with a holiday treat from a local coffeehouse or bakery for shoveling the driveway yet again.
On the fifth day of Christmas: shop the e-commerce site of a local business.
On the sixth day of Christmas: send a handwritten thank-you note to a local business who has supported a community group, team or cause close to your heart.
On the seventh day of Christmas: tag a friend in a local business' post if you see something they might like.
On the eighth day of Christmas: Follow or friend a local business on social media.
On the ninth day of Christmas: buy stocking stuffers from local artisans.
On the tenth day of Christmas: leave a positive personal review on a local business' Facebook page.
On the eleventh day of Christmas: share - through word of mouth or on social media - some of your
favourite local businesses.
On the twelfth of Christmas: enjoy some take-out from a local restaurant to reward yourself for wrapping all those presents!
Guest Editorial – Peterborough and District Construction Association (PDCA)
From commercial buildings to residential homes — and everything in between — the PDCA is literally building our community and preparing our region for a prosperous future.
The Peterborough District Construction Association was established in 1960 with its main objective: to foster and advance the construction industry in East-Central Ontario by representing its members, promoting suitable legislation and unifying the various branches of the industry.
Sixty years years later, it’s clear that the positive impact of the PDCA extends far beyond their world-class
projects and has a positive ripple effect on our economy as a whole. The PDCA consists of over 140 members from a range of disciplines and backgrounds in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential construction industries. All members are passionate about quality, integrity, and raising the proﬁle of this region’s capabilities and workmanship.
The PDCA is committed to growth and maintenance and believe that supporting the local industry and
advocating for rules and regulation that beneﬁts our members also supports a healthy local economy. Given the current COVID-19 climate, harnessing local industries to lift our local economies is more important than ever. The buildings and infrastructure the members are responsible for not only prepare our cities for a successful and prosperous future, they support each worker and that worker’s family every step of the way.
On average, the PDCA creates over 150 projects each year, which includes hiring over 3000 workers for those projects. When you think about it, that’s a lot of money going back into the local economy and
supporting other local businesses. And the numbers don’t lie, in 2014, the PDCA’s payroll was over 130 million dollars, with an impact on the local economy hitting 250 million dollars. Keep in mind that these numbers are from over 5 years ago and since then, our region has seen a signiﬁcant boost in population (mostly from people in the GTA). So, it’s safe to assume that these numbers have gone up signiﬁcantly, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, whenever companies from in and around the GTA work on projects within our region, the amount of money that stays within the local
economy drastically decreases. This is one of the main reasons the PDCA is continuing to raise the proﬁle of its member companies and tradespeople. The PDCA will work to ensure that their proven track record within our own community is a known entity and becomes top of mind with those investing in the local infrastructure.
In the coming months, the PDCA will be taking steps to ensure more people know which members are
associated with the PDCA, so decision-makers can easily make more locally conscious choices that employ more local people, keep more money within our region, and directly stimulate the economy. Understandably, it’s hard to choose companies with a local connection, if you’ve never heard of them in the ﬁrst place. That’s why the PDCA will build awareness with the general public and create a groundswell highlighting the need to secure more contracts that directly impact everyone who lives in and around our region. To make up from all the losses that took place during the COVID-19 lockdowns, the PDCA plans to do whatever it takes to ensure this happens. The PDCA will advocate, petition and lobby for changes in all levels of government and push for the recognition and opportunity our highly skilled workforce so greatly deserves. In this day and age, any steps we can take to help put (and keep) more dollars in the pockets of those who have a direct connection with the region that we eat, sleep and play in, is a step in the right direction and something we should all be championing.
To learn more about the PDCA and their members, feel free to visit