As businesses slowly start to re-open, there is a lot of thought being given to doing so safely. We are hearing and seeing from many local businesses how they have made adjustments to their physical spaces including signage and asking customers to schedule appointments.
Employees are being trained on procedures and how to help clients in an environment very different from what was just a few months ago.
This focus on health and economy is crucial. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) recently released the results of a public survey with Campaign Research Inc., Market Research Firm.
“The survey results indicate that employers, employees and consumers need the right tools in place to feel safe and supported as we reopen the economy,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “88% of Ontarians are worried about the economy, with 50% being very worried. Meanwhile, 75% of people in Ontario 18 years of age or older are concerned about contracting COVID-19. This supports what we have been saying all along – the economy and the health of Ontarians are interdependent, and both must be addressed together.”
Meanwhile, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is researching and identifying policy areas that must be considered to ensuring “a sharp and lasting recovery”. These include:
Getting Canadians Back to Work
Canada’s workforce will not be the same. In the span of one month, we went from one of the tightest job markets in history to over one million job losses. Unemployment may not return to pre-crisis levels at any point soon. Ensuring all Canadians have opportunities to participate in the recovery will be essential for inclusive growth and widespread job creation.
program. How do you balance personal benefit programs with those available to businesses to ensure continuity? Will eligibility for programs be adjusted in the future to recognize the re-opening efforts? For example, some sectors such as live performances and tourism-related businesses will be later in returning than others such as retail.
Planning for Small and Medium Business Continuity
Emergencies, like pandemics, natural disasters and cyber attacks, pose unique challenges for small- and medium-sized businesses. Most will not recover at the same pace as larger businesses and many will not survive the crisis. SMEs will need substantial tools and resources to help them maintain operations and adapt to a different economy. They will also require help to prepare to weather the next crisis, including advice on legal/human resource issues, cash management, maintaining operations, cybersecurity
and adopting business models with less physical presence (e.g., remote working and e-commerce).
Manage debt and deficit
Canada will enter recovery with substantial new public and private debt. Federal and provincial governments used ample fiscal stimulus in an unprecedented health crisis, and further support may be necessary to avoid a prolonged economic downturn. Personal and private sector debt is also going to expand as households struggle to make payments and firms borrow to preserve their operations. Canada will have to walk a fiscal tightrope between reducing debt and deficits and maintaining a competitive tax system that encourages business investment and economic growth.
Transparency around repaying debt
Once the economy is in full recovery mode, governments should be encouraged to develop repayment plans as to how they will reduce debt and deficits built up during the crisis. Transparency around these plans for
residents and businesses will help people prepare for this eventuality.
There is a lot to think about and a lot of change to absorb and apply to everyday situations.
Businesses are opening and we encourage consumers to follow the guidelines set out by the businesses with regard to physical distancing, sanitary procedures and safety measures. We ask that you are patient and work together to support our local businesses.