The Canadian government has decided to take on the growing housing crisis in the country. They’re first target was aimed at the international students entering Canada.
The recent announcement from Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller regarding the cap of international students in the 2024 caught many by surprise, including the two local post-secondary institutions located right here in the Kawarthas.
Fleming College President Maureen Adamson didn’t hide her disappointment while speaking to the Chamber of Commerce shortly after the announcement.
“This will have a sweeping impact on our region,” stated Adamson, adding this will be a loss of $100 million to Peterborough and the Kawarthas.
The Canadian government declared a two-year cap on student permits to international students in 2024; only approving 360,000 in total – a decrease of 35 percent from 2023.
This move, he said, is an attempt to ease the strain on the housing crisis in Canada and to weed out what he calls, “bad actors” applying for spots in our Colleges and Universities.
Adamson is expecting a 50 per cent drop in international student enrolment for Fleming, and she stated it will be “a staggering loss” to Peterborough, Lindsay and Haliburton.
Currently, approximately 1,000 international students are enrolled at Fleming College across their Peterborough, Lindsay and Haliburton campuses. And approximately 4,000 students are enrolled at their campus in Toronto.
And many of those students, she adds, are filling in the gaps in Ontario’s labour market. Sectors like, health care, social assistance, hospitality, and the trades sector will all be affected by this cap.
“International students that come to Ontario are essential to bringing in top talent for key sectors of the workforce, here in our area and across the province. They usually come with a diploma or degree and are ready to move quickly into the labour market.” Stated Adamson in a statement.
The Council of Ontario Universities also released a statement, stating they are “disappointed” with the cap on international student permits. They added in their statement that this decision, “it may have unintended consequences for the sector and for international students.”
Ontario Colleges and Universities have yet to hear how the 2024 permits will be divided among the provinces by the Ontario Government.
Trent University sent the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber a comment; stating that with all the information they have currently:
“Trent University is currently reviewing the Government of Canada’s announcement regarding international student permits, and supports the position taken by the Council of Ontario Universities. Trent has been a responsible player in the postsecondary sector, preparing for growth in domestic and international enrolment for some time, and basing international student enrolment on the unique needs of our communities and regional labour market demands. The international students who come to Trent bring enormous advantages to our campuses and beyond, introducing highly-skilled, worldly talent, and bridging cultures in ways that benefit our local economies and our communities as a whole. We take a measured and sustainable approach to international enrolment and none of Trent’s degrees, certificates or programs operate through public-private partnerships. Currently, there are 2,799 international students enrolled at Trent (20% of total enrolment).”
The university assures they will release updates when more information becomes available to them.
More than 100 local business and community leaders gathered at Market Hall last week for a chance to discuss business issues with Minister Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board of Canada.
It was an opportunity to raise concerns and address pressing issues to someone in the inner circle on Parliament Hill, a discussion that hopefully leads to stronger public policy.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce as well as our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce regularly meet with and voice our concerns to our elected leaders, but it’s important that we aren’t the only voices they hear from. While we do our research to understand a variety of issues — we don’t know it like those who work with it day in and day out.
As chambers, we can appreciate that the best solutions come at the grassroots level from local business, non-profits, charities, and community-minded people. Our own policy and advocacy process is built on grassroots advocacy. We take local discussions and issues raised by businesses and organizations and turn that into advocacy policy that we then bring to the provincial and national levels. It’s a direct pipeline to our elected leaders.
But the chamber advocacy process is just one part. We strive to provide opportunities for local business and community leaders to directly talk with their government leaders. Events like the discussion with Minister Anand allow the decision makers to hear the concerns and creative solutions directly from those experiencing them. Opportunities like this are a key part of the Chamber’s role in the community.
We have plans for quite a few upcoming opportunities. Power Hour, a signature annual Chamber event, is returning on Friday, February 23. This event features a discussion with the Warden of the County of Peterborough, the Mayor of the City of Peterborough, our provincial Member of Parliament, and our federal Member of Parliament. Attendees can submit questions ahead of time or write them down during the event.
In 2024, we are planning events with as many of our local elected leaders as we can, including a Warden’s breakfast scheduled for April 19 and another breakfast with several township mayors planned for June.
On top of these public events, we hold regular roundtable discussions. These events are typically a smaller group of 10 – 20 businesses and organizations with interest in a particular topic. We have a few coming up in the next couple weeks, including one on skilled trades and another on Employment Insurance. Our aim is to keep the groups small enough to be able to have a meaningful and candid conversation with the government representatives on hand. To do this, we do have to limit numbers and offer space by invitation-only. If you’re a Chamber member interested in being part of these conversations, let me know.
In addition to discussions directly with government representatives, we work with chambers across Canada where businesses are dealing with similar issues to work together on our efforts for change.
Together, we have a stronger voice in addressing the issues and opportunities that will help our communities thrive.
Navigating Economic Uncertainty: The Prudent Choice of Chamber Membership Guest Column by Olivia Farr, Communications Specialist, Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce
In times of economic uncertainty, businesses often find themselves at a crossroads, grappling with tough decisions to safeguard their interests and maintain stability. One strategic move that stands out as a beacon of support and resilience is joining your local chamber of commerce. This age-old institution has proven to be a valuable ally for businesses during periods of economic turbulence. In this article, we will explore why Chamber membership makes profound sense in the face of uncertainty.
1. Collective Strength in Unity
Economic uncertainty tends to breed challenges that no single business can face alone. By joining a chamber, businesses become part of a unified front, collectively navigating the storm. Chambers of commerce serve as powerful advocates for their members, leveraging their collective influence to shape policies that favour local businesses and stimulate economic growth. This unity allows businesses to pool resources, share insights, and face challenges with a stronger, more resilient approach.
2. Access to Critical Resources and Information
In periods where the economy is shifting, information becomes a priceless asset. The Chamber plays a crucial role in publishing timely and relevant information to their members through formats much like this Voice of Business blog. From legislative changes and market trends to funding opportunities and industry insights posted on our Resource Hub, chambers keep their members informed, helping them make well-informed decisions. This access to critical resources empowers businesses to adapt swiftly to changing circumstances and stay ahead of the curve.
3. Networking Opportunities for Survival and Growth
In times of budgetary anxiety, the importance of networking cannot be overstated. Chambers provide a structured platform for businesses to connect, collaborate, and forge partnerships. The PK Chamber hosts a minimum of three monthly networking events and several annual events. These networking opportunities can be a lifeline for businesses looking to weather the storm.
Chamber networking enhances your job-related support in two key ways—facilitating both job seekers and employers. For those seeking employment, the network offers a valuable avenue to discover opportunities in the concealed job market before they become publicly available.
On the flip side, for employers seeking to fill positions, engaging with peers in similar roles through the chamber can contribute to crafting comprehensive job descriptions. This collaborative approach ensures a more robust hiring process, fostering a better fit for your organization. This interconnectedness exemplifies the crucial role of networking, a lifeline for businesses navigating economic uncertainty. Chambers of Commerce provide the structured platform needed to establish these vital connections, enabling businesses to share resources, explore new markets, and devise innovative solutions to shared challenges.
4. Advocacy and Representation in Government Affairs
Economic uncertainty often coincides with shifts in government policies and regulations. Navigating this complex landscape requires a united voice to advocate for the interests of businesses. Your chamber actively engages in government affairs, representing their members' concerns and advocating for policies that promote economic stability and growth. Being part of a chamber ensures that your business has a seat at the table when crucial decisions are being made that could impact business operations.
5. Educational Programs for Adaptable Skill Sets
The ability to adapt to shifting economic positions is a key determinant of success. The Chamber frequently offers educational programs, workshops, and seminars to equip our members with the skills needed to thrive in a rapidly changing business environment. From digital transformation to crisis management, these programs empower businesses with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate uncertainty and emerge stronger on the other side.
6. Cost-Effective Marketing and Visibility
Maintaining a visible presence in the market is challenging during economic downturns when marketing budgets are often under scrutiny. Chamber membership provides businesses with cost-effective marketing opportunities, such as sponsorship of events, inclusion in business directories, and access to promotional channels like our newsletter and social media platforms. This increased visibility can be a lifeline for businesses seeking to maintain and expand their customer base despite economic headwinds.
7. Collective Problem-Solving and Support
Uncertain times can be isolating, with businesses feeling the weight of their challenges alone. Chamber membership fosters a sense of community and support, creating a space for businesses to share their struggles and successes. Collective problem-solving becomes a hallmark of chamber membership, as businesses work together to find innovative solutions and offer support to those facing particularly challenging circumstances.
In today's state of the economy, businesses are confronted with the imperative to adapt or risk stagnation. Chamber membership emerges as a strategic move, offering a lifeline of support, resources, and collaboration. The collective strength, access to critical information, networking opportunities, advocacy in government affairs, educational programs, cost-effective marketing, and a supportive community all make chamber membership a wise investment in times of economic uncertainty. As businesses navigate uncharted waters, the chamber of commerce stands as a steadfast partner, guiding them through the storm and towards a more resilient and prosperous future.
Heat pump explainer Guest Column by Rebecca Schillemat, Executive Officer of the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Home Builders Association
Heat pumps have gained substantial popularity across Canada due to their energy efficiency and versatility in providing heating and cooling solutions. These systems utilize a reversible refrigeration cycle to extract heat from the air, ground, or water sources, transferring it indoors during winter for heating and expelling it outside during summer for cooling. This article is about Air Source Heat Pumps (to be referred to as heat pumps). There are also geothermal, or ground source heat pumps available in Canada.
Heat pump technology was first demonstrated in 1748 and the first heat pump was built in 1857. Modern heat pumps are capable of heating comfortably when the outside temperature is as low as -20°C in a home with minimal air leakage. Heat pumps are energy efficient, with the definition of energy efficiency being to use less energy to get the same task done. Natural gas is 98% efficient at heating a space, while heat pumps can be 300-500% efficient because they are designed to put out more energy than they take in to run the system.
The Government of Canada has been researching energy efficiency home building and renovations options across Canada through the department of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) in partnership with the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA). Together NRCan & CHBA have been researching Net Zero Home Building for over a decade, including the use of heat pumps. The case studies from across Canada inform guidelines for energy efficient building. The 2020 National Building Code is a 5-tier system, each being more energy efficient. Tier 5 is beyond a Net Zero Home, with Net Zero defined as homes that produce as much clean energy as they consume annually, using on-site renewable energy systems.
The cost of a heat pump is anywhere from $5,000-15,000 to purchase and have installed. Enbridge is offering up to $4,500 for the Clean Home Heating Initiative, and the Canadian Government is offering up to $5,000 with the Greener Homes Grant, to install heat pumps to residential homes.
Since heat pumps work by taking outside air and transferring that energy to the inside air, having a leaky home greatly reduces heating efficiency, for all heating/cooling systems. The first step in determining how efficient a heat pump is for your home is getting an energy audit by a certified energy advisor, including a blower door test. New homes with an Energy Star Rating have 2.5 Air Changes per hour (ACH), Net Zero homes are 1.5 ACH and the Passive House standard is 0.6 ACH. The air tightness requirement in the National Building Code dovetails to achieve maximum energy efficiency with a heat pump.
Overall, heat pumps offer an efficient and environmentally friendly solution for heating and cooling in Canadian climates. Their ability to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions makes them a compelling choice for residential buildings despite some limitations related to extreme weather conditions and upfront costs. Heat pumps with a back-up heating method are an excellent first step in renovating existing homes to be more energy efficient. Heat pumps are an excellent option for new homes to maximize the energy efficiency of new home construction.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Home Builders Association (PKHBA) is the voice of the residential construction industry in Peterborough City & County and City of Kawartha Lakes. PKHBA represents over 100 member companies including builders, developers, professional renovators, trade contractors and many others within the residential construction sector. PKHBA had the opportunity to host two education sessions through CHBA’s Local Energy Efficiency Partnerships (LEEP) Program in fall 2023 in Peterborough; one on Mechanical & HVAC systems including heat pumps, and one on the Building Envelope including windows & insulation.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce acts as a catalyst to enhance business growth, opportunity, innovation, partnerships and a diverse business community.