Blog - Cambridge Chamber of Commerce

Just a few short weeks ago it literally was business usual for everyone.

 

But as the scope of the COVID-19 crisis began to unveil itself all businesses, both big and small, were immediately faced with making some very tough decisions.

 

“When we initially heard everything what was happening with COVID-19  we decided to adjust to the situation and maintain a very safe environment,” says Christine Grant, co-owner of Modo Yoga Cambridge, noting reducing class sizes at their Ainslie Street North studio and introducing even stricter cleaning protocols were the first steps.  “But as the situation developed and we realized we had to close our doors it was incredibly emotional. You almost feel like you’re failing the community when you say, ‘we have to close our doors’.”

 

Mike Hruden, general manager and co-founder of Four Fathers Brewing Company said the moment the province first announced the closure of non-essential services it resulted in near panic.

 

“We had a very crazy day in retail because people thought everything was closing,” he says, adding that concern subsided once a revised short list of closures was announced.

 

But like all business owners they quickly realized they would have to switch gears to operate in this unprecedented economic reality.

 

“You can try to be a trendsetter but you don’t know what’s right or wrong, or what you can or can’t do, so we really paid attention to what the government has been posting,” says Mike, referring to the steps his business has taken.

 

Sadly, he says Four Fathers Brewing had to layoff its kitchen and taproom staff but continues to offer free local delivery and curbside pickup at its Guelph Avenue location. Takeout, delivery and curbside pickup are steps many local restaurants and eateries have now undertaken as the crisis continues.

 

“The first thing which has taken off and seems to be appreciated by the local community is free local delivery,” says Mike, noting it began as a March promotion but has been extended.

 

Although most of Four Fathers’ orders are coming from Cambridge, he’s also seen orders come in from Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph.  He says they are looking at extending the service to Fergus and Elora.

 

“It’s just something that allows people to stay inside and when we deliver, we put the box at the door and stand back and greet them,” says Mike, adding  similar safety protocols are in place with their curbside pickup which has jumped to at least 70 orders last week alone compared to the five or six they saw a month.

 

“There’s a lot of change happening right now, so you have to take it day by day,” he says.

 

Christine and her business partner, Emily Drouillard, agree and say thinking outside the box and being open to any ideas to assist customers is key.

 

“So many businesses have already made that shift,” says Christine, referring to online services now being offered by numerous local businesses, including food and supply pickups and fitness classes. “Don’t think about ‘what I’m not able to do in this situation’, but ‘what can I still do?’.”

 

She says business owners must realize that offering the same service as they did before is nearly impossible.

 

“You just have to do the best you can right now. You can sit and sulk, or you can get up and figure out how to move forward,” says Christine.

 

In their case they were fortunate the Modo Yoga community, which includes more than 70 studios worldwide, was able in just a few days time launch an online network offering numerous classes from around the world.

 

“It was pretty amazing,” says Emily, who says the Modo Yoga community initially had plans to launch this network in the fall but quickly decided to step up the process when the pandemic struck. “Four days going into this there were no videos but the whole community rallied together to send off videos and make content available, so now there’s hundreds of videos and it’s updated daily.”

 

As well, Modo Yoga Cambridge offers two live classes daily on its Instagram account, which are saved for future viewing to ensure followers can practice with their favourite instructors on their own schedules.

 

“It’s been a big learning curve for us,” admits Christine, explaining instructors themselves are learning to adjust conducting virtual classes. “But the response has been great and the support from the community has been wonderful.”

 

Emily agrees and says community support is vital to getting through this crisis.

“What we’re seeing is how responsive our community has been to this shift,” she says, adding very few businesses were prepared for something like this. “Nobody really has a choice in the matter.”

 

But businesses themselves are also doing their part to support the community, including adapting their services to help the healthcare industry.

 

At Four Fathers, Mike says they’ve created a batch of beer which is being sold over the next few months to benefit the Cambridge Memorial Hospital in its fight against COVID-19. He’s hoping to raise at least $4,000 through this fundraiser towards the purchase of needed medical supplies, including masks.

 

“We’ll give them a donation and they can buy whatever it is they want from their donation list,” he says.

 

For local realtor Scott Bennett, who works at the ReMax Real Estate Centre on Hespeler Road, giving back to the community has resulted in a growing movement. Since late January, when COVID-19 was only a threat to Canada, he began a campaign of creating and delivering emergency hygiene packs to those in need, including seniors and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

 

To date, and with the support of the Cambridge Rotary Club, ReMax and volunteers, his campaign has resulted in the delivery of at least 400 kits each containing hand sanitizer, antibacterial hand soap, non-latex gloves and disinfectant wipes.

 

“There’s been such a big response from the community,” says Scott, who receives messages on Facebook regarding residents who need kits.

 

“I’ve been doing quite a bit of running around. A lot of the products are hard to find now,” he says. “I’ve had some store managers who call me when they get in a new shipment.”

 

The kits are packed at Fiddlesticks Community Centre where Scott is now including homemade disinfectant wipes created by liquid Lysol soaked in cloth purchased online in bulk.

 

“We drop off the kits on the porch and there’s no contact. I’m really surprised by the demand and the need,” says Scott, adding his real estate work hasn’t slowed down. “I’ve actually been pretty busy with that lately. I thought a pandemic would slow things down.”

 

He says conducting even more virtual tours has become the norm and that great care and the necessary precautions are being taken when showing clients’ a home.

“It’s not the ideal situation but a lot people have to move because they’re closing on other houses,” says Scott.

 

It’s expected our current situation may not change for several months, but in the meantime, staying connected and healthy is important.

 

“We feel now more than ever it’s important people keep moving their bodies and connecting with friends,” says Emily.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am a small business owner based in Cambridge, Ontario.  Along with my partners, we operate two manufacturing operations employing a total of about 25 people.

 

I am proud of all of the response of our political leaders to this crisis on all levels – local, provincial and federal.  They have taken a sober and analytical approach to the immediate needs of the citizens of this country.

 

Their willingness to commit funds, resources and support to our front line workers, small businesses and all in need will get Canada through this ordeal.

 

As a business owner, my top priority is always looking ahead to determine how I can not only succeed; but avoid unexpected disruption to my team; and minimize our potential for risk of any kind.

 

This is where I think the business community needs more support from our leaders.

 

The question of when we should re-open for business is open for debate.  The leaders in Canada, USA and abroad have differing opinions on this matter. 

 

There is only one question on my mind – what is required for me to do business in a way that will be safe for my team, clients and supply chain?  This is the question that must be answered prior to our return to regular business.

 

There is no doubt in my mind that the scientists of the world will determine when it should happen; using the tools and expertise available to them.  It brings me comfort to know that our Canadian politicians are being guided by science in their decision making process on these issues.  

 

However, there is another component to this decision that I think we are neglecting.  Whenever we return to work, it will be to a new business landscape.  There are new risks, new considerations and a higher expectation from the community for business owners to provide a safe working environment.  As a community, we need to determine what will be required to have in place prior to a return to “regular” business. Until we have a vaccine / “herd immunity”, do workers require masks to be safe?  Do we need to require hand sanitizer at entry points to work areas and require all team members to use?  In Taiwan, there are some common practise expectations for citizens that have allowed them to maintain a very low infection level of COVID without restriction on children being at school, or businesses operating normally.  What can we learn from their example that can help us to prepare to resume our work?

 

If Toyota, Honda, or even my business or a local hair salon re-opened in two or four weeks without making any adaptations to how the risk of COVID transmission is controlled; how will we have made progress against this disease?

 

The saying “time heals all wounds” has never resonated with me.  Time doesn’t heal all wounds; but time does offer us the opportunity to prepare for what is coming at  us next.  We know that the economy will have to resume prior to COVID being completely eradicated.  The question is – what will we as a community do to mitigate the risk of another peak of infection as we make that return to the new normal?

 

There is no question that children will have to return to school; I am less concerned about when that happens than I am about what the plan is to keep them safe and healthy once they are there.  We have the example of how Taiwan has made this work; kids wearing masks and having plastic cubicle style dividers between desks during meals.  Will we use this time to learn from their example and adapt our own action plan for what is required to be in place prior to resuming their in class education?  My hope is that we do. 

 

The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce is starting to gather experts and business owners to start this discussion.  I am proud to be a part of this discussion; I look forward to learning and planning together with others to determine how we as a business community can plan to get back to business.  This is new territory for everyone – consumers, business owners, employees, politicians, government, youth and seniors.  If we can agree on the supports that are needed to re-open in a safe manner, the time spent until that happens can be spent planning and making the required changes to how we do business to accommodate the new reality we live in.  If as a community we neglect this opportunity to plan and adapt, we are destined to repeat this cycle of the pandemic again in the not so distant future.

 

This is work that our Chambers of Commerce, professional associations, industry associations, regulatory bodies or governing standard registrars, perhaps the labour unions and school boards are well poised to do.  They have connections to business in their sector, a communication channel with a broad range of companies in a vertical market, and the support of their members.  If we all pressure these organizations in our own industries to get to work on our behalf, we can start planning for the future.

 

It’s time to change the question from “when can we re-open” to “what is required for a safe and healthy re-opening in my workplace to get through this crisis”?

 

Let’s get to work.

 

Kristen Danson

Managing Partner

MitoGraphics Inc. / Swift Components Corp

519 240-4205 Direct

 

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Self-isolation. Social distancing.

 

These are terms that have now become part of our daily life in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, which is causing anxiety worldwide both socially and economically.

 

But ensuring we maintain good mental health amidst this trying time is vital, says Angela Englander, a registered psychotherapist and trauma specialist who operates Ways to Wellbeing Therapy in Cambridge and Tillsonburg.

 

“We need to be reaching out to each other now more than ever,” she says. “We really need to be connecting with our community.”

 

Angela, who specializes in the treatment of all of types trauma, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), says what we’re dealing with is very similar to what the world experienced during the First and Second World Wars.

 

“We’re getting isolated and starting to get scared of each other,” she says, adding that in the years following the COVID-19 crisis we may be faced with a large number of people dealing with PTSD and a variety of mental health issues. “Many people appear to be having an acute traumatic stress response right now in that they're hypervigilant and full of adrenaline and flooded emotionally.”

 

Angela says nightmares and trouble sleeping are just a few of the common reactions to trauma people may be experiencing.  She has, however, noticed that some of her clients who are dealing with PTSD seem less concerned since many already often live in self-isolation.

 

“They’re saying, ‘the rest of the world is living like us now, and that’s kind of validating’,” she says, adding there are others who fear society will break down as a whole.

 

“People are concerned about becoming ill, experiencing pain, suffering, starving and having their neighbours and people around them turn on them, with riots in the streets.”

 

Angela says the long-term effects of PTSD could include headaches, flashbacks and mood swings.

 

“I think there will be a lot of mental health fallout but I hope the government will step up to fund psychotherapy so people can heal,” she says.

 

Currently, OHIP does not cover the cost of psychotherapy.

 

To combat these fears and anxieties surrounding COVID-19, Angela recommends not only reaching out to a professional for coping strategies and support but by creating a daily routine of self-care.

 

“Maintain routine and focus on your accomplishments,” she says. “Stay connected to others through social media or Skype or by phone.”

 

She says deep breathing, stretching and yoga are also good methods to boost good mental health.

 

“And now that we may not be distracted as much by our work, we can start connecting with more of the community,” says Angela. “This could be our golden opportunity to turn things around.”

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The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is affecting all of us in countless ways.

 

But for the most vulnerable in our community, the impact is even greater.

That’s why Dianne McLeod, interim executive director of the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank, is urging everyone to help.

 

“Even if you only put an extra can of something in the donation bin at the store that would be fantastic,” she said, noting the food bank driver has been picking up donations daily from the grocery stores.

 

The food bank, which normally assists approximately 1,600 families a month, has been providing its clients with pre-packed hampers of donations since the crisis ramped up and has seen many of its supplies dwindle quickly.

 

As of Wednesday (March 18), Dianne says the food bank was running low on many staple items, including peanut butter as well as pasta and pasta sauce.

 

“I’m not sure about next week,” she admits.

 

Dianne was grateful to receive some donations of perishable foods from local restaurants who’ve decided not to provide takeout and close their doors due to the crisis.

 

“They’ve been sending their stuff to us, which is great,” she says, adding the food bank also purchased $8,000 worth of supplies. “Unfortunately, some of the things are not available to purchase at all.”

 

Among the donations needed are rice, canned fish, child friendly snacks, canned fruit, soups and stews, and oatmeal.

 

Besides buying supplies, the food bank has also altered its hours of operation and now offers its community lunch in a ‘come and go’ format rather than a sit-down meal.

 

But it’s the clients that can’t make to the Ainslie Street South facility that are causing Dianne great concern.

 

“One of the biggest ways to help us right now is to check on your elderly neighbours and bring them some food,” she says, explaining the food bank has altered its in-take system to make it easier to get supplies to those in need.

 

In terms of emergency planning, Dianne says the food bank was already well prepared thanks to its former executive director Pat Singleton who put plans in place during the SARS and H1N1 crises. This includes providing the necessary emergency equipment.

 

“Everyone is feeling safe down here,” she says.

 

For information about the food bank, including a link to make a financial donation to Canada Helps, please visit  https://cambridgefoodbank.org/blog/

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The Cambridge Chamber of Commerce has a brand-new online look.

 

The Chamber’s new website offers visitors a fresh and vivid digital experience as they access information on the many learning programs, incentives and events we offer that benefit our local business community.

 

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer a new site that is easy to navigate and still provides our Members with the valuable information they’ve come to expect,” says Chamber President and CEO Greg Durocher.

 

With a click of a button on the home page or from the ‘events’ page, Members will be able to easily access and manage their own accounts using a simple username system. They will not only be able to update their profiles to add or delete employees but will also be able to pay bills online.

 

“This feature will be a huge benefit to our Members and streamline our operation so we can concentrate on what we do best: helping businesses grow and prosper,” says Durocher.

 

The site itself is much brighter and colourful and contains fewer links which in turn will make using it a far more engaging experience for visitors.

 

As well, a new mobile site is included which means much clearer access on all digital devices.

 

“We have no doubt users will find this feature a huge bonus,” says Durocher, noting how much communication is conducted on smartphones.  “It’s important for all businesses to adapt to the latest trends.”

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Small businesses in Canada face many challenges on their path to growth and even more so in becoming globally competitive enterprises.

 

We have heard the statistics before: SMEs account for 99.7% of Canada’s businesses, but they contribute only 25% of our goods and services exports and less than a third of our GDP. How does that stack up against our G7 peers? In those countries, SMEs account for 50% of GDP and 56% of employment. Canada’s record in scaling up small businesses into larger, globally competitive enterprises has to improve.

 

Recent research highlights the potential for Canadian SMEs to become much more competitive in the scaling process. One of the tools that helps Canadian companies grow globally is social media. It is easy to use, inexpensive and provides access to new customers in a variety of ways. Mobile connections are only accelerating that access because we can now purchase from anywhere at any time.

 

A whopping 70% of small Canadian companies use some form of social media and most use several. Instagram’s new study found nearly three in five SMEs agree that social media helps to connect with customers in their cities. Additionally, over half also believe that it helps them find customers in other cities, provinces and countries. The study mentions that these online networks are used by small businesses to identify, attract and hire employees that are passionate about their products and services.

 

We know that more women use social media than men, resulting in women- owned businesses being more likely to adopt social media. This is important because we know that entrepreneurship has the highest ratio of gender inequality in the workplace, with only one in five SMEs being majority-owned by women. The adept use of social media by female business owners has the potential to narrow this gap and make a meaningful contribution to Canadian economic growth. Both the study by Instagram and a second study by SME research firm Clutch demonstrate that social media communities create opportunities for female entrepreneurs, help empower women-run businesses and lower the barriers to entry for women.

 

Not surprisingly, SME optimism and enthusiasm for social media is also partially driven by a younger demographic.

 

A majority of millennial SME owners agree that their business is stronger because of social media and that it is more important to their company than a website, which is why this age group plans to maintain or increase their investment in these platforms. Considering that millennials are now the largest cohort of the Canadian workforce, their social media use will increasingly play an important part of Canadian economic growth and competitiveness.

 

The impact social media has as a means to reach customers and encourage female entrepreneurship and millennial business ownership will continue to grow. We are quickly approaching a point where we will consider it a key driver of Canada’s ability to scale up firms, achieve inclusive growth and compete globally in an increasingly digital economy.

In an ever-changing society, using social media not only ensures our companies and economy remain competitive, but is, ultimately, just good business.

 

For more information, please contact:

policy@chamber.ca

 

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The federal government recently announced it had made available 1.6 billion dollars to support Canada’s struggling oil and gas sector. While the Federal Government’s recognition of the crisis faced by Canada’s energy sector was welcome, the funds are a band-aid solution to what is a much larger structural issue.

 

Our regulatory system continues to put Canadian jobs and Canadian prosperity in jeopardy. We cannot get our energy products to global markets because not even the Federal Government seems able to get major infrastructure projects approved, let alone businesses.

 

Our recent report, A Competitive Transition: How Smarter Climate Policy can help Canada lead the transition to a low carbon economy, made it clear our energy resources are of strategic importance. Canadian oil and gas producers must be given the opportunity to lead Canada’s strategy to reduce emissions, because only they know how to make investments and drive innovation.

 

Getting support right for this sector is not about offering the sector loans; it is about creating a regulatory system that will get projects like TMX completed. This is the “support” Alberta is asking for, and it is the action from the federal government that Canada needs.

 

A consistent, fair and non-burdensome regulatory system is the backbone of a strong economy. Without a regulatory system that can get major projects approved to move our energy to tidewater, we will continue to lose approximately $80 million a day.

 

This endangers the competitiveness of our economy and means fewer resources for essential public services or the commercialization of clean technologies. Without a regulatory system free from layered, duplicative standards and regulations, the cumulative costs will make climate policies too expensive for Canadian businesses. A regulatory system that is predictable, transparent, and free of needless cumulative costs, comes first. Doing it in the reverse, is putting the cart before the horse.


The Canadian Chamber will continue advocacy work on Bill C-69 to make sure major projects and foreign investment in this country are supported by a regulatory system that is predictable, clear and objective in its assessments.
 

This also means making it clear to decision makers that they must take action to reduce the cumulative costs businesses face so that carbon pricing does not become layered with other additional costs and regulatory standards.

 

Keep an eye out for our latest report, The Cumulative Cost of Climate Policy, which will make key recommendations on how to achieve meaningful climate action at the lowest possible cost to Canadian businesses.

 

For more information, please contact: policy@chamber.ca

 

 

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Small businesses in Canada face many challenges on their path to growth and even more so in becoming globally competitive enterprises.

 

We have heard the statistics before: SMEs account for 99.7% of Canada’s businesses, but they contribute only 25% of our goods and services exports and less than a third of our GDP. How does that stack up against our G7 peers? In those countries, SMEs account for 50% of GDP and 56% of employment. Canada’s record in scaling up small businesses into larger, globally competitive enterprises has to improve.

 

Recent research highlights the potential for Canadian SMEs to become much more competitive in the scaling process. One of the tools that helps Canadian companies grow globally is social media. It is easy to use, inexpensive and provides access to new customers in a variety of ways. Mobile connections are only accelerating that access because we can now purchase from anywhere at any time.

 

A whopping 70% of small Canadian companies use some form of social media and most use several. Instagram’s
new study found nearly three in five SMEs agree that social media helps to connect
 
with customers in their cities. Additionally, over half also believe that it helps them find customers in other cities, provinces and countries. The study mentions that these online networks are used by small businesses to identify, attract and hire employees that are passionate about their products and services.

 

We know that more women use social media than men, resulting in women- owned businesses being more likely to adopt social media. This is important because we know that entrepreneurship has the highest ratio of gender inequality in the workplace, with only one in five SMEs being majority-owned by women. The adept use of social media by female business owners has the potential to narrow this gap and make a meaningful contribution to Canadian economic growth. Both the study by Instagram and a second study by SME research firm Clutch demonstrate that social media communities create opportunities for female entrepreneurs, help empower women-run businesses and lower the barriers to entry for women.

 

Not surprisingly, SME optimism and enthusiasm for social media is also partially driven by a younger demographic.
 
A majority of millennial SME owners agree that their business is stronger because of social media and that it is more important to their company than a website, which is why this age group plans to maintain or increase their investment in these platforms. Considering that millennials are now the largest cohort of the Canadian workforce, their social media use will increasingly play an important part of Canadian economic growth and competitiveness.

 

The impact social media has as a means to reach customers and encourage female entrepreneurship and millennial business ownership will continue to grow. We are quickly approaching a point where we will consider it a key driver of Canada’s ability to scale up firms, achieve inclusive growth and compete globally in an increasingly digital economy.

In an ever-changing society, using social media not only ensures our companies and economy remain competitive, but is, ultimately, just good business.

 

For more information, please contact:
policy@chamber.ca

 

 

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As of October 17, Canadian adults will be able to legally purchase and consume cannabis for recreational purposes; a year and a half after the federal government introduced its legislation to do so. It will mark the beginning of a fascinating battle between a new regulated industry and the existing illegal market that Canadians are currently turning to for recreational cannabis use.

 

This illegal market is the reason why the government made Canada the first large developed country to legalize recreational cannabis, seeking to displace illicit sales that profit organized crime to the tune of billions of dollars per year. How much? Statistics Canada reported that in 2015, Canada’s illegal cannabis market was worth as much as $6.2 billion, nearly as much as Canada’s wine market.

 

So what are the steps to legalizing a multi-billiondollar illegal market? Over the last 18 months, federal legislators and civil servants have been establishing a national framework for regulating access to cannabis, which includes rules for cultivation, production, possession and marketing. Meanwhile, provinces and territories have been busy setting the rules for distribution and retail sales. This has been accompanied by a frenzy of private sector activity to supply the legal market with licensed producers, retailers, ancillary businesses and others investing billions of dollars in this new sector.

 

Some of the factors that will influence how effective Canada’s legal cannabis market is at reducing illegal sales include safety, quality, access, supply and branding. Like all markets, one of the biggest factors will be price. As the head of the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, Anne McLellan, told Members of Parliament studying the Cannabis Act, "Price point here is going to be key in terms of what you see in the illicit market and how effective the legal market is at moving people over.”

 

In late 2017, the federal government reached a cannabis tax revenue sharing agreement with the provinces and territories. On top of sales taxes, the agreement included a cannabis excise or ‘sin’ tax of 10% of the retail price or $1 per gram—whichever is higher. The 10% tax is expected to raise $300 million annually for the provinces/territories and $100 million annually for the federal government. The agreement projected that including the excise tax, legal recreational cannabis will be priced around $10 a gram.

 

Only a few months later, Statistics Canada released a survey that found Canadians are currently paying an average of less than $7 a gram for cannabis. One would expect that this data would be a strong signal to policy makers not to propose additional taxes on legal cannabis, which would widen the gulf between legal and illegal market prices. One would be wrong.

 

Fast forward to this July, when Health Canada proposed four ‘cost recovery fees’—otherwise known as user fees—on the industry to recoup the costs the government will incur by regulating the sector. User fees are typically associated with a specific service from the federal government, such is the case with the first three of the proposed fees: an application screening fee, an import/export permit fee and a security screening fee. However, it is the fourth fee that caught the industry’s attention, one meant to recover other federal regulatory costs. An annual regulatory fee of 2.3% of gross revenue for licensed producers was proposed, with a 1% fee for micro-cultivators and processors. The proposal is expected to put an additional $100 million into federal coffers every year. No clear policy rationale has been shared with industry for how government determined the 2.3% fee level. The annual regulatory fee proposal also excludes any government service standards despite the legal requirement to do so. This additional tax (which is what the fee is), was also proposed after licensed producers had already negotiated multi-year supply deals with provincial wholesalers based on the previously announced 10% excise tax. On top these taxes and regulatory fees, some provinces are considering additional taxes; Manitoba has proposed an additional 6% social responsibility tax.

 

As others have warned, high government taxes and fees will hurt legal producers’ ability to compete with the illegal market and ultimately hurt Canadians as well, which runs counter to the government’s rationale for legalizing cannabis in the first place. The imposition of the 2.3% fee also disregards the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that will flow to all levels of government from this new multi-billion-dollar industry, that will include new personal income and payroll taxes, corporate income taxes and municipal property taxes. The government would be wise to wait on imposing this new tax until after regulators see how effective Canada’s legal market is at displacing the illegal one.

 

There are other looming policy issues that will influence the effectiveness of breaking up the illegal market. The government of Ontario’s recent decision to move from a sparsely populated government-run retail distribution network to a private retail model will increase the reach of the legal market in Canada’s largest province. Municipalities across the country will need to deal with the hundreds of unlicensed dispensaries that are operating outside the law to protect retailers who are investing and operating within new provincial rules. The federal government must also move quickly to establish regulations for the recreational production and sale of cannabis edibles, beverages and other products that will remain in the hands of the illicit market after October 17.

 

As we approach legalization, this new industry is quickly becoming familiar with some of the competitiveness challenges facing other sectors in Canada—namely outdated government thinking on business taxes and fees. Deloitte has forecasted that Canada’s cannabis market will be worth up to $7.17 billion in sales next year. To maximize the economic benefits to Canadians of this $7-billion market, governments must create an environment that supports businesses that are playing by the rules, so they can in turn create new jobs and investment, along with the significant tax revenue for governments that will follow.

 

On September 24 at 8:20 a.m. ET the Canadian Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a panel discussion with some of Canada’s leading cannabis companies on the economic development opportunities and policy issues in front of the sector. You can watch a live webcast of the discussion by clicking here.


Session sponsored by: Deloitte.

 

For more information, please contact:
Ryan Greer, Director Transportation and Infrastructure Policy | rgreer@chamber.ca

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A few years ago, BC Comfort Air Conditioning, a B.C.-based company with over 45 years experience in mechanical HVAC services, noted employees were leaving the doors wide open in the chilly season for convenience.


One simple change—asking workers to keep that bay door closed—helped cut natural gas use by 65%, saving the company $7,000 a year and reducing carbon emissions by the same amount as planting 500 trees.


The company appears as one of 12 case studies in a new report, 200 Million Tonnes of Opportunity: How small and medium-sized businesses are driving Canadian clean growth, a report from Climate Smart Businesses. 200 Million Tonnes features stories from 800 SMEs in 13 sectors Climate Smart has worked with, offering real-world examples on how to cut costs by reducing emissions through actions like route optimization, paperless operations, heat recovery, employee engagement and more.


In another example, a company saved $65,000 in hauling costs by diverting 35% of its waste from the local landfill, reducing emissions by an amount equivalent to three tanker trucks of gasoline. A hotel chain in the Yukon was able to save


$180,000 a year by upgrading its incandescent light bulbs to LEDs. Sometimes the company’s return on investment was not in savings but in happier employees or improved reputation.


Many small businesses, however, are short on resources but long on to-dos. When it comes to considering the sustainability of business operations, it can be intimidating to figure out that first step.


Luckily, there are tools to help. The World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet @Work program provides a list of activities and programs people can use to start the conversation in their workplaces. The WWF’s Smart Office Challenge focuses on IT, which as a part of almost every business and a significant energy consumer, is a natural starting point for sustainability newbies. The tool offers a check list of simple actions that can have a big impact. For example, cutting energy consumption from PCs by half can be as simple as getting employees to turn them off at night. More information is available in this interview with the Canadian Chamber.

 


The Canadian Chamber is also partnering with Climate Smart to help share its training program across the chamber network. The Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the Mississauga and St. John’s boards of trade will pilot the outreach program, offering their members a $1,000 discount. SMEs that belong to other member chamber of commerce are also able to access the discount on a first come-first served basis.

 


Contact Christine VanDerwill to learn more.


Flashy new innovations or clean technology start ups are exciting stories that make headlines and it can sometimes seem that is what sustainability is all about, but much of the time, going green can simply mean finding ways to use resources more efficiently.


When a business reduces its environmental impact by making better choices about how it uses energy and materials, some call it sustainability, but the practice has an older name: common sense.


For more information, please contact:  policy@chamber.ca.

 

 

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