Next week chambers of commerce and boards of trade across Ontario will be gathering virtually to debate just under 50 policy resolutions.
In a world without COVID-19, this process would have happened in person in one of our fine Ontario
communities. As delegates to the Annual General Meeting we would have debated on the floor and taken our dollars into the community in a series of networking events.
This week of September is also usually the Canadian Chamber AGM, which will now happen virtually at the end of October.
Even though the policy debates are now online, this does not diminish the importance of the process or the discussion. In fact, through the lens of COVID-19 Economic Recovery, many of these resolutions gain in relevance and significance.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is submitting three resolutions for consideration.
The first encourages more opportunities for the spirit sector of the alcohol and beverage industry. With many distilleries jumping up to make hand sanitizer we’ve gotten to know this industry on a deeper level and some of the barriers such as taxes, product placement in the LCBO, and distribution and sales
opportunities, that are holding these businesses back from achieving their full potential.
The second resolution asks the province to develop a mechanism that allows for multiple municipalities who have invested in a regionally significant project to account for jobs created when reporting to
government. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce believes this change of view on reporting
requirements would encourage more regional collaboration, which in turn would be to the benefit of all communities involved. There are many collaborations that cross geographical boundaries in the conservation and transit authority space, but not many in the economic development space.
The third resolution is on data and building a data dashboard that Ontario businesses and residents can access. This dashboard would be able to merge and release data sets upon request for businesses and Ontarians. The idea is that residents and businesses can be even more informed in their decision making. From a business perspective we are opening ourselves up further to more ingenuity and entrepreneurship with access to more information in a timely and relevant format.
Other resolution topics to be debated and voted on include further planning on smart cities and digital
transformations, provincial procurement reform, resolving the provincial housing crisis to support economic growth, and improving the skilled trades in secondary schools.
Many of these resolutions are aimed at community betterment and ensuring businesses and
municipalities have the tools in place to ensure sustainable economic growth in Ontario’s urban and rural areas.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women. There are several reasons for this. First, temporary business shutdowns and layoffs during the state of emergency most severely affected occupations and sectors that predominantly employ women. Second, these sectors are those in which women entrepreneurs are more likely to operate, and their businesses tend to be newer, smaller, and less well-financed than those owned by men. Third, restrictions on schools and paid child care facilities have shifted additional hours of unpaid family care onto parents, and this work has largely been taken up by mothers. Fourth, while women are dominating the frontline responses to the COVID pandemic, they have not been included in the planning for recovery.
The pandemic has also exacerbated existing inequality and has been especially challenging for certain groups of women, including racialized women, Indigenous women, single mothers, low-income women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and those living in rural areas.
The long-term impacts of COVID-19 on women in the workforce remain unknown. However, with women’s labour force participation at a record low, decades of progress towards gender equality are at stake. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) strongly believes this is not only a watershed moment for women but for Ontario’s economy and society more broadly, as women’s participation in the labour market is a precondition to its fulsome economic recovery and prosperity.
This brief lays out a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by examining data on the gendered labour market impacts of the pandemic and offering policy solutions to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges. Throughout this, an intersectional lens is essential to ensure no women are left behind.
The critical findings include:
The title of our brief is inspired by Canadian economist Armine Yalnizyan, who said about the pandemic, “No recovery without a she-covery.”
Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture and Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Announce 2020 Farm Family of the Year, to be Presented at Excellence Awards Event
PETERBOROUGH, ON: The Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture and the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the Klompmaker family, of 1378 6TH Line Asphodel, Hastings as the 2020 Farm Family of the Year. This award recognizes a farm family that has demonstrated good farming practices, an interest in the farming community, and interest and participation by the family in its operation.
For 7 years, Chris & Angela Klompmaker have owned and operated their 89-acre broiler chicken farm, K & H Poultry LTD. Chris is a 4th generation chicken farmer and serves as a District Committee Representative for district 9 with the Chicken Farmers of Ontario (CFO). Angela also grew up heavily involved in agriculture, and when she’s not working as an RN, you can find her helping on the farm.
In 2015, the farm was certified organic by Pro-Cert Organics Systems LTD. The farm has also earned certifications for high animal welfare standards from Global Animal Partnership and the Chicken Farmers of Canada Animal Care Program, as well as for exceptional sanitation and food safety practices from the Ontario Farm Food Safety Assurance Program.
After upgrading each of the original 3 barns, the Klompmakers expanded and built a modern 24,000 square-foot barn, featuring a state-of-the-art computer system, as well as a high-volume heat exchanger to increase efficiency. The farm now produces 50,000 chickens every 8 weeks, and the family donates 700kg of fresh chicken to local food banks each year, through the CFO Cares Program.
The Klompmaker family expanded in August of 2019 as they welcomed their daughter, Isabella. The same year, they purchased a 200-acre farm to fulfill their dream of getting involved in field crops.
Congratulations to the Klompmaker family on being selected as Peterborough County’s 2020 Farm Family of the Year!
Since it is not possible to gather together for the Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture’s Annual Banquet, the award will be presented at the Peterborough Business Excellence Awards digital event on Wednesday, October 21st. The Chamber is proud to include this long-standing and prestigious award in the Excellence event.
The awards show can be viewed for free on the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Facebook and YouTube pages, beginning at 7pm, or viewers can purchase a ticket to attend the Pre-Show Zoom Party and receive a swag bag featuring a $15 Gerti’s gift card, a donation to Showplace and more!
For event information, please visit www.excellencepeterborough.ca or contact Stuart Harrison.
For further information contact:
Peterborough County Federation of Agriculture
Phone: (705) 927-5677
Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Phone: (705) 748-9771 x202
The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is a member-based organization. Our main focus is to channel the collective strength of the business community to improve the economy. This includes providing representation on numerous committees, conducting surveys, issuing discussion papers and developing policy positions on issues of significance to our members.
The federal government has recently announced updates on four major programs for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)
This $55 billion program provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits.
Repaying the balance of the loan on or before December 31, 2022 will result in loan forgiveness of 25 percent (up to $10,000).
2. Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program (CECRA)
This program provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. It is a program that property owners and tenants must work together on to access the funds.
The government is saying this will be the final extension of the rent assistance program and has also indicated it will “explore options to support small businesses as they face ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic – including the challenges of fixed costs at a time when health concerns and
precautions prevent many businesses from operating at full capacity."
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce says, “Main street businesses need to know what comes next, and they need to know now, as patios close and foot traffic diminishes with cooler weather. Businesses need to know what help will be available to get them through this period of reduced revenues amid continued government restrictions.”
3. Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
Up to $12.5 million for your operational cash flow requirements, co-financed by BDC and your primary
financial institution. The focus is on commercial loans and flexible terms if required.
4. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
As a Canadian employer who has seen a drop in revenue due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of your employee wages, retroactive to March 15. This subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers, help prevent further job losses, and ease you back into normal operations.
Thank you to all who participated in #CanadaUnited this past weekend. The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has been proud to support the campaign and combine it with our #LoveLocalPtbo campaign.
Supporting local is the backbone of a recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.
Part of the campaign was to build a Small Business Relief Fund. Here are the details of the fund:
The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.
If awarded, a relief grant can be used for any of the following activities:
Eligibility criteria includes:
FAQs on the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
Q: I am a franchisee can I apply to the program?
A: Yes, individual franchisee owners can apply.
Q: What counts as an eligible renovation?
A: Renovations are defined as any alterations, temporary or permanent, made to your business specifically to reduce the risk of customers or staff contracting the novel coronavirus, referred to as COVID-19. These can include:
Q: If I am a sole proprietor can I apply?
A: Yes, sole proprietorships are eligible to apply.
Applications are open.
August 24, 2020
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
RE: Economic Impact of COVID-19 on SMEs
The economic impact on SMEs (small and medium enterprises) has been challenging. While there are definitely businesses that are doing well, there are also businesses that are not doing very well at all.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce represents about 900 member businesses in the City and County of Peterborough. These businesses are a diverse constituency ranging in size from very small to very large, from rural to urban settings, from zero employees to hundreds of employees, from those renting to those owning their buildings, from profit to not-for-profit.
We are hearing their challenges which include:
1.Accessing the wage subsidy
2.Participating in the rent assistance program
3.Employees and business owners securing childcare
4.Extra cleaning protocols
Accessing the Wage Subsidy
The City and County of Peterborough are heavy tourism areas. These businesses struggled to access the wage subsidy program as they were not open in the beginning. Some have been able to do so now, but it’s a challenge with zero revenue coming in. This is expected to be a challenge for our larger venue spaces – both private and not-for-profit are seeing insurance increases.
Participating in the Rent Assistance Program
One member in the property owner business acknowledged that the program has helped them and their tenants but stated that it was very cumbersome to apply for the rebate. They felt while it was necessary to get the appropriate paperwork, a less cumbersome process would have led to increased take up of the program.
Employees and Business Owners Securing Childcare
Childcare has been challenging and there is continued concern about what it would mean for childcare options for working parents, should school-aged children have to return to the home environment.
Extra Cleaning Protocols
The cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) along with cleaning supplies has been a concern for many months. Businesses are worried about the added ongoing cost. Here’s what one member had to say: “Closing down all of the businesses cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in our store alone. Now with the city making masks mandatory, we have to expense masks to hand out to customers and hire extra staff to man the door to keep people out or hand them a mask.”
This statement reveals that businesses have taken a significant hit since March and revenues have not returned so adding in the cost of cleaning and PPE is another stressor. Many of the programs available for PPE use are being driven through the private sector through campaigns such as #CanadaUnited.
Another member expressed similar concerns:
“My business is in retail apparel. We had to shut down for 2 months, and business has been slow to return.
The financial impact of COVID-19 has been tremendous. Not only has there been a loss of revenue, there has also been an increase in costs, due to the measures which needed to be implemented upon re-opening. Some of these implementation costs have been one-time (ie. store signage) and some will be ongoing (ie. continual supply of PPE and cleaning solutions).
There is also the continuing issue of consumer confidence. Many consumers are avoiding stores for fear of COVID spread.”
Recently, one member expressed that their manufacturing business was unable to secure employees at a $16/hour rate with the opportunity to move to $18+/hour after three months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted an issue that has plagued Peterborough and that is matching people with job postings. Currently in the Peterborough area there are over 1000 job postings (https://www.wdb.ca/map/) and yet there are also there unable to find employment. There is an ongoing effort to understand what the challenges are and identify a way forward that is productive. Locally, the Peterborough has both private and not-for-profit employment agencies working with employers and potential employees. Many of these service providers are working with new provincial contracts so it will be interesting to see if this has an impact on outcomes.
The issue of access came barrelling to the forefront of infrastructure needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more businesses turning to online methods to sell goods and services, students using band with for school and many in the workforce working from home the need for improved broadband access has increased. Continued focus on broadband projects is welcomed.
Overall, COVID-19 has had an impact. Even if a business has been able to operate online or continue with curbside pick-up or delivery it doesn’t mean they are achieving revenues they were anticipating at the beginning of 2020. Reopened doesn’t mean recovered. It means on the road to recovery.
We know certain industries will be the last ones out of the pandemic such as this member in the wedding and event industry: “Devastating impact. Thousands++ of dollars in lost revenue. Minimal work as most events cancelled or postponed. Limited income. Revenues still small as we cannot hold large events.”
We also know that the pandemic has led to exposing the cracks in our current institutions. As another member told us, “This experience points to the need for a national strategy on basic income. Additionally, the cost of hydro must remain static and there should be no increase for at least 2 years.”
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce is asking that government:
Thank you to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs for their work and information gathering on the impact of COVID-19. Thank you for taking the time to read and listen to the submissions of the business community. We hope that this information will continue to inform government decisions moving forward.
Research consistently shows that women in the workforce, whether they be employees, business-owners or entrepreneurs, have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadian Chamber’s Council for Women’s Advocacy (CWA) aims to reverse that trend.
“As Canada begins planning its recovery from COVID-19, widespread job creation and sustained economic growth will require nothing less than the full participation of women in the workforce. This is not a women’s issue, it is an economic issue,” said Penny Wise, President, 3M Canada Company, and CWA co-chair.
“Through this evolving pandemic situation women have been at the forefront and burden of this change, affected across every aspect of their lives, from extended work hours to home-schooling to frontline caregiving,” said Kevin McCreadie, CEO and Chief Investment Officer, AGF Management Limited, and CWA co-chair. “We are at an inflection point in our re-openings where funding is needed now to create significant opportunities to foster an inclusive recovery. The actions we take today will help avoid worst case scenarios in the near future.”
The CWA was created to be a unifying national voice of the business community to drive action. It is focusing its initial efforts on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in three key areas for the short-term: facilitating safe, reliable and affordable childcare; supporting women’s entrepreneurship; and supporting job pivots for women.
The CWA is calling on the federal government to immediately realize the following five recommendations to support women, foster inclusive recovery and ensure sustained economic growth:
There are several programs specific to women entrepreneurs and those interested in starting their own business:
Women Breaking Barriers
Innovation Cluster - Peterborough and the Kawarthas
Program: Two cohorts of 10 women aged 18 or older through six months (per cohort) of fast-tracked
programming and mentorship to reduce barriers for female founders to grow and scale their businesses.
Program: One-time, performance-based, and non-repayable funding of up to $5,000 for PPE, workspace reconfiguration & hardware/software upgrades
These last few months, Canadians have dealt with more stress than they could ever imagine. COVID-19 has added significant pressure to employers, employees and families, which has not only affected our physical health and economy, but our mental health too. One way to self-care is by prioritizing your mental health, which is why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce are sharing some free mental health resources that you can use to help manage your anxiety and financial stress, as well as create a more mentally healthy work environment.
From the pandemic itself to the start of reopening our country, many people are facing concerns that can be a high source of anxiety including worrying about risk of infection, new social expectations and the
adjustment of routines.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Guide to Managing Return Anxiety as the Lockdown Lifts identifies six areas:
Managing Financial Stress
If you’re feeling stressed about finances right now, you’re not alone. From uncertain employment to hard-hit investments, very few are immune to the new financial reality brought on by the pandemic.
Maintaining a Mentally Healthy Work Environment
Businesses also have a role to place in promoting self-care for their employees whether they are working in-person or remotely.
On the website for the Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge they offer the following on how mental illnesses impact workers and workplaces.
“People who experience a mental illness may doubt their abilities or appear less confident. A person may have a hard time concentrating, learning, and making decisions. Symptoms of a mental illness may feed more serious thoughts. For example, someone who can’t concentrate may then also think that they can’t do their job well or worry about losing their job. It’s easy to see how these changes affect work performance.
Mental illnesses cost Canadian employers billions of dollars in absenteeism or sick days, “presenteeism” (coming to work, even when the employee can’t work well), disability and lost productivity.”
A local Peterborough company, The Staffing Connection recently launched a new program with a focus on mental health for their employees.
“The LIFT Support Program was created because we wanted to remind people that they are not alone, and that there are resources in the community and within the company to help them as they navigate challenging times. ” says Jeff Edwards, LIFT Support Coordinator.
You can also connect with your benefits provider as you may have access to certain resources.
It’s time for a check-in on the business community and how they’ve continued to be affected by the pandemic. Earlier this month, Statistics Canada released the second wave of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), with the support of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The survey was conducted from May 29 to July 3 with business owners from across Canada.
Here is the statement from Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce:
“The survey is Canada’s second comprehensive view into how our businesses are coping, and how they are planning and executing their reopening.
The second survey data shows businesses are adapting to a distinctly new, paradoxical phase of the pandemic, where businesses reopen because they can no longer afford to remain closed, but struggle to break even while paying for pre-COVID level costs with significantly reduced revenues.
The business owners I speak with are clear-eyed in their understanding that the truly hard part begins now. The data on the reopening stage of the pandemic has shown three key challenges for businesses of all kinds.
First, getting Canadians back to work. So far, 22% of businesses were able to access the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and, of those, nearly half reported the program allowed them to hire back 30% of their workforce. Another quarter of businesses approved for the wage subsidy reported that it allowed them to bring back 100% of their workers. However, looking forward, this effect appears to be stalling, as 65.8% of businesses reported they expected their staffing levels to remain the same over the next three months. Together, these numbers show the need to expand the eligibility criteria for the wage subsidy to bring back workers and build on the momentum from reopening and job gains in this next phase of the pandemic. (Since the release of the data an updated CEWS regime has been passed by legislators.)
Second, rent relief remains a major challenge for businesses. Only 25% of businesses report having the benefit of rent relief. Three-fifths (60.1%) of the businesses that make rent or mortgage payments had not
requested or been offered the option to defer payments owed. As we approach this new phase, rent relief programs will need to be improved and made more accessible to commercial tenants.
Finally, safety measures remain a priority concern for businesses, owners, workers and customers. 80% of businesses expect to need personal protective equipment or supplies as physical distancing measures are relaxed. However, over one-fifth of businesses are experiencing difficulty in procuring personal protective
equipment or supplies. Increasing access to PPE will be crucial in this next phase of the pandemic to enhance consumer confidence while we live with the virus in our midst. This will be particularly
important for some of the hardest-hit sectors that require a physical presence, such as food services,
accommodation, retail and the arts.
The balancing act between declining revenues and hard costs remains in place. The data demonstrate that we have entered a new phase of the pandemic, where getting to economic recovery will require adapting the wage subsidy to get Canadians back to work and building confidence in returning to economic and social
activities with health as a priority. Now is the time for governments to start transitioning from subsidies to growth as our economy reopens.”
Many of the challenges listed above are also found in the report card from the Mayor and Warden’s
Economic Recovery Taskforce of which the Peterborough Chamber is a member. However, one issue continues to come to the forefront and that is childcare. As is stated in a recent press release on the report card and its recommendations to government, “There has been a shift towards businesses seeking more recovery support as opposed to relief measures. Issues that still remain include uncertainty and challenges navigating safety guidelines which vary between federal, provincial and municipal regulations or are
requiring a longer term approach such as access to childcare for workers to return to work.”
Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development on behalf of the taskforce has released a new survey asking businesses about their capacity this summer and into the fall and winter. It’s important to gather this data and use it to help inform the actions of government moving forward.
Earlier this week, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and 20 other business organizations
including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC), sent a letter to the federal government detailing the challenges of the restaurant industry in Canada.
In the letter, the CCC highlights how pre-COVID the restaurant industry provided positive economic returns and how revenues have fallen significantly.
Here in Peterborough, as stated on Peterborough.ca, the City has issued 22 permits for new or
expanded patios under the fast-track process for using the flexible-use area that has been created through the Downtown Public Space Plan. We are also seeing restaurants in the county that are creating or
enhancing patio spaces. One example is Chamber member Canoe & Paddle in Lakefield creating a larger patio space behind their restaurant lined with AstroTurf from the former Skydome when the Toronto
Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series.
Locally, along with implementation of patios, restaurants have modified hours, added curbside pickup, relied on delivery, added grocery items and under a provincial directive were allowed to sell alcohol with their takeout meals. While keeping businesses going, it’s nowhere near the amount of business that would be seen in a normal year.
Here is a segment from the letter to government:
“Our restaurants are cornerstones of communities of all sizes across Canada. They’re meeting places for business and pleasure; they’re where we celebrate; they’re where we gather to mourn a loss.
Pre-COVID, the economic impact of our restaurants on Canadians was deeply felt. The industry directly created one out of every 15 jobs (1.2 million Canadians), served 22 million meals per day to Canadians, operated close to 100,000 establishments, paid Canadians $30 billion of wages and benefits, and contributed $31 billion annually to Canada’s GDP.
When the pandemic hit, our restaurants were among the first and the hardest hit. Notwithstanding their own losses, which includes 800,000 jobs lost, the food services industry stepped up to serve their communities, their customers, and continued to bring Canadians together – just in new and innovative ways. But despite their best intentions and best efforts, the food services industry will be among the last to resume normal operations, on a timescale stretching at least into the next 12-18 months.
The urgency of action cannot be overstated. Indeed, if action is not taken now, businesses will close and communities will be among the hardest hit since a loss of business means loss of jobs throughout the entire food services supply chain."