Capital LIGHT IT UP! BUSINESS + CITY BUILDING
Exploring the drivers to advance macro and micro economic growth and prosperity in Ottawa. VISIT OUR WEBSITE! CAPI SUMMER 2 02 3 PM 431 3 6 0 1 2 M A G A Z I N E O F TH E B USIN E S S ALM CA A . T G
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W H O W E A R E ?
The Ottawa Board of Trade is an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit business association. We are the voice of business and a key advocate for economic growth. Our mission is to cultivate a thriving world class business community in Ottawa, our Nation’s Capital. One that drives affordable, inclusive and sustainable city building and community prosperity We are passionate, future thinking business and community leaders with a growth agenda
W H Y I T M A T T E R S .
It is more critical than ever to ensure we have a strong Board of Trade representing the interests of our businesses and advancing the economic growth of our community Businesses are facing more opportunities and challenges than ever One voice can influence decisions, priority setting and policy making more effectively than any one of us can do alone
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A D V O C A T E S
Advocates for a competitive business environment and affordable, inclusive and sustainable city building
B U I L D S
Builds support for businesses and their employees as they launch, pivot and grow
C H A M P I O N S
Champions Ottawa as the best place to live, learn, work, play and invest
D R I V E S
Drives initiatives that unite businesses, influence positive decision making and grow our community
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 5 FEATURES 28 Build Up Ottawa BY JENNIFER CAMPBELL 30 Optimism for Ottawa’s growth prospects BY JENNIFER CAMPBELL 34 Forever Changed BY
CONTENTS Capital 46 40 38 SUMMER 2023
6 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE CONTENTS Capital SUMMER 2023 On the Cover Capital LIGHT IT UP! CITY + BUSINESS BUILDING Exploring the drivers to advance macro and micro economic growth and prosperity in Ottawa. 40 8 13 The Mayor's Message DEPARTMENTS 44 38 On the Ground 8 Capital Context 14 On Campus 40 Embassy Row 40 Charity Corner
WELCOME TO THE 18th edition of CAPITAL. As the voice of business and key economic development partner in Ottawa and the region, we are thrilled to publish this magazine for our business and community members. Our intention is to share the things that are happening in our city and highlight local businesses, initiatives and leaders. In turn, we hope you will use this tool to promote Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region as a great place to “play, live and work.”
In these pages you will garner insights from city leaders, national economists and local businesspeople who are working together to leverage growth opportunities, and create a city where people want to live.
Ottawa is facing the same challenges as many other cities around the world including housing and labour shortages, rising costs, and chronic inequities. Fast emerging trends in consumer behaviour, technology and workforce development combined with the lasting impacts of the pandemic on education and health make for a complex landscape. All the while, we aim to lead on key issues like climate action.
There are many big questions to answer. However, these same challenges are opportunities to build forward better. And Ottawa has a very strong foundation on which to build. Excellent infrastructure, an educated workforce, broad R&D capabilities, many built and natural amenities and a strong foothold in key sectors. The deciding factor for our future success comes from our ability to level up in partnership and policy making.
We are the nation’s capital city with a population of one million and growing. We are also a regional community with a track record of collaboration, innovation and resiliency. Our economic ecosystem is strong, and we see a growing commitment among business, community and government leaders to work together. This radical collaboration will create an enviable future for the next generation, breed new leaders and see Ottawa reach its full potential.
Ottawa. It’s our time. Let’s light it up!
Yours in prosperity, Sueling
Sueling Ching | President & CEO Ottawa Board of Trade
The magazine about doing business in Ottawa, created by the Ottawa Board of Trade in partnership with gordongroup.
Capital Magazine is grateful to the COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sports administered through the Canada Periodical Fund, Special Measures for Journalism, Department of Canadian Heritage
OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE www.ottawabot.ca
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THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 7
THE OBOT PERSPECTIVE
OTTAWA IS DISTINCT. As the capital city of Canada, it is the embodiment of the country itself. We are “Canada In One City”. We are a place of pride for all Canadians. We offer city life infused with intimacy, nature and seasons. It is where you can connect with the people who truly live by Canadian values.
Indigenous, French, English, along with people from all corners of the world, have created a diverse environment that is quintessentially Canadian. Our society is rooted in diversity, acceptance, warmth and welcome. On the horizon is the future of our city and of our country.
Ottawa is the centre of our nation’s political power. As such we enjoy many exceptional benefits and opportunities. This also creates unique challenges. Most importantly, we have a role and responsibility to represent our country well and demonstrate servant leadership in all things.
Ottawa is growing. The economic ecosystem and business community continues to collaborate and innovate with international acclaim in key sectors like technology and tourism, education and health. Public-private partnership is a cornerstone of our future.
Ottawa is one of the largest cities in our country. The pandemic disproportionately impacted Canada's metropolitan areas which in 2018 accounted for more than 60% of national GDP and more
than 82% of the population. It has been particularly difficult in our downtowns, the cores of our cities.
Canadian downtowns are highly strategic cultural and economic areas, the engines of the Canadian economy. As the downtown economy with the highest concentration of public sector employment among large Canadian cities, Ottawa was hit especially hard these last three years.
Notwithstanding this disruption, we view this time in our history as a unique opportunity to galvanize our community and reimagine the future of our downtown core in a way that we might not otherwise have contemplated. And that will prove to increase the vibrancy, diversity, and resilience of our city - today and for generations to come.
Fortunately, we have a strong economic base, innovative infrastructure, and a collaborative culture from which to build. In the last year, we have engaged subject matter experts, convened stakeholders, and contributed to various discussions about the future of downtown with some great outcomes.
The City’s new nightlife economy strategy and ByWard Market Public Realm Plan as well as Ottawa Tourism’s destination stewardship plan provide foundational frameworks in high opportunity areas. We continue to pursue partnerships at all levels of government to cultivate a competitive environment.
8 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE
Radical collaboration is the order of the day to get things done. And we have reason to be optimistic. The pandemic taught us many lessons that will drive our actions for the future including working together, prioritizing progress over perfection and understanding how connected we are to each other.
The concept of building our city for our people and ensuring a high quality of life for all has been a main theme in our plans to drive business success and our economic growth. And vise versa. Economic development drives affordable housing, quality education and healthy communities.
Most importantly, a growth agenda is fundamental to our reaching our highest goals related to climate action, diversity and inclusion, and social justice. Business and city building is all part of the same picture. But the true Ottawa advantage is our people.
Young professionals who see a need, jump in with new ideas and engage others to do the same.
Resilient entrepreneurs who work together to create something new and exciting for the collective good.
Business leaders sharing their professional expertise to address community needs.
Community partners actively supporting each other and sharing resources.
Community members promoting and supporting local businesses. Local businesses supporting community causes, cultural initiatives, and sports teams.
Corporate businesses and private sector philanthropists driving world class infrastructure.
Education and health leaders adapting to meet the ever changing needs of our citizens.
Male allies publicly supporting the advancement of women. Women leaders sponsoring young women.
Immigrant entrepreneurs advising and advocating for other immigrant entrepreneurs.
Local politicians committed to community engagement and making a difference.
These are the things happening in Ottawa every day. This is the real Ottawa story - the reason Ottawa is the best place to live. And were people live is where opportunity flows.
Welcome to the Ottawa opportunity.
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 9
BUILDING OTTAWA’S HOUSING FUTURE
AS HOUSING SUPPLY and affordability continue to be one of the most pressing issues on the minds of Ottawa residents, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA) and its members are stepping up to ensure that current and future residents have a variety of housing options and a reasonable opportunity to live in the type of home they want within the City.
GOHBA not only advocates for a streamlined and faster development application process and reduced government-imposed costs, it actively collaborates with City staff to address bottlenecks, find solutions and improve the system for everyone.
We work in partnership with City staff on zoning that achieves our housing goals and contributes to the enhancement of neighbourhoods across the City, because, as Mayor Sutcliffe has said, “The best way for us to create more construction is to be more constructive.”
GOHBA’s membership – Ottawa’s leading home builders, developers, renovators, contractors and professionals in the residential construction industry – has grown 25% since 2021 to over 400 companies.
This enthusiasm can best be seen in person - at our inaugural HoWL event (Home Builders of Ottawa Women Leaders), GOHBA saw over 140 women leaders in residential construction gather together to encourage leadership, support one another, learn new skills, and achieve success with guest speaker Cathy Priestman. GOHBA plans to hold HoWL events quarterly, with the next one August 31. Membership in GOHBA is a commitment
10 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE CAPITAL/GREATER OTTAWA HOME BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION (GOHBA)
GOHBA executive director Jason Burggraaf, left, in a ‘fireside chat’ with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe at the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association breakfast social, held Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2023.
Photo by Caroline Phillips
to supporting affordability, quality and choice. Membership is also a communication to the public, to the City and to colleagues - it signals that members have a role to play in improving Ottawa, contributing positively to the lifestyle of residents, and taking pride in being the voice of excellence in the home building community.
The Association’s growth is a testament to the value of participation, and the opportunity it provides members to engage in the tough conversations on how best to improve housing affordability in balance with other priorities.
GOHBA members volunteer their time to advocate for heathy and balanced municipal housing policies, and they share information and best practices from their own operations and from their colleagues across the province and the country. GOHBA also operates with its counterparts at the provincial and federal level, so when you join the Association, your voice is heard at every level of government.
GOHBA has worked heavily at the provincial stage, and saw the fruits of its labour with Bill 109, Bill 23, Bill 97 and changes to the approved Ottawa Official Plan - in particular restoring heights for minor corridors to 9 storeys for the downtown transect and 6 storeys for the inner and outer urban transects.
Home builders – not the companies, but the actual human beings who work in the sales office or are skilled tradespeople on the construction site – live in every neighbourhood there is across the city. They love living in Westboro, or old Ottawa East, Barrhaven or even farther south. They appreciate the neighbourhood they are in and the lifestyle it provides, and they want as many of their fellow citizens as possible to have the opportunity to live there as well.
In order to help address the significant labour shortage facing the industry, GOHBA established the Trades Development Initiative to connect members with those seeking employment, and to promote careers in construction.
As part of our efforts to promote skilled trades we are forging partnerships with educational institutions like Algonquin College, who are the largest source of training in the Greater Ottawa area. We’re also working with organizations like the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region, who have a strong history of working with the community so that underrepresented groups can have better access to skilled trade careers.
One of the unheralded things GOHBA members do is think about the needs of future homeowners – those who’ll buy a home not only tomorrow, or in the next year or two, but five, ten, twenty years down the road.
We want to ensure that there will be a variety of homes to choose from, that they’ll be affordable, and that they will provide the range of lifestyles that the residents of Ottawa want.
Increasing the speed and affordability to build all types of homes means more choice – not only for those looking for a home of their own now (or will be in the future), but also for those of us who have a home currently but will want the ability to move at some point.
Ottawa needs to provide a range of housing and lifestyle options for residents if it wants to attract and retain talented people, businesses and economic development opportunities.
And, by advocating for more supply, reduced costs and better access to housing, GOHBA also provides a voice for future residents. It’s critical to ensure everyone has the same opportunity for housing affordability and choice – whether you purchased your home in 1983, 2003, or in 2023.
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 11
Cathy Priestman at GOHBA’s HoWL event, April 20, 2023. Photo by Soula Burrell
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M AN OPTIMIST by nature. It should be no surprise to anyone that I love Ottawa and I’m relentlessly positive about our future. I’m amazed and inspired by how much people love their city, how much they care about our future. Our greatest asset is our people.
It's been a difficult three years - it's been a challenging time for our city in particular, but I don't think our challenges are unique.
I'll tell you what is unique – it’s our opportunity. There is no other city that has the beauty of our city. There is no other city that has the safety and stability of Ottawa and especially there is no other city that has our people, our talent, and our leadership. The great people like you who are committed to a better future for Ottawa.
No other city in Canada has the mix of urban and rural and suburban areas that Ottawa does. And because we’re the national capital, we have representatives from all over the world in our city. And we have so many advantages over other cities.
Ottawa is an innovative city. It’s an entrepreneurial city. It’s an education city with great post-secondary institutions. We are a city of volunteers who step up to help their neighbours respond to flooding and other emergencies.
And there are some very successful businesspeople from throughout North America who want to buy our hockey team and invest in our community. They want to invest in our downtown and see a great future here and see this as a place of extraordinary opportunity.
Economic development is what supports and pays for all of those other priorities. It is never a choice between economic development
and other priorities because economic development is what drives all of those other priorities. If we want to fix homelessness once and for all, if we want to build a safer community, if we want to build a stronger city for everyone, we have to drive economic development because that is how we will generate the resources to achieve all of those goals.
Think about how much Ottawa has changed in the past decade. Now think ahead 10 years and imagine the results of what we are planning to build today:
• A state of the art, world class hospital
• A brand new arena in the centre of our city
• An exciting new library on LeBreton Flats
• A revitalized downtown and ByWard Market
• A light rail system running north and south, east, and west
• An even more exciting Lansdowne Park
I believe in Ottawa. I believe in Team Ottawa. And I believe that we are turning the corner. We’ve reopened Wellington Street. We’ve made some important decisions about housing and homelessness. We’re just getting started but we’ve been working very effectively together.
I’m proud to be your mayor. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my city.
And I believe that the best is yet to come.
Mark Sutcliffe, Mayor of Ottawa
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 13
I' MAYOR'S MESSAGE
CARLETON COACH CHERISHES OPPORTUNITY TO HELP TEAM, COMMUNITY
BY JEFF BUCKSTEIN
OREY GRANT BELIEVES
in seizing opportunities.
The Carleton Ravens men’s football coach has made the most of opportunities presented to him in both life and football, and now relishes the opportunity to give back by creating opportunities for both his players and the local community.
The 46-year old native of Stoney Creek, Ont. played wide receiver for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, where he earned a degree in sociology, then realized a dream when he was drafted into the Canadian Football League by his hometown Hamilton Tiger Cats in 1999. He contributed to the Tiger Cats’ Grey Cup championship that season, and was named the team’s rookie of the year, and Eastern Division rookie of the year.
Grant also played for the Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders, where he won a second Grey Cup in 2007 before finishing his 11-year CFL career in 2009 back with the Tiger Cats.
After retiring as a player, Grant used the teaching certificate he had earned while playing to teach primary school. He also seized assistant coaching opportunities with both the McMaster Marauders university football team, and the Tiger Cats, between 2010 and 2021.
In 2022, he accepted his first university head coaching job with the Ravens.
“Throughout my football coaching career I always wanted to become a head coach at the university level, and when this job became available I sat down with my wife Jennifer and discussed it. Doing my research on the opportunity at Carleton, and the support that would be here, I said ‘let’s go for it.’ And I’ve been happy since.”
The Grant family, which also includes daughter Qiawna, 14, and son Devonn, 12, both of whom play football, lives in Barrhaven.
“As we were looking around at where to live in Ottawa, we found Barrhaven had a great school, and was a great community,” he says.
Grant says his first priority in coaching is to build a proper foundation and culture that starts with having quality studentathletes who are also good people, and then making sure he provides the support they need to become the best leaders they can be in their sport and within the community. That includes reaching out to the local football community. Through the Junior Ravens program, team members coach minor football, and show the younger players what it takes to be a leader. Those players, in turn, spend time at the Carleton Field House and TAAG Park, where Carleton plays its home games.
In turn, “the community is coming out and supporting our student-athletes because they are the leaders of tomorrow,” says Grant, who cites as an example the annual ‘Panda Game’ game with the University of Ottawa, which drew over 24,000 people in 2022.
“Last year was my first year being a part of that, and just seeing the love of football in the Ottawa community, I thought was great,” he says.
Carleton is also creating a female apprenticeship program to have two women join the Ravens’ staff for the 2023 season.
“Football has sometimes been seen as a male dominant sport, but we want to change that narrative and make it into an inclusive sport to everyone,” Grant says. As the only Black football head coach in the OUA, “somebody had to open the door for me to get in and hold this position, and I want to make sure at Carleton that we keep opening doors for others,” he adds.
14 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE PHOTO CREDIT CARLETON UNIVERSITY
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HOW TO PREPARE FOR SUMMER STORMS: TOP TIPS FROM HYDRO OTTAWA
While springtime in Ottawa can be delightful, the arrival of summer means that severe thunderstorms and heat waves are just around the corner. Summer is the season when the most unplanned power outages occur. While most outages are over quickly, some can last longer if extreme weather is involved. While you can’t control Mother Nature, you can prepare in advance and reduce the impact of a prolonged power outage.
Keep Things Running with a Back-up Generator
When a power outage occurs, a backup generator can provide the power you need to keep the lights on, your food cold and your devices charged. There are many types of generators to choose
No matter which generator you choose, make sure it’s rated for the power output required to run the equipment and appliances you'll need during an outage. Never use a portable generator indoors or in an enclosed space, as the exhaust fumes can be harmful.
from depending on your budget and power requirements.
Portable generators usually run on gas or propane. While their power output is small, they are a good choice for charging kitchen appliances, lights, phones and mobile devices.
Standby generators also run on gas or propane and are permanently attached to your home's power supply. When the power goes out, these generators automatically start up. They come in a variety of sizes that can cover essential power circuits or your entire home.
Solar powered generators are the most environmentally friendly option. While their power output is smaller, the power is free and the generator is quiet and non-polluting.
Stay Dry with a Backup for your Sump Pump
A sump pump can help remove accumulated water from your basement during heavy rain and flooding. A system with a backup pump that can run for at least 72 hours in the event of an outage can help prevent costly water damage. You might also consider installing a sump pump alarm which alerts you when the water level in your sump pit is rising too high.
In the event of a flood, do not enter your basement unless you’re sure the power is disconnected. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring, potentially resulting in severe electrical shock.
16 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE CAPITAL/Hydro Ottawa
Create your Emergency Plan
Take some time to develop a home emergency plan for how your family will respond during a crisis. Identify an emergency meeting place in case you need to evacuate, and make sure everyone knows where it is. Have a plan for how your family can contact each other if they are not together when an emergency happens.
Write down important information, including details on family medical conditions, allergies, medications, and insurance information. Prepare a list of key contacts you might need to reach. (One of your contacts should be somebody who lives farther away and won’t be affected by the same emergency.)
Water and food: canned and non-perishable foods. Don’t forget the can opener and cutlery!
Health and hygiene items: soap, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper, prescription and over-the-counter medications
Tools and supplies: duct tape, scissors, multi-tool, matches, candles
Comfort items: blankets and sleeping bags, cards, board games
Gather these items and store them in a waterproof container (preferably with wheels) in a central, easy-to-access location. Ensure everyone in your home knows where the kit is located. Have a minikit on hand in case you need to evacuate immediately. It should be easy to carry and contain only a few essentials: food and water; a
If you have pets, include them in your plan too. As pets may not be allowed in public shelters or hotels, make plans to bring them to a relative or friend. List the name, breed, colour and registration information for each pet.
Build your 72-Hour Emergency Kit
An emergency kit is an essential tool for staying safe if the power goes out for an extended period. Along with the information in your emergency plan, it should contain everything you and your family might need to survive for three days, including:
Essentials: flashlight, first-aid kit, spare keys (house and vehicle), copies of important documents (passports and birth certificates)
phone charger and battery pack; a flashlight with extra batteries; a hand-crank radio; a first aid kit; personal medications; cash; and important documents.
To download our complete emergency kit checklists, visit hydroottawa.com/beprepared
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 17
COMMUNITY BUILDERS AT WORK
MEMBERS OF THE Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) have been selling Ottawa properties every day for more than 100 years. Whether it’s a young family looking for that first place to settle in and grow, retirees in need of new space to fit a new chapter, or a local entrepreneur looking for bricks-and-mortar to take their business to the next level — REALTORS® help build this city by finding people and businesses a place to call home.
Incorporated in 1921, OREB today represents nearly 4,000 REALTORS® and manages the local Multiple Listing Service® (MLS) System. By May 31, 2023, OREB Members completed 6,071 transactions this year worth $3.98 billion. That’s not even counting the sales traded in commercial real estate activity.
Those numbers are a simple representation of what REALTORS® really do: help place people where they want to be. And, to OREB, that also means having a hand in shaping the spaces that make up our communities with wide-ranging suitability and affordability.
“If you want to build a vibrant city, you need to give homeowners and renters a diverse selection of potential homes,” says Ken Dekker, OREB’s 2023 President. “There’s a balance to strike that makes a city a wonderful place to live in — and no one knows better than an OREB REALTOR® how wonderful Ottawa truly is.”
Ottawa is a hyper-local market thanks to a variety of defined and distinct neighbourhoods. REALTORS® understand the unique characteristics of each and can help piece together all the components that make a home or business property ideal for their clients.
A major advantage to using a REALTOR® is their unparalleled access to data and market insights. The MLS® System, for example,
is a comprehensive residential real estate database from which REALTORS® and OREB can use to identify trends, forecast accurately and find gaps in the housing spectrum. This is critical in helping people make decisions about when and where to buy and sell property — and it is invaluable knowledge that helps OREB partners, including the City of Ottawa, identify what kind of spaces will be most suitable for those people and businesses who want to call Ottawa home.
“REALTORS® are partners in the economic development of Ottawa,” says Dekker. “We can identify changing needs of the city and its people, and we can in turn advocate for the change we need to see for the betterment of Ottawa.”
For example, OREB has a Government and Community Relations Committee made up of REALTORS® who volunteer their time and expertise advocating for healthy housing policy. OREB affirms that the city’s housing crisis is rooted in a chronic insufficiency of supply. When the City of Ottawa proposed restrictions on secondary dwelling units, OREB produced research demonstrating that residents — particularly older adults and those on fixed incomes — would lose an accessible and affordable housing option. Council postponed the discussion to consult further.
“Their wealth of data and knowledge, coupled with direct community experience, puts REALTORS® in a prime position to help develop housing solutions that meet the needs of Ottawa residents today and in the years to come,” says Janice Myers, OREB CEO.
Often a relationship-broker between the public and private sectors, REALTORS® and real estate organizations such as OREB, have long been advocating for measures to alleviate growing
18 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE CAPITAL/OTTAWA REAL ESTATE BOARD
concerns about the housing supply shortage. OREB is collaborating with stakeholders to build a case for a permanent national housing roundtable that would convene real estate, local authorities, builders, Indigenous partners, civil society organizations and others to work on effectively implementing housing solutions.
“REALTORS® have extensive networks and their one transaction spurs many,” says Dekker. “When a house, for example, changes hands it supports the local economy. People spend significant money on upgrades and furnishings within the first year of possession, often turning to their REALTOR® for recommendations about local businesses and service providers.”
“City building is all about relationships and REALTORS® have those in spades,” says Myers.
Through the REALTORS Care® program, OREB Member REALTORS® also give back to the community. In 2022, they donated more than $113,000 to 18 shelter-based charities. The cornerstone fundraiser is the annual charity golf tournament — which is sold out in 2023! Local REALTORS® also rolled up their sleeves to collect household items for a shelter for women fleeing domestic abuse and to help build a Kemptville Habitat for Humanity project.
“REALTORS® are by our clients’ sides through many major milestones, as families grow, shrink, divide and multiply, and likely the biggest financial transaction of their life,” says Dekker. “We understand how to build communities that can grow and transform with people throughout all their chapters.”
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 19
From left to right: Jennifer Miller, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County, REALTOR® Brenda Gray, and REALTORS Care® Committee vice-chair Julie Milne and chair Tami Eades.
Eric Kalbfleisch, a board of directors member and chair of the Government & Community Relations Committee helps out at a Habitat for Humanity build in Kemptville.
THE NATIONAL CAPITAL CORE AREA PLAN: A CORNERSTONE OF CANADIAN IDENTITY
BY ALAIN MIGUELEZ, VICE-PRESIDENT, CAPITAL PLANNING AND CHIEF PLANNER, NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION
THE DOWNTOWN OF a city is its face to the world and, in the case of a capital city, the embodiment of the spirit and identity of the whole country. In the case of a capital that is not the largest city of its country (such as Ottawa or Washington), that city and its downtown still have a duty to represent the totality of a country that has bigger cities. Such a capital must therefore be considered by the residents of those bigger cities as a relevant image of their own part of the country to truly inhabit its role.
Although cities are resilient organisms, they undergo shocks and disruptions. For example, we know all too well how difficult the pandemic has been on cities in Canada and worldwide. In certain parts of the world, cities are bouncing back much quicker than ours, and we want to learn from what those cities are doing.
It is in this context that the National Capital Commission (NCC) is launching its review of the all-important National Capital Core Area Plan, a complete re-write of a plan last approved in 2005. It is not a substitute for municipal plans and its focus is mainly on federally owned lands, buildings and monuments; however, it can play a number of important roles.
Vision for this revamped plan
First, it encompasses both sides of the Ottawa River as a single “Capital Core Area.” This reality is now also reflected in the official plans of both the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, although the contour of the Metropolitan Downtown Core is not the same as on NCC maps. Nonetheless, this allows us to properly look at the entire core area as a single urban space.
Second, it can act as a significant impetus to remove barriers and create incentives for the much-needed regeneration of both downtowns, in light of the economic devastation that flowed from the pandemic and related disruptions.
Third, the plan can generate new ideas, adapted to today’s realities, to give our downtowns new layers of activity, animation, cultural vitality and symbolic relevance. We are the capital region
of a very different country in 2023 than in 1867, at the time of Confederation. A very different country, also, than in 1950, when the Gréber Plan was adopted by Parliament.
Fourth, the revamped plan must be coordinated with and support municipal planning and economic development objectives. Gone are the days when we looked at Town and Crown as two abstract and distinct concepts. The capital exists as a function of a metropolitan region that has many other equally legitimate functions, aspirations and goals. Residents and visitors must be able to feel that the capital is a city, and that the city is a capital. The more we blur the lines between the two, the more successful we will be — especially downtown.
A capital that represents the country
Being the capital is a very important function for our region— it can and must be leveraged to its maximum potential. The NCC must be a partner that allows our region to fully realize the unique advantages we have both as a capital and as a major Canadian metropolitan area.
All this is tied together by the mandate we have at the NCC to make plans “in order that the nature and character of the seat of the Government of Canada may be in accordance with its national significance.”
About the process
The vision, policy and project horizon of the current National Capital Core Area Plan extends to 2025, but much has changed since the plan was approved in 2005. We are currently working on adapting it to current needs and to take into account new and challenges. Public consultations will be launched so the public can have its say on the future of the capital.
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Design & Build Experts since 1956
ARLINGTON GROUP –EMPOWERING OTTAWA BUSINESSES
IN THE VIBRANT city of Ottawa, Ontario, businesses are constantly striving for success and growth. Arlington Group has established itself and emerges as a prominent consulting firm, providing a wide range of services to empower and support businesses in their journey towards excellence. Led by the visionary CEO and Managing Director, Kevin Ling, Arlington Group, and its subsidiaries have established themselves as trusted partners, offering expertise in Consulting, Professional and Management services, VIP services, Risk Management and Quality Control.
At the helm of Arlington Group stands Kevin Ling, an experienced and accomplished professional with a proven track record in driving business growth and transformation. With his extensive knowledge and strategic insights, Kevin leads Arlington Group in delivering exceptional value and results to their clients. His dedication to client success and unwavering commitment to excellence have propelled Arlington Group to the forefront of Ottawa’s business consultancy landscape.
Ling’s extensive experience in consulting, management and entrepreneurship has shaped Arlington Group’s service offerings and enabled the company to adapt to the ever-evolving business landscape. Under his guidance,
Arlington Group has built enduring partnerships with a diverse range of clients, helping them navigate complex challenges and achieve sustainable growth.
Arlington Group specializes in providing strategic consulting services to a diverse range of businesses in Ottawa. Their team of seasoned consultants collaborates closely with clients to identify growth opportunities, streamline operations, and enhance overall performance. By conducting in-depth analyses, developing comprehensive strategies, and offering tailored solutions, Arlington Group empowers businesses to overcome challenges and achieve sustainable growth. By leveraging their expertise, Arlington Group enables businesses to optimize their operations, increase efficiency and maximize profitability.
Arlington Group understands the significance of customer satisfaction and loyalty in today’s competitive landscape. To help businesses build strong relationships with their clientele, they offer VIP services that focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences. From personalized customer support exclusive loyalty programs, Arlington Group assists businesses in creating long-lasting connections with their customers, fostering brand advocacy, and driving business growth.
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Efficient management is crucial for the success of any organization. Arlington Group provides comprehensive management services that enable businesses to streamline their operations and enhance productivity. By conducting thorough evaluations of existing processes, pinpointing areas of improvement and implementing streamlined systems and protocols, Arlington Group actively assists businesses in optimizing their workflows, resulting in reduced costs and enhanced overall efficiency.
By employing proven project management methodologies and practices, Arlington Group ensures that businesses achieve their goals within budget and on schedule. From project planning and resource allocation to risk management and quality control, Arlington Group’s project management expertise enables businesses to navigate with confidence and deliver exceptional results.
Under the leadership of Kevin Ling, Arlington Group has also established subsidiaries that further enhance their service offerings. These subsidiaries specialize in areas such as technology consulting, project management and marketing solutions, extending Arlington Group’s reach and expertise to meet the diverse needs of businesses in Ottawa.
Furthermore, Ling’s commitment to fostering professional development within Arlington Group has led to a team of highly skilled and motivated professionals. By investing in ongoing training
and career advancement opportunities, Ling ensures that the company maintains its edge in delivering cutting-edge solutions to clients.
As Ottawa’s business landscape continues to evolve, Arlington Group remains at the forefront, providing comprehensive consulting and professional services to empower businesses across various industries. With Kevin Ling leading the way, Arlington Group has built a strong reputation for delivering exceptional value and results. Through their consulting services, professional expertise, VIP services and management solutions, Arlington Group equips businesses with the tools they need to thrive in today’s competitive market. Whether it’s strategic guidance, specialized expertise, enhanced customer experiences, or streamlined operations, Arlington Group stands ready to support Ottawa businesses on their journey to success.
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BUILDING A COMMUNITY WITH PURPOSE AND BELONGING
MMost often in moments of crisis like we are all facing today, vulnerable persons such as those living with disabilities are the most excluded and left behind. In line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind, it is crucial for government, public and private sectors to collaboratively find innovative solutions for and with persons with disabilities to make the world a more accessible and equitable place.”
Businesses need to align their practices with a culture of inclusion and belonging to retain top talent. It is critical for us to understand one another to truly build a sense of community. That sense of belonging also helps persons who are marginalized feel welcome and free to join the conversation and contribute their talents. Disability Awareness is more than just recognizing a potential disability, it encompasses how we treat people, how we build our recruiting practices, and how we ensure that accessibility is available during all phases of the recruiting and onboarding activities. If a person sees that you are trying to be inclusive, then they feel better able to identify themselves as needing accommodation.
Business is often tasked to help build stronger communities and social responsibility is becoming key to corporate purpose and values. As we have learned in this global crisis for talent, the drivers behind inclusion and belonging exist within the power of employees, their talents, and their desire to work with purpose. Service providers like Performance Plus Rehabilitative Care Inc. (PPRC) are ready to step up and work with business leaders and human resources teams to identify their needs and help develop a roadmap toward disability inclusion and belonging. Our businesses need to represent the people who live and work in our communities. An understanding of disability awareness and etiquette can create attitudinal changes and unite us in creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace. We need to remind our teams that every person in the workplace is diverse, we all have some similarities and differences that make us unique. As we become more aware of this, then we can move to support one another’s differences in our contemporary society.
We need to build business environments, where people feel safe to be their true selves and bring their identity to work. Businesses needs to think about the language they use in their messaging and job postings to ensure accessible formats are available to all and no one is left behind. It is only with this deep employer-employee understanding of diversity that we will see change over time to truly experience a culture of belonging. The recent lessons learned about our new office culture are that employees want flexible work arrangements, to be trusted, and the freedom to focus on what matters in the workplace.
PPRC’s disability awareness offers businesses a truly inclusive way to communicate and interact with one another based on a common language and how we can understand one another’s differences in a less threatening way. You will be able to build a better approach toward diversity and belonging and have a significant immediate impact not only in the workplace but in your community. We will help increase your community collaboration on accessibility, heighten disability awareness, and celebrate the uniqueness of disability talent. Let us be your pathway to begin building better economic stories for everyone. We all want the same things, quality of life, career, equitable opportunities and to connect as humans.
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SECOND GENERATION SPECIALIZED RECRUITMENT FIRM CONTINUES LOCAL SUCCESS
STEVENSON & WHITE has successfully navigated the many changes and challenges facing the world of employment and recruitment over the first quarter of the 21st century.
Having been involved with Ottawa recruitment since 2000, Stevenson & White’s rich history and connections in finance, accounting, and payroll, has allowed them to move quickly to provide qualified candidates to local companies. They have successfully placed many finance professionals, from bookkeeper all the way up to the executive level, including Vice-President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer.
Stevenson & White’s leadership has now passed to the second generation after the retirement of Anne Stevenson, who co-founded
the business in 2000. Anne’s sons, Matt Stevenson and Paul Stevenson are the current managing partners.
“Anne left big shoes to fill. Paul and I benefited greatly from her mentorship by being able to work so closely with her before she retired,” says Matt, 34, who joined the company in 2013.
“I have a ton of respect for both Matt and Paul and the way they’ve handled the next generation of Stevenson & White,” says Jen Danby McDonald, manager of corporate services, who has been with the firm since 2005. “I see characteristics of Anne, and strengths that led to her success, in Matt and Paul, that also make the two of them great recruiters and great people to work for.”
Stevenson & White has experienced steady growth in spite of the restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Placements have increased by 36 percent over the last five years.
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CAPITAL/Stevenson & White
The biggest change in recent years has been the more ubiquitous use of technology, with applications like Zoom and Teams meetings replacing those that would have taken place in person just a few years ago, with the current necessity for more virtual access. As a result, “we’re able to connect with a lot more candidates and clients in different locations,” says Paul, 38, who joined in 2018.
Candidates are being recruited strictly for Ottawa companies, which has proven to be an advantage, says Matt, because it allows Stevenson & White to keep in touch with repeat clients and watch them progress over their careers, further strengthening the relationships that have been built.
But while technology has undergone big changes, the firm’s high ethical and personal standards, and the desire to provide quality service to their clients, remain what it has always been. “A big part of our ethics are making sure that we are honest, genuine in our approach, and always putting the best interests of our clients and candidates first,” says Paul.
“We’re not the type of recruitment firm that is going to tell someone what we think they’ll want to hear in an attempt to secure the placement. If we don’t think it’s the right position for you for various reasons, we’re going to tell you that. Clients and candidates really appreciate and respect that we’re upfront with them,” he adds.
Matt provides an example of a recent placement in the wake of the pandemic.
“We had a situation where a client reached out because their Controller was resigning. They were too busy themselves to deal with the replacement and needed to get it done quickly. This was a key person in their office and critical deadlines were approaching. They also needed someone willing to work in the office full-time, which they knew would pose a challenge,” Matt explains.
“We were able to prioritize the search and provide them with a shortlist of strong, and well-qualified candidates, some of whom
Stevenson & White has been required to take their service to the next level in the current market. Companies, especially in their HR departments, are busier than ever, managing employee issues, mental health and wellness initiatives, as well as work from home policies, which is where recruitment companies can add value.
Moreover, “personal lives are entering work life now more than ever. To attract top talent, companies need to be aware of this, be flexible, and take the time to find out what’s most important to candidates, greatly increasing the chances of them accepting the role and staying long-term,” says Tracey Windsor, Stevenson & White’s senior recruiter who joined the firm in 2017.
“We’ve found that it’s harder for hiring managers and HR to devote time to this task themselves, which is where we come in. We take the time to make the match and ensure the fit. Our clients know that we are going to provide them with solid candidates,” she adds.
Stevenson & White has a small tight-knit team who are supported in their endeavours by recruitment office administrator Cary Hodgson.
“We’ve always maintained a flexible work culture,” Matt explains. “We provide our team members with a lot of trust and autonomy which in our experience leads to better results and happier employees.”
Work-life balance, and cherished family time, is also valued by all employees at Stevenson & White, including Matt and Paul, who are both married with two young children each. This approach started under Anne Stevenson, as she built the business and provided the foundation for the success it has become today. And it is being continued into the second generation of leadership.
Stevenson & White looks forward to the next chapter, navigating the evolving workplace reality while growing the business organically to ensure their standard is never compromised.
were only passively looking. We worked with the client to make the decision, sharing the information we had gained from our in-depth interviews with each candidate. The candidate chosen was able to start promptly, and get up to speed quickly, allowing for a smooth onboarding,” he adds.
“We are excited to continue to help companies grow and strengthen their finance teams, providing the high level of service that has made us an important part of the local business community,” says Matt.
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BUILD UP OTTAWA
To attract talent and rebuild after the pandemic, creating a city where quality of life is among the best in the world is key — and we’re already high on many metrics.
BY JENNIFER CAMPBELL
WHAT IF A city were built on the premise of being a place to “play, live and work” instead of a place to “live, work and play?” Andrew Penny, Founder and President of Kingsford Consulting, posed the question at the very end of the Ottawa Board of Trade’s City Building Summit, whose slogan was Build Up Ottawa. It spoke to one of the day’s major themes — quality of life — in the discussions that centred around driving economic growth in the city after the pandemic’s work-fromhome imperatives completely changed the face of the city’s landscape, shuttering some businesses and threatening others. The trucker convoy that put Ottawa on the global news cycle for weeks for all the wrong reasons didn’t help matters.
“People are more interested in where they're going to live than where they're going to work,” said Sueling Ching, president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade. “There’s a school of thought about inclusive city-building, creating community and investing in health, education and affordable housing. What we’re doing on those files will provide confidence to potential investors, businesses and community members.”
At the summit, Sheilagh Doherty, program manager in the high economic-impact programs at the City of Ottawa, presented preliminary findings of the city’s economic development strategy.
“The focus is really on maintaining Ottawa as an attractive destination for talent and innovation, as well as fostering a supportive environment for our knowledge-based industries, tourism and creative industries,” Doherty said.
The strategy considered several factors, including bilingualism, geography (Ottawa is geographically large), diversity, equity and inclusion, and environmental sustainability.
Doherty acknowledged that the pandemic has permanently altered the downtown core, but said she sees it as “an opportunity for economic partners to work together to reimagine and revitalize downtown, [as a way to] increase economic growth and resiliency, but also enhance [Ottawa’s] livability, safety, cultural vibrancy and tourism.”
She said many ideas came from consultations with stakeholders on this initiative, which will include real estate and land diversification, support for office-toresidential conversions and support for festivals and events in the core as well as consideration for the needs of the ByWard Market and Sparks Street Mall. She also mentioned the city’s “night life action plan.” (See more on downtown revitalization on page 52.)
Catherine Callary, vice president of destination development at Ottawa Tourism, said the pandemic taught Ottawans what it’s like to have no tourism.
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“The focus is really on maintaining Ottawa as an attractive destination for talent and innovation, as well as fostering a supportive environment for our knowledge-based industries, tourism and creative industries.”
“But the cool thing was to see residents rallying behind tourism experiences,” Callary says. “We were seeing this incredible resurgence of residents who were exploring their own backyards because they couldn't explore other backyards and they got a sense of the amazing tourism landscape we have in Ottawa.”
That led her group to the realization that what’s good for residents is good for tourism. And that, she said, led to the development of Ottawa Tourism’s destination stewardship plan, which has 130 recommendations and actions that involve the whole community — including the private sector — to help create an Ottawa that is attractive to visitors, investors, businesses and residents.
“Tourism is about quality of life, too,” she said.
Sonia Shorey, Invest Ottawa’s Vice-President of strategy, marketing and communications, said her organization is always looking for places where Ottawa can become a world leader.
“I believe in communities and grassroots coming together to create that commitment,” she said. “We have a technology powerhouse, entrepreneurial spirit and Main Street businesses that are the heart of our communities. We [can] pull that together in really big ideas and big ways — I really do believe we can take on the world.”
She said Area X.O can help companies innovate in several areas, including transportation, but also ag-tech.
“We have 100-acre smart farm with the support of the city that's leading the way in terms of ag-tech innovations that are allowing producers to use less water, fewer resources, and to have less negative environmental impact while increasing their yield and their profitability,” said Shorey.
The desire to have a city — to quote Cindy VanBuskirk, Program Manager, High Economic Impact Projects at City of Ottawa — “that offers shared priorities, shared values and a belief that everyone in our community should have equal access to economic opportunity” involves not just business-related improvements, but also a way to tackle homelessness, affordable housing and health
in general. After all, the pandemic taught us that health can affect economic prosperity.
A panel on creating quality of life addressed those issues, with Jason Burggraaf, executive director of the Greater Ottawa Homebuilder’s Association, stating that one economic analysis says Ottawa should have built 24,000 homes between 2006 and 2021. It’s clear Ottawa doesn’t have enough housing, he said, mentioning his 92-year-old neighbour who would like to downsize from her single-family home, but can’t afford to do so. As a result, he said, it’s crucially important that Ottawa make good on its pledge to build 15,000 new homes per year.
Speaking on behalf of the Alliance to End Homelessness, executive director Kaite Burkholder Harris explained that homelessness is a complex issue, and told the group that there are 1,100 families living in hotels in Ottawa, costing $3,300 a month per family.
Burkholder Harris talked about economist Sam Bowman, who wrote an article titled “The Housing Theory of Everything,” in which he posits that slow economic growth, poor health, financial instability, income inequality and even slowing birth rates all stem in some way from a lack of affordable housing.
“In other words, there are no silver bullets to solving our big collective challenges, but affordable housing is about as close as we're going to get,” she said.
Again speaking to the quality of life question, Jennifer Armstrong, program manager for transportation policy and networks with the City of Ottawa, said a 1965 plan for the city emphasized transportation via cars but today, the focus is on moving people, including by transit, bike or on foot.
Ottawa’s medical officer of health, Vera Etches, said she would reinforce many of the morning’s statements, but added that to achieve quality of life and economic growth for all, health is an important factor. She said it’s pretty hard to be healthy without a home, and noted that social connection is also critical to health, as we discovered in the pandemic.
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OPTIMISTIC OTTAWA: A SEASON OF GROWTH AHEAD
Three experts say Ottawa is well positioned to come out of the pandemic and weather any economic downturns that are looming due to interest rate increases.
BY JENNIFER CAMPBELL
AS A POSSIBLE recession looms, Ottawa’s economy is suffering in the same way the national economy is, but the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s chief economist says things are a little rosier here than in other Canadian cities.
Stephen Tapp, who also runs the Business Data Lab for the Chamber, says Ottawa is in good shape business-wise.
“At least for the current situation and looking ahead for the next year, the outlook for Ottawa’s economy is really strong and it's actually among the best in the country,” Tapp says.
He’s been working with Statistics Canada on its Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), which is a quarterly survey of up to 18,000 companies.
“When we did the city’s metro-level analysis, 80 percent of Ottawa businesses are saying they are optimistic about the year ahead,” Tapp says. “That's considerably higher than Toronto where it's only 58 per cent. Across Canada, that number is 68 per cent.”
The number of businesses currently operating in Ottawa is also up above pre-pandemic levels. Currently, there are 30,900 businesses operating in the city and the year-over-year numbers on growth rates are better in Ottawa than they are nationally.
“There’s also a higher share of businesses in Ottawa that say their revenues were up in 2022 versus 2021,” Tapp says. “We have 69 per cent in Ottawa saying revenues were up. That's above the national average, which was 66 per cent.”
Tapp says labour markets are also encouraging with the region’s unemployment rate below the national one.
“Of course, the big wild card would have been the strike with PSAC,” he says. The union and government settled the strike within 13 days and employees have since returned to work. “If that were to carry on for a long time, that would [have been] disruptive.”
Return-to-the-office policies were a key complaint for employees, and Ottawa is definitely lagging behind other metropolitan centres on getting people back to their desks, but most of that ghost-town effect appears to be on the Gatineau side.
Tapp, who works downtown at Slater and Kent Streets, says he notices a lot more foot traffic in the SoPa district than he did a year ago. And he expects travel and tourism to rebound in 2023, too, with a good outlook for attracting American visitors with the weak Canadian dollar while spurring Canadians to book domestic vacations.
On the housing front, prices “went crazy” in Ottawa with the average home price jumping from $550,000 to $750,000. After that “big bump,” they’ve cooled, but they’re still averaging at $600,000, which remains higher than it was before the pandemic.
“If you owned a home before the pandemic and didn’t have to sell your house, you’re in a better position now than you were before the pandemic, other than the fact that interest rates have gone up to deal with inflation,” he says. “The overall price of houses has still gone up.”
And, according to research and analysis by Deloitte, housing starts continue to grow and Ottawa’s job market is outperforming averages, with an unemployment rate of four per cent versus five per cent nationally.
But there are some clouds on the business investment side, which is causing Ottawa to lag behind the national average according to Matthew Stewart, director of economics at Deloitte Canada.
Stewart says companies are concerned about short-term economic performance so they’re cutting back a bit, and there’s the longer-term trend of weak business investment nationally, though those numbers have nudged up.
“I would say Ottawa is lagging the national average mostly because of business investment,” he says, defining investments as buildings, machinery, construction and engineering projects undertaken by businesses. “Statistics Canada tracks volumes of construction and Ottawa is not doing great. It's fallen in each of the last 12 months in terms of construction. In January, which is the most recent data, [industrial and commercial construction] are down 33 per cent compared to last year.”
Tapp admits that given the uncertainty of return-to-the-office in the core, commercial real estate space has higher vacancy rates in terms of prior leases.
“That would definitely be one blemish,” he says. “But I think that's also the case in any major city in Canada. If you look at [other cities], everybody's going to struggle right now because there's less demand to bring people back to the office. I think that's the national story — it’s nothing unique to Ottawa.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa, tends to agree and says for the other side of business investment — businesses looking for places to set up shop and looking for capital — Ottawa is a very good bet.
“Knowing there’s so much uncertainty, I would pick [Ottawa] over a lot of locations,” Tremblay says. “We have an awfully good place for people to live, we have a lot of infrastructure in place for R&D, so from an investment perspective, if you’re looking for markets to place a bet on, recognizing that every single city on the planet has the same uncertainty of hybrid work, pick a location where people actually like to live.”
He says venture capital coming into the city has been “substantial” in the last 18 months in Ottawa.
“Look at where the Government of Canada is placing its bets when it comes to the technology sector,” Tremblay says. “They just put a block of money into Ericsson, they put a block of money into Nokia and there’s more coming. The reason is that the mandates are landing in Ottawa. They’re not landing in other markets at the same pace.”
He says Invest Ottawa attracts eight to 12 companies to the Ottawa area each year and they start out relatively small, but Ottawa also has the business advantage of having lots of big companies that are already here and growing.
“Ciena’s here, Ericsson, Nokia — even companies like Syntronics from Sweden. They have 800 people here now and they’ve only been here since 2016. It’s because our market is R&D-centric. Other markets are sales subsidiaries. Look at Microsoft and Google and Facebook and all the biggest tech companies — who do they lay off
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“We have an awfully good place for people to live, we have a lot of infrastructure in place for R&D, so from an investment perspective, if you’re looking for markets to place a bet on, recognizing that every single city on the planet has the same uncertainty of hybrid work, pick a location where people actually like to live.”
first? They lay off sales, service and support. What do they double down on? R&D. What is Ottawa known for? R&D.”
Tremblay says when you have a third of the economy wrapped up in government, tech and tourism, “that's a pretty good basis for a strong, long-range resilient economy.”
Ottawa’s tech sector used to be focused on telecom, but that’s changed dramatically over the years, Tremblay says, to the point where it’s now centred on software companies.
“It's diversified,” he says. “We've got a ton [of companies working] in defence and our biggest sector in Ottawa technology is software companies, not telecom. Telecom is second. So these are big changes. And there's a benefit to our region, having the luxury of that kind of composition. With so much uncertainty everywhere in the world, I feel really lucky to be here.”
Tremblay says the fourth industrial revolution is not limited to technology — instead it combines the physical, biological and digital worlds. He was in Dallas, Texas, recently for a conference and delivered a talk on Area X.O — the Ottawa space where technology companies can develop, test and demonstrate their capabilities in an all-weather environment. He was asked by Texans, who’ve been dipping their toes in tech for the past three years, how Ottawa got into technology and he had to pause before he answered because the answer dates back 50 years to Northern Telecom.
HELPING INNOVATION ALONG
Stewart says Ottawa can help itself by working to ease immigration rules, making it easier for companies to bring employees in from other countries, and it can also reduce red tape.
“I hear all the time from different manufacturers,” he says. “They say it’s the red tape in Canada and they’ll list very detailed issues. Finding ways to improve that could go a long way. It’s always one of the top things [companies] talk about.”
Tapp’s question for Ottawa is whether we’ll ever see National Hockey League games in downtown Ottawa. He also noted there are a lot of little businesses in the city centre that were built to service public servants.
“That would be places like laundromats, dry cleaners, coffee shops and things,” he says. “There's certainly either reduced hours or pressure on those businesses because they're not built for a two-daya-week [workforce.] I come in to the office most days and on Fridays, it’s [pretty quiet.] Our Tim Hortons closes at 3 p.m.”
But, as he says, anecdotally, things are looking up.
“I do have the sense that momentum is building and more people are coming back, just by looking around,” he says. “It’s definitely not like it was a year ago and it's a lot better than it was six months ago. I think some people want to be back in the office — they want to get some more human contact and in-person discussions and all the rest of it, so I'm more optimistic, at least on Ottawa and the general rebound.”
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CLOSED 5000 20000 35000 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 Ottawa-Gatineau Active Businesses Annual Average Ottawa-Gatineau Opening Closing Rate Annual Average Ottawa-Gatineau Closed Businesses Ottawa-Gatineau Active Businesses 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 Opening rate Closing rate 4.1% 4.1% 4.1% 4.3% 4.2% 5% 4.4% 4.5% 3.6% 3.9% 4.1% 3.9% 4.2% 4.1% 5.2% 4% 4% 3% FEB-22 MAR-22 APR-22 MAY-22 JUN-22 JUL-22 AUG-22 SEP-22 OCT-22 NOV-22 DEC-22 JAN-23 900 1200 1500 20000 25000 30000 35000 FEB-22 MAR-22 APR-22 MAY-22 JUN-22 JUL-22 AUG-22 SEP-22 OCT-22 NOV-22 DEC-22 JAN-23 Active Continuing Source:
BY JENNIFER CAMPBELL
SEVERAL COMMITTEES HAVE been formed to research ways to revitalize the downtown core. Capital spoke to some community members, entrepreneurs and officials to find out how they’re doing their part.
Tuesday Club 613
Cameron MacIntosh’s father ran a small business, and is credited as being the first person to bring fresh croissants to Eastern Canada with his Café Croissant in Fredericton, New Brunswick. And it was Cameron’s knowledge of how hard his father worked, coupled with the desire to create something in tribute to his late grandmother that led him to create the Tuesday Club 613.
“What we do is we help small businesses that were hurt by the pandemic by going out on Tuesday nights, which for a lot of bars and restaurants in the city is their slowest night,” MacIntosh says.
The events have been going on weekly for more than a year and are usually attended by between 40 and 50 people, which can represent a pretty big boon to a restaurant that might otherwise be close to empty.
“I have a lot of empathy for small business owners and how difficult it can be to make a business function when times are good, and during the pandemic, it's been a very, very difficult time,” MacIntosh says.
Tuesday Club 613 focuses on locally owned businesses that are independently operated — no chains. He posts the events on social media under Tuesday Club 613 and they run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays. He always asks for RSVPs and lets the restaurant or bar owner know how many will be coming so they can prepare for the onslaught. The demographic tends to be professionals between the ages of 25 and 40 and it’s 60 percent female, 40 percent male, but anyone who wants to join is welcome.
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As the pandemic rolls on and federal government workers remain reluctant to return to the office, Ottawa’s downtown has changed inexorably, and creative minds are turning their attention to how to revitalize it.
MacIntosh, who is a senior adviser with the Canada Border Services Agency, started the initiative with his partner, Shaarika Sarasija, a senior strategist in research and
regulatory affairs with Humane Society International. The idea came from his grandmother — political aid and commentator Jackie Webster — who started a Tuesday club in Fredericton after former premier Richard Hatfield lost the 1987 election to Frank McKenna. She founded the Tuesday evening social club so she and Hatfield’s political staff could stay connected after they lost their jobs.
The district now known as SoPa was an initiative created by a handful of restaurants in north Centretown to attract tourists and locals alike. SoPa stands for “South of Parliament” in the same way that London’s SoHo district is south of Horton Street and New York’s SoHo is south of Houston Street.
Scott May, owner of Bar Robo and Q-Bar in Queen Street Fare, teamed up with Aiana owner Devinder Chaudhary and Thali owner Joe Thottungal to create the district in hopes it would attract more people to the downtown at night. The question, he says, was, “Do we get people [living] downtown first, or do we create stuff to lure them downtown? It's a chicken and egg or cart-before-the-horse thing.”
SoPa’s launch was a start. The event, which featured chefs from Thali, Beckta Dining and Wine, North & Navy, the NAC’s 1 Elgin Restaurant, Cocotte Bistro and Queen St. Fare, sold out its 200 tickets and was a big success, May says. The following month, SoPa launched a beer created especially for the district by the Kichesippi Beer Company, which May says was also a hit. In April, the organizers held a cocktail contest, featuring five mixologists who were asked to make a cocktail with Flor de Caña rum.
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 35
PHOTO CREDIT CURTIS PERRY
“You know the reputation of the city, but I also know that that reputation is completely inaccurate. Ottawa is a very vibrant, exciting city, it’s just that sometimes it can be difficult to connect with places and people in it. A really big part of what Tuesday Club tries to do is make the city accessible to people who may not have an easy way of plugging in.”
“They all made amazing cocktails and guests got to taste them,” May says.
In May, there was a “great downtown scavenger hunt” with a prize pack that included a night’s stay downtown and tickets to the NAC. Meanwhile, May and the SoPa team are working to attract other entrepreneurs to move into the core.
“Things like live music venues, vintage clothing stores, vintage vinyl stores, high profile souvenirs like [those from] Maker House,” May says. “Things that are really going to make people come out and wander around, making it a more livable type city downtown. The other part of SoPa is just to reinforce that there are a lot of things going on downtown.”
May thinks Sparks Street could be a perfect music destination for the city, akin to Frenchmen Street in New Orleans or Music Row in Nashville.
“The city wants to make this ‘Music City.’ Unfortunately, just saying it doesn't make it so,” May says.
“We need to put our money where our mouth is. Ottawa is at a major crossroads. It has changed significantly in the last five years. We have a serious homeless problem, drug epidemic, the transit system is broken, the public service is fleeing the downtown core. Unless we rethink what’s
“We need to put our money where our mouth is. Ottawa is at a major crossroads. It has changed significantly in the last five years. We have a serious homeless problem, drug epidemic, the transit system is broken, the public service is fleeing the downtown core. Unless we rethink what’s important to us, it’s going to get worse.”
A vibrant core is vital Hugh Gorman, who chairs the Ottawa Board of Trade’s economic development committee, says the committee has come to the conclusion that without a vibrant downtown core, it’s very difficult for a city to thrive. To that end, his committee has identified five key pillars, including creating affordable, walking-friendly, amenity-rich communities; ensuring safety and security for employees, residents, and tourists; supporting the growth of private and public sector employment; encouraging flexible and efficient government regulation and approvals; and supporting public and private investment in infrastructure.
“These are core areas of focus and the intent is to have very specific short-term action items related to each of these five pillars,” Gorman says. “For example, and a thing that's near and dear to my heart as a real estate development company, is flexible and efficient approvals. We have an affordability crisis happening in the city and part of the reason is because of the cost of development and the lack of new supply. The economics of new development, especially in the purposebuilt rental and condo space, doesn't make any sense.”
He says relief from development charges would help encourage purpose-built rental units, for example.
The economic development committee will also call for repurposing federal downtown buildings and it will be working with
36 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE PHOTO
important to us, it’s going to get worse.”
The evening envoy
Ottawa is following in the footsteps of cities such as New York, Washington, and London, England, in establishing a position for a night commissioner, who will be charged with invigorating Ottawa’s nightlife as part of the city’s Nightlife Economy Action Plan. The early phases of the plan involve setting the stage for the night commissioner to be hired. Later phases involve establishing a nightlife ambassador council comprised of industry and community leaders to provide feedback and support to the nightlife commissioner’s one-person office.
“The recommendation that staff will execute this year is creating the framework for the nightlife commissioner’s office, [including] how it’s set up, how it operates and then hiring for that position,” says Cindy VanBuskirk, who works with high economic impact projects with the City of Ottawa. “The thought would be to have the nightlife commissioner’s office up and running by January 2024.”
This idea was being considered before the pandemic to capitalize on the hours between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
A collaborative tourism plan
Ottawa Tourism, meanwhile, has developed a destination stewardship plan that represents a 10-year vision of what the city should be from a tourism lens.
“We have to work very closely with community
partners, government partners and a whole range of stakeholders to collectively [create] this vision, and we each have our own little part to play in bringing the vision to reality,” says Catherine Callary, VicePresident of destination development at Ottawa Tourism. “A piece of that plan talks about the importance of having a vibrant downtown.”
The plan has 130 specific actions, such as rousing the downtown with expanded festivals and new festivals. “Over the next three to five years, it's going to be a rolling strategy as things shift and evolve,” she says. “Vibrant downtowns don’t just happen.”
Callary said one recent survey found that Ottawa business has only gained back 52 percent of its pre-pandemic business since things started opening up again.
Naqvi’s task force
Ottawa MP Yasir Naqvi heads up a task force that is considering a number of strategies to revitalize and rebuild the downtown. His group is looking at how to allow for the conversion of federal office buildings to residential spaces, and is approaching tech companies to suggest they consider moving their operations to the core from Kanata. There are also discussions with post-secondary institutions about whether they could make use of some of the space.
Naqvi likes the idea of Ottawa becoming Music City North and filling some additional downtown space with music venues, including possibly finding a way to relaunch Barrymore’s.
His committee was aiming to release its recommendations in June.
Ottawa’s nightlife by the numbers
$2,172 $3,915 $913
Number of workers in the nightlife sector in 2021
$1.99 billion Amount spent between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. in 2019 $1.5 billion Spent on nightlife activities in 2019 $5.5 billion Daytime totals for the same period $1.3 billion Share of the $1.99 billion that residents spent (84%) $240 million Share of the $1.99 billion that visitors spent (16%)
4,600 Number of nightlife-related businesses in 2021
or 8,820: Decline in nightlife jobs in the pandemic Annual household spending on restaurants in Ottawa Annual household spending on recreation in Ottawa Annual household spending on entertainment in Ottawa
educational institutions to see if they are interested in those spaces.
FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING: TAAG BOOSTS BUSINESSES FOR THE GOOD OF THE COMMUNITY
BY ERIKA CUCCARO
PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRM steps up to provide vital professional support. Established in 2009, TAAG (formally known as Elite Accounting) began as an accounting firm focusing on small and medium-sized businesses and family legacies.
Founder and CEO, Andrew Abraham, began his career at one of the big four accounting firms. That’s where he found his passion –helping entrepreneurs shift out of survival mode by giving them the support and tools to thrive and prosper.
Inspired, Abraham left his job and started Elite Accounting, a boutique accounting firm geared toward entrepreneurs. Before long, he built a strong team and a solid roster of satisfied clients, and referrals started coming in.
After thirteen years in business, undergoing various office leases and witnessing the steady growth of their team and professional services, TAAG finally found a new home on the corner of Bank and
Cooper in September 2022. The contemporary space opened their eyes to the vast possibilities of running a proficient and welcoming firm. In no time, 251 Bank Street evolved into a thriving community hub, embracing both employees and clients and becoming an integral part of the neighborhood.
Expansion adds Family Office, Legal, and Marketing + Design services
As the firm grew, TAAG boosted its service offerings in 2022 to include the Family Office, wealth management and succession planning, and in 2023, went on to include business and corporate law and marketing + design.
Now with a team of nearly 70, TAAG continues to provide personalized services and expert advice that empowers entrepreneurs to grow with intention – all under one umbrella. With the integration of marketing + design services into its
38 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE ON THE GROUND - BUSINESS SUCCESS STORIES
portfolio, the firm welcomed gordongroup – one of Ottawa’s oldest and most prominent marketing, branding and design agencies – into its fold. This acquisition was also an example of TAAG’s strategic succession planning service at work.
Since joining forces, TAAG clients have been engaged with TAAG’s new world-class marketing and strategic communications offerings - while the team maintains their commitment to its roster of valued clients in the government, Indigenous and non-profit sectors. One of these is the Ottawa Board of Trade with whom gordongroup|TAAG is continuing to collaborate to co-publish this 18th edition of CAPITAL magazine, which will be celebrated with contributors at a special launch event on June 28, 2023.
Putting community first
Growing up in a family of hard-working entrepreneurs, Abraham has seen firsthand how essential small-medium business is in building a vibrant community. As such, the TAAG team strives to elevate business owners and make a tangible difference in the community. Through TAAG’s
Prosperity blog and social media channels, the team showcases local entrepreneurs and offers practical advice on everything from hiring students for the summer to personal and professional tax tips.
Also, TAAG actively engages with the community in ways such as sponsoring the ONFE School Breakfast Program, the Ottawa Motorcycle Ride for Dad (in support of the fight against prostate cancer), and the Ottawa Police Gala (and the local charities it supports), donating to the Ottawa Food Bank, participating in the Hope volleyball tournaments, and contributing to other local causes that align with their goals of ending hunger and fueling economic growth in the city. TAAG Park at Carleton University is another example of the firm’s contributions in support of education and athletics.
Building a thriving community
Abraham encourages clients with his signature brand of practical optimism. He sees this moment as a valuable opportunity. It’s a chance to picture where you want to go next, what you want to accomplish and how you can uplift others along the way.
Because when one business prospers, the positive impact ripples through the whole community, creating a brighter future for all. Find out how TAAG can help take your business from surviving to thriving at taag.ca
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 39
RÄNDĀ VŌŌ UNITES THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY FOR A UNIQUE EVENT EXPERIENCE
AMONG MANY THINGS, the pandemic showed us the importance that human connection has on our mental health, learning and growth, and ability to build personal and business relationships.
A homegrown Ottawa initiative, the RÄNDĀ VOO Business Network has made an emphatic entrance into the business community. Its mission has been to build a diverse and inclusive community for high-achieving professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners. A business community based on the principles of collaboration, co creation, partnerships, and long-term values-based relationships.
The premier business networking and social event experience, RÄNDĀ VOO has been making waves in the Ottawa business
community. It's been consistently selling out and attracting professionals from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. It's a curated event experience that fuses together luxurious settings, gastronomy, eclectic music, good vibes, fashion, art, and exceptional hospitality. In the recent past, they have been hosted at exceptional locations such as Nordstrom Rooftop, Ottawa Art Gallery, Westin's exclusive TwentyTwo , and The National Arts Centre.
Membership base has been growing steadily and the demographic is very diverse, like-minded professionals from sectors including law, health, real estate, finance, insurance and many more.
“Your events are in a class of its own. It always surpasses my expectations each time and I can hardly wait for this coming event. It's truly amazing how I always meet new and exciting individuals each time I attend. Congrats.” - Dr. Ben Fong
“RÄNDĀ VOO grabbed my attention with its upscale location and event promise. I had a great time socializing and made connections that will no doubt translate to future business. I’ll be the first to sign up for Aaron’s next event.” - Dr. Paul N
“RÄNDĀ VOO “Elevate Your After 5” events are a must. These are well curated networking socials with a no pressure approach to building on existing business connections or discovering new ones. The venue, theme, food & beverage selection is always on par with
the professional pedigree of those attending.” - David F
Not well known, but the theory of social responsibility is alive and well in all activities of this business network. The founder made sure that there was an element of giving back to the community, specifically supporting vulnerable youths. So much so that the business network is the leading fundraising team in Ottawa for the Coldest night of Year campaign for the Ottawa Youth Service Bureau.
“The Youth Services Bureau Foundation is so grateful for the transformative support that RÄNDĀ VOO and Aaron have provided to our organization. Since the beginning of 2022, RÄNDĀ VOO events have raised over $16,000 representing the sponsorship of 3 rooms for young people in our downtown emergency shelters. This support is truly life changing for the vulnerable young people that turn to YSB when they are in need and would not be possible without the community coming together for these fantastic events.” Ottawa Youth Service Bureau
Event Sponsors recognition: TAAG Accounting, Smart Parking Applications, Get it Technologies, Meridian Credit Union, I4C Consulting Website: wheregreatmindsgather.ca Instagram: @randavoobusinessnetwork
40 CAPITAL SUMMER 2023 | THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE
WHERE GREAT MINDS GATHER.
Capital Integral Charitable Foundation (CICF) MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF CHILDREN
ESTABLISHED IN 2018, the Capital Integral Charitable Foundation (CICF) was born out of a deep-rooted desire to give back to the community that had supported and nurtured the Capital Integral Group of Companies. With a vision of making a positive difference, CICF embarked on a mission to help children in our community through its impactful initiatives.
From its inception, CICF sought to assemble a dedicated and like-minded board of directors who shared a passion for helping their community. The Foundation was fortunate to find a group of motivated and resourceful individuals who were prepared to use their networks to raise money for the betterment of the lives of children in the Ottawa area. Together, they formed an extraordinary team committed to driving change and making a lasting impact.
The Foundation's approach to giving involves partnering with different groups within the community to address their unique needs and challenges. This collaborative strategy allows CICF to expand its impact while keeping its primary focus of impacting the lives of children.
The initial partnership for CICF was its participation in the 24 Hours at Tremblant event in December 2019. With the support of generous sponsors and dedicated staff, the Foundation raised an impressive $70,000 for children's charities. This exciting event not only raised much-needed funds but also brought together individuals from various backgrounds who shared a common goal of improving the lives of children in need.
The CICF Board made the strategic decision to focus their efforts on a single charity that had an immediate impact on the children in our communities. This resulted in a significant 3 year commitment to The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE). The ONFE partnership focuses specifically on raising funds for the School Breakfast Program, which plays a vital role in ensuring that children start their day with proper nutrition. Recognizing the undeniable connection between nutrition and education, CICF's board members, many of whom are parents or have children who attended schools in Ottawa, understand the immense value of supporting this program.
The importance of a nutritious breakfast for children cannot be overstated. Hunger can impede concentration, slow information processing, and cause general discomfort, hindering a child's ability to learn effectively. CICF aimed to raise a minimum of $75,000 annually for the School Breakfast Program, which would translate to at least 75,000 meals provided to hungry children. Particularly in the current environment, where the demand for breakfasts has increased and COVID guidelines have led to higher food handling costs, the support for this program has become more urgent than ever.
Despite some of our fundraising efforts being restricted by COVID, we are proud that over the past three years we have raised a total of $225,000.00
We are pleased to announce that our Board has approved the extension of this support to the Breakfast Program for an additional two years.
At CICF we continue to look for other ways to impact the lives of children in our area and will be announcing some new initiatives in the coming months.
CICF recognizes that every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference. As such we are very diligent at ensuring the maximum amount possible of the funds raised get into the hands of the people in need, to date we are averaging over $0.80 per $1 donated, getting help directly to those in need. By supporting CICF you are part of a movement that enriches the lives of vulnerable children and strengthens the fabric of the community as a whole.
To Find out more about how you can help visit our website www.cicf.info or contact Dan Fried (President) at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF THE OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE | SUMMER 2023 CAPITAL 41
The resilience of Ukraine
S RUSSIAN BOMBING persists in Kyiv and across Ukraine, Ukrainians show their resilience by continuing to live their lives”, says Ukrainian Ambassador Yuliya Kovaliv.
Kovaliv, who has been Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada since March 2022, spoke with Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe at the Mayor's Breakfast, hosted by the Ottawa Business Journal on the 18th March 2023.
The envoy told the audience that Kyiv’s residents continue to go shopping and out for dinner amid the destruction being wrought on their city. Children still go to school and citizens are already rebuilding the city. When she was there in February during a power outage, she could hear the sound of hundreds of generators coming from stores in the area, giving power to carry on business as usual.
“The [resilience] of the businesses is remarkable,” she said, referring to the countless stories about businesses that opened their doors to supply people with what they needed. “They said ‘We are not earning any profit, but we understand that if we are open, people can find a sense of normality.’”
Kovaliv spoke about how Ottawans can help by donating to organizations such as the Red Cross and Canada-Ukraine Foundation or by mentoring, hiring or giving opportunities to Ukrainians who have taken refuge in Canada. Exemplifying the giving she was suggesting, Sutcliffe announced that a motion would be presented at council to donate an ambulance to Ukraine to help provide emergency medical care. Sutcliffe told the ambassador he admired the spirit of Ukrainians and expressed Canada’s steadfast support for the country.
“ A CHARITY CORNER | SPONSORED BY TAAG When you take action, so can we. Contact: Victoria Deanes Associate, Community Engagement email@example.com 613-323-3731 Create your own fundraising event in support of the Canadian Red Cross.
You understand the value of working together. So do we. We care about what you care about. Meet Julie. Cowan expert Julie Brisson works with you to find innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable solutions to meet your unique needs. As a leader in the business community, Julie is proud to be involved and serve on various business administration boards. As a preferred partner of the Ottawa Board of Trade, we are committed to providing bilingual service with an extensive range of integrated offerings: Group Benefits and Retirement Home and Auto Insurance Business Insurance Disability Management Liability Contact us to get started today. 1-888-509-7797 | firstname.lastname@example.org | cowangroup.ca/OBoT
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