By: Dr. Tom Phillips, Trent University and Rhonda Keenan, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development
Having a skilled workforce is the number one concern of industry. As Peterborough & the Kawarthas
Economic Development (PKED) meets with the region’s business leaders a common theme has emerged: a skills gap. Businesses have job openings but there doesn’t appear to be anyone available with the right skills to fill the open positions. At the same time, highly-skilled university graduates are starting to job search and finding that they lack the applied experience that employers are looking for.
Businesses know that access to talent and workforce is the key to their ongoing success. Innovative communities throughout North America are growing their local economy by tapping into and
collaborating with their educational institutions to develop the next generation of talent.
Whether they are growing from within the community, or relocating to the region, companies will look at the talent pipeline first and foremost before they will begin to look at other variables. Business will invest where talent lives.
Trent University is developing exciting new plans that will see future Trent students engaged in more work-integrated and experiential learning placements to improve their employability and assist students in their transition to employment.
New Canadians, youth and spouses of employed workers all have something in common. They have experienced barriers to entering the local workforce and many are considering entrepreneurship as a great alternative.
In markets such as Peterborough, over half of our businesses are owner-operated. The Kaufman Foundation cites research that indicates 80% of all new jobs will come from companies that are less than 5 years old. This same research also shows that immigrants were nearly twice as likely to start new businesses. Adding in the robust business support system with services offered by organizations including: Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, the Innovation Cluster, Startup Peterborough, Community Futures Peterborough, the Chambers of Commerce, and others, it is clear that our community punches above its weight. There is real opportunity for both established and aspiring entrepreneurs to grow in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly strong way to retain our local youth, while also providing an inclusive and supportive environment for New Canadians.
It was timely that Trent University partnered with PKED to host a Community Leaders Breakfast on June 25 to hear how entrepreneurship and experiential learning can benefit our region.
This event brought together business leaders, academia, community leaders and economic development partners to engage in facilitated discussion on the following topics:
The conversations and feedback were invaluable. Trent University is a world-class academic institution and we have world-class businesses operating in our communities that are looking for their future
workforce. Trent University will compile the input from this Community Leaders Breakfast to produce a publication and final report that will guide their new programming and identify new opportunities for collaboration between Trent and the business community.
The potential synergies are remarkable. The collaboration between academia and business will be key to developing a prosperous region into the future, with opportunities for students, businesses, and the community-at-large to succeed.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and Peterborough Chamber released a report in June 2017 which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers.
The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, explores the research and general sentiment toward skills development:
A couple of weeks ago I participated in the City of Peterborough Official Plan Design Charrette. It was a four day process that took place in the former Peterborough Library space at Peterborough Square. It allowed interested organizations, businesses, not-for-profits, former planners and more to blue sky the possibilities for Peterborough’s future built footprint.
Officially, from a City of Peterborough news release, “a Design Charrette is a collaborative design exercise and its objective is to establish a vision for built form (such as density, height, and building types), streetscapes, and green and public spaces.” To that end, we were supported by Lett Architects and a company called The Planning Partnership.
The first two days were centered on the city’s nodes, corridors, and neighbourhoods outside of the downtown core. Eight areas of interest were identified, four in the south and four in the north end of the city:
A designer guided the discussion and a lot of trace paper was consumed as tables articulated their ideas for each area. In some cases, two tables examined similar areas with different parameters. For
example – Lansdowne-Memorial had one table looking at it as a clean slate and the other with an OHL type facility. I liked the parameters as I feel it’s important to be aware of commitments, leases, agreements etc, but, that said, I would have liked to have seen a few more such as developing Morrow Park and the parameter of the Agricultural Society lease. In the downtown sessions, the GE lands were on the table for development, but given the remediation required permitted uses may be severely limited. There is another group that will be looking at the site more in depth as part of a “Communities in Transition Grant Project” led by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development.
I also learned from those first two days that there was a common desire to see taller buildings (in the 4-8 storey range) with retail and office on the first two floors, residential above and a footprint that is closer to the street. There was also debate as to how to integrate green spaces into new developments and reclaim some areas currently paved. Many of these designs are being encouraged through the Provincial Policy Statement and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Under these plans the province is projecting that by 2041 Peterborough will have grown by +14,000 jobs and +31,500 residents.
On top of this the city is required to reach certain density targets in built areas. In outlying new build areas that target under the new Official Plan will be 80 residents + jobs/hectare and in the urban growth area that jumps to 150 residents + jobs/hectare. Needless to say there is a lot the City Planning department has to think about and incorporate.
There also seems to be general sentiment that big box type stores will not need to be as large and the land could be repurposed as smaller retail or housing. It was a sentiment that led to a discussion around the future of bricks and mortar retail versus online purchasing of goods. Recently at a seminar hosted by our local RBC branch, the Retail Council of Canada revealed that 9% of all purchases in Canada were made online; five years ago that number was 4%. So there is definitely an increasing use of online buying by Canadian consumers. That said, many also considered grocery stores and everyday essential stores
foundational fabrics of a community.
In the downtown sessions four areas were discussed:
community and would require little more than some infilling of empty or inefficiently used spaces.
In the Central Area, there was a call for continued infill of buildings to mix with the old, building more multi layer parking or building above current parking, potentially developing a core heritage district, sight lines of key landmarks such as the Market Hall clock tower and determining secondary uses for older church buildings that may become available. Returning to two-way traffic on some of the north-south corridors was also widely discussed.
The final morning saw a smaller but engaged group talking about design principles for the downtown and this is where I think there was the most meat on the bone. There was a discussion about affordable
housing and how that term is defined; the Chamber made a request for flexible zoning so that the City is not handcuffed by its own policy and is ready to accept the next wave of business owner e.g combining two or three uses not usually connected in one space (Publican House, Tiny Greens, etc...); and continuing to incorporate green space.
We, as a community, also don't want to lose sight of the linkages between these future nodes. As such, it's important to think about the overall Peterborough identity and how that identity connects us all.
Over the course of the four days, the Chamber had a number of residents participate from our Policy Committee and Board of Directors. Thank you for your participation and we look forward to continuing to keep our membership involved in the official plan process.
City of Peterborough Official Plan Review
Author: Jennifer Lamantia, Chief Executive Officer, Workforce Development Board
In 2015, the Workforce Development Board was selected through a competitive process and awarded funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education Skills Development to deliver the Local Employment Planning Council (LEPC) pilot. The initiative is currently in its second phase that commenced on June 1, 2017 ending September 30, 2018 with recent news of an additional extension to March 31, 2019.
Our most recent publication, available on our website, is our Community Labour Market Plan 2018/2019. This comprehensive report provides an in-depth review of a variety of factors that influence our local labour market.
The report was shaped using both quantitative and qualitative data that we obtained from input from more than 200 community stakeholders through in-person interviews, online surveys and focus groups. Some highlights from our report include the following:
We hope that the information provided in our Community Labour Market Plan will help to inform regional workforce development and future project collaborations.
Several other projects have been launched during the pilot including a number recently released in 2018. Online Job Boards is a report reviewing the popular and growing job board space through a national, provincial and local lens for Peterborough, Northumberland, Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton. The report provides an analysis of online job posting activity by industry and occupation, which equips job seekers with some information to consider while navigating their job search.
Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers is a report that aims to help persons with disabilities achieve their full employment potential and serves as a resource for business owners interested in making their operation more inclusive.
We have also launched the first iteration of MyHomeWorks (www.myhomeworks.net), an online
learning platform that provides students with the opportunity to connect their interests to local labour market opportunities and delve into some of the external factors that can have an impact on job searches and their future career path. MyHomeWorks is a complimentary platform and can be used by any of the schools in our service area. It is available now for teachers to preview for use for fall classes.
LEPCs are being piloted in eight areas: Durham, London-Middlesex-Oxford-Elgin, Ottawa, Peel-Halton, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Windsor, and here in Peterborough. LEPCs focus on local approaches to workforce development and the collection, analysis and dissemination of labour market information.
The Workforce Development Board/Local Employment Planning Council (WDB/LEPC) has completed a
number of individual projects since initiating the pilot. All of the projects researched and developed
have been informed by the generous feedback from employment service providers, employers, job seekers, educators, students, government agencies and a variety of community stakeholders in our service area that includes: Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton County, Northumberland County (which includes Alderville First Nation) and Peterborough County (which includes Hiawatha First Nation and Curve Lake First Nation).
For more information, or to download copies of the WDB/LEPC projects or the Community Labour Market Plan visit www.wdb.ca
As a Chamber of Commerce representing close to 900 businesses we often speak of the cumulative regulatory burden businesses face every day. Not only are they working hard to stay competitive against like businesses in their sector, but they are working to keep their heads above water when it comes to the mandatory regulations imposed by all levels of government.
“Chamber members consistently tell us that regulatory burden and the layering impact of regulation from different ministries and levels of government is one of the most difficult areas to navigate as a business,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has crunched the numbers and found “in 2015, the federal government reported that there are 131, 745 federal requirements that impose an administrative burden on business.”
As a result one could say that Canada’s regulatory system is smothering business in Canada. A new report by the CCC, and supported by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Death by 130,000 Cuts, improving Canada’s Regulatory Competitiveness, calls on governments to modernize their regulatory frameworks and give businesses in Canada room to thrive.
The report details the cost of regulation and how it shapes a business’ activities by impacting
behaviour around capital investment, productivity and innovation, as well as creating a focus on paperwork and compliance tasks. A study out of the United Kingdom and referenced in the report identifies that “ the relationship between regulation and growth is complex…” as it can have both negative and positive impacts.
Death by a 130,000 Cuts examines why Canada is falling behind by looking at nine factors including regulatory overlap, interprovincial regulatory differences that report calls a tyranny of small variances from province to province that add up, inconsistent regulatory processes and consultations along with the role of our regulating bodies and the criteria they follow.
The report also looks at regulating in an era of accelerating technological change as not only is technology disrupting markets and sectors; it’s disrupting how regulators establish and enforce rules for those markets.
In the end the call to action is that Canada has the opportunity to modernize its regulatory system and turn them into a competitive strength instead of a weakness.
In order to do so the Canadian Chamber offers seven recommendations:
The recommendations provide a strategic way forward designed to ensure Canada’s business
competitiveness in a global economy.
“Inconsistent and unpredictable rules and processes are making it difficult for businesses—whether large or small—to keep up and comply. This leads to our businesses being less competitive and Canada becoming a less attractive place to invest, start or grow a business,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Regulations are designed to keep us safe and to create a level
playing field. But when they start to smother businesses, that becomes a real problem.”