As our economy shifts into recovery mode, so have the funding lifelines
We’ve moved from emergency funding to get through shutdowns to investing in what our businesses need to deal with current challenges and position them for the future.
Here is a brief rundown of some of the programs available:
Talent Opportunities Program (Up to $7,000)
Are you an employer hiring post-secondary students on work-integrated learning (WIL) placements, such as cooperative education and internships? If so, you may be eligible for a wage subsidy of up to $7,000 per student!
The Talent Opportunities Program (TOP) is an initiative of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce designed to help employers located anywhere in Canada hire college and university students on WIL placements. Employers hiring eligible students may receive a wage subsidy up to 50% of the wages (to a maximum of $5,000) for each ‘net new’ placement or 70% of the wages (to a maximum of $7,000) for each ‘net new’ placement for the following under-represented groups: Indigenous people, person with disabilities, newcomer to Canada, first year student, visible minority and/or women in STEM.
Grow Your Business Online Grant (Up to $2,400)
As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Government of Canada has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant.
Through this program, small business owners can receive a micro-grant worth up to $2,400 to help get their business online, give their e-commerce presence a boost, or digitalize business operations. Grant recipients must commit to maintaining their digital adoption strategy for at least six months.
Boost Your Business Technology (Up to $15,000 + 0% loan)
Eligible businesses can leverage the grant to pay for the services of a digital advisor. These advisors will work with companies to recommend digital pathways and strategies that will help them achieve their business goals and increase their competitiveness in the digital economy.
The grant covers up to 90% of the eligible cost of retaining the services of a digital advisor, up to a maximum grant value of $15,000 per SME, to develop a digital adoption plan.
Businesses also have the opportunity to secure a 0% interest loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to facilitate the acquisition of new technology. In addition, applicants can leverage the help of talented post-secondary students and recent graduates through subsidized work placements.
Canada-Ontario Job Grant (Up to $10,000)
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees.
Businesses can get some assistance from local employment organizations.
Digital Main Street (Up to $2,500 + free training)
Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce has partnered with acorn30 to provide local businesses with a Digital Main Street Digital Service Squad. Squad members are available for free one-on-one assistance to small businesses to assess their digital needs and create plans to meet digital goals. The squad can also help businesses apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to put toward digital marketing, website work, software, training, and hardware.
For more info, contact Clarance D'Silva email@example.com or visit https://digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants/
Government of Canada Business Benefits Finder
The Government of Canada now has a business benefits finder to help businesses find the right programs and services, whether you’re starting out or scaling up. Enter some details about your business and it will pull up all the available federal programs.
Available funding opportunities from the Ontario Government
The Government of Ontario has a single-point access page listing current business support programs for various sectors, skills, and workforce investments.
Community Futures Peterborough (Micro Loans up to $20,000, Small Business Loans up to $250,000)
Community Futures Peterborough offers a range of supports for small businesses, including counselling, training, and loans.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. As a Chamber, our role involves helping businesses overcome barriers. Sometimes this involves sorting out bureaucracy and cutting red tape. Other times it involves advocating for funding to help specific sectors get the boost they need to ensure they aren’t being left behind. Our region needs businesses of all sizes and sectors thriving for an effective and efficient economic recovery.
Canada’s employment situation remains fickle.
We’ve added more jobs and the unemployment rate has declined, but people are working fewer hours and the overall labour shortage still sits at more than 1 million unfilled jobs.
According to Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Stephen Tapp:
“At first glance, it looked like we finally received good news from Canada’s Labour Force Survey for September: after three months of declines, employment was up by 21,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate dropped back to 5.2% after unexpectedly spiking to 5.4% last month. Digging beneath the headlines, however, shows emerging signs of an underlying “cooling-off” period. First, hours worked are down over 1% since June. Second, labour force participation has sagged over the course of this year, and third, it’s the public-sector, not the private sector, that continues to push up employment. That said, Canada’s labour market remains historically tight. It’s remains difficult for businesses to fill the nearly one million vacant positions they’re seeking. And, though, wage growth exceeded 5% for the fourth month in a row, this still isn’t enough to boost workers’ purchasing power, as it’s below the highest rates of inflation seen in a generation.”
Overall, the public sector added 35,000 jobs, compared to 9,000 from the private sector while self-employment dropped by 22,000. The increase in employment is being driven by education and healthcare at 46,000 and 24,000, respectively. This offset declines from manufacturing (-28,000); information, culture and creation (-22,000); transportation and warehousing (-18,000), and public administration (-12,000).
Wage growth is being led by professional services, up 9.1% year-over-year, followed by accommodation and food service at +8.7% over last year. On average, wages are up 5.2% over last year.
Adding further pressure to workforce challenges is the trend toward retirements shows no signs of slowing, with 1 million of the 5.2 million Canadians aged 55 -64 already retired.
Overall, Ontario and PEI are the only provinces seeing a decline in employment.
Locally, jobs in demand largely hit sectors that have struggled heavily over the last two years, especially the service industry. According to the Workforce Development Board, the top 10 local job postings are for:
1. Retail salespersons
2. Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers & related support occupations
3. University professors and lecturers
4. Home support workers, housekeepers & related occupations
5. Other customer & information services representatives
6. Retail & wholesale trade managers
8. Social and community service workers
9. Post-secondary teaching & research assistants
10. Light duty cleaners
Employment data will continue to fluctuate, as it always has. But it reveals the harsh reality that some sectors are rebounding well while others are going to continue to struggle. Those who regularly had to cut staffing levels due to public health restrictions are struggling to hire enough staff despite being leaders in increasing wages. There is no large pool of workers waiting to return and fill the vacancies across the country. It’s going to take creativity, investment, and vision for local businesses to modernize, automate, and adjust how they operate to make do with less access to labour.
How we get to net-zero matters
Climate change is a pressing business issue.
We’re dealing with the effects on a regular basis with extreme weather events happening far more frequently than decades ago. Referring to disasters as once-in-a-century events has lost its relevance. Floods, wildfires, wind storms, and hurricanes have shuttered businesses, cut off supply chains, spoiled goods, and taken lives. And we’re paying the insurance premiums to prove it.
All levels of government have pledged some form of commitment toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling the effects of climate change.
The federal government has established its goal of creating net-zero emissions by 2050 with Environment and Climate Change Canada supplementing it with the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan. It established the Net-Zero Advisory Body in 2021 as a group of independent experts to provide advice on pathways for Canada to achieve net-zero emissions. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Net-Zero Council is part of this advisory body.
The CCC along with partners at PwC Canada have put together a report titled How We Get There Matters: Establishing a Path to Net-zero in Canada. It has four core principles:
1. The 2030 roadmap must firmly position Canada to achieve its net-zero target for 2050
This means that a key goal of actions taken between now and 2030 should be to enable delivery of the 2050 target, rather than short-term measures that may help deliver on 2030 targets but cannot be leveraged thereafter. These actions may consist of pilot programs, feasibility studies and consultations to position initiatives for major emissions reduction in the coming decades. In the absence of this, we risk our ability to reach our net-zero goal and/or risk needing to resort to extreme measures in later years.
2. Canada’s net-zero plan must be tightly coupled with its economic goals
This will ensure that fulfilling Canada’s commitment to contribute to the global fight against climate change and maintaining/improving our standard of living will not be seen as either/or.
3. Canada’s economic plan and the net-zero transition plan must consider the global context
This consideration is necessary to protect competitiveness of Canadian businesses and avoid carbon leakages to other countries.
4. Canada’s net-zero plan should deliver an orderly and inclusive transition
This is critical to avoid economic crises and energy crises and to ensure the ongoing support of Canadians for Canada’s commitment to net-zero.
Among its key recommendations are that Canada should:
• Increase overall net-zero funding and do more to de-risk and address barriers to private
• Adopt a common definition for what constitutes investment that supports net-zero
• Consider a holistic picture of emissions
• Design policy options to incentivize emission reductions in Canada’s international
• Develop a detailed net-zero skills plan to unlock the opportunities that net-zero will bring
• Develop a plan for funding decarbonization equitably
• Develop a public engagement and information strategy
It’s going to take intentional investment from both the private and public sector to tackle climate change and make meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. At this point, all options involve significant investments and costs — including inaction. It’s critical that we work as effectively and efficiently together across sectors to make the best use of time and money and position us to be competitive now and in the future. As the report says right at the start — how we get there matters.
Elections are a crucial time for engaging with our future leaders and sharing our ideas and vision for what the future should look like.
No government has more of a hands-on impact on our day-to-day lives than our local municipalities.
Election campaigns are often viewed as a one-way message — what will you (or your party) do for us? What really sets municipal campaigns apart from federal and provincial candidates is the community-level engagement. Many council candidates will knock on every door in their ward — some more than once. They are there just as much to hear what you have to say as they are to spread their message about their platform.
It's also representation on a whole different scale. We currently have 113 candidates vying for 51 elected positions in the City and County, a notable increase from the three MPs and MPPs that cover our region (and beyond).
Some may have party affiliations and political leanings, but that’s as far as it goes. Each candidate fundraises for themselves, sets their own platform, and represents their own ideals. This type of campaign offers a high level of flexibility. The questions you ask are just as important as the answers they provide. It sets the tone for what our community values.
That’s why we at the Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce decided to go all-in this municipal election in terms of engaging both candidates and the community. We are strictly non-partisan in terms of promoting any specific candidates or ballot questions. Our goal is to engage candidates and the public to be informed on local business issues that will guide the future of our region for years to come.
Watch Peterborough County township debates:
If you are a resident of a township in the County of Peterborough or just want to get up-to-date on local issues and candidates, last week we hosted debates via Zoom in all eight townships. You can view all of these recorded debates here: https://www.peterboroughchamber.ca/2022-municipal-election.html
City council questionnaire:
All candidates running for positions on council were sent a questionnaire with 10 questions relating to local business and community issues. We began publishing their responses yesterday on our website: https://www.peterboroughchamber.ca/2022-municipal-election.html
City mayoral debate
Join us Thursday, Oct. 6 for a City of Peterborough mayoral candidates debate at Market Hall. Doors open at 6:30 and the debate will start at 7 pm. Please note that seating is limited and first come, first served. We will also be live streaming it on our YouTube channel, which will later be published on our website and aired on YourTV.
An engaged and informed community is most effective when people vote. For details on how to vote in your municipality, go to:
• City of Peterborough
• Township of Asphodel-Norwood
• Township of Cavan Monaghan
• Township of Douro-Dummer
• Township of Havelock-Belmont-Methuen
• Township of North Kawartha
• Township of Otonabee-South Monaghan
• Selwyn Township
• Municipality of Trent Lakes
Election day is Monday, Oct 24. Internet voting is open in the City of Peterborough and elsewhere with advanced polls starting Saturday, Oct. 8.
Please take the next few weeks to ask questions, let your local candidates know what you would like to see, learn more about their plans, and b