Small businesses are at the heart of Canadian communities. They are critical in helping Canada turn the corner on COVID-19 and their success is essential to Canada’s economic strength. Created and launched by RBC, Canada United is a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the
country. Recently, during Small Business Week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced an investment of $12 million to support the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund.
“By teaming up with the Canada United campaign, our government is able to give yet another lifeline for small businesses during Small Business Week,” said Minister Ng. “On the road to economic recovery, we will continue to do whatever it takes to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in every corner of the country.”
The pandemic has created substantial uncertainty for small businesses. They are facing mounting losses, increased costs to reopen and shaky consumer confidence.
As part of the Canada United movement, RBC brought together more than 70 of Canada’s leading brands, the national Chamber of Commerce network and business associations to rally Canadians to “show local some love” by buying, dining and shopping local.
Meanwhile, more than 40 municipalities across Canada including Peterborough City and County, made official proclamations in honour of the Canada United Weekend, which took place between August 28 – 30.
“Small businesses are cornerstones of our local economies and key to thriving communities--
creating jobs, driving innovation, and generating wealth for Canadians. Local businesses have always been there for us and now need our support now more than ever. A sincere thanks to Minister Ng and the federal government for providing critical support to small businesses when they need it most,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
The actions of Canadians during the campaign helped establish the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses required to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.
“While the pandemic has undoubtedly challenged us in many ways, it’s also highlighted Canadians’ unwavering commitment to supporting one another during difficult times,” said Neil McLaughlin, Group Head, Personal & Commercial Banking, RBC. “We are incredibly grateful for the ways Canadians have
supported their local businesses when they really needed it, and for the commitment of our partners who helped bring Canada United to life.
"Through the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund, grants up to $5,000 are available to small businesses so they can cover the costs of physical modifications to their businesses to meet local health and safety requirements.
The grant can also be used to help firms with the cost of PPE and enhance their e-commerce capabilities so they can do more business online.
“The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is helping our small businesses offset the cost required to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online at a time when they need it most. Chambers of commerce and boards of trade from coast, to coast, to coast have come together to start the Canada United movement, to show local businesses all the support they deserve,” added Perrin Beatty, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
The new application window for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund is now open.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2020
SMALL BUSINESS: TOO BIG TO IGNORE
Chamber Network Kicks Off Small Business Week Conversation About Digital and Skills Access
(PETERBOROUGH, ON – October 20, 2020) – The pandemic has highlighted challenges for small businesses: their access to digital technologies and skills. With Small Business Week 2020 underway, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and partners are kicking off a vital conversation today about these gaps with the launch of their report, Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills. The report is a Skills Next project and a collaboration between the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Public Policy Forum, and the Future Skills Centre.
“We are deeply concerned about the impacts the COVID-19 crisis is having on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities, and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario,” said Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “They are the backbone of the Canadian economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of jobs in the private sector. Yet they face critical labour shortages, skill mismatches, and challenges related to broadband internet access that threaten their competitiveness.”
“Broadband is a basic infrastructure requirement in today’s economy, but the ongoing pandemic has made it even more essential to public health and economic resilience,” added Ashley Challinor, Vice President, Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “For businesses and workers, particularly those practicing physical distancing, connectivity is necessary to ensure they can remain productive by using digital tools such as video conferencing. Without adequate access, those in rural and remote regions will be vulnerable to additional layoffs and business closures.”
Canadian Small Business Week takes place during the third week of October every year. This year, the celebration will occur October 18-24, 2020. Over the course of Small Business Week, the OCC and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce will be participating in the “Small Business: Too Big To Ignore” campaign across the province, actively engaging small businesses in discussions about the top obstacles impeding their growth and the ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
Small Business Week Activities:
All week: Like & share our Small Business Graphics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn
Add the Peterborough Chamber #LoveLocalPtbo Facebook Frame to your profile photo
Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Peterborough Business Excellence Awards 7pm – YouTube & Facebook
Thursday, October 22, 2020: Ontario’s Economic Health Survey
Learn more about Small Business Week and read the Skills Gap & Future Skills Report
About the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
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.
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
For more information, please contact:
Sandra Dueck, Vice-President, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
E-mail: email@example.com Phone: (705) 748-9771 ext.215
How businesses are reacting to the pandemic
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is in the midst of a series of three micro-surveys on Ontario’s economic health. The surveys are designed to be quick and easy for businesses to answer, but also designed to assess the health and confidence of Ontario’s business
community. This is an annual project led by the OCC and guided by the answers of businesses in communities across the province, such as Peterborough.
We understand that there is a lot going on and businesses and employees are being pulled in multiple directions. However, we do hope you can take a few minutes to fill out this survey and help us elevate the voice of business to our local MPPs and Queen’s Park.
The first survey (with the data from the Muskoka-Kawartha Economic Region to the right) focussed on business confidence. Do business owners believe their business can thrive in their community? For Muskoka-Kawarthas, 48% of businesses felt they did have the opportunity to thrive, while 39% did not.
Comparatively, the provincial numbers showed a more optimistic view with 62% of participating businesses in Ontario feeling there was opportunity to thrive in their community.
As expected, business growth suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic with businesses expressing a decline in growth over the past six months and an anticipated decline in the next six months. However, there are still some businesses that did grow and are anticipating growth in the next half year.
As Stuart Harrison, President & CEO of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wrote last week, “The pandemic has put large chunks of the economy at risk. What can you do about it? Commit to supporting the businesses that support you.” Inject confidence in your community by buying local and supporting the businesses in our city and county.
Not surprisingly, business tends to be more confident in their ability to weather the storm than with the provincial economy as a whole. This is often a reflection of policies put in place by government. Granted, in these times decisions have not been made with ease, but in the arena of government regulation certainty is critical. And while governments have moved at a pace that is extremely unfamiliar, they too have hopefully seen how businesses operate in two worlds and are constantly working to ensure balance.
One of the more positive points to come out of this first survey for Muskoka-Kawartha is on the
pandemic's impact on hiring. 50% of businesses indicated the pandemic had no impact on hiring or that they were planning to hire. About 25% of businesses said they had permanently dismissed staff while the remaining 25% issued temporary dismissals. These numbers were very much in line with the provincial numbers.
That said, the project lead, Daniel Safayeni, Director of Policy for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, says "businesses in accommodation and food services; transportation and warehousing; arts, entertainment and recreation; and retail have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.”
Many of these businesses are an important part of the Peterborough economy and have while some have been able to pivot and add e-commerce, others have limited abilities under COVID restrictions. We look forward to learning more about the supports mentioned in the federal Speech from the Throne.
The second OCC survey, which is now live and can be found on our website
under the COVID-19 Business Resource Portal, will take a deeper look at business confidence, pandemic recovery, mental health, and climate change.
Please take a moment to fill it out: https://bit.ly/2020OCCSurvey2Ptbo
As the second wave rears its ugly head, your business community grows ever-more anxious about what is to come. Many of them have already endured months of being shut down, or been seriously compromised. Some of them still are. And some of them haven’t made it.
The pandemic has demonstrated a number of things, but one of the most important is the simple value of a job, and what it takes to create one. I could throw multiple layers of statistics at you to explain just how important things like industrial and commercial taxes are to the basic functioning of a Township, County, a City, Province or Country, but to keep it simple, think in terms of jobs, taxes, license and permit fees. Business taxes alone contribute 23% of the City of Peterborough's $286 million budget. Of the County's total levy of $46.7 million, roughly 6% comes from business taxation. And while the residential tax component is always a bigger piece of the pie, consider that vast numbers of those residents are employed by those same local businesses…
Now add in what small local business contributes to the Provincial and Federal coffers. The pandemic has put large chunks of this at risk…
What can you do about it? Commit to supporting the businesses that support you.
I’m sure you’ve heard all of the arguments before, but my sense of where we stand right now, and in the coming months, is that it is critical that we go out of our way to try and ensure that our local businesses survive.
A major report by RBC outlining anticipated changes post-pandemic includes a shift in how we shop. The report predicts broad acceptance of online shopping, and yet much broader support for all things local, including a willingness to order online and pick up in store. 42% of online purchases in June were “Buy Online, Pick Up in Store”. This could bode well for the local retailer, as they work hard at establishing
some form of online purchase option for their customers.
And while it might on the surface appear to require a bit more effort, nearly 80% of Canadians say they’re more likely to choose Canadian brands/products, which I find really encouraging.
You can count on major multi-national corporations to take advantage of the pandemic and its aftermath, by offering increasingly slick and attractive purchasing. Just a couple of taps on your phone and your product magically appears on your front porch before sundown. I can only hope that more and more consumers will start to question where a product comes from, who made it, and what it took to get it to their front porch by sundown…
The next couple of months will see many of the usual shopping “events”, including “Black Friday”, “Cyber Monday”, “Amazon Prime Day”, not to mention Christmas and Boxing Day! There will be lots of deals out there, and I know you’ll take advantage of them. I just hope you’ll do your research and choose local whenever you can. PtboPrime anyone?
Local retailers are stepping up. They are increasingly able to compete on price, delivery, and a sophisticated and convenient online experience. Many who can are already online and can be easily found.
The Chamber of Commerce is putting the finishing touches on a new online LoveLocalPtbo Marketplace, launching in the next few weeks. The site will provide convenient access to all of our members, including our important Not for Profit/Charitable sector, who have suffered badly these last few months.
Your Super Power is to think local, support local, buy local, love local. To quote a good old-fashioned Chamber of Commerce slogan, “Keep Your Town in Business, by Keeping Your Business in Town”.
On Tuesday, September 29th, delegates from chambers across the province met virtually to debate 39 policy resolutions.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce submitted two policy papers that had been drafted through the
Chamber’s Policy Committee and approved by the Board of Directors earlier in the year.
The papers were:
Accounting for Economic Outcomes in Regional Collaboration Projects
Both recommendations were accepted with majority support of delegates at the virtual debate.