The Peterborough Chamber is thrilled to be one of three finalists in the 2019 Canadian Chamber of Commerce competition.
Chambers from across Canada were asked to submit an event based around advocacy. The Peterborough Chamber put forward the Power Hour event and was selected as a finalist to present at the national Annual General Meeting on September 21, 2019.
The Power Hour is annual event held in the first quarter of the year. It brings together our local elected officials from all four levels of government and the business community. The 90-minute question
and answer session includes audience questions and covers a variety topics.
Thanks to our sponsors, members, and elected officials for making this event a success!
The Chamber does work that is purposeful, transparent, accountable and strategic, all with the goal of strengthening the community.
The Chamber is driven by the leadership of its members, who believe that Peterborough will never be good enough for any of us until it’s good enough for all of us.
The Chamber can put its name on many of the community’s accomplishments over the past 130 years. There have been hundreds of women and men who, for no other reason than love of our city and county, have volunteered with the Chamber to make good things happen.
Business advocacy is paramount to an economically vibrant city. And that effort is privately funded by our membership. We have credible standing at City Hall, at Queen's Park, and in the Parliament of Canada because we represent the business community. We influence public policy to ensure that the stage is set and maintained for business success right here in Peterborough. Having a positive, productive relationship with government at all levels matters – and we’re often able to resolve challenges for our members through those relationships.
Our advocacy efforts include letters, meetings, round tables, and Policy Resolutions, which are a formal tool we use to indicate broad support for a specific recommendation to Government. Policy Resolutions can be Municipal - approved by the Policy Committee and the Board, Provincial – approved by the delegates at an Ontario Chamber Annual General Meeting, or Federal – approved by the delegates at a Canadian Chamber AGM. We have authored numerous Policy Resolutions, from municipal tax ratios, to Provincial apprenticeship ratios to federal taxation on digital entities and the risks of cybercrime.
We work openly and account for our work, with a focus on two fundamentals, the ultimate success of our member companies, and the prosperity for the community of Peterborough City and County. We don’t make willy-nilly decisions based on the interests of a few. Rather, our positions on issues that impact your business and the community as a whole take a long-view and are based on fact, and broad input.
There are a multitude of organizations involved in this work, representing everything from economic development, innovation, new Canadians, women, the downtown, the trades, the professions, etc. etc. We call them #TeamPtbo. But we feel that we represent all of those organizations, all of those sectors, all of that potential.
And, just like we’ve done for 130 years, we leverage the passion, time, treasure and spirit of our
community to ensure that Peterborough remains strong in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.
"We benefit from the strong network of businesses the Chamber provides. We've experienced expense savings with the member discount programs and I know that the Chamber is an advocate for local business, and that benefits our community."
Brant Office Supply
Our members make connections in the community in a multitude of ways:
- by accessing our multiple social media channels
- by being listed in our online membership directory that works hard for your business 24/7 because of our high Google ranking.
- by accessing our networking and ticketed events, as well as professional development programs, ticketed events and sponsorship programs
"This membership isn't all about networking in person. There is a real opportunity, at a foundational level, to improve your local rankings online and help you reach more people simply by being listed as a member of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce"
We can help you with your business fundamentals by:
- Keeping up with Government. Legislative/Policy changes come at you from all levels of Government. We curate that information and keep you up to date on a need to know basis.
- Our workshops connect you to the expertise of other members, and we partner with other organizations to give you access to a broad spectrum of business information.
- Our numerous discount/exclusive programs offered by our members can not only provide learning opportunities, but can make you a more attractive employer
"Being a Chamber member is so important to us for a couple of reasons; the advocacy the Chamber does on our behalf and on behalf of small business, and the Chamber health plan, which we're able to offer to our full time staff to help support them and their families."
Kelli and Tony Grady
Grady's Feet Essentials
There are many reasons to belong to The Chamber, from promoting your business, to saving you money, to helping you gain a competitive edge. But the most important is the simple strengthening of your business. I invite you to be a part of writing the next chapter. Your membership is not only an investment in your business, it’s an annual vote of confidence in ours.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is completing a series reports around Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2017, the federal government released its Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy which funds three centres of excellence in AI research and innovation in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto. From 2017-2018 there was a 28% increase in the number of active AI-related start-ups in Canada.
Part of the series included roundtable events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to discuss issues and opportunities in relation to AI. It includes an examination of:
The report on workforce identifies that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that 14% of jobs in OECD countries are already highly automatable, while another 32% will be radically transformed by technological progress. Ensuring Canadian workers have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed and prosper amid such widespread innovation is a crucial public policy priority.
Recommendations from the roundtable on workforce:
The Government of Canada should:
According to one forecast by the McKinsey Global Institute, AI could generate $13 trillion in additional global economic activity by 2030, representing an additional 1.2% growth in GDP. One of the challenges identified in the series is continuing to encourage AI as a way to enhance productivity in both rural and urban centres.
The topic of affordable housing, or low-barrier housing, is discussed year after year, election after
election, at all levels of government. Most citizens, even some who have been elected to serve, don’t really have a full appreciation for the problem because it’s been largely invisible... until now.
The emergence of the Tent City has been called the "canary in the coal mine". If by that you mean that there is a lot of volatile gas around the issue, sure. But let’s just say that the Tent City has illuminated a serious problem in Peterborough, and many other communities across the country.
Much has been written about why the Tent City was triggered, who is living there, the various agendas
involved, and what the solutions are, but let’s just establish that it’s an incredibly deep and complex situation involving the lack of affordable housing (and the harsh reality of what that actually means), mental health, addictions, homelessness, red tape/rules and regulations, and more. And not one of us would want to be in one of those tents.
How a society treats its most vulnerable is a measure of that society. As much as one could argue that our social safety net is better than many other countries, it’s also true that over the years mental health services have been seriously eroded, affordable housing has become much less affordable and much more difficult to build, opioid addiction is now a full-on crisis, the shelter system is stressed and Governments with less and less money are having to take care of more and more people.
So, what now?
Like the problems, the solutions are multi-layered and complex. Our elected leaders hosted a round table discussion last week which included some education on the issues from City and County front-line staff, and agencies such as Built for Zero (bfzcanada.ca), which is seeing a growing number of communities achieving effectively zero homelessness. We were struck by the approach of staff which is based on a “by-name” system. Knowing the people affected by name and dealing with their issues and circumstances one by one is truly front-line work, eating the elephant one bite at a time. As a result, the Tent City is slowly shrinking as caseworkers work closely with individuals.
The round table established a ten-point plan which included short-, medium- and long-term goals. The list has been well publicized, but it includes the immediate goal of finding a new location for the Warming Room, working to create new applications to the National Housing Strategy in order to trigger new affordable housing development, and more.
The Chamber of Commerce network is currently working on a number of measures, including:
The “Housing First” approach aims to move homeless people rapidly from shelters and the streets into stable housing, while providing them with the necessary support for underlying mental health or
additional issues to stabilize their lives.
The second recommendation from the “Addressing Homelessness in Canada” resolution was to
coordinate efforts with the provinces/territories and municipalities to stimulate new affordable housing construction. This is very similar to the request in 2019 of aligning federal and municipal policies.
Sometimes it takes a crisis in order for things to get done. This is hopefully one of those times. The people who have populated Tent City have been judged by many people, but perhaps they’ll be the trigger to realizing a sustainable solution.
The Ten-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing includes the following:
Ten-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing
For Immediate Release
July 23, 2019
Therrien and Monsef announce 10-point plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing
As a result of today’s meeting at the Mount Community Centre, a 10-Point Plan for a Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing has been established. The plan consists of the following:
1. Immediately implement recommendations arising from the Rapid Response to Homelessness and Housing Meeting on July 23 to provide more supports and services to encourage those living rough to move indoors.
2. Mayor will strike a Rapid Shelter Task Force to determine a Plan A and Plan B for more permanent, low-barrier shelter for the most vulnerable in our community, with a report due to Council in 60 days.
3. Willing government partners will help the Task Force by providing staff to form a Secretariat.
4. Willing government partners will help the Task Force by suggesting community experts to form the membership of the Task Force.
5. The voices of those living rough in our community, as well as community experts and advocates, will be heard through the development of the Task Force report and the future creation of low-barrier shelter through multiple avenues, including representation on the Task Force and consultations.
6. City of Peterborough will continue to develop its Official Plan to ensure that creative solutions for housing are available to the community, such as allowing for tiny homes through zoning and by-law amendments, and will look to create an inventory of land that could be made available for affordable housing development.
7. Willing government partners will continue to work together to support a community response to the opioid crisis and mental health needs, including by supporting a Consumption and Treatment Site.
8. A public summit will be held on August 13 to ensure the community can help inform the path forward.
9. Willing government partners will work with community and service providers, as well as willing local developers, over the next 60 days to create new applications to the National Housing Strategy that meet the housing needs of the City and County of Peterborough and that move to build 2,000 units over the next two years.
10. Regular information updates about progress on this plan will be delivered to internal partners and to the community at large.
A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been released. The report, titled “Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario”, examines the economic potential of the province’s alcohol sector and how the province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider.
This issue is complex and transcends several ministries such as economic development, agriculture, tourism, taxation, and trade, to name a few. The alcohol sector has also changed significantly in the past decades with the emergence of craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries. Now in communities just like ours we are seeing businesses work together to provide a full circle experience around their products.
“The power of the beverage alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail,” stated Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The OCC report includes a number of timely recommendations including:
The recommendations are rooted in three guiding principles:
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has presented solutions in this realm in the form of a request to government to level the tax playing field across the four alcohol disciplines. This was suggested in response to the higher taxes on distilled products. This resolution was part of the impetus for the OCC report as sale and taxation of distilled products continues to be a challenge. Some of the recommendations that mirror the ones from the Peterborough Chamber are:
The Peterborough Chamber also participated in a red tape project driven by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development to determine if a more streamlined approach is possible in the opening of alcohol-based businesses. The results of those sessions were presented to municipal and provincial governments.
The report also suggests that if the sale of alcohol is to be more widely available a proactive approach on its use is needed.
The report works it way to the conclusion that by getting the modernization process right, the government could unlock economic growth and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services Ontarians rely on.
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is seeking members* interested in serving on the Board of Directors.
This is an exciting opportunity for members who have a keen interest in our organization, who have foresight, and are good at conceptualizing. Serving on the Board of Directors with fellow business leaders in the community will utilize your group and teamwork skills.
The Board of Directors plays a significant role in the development of Chamber policies and focuses on governance of the organization through policy governance.
Directors must be willing to make the appropriate time commitment (please see application form). Representing the Chamber Membership, Directors carry forward the "Voice of Business" to all levels of government.
For more information on the work of the Chamber, please visit www.peterboroughchamber.ca.
If you are interested, please complete the Board Application Form. The form must be completed in its entirety and submitted to the Chamber by Wednesday, August 14th, 2019 at either:
Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, 175 George Street North, Peterborough, ON K9J 3G6
*Only members in good standing may apply. We are dedicated to diversity and inclusivity. Accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request.
Another step forward for the City of Peterborough in the updating of the Official Plan (OP).
The OP is a document that is required by the province and according to the a city report presented to General Committee earlier this week, is the “guiding document that helps set the broad vision and direction for future growth and development.”
That vision is organized around five themes:
At first blush, it seems that the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and the Official Plan are moving in the same direction. During the 2018 municipal election campaign, the Chamber released a business platform with ten recommendations. Among the recommendations is an official plan that encourages innovative and adaptive zoning practices, builds community engagement into the process, and supports various types of housing stock. All very comparable to what is being presented in the draft official plan.
"However we think it’s fair to ask if this plan will address a long standing and fundamental challenge – the shortage of serviced industrial land," said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of
Commerce. "Reading carefully we see terms such as “maximizing available land”, “adaptation of older employment lands”, and “intensification”, but a clear statement about where the future job growth will be located is very much open to interpretation."
Earlier this year, the provincial government started discussions around provincially significant employment lands. They identified 29 areas across the province, mostly in the GTA.
While the Peterborough area was not selected to have any provincially significant employment lands, the issue of employment lands is extremely important. There is a need as a community to be nimble and to be able to adapt to emerging industries. So as the process continues, the Chamber encourages thought around:
What kind of space will maximize the land available for employment? As with any planning exercise it should be a balance between the needs of residents and the need to create space for employment for those residents and commuters. In general, there is a trend toward using less space and building up. Despite manufacturing not requiring the massive land use of the past, doesn’t mean there isn’t a need for some space and land on which to build places that create and develop products.
Part of the draft official plan is a new employment land planning framework. Intensification is possible in Peterborough, in some areas it is necessary. But there is also a need to have space to be ready for those emerging industries that require more land and cannot be situation in a residential area. It is in this plan that balance is required and cannot be forgotten.
The Official plan is viewed through the lens of the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement as well as the guidelines of the 2017 and 2019 iterations of the Growth Plan. But there is also a subtlety of making the plan uniquely Peterborough. Of creating a plan that is bold, encouraging of our creative entrepreneurs and draws on our strengths in aerospace, cleantech, agriculture, and tourism.
If we are going to create the jobs that this area so badly needs, both now and into the future, we need to have a crystal clear path to that future.
There’s an exciting new project afoot in downtown Peterborough and it is in line with an issue near and dear to the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce – the re-development of 2nd and 3rd floor units in downtown cores. In many cases, these spaces are under-utilized or have remained empty for a period of time.
The Chamber views these spaces as an opportunity, as increased residential settlement in the
downtown leads to increased economic activity in that area.
Sitting as General Committee, city council will discuss the approval of an intensification grant for 362 George Street North. This is the building on the northeast corner of George and Simcoe Streets that is also home to commercial businesses including The Speak Easy Café.
The grant is for $132,000 ($10 per square foot) and the owner is planning to build 14 two-storey apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building.
A report by City Staff shows that the project is consistent with the desired intensification targets of 40% under the 2014 Provincial Policy Statement and the 2019 Growth Plan.
The project is also in line with the principles of Peterborough’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law.
The City has community grant and incentive programs that are available around residential needs in the community.
The Central Area Community Plan
This program offers financial incentives to stimulate private-sector investment and revitalization of the Central Area. Grant programs are provided to:
The Affordable Housing Community Plan
Financial incentives are provided to stimulate the construction of affordable housing in our community.
Providing affordable housing is a major social issue and a priority for most urban communities across
Ontario. By providing relief on fees for planning approvals, development charges, and property taxes, we can help lower rents, creating more affordable housing for residents. The Affordable Housing Community Improvement Plan also embraces home ownership models.
Heritage Property Tax Relief
Owners of designated heritage properties in the Central Area may be eligible for tax relief in the amount of 40% for residential properties or 20% for commercial properties.
Part of the Chamber's support for this type of redevelopment was in the form of a policy resolution to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The recommendations included:
Back to our city incentive programs, they are in place to encourage redevelopment of varying degrees. We have a developer willing to invest in our community which helps our community. If your future vision of Peterborough includes a vibrant downtown core then this project is yet another step in achieving that goal.
"This week's announcement represents a transition from what has been a proof-of concept, or feasibility stage, to implementation. Just like you wouldn’t buy a house without a home inspection, the Government needs to check a number of boxes before they can confidently commit to a multi-
billion-dollar expenditure.” says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “There are a lot of people in Peterborough who have been working on this project."
The federal government and the Canada Infrastructure Bank have committed $71.1 million to complete additional planning activities over the next two years to advance VIA Rail’s proposal for High Frequency Rail (HFR) in the Quebec City-Toronto Corridor.
The Joint Project Team, between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail, will be established using the $55 million in funding from Canada Infrastructure Bank. This Joint Project Team will coordinate the next steps required in developing this project, focusing on the following activities throughout 2019 to 2020:
$16.1 million will fund technical work to be conducted by the Joint Project Team to ensure the
interoperability and integration of High Frequency Rail with operating tracks used by local and regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.
“This project would bring significant economic growth to our community and the affected regions along the corridor,” said Maryam Monsef, MP Peterborough-Kawartha. “It also requires a significant investment. That’s why we have taken each step forward in a measured, thoughtful way. We are not interested in
creating buzz that leads to no results.”
It’s also important to understand the history of the project. Creating a passenger rail service from Peterborough to Toronto had a very rough start, almost instantly mired in politics.
"The Chamber helped to create an independent not-for-profit corporation – the Shining Waters Railway, with a volunteer Board of Directors. The NFP status allowed us to attract a Federal/Provincial funding envelope that generated the makings of a plan and a pre-engineering study," says Harrison. "It was that study that landed on the CEO’s desk at VIA Rail, and it was then that VIA Rail saw the opportunity to create something that would allow them to fundamentally change the way they had been approaching their core market – Quebec City to Toronto.The VIA Rail HFR concept is nothing like the Shining Waters Board ever dreamt of. It is multiple trains per day, running from Quebec City to Montreal, to Ottawa, to Toronto, and back. Peterborough just happens to be a stop on that line, and thank goodness for that.”
The cost of electricity has been a constant concern for the Peterborough business community.
To start off, it's worth acknowledging that there are electricity savings programs in place through the federal and provincial governments and our local utility. And that we have a great number of businesses who have been able to access and realize cost-savings from these programs. It is also worth acknowledging that it is the foundation of the system that is the ongoing challenge.
The provincial government recently wrapped up a two-and-a-half month online and in-person consultation (including one in Peterborough) with business and industry. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) also wrote a submission that was sent to government before consultations closed on June 14th.
In the OCC letter, they express how in the 2019 Business Confidence Survey 62 percent of respondents cited electricity costs as critical to their competitiveness. Businesses also report that electricity is undermining their capacity to grow, invest in new equipment and technologies, hire new workers, and ultimately compete.
From 2011 to 2016, Ontario’s on-peak electricity prices rose by 71 percent while off-peak prices rose by 149 percent, far outpacing economic growth. Industrial rates within the province are now amongst the highest in Canada and higher than most jurisdictions across North America. Much of the reasoning for the increase has been attributed to the cost of building and maintaining electricity infrastructure.
Through the submission to government, the OCC offers feedback in three areas:
The OCC offers two options to help those businesses who have not benefitted from the ICI:
The call from the business community has been for a principled approach to energy planning that balances affordability, transparency and flexibility. This approach will not necessarily result in a quick win, but rather one that gives Ontario a more sustainable competitive edge.