West Winnipeg Business Review 2023

Page 1





Introducing ACC’s 2023 Business Excellence Award Winners Taking a look at businesses’ workforce and security issues

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CONTENTS Message from Kristi Meek, Executive Director of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce........................................................6 Message from Board Chair Robert Bachart .....................................................8 The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce 2023-2024 Board of Directors..........12

2023 ACC Business Excellence Awards Business of the Year: Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.................14


BUSINESS REVIEW IS PUBLISHED BY DEL Communications Inc. Suite 300, 6 Roslyn Road Winnipeg, MB R3L 0G5 www.delcommunications.com PRESIDENT & CEO


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Community Builder of the Year: Cardinal Capital Management...................... 16


Innovator of the Year: QDoc........................................................................... 18


Non-Profit of the Year: Toba Centre for Children & Youth.............................20 Young Entrepreneur of the Year: AVO Solutions...........................................22 Tuscany: A Journey Through Art, History, and Culinary Delights.................. 24

Business Security & Crime Prevention Castellan Information Security Services helps keep businesses safe........... 28 AVO Solutions: Keeping an eye on what’s yours............................................. 31 ClearSecure: Solving the broken glass problem........................................... 32 Meet Capital Campaign Chair Bob Cunningham...........................................34

Future of Workforce Flexible Workplaces: Threat or opportunity?................................................ 36 Meeting the challenges of the changing workforce...................................... 38 A new look at work....................................................................................... 40 Getting out in the world: the value of internships.......................................... 41 Thinking smarter about the future of business............................................ 42 ExpressPros helps Winnipeggers find jobs.................................................. 44 Index to advertisers......................................................................................46 4 THE ASSINIBOIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • 2023



S.G. Bennett Marketing Services CREATIVE DIRECTOR / LAYOUT & DESIGN


© COPYRIGHT 2023 DEL Communications Inc. All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in and the reliability of the source, the publisher and/or the Assinboia Chamber of Commerce in no way guarantees nor warrants the information and is not responsible for errors, omissions or statements made by advertisers. Opinions and recommendations made by contributors or advertisers are not necessarily those of the publisher, its directors, officers or employees. PRINTED IN CANADA 11/2023

As I look back on this remarkable year, I want to express my deepest appreciation to every one of you who has played a vital role in the Assiniboia Chamber of


Commerce and the West Winnipeg business community. This publication is more than just words and pictures, it’s a reflection of our shared journey and the exciting path that lies ahead. To our dedicated members, your support strengthens West Winnipeg’s business world and our community’s well-being. We have seen remarkable progress, surpassing the 400-member milestone, and there is no sign of our momentum slowing down as we close out 2023 and head into 2024 and beyond. Since 1930, our Chamber has focused on building connections, creating opportunities, advocating for businesses, and saving costs. What sets us apart is our commitment to forming “warm connections.” It’s not just about networking; it is about genuinely caring for the people behind the businesses. We focus on our community and the individuals who elevate our businesses and region.

KRISTI MEEK, B.A., ACE Executive Director of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce

Balancing ongoing projects with limited resources is a challenge, but it’s a sign of our determination. We are here to support our members because every member brings value to our community. We aim to unite the business world with our local community. We empower businesses with connections and resources, fostering cooperation. Joining the chamber is not about competing with similar businesses; it’s about collaboration. We take pride in fostering a sense of community that reaches local businesses and residents. We are here to support your success, both in business and in life. Our journey involves learning, adaptability, and positivity. We balance momentum with responsibility to support our members personally and to enhance the value of membership. We aspire to create a culture of positivity, resilience, and support. Our community is inclusive, extending a hand to all businesses in our area. In the pages ahead, you will find inspiring stories of our Business Excellence Award winners, showcasing the incredible talent in our community. Our fall and winter panel discussion events explored Business Security and Crime Prevention, as well as the Future of Workforce – hear more from our panelists inside. The future is bright, and we invite you to join us on this journey. Together, we will continue to support, connect, and thrive, creating a vibrant, unified, and flourishing business community.


Kristi Meek, B.A., ACE President | Executive Director Office: (204) 774-4154 | Mobile: (204) 471-4308 Email: kristi@assiniboiachamber.ca LinkedIn: @kristimeek 6 THE ASSINIBOIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • 2023



Looking back at my time with the Chamber, I reflect on the challenges that we were faced with during the pandemic; now, only a short time removed, we’re in a period of rebirth, bringing with it tremendous opportunity. Our collective passion has enabled many of our members tremendous success that would have been unachievable by individual means alone. It is both a privilege and an immense pleasure to serve in this pivotal role alongside a dedicated group of individuals, all of whom share in a common goal, one that will advance the interests of our dynamic business community in West Winnipeg. My journey with this board began in 2017, ultimately resulting in my appointment to the executive leadership and now in the position of Chair. The role of the board in supporting the Chamber’s initiatives cannot be overstated. We provide


essential oversight to all operations, guiding the Chamber’s efforts in a direction that align with a shared vision. For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, we have taken on the challenge of building and launching a comprehensive strategic plan, examining all aspects of the Chamber’s responsibilities and complementing them with actions that reinforce our Chamber’s purpose. Our focus will be to enhance our advocacy, strengthen our member network, and maximize business savings, further benefitting our members and uniting our West Winnipeg family. We acknowledge and appreciate that our purpose is more complex than just one business. We have the responsibility of serving the entire community while being mindful of all unique relationships and continuing to add value to our membership.


Continued on page 10.


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Our board meets regularly to ensure that we align on

present from the pandemic, our guiding principles remain

key strategies and decisions being brought forward by

laser focused on prioritizing the welfare of our Chamber

the Chamber office. Through various committees and


executive meetings, we encourage our members to be active in all Chamber activities. Our ultimate goal is to act as ambassadors for the membership we serve, showcasing and fostering business successes and personal growth. One of our most impactful board-led initiatives is the annual golf tournament. This event serves as a tremendous platform for engaging with existing members, welcoming new ones, ultimately building stronger ties within the community. It symbolizes the very essence of what the Chamber’s purpose really is, that being a connector, one that enables growth to the businesses that serve West Winnipeg. As we move forward, our main priorities involve further developing an inclusive strategic plan that incorporates the entire fiscal year, with an eye on future years. We are committed to dedicating the necessary resources to turn our vision into action, ensuring our efforts result in meaningful growth to support our membership. As we navigate through daily challenges, particularly those still

I am so grateful for the diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and passions each member of our Board of Directors brings to the team. Collaboration amongst individuals from a variety of industries provides converging points of view, fostering a dynamic exchange of ideas all for the benefit of West Winnipeg. To our esteemed Chamber membership, continue to engage with us; to those curious about the Chamber, we want to hear from you. The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce is here for businesses to learn, connect, and prosper; engaging with us on a regular basis can be a source of new insights, connections, and opportunities all for your benefit. I want to express my gratitude for your trust in us the Board of Directors, and your unwavering support of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce. Together, we will continue to make our business community thrive. I look forward to the exciting journey ahead!




Where you need us to be.




The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce



Robert Bachart Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc. Chair

Trisha Kulathungam Higher Learning Foundation Director

Jill Chapman CentrePort Canada Inc. 1st Vice Chair

Rod Ali Portage Mutual Insurance Company 2nd Vice Chair

Jeffrey Ryall Cardinal Capital Management Inc. Treasurer

Nicole Fontaine Herzing College – Winnipeg Secretary

Mehmood Batla RBC Royal Bank Immediate Past Chair

Deryk Coward Myers LLP Director

Josh Friesen Dueck Builders Director

Mark Hearson Stantec Director

Alexander Lavoie Economic Development, Investment and Trade, Government of Manitoba Director

Mubarak Nsekarije Win Social Media Director

Chris Stevens CJNU 93.7 FM Nostalgia Radio Director

Charly Scott Schinkel Properties Director



Making an impact Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada recognized as Business of the Year By Paul Adair The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce (ACC) presented the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC) in May with the 2023 Business of the Year award in recognition of the museum’s commitment to excellence and contributions to West Winnipeg’s economic growth. Established in 1974 as a way to tell the story about western and northern Canada’s aviation heritage, RAMWC has nearly 100 historic aircraft in its collection, as well as more than 70,000 artefacts and archival records (including photographs). Today, the museum is one of Canada’s largest and most complete aviation heritage collections.

“To be nominated – and then to receive – the Business of the Year award has been a tremendous honour and is incredibly important to us,” says RAMWC CEO Terry Slobodian. “Our mission at RAMWC is to preserve the stories of Canadian aviation, but also to inspire the next generation of aerospace professionals and bolster this segment of the economy. So the notion of being the business of the year because we’re having an impact on the economy, this has been extra

and math) program that last year

special to us.”

helped educate more than 8,200

As part of its mandate to inspire youth, RAMWC conducts a STEM (science, technology, engineering,


students, a quarter of which came from underserved communities in Manitoba.

2023 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS “ The notion of being the business of the year because we’re having an impact on the economy, this has been extra special to us.” – Terry Slobodian, Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada “These are kids and schools that

visitors through its doors. What’s

of what we have been able to

couldn’t afford to come to our

more, the online travel site Tripadvisor

accomplish together, and it is nice

museum on their own, and we are

awarded the museum with its coveted

to be recognized for the efforts of

happy to say that we didn’t turn a

2023 Traveler’s Choice award, which

everybody here that has brought us to

single school away,” says Slobodian.

has rated the museum as one of the

where we are today.”

“It’s an immensely rewarding feeling to

top 10 attractions worldwide.

know that we’ve had a positive impact on those youth that need it most.”

What a year it’s been May 2023 was an exciting time for RAMWC – not only did it receive the

Slobodian gives full credit to the RAMWC team for the success of the museum over the last year, as well as for the accolades it has received in that time. RAMWC currently has 14

Looking ahead, RAMWC plan to take the museum to the next level in terms of its library and archives, exhibits, and collections. They refer to these plans as Museum 2.0.

full-time staff and several part-time

“The RAMWC that we opened last

staff who work primarily in the gift

marked the one-year anniversary of

year can’t afford to rest on its laurels

shop or visitor experience areas, as

operations at its new location on the

well as 150 volunteers who make the

– it is always a work in progress.”

Winnipeg Richardson International

day-to-day operations of the museum

Airport campus.


The public response to the newly built,

“To win something like the Business

86,000 square foot facility has been

of the Year award or the Traveler’s

coming back time and time again.

nothing short of phenomenal. In the

Choice award, it means that the

So, we will keep making it fresh to

year since it has reopened, RAMWC

whole organization has come

give them a reason to come back,

has far exceeded its attendance goals

together as a team and worked

and that’s what we’re working on right

and has received more than 100,000

hard,” says Slobodian. “We’re proud


award from ACC, but the month also

Says Slobodian. “Unless we find ways to continually evolve and bring in new aircraft, new exhibits, new experiences, people simply won’t keep

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Giving back Community Builder of the Year award for Cardinal Capital Management, Inc. By Paul Adair There is no power for change greater

Crescentwood basement in 1992,

than a community discovering what it

Cardinal was built on the idea that

cares about most.

most investors lacked access to

This is a sentiment that Cardinal Capital Management has taken to heart. The Winnipeg-based wealth management company believes strongly in giving back to the communities it serves, and its success is measured not only by investment performance but also by the positive impact it has on people’s lives. Founded by Tim Burt in his

good long-term investment products and planning. Since then, the Cardinal team has been driven by a commitment to the company’s 12 rules of investing, the discipline to stick to its principles and back up every decision with research, plus an unwavering desire to do what is best for its clients, their families, and the community.

for the work it does for West Winnipeg and the city at large. “There are a lot of great companies doing great work in the community, and we’re honoured to contribute

In May 2023, Cardinal was awarded the Community Builder of the Year award

alongside them,” says Jeff Ryall, a financial planner and investment counsellor at Cardinal. “Giving back was important to our founder right from the start and it’s just

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as important today, more than 30 years later. Tim wanted to build an organization that truly cared about the community, and we’re humbled today for this recognition of all our efforts.”

A history of giving back The Cardinal Foundation was founded in 2008 to help the company and its



Thank you to The Talbot Family for matching donations!

clients support what they believe are important causes in the community. Over the years, the foundation has contributed to Winnipeg Habitat for Humanity, CancerCare Manitoba, Ronald McDonald House, Siloam


CHFM Holiday - Assiniboia Chamber Print Ad (4.625x3.375).indd 1

2023-10-09 1:37 PM

2023 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS “ Giving back was important to our founder right from the start and it is something that’s just as important today, more than 30 years later.”

“The value of the Chamber is it brings

“When you sit down for lunch or

people together so they can better

coffee with some of these people,

understand the challenges others are

you gain a different and very valuable

trying to solve in their organizations

perspective on a wide variety of

or their communities,” says Ryall.


– Jeff Ryall, Cardinal Capital Management

Intensive Care, Critical Need Mission, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the Bruce Oake Memorial Foundation, the Christmas Cheer Board, and Thrive Community Support Circle. “Financial institutions can sometimes get lost in their pursuit of the bottom

A campaign to build a new ICU at the Grace The intensive care capacity we gain through this new centre will provide benefits to patients, not only in the city, but to the entire province.

The “next step” in building our Campus of Care

The “Intensive Care, Critical Need” campaign is the next step in Grace Hospital’s plan to expand its services, and deliver the highest standard of care, as one of the three designated acute care facilities in Manitoba.

line, but we differentiate ourselves by really caring about our clients and community,” says Ryall. “There’s always so much to do, and we always feel like we could be doing more. The good news is that we aren’t alone and there are a lot of organizations – big and small – in the West Winnipeg area that share this same philosophy and are doing some great work.”

Help make our new ICU at reality.

Donate today! gracehospitalfoundation.ca

Cardinal sees the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce as a valuable partner in helping it achieve its goals. In particular, the events and networking opportunities held throughout the year offer all chamber members the chance to meet with other business owners and people in the community

Thank you to all who participated in our annual Grace Hospital Day! Our radiothon raised over $250,000! All proceeds will go towards the new ICU.

to discuss pressing issues and needs. WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 17


Qdoc helps Manitobans get the care they need By Paul Adair There are thousands of Manitobans who currently don’t have a doctor and, when facing the prospect of long wait times at walk-in clinics and hospital emergency rooms, many wonder where they can get the care they need, when they need it. But thanks to QDoc, finding a doctor willing to do house calls has never been easier. QDoc is a 24/7 virtual healthcare platform that allows patients to connect to a doctor through www. QDoc.ca from the comfort of their home, and in a way that is secure, informative, and effortless. QDoc has

a range of local physicians waiting to pick up the call and registration is quite easy. All users need to do is create a free account and a patient profile, and then they are ready to see a doctor for quality medical care. Through QDoc, the patient can fill prescriptions, order lab work and X rays, and receive sick notes and referrals – basically anything that can be done in a clinic can be done through QDoc, aside from touching the patients. What’s more, the QDoc teams is currently building an iPhone app where patients will be able to upload EKGs, heart rate, and those

type of vitals from their smart device or smartwatch. QDoc’s mission statement is to provide equal access to quality medical care, regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status. To that end, the company has partnered with various regions and entities to connect with those patients who otherwise might not be able to access timely healthcare. One example of this was a recent pilot project with Pegasus First Nations and the Interlake area, where the community paramedicine service had QDoc on board when they were called over to a patient’s home. “Here the paramedics would sign in and notify a small group of doctors – including the Medical Director of the area – that there were patients waiting be seen under their direction,” says Dr. Norman Silver, co-Founder and CEO at QDoc. “We have also worked with the Downtown Community Safety partnership who take care of the homeless. We donated some tablets to them so they can help the homeless community access healthcare directly from the street, rather than having to go into a hospital.”

An innovative accolade QDoc was the recipient of the 2023 Innovator of the Year award, which 18 THE ASSINIBOIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • 2023

2023 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS “ We’ve worked really hard to build the QDoc network and it’s a really good service, so it’s nice to know others recognize this and feel the same.”

– Dr. Norman Silver, QDoc

acknowledges organizations that have set themselves apart by disrupting the status quo through meaningful innovative thinking and practices, as well as by enhancing the lives of customers and West Winnipeg community at large. “We’ve worked really hard to build the QDoc network and it’s a really good service, so it’s nice to know others recognize this and feel the same,” says Silver. “There are a lot of deserving start-ups here in Manitoba who are doing really great work in the city, and to be recognized like this is a huge honour.” QDoc has experienced exponential growth in the first couple of years of doing business, to the point where the company is today seeing approximately 4,000 patients every month. From here, it would seem there are many avenues for the expansion of services, such as adding nurse practitioners to the platform or incorporating ADHD clinicians. Dr. Silver believes that the sky’s the limit when it comes to QDoc.

are deeply appreciative of the support

and the Assiniboia Chamber of

from the West Winnipeg community





“It’s only been two years since we wrote the first line of code and only one year since we’ve really been up and running, and we’ve already received more that 1,000 positive Google reviews,” says Silver. “There’s still lots for us to learn but we plan to keep expanding in a thoughtful way. It’s an exciting time for QDoc, and we WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 19


Toba Centre for Children & Youth receives Non-Profit of the Year award for providing a healing hand By Paul Adair But the dream from the start was to create something much more – a dream that was finally realized with a move into its new, 19,000-squarefoot facility in early September 2023. Situated within the beautiful natural setting of Assiniboine Park, the new Toba Centre has been designed as a welcoming space that is child and youth friendly, trauma informed, and culturally appropriate. Toba Centre believes that combining wisdom, professional knowledge, and disciplines will result in a more complete understanding of the case being investigated, as well as provide the most effective and child-focused system response. The new Toba Centre provides a space for police, Child and Family Services,

It’s a sad number but, in Manitoba,

Toba Centre was founded in 2013

there are approximately 4,000 child

and had operated out of its home

abuse investigations every year, with

on Portage Avenue. The purpose

many, many more that go unreported.

all come together under roof for the

of Snowflake Place was to conduct

Of the ones that are reported,

forensic interview, as well as further

interviews with children who were

support the child and their care

the subjects of police investigations.

providers throughout the healing

The important work done by the


however, many will come through the doors of Winnipeg’s Toba Centre for Children & Youth (Toba Centre), a non-profit organization that believes “without healing, there is no justice.” Originally known as Snowflake Place,

organization played a critical role in criminal justice proceedings, while

and Toba Centre’s in-house forensic interviewers and case navigators to

“What we have the opportunity to do here in Assiniboine Park is to

also making the investigation process

do things differently,” says Christy

less stressful for children.

Dzikowicz, Executive Director of


2023 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS “ To be recognized so soon into our journey with this new facility has meant a lot, and we are grateful for all the support given to us by the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce.” – Christy Dzikowicz, Toba Centre Toba Centre for Children & Youth.

remarkable contribution to the well-

has shown great support and was

“When a child or family goes through a

being of the community.

instrumental in getting the new Toba

traumatic experience, what happens afterward can be, in many ways, just as traumatizing. Now they can come to us and all the critical systems

This was an award and recognition that Toba Centre was honoured to receive, especially when considering all the other nominees in the category

they need are here in one place – a one-stop-shop, if you will – and they can get all the care that they need all within a beautiful and healing setting.”

back in the day when someone in

“Getting this award was very

into our journey with this new facility

behalf of children, the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce (ACC) chose the centre to be the recipient of

has meant a lot, and we are grateful for all the support given to us by the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce.”

the 2023 Non-Profit of the Year

move. “Maybe it’s old-fashioned to say but,

Dzikowicz. “To be recognized so soon

Centre does – and has done – on

capital campaign that funded the


everyone here at Toba Centre,” says

Because of everything the Toba

generously to the $15 million We Will

who are doing great things in the

unexpected and very, very valued from

A most deserving non-profit

Centre off the ground by contributing

the community was in need, the community was there to help out. Well, the community has really stepped up with Toba Centre,” she says. “This is a reminder to everyone that Toba Centre doesn’t belong to us or our directors. Toba Centre really belongs to our community. It’s a place where we all get the opportunity to

award, which celebrates a non-

Dzikowicz also is thankful to the larger

rally around kids and families who are

profit organization that has made a

community of West Winnipeg, which



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Innovative solutions for the community AVO Solutions receives Young Entrepreneur of the Year award By Paul Adair a solution that is right for them and their business,” says Lee. “We just want to see the best possible outcome for our customers and make sure they can have peace of mind knowing they have invested in the right piece of equipment that works for them.” The AVO team is currently comprised of four salespeople and three installers, as well as an admin staff. The company has also just recently moved from its original location at Portage and Main to a larger facility in the Polo Park area, complete with a new warehouse and office space.

The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award recognizes members who are between 18 and 40 years of age and have made a significant impact in the community through their business. In May, the Assiniboia Chamber of

challenging what’s possible.” Founded by Lee in 2020 during the pandemic, AVO Solutions deals primarily in video surveillance and access control products, as well as

A business in the community, for the community AVO is proud of its Winnipeg roots and tries to find ways to give back to the community it serves. When working with the government or non-profit organizations, AVO offers 25 per

supplementary services like alarm

cent off the minimum recommended

systems and consultations. The

selling price (MRSP), and extends this

AVO Solutions.

business differentiates itself from the

offer to includes schools, community

“It was pretty cool to receive this

competition by offering a high-quality

centres, and any type of government

security solution that doesn’t just

or healthcare facility. The company

record the crime being committed

also donates free consulting services

but finds ways to help prevent it in the

for those with need so that they can

first place.

be comfortable with the system they

Commerce (ACC) was proud to present this award to Ian Lee, the founder of

award – a real honour,” says Lee. “It’s hard to put into words what this award means, not just to me but for the whole team, other than to say that we’ve all put a lot of work and passion

“We never take a cookie cutter

into AVO, and to have it recognized

approach at AVO, and instead work

like this encourages us to continue

with each customer to come up with


purchase, whether that’s from AVO or another company entirely. AVO is all about creating change,

2023 ACC BUSINESS EXCELLENCE AWARDS “ We just want to see the best possible outcome for our customers and make sure they can have peace of mind knowing they have invested in the right piece of equipment that works for them.” – Ian Lee, AVO Solutions whether that’s in the security solutions industry or in the community itself. As such, Lee hopes to explore opportunities in the near future to become more involved with various inner city and at-risk youth initiatives across Winnipeg. “We really think that that’s a way to develop a better community culture that can – hopefully – help deter crime in the future, as well as give Winnipeggers a more positive outlook about their city,” says Lee. “For the kids, we want to help keep them out of trouble and, if we can make even a small difference in some of their lives, I feel as though it’s a move in the right direction.”


As a young entrepreneur, Lee values


the work of the ACC behind the scenes to make AVO feel as though it’s part of the larger West Winnipeg business community. That’s why he views the Chamber as a critical resource for companies like his. “It’s not always easy to be a younger company, but Kristi (Meek) has helped put us in touch with the right people, whether that’s another business or just business connections like Herzing College, where we can find students for installations,” says Lee. “They’ve really been amazing, and I’ve enjoyed working with Kristi and her team.”

Email: info@bpg-plan.com Tel: 204-989-7672 Fax: 204-942-5692 Toll Free: 1(888)-746-1515 WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 23

Tuscany: A journey through art, history, and culinary delights In mid-October, the Assiniboia Chamber embarked on an extraordinary nine-day journey, joined by a group of 32 travellers, to explore the enchanting marvels of Tuscany. With the aim of nurturing a sense of camaraderie and turning strangers into companions, our fellow travellers met at Frankie’s Italian Kitchen and Bar before commencing our Tuscany expedition. This delightful pre-trip gathering created a perfect backdrop for fostering meaningful connections. Tuscany, nestled in the heart of Italy, transcends the ordinary concept of a mere destination; it is a sensory voyage through time and artistic creativity. With its exceptional paintings, sculptures, frescoes, and architectural masterpieces, Tuscany stands as the world’s premier repository of artistic treasures. Our adventure started in the picturesque town of Montecatini Terme, nestled amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany. As we arrived, the promise of an unforgettable experience began to unfold. The

evening welcomed us with a delightful reception dinner, where we were introduced to regional delicacies and exquisite Italian wines – a fitting prologue to the extraordinary days ahead. Together, our group embarked on a guided tour of Lucca, a hidden gem within Tuscany. This town is steeped in history, adorned with Renaissance walls, Romanesque churches, and medieval streets flanked by towers. Our journey continued to a Tuscan winery, where we immersed ourselves in the art of winemaking while savoring a diverse array of local varieties. Our cultural exploration brought us to Florence, often hailed as the “Cradle of the Renaissance.” Our day commenced at the Academy Gallery, where we stood in awe before Michelangelo’s iconic masterpiece, David. Guided by a local Florentine expert, we embarked on a walking tour through this remarkable city, marvelling at architectural wonders such as the Cathedral of Santa Maria


del Fiore and the gilded bronze doors of the Baptistery dedicated to St. John. The remainder of the day was dedicated to immersing ourselves in Florence’s captivating ambiance. On Day 4 of our remarkable journey, we embarked on an exhilarating excursion to the breathtaking Cinque Terre, a true highlight of our trip. Led by a local guide, we unravelled the cultural, historical, and natural wonders that define this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our adventure began with a mesmerizing boat ride from La Spezia to Portovenere, where we were enchanted by the captivating waterfront and vibrant architecture against a backdrop of panoramic sea views. Navigating crystal-clear waters, we reached Vernazza, one of Cinque Terre’s most charming villages, framed by dramatic cliffs and kissed by the Azure Sea. The adventure continued with a train ride to Monterosso, where we encountered bright blue water and charming streets. As our day of coastal exploration concluded, we

boarded a train from Monterosso back to La Spezia, allowing us to relish scenic vistas along the way. This Cinque Terre excursion granted us a unique immersion in natural splendour and coastal allure, forging enduring memories of our journey’s wonders. The following day, we ventured into the ancient maritime Republic of Pisa. Here, we marvelled at the UNESCO-listed Piazza dei Miracoli, which houses the world-renowned Leaning Tower of Pisa. In the evening, our journey led us to the tranquil countryside, where we uncovered the secrets of traditional Tuscan cuisine. We learned how to make pasta (1 egg and 100 g of flour), followed by delectable dinner featuring authentic Italian dishes and accompanied by wine for all courses.

town, savoring some locally made gelato. As the day drew to a close, we convened for a Tuscan feast amidst the tranquility of the countryside at Fattoria Vino D.O.C. For our last day, we began with our hearty breakfast that was provided to us every day by our hotel and made the scenic bus trip to Rome were we first landed. We all had the opportunity to tour Rome on our own for the afternoon and evening. What to do for only so many hours in Rome? Visit the Vatican, tour the Colosseum, enjoy gelato at the Trevi Fountain; there were so many options, and our travel companions were masters of fitting in the most that they could! Our trip to Tuscany was filled with art, history and amazing food. It was a journey we will always remember.

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Castellan Information Security Services helps keep businesses safe By Lisa Kopochinski

Castellan Information Security Services is an advisory firm that specializes in business security and crime prevention, in addition to governance risk compliance and preparedness. All photos: Castellan Information Security Services

Formed in Winnipeg in 2019, Castellan Information Security Services is an advisory firm that specializes in information and cyber security focusing on governance, risk, compliance, and preparedness. “Essentially, we help our commercial clients protect one of their most important assets, which is their enterprise information. We spent a lot of time (since 2017 even before Castellan was formed) developing the processes around our services to ensure we offered the high level of quality required by our clients” says Brent Patten, Managing Director and Co-founder. “Castellan’s team of security

professionals and bench of 100 consultants work with our clients to deliver our services. These include penetration testing and vulnerability assessments, enterprise risk assessments, business continuity planning, security training and awareness, security policy development, and IT configuration analysis to identify security gaps.” A member of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce for nearly three years, Patten says clients will contact Castellan if they’re looking for help to improve their capability to protect their data or if they require an information security specialist, such as a security architect or technical security analyst, to augment their IT team.

Brent Patten and Azhar Laldin are co-owners of Castellan Information Security Services in Winnipeg and members of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce. 28 THE ASSINIBOIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE • 2023

Their experts have specialized

and a growing problem for Canadian

training and education, certifications,

businesses large and small. The

and experience in enterprise cyber

complexity and frequency of cyber

security beyond what many internal

attacks on companies are getting

IT teams or some IT service providers

higher and higher. We’re seeing new

are able to deliver.

types of attacks and threats – and not

“We’ll go to our bench of 100 consultants and find the right fit. We’ll also run our own projects for our clients, and we usually use our

just on large companies. Small and medium-sized businesses are also facing threats that are increasing as well.”

Castellan employees for that,” says

Cyber crime has grown in popularity


largely because it’s so profitable.

Cyber Crime and Security

Patten says there are companies and organizations that are late to the

When asked how crime toward small

game in investing what needs to be

and large businesses has changed

done to truly protect their company,

over the past few years, Patten says

data, and information.

from a cyber perspective, crime is more rampant now.

“Some companies are thinking that it won’t happen to them, and some are

“Cyber crime and cyber security

thinking that they’ve done enough.

breaches continue to be a major issue

They’ll say they have stored their

Azhar Laldin formed Castellan Information Security Services in 2019 with Brent Patten.

information in the cloud and think that is good enough. And others are just rolling the dice. We’re also seeing international crime organizations. It’s a small world, but criminals from any


“ Not all companies can invest $1 million right away in cyber security. It has to be a managed approach done smartly over time to address major threats.” country can target Manitoba-based

for a manufacturing process or even

matter if your company is large or


your supply chain, information can be


He adds that there are many thieves

sold on the dark web.”

He says the best start to prevent cyber

Preventing Cyber Crime

crime is to conduct a vulnerability

When it comes to preventing this

company to understand the type of

type of crime, Patten stresses the

data you have; how you collect it;

importance of business owners

where you store it; how you share

“They could also steal your intellectual

knowing that their company data is

it; and where the gaps exist; and

property. If you’re a manufacturer and

a commodity and theft of that can

then develop a road map toward

you have specific intellectual property

be used in many ways. And it doesn’t

implementing measures over a period

who want to steal a company’s financial data and then sell it. This often includes client’s credit card and bank account information.

threat/risk assessment of your

of time. “Not all companies can invest $1 million right away in cyber security. It has to be a managed approach done smartly over time to address major threats.” He also suggests having a professional security company come in and develop a road map plan for you over a period of time to identify the most important things to do, and what else you should do over a course of time. Then invest in it incrementally as you go. Castellan Information Security Services was recently designated as a Certified Supplier by the Canadian and Aboriginal Minority Supply Council. CAMSC is a national association that facilitates the growth of Aboriginal and minority-owned businesses by connecting them to procurement opportunities with companies and governments committed to a diverse and inclusive supply chain. “We’re very proud to have achieved this CAMSC certification and look forward to offering our services under this program” says Patten.


AVO Solutions: Keeping an eye on what’s yours By Paul Adair

“ The business side is good, and the customer is kept happy. It’s a win-win for everyone.” Now that the pandemic appears to be in the rear-view mirror, Winnipeg’s criminal element looks like it’s making up for lost time. The most recent crime statistics (2022) are showing that the numbers are up nearly 25 per cent across the board from 2021, with property crime increasing a staggering 32 per cent compared a year earlier, and more than 20 per cent compared to the five-year average. This has many businesses in West Winnipeg scratching their heads as to what can be done to protect their property, their customers, and their bottom lines. The good news is that AVO Solutions Inc. has just what they need. AVO Solutions is one of Winnipeg’s most trusted commercial security and alarm companies. The company specializes in high-quality video surveillance and access control products, and it partners with Avigilon (a Motorola company) to provide exemplary security and service for the Winnipeg market.

– Ian Lee, AVO Solutions

best for them. Where many security companies offering similar services might be satisfied with just installing a camera to record a crime, AVO does what it can to get to the bottom of the problem, then suggests the best solution to prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. “For something like an industrial park, instead of using a security camera just to watch the crime happen and review in the morning – which is what traditionally people have done – we would install a video surveillance camera with video analytics built into it,” says Lee. “This kind of camera can tell the difference between a deer walking by and a guy sneaking through the park at 2 a.m. and then take actions like sound a siren and strobe and notify the business owners, potentially stopping the criminal activity in its tracks.”

Value vs. price The challenge Lee and his company face in this market are related to best value versus lowest cost, and convincing customers of the idea that paying more today will result in

Doing business differently

significant savings down the line.

Ian Lee started AVO in 2020 after working for years at an existing security company that has since dissolved. It was there where Lee felt there was a flaw in the traditional business models, which prompted him to branch out on his own and see what he could do to help shake up the marketplace.

“When we present a proposal that is somewhat higher than

“By changing the business structure, we’re able to sell a much higher-end product at a lower margin than is typically seen in the market,” says Lee. “This allows us to provide more value to the customer as opposed to a very cheap product for higher margins – so the business side is good, and the customer is kept happy. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

location at Portage and Main into a new space in the Polo

AVO tailors its security solutions to the specific needs of its customers and takes the time to work alongside clients to uncover their challenges and determine what would work

be announcing,” says Lee. “We’re just going to continue

our competition’s lowest bid, we do what we can to educate the client and show them the value of a product that doesn’t just show them their problems but can actually solve them,” says Lee. This is an exciting time for AVO as it moves from its original Park area, complete with warehouse and office space. AVO will continue seeking out new ways to leverage its video surveillance not just for security, but for analytics as well. “As our relationship with Avigilon and Motorola grows, there will be plenty of new products and services that we’ll to challenge this industry and continue to push what’s possible.” WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 31

ClearSecure: Solving the broken glass problem By Paul Adair Broken windows along the street are not only unsightly but they’re also a safety risk, as well as a clear indication of a community in decline. A new product from Winnipeg’s ClearSecure Manufacturing and Distribution looks to help elevate the area by making the concept of shattered glass obsolete.

RockGlass is revolutionary. This solution also has a higher R-value than standard glass, chemical resistance that makes for easy graffiti removal, and now energy efficiency with new solar product even makes it better than ever. Yet, despite all the benefits of RockGlass, the look and feel of the product is indistinguishable from traditional glass.

ClearSecure is a manufacturer and distributor of RockGlassTM, a lighter, stronger, and more impact-resistant alternative to traditional glass that can withstand any type of damage, whether it’s from vandalism, accidents, or storms. The company manufacturers RockGlass and fabricated security sealed units and security Rockscreens for businesses, commercial properties, government buildings, residential homes, schools, and heavy equipment machinery.

Proven results

“RockGlass is a game changer, and the demand we’ve seen in the last two years has been staggering.” says Vince Croker, Vice President at ClearSecure and a Red Seal glazer by trade. “Our RockGlass solution has been especially popular for new construction and the demand has only increased over the last few months. In fact, we’re finding now that architects are starting to write our products into their specs.”

In the three years since it was founded, ClearSecure has approached several companies and organizations to check out the benefits of RockGlass for themselves and conduct significant in-house testing on the product. This has resulted in ClearSecure now serving major brands like McDonald’s and Shoppers Drug Marts across Canada, as well as the Ontario Provincial Police and the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

“There is a restaurant on Main Street where there’s a glass-sealed unit on one side and a RockGlass-sealed unit on the other, and there is no way to tell the difference,” Croker says. “Our product is optically clear so when you’re looking through it, you would think you’re looking through a normal piece of glass.”

“ RockGlass is an excellent product. I was impressed right away. We haven’t had any issues with break ins or vandalism since installing RockGlass. Everything they say about the product is true. RockGlass holds up to its reputation.”

“Unfortunately, it seems that things like vandalism and thefts are only on the rise, and businesses are looking for an alternative to glass,” says ClearSecure President Colleen Munro. “Only glass companies like broken glass, and people are getting tired of being broken into time and time again and finding themselves with insurance that has become too expensive or – in some cases – even unattainable. They’re starting to realize there are products out there that are unbreakable – like RockGlass.” Looking ahead, ClearSecure hopes to build on the success of RockGlass and continue the growth it has experienced over the last few years – but do so in a way that is measured and paced for success. “The vast majority of our sales are done outside Manitoba,” Munro says. “We’re in other provinces, exporting into Costa Rica, and now moving into the United States – we know that things like crime and vandalism are not just problems here at home and that the whole world can benefit from RockGlass. We just need to manage our growth in a smart way, and we’re in a great city to do so.”

“ RockGlass is a great product. This service is faster than any glass repair I’ve seen. Instead of calling a company that has to do a board up while they wait for your glass to come in, I call RockGlass for a fast repair. RockGlass would be my 911 call for broken windows.” – Hiren Shah, Operations Manager, McDonald’s Canada – Peter Ginakes, Owner, Pony Coral


Meet Capital Campaign Chair Bob Cunningham By Lisa Kopochinski In his role as Chair of the Capital Campaign for St. John Ambulance, Bob Cunningham has and continues to spend countless hours meeting with perspective donors, making calls, and writing letters to raise the funds needed for the Capital Campaign.

As Chair of the Capital Campaign for St. John Ambulance since 2018, 84-year-old Bob Cunningham has no plans to slow down. At least not anytime soon. Cunningham grew up in Clandeboye, Manitoba and moved to Winnipeg when he was 18 years old to find work. His first job was in the automotive business, where he worked for five years. He was then hired by an office, stationery, and furniture business where he was employed for a few years. He married in 1963 and a year later, opened Cunningham Business Interiors which is currently in their 60th year in business. His son Rob became president of the company in 2012. St. John Ambulance is a new member of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce, having joined this past summer. In Cunningham’s role

as Chair, he has and continues to spend countless hours meeting with perspective donors, making calls, and writing letters to raise the funds needed for the Capital Campaign. To date, $6.8 million of the $8.5 million goal has been raised. “The Capital Campaign has been divided into two phases,” Cunningham says. “Phase 1 is completed and was for the construction of the new Training Centre. We are now in Phase 2 to redevelop the land next door to finish the project. We will add 30 more parking spaces, green space that will further revitalize the area, and a digital pylon sign along Portage Avenue. We have $1.7 million to raise, and we would appreciate your help to reach our goal!” The new Training Centre is the regional headquarters for Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Nunavut and is centrally located at One St. John Ambulance

Way near Empress Street. It spans 13,248 square feet and is double the size of the previous building. The new Training Centre has four classrooms for First Aid and CPR training, compared to two. It’s located on the same property as the previous building across from Polo Park. “This year, 30,000 Manitobans will receive training to react to an emergency,” he adds. “Our Community Services Programs also operate from the new Training Centre. Over 300 medical first responder volunteers provide first aid and emergency response support to sporting events, festivals, and concerts, and our 200 therapy dog volunteers visit people in hospitals, seniors’ homes, and schools to reduce stress and improve their quality of life.” Bob has spent his life giving back to his community. As a volunteer, he has helped numerous organizations raise funds. This includes the HSC Foundation and the Grace Hospital Foundation, to name a couple. He is Director Emeritus – Friends of Upper Fort Garry, Member – The Associates – Asper School of Business, and Member – Order of St. John (St. John Ambulance). In his spare time,

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Cunningham enjoys golf, spending time with family, travel, and relaxing at his cottage.

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Flexible workplaces: Threat or opportunity? Embracing flexible work models is a massive opportunity, not a threat. By Jane Helbrecht I’ve had conversations, as recently as the last few months, with leaders who’ve asked, “When do you think work is going to go back to normal?” or “When is this remote / hybrid trend going to be done?” The answer is that work isn’t going back to pre-pandemic normal, and a changing work environment and flexible work is here to stay.

What is the future of work? But when we think of the future of work, it involves so much

is flexible and what will work for their business. Because the future of work is undoubtedly flexible.

more than just where people work, but also when they work.

The future of work is flexible

In fact, the number one type of flexibility most people are

Right now, talent is overwhelmingly looking for remote

looking for is flexibility with their schedule. It’s clear that

work options. If an organization is unwilling or unable to

most that people want to engage in work they can plan

offer remote work, it will mean that they must find ways

around their life – instead of planning their life around their

to provide equally alluring perks and flexibility to offset


the impact of on-site only work. Organizations will need to

These continuous changes in when, how, and where we work are an opportunity for a healthier workforce, increased

become more deliberate in building their value proposition to employees.

employee engagement, enhanced ability to attract and

Perhaps an organization can offer self-scheduling options

retain top talent, and more creativity and innovation in most

for their customer service team, or they can offer core


hours to corporate staff and allow their staff to work

No one-size fits all This evolution can seem overwhelming. But individuals and workplaces don’t have to embrace all these changes and trends at once. Different arrangements will work for different people and organizations. The evolving workplace won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s okay if someone wants to work full-time onsite even

whenever works for them outside of that core three-to-fivehour stretch each day. Perhaps location flexibility doesn’t work for your team, but you can consider a four-day work week or a six-hour workday.

Key trends for the future of work in the coming year 1. Continued focus on flexible work arrangements that work for employees and employers.

if most others work remotely. It’s okay if an organization

2. Different teams and departments offering different

determines they can’t accommodate “work from anywhere”

options for work within the same organization (i.e.,

options based on their business model. But each

finance will have different requirements than the front-

organization does need to consider what they can offer that

line customer service team).


3. A shift from wellness to a focus on overall well-being (physical, mental, financial and community well-being). 4. Expansion of non-traditional candidates in hiring processes (part-time, remote, offshore, contractors, etc.). 5. Increased expectations of leaders who can experiment and lead flexible work arrangements and focus on well-being. 6. Many organizations will continue to shift to digital and/or remote first. 7. Flex work and hybrid innovation will reach front-line and production roles. 8. Talent will look for roles that can meet their individual workstyle needs and may be willing to trade money for more time and flexibility in negotiation. 9. The rise of the 30–32-hour work week (whether a four-day work week or sixish-hour workday). Future-oriented organizations and leaders will be expected to experiment with how and when work gets done. And this process of experimentation will be ongoing as workplaces continue to evolve to meet business needs and the needs of their workforce.

Find a new way of working The standard 40-hour work week was developed over 100 years ago and was based on what worked best in an automotive manufacturing environment. In the knowledge era, it makes sense that a new and less rigid way of working has emerged.

Jane Helbrecht is the founder of Uplift Engagement and a leadership development and people & culture expert with over 15 years of experience in training and HR roles. At Uplift, she focuses on building people and leadership development programs that shift team dynamics so that teams can focus, get stuff done, and have fun while they do it. Jane holds a B.Comm (Hons) from the I.H. Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba with a double major in Human Resources Management and International Business. She also has her CPHR designation and is a Certified Leadership Coach. Jane teaches the course Embracing the Future of Workforce Flexibility at uWinnipeg PACE. The short, two-day course explores how employees can decide on their own meaningful work experiences and how organizations and leaders can raise the bar to meet those needs. By the end, participants will have the tools to help their organization embrace flexible workforce models. Participants earn a digital badge for completing the course and can stack it with two complementary courses to earn the Mastering The Future of Workplace Management Microcredential.



This new way of working should allow organizations to continue to experiment with models of work and allow employees to experiment with what works best for them specifically. Individual work arrangements will be on the rise and will allow employees to negotiate for the specific arrangements that will allow them to thrive and do their best work.

Change brings opportunities The world of work is changing rapidly. It can be challenging for workplaces and individuals to keep up. But big changes bring big opportunities. Don’t miss the opportunity to build a stronger, healthier, and more engaged workforce that will bring with it the opportunity for more innovation, creativity, and even better business results.

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Meeting the challenges of the changing workforce

By Paul Adair

“ In many situations the inhibitor of growth isn’t finding more business, it’s finding enough people to facilitate the business that’s already there.” – Dave Angus, Johnston Group Founded in 1983, the Johnston Group is a national

unable to find enough staff to fill a variety of different skill

employee benefits company that works with nearly

sets and positions.

40,000 Canadian companies across Canada. Through its Chamber Group, the company works with more than 800 chambers from coast to coast and provides benefits to

“It’s challenging right now for businesses that are trying to keep the people they have while, at the same time, also

their members.

trying to recruit new people to fill the growing number of

Johnston Group President Dave Angus may be a name that

the inhibitor of growth is not finding more business, it’s

is familiar to some in the local business community. Prior

finding enough people to facilitate the business that’s

to leading the company he’s now at, Angus headed the

already there.”

Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce for 17 years – a position

positions that are open,” says Angus. “In many situations

that provided him a unique perspective on the challenges

The good news is that the Winnipeg market is known

and opportunities businesses encounter when it comes to

for having a strong focus on productivity, and it’s much

recruiting and retaining top talent.

easier to fill the needs of a business if there’s a productive

While he was at the Winnipeg Chamber, Angus regularly heard that the number one issue for businesses was the

workforce from which to draw upon. The other big advantage Winnipeg has is its rich diversity.

skills gap issue, which has now evolved to become a supply

“The growing Indigenous and newcomer community here

of labour issue. Many business owners today are simply

in Winnipeg is a very important part of our future,” says


Angus. “We must provide them the skills they’ll need

closer look at what are they doing in terms of how they’re

to be successful in the local workforce, which is why

supporting the community, making a positive impact

partnerships with Indigenous and newcomer organizations

on climate change, and their commitment to things like

are really important for doing business today and

diversity, equity, inclusion, and truth and reconciliation. All

important for the fate of Manitoba companies.”

these elements are increasingly important considerations if the business community wants to attract the next

A look ahead

generation of workers.”

Going forward, Angus recommends that businesses become even more strategic in their decision making and be creative when recruiting for new positions. Business owners must also be able to balance the needs of their business and the changing needs of employees, such as considering hybrid work models and new ways to provide

Despite the workforce challenges facing businesses today, Angus believes that Winnipeg business owners a history overcoming all kinds of challenges, and this is just one more. “Businesses in Winnipeg have seen their way through

greater flexibility to manage work and home life.

economic downturns, global instability, and even

“Another thing is to explore what it means to have a

in this city, and the business community has a lot of

higher purpose,” says Angus. “More and more younger

perseverance – a lot of which has to do with our incredible

employees want to work for companies that are making a

diversity. So, while I think there’s a lot of work ahead of us,

difference in the world and that subscribe to this notion of

I can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and I know

business being a force for good. Companies should take a

we’ll all get through this together.”

pandemics,” says Angus. “There’s strength and resiliency

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A new look at work Older Manitobans look for more than just a job By Lyndon McLean

Challenges of all kinds abound in workplaces today,

work. Some may not be able to manage financially so if it

especially since the pandemic changed the world as we

means working four hours a day, that’s what they need.”

know it. A part of life now, COVID-19 changed how we all work and our relationship with work, with many people

And that’s where flexibility comes in. Flex hours are what a

realizing the value of flexibility and work/life balance. Older

lot of seniors – and others – are looking for, Newman says.

Manitobans have been no exception, with many facing heath

They want to do something that doesn’t create stress. For

or financial challenges, especially after they’ve officially

older Manitobans, the need for flexibility and low stress are


very important. More stress means more impact on the

Connie Newman, Executive Director of the Manitoba Association of Senior Communities, works with consultants,

work and more stress on the healthcare system, which just creates more problems.

organizations, and 90+ municipalities to stay on age-friendly

Flexible work hours and positive workspaces will have to

pathway. Her work supports their members, most with

come from employers who are team leaders first – able

minimal staff or volunteers, by helping with such things as

to manage and deal with a variety of age groups – not just

connecting members to healthcare providers, and she sees

“bosses”. They’ll have to create these positive environments

the strains encountered by many older Manitobans.

and make available a variety of work opportunities, including

“Many in our aging population no longer want or need to

part-time and work-from-home situations, which is what

work,” Newman says. “For some, the work gives them some

many are looking for that now, coming out of the pandemic.

reason to get up every morning. But for some, it helps to make ends meet – it all depends on if you have a defined pension plan. One cannot survive on CPP and OAS in today’s economy.”

“If they want to retain staff, employers are going to have to provide benefits and good working conditions,” Newman says. “Many sectors need staff, and businesses must have leaders who respect their staff and listen to their ideas.

There are more people over 65 than the numbers of teens,

Leaders listen more and talk less. If that isn’t happening, a

meaning fewer people to do some of the frontline work

lot of people will jump to another employer.”

that younger workers would do, creating a human resource problem. Some older workers can fill these gaps, but most

“The workforce is in disarray in many areas – there just aren’t

don’t want to or can’t work 9 to 5. Most have put in their time

enough staff to meet the needs in all sectors.”

doing that and aren’t in the position to now, but they want to feel connected and need the income. “The workforce needs older adults, and older adults need


As the workplace changes and the population ages, flexibility and positive environments are more important than ever for workers of all ages in our changing world.

Getting out in the world: The value of internships By Lyndon McLean

Graduating from a post-secondary program is an exciting time, but it comes with its angst as grads navigate that time between school and career, ready to take on the world but needing real-world experience. Luckily, more and more, employers offer Internships or co-ops to help grads put their skills to good use and get hands-on work experience. One person helping grads with that transition is Gina Aiello, Internship Coordinator at UWinnipeg Professional Applies and Continue Education (UWPACE). Aiello deals with both sides of the intern equation. “I work with industry professionals to source work experiences for students, and I prepare students with best practices in the workplace and use previous work experiences to teach and demonstrate the value of internship and how students add value.” For employers, offering an internship serves as an introduction to the emerging market of top talent. It’s important to work with students and not just see interns as free labour and have them doing mindless tasks. After all, internships or co-ops are cost-effective so why not make it

options they have for an interview. Students can build their professional network as well, meeting all these employers to interview.” Aiello said she recently attended a Work Integrated Learning conference for post-secondary institutions, with core discussions revolving around the importance of work experience for graduates, and how this directly relates to success during career search. “Providing students with this work experiences sets each apart from their competition. We’re seeing more student participation and employer partnerships as we move forward for a few reasons. Employers require a potential

a win-win?

candidate to have a few years work experience to perform

“Each organization works collaboratively with me to ensure

this experience while studying? Also, there’s a hidden job

their student intern gets a robust work experience,” she says. “Winnipeg has a great community of employers willing to give young professionals a chance.” Aiello says it’s challenging to secure an abundance of roles for the number of students applying, as some new programs are still building momentum, but she encourages students to apply to all the internship provided.

well in the role, so where does a post-secondary grad get market and talent pool. Students may not be aware of some great employers, but internship provides a ‘sneak peak’ into great organizations that may not be as ‘high profile’ as others. And employers have the opportunity to meet some highly skilled potential employees.” With many of Canada’s workforce retiring in the next 10 years, attracting and retaining qualified, skilled and

“They have nothing to lose and so much to gain by building

experienced candidates may be a challenge. But a

their knowledge of the workforce and researching the

stable workforce is one built through growth, personal

internship sites. Students build their interview skills and

development, and succession planning, which all aligns

confidence. The more employers they apply to, the more

with the benefits of an internship! WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 41

Thinking smarter about the future of business By Paul Adair For more than 20 years, People First

COVID-19,” says Dandeneau. “We’re all

HR has been meeting the needs of

sliding into our meetings one minute

the business community with a wide

before we’re supposed to and clocking

range of human resource products

out as soon as that meeting is over,

and services, including strategic

and we’re losing all that culture that is

HR consulting and solutions, career

built informally when people interact

management, and talent recruitment.

with each other while they work side

Director of Recruitment Operations Tracy Dandeneau knows that Winnipeg employers have seen their businesses’ cultures suffer over the course of the pandemic and several years of remote work, which is why many within the business community are feeling as though now it’s time to come back the office.

by side. And I think that’s starting to become evident when we look at today’s lower than average retention

It’s not uncommon today for


jobseekers to be fielding multiple offer

Even though Winnipeg’s unemployment rate has started to come down in recent months – which is a positive – it does mean that the employee is increasingly in the driver’s

and have bidding wars for their talent, which means employers are now often on the hook to pay higher salaries and benefits just to retain the workers they already have.

“We see each other on a screen but

seat when it comes to bargaining. Let’s

“Things like the rise of Manitoba’s

we’re not actually communicating

face it: in many cases, work needs

minimum wage may be great for the

in the same way that used to before

them more than they need work.

economy, but for business owners, it’s also raising wages for individuals who aren’t at the minimum,” says Dandeneau. “Employees are starting to leverage the fact that there’s a growing demand for their skills and there are other jobs out there, and this is

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causing employee salaries to increase across the board.”

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Higher wages are just a short-term solution to the labour challenges facing Winnipeg’s business community, and employees – especially younger employees – are asking for more than money to secure their services. This is why


“ We are seeing a trend of it becoming more difficult to find, recruit, and retain talent, so it can be a challenging proposition for businesses when they have employees retiring sometime in the next few years.” – Tracy Dandeneau, People First HR Services Dandeneau recommends employers

“Over the last three years, the

really starting to think about its future

take the time to sit down with their

conversation businesses were having

and becoming smarter about how

current employees to gauge what

amongst themselves was really about

they do business, as well as getting

they want out their careers – not just

how to keep the doors open another

better at communicating with their

for tomorrow but for five, 10, and 20

day – it was survival mode,” says

employees. All this will only help them

years down the road. Getting to know

Dandeneau. “But now we’re in recovery

to navigate any kind of workforce gaps

more about the people who work for

mode, and the business community is

they encounter in the future.”

you, as well as their aspirations, will be a critical first step for succession planning. “We are seeing a trend of it becoming more difficult to find, recruit, and retain talent, so it can be a challenging proposition for businesses when they have employees retiring sometime in the next few years” says Dandeneau. “So it makes sense to promote from within the business whenever possible. Employers need to engage with their employees and learn about their future goals, and then support those goals with extra training and education if it’s needed and work out a plan for moving forward. And that all starts with listening.”

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The Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce (ACC) will also play an important role in helping Chamber members work through their labour challenges. ACC is an invaluable resource to help educate and connect business owners with industry partners, so that they can collectively come up with ideas on things like how to engage with employees, how to set good retention plans, and how to prepare for the future.



Helping your members stay connected is WHAT WE DO. We offer outstanding personal service and quality in the areas of... • Creative Design • Website Design • Advertising Sales • Print and Web Magazine Publications • Online E-newsletters • Online Directories WEST WINNIPEG BUSINESS REVIEW • 2023 43

ExpressPros helps Winnipeggers find jobs By Lisa Kopochinski Art Reid and Michael Cabral have operated ExpressPros located at 912 Portage Avenue for more than seven years. Photo courtesy of ExpressPros.

Formed 40 years ago, Express Employment Professionals (ExpressPros), a leading staffing provider in Canada and other countries such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, has been very successful in helping job seekers find work and businesses find qualified employees. In Winnipeg, Michael Cabral and Art Reid have operated ExpressPros from their office at 912 Portage Avenue for more than seven years. Their team also consists of employees Hanelyn, Jocelyn, Anna, Viktoria, Inna, and Katie. “This is a great location close to the hub of downtown for bus service and moving our employees to workplaces we service,” says Cabral. “Our vision is to help as many people as possible find good jobs, and as many business clients as possible find good people.” Over the years, ExpressPros has helped Winnipeg job seekers find positions including demo/ general labourers, waste collectors, receptionists, payroll clerks, human resources generalists, sales personnel, mechanics, engineers, and more. “We partner with many companies in the Winnipeg region that are always looking for top talent in the

marketplace,” Cabral says. “We’re able to offer positions that aren’t posted on job boards.” As a member of the Assiniboia Chamber of Commerce for just over a year, Reid says the main benefits ExpressPros receives is the ability to connect with the west community and businesses. “There’s also the exposure we get from networking through the golf tournament and lunches to connect with decision makers.”

Current Trends With respect to current trends in today’s job market, Reid says they are seeing upskilling and top grading in the workforce. “The workforce is rapidly evolving with a shift toward remote work, technological integration, and an emphasis on diversity, mental wellbeing, and continuous learning. With this, it’s difficult for some companies to find the right people with things rapidly changing.” For example, Reid notes that many workers are looking for more than just financial rewards. Many are seeking flexible time and options to work from home, which has really changed the landscape of labour. “With the inflation we’re seeing, hiring


is slowing down due to the uncertainty within the market,” adds Cabral. When it comes to certain age groups, ExpressPros is seeing a good mix of all. For instance, Cabral says about 50 per cent their associates are between the ages of 18 to 29. They also receive inquiries from every age demographic regularly. “Even our 50-plus aged associates are looking at how their current skills will transfer and are looking for opportunities with more flexibility as they ease into retirement.” ExpressPros has also seen an increase in the number of newcomers to the job market, with the majority from many of the African nations, India, and Ukraine. “Our company is also a great way for newcomers to be introduced to the Winnipeg job market,” Reid says. “There are a number of differences to our market compared to other countries. We help newcomers get past any barriers and into meaningful employment.”


INDEX TO ADVERTISERS Access Credit Union.........................................................10

Johnston Group............................................................OBC

Advance Electronics....................................................... 39

MP Marty Morantz............................................................ 30

Assiniboia Downs Gaming & Event Centre...................... 43

Red River Exhibition Association.....................................15

Birchwood Automotive Group........................................IFC Castellan Information Security Services........................ 29 Children’s Hospital Foundation.........................................16 ClearSecure....................................................................33

SAFE Work Manitoba......................................................... 9 San Vito Coffee House.................................................... 46 Shreem Systems & Solutions Ltd.................................... 27 St. John Ambulance........................................................ 35

Clima Seal Inc................................................................. 42 Corporate Care Inc.........................................................IBC Deer Lodge Centre Foundation....................................... 34 Dornn Eye Care & Optical Gallery..................................... 21 Efficiency Manitoba..........................................................11

Tammy Rowland Executive Coaching...............................15 Victoria Inn & Convention Centre................................... 37 W.P.G. The Wealth Planning Group.................................. 23 WCB of Manitoba...............................................................3

Grace Hospital Foundation............................................... 17

Wellington College of Remedial Massage Therapies....... 35

Heartland CPAs................................................................. 8

Winnipeg Airport Authority..............................................19

JEM Building Services Inc................................................. 7

Zeid’s Food Fare................................................................ 5


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