The 3rd annual Peterborough Aerospace Summit was held recently at the Peterborough Airport. What we know about the aerospace industry is that it’s a growing field with many opportunities for our workforce. In fact, worldwide, the staff shortages anticipated in aerospace are staggering. The industry says it will be short 800,000 pilots, 750,000 maintenance staff and about the same number in cabin crew. The positive news is that with Seneca and Fleming College along with Trent University and the Holy Cross High Skills Major program in aviation, Peterborough is in a good position to help fill the need.
It’s important to recognize the role, the return on government investment and impact the airport has in our local economy. In 2017, 730 people were employed at the airport; up from 422 in 2008. The growth in jobs is also reflected in economic impact with the airport generating $74 million in GDP in 2017 and supporting 60,000 airplane movements. Most of the work is in maintenance, refurbishment and overhaul (MRO) of airplanes and the supply chain that supports those companies.
The Peterborough Airport is also making its mark as one of 11 regional airports in the Southern Ontario Airport Network (SOAN). The group is working toward understanding and planning to help Pearson International Airport as it reaches capacity. Across the network, the regional airports support 55,000 jobs in Ontario and pay about $2.3 billion in taxes.
But at a time when the industry is taking off, there are also some barriers that need to be addressed.
Training the workforce
Experts believe building a workforce will require more co-op opportunities and awareness of the industry and potential jobs at an earlier age, perhaps Grades 5 or 6. Part of the panel discussion at the Summit identified the various types of work available in the industry from pilots to maintenance crew to finance managers, marketers and HR staff.
That said, for those looking to enter a growth industry, Canada has the 7th largest aerospace industry in the world, with 29% of Canadian aerospace jobs in Ontario. 95% of Ontario aerospace companies have fewer than 100 employees, which means an employee can potentially get in on the ground floor. These are also the types of companies that Canada needs to scale and grow in burgeoning industries with high-paying jobs.
Recently, Flying Colours Corporation announced its $30 million expansion which will include an additional 60 jobs.
Filling in the last mile
In many cases, the regional airports are geographically set apart from the community they are connected to, including Peterborough. There are currently no transit stops to this local employment hub and employees and students are walking and cycling to work. Considerations for new transit routes will help this economic driver continue to grow and open the doors for employees. Several committees examining transportation in the region have identified this issue as one that requires attention.
At the federal chamber level there is a lot of discussion around airports with a series of policy resolutions on the books from how they operate and can access funding to improving security wait times. That these discussions are constant is an indication that there is a role for air in our transportation mix and now is the time to ensure it soars.
SEMPTEMBER 19, 2018, PETERBOROUGH: The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is releasing its the ‘Building a Community Outside the Ordinary’ platform for the upcoming municipal election. The platform outlines three pillars of a strong, resilient community and includes ten recommended actions that are needed to support the development of opportunities for everyone in the City and County of Peterborough.
The ‘Building a Community Outside the Ordinary’ platform has been developed through consultation with Chamber member businesses who identified several factors that are limiting our ability to provide opportunity for our citizens. To become a city and county for everyone, we need our candidates and the next council to support a “culture of forward and full circle thinking”.
The ‘Building a Community Outside the Ordinary’ platform calls for:
Strengthening Peterborough’s Competitiveness, Economic Growth and Job Creation through commitments to:
Building Whole Communities through commitments to:
Improving Government Accountability through commitments to:
“We are asking all candidates for City and County Councils to endorse our ‘Building a Community Outside the Ordinary’ platform,” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “We believe that by adopting the pillars of strengthening Peterborough’s competitiveness, economic growth and job creation, building whole communities, and improving government accountability, our next Councils can build a community outside the ordinary for everyone.”
We’ve mentioned it before and we’re saying it again, business likes certainty. However, for a very long time certainty has been elusive for the business owner.
The Bill 148 legislation came into effect January 1, 2018. Before hand there was concern. Businesses had a very short time frame to institute some major changes. There was no economic analysis done by
government to understand the impact of so many changes all at once. Several independent groups , including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, issued analyses that predicted job losses of between 50 -100,000 over the next two years because of the reforms.
A survey of the Peterborough Chamber membership painted a wide array of impacts and reactions, including increased prices, decreased hours, and a lot more automation. We also heard that businesses made the changes and well, got on with business. As always there are different levels of impact. The feeling from the economic analyses and those in business is that the true impact of the changes won’t be seen until one or two years after implementation.
With the change in government we've been asked what will happen with this legislation. The short
answer is, it will remain in place. That said, one of Premier Ford’s campaign promises was to stop the second minimum wage increase, from $14 to $15, in the Bill 148 legislation. In order to do so, the legislation must be brought forward to Queen’s Park and opened to make the change. In most cases, legislation is reviewed every five years or so, but now there is potentially an opportunity coming up to get in and make changes.
The Chamber’s number one concern with the Bill 148 legislation was the speed at which it came into effect and the depth and breadth of impact in the business community. We constantly speak about the piling on effect or cumulative burden. Bill 148 introduced a significant amount of new rules, regulations and costs, on top of increased hydro rates, gas prices, and various federal regulations. Bill 148 was also intended to improve the economic prospects for the most vulnerable members of society, but it placed the burden almost squarely on the shoulders of the business community, as though we are an endless source of wealth. In addition to a longer implementation of Bill 148, the Chamber lobbied hard for income tax measures for the lowest income earners, and the completion and consideration of the Basic Income Guarantee study. This study, which included the City of Kawartha Lakes has now been cancelled, a missed opportunity for significant change in how we treat our most vulnerable.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, along with several other organizations is calling for a full repeal of Bill 148. We are asking our members to provide us with some feedback as to how they are coping with the legislative changes, and the increased costs. What are some of the mitigation measures they’ve implemented, and what do they anticipate will be the long term impacts? We are also curious to know if there are specific areas that need to be changed or receive further consideration should the legislation be opened up.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is looking for feedback on the impact of Bill 148 on the business community.
We've built a short two question survey that is looking for what has changed, if anything, in the past eight months since the legislation came into effect.
We are also asking for input to present to the provincial
government should they reopen or solicit feedback on potential changes to the legislation.
Businesses, please take a moment to fill out the survey. It will help us best serve the advocacy needs of our business community.
Thank you for taking our survey.
Questions about Bill 148? Check out our advocacy page.
In a few weeks, chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across Canada will be gathering in Thunder Bay to discuss and debate how to influence federal public policy. It’s fitting that this year’s Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Annual General Meeting is happening in a city that’s fairly close to being the middle of our country. Now more than ever Canada and Canadian businesses need to band together behind common values and ideals of how to move our economy forward.
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, regulatory regimes and the desire for business tax reform by the federal
government these are challenging times.
Earlier this year the CCC issued the 2018 version of “10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins” and as our national meeting approaches, this document is worth revisiting as it will be a guide for advocacy.
In fact, a quick scan of the 10 ways and you can see how each could be connected to the economic climate in the City and County of Peterborough. Here’s a look at a couple of them as we profiled them earlier this year.
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. 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:
Helping SMEs Trade and Grow
We know and previous studies and research have told us that Canada, is really good at starting companies, but where we fall short is in our ability to grow those companies into medium or even large businesses.
In the CCC document we learn that 99% of all businesses are SMEs and that SMEs contribute 25% of all goods and services and yet exports less than a third of Canada’s GDP.
Encouraging companies to scale up and become global leaders requires a host of tools including funding programs, tax and regulatory policy that enable easy and low-cost compliance and programs that
continue to connect SMEs to domestic and international business opportunities.
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.
In just over three weeks, chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across the country will be meeting in Thunder Bay.
Overall there will be nine policy resolutions on tax policy, including one from the Peterborough
Chamber co-sponsored by the Chambre du Commerce du Montreal Metropolitan and the Port Hope & District Chamber of Commerce.
The resolution titled "Bridging the Digital Tax Divide to Ensure a Fair and Equitable Fiscal Environment for All Businesses" offers three recommendations to the federal government:
1. Examine how to apply VAT evenly and predictably across provinces and sectors in a digital world, including an assessment of potential revenue from foreign digital companies.
2. Require foreign digital companies to charge an appropriate provincial VAT (e.g. GST/HST) on sales related to the purchase of their services in Canada and remit the revenues from these taxes to the proper tax authorities.
3. Require foreign digital companies to register with the Canada Revenue Agency.
Delegates will be voting on the resolutions September 23 and 24.
The last time Canada undertook a comprehensive review of its tax system, humankind still hadn’t set foot on the moon. In the five decades since, a cut-and-paste approach has made Canada’s tax system more cumbersome and inefficient.
As the voice of more than 200,000 businesses, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is launching a project that will build the case for a comprehensive review of Canada’s tax system.
“Our complex and burdensome tax system is driving away investment and eroding Canada’s competitiveness,” said The Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Canadian companies face serious competitive pressures from other jurisdictions that are aggressively acting to help their businesses grow and compete globally. To ensure Canadian businesses are not completely out of the game, our government needs to launch a comprehensive review of our taxation system to make it simpler and more modern, and to reduce compliance costs for business of all sizes.”
The project being launched today will be led by Dr. Trevin Stratton, the Chamber’s Chief Economist, and will include a series of roundtables that will bring together business leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the challenges Canada’s current tax system creates for businesses, innovators, and job creators.
“Canada’s declining tax competitiveness impacts all aspects of Canadian business, from cross-border supply chains, our ability to attract investment, to hiring and talent retention, as well as mergers and acquisitions,” said Dr. Stratton. “While we are focused on making the case for a comprehensive review of the tax system, we also recognize there are measures that government can implement right now to improve our competitive positioning.”
“For example,” Dr. Stratton added, “allowing businesses to fully expense the cost of new machinery and equipment in the tax year the investment is made or simplifying the delivery of benefit programs. Through this process we will also be advocating for changes like these that can help businesses now.”
The Chamber’s efforts will be supported by Canadian taxation experts, some of whom who will form the project’s Tax Advisory Panel. The panel will include:
Dr. Trevin Stratton – Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Bruce Ball – Vice President, Taxation, CPA Canada
Fred O’Riordan – National Leader, Tax Policy, Ernst and Young
Guy Legault – President, Conference for Advanced Life Underwriting
Victor Gomez – Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Sun Life
The Chamber will issue a full report making the case for a comprehensive review of the tax system, along with recommendations for some immediate steps government can take to improve Canadian
competitiveness in advance of the 2019 election.
Learn more: chamber.ca
Business likes certainty. However, sometimes the only certainty is uncertainty. Business doesn’t want to operate in a stagnant environment, but rather one in which a business can flourish. An environment that offers certainty that they will have support through effective and evidence-based public policy that allows them to grow, to not be burdened by extensive red tape, to employ residents in their community and to benefit the economy.
That is not the world business is operating in today. Today there are trade tensions that are threatening to derail what has been built up over the past 30 years. The intertwined economies of Canada, the US and Mexico should be celebrated, not dismantled.
To further this cause, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and by association your Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, has initiated a campaign called Keep Trade Free. The mission of the campaign is to advocate for freer trade within North America and around the world, as well as to ensure a successful renegotiation of NAFTA for continued economic prosperity for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
In a recent 5 Minutes for Business publication, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Director of International Affairs Mark Agnew talks about how there are a lot of elements businesses have no control over in the current situation, but there are a few bright spots. One is refocussing on NAFTA with the Mexican presidential election over; and the second is to tackle our own interprovincial trade barriers and regulations that hold us back from truly being competitive.
In our local municipal circle, Douro-Dummer Mayor J. Murray Jones has been saying for years, “we’re all in this together” as a reason to work together across municipal lines and present a united front for the
Peterborough region. Simply put, the same concept applies to NAFTA.
As the coalition identifies there are some key facts about trade and the situation we’re in:
aluminum, Canada’s retaliatory measures in response to the U.S. tariffs, and now potentially the use of safeguard measures by our federal government to limit steel dumping.
For example, some of our members are telling us they are caught up in a situation that could have significant lasting impacts. The challenge is that Canada doesn’t manufacture some of the various products being considered for safeguard. This potentially limits Canadian business' access to products in certain industries, such as construction. Already tariffs and retaliatory tariffs have led to increased costs and prices; in some instances, up to 25%.
Another concern is that contracts Canadian companies have with U.S. companies are still in effect, so these tariffs end up hurting businesses on both sides of the border.
Earlier this week, the Trump Administration also announced that a report examining potential tariffs on the auto sector would not be ready for the end of August, and no new timeline for the report’s release was given.
The end result is that protectionism on top of protectionism doesn’t help anyone.
The provincial government has announced that they intend to introduce a combination of online and regulated private retail to address the upcoming legalization of cannabis. It’s a move that is supported by the Chamber Network. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has advocated for a private-sector, licensing-based, and locally-oriented approach for the distribution of recreational cannabis since commitments for legalization were made by the federal government in 2016.
“We would like to stress that safety and social responsibility must be the first and overwhelming priorities of any distribution system, taking into account larger concerns about the underground economy, health and safety, and the administrative impact on municipalities,” says Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We look forward to continuing to work with the government during their consultation process with all stakeholders to ensure this approach is carefully designed to grow Ontario’s economy and build shared prosperity for all.”
Ministers Vic Fedeli and Caroline Mulroney state that under the new plan private retailers will have to follow a series of provincial rules, such as prohibiting the sale of cannabis to anyone under the age of 19.
Online sales will begin immediately following the legalization on October 17th, with the private retail model to follow on April 1, 2019. Leading up to that date the government will be conducting a series of consultations. Consultations will include municipalities, Indigenous communities, businesses, law enforcement, and public health advocates. The consultations will also be used to determine specific rules including the types of eligible businesses that will be able to sell cannabis, the roles of municipalities and First Nations and how to protect children.
Ontario is not the first province to go this route; Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta are also choosing to implement a private retail model, while the private retail model has yielded economic benefits in several US states.
In the 2016 approved policy resolution, the submitting chamber details the economic benefits to Colorado and Washington since they legalized cannabis. In 2014, Colorado retailers sold $386 million USD of medical and $313 million USD of recreational marijuana, totalling nearly $700 million USD in sales. These sales generated $63 million USD in tax revenue and an additional $13 million USD collected in licenses and fees. The state’s Department of Revenue projected that marijuana sales in the state would exceed $1 billion USD in 2016.
Blueprint Letters for Making Ontario Open for Business
In July, the OCC wrote to each provincial Cabinet minister, outlining a blueprint to execute over the next four years that will help make Ontario open for business. In these letters, we asked that the current plan for distribution be re-evaluated prior to the October 17 legalization date, and that the government consider the following principles in the process of policy design:
Recreational cannabis use will not be allowed in any public spaces, workplaces or motorized vehicles. The province is also planning to give municipalities a one-time window to opt-out of permitting a physical
cannabis store within their boundaries.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has held several sessions on marijuana and the workplace and the responsibility of employers and employees. A recap of a panel from our 2017 Business Summit is available on our YouTube channel – Peterborough Chamber.
We would like to hear from our members and business community about their thoughts on the
Reach us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The core work of the Chamber is to represent our members, but just as significant is to be the catalyst that strengthens our entire community. We believe that a strong business sector lifts everyone up and makes the community a better place to live, work and play. We may advocate for our members, but that advocacy affects everyone – other businesses, community groups and charities, all three levels of government through fair taxation, and the poorest among us. A strong economy provides for a strong community.
Recently, we were asked if our messaging to government had changed since the election and the Conservative Party winning the majority. As the advocacy group for business, our message will continue to centre around four pillars:
These pillars set the course for our advocacy during the provincial election and we anticipate they will fuel our discussion during the upcoming municipal election campaign.
At the provincial level, Ontario is in a time of transition, the government that guided us through almost a decade and a half is no longer in power. It’s an adjustment period as we learn and understand the position of Premier Ford and his government. The main messaging is around improving life for Ontario’s residents, which is not dissimilar to the goal of the previous government, but from a different path.
Since the return of the legislature on July 9th there have been commitments of improved trade between provinces as a result of the Council of Federation meetings and continued connections made to our trading partners to the south.
There are more discussions to be had and most likely, there are still changes to come, just as there would had the election results been different. This is where the Chamber commitment to our four pillars benefits our advocacy as we are dealing policy not politics.
Already there have been a number of significant changes from the cancellation of the cap and trade program to the management changes at Hydro One to a re-examination of the sexual education curriculum. And most recently, the cancellation of the Basic Income Guarantee trial in Lindsay, Thunder Bay etc. which was an eyebrow raiser. It’s not immediately clear what the benefit is of cancelling this program before it’s complete - a short three-year trial, which we are almost half way through.
As a society, we are measured by how we can effectively empower our most vulnerable, and we need to consistently ask ourselves how we measure up. This was a good opportunity to look and gain data on a possible alternative to the existing social safety net, which we think we can all agree needs to be improved. We’ve now lost that opportunity to a vague promise of “something different within 100 days”. At this point, it’s impossible to say whether or not that “something different” will pan out to be a better solution and that uncertainty presents valid cause for concern for many.
The Chamber network fought hard against Bill 148, which many viewed as the business community against the lowest income earners. The truth of our argument, which is well documented, was that we thought it was unfair for the business community to share the entire burden of lifting our most vulnerable up. We recommended three things: a longer runway for the implementation of Bill 148, the completion of the Basic Income Guarantee study, and income tax measures to help low income earners.
Basic Income Guarantee may not have proven to be the right solution, but cancelling the trial guarantees that the option is off the table. The Chamber published an election platform for the Provincial election that called for an evidence-based approach to public policy. Cancelling a trial before it’s finished certainly doesn’t meet that criteria.
The importance of evidence-based public policy should not be lost on anyone. Just as a business doesn’t move forward on a project until it has examined the pros and cons, the possible outcomes, and the various ways to achieve the end goal, so too should the public policy that guides government decisions. This belief is what elevates government decisions above politics, but it requires certainty, consistent thought and a clear and well-communicated path.