KENNA HON. CATHERINE MC
DR. VERA ETCHES
LLERTON HON. MERRILEE FU
ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR CANADIAN SMALL BUSINESSES MARY NG, MINISTER OF SMALL BUSINESS, EXPORT PROMOTION, AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE GETS THE LAST WORD. P. 46
HON. MON CHING, SUELING
COLLABORATION AND LEADERSHIP Igniting our Economy
PM 43 13 6012 P M 4 3 1 3 6 01 2
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF
GOVERNMENT COVID STIMULUS PROGRAMS VISIT OUR WEBSITE! CAPITALMAG.CA FALL 2020
Ottawa’s first Mike Holmes Approved Builder
We Turn your Dream Home into Reality At OakWood, your custom home receives the undivided attention of our most experienced and talented consultants, architectural designers, and project managers. Our Design & Build process, honed for over 60 years, is personalized by your OakWood Team to meet the special needs of your one-of-a-kind luxury custom home.
Design • Kitchens • Renovations • Custom Homes • Investment Properties • Financing
Everyone’s Role in Recovery
Find out if your CONTENTS
local store offers delivery or curb side pickup.
Share local restaurant delivery menus on your social media pages.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) encourages you to go about your daily activities while protecting yourself and others. Please follow these recommended precautions and be COVID Wise to help keep COVID-19 under control.
Wear a mask or face
covering where required and whenever possible, especially when you cannot maintain physical distance, indoors or outdoors.
Stay two metres (six
Isolate yourself from others when you are sick (and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms).
Order delivery or
pickup from your favorite restaurant.
Tip service workers extra. Just give a donation.
Cash is always appreciated.
Seriously, they need us and we need them!
feet) apart from those outside your household.
Website designers, developers, and
Buy gift cards or credit
social media experts! Offer your services to local businesses that don’t have an online presence to help them sell and promote online.
for later from your favorite restaurants, stores, hair salons, spas, childcare providers and hardware store.
hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer especially before touching your face.
Shop remotely, shop #COVIDWise #SupportLocal Download the COVID Alert App.
online at local businesses.
32 *Visit https://ottawa.ca/en/business/economic-support-and-recovery/buy-local and https://ottawa.ca/en/business/economic-support-and-recovery#statement-mayor-watson-following-call-leadersottawas-business-community for more information
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html *Visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/be-covidwise.aspx for more information
Collaboration, Communication and Candour Three keys to rebuilding the economy in the Nation’s Capital
Everyone’s Role in Recovery
COVID Highlights Symbiotic Relationship Between Health, Business
I N FOG R A P H I C
BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N
BY J ENN C A MPBELL
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 3
IN EVERY ISSUE
Capital Context Reopening Safely – and Stronger
The OBOT Perspective
The heart of advocacy, the agent for change
BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N
On the Cover
COLLABORATION AND LEADERSHIP Igniting our Economy
4 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
GOVERNMENT COVID STIMULUS PROGRAMS THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE OF PM 43136012 P M 4 3 1 3 6 01 2
ECONOMIC RECOVERY FOR CANADIAN SMALL BUSINESSES MARY NG, MINISTER OF SMALL BUSINESS, EXPORT PROMOTION, AND INTERNATIONAL TRADE GETS THE LAST WORD. P. 46
VISIT OUR WEBSITE! CAPITALMAG.CA FALL 2020
THE OBOT PERSPECTIVE
“YOU’RE ON MUTE!” This is the business
community catch phrase for 2020. Countless video meetings and events, remote working, homeschooling, mask wearing, delivery service – these are “the days of our lives”. And with the exception of the summer patio break, pandemic fatigue set in early, continues to plague us and has the potential to keep us from our end game – to return to life as we know it. The last few months of controlling the spread of COVID and mitigating the counter measures has been wrought with uncertainty, blurred lines, financial and mental stress. And no one is spared from the impact. Our lives have become the ultimate balancing act of staying apart yet connected, accelerating while slowing down, and adapting daily as we plan. The stories of COVID are highly varied. There are many of us who had to work from home and those who could not. Some kept their jobs while others were laid off. Those with school aged children were disproportionately burdened, as were women, and other marginalized populations. Our most vulnerable populations became even more exposed with virtually no way to help themselves including many in longterm care. And then we have the tale of two businesses. Those who thrived and those who could not survive. The reasons are too diverse to name however some factors were financial and operational preparedness, sector and size of business and those
impacted by restrictions. In general, small local businesses have borne the brunt of this pandemic and despite their ingenuity and resilience, they cannot go it alone. In all, there were many lessons learned, the most important of which is that community prosperity is a three legged stool. And each leg must be equally strong; economic growth, physical health and safety and mental well-being. We cannot turn our attention to only one without impacting the others and potentially creating more issues than the ones we are trying to solve. A holistic approach is the order of the day. Secondly, the most important priorities of our society have been clearly revealed and must be addressed as we contemplate recovery. These include our education and health care systems, our environment, infrastructure and transportation strategies and the significant inequities in our communities. Now is the time to move from reactive tactics to proactive strategic planning. Finally, everyone has a role to play in getting us to the other side of this pandemic. Government is our soft place to fall and they have a responsibility to use our collective resources to create a competitive business environment and support those who need it. Private enterprise will drive our economy – as they always do – by providing jobs, essential products and services and supporting community causes. Today, the key factor in our success relies on the individual. Every one of us – our attitude and behavior – matters in this fight against COVID. We must follow the public health recommendations, prioritize our personal health, engage in our economy, support local and encourage others to do the same. We will be living with COVID for some time to come. That changes our lives, but it doesn’t have to destroy them. We can expediate our economic and health recovery with our every decision starting today – as long as we all act. Our story will be defined by how we rise from this fall. Stronger together. Sueling Ching, President & CEO Ottawa Board of Trade
6 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
The magazine about doing business in Ottawa, created by the Ottawa Board of Trade in partnership with gordongroup. OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE 328 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J9 Phone: 613-236-3631 www.ottawabot.ca President & CEO Sueling Ching PUBLISHER gordongroup 55 Murray Street / Suite 108 Ottawa, Ontario K1N 5M3 Phone: 613-234-8468 firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Terry McMillan Contributors Jeff Buckstein Jenn Campbell Anna Williams Alje Kamminga Creative Director James Welsh Graphic Designer Louise Casavant SALES For advertising rates and information, please contact: Director of Advertising Sales Stephan Pigeon Phone: 613-234-8468 / 250 email@example.com
OTTAWA BOARD OF TRADE Director of Membership Experience, Ottawa Board of Trade Lynn Ladd Phone: 613-236-3631 / 120 Lynn.Ladd@ottawabot.ca www.capitalmag.ca
ISSN 2371-333X. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the contents without prior written authorization from the publisher is strictly prohibited. PM 43136012. Capital is published three times a year: winter, spring, and fall. Printed in Canada.
MAR K HO LLERON
LIVING WITH COVID
ALGONQUIN COLLEGE POSITIONING STUDENTS FOR REBUILDING THE ECONOMY Algonquin College Automotive Service Technician students engage in experiential learning at Ottawa Campus as part of a 2020 summer pilot program.
ALGONQ UIN CO LLEGE
ARTNERSHIPS AND CUTTING-EDGE technology
have helped Algonquin College support students, the community and the wider economy during COVID-19 “Post-secondary institutions can retain and enhance the goodwill they have earned as active participants in their communities through this crisis by sharing their expertise,” said Claude Brulé, Algonquin College President and Chief Executive Officer. Algonquin’s expertise has focused on improving educational experiences and economic opportunities. This includes Indigenous education and training and health-care initiatives, such as: • Partnering with Ottawa Tourism on an Indigenous Tourism Entrepreneurship Training initiative, which will support Indigenous entrepreneurs in the creation and development of their own business and tourism ideas. • Leading a federally-funded, $8.2-million, national job-readiness program for Indigenous, Métis, and Inuit youth. Indigenous YouthBuild Canada brings several First Nations communities together with post-secondary institutions, government, and corporate partners to help more than 400 youth acquire job-ready skills. • Leading a $2.5-million program to provide more than 250 Indigenous youth across Canada with on the job, hands on training and employment skills related to the impact or effects of the pandemic. • Donating thousands of pieces of protective equipment and loaning out ventilators to help local health-care facilities.
“We are all in this together and Algonquin College wanted to give back,” said Brulé. “We do all we can to support the community.” Experiential learning and innovative technology are also crucial elements in Algonquin’s efforts to support students and employers. Recent initiatives include: • Partnering with Ciena, one of the region’s biggest tech employers, to enhance the Ottawa campus’ Optophotonics Lab. The upgrade provides students with training on state-of-the-art telecommunications equipment and will help them find career success. • The Cooperative Education Department creating a new work option for students – Entrepreneurship Co-op, or eCo-op – as a proactive response to the pandemic. eCo-op students are their own bosses, partnering with a mentor to develop a business strategy or a business plan. • The College’s new Corporate Training centre launching free, virtual courses to give back to the community during the pandemic. • Preparing to launch a new Cyber Security Analyst Graduate Certificate Program to meet the needs of this rapidly growing job market. • Opening AC Online, the College’s new, digital-only campus, to meet increasing demand for flexible, personalized and quality online education. • Implementing a summer pilot program that saw more than 600 students return to campus to safely complete hands-on components of their programs. TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 7
REOPENING SAFELY – AND STRONGER
HE OTTAWA BOARD of Trade’s (OBOT) primary role
has always been as an advocate for businesses and an influential economic partner to support our mission to build community prosperity. Over the past eight months, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic - the worst global health crisis in more than a century – our strong voice for business has been more important than ever. Many small and local businesses have been particularly vulnerable during this pandemic. Those in the retail, restaurant, and hospitality sectors, or those without the resources to withstand a long closure, have been the hardest hit. Businesses in office complexes and in the downtown are also struggling. With many employees now working from home, they no longer have a built-in clientele every day to purchase lunch and to shop at nearby retail stores. But we have also seen a remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. This is a city with a rich tradition of talented entrepreneurship. There are opportunities for local entrepreneurs to harness their resilience, skills and talent to pivot their current business or create new ones. We have been inspired by countless stories of adaptability of local businesses. A print company that has successfully retooled its production machinery to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Retail businesses that have ramped up their online presence to provide more purchase options for customers unable to come to their stores. Restaurants opening new patios over the summer and also making
a significant financial commitment to invest in PPE to ensure the safety of their employees and customers. The pandemic has also provided an extraordinary incentive for local companies to accelerate the important digital transformation many had already begun before COVID. With remote work and online buying now becoming the norm, digital transformation that would normally have been achieved over several years has been accomplished in months. Thanks to government support and community leadership, businesses have been given the opportunity to accelerate the process to digitization. For example, the Recovery Activation Program helps businesses execute an end-to-end digital transformation that increases productivity and evidence-based decision making. The Digital Main Street Program provides businesses with access to one-on-one support and funding to enhance their online marketing capability. The Trade Accelerator Program gets businesses from zero to export ready and opens up entire new markets. Entrepreneurs have access to resources and funding to enhance their business like never before. We should all be grateful for the diligence of our local companies and their commitment to reopen safely, mindful of public health recommendations. The most valuable lesson COVID-19 has taught us is that there is an unbreakable connection between physical health, mental well-being, and economic prosperity. To support the recovery and help local businesses instill consumer and workforce confidence, OBOT partnered with several national
8 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
We should all be grateful for the diligence of our local companies and their commitment to reopen safely, mindful of public health recommendations. The most valuable lesson COVID-19 has taught us is that there is an unbreakable connection between physical health, mental well-being, and economic prosperity. partners to launch the People Outside Safely Together [POST] initiative. This program consists of a simple checklist and declaration for businesses to declare they are committed to conducting business safely. As a business advocate OBOT works with decision makers at all levels of government to provide recommendations on policies and programs that inspire growth and sustainability. I am pleased to report that we experienced an unprecedented level of communication and collaboration between business and government in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Governments have listened to and responded to the needs of business during these challenging and uncertain times. Working together at this level will be critical as we move forward. However, the success or failure of our economic recovery relies on the members of our community at large. Citizens need to do their part to protect our small businesses. In addition to adhering to
health and safety recommendations to protect public health, each of us also has a role in re-igniting the local economic engine by using the power of our consumer dollars. I encourage every single person in our community to examine ways they can increase their local buying. Otherwise, we risk losing forever, many of the precious businesses that have served us well in the past and can do so again in the future. The federal government has delivered by taking a leadership position and providing a financial safety net to businesses affected by this crisis. We will continue to advocate for smart policy making that supports a growth agenda and spending targeted to the most vulnerable in our community. But we can only maintain this level of government spending for so long. We must build on the lessons we have learned in the last few months and focus our energies on those actions and behaviours that will allow us to live with COVID until a vaccine is created and distributed. Moving forward, all of us – as citizens, entrepreneurs, investors and politicians - need to understand that it is the private sector and free enterprise that will ultimately lead the way to economic recovery. We have many challenges to overcome. And many opportunities to explore. Now is the time to realize our full potential and work together to become a community with thriving businesses that protect our environment and commit to enhanced health and prosperity for everyone. Absolutely everyone. We can do this. We are stronger together.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 9
HE PRIMARY WORK of the Ottawa Board of Trade is led
by business leaders who serve as committed volunteers to ensure we achieve our mission of creating prosperity through advocacy, collaboration, and leadership. More than 100 volunteers currently work in various capacities with the Board of Trade. Many devote their time and effort to support our committee and council structure, which covers a wide spectrum of critically important business fields necessary to drive local businesses forward. Some of these include the Capital Build Task Force, CEO Council, Diversity and Inclusion Council, Economic Growth, Environment & Sustainability, SME Council, Talent Development, Transportation & Infrastructure, and Young Entrepreneurs & Professionals. The experience and expertise these leaders bring to our committees are essential – especially today as we face the challenges and counter measures of COVID-19. Committee members are connected to the real life and emerging issues facing the business community and their advice is invaluable to the Board of Trade as we create recommendations for all levels of government. The exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19 have significantly impacted our work in 2020, as we help to mitigate its devastating effects on some of our local businesses while optimizing opportunities for the future. The SME Council began meeting weekly as soon as COVID began and were able to provide direct feedback on the government programs and make specific recommendations on how they could be more valuable. For example, one of the key federal programs was the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). However, it did not initially take into consideration all business models in its eligibility criteria and we advocated for a broader inclusion. Those efforts met with success and the federal government broadened its definition of businesses to expand its reach. Another critical program was the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to help keep Canadians working and connected to their employers. The initial revenue criteria was not aligned with the
reality of business owners and the federal government addressed those concerns quickly. CEWS has since become an essential program for many local businesses. The CEO Council also began meeting weekly to address issues related to large business and monitor the COVID impact on our community at large. This group has met with several Ministers, national CEOs and leaders from other countries who were ahead of us in having to deal with the pandemic. We have stayed in close communication with local health and city officials and continue to garner information critical to our recommendations as we contemplate our economic recovery. The Talent Development Committee began meeting bi-weekly to assess the changing landscape of our local employment needs and opportunities. We focus on how we can support businesses in their workforce development, what the overall community strategy needs to be, and how we can continue to promote Ottawa as the best place to live and work. For example, the emerging trend of remote work has important and long-term implications for our workforce, our competitiveness and our downtown. The Board of Trade committees have also been at the leading edge of discussions about how businesses need to reopen and operate safely amidst the pandemic health threat. We support the mandatory use of masks and promote key messaging aligned with Ottawa Public Health, the City of Ottawa and other key partners. Our Board of Trade volunteer and staff team are committed to the economic, mental and physical well-being of our community. Our focus is to support businesses in surviving and thriving. We do that by offering relevant information, benefits and programs, advocating for policies that create a competitive business environment, and promoting Ottawa in the global marketplace. We will continue to work with and for the business community through and beyond the pandemic crisis, so they may lead us out of this crisis and into our evolved economy. We are stronger together.
10 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
OWIT-Ottawa actively promotes the advancement of women in business and trade. Roundtable discussion with the Chilean Minister of Women and Gender.
OTTAWA CHAPTER OF OWIT GROWS ITS INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE PHOTO CR EDIT: COURTESY OF INNOVATION, SCI ENCE AND ECONOM IC DEVE LO PMENT CANADA
HE OTTAWA CHAPTER of the Organization of Women
in International Trade [OWIT] started modestly as a group of ten volunteer enthusiasts in 2009. Today, the international not-for-profit professional organization, whose mandate is to promote and connect women engaging in international trade through networking and educational opportunities, has greatly expanded its presence. OWIT-Ottawa’s audience has grown to encompass representatives of government agencies, academics, the diplomatic community, educational institutions, and public and private businesses. The OWIT international network has supported OWIT-Ottawa’s outreach to various countries and continents, tapping into numerous members, partners, and contacts around the globe. “International trade, a traditionally male dominated sector, has seen a remarkable surge in women’s participation in all roles at every level -- business owners, advisors, politicians, and professionals,” says Anca Sattler, President of OWIT-Ottawa. OWIT-Ottawa’s location provides a unique opportunity for it to interact with international trade regulators such as Global Affairs Canada and other federal departments, multiple foreign embassies and High Commissions, along with a wide variety of businesses – both for-profit and not-for-profit, Crown corporations, and two major universities, with a range of international trade implications. The organization holds various events geared towards the promotion of women in business and trade. Events over the past few years have, for example, included a fireside chat with Export
Development Canada President and Chief Executive Officer Mairead Lavery, the first woman to hold that position, and a gender and trade round table with Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng and Minister Isabel Plá, Chile’s then Minister of Women and Gender Equity. Another OWIT event featured Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque, British High Commissioner to Canada, who shared her perspective on the UK/Canada trade relationship as well as the implications of Brexit. OWIT-Ottawa has created a robust and reliable network of contacts and partners, including Export Development Canada, Trade Facilitation Office Canada, Business Women in International Trade, HSBC, KPMG and others. “The richness and diversity of OWIT-Ottawa’s events is only possible because of these valued relationships,” says President Anca Sattler. To maintain the connection with its members, contacts and audience through the COVID-19 pandemic, OWIT-Ottawa has shifted its focus to online events and made more extensive use of technology. In so doing, it has maintained a good working relationship with its audience, sister chapters, and partners. Its next event, in early December, will be a virtual seminar with several local businesses: Stubbe Chocolates, Equator Coffee, and KIN Vineyards, whose owners will share their challenges and opportunities arising from the new market realities. Stay tuned for more details.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 1 1
COLLABORATION, COMMUNICATION AND CANDOUR Three keys in rebuilding the economy in the Nation’s Capital BY J E N N IF E R C AM P B E LL
12 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 1 3
HERE IS NO question the pandemic has been devastating
in so many ways, but our road to recovery has engendered a new spirit of co-operation among business, health and government leaders in the capital that inspires hope. “As we contemplate a complicated recovery, we must maintain a very high level of collaboration,” says Sueling Ching, president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade. “The pandemic has revealed a lot of fault lines within our businesses, communities and government. We have a unique opportunity and an undeniable responsibility to revisit our priorities because of the incredible inequities that have been highlighted within our society.” Ching points to the disproportionate burden on women as an example.“One might have said we were making progress on the issue of gender equality,” she says. “But the pandemic has completely changed that conversation because of the incredible burden that women have faced during this time.” She says Ottawa is fortunate to have several strong females at the helm of this collaboration, including but not limited to Vera Etches, Ottawa’s chief medical officer of health; Merrilee Fullerton, provincial minister of long-term care and MPP for Kanata; Catherine McKenna, federal minister of infrastructure and communities and MP for Ottawa Centre; Lisa MacLeod, provincial minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries and MPP for Nepean; and Monica Fortier, MP for Vanier, minister of middle-class prosperity and associate minister of finance, among many others in government, non-profits and business. Ching says the recovery has given Ottawa “a chance to create the community we always wanted to be” by addressing the needs of those who are marginalized and the way Ottawa approaches issues like environment and sustainability, transportation and infrastructure when considering new economic strategies. “We are not just working to build back. We are facing an economic evolution,” she says. “We need to look beyond maintaining, and elevate the level of collaboration, communication, and candour that we’ve exercised over these past eight months. We need to move
from reactive and put those tools to work in a more thoughtful and strategic manner so we can get to the next level of community and city building. That requires strong leadership.” The good news Asked to name some successes so far, Ching says that for her, the mere level of collaboration is a success. “Our collective understanding that the economy and public health are inextricably linked along with our commitment to conversations about the faults in our systems, is something to build from,” she adds. “Some businesses transformed in the last eight months in a way that may have otherwise taken a decade to achieve. We had already identified digital transformation as a key to compete in the global economy, but many businesses were not there yet and that became evident during the pandemic. Now businesses have an opportunity to evolve, and have the government support them through programs designed to keep businesses alive and thriving. It is our hope and intention that businesses will take advantage of these programs to create long term growth.” Fullerton echoes those sentiments. “Whether it has been in my riding in service of the residents of Kanata-Carleton, or in my capacity as minister of long-term care, I am certain that it is through the collaboration and innovation across all sectors that we are making the necessary advances to ensure a prosperous future,” Fullerton says. Ching says the government’s relatively quick response with numerous programs to help business might otherwise have taken years to build and is appreciative that government officials have been open to tweaking them to respond to changing needs. “The open lines of communication between business and government are definitely a huge success,” she says. “There are leaders in our community who will be long remembered by how they behaved during this pandemic.” Her hope is that those leaders will continue to lead with integrity, listen and collaborate. And that businesses understand that while
14 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
the government is responsible to create a competitive business environment that ultimately, they need to rely on the same sense of ownership, ingenuity and resilience that inspired them to become entrepreneurs in the first place. “Yes, there have been lockdowns, and yes, governments have imposed restrictions that no one could have anticipated. Obviously, many businesses were not prepared for that,” she says. “However, there were businesses that were able to withstand it. And even now, the government will only be able to go so far in supporting them. They must be resilient; they must be innovative and on trend to succeed and be prepared to mitigate setbacks.” Fortier is proud of the way local business responded. “As a member of Parliament from the National Capital Region, I have been proud to see so many of our local businesses and organizations retool and step up to meet the needs of our community during this unprecedented time,” Fortier says. “We all have a role to play in meeting this challenge and if we continue to follow the advice of public health officials [such as] Dr. Tam and Dr. Etches, together, we will get through this.” McKenna responded similarly. “I hear from Ottawa businesses every day about how hard it is to adapt and survive in the pandemic,” McKenna says. “My focus and that of our government is on supporting businesses through this challenging time, including adapting our programs based on your feedback. We will get through this by working together and will emerge as an even stronger community.” The next steps In terms of leadership, Ching says Ottawa needs leaders who are willing to set a plan and strategy for our economy to grow, one that businesses can see themselves in and stakeholders can support. “We need to increase business, consumer, and workforce confidence as it is private enterprise that will lead the city into recovery.” “I would suggest radical collaboration with the business community, when creating policies and programs and a firm
commitment to broadband access across the board,” she says. “We knew we needed it before, and then it became critical.” The same is true for our child-care, education, health, and longterm care systems. The pandemic has simply highlighted the need to review and modernize these systems to be more aligned with our economic goals and support our vulnerable and marginalized populations. In terms of lessons learned, local leaders had an advantage by witnessing the actions and outcomes of jurisdictions that were a head of us including the value of mandatory masking. However, we could have been better prepared on issues such as access to PPE, rapid testing and effective contact tracing. These areas still require development as key factors for getting back to work, staying in school, and engaging in the economy. From a business point of view, she says people learned how important it was to be able to digitize their businesses, how important a strong financial pad is, and how to expand their markets through online marketing and exporting as well as product and process innovation. Entrepreneurs will continue to build on these areas for future success. “In general, the whole community must be more committed to supporting local,” Ching says. “Our consumer dollar is powerful. Small and medium enterprises are critical to our community culture. Local entrepreneurs provide jobs, support community causes, and provide essential and unique products and services. Many main street businesses have been on the front lines of this war against COVID; mitigating restrictions, implementing safety protocols, maintaining a workforce, and facing a reduced market with remote working and lack of tourism.” Looking to the future, she says there will be interesting opportunities for certain sectors and for those who are able to adapt to new trends. At the same time, we must find a way to support the businesses that have been critical to our quality of life. And that requires all of us to do our part.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 1 5
An Ecosystem Fund for Women. APPLY NOW AT DELIA.FUND
With the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development 16 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA Rfor D OFSouthern TR A D E Agency Ontario.
DELIA FINTECH FUND BACKS WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
An Ecosystem Fund for Women.
eet DELIA, an automated lending platform providing loans up to $15,000 starting at 0% interest with flexible terms for Women-owned and Women-led innovation-driven enterprises located anywhere in Southern Ontario. A fintech-driven lending platform paired with an online entrepreneurial development initiative – DELIA is focused on prioritizing investment in innovative Women-owned and Womenled enterprises in Southern Ontario. As part of an inclusive and equity-based strategy for economic development and diversification, the objective of DELIA is to ensure under-represented women can successfully start, scale up and expand their innovative high-growthpotential ventures with dedicated financing and strategy services. In delivering this initiative with the support of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) will support a minimum of 30 businesses. The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) of the Government of Canada is encoded in DELIA’s fintech-driven lending model developed in partnership with CORL, an award-winning Canadian financial technology firm. Our automated, real-time loan application uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and bank level security in order to streamline funding opportunities. Loans are financed by Northumberland CFDC and provide an easy, online application
process and instant pre-approval decisions on commercial loan applications up to $15,000. DELIA is here to help innovative women entrepreneurs grow their business with automated lending paired with entrepreneurial development. Along with express access to capital, DELIA participants qualify for entrepreneurial training curated by exceptional partners like Growclass and Singularity University Canada, across advisory services, networking opportunities and skills development. As a “Limited Time Offer”, the next thirty approved DELIA loan recipients will receive: A seat in Growclass, by Sarah Stockdale, Southern Ontario’s premiere eight-week virtual growth marketing course; a Singularity University Canada Leadership Certificate Course and one-on-one strategy consulting for entrepreneurial and business success, plus access to DELIA webinar series. All of this amounts to a total value of more than $10,000! If your company is located in Southern Ontario, is a Womenowned or Women-led enterprise and is leading innovation in Advanced Manufacturing, Agri-Food, Health/Bio-sciences, Clean Technology, Digital Industries or Resources of the Future – DELIA is a fit! Don’t delay, go to delia.fund and apply now. We are excited to have this opportunity to back exceptional women entrepreneurs and accelerate a new wave of high-growth firms.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 1 7
BY J E FF B U CKST EI N
TTAWA HAS FACED some very challenging,
unprecedented times over the past several months. Here is how three prominent local business leaders view the impact of COVID-19 on our community, where we stand now, and what we need to focus on to optimize our economic evolution as we recover. Ian Sherman, Tax Partner, EY Canada Chair, Ottawa Board of Trade Ian Sherman has a unique vantagepoint on the local business community as it grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. As chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade, and a tax partner with EY Canada, a major accounting firm with clients spanning the breadth of all sectors, he has seen many successes and struggles up close. Certain businesses, including those in professional services – such as EY Canada - and high tech, have adapted successfully to a remote work environment. But others have faced significant challenges, he says. “Over the coming months, if patterns continue, the restaurant sector, and to a large extent the retail sector – especially those that don’t have the ability to pivot and rely as much on the shift from on-site to online, are going to need support, and government policy needs to reflect that,” Sherman elaborates. Most EY partners believe remote work will need to prevail Ian Sherman for at least the first half of 2021,
and potentially longer. But they have also observed a longing in the community to return to business as usual. “When I talk to many CEOs in a variety of sectors, there is a strong appetite from a corporate culture perspective to get back to some level of business life that involves the office,” Sherman says.
“We have to maintain our entrepreneurial spirit. We have to continue to be resilient. We need to have a positive growth mind-set.” Sherman is concerned about spiralling out-of-control deficit levels, and is calling on all levels of government to, when rebuilding from the pandemic, carefully balance limited funds with the need to continue advancing important infrastructure initiatives that the Ottawa Board of Trade has long advocated for, such as the redevelopment of the LeBreton Flats, redevelopment, including enhanced safety and security of the ByWard Market area, and the critical needs of the New Civic Campus Project of the Ottawa Hospital. He is encouraged by how hard authorities, both in government and in health care, are working with business to organize around the right initiatives to pull us through this crisis, and hopes that cooperation will continue post-COVID. “We have to maintain our entrepreneurial spirit. We have to continue to be resilient. We need to have a positive growth mindset,” Sherman asserts. “Ottawa will re-emerge, there’s no question. I would encourage the local business community to remember that we are all in this together,” he stresses. “With courageous leadership, we can convert some of today’s sobering messages and return to being an unstoppable economy.”
18 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Cyril Leeder, Chief Executive Officer of Myers Automotive Group -member of the Ottawa Board of Trade CEO Council The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on Ottawa’s downtown core, with traffic down about 60 per cent from prepandemic levels, as a large percentage of people work from home instead of commuting to their office, says Cyril Leeder, chief executive officer of Myers Automotive Group. “There’s a good side and a bad side to that. The good side is we have a large part of our workforce that can work from home and still get paid full salary. The bad side is our downtown core is really suffering. Businesses that rely on people being in their offices restaurants and cafés, retailers, hotels – it’s been really difficult on them,” he says. Leeder’s industry has also experienced hardship. Although the national and local auto industry is in a recovery phase after the worst three months in its history between March and May, yearover-year monthly sales are still only at only 80 to 90 per cent compared to 2019. Leeder believes local businesses will implement permanent changes as a result of their pandemic experience, including digital solutions that give customers the option of transacting online. “We’re certainly going to be doing that. Cyril Leeder We’re going to have an omnichannel platform and a protocol going forward,” he says.
“There’s a good side and a bad side to that. The good side is we have a large part of our workforce that can work from home and still get paid full salary. The bad side is our downtown core is really suffering. Businesses that rely on people being in their offices restaurants and cafés, retailers, hotels – it’s been really difficult on them.” Another change is that Myers and other businesses are using new performance measurements based more on efficiency. “We know we may not be able to beat those numbers every month over month, so how can we be more efficient in our business? Those are measurements like dollar generated per employee, or how much marketing dollar do we need to spend per unit sold? We’ve been using those types of efficiency measures since May,” Leeder explains. Leeder is impressed by how responsible businesses have been in implementing the proper protocols and safety measures for their customers and employees. “Business leaders take this very seriously. They want to do the right things to get us through the pandemic,” he says. Leeder encourages citizens to help rebuild consumer confidence by continuing to do as much of their normal routine as possible, including going to the local grocery store, and supporting restaurants by taking out on occasion, as safely as they can while adhering to public health guidelines.
Hugh Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of Colonnade BridgePort -member of the Ottawa Board of Trade CEO Council Colonnade BridgePort manages local properties across a full spectrum of asset classes, including office, retail, industrial, and residential sectors, providing the company with a panoramic view on how COVID-19 has impacted different businesses across the city. “The economy is like a chain, and the weak links need to be supported,” says chief executive officer Hugh Gorman. For example, “there are tenants that were shut down, and they didn’t have a year or Hugh Gorman two years worth of revenues built up, and there was no way for them to pivot and generate revenue immediately. In other cases, there were stronger tenants that were open and generating revenue,” he explains.
“To hear what people are doing from a business perspective to adapt has really been quite remarkable. The business community has taken a leadership role in collaboration with local political and health officials.” Gorman notes that employees working from home during the pandemic crisis – both for Colonnade BridgePort and other local businesses - has worked out better than expected, and he believes this will lead to more long-term flexibility in working arrangements. “People having to be in the office every day is a thing of the past, but it’s been accelerated by this. I don’t think it’s the death of the office by any stretch of the imagination, but there’s going to be a different use of space going forward,” he predicts. This is also true of retail. For example, some shopping centres were already adapting to mixed-use space before the pandemic, and others will now need to do the same thing in light of their recent experience, says Gorman. Gorman says the local business community has also done a great job in maintaining confidence that as people get back to work, they are doing so in a responsible manner that doesn’t expose anyone to significant additional risk. “To hear what people are doing from a business perspective to adapt has really been quite remarkable. The business community has taken a leadership role in collaboration with local political and health officials,” he says. But Gorman wants to see more concrete public health data to support business-related decisions, such as the imposition of restrictions or shutdowns, so that the leaders of affected companies can plan in advance. “I firmly believe that we’re going to come out of this with a commitment to doing what we were doing previously better. We were all feeling really bullish about the future of business in the City of Ottawa pre-pandemic, and we’ll figure out ways to rebound coming out the other end,” says Gorman.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 1 9
COVID ERA DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION BY J E FF BUCKSTE I N
ACK IN 2008, Margo Crawford wanted to create a practi-
cal, sustainable solution to support what she viewed as an underserved small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community. Crawford saw that SMEs, in spite of driving much of our economy, had few options in shoring up their internal business functions. Their smaller size and the demands of the business didn’t leave room for complete internal teams. Inspired by their potential and having experienced first-hand the struggles of being in start-up and scaling organizations, she founded and became president and CEO of Ottawa-based Business Sherpa Group (BSG). Crawford believed that BSG could help SMEs achieve their peak performance with flexible access to experienced and operational professionals at all levels. The key was to match the support level to the part-time, fluctuating business needs typical of SMEs. Today this model has thrived and become mainstream. One of the key activities BSG has been engaged in helping its clients with is digital transformation – a need that has become particularly acute in the COVID-19 era. Some clients were already engaged in strategically phasing in new digital technologies prior to the pandemic crisis, but major changes in work patterns, including the need for more people to work from home, has forced many businesses to accelerate that process more quickly than anticipated. “There’s a lot of technology triage that has happened as a result of COVID where all of a sudden companies had to rush to adopt something that they were only thinking about before,” says Crawford. She says most of the company’s clients, with typically under 100 employees, have already completed an outward facing digital
transformation in terms of establishing e-commerce platforms and engaging in digital marketing strategies. Where digital transformation is happening in a more substantive way today is on the internal side of the business, such as in finance. Experts in finance technology, HR systems, and information and data management help clients assess their current business processes, identify problem areas, map out the path to a future state that will leverage best practice technologies, implement those changes and then support the team to become confident users of the technology. BSG also conducts presentations and workshops that include a self-assessment exercise to assist participants identify their highest technology transformation priorities. This exercise looks at workflows and identifies those that are high volume, routine, repeatable and currently performed manually. Often these are the processes where employees experience frustration with ‘pinch points’ – for example, where they have to go back and get more information, or errors keep happening so that a procedure needs to be stopped and repeated. Crawford emphasizes that “digital transformation is not about replacing people. It is really people plus technology. You want your people focused on the sophisticated, more complex activities and problem solving that requires their judgment. Technology is the workhorse of routine, repeatable activities. Digital transformation offers important strategic advantages. “We recognized very early that it’s best for the client if we can get them into a digital domain in terms of their work. Digital is a huge strategy for small business and we really wanted to be in the lead helping that transformation happen,” Crawford says.
2 0 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Success Stories BIOTECanada
Janice Burke, director of finance and operations for BIOTECanada in Ottawa, says Business Sherpa Group has been very helpful with her company’s digital transformation over the past year, particularly with respect to its finance function. Although BIOTECanada’s decision to undergo a digital transformation was made prior to COVID, the logistics of coping with business during the pandemic has made it even more essential. BIOTECanada’s finance department now enjoys several significant operational advantages. For example, its corporate bank account is now integrated with its accounting software package, saving Burke significant time and money by reducing the need for outside services to perform bank reconciliations and data entry. Manual cheques no longer have to be signed. Moreover, “I finally won’t have to physically be in the office and pull document after document during an annual financial audit,” says Burke. Moving forward, the corporate books will be given directly to the auditors with all
of the supporting documentation already uploaded electronically for their review, thus significantly reducing time, energy and paperwork, she notes.
Forum for International Trade Training (FITT)
BSG has helped the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT) in Ottawa digitize its document management function as the not-for-profit organization reaches the advanced stages of a digital transformation that began in 2013. “With Business Sherpa Group, we’ve internalized some of our processes. For instance, BSG has helped us move to Microsoft Office 365, they’ve coached us, created the work plan and trained our staff,” says Caroline Tompkins, FITT’s chief executive officer. BSG has also assisted FITT conduct a comprehensive IT assessment of all the organization’s systems, applications, securities, policies and procedures. “The goal is to provide FITT with an objective review of our current state, identify critical
needs and provide us with a new road map for improvement,” she explains. FITT’s digital transformation has provided several advantages in terms of building its brand and creating significant efficiencies in its online network. For example, whereas FITT was previously reaching about 20,000 people a year through e-mails and traditional web-based brochures, today the organization is reaching over 100,000, says Tompkins. The digital transformation has also improved client service because more system automation allows FITT’s employees to spend more time on important face-toface customer service. Clients want access to online registrations, deliveries, platforms, and payments, but they still want access to a person, even through something as simple as a chat box, notes Tompkins. Furthermore, automating services has allowed FITT’s team to do more in terms of providing relevant, timely real-time information to the client, with reduced errors.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 2 1
The Pandemic’s Impact On The National Capital Region Overall, how worried, if at all, is the situation with COVID-19 making you right now? 34% 31% 29% 7%
Extremely/A lot Somewhat A little Not at all
To what extent has the pandemic harmed your household’s finances? 14% 20% 37% 29%
Confidence in local economy 6% 70% 24%
Increased Declined Same
2 2 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Great deal Not at all Not much Moderate
STATISTICS PROVIDED BY
Sources: Abacus Data National surveys, most recent September 9, 2020 and Ottawa Business Growth Survey, Spring 2020
The “Worry” curve is rising again 40%
Ontarians really or somewhat worried about a 2nd spike in COVID-19 infections
12% Feb 8
12-month employment plans 16% 25% 21% 39%
Don't know Recruit New Reduce Maintain
Postponed a trip Cancelled a trip Changed destination
62% 57% 19%
The impact of COVID-19 on tourism
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 2 3
TOURISM INDUSTRY GEARS UP FOR WINTER
2 4 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
EADERS OF THIS magazine are members of Ottawa’s local
business community, but they are also residents. Their businesses’ ability to attract and retain employees is closely tied to the experience of being a resident in Ottawa. And that’s why the things that make Ottawa a better place to live, work, and visit, are crucial to their bottom line. Tourism is a shared community asset that improves Ottawa’s appeal, amenities, and reduces resident tax burden, all of which are important to readers both as business leaders and as residents of this city. This year, the winter season will present an important opportunity for the tourism industry in Ottawa. The pent-up demand for travel, along with the possibility of travellers who would normally go south this winter choosing to explore destinations closer to home, might mean new interest in domestic travel in the coming season both from regional drive markets and from our local residents, assuming public health guidance supports it. That is not guaranteed, of course, in this most unusual year, in which overall visitation plummeted and in which visitor spending in Ottawa is projected to drop by $1.4 billion from the $2.2 billion spent in a more typical year. The visitor economy has been one of the hardest hit industries, with local tourism businesses facing one of the most difficult years on record—filled with layoffs, months of lost revenue, and one of the steepest hills to face for recovery. The industry needs to work together to make the most out of this next quarter, while adhering to government health and safety protocols and making customers feel safe and welcome. As winter approaches, local businesses will continue to offer innovative ways to experience the city safely. For example, restaurants continue to improve their patios to still be accessible
in colder weather, such as Kichesippi Beer Company’s suggestion to “BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanket,” or have expanded their takeout and delivery options. Museums continue to offer innovative programming, and performances have been able to pivot to offer virtual concerts when in-person events are not possible. Outdoor experiences like the SJAM Winter Trail, refrigerated outdoor skating rinks, and winter sports options will soon tempt residents and visitors off their couches. The Ottawa Christmas Market, Christmas Lights Across Canada, Rideau Canal Skateway, and Winterlude will also encourage people to embrace the outdoors in a safe way. Attractions in rural Ottawa offer a way for locals to get a change of scenery without travelling too far from home, as more than ever this year Ottawans are in search of more space, fresh air, and neat, unexplored pockets of the city, presenting the opportunity for increased “hyperlocal” tourism. The hospitality industry embraces the protocols introduced to slow the pandemic: contact tracing, increased sanitation, maskwearing, and physical distancing are all part of the new normal in order to keep staff, residents, and visitors safe. That is why Ottawa Tourism is still sharing stories and promoting experiences: to help protect the economic wellbeing of the community. There has been support from all levels of government for the tourism sector, and Ottawa Tourism continues to advocate for the industry municipally, provincially, and federally. But Ottawa Tourism needs your help to bring more visitors to Ottawa when it is safe to do so – to invite your friends and families for a weekend away, but also to host your kids’ sports tournaments or your association’s convention once larger events are possible. In the meantime, any opportunity to support local businesses must be seized, as locals are a lifeline for those small businesses until visitation can return to more normal levels. This is integral to the survival of the tourism industry which typically employs 43,000 Ottawans—your neighbours, your friends, maybe even yourself. TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 2 5
EXPERTS CALL FOR POLICY REFORM TO INSPIRE RECOVERY, GROWTH BY J E FF B U CKST EI N
ISIONARY BUSINESS LEADERS seek opportunity
through adversity, and despite the damage to businesses and livelihoods in Canada caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, new pathways to build back even stronger have been identified. “I think there’s a tremendous opportunity here to look at a lot of existing policy and regulation and see how the pandemic has identified structural weaknesses within,” says Ashley Challinor, vice-president of policy for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in Toronto. The question is “How can we rejig things that we’d already been doing to not only be more aligned towards recovery, but more aligned towards growth and business resilience as well?” she elaborates. Trevin Stratton, chief economist and vice-president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa, says a key area of policy reform needs to centre on Canada’s Income Tax Act. Comprehensive structural tax reform, which hasn’t been undertaken in Canada since the late 1960s, is long overdue because the country’s tax code is not just outdated but also complicated, especially for small businesses, he explains. “We’re also interested in reforming the way that businesses interact with the CRA and with governments, so it is easier for them to understand their obligations,” adds Challinor. Another long-standing issue that business leaders say must be tackled is internal trade barriers within Canada. The pandemic brings renewed opportunity because there has been a groundswell of support for Canadians who want to buy Canadian and support local and small businesses. “It’s outrageous the number of trade barriers within Canada. Each province and territory tends to have their own set of regulations, and very few of those are recognized or harmonized across the country. These are needless administrative and financial barriers that prevent businesses from operating easily and smoothly across the country,” Challinor says. “We are calling on the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to get together and figure it out because this is something that would have a huge benefit for all Canadians, for the Canadian
economy, and for Canadian businesses,” stresses Stratton. Stratton is also calling for policy changes designed to increase productivity to stimulate the Canadian economy, to rectify a situation where, over the last decade, Canadian productivity has flatlined while the productivity of many of our competitors, especially our largest trading partner in the United States, has significantly increased. “The reason for that is there have been a lot of incentives put in place for American businesses to invest in the types of skills and technologies that increase productivity and that increase output per unit of input, that don’t necessarily exist at the same level in Canada. And so what we really need to do is to create a very attractive environment for investment here,” he says. Policy reforms with respect to taxation, regulation, and removal of inter-provincial trade barriers will go a long way towards reducing the cost of doing business, and stimulating business investment, including foreign investment, he elaborates. Rebuilding from the COVID pandemic might also be the time to implement new green measures that will stimulate the economy and keep it competitive with other countries that are investing in new technologies. “We know climate change is real, and that all of us, including business, have a role to play in finding a solution. Businesses are already driving the innovation that is helping to reduce emissions and develop new, cleaner technologies and energy sources. Meeting our emissions targets and transitioning to a cleaner world will require a strong, vibrant business community,” says Stratton. Challinor stresses that if Canada is going to focus on a green recovery, that needs to include everybody, especially those businesses and individuals for whom the pandemic has had the most destructive economic impact. “We need to ensure that those groups are getting the training or retraining they need in order to participate in that green recovery,” she elaborates. Economic recovery and growth requires planning and positioning now for the future. “Certainly there are risks involved. But there are also opportunities and a silver lining if we do it right,” Stratton stresses.
2 6 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
COVID Government Programs
PHOTO CR EDIT TK
DAV I D J. MAS ON, FCPA, FCA DELO IT TE LLP
Since March both Federal and Provincial governments have offered a number of programs to support businesses during the Pandemic. More recently both the Federal and Ontario Governments have announced new programs or extensions to existing programs. For these new programs or extensions to existing programs, we are waiting for more details on the program offerings going forward. Beside the programs offered below there are programs tailored for specific industry sectors or specific groups such as indigenous support programs. The information below is meant for general information and is not intended to offer specific advice on available subsidies and grants for any particular business. The most popular program that applies to the most businesses is the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Initially, to qualify a company had to be able to demonstrate at least a 15% decrease in revenues in March compared to the same month in the prior year or the average of the revenue in January and February. The percentage decrease required to qualify increased to 30% for April, May and June. For July and onwards, any decline in revenues from the same period last year or compared to select other periods will qualify for a portion of the subsidy. While this program has proven popular, the number of employers claiming, and the amount claimed have been less than the Department of Finance anticipated. As of October 18, 2020, there have been 1,372,950 approved applications and the program has paid out $43.96 billion. This program has been extended to June 2021 however, the details of the program beyond the end of the year have not yet been released. Another program which has been somewhat contentious is the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program. The original design of the program required the Landlord to claim the relief based on their tenant having at least a 70% drop in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019. The Landlord also had to reduce the rent by 25% for the period of the support under CECRA. Many landlords were not willing to forgive the 25% and so could not qualify for the program. Landlords were willing in many cases to work with their tenant to help them through the crisis but expected to receive the full value of rent over time. This program was originally offered for April, May and June but was extended for landlords who qualified for the first 3 months for an additional 3 months. The Department of Finance has announced a new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy program which will provide businesses with revenue loss with rent or mortgage support directly of up to 65% for businesses with revenue loss and an additional 25% for businesses facing lockdown restrictions. The Canada Emergency Business Account is available to both incorporated and unincorporated small businesses as well as certain NPOs and charities. This program provides an interest free loan of $40,000 which is repayable by December 31, 2022. If the loan is repaid by that date, only $30,000 needs to berepaid. In order to qualify, the business has to be able to demonstrate that it has operating expenses of at least $40,000 during the balance of 2020. Support is available until December 31, 2020 and is available through the business’ bank. This program is also expanding so that impacted businesses can access another $20,000. Other lesser known programs include the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund and the Strategic Innovation Fund. The latter is available to companies who are innovating in areas related to COVID-19 prevention and treatment. We understand there have not been many applications at this point in time. There has been up to now, 69 announced projects.
Another program which was introduced in the spring and is continuing is the Business Credit Availability Program. This is a co-lending program offered by BDC and EDC through the banks. It will provide up to $12.5M for operational cash flow requirements; available until June 2021. We have a number of clients who have accessed this program. The banks have been quite accommodating in working with companies to obtain this financing. Because of the guarantee provided by EDC, the program encourages the banks to offer more credit to businesses that had stable operations prior to March 2020.
Stimulus Spending Priorities: Infrastructure Ashley Challinor, vice-president of policy for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, says lack of high-speed Internet access is not just a problem in rural and northern areas, but that broad swaths of urban and suburban areas in Canada also lack access to high-speed Internet. Therefore, broadband and high-speed Internet access tops the list of infrastructure improvements required and need to be urgently prioritized. It is at the heart of competitiveness in a global economy. “It’s absolutely mandatory to have now, to do any sort of business or any sort of engagement with the outside world, including schooling and training,” stresses Challinor. Trade-enabling infrastructure is also important, says Trevin Stratton, chief economist and vice-president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He cites, for example, the Chamber’s request to accelerate the twinning of Quebec’s Highway 185 all the way to the New Brunswick border as a four-lane highway. “That would be something very useful that the business community would appreciate,” he says. Training and retraining A long-standing problem with the Canadian economy has been a skills mismatch between unemployed workers and skilled jobs that companies are begging to fill. The pandemic provides a new opportunity for government to look at those individuals who are unemployed or underemployed and target retraining programs to get them into those areas of the economy where there is known demand for skilled labour. “That includes not just those industries that are doing well during the pandemic, but also industries that could be growing if they had access to the right kind of labour,” says Challinor. Childcare Childcare is so important because there is a self-defeating cycle where if there is no access to childcare, the spouse with the lower paying job must generally leave that job and stay home, Often because of the gender pay gap women must leave the workforce, as has been seen during this pandemic. So investing in childcare is a critical component of getting women back to work. Many small business owners also need assistance with child care. “We spend a lot of time thinking about employers and employees, and how to get women back to work,” says Stratton. “We’re interested in looking at creative solutions that get employers on board - especially larger employers that may have a capacity and the resources to create child care options at their locations, both to support their employees and surrounding communities,” says Challinor. TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 27
Local Knowledge, Expert Advice As a preferred partner of the Ottawa Board of Trade, we work for you. Our dedicated team offers service in English and French, and will take the time to understand your business and build an integrated solution tailored to your needs. Car and Home Insurance
Cowan Insurance Group is a leading Canadian-owned, independent insurance brokerage and consulting operation focused on providing customized service and expert advice to businesses, organizations and individuals. Partnering with national and international providers we offer leading-edge programs for businesses to ensure you have access to the best coverage, benefits and services.
Learn more about how you can save with Cowan at cowangroup.ca/OBoT
We care about what you care about.
CAPITAL/HAZLOW LAW-BUSINESS LAWYERS
THE REAL VALUE OF HAVING A GENUINE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BUSINESS LAWYER
HILE “YOU HAD me at hello...” might be the
most famous line from Jerry Maguire, it wasn’t this quote that Hugues Boisvert, founder and CEO of HazloLaw-Business Lawyers, identified with the most. For him, the best part of this memorable movie was Jerry’s business philosophy of “fewer clients, more attention”, a philosophy at the core of the boutique law firm he founded in 2011 and which has won several awards since. After a stint working in an international business law firm in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Boisvert realized that the concept of a boutique law firm was popular around the world but was missing from Ottawa. He also saw that clients were looking for a more personalized relationship with their lawyer. Built on three pillars: business law, tax litigation and international law, the
members of the HazloLaw team are armed with a strong entrepreneurial mindset to deliver tailored service to their clients. Boisvert’s law practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions though he also regularly acts as head negotiator and chief legal officer on behalf of his clients to resolve business issues by negotiating and drafting a variety of agreements. He is known as a thoughtful strategist who is quickly able to grasp the essence of the issues in dispute, to avoid unnecessary debate and reach his clients’ objectives efficiently. Hazlo means “do it” in Spanish, a reflection of both Hazlo’s clients who are “do-ers”, and of the HazloLaw team whose individualized attention and comprehensive skillset mean they will “do it” for your business too. If you are looking for a more genuine relationship with your lawyer, contact Hugues at firstname.lastname@example.org
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 2 9
LEBRETON FLATS: SEEKING INNOVATIVE DEVELOPMENT TEAMS
HE NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION (NCC) is
marking an important milestone, as it launches the procurement process to develop a section of LeBreton Flats: the Library Parcel. This one-hectare site will be the first phase to be developed as part of the relaunched Building LeBreton project, which will create a signature destination and point of civic pride in the heart of Canada’s Capital. LeBreton Flats is a remarkable area adjacent to Ottawa’s urban core and connected to its waterfront. Its potential is immense, and it has been waiting for the right time — and the right people — to restore the bustle and enterprise of its early days. The NCC recently outlined a bold, cohesive plan for the site in its 2020 LeBreton Flats Master Concept Plan. The Library Parcel, located at 665 Albert Street, will be part of the Albert District of LeBreton Flats, a vibrant, mixed-use neighbourhood, and one of four distinct but connected districts that will define LeBreton Flats when the redevelopment of the entire 29-hectare site is realized.
This initiative also revolves around a partnership with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) to provide development incentives through the National Housing Strategy’s Federal Lands Initiative. The successful proponent can obtain this prime, transit-oriented site at a significant discount by delivering a development that meets or exceeds social inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability goals as outlined in the Federal Lands Initiative, including 30 percent of residential units built as affordable housing. The Library Parcel offers exceptional opportunities for transitoriented, mixed-use development adjacent to light rail transit. Make your mark in the heart of the Capital! Submit proposals by January 15, 2021: ncc-ccn.gc.ca/ lebreton. Significant public and economic benefits The development of the overall Building LeBreton project will result in important economic and public benefits, as shown in the infographic below. These include creating parks and public spaces, providing affordable housing, ensuring sustainable development, and supporting transit use and active transportation. BUILDING
Annual construction jobs
Average annual municipal development charges
$13.7M* $20.3M* Annual municipal property taxes
*in 2020 dollars
30 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Annual federal tax
new housing units, at least 30% of which will be affordable
Even after 32 years, and even during a global pandemic, there is still more to discover. Getting to know our clients is something we’ve been doing for decades. Getting the job done virtually has been a part of that customer journey - especially now! Sign up for our ZOOM Discovery Session and get an expert analysis and recommended solutions summary tailored to the unique requirements of your specific project.
We are both a virtual, and a Byward Market creative studio specializing in STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT | BRANDING | CONTENT CREATION | DESIGN | TOOLS DEVELOPMENT
Let’s connect to explore how we can design a customized solution for you! 20% OFF SERVICES FOR CHAMBER MEMBERS
email@example.com | 613-234-8468 | gordongroup.com
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 3 1
Everyoneâ€™s Role in Recovery Ottawa Public Health (OPH) encourages you to go about your daily activities while protecting yourself and others. Please follow these recommended precautions and be COVID Wise to help keep COVID-19 under control.
Wear a mask or face
covering where required and whenever possible, especially when you cannot maintain physical distance, indoors or outdoors.
Stay two metres (six
from others when you are sick (and get tested promptly if you have COVID-like symptoms).
feet) apart from those outside your household.
Exercise proper hand hygiene; wash your hands regularly or use sanitizer especially before touching your face.
#COVIDWise #SupportLocal Download the COVID Alert App. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/coronavirus-disease-covid-19/covid-alert.html *Visit https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/be-covidwise.aspx for more information
Find out if your local store offers delivery or curb side pickup.
Order delivery or
pickup from your favorite restaurant.
Share local restaurant delivery menus on your social media pages.
Tip service workers extra. Just give a donation.
Cash is always appreciated.
Seriously, they need us and we need them!
Website designers, developers, and
Buy gift cards or credit
social media experts! Offer your services to local businesses that donâ€™t have an online presence to help them sell and promote online.
for later from your favorite restaurants, stores, hair salons, spas, childcare providers and hardware store.
Shop remotely, shop
online at local businesses.
*Visit https://ottawa.ca/en/business/economic-support-and-recovery/buy-local and https://ottawa.ca/en/business/economic-support-and-recovery#statement-mayor-watson-following-call-leadersottawas-business-community for more information
The Future is Clear as Glass— and It’s Arriving at the Speed of Light W
HAT DO YOU get when you shoot light through glass?
Clarity that transforms illumination into connection. Because that’s what fibre optics do: they offer clear communication that turns understanding into relationships between organizations, their people, and their futures. FlexNetworks understands this, selling business-grade, high-speed internet and point-to-point fibre connections between locations in the National Capital Region. They know connection goes beyond the mechanics, though they keep their cutting edge sharp. They know it keeps businesses going when they can’t “go” to work, supporting growth in size and scope. “Since March, companies have realized that good, reliable connectivity is Table-stakes—you cannot run a successful business anymore without having it at the centre of the network. And, as people returned to the office, the first budget line that got slashed was travel—so Zoom calls are the new normal,” says Chris Armatage, Director of National Business Development at FlexNetworks. When it comes to working remotely, good internet is something you only notice when it’s not there. That’s because it shouldn’t be the focus of your online communications. Strong connectivity is the nervous system helping companies turn messages into action across a unified body—without having to think about it. But this is only possible if customers can connect with their provider in the first place. “From the technology standpoint, we’re the cutting edge—but we’re also local, super easy to get along with, and we pick up the phone, really. Any one of my clients can have my cellphone number and we’ll take care of them. That’s it,” says Kris Kelly, Senior Account Executive and client-first face of Flex in Ottawa. Owned by Birch Hill Equity Partners, a Canadian mid-market private equity firm with over $3 billion in capital under management, FlexNetworks is a small company that acts large, owning and expanding pure fibre assets without getting weighed down by legacy thinking and systems.
Instead, they prefer a more flexible approach while advancing the well-respected legacy of Atria Networks. “If a customer is in growth mode and their needs from a technology point of view start to change, because of the way we run our network and provision our services into locations, we have the ability to up that bandwidth throughput very quickly,” says Mr. Armatage. But this flexibility also goes beyond tech. “They may have a specific need where, due to some budgeting situation, they’re unable to begin payment for a couple of months, so we might delay billing for that time to help them out. We’re very flexible in terms of how we run our networks, how we run our services, and how we bill the customer.” A customizable approach like this one doesn’t only consider the customer’s present: it also benefits their business moving forward— and certain features like symmetrical, full-duplex connection and minimal latency are increasingly becoming necessities. “There’s symmetrical, and then there’s full-duplex, and we’re both,” says Mr. Kelly. “The other piece that comes into the whole mix is latency,” adds Mr. Armatage. “The real problem with latency comes with applications we’re starting to see now and into the next decade. Things that require immediate decisions because a machine has an algorithm running the application.” Like remote medical procedures and autonomous vehicles. “If there’s a delay, it throws off the entire operation. So what’s becoming important is not just the bandwidth, but the quality of that throughput. When you’re talking about fibre optics, you’re talking about next-gen ways to connect.” For now, though, for most people, it means business as usual in unusual times—and a potential for growth. FlexNetworks is growing, too. “We’re in build mode, so we’ll look at anything and everything in the National Capital Region,” says Chris. “We will build to locations and consider not only each business, but its future goals.” Got some future goals in mind? Give FlexNetworks a call—they’ll pick it up. firstname.lastname@example.org
3 4 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Making A Difference in Covid-19 M
ENTORABILITY MATCHES PROTÉGÉS with possible
employers to help them decide if the career path they have chosen is a good fit for them. A 2018 Accenture study found businesses that practice inclusive hiring of people who identify as having a disability, experience 72% more productivity; a 45% increase in workplace safety; 30% higher profit margins; and two times the net income of other businesses in the study. Steve Brzezynski of SLB Carpentry has been operating his General Contracting business for over twenty years in the Almonte and surrounding area. He was looking for skilled help when he was approached by PPRC about mentoring possible candidates to see if they might be suitable for his needs. PPRC had been involved with Kate for some time and Kate had indicated that she had previous experience in the carpentry field and was looking for an opportunity to work with a smaller company that might allow for a more personal hands on approach to Carpentry and possibly an apprenticeship. The opportunity to spend time on the jobsite participating and contributing to the daily progress appealed to Kate, and she felt it would be a tremendous experience. The two spent a day together on a demolition project for a major residential renovation and Kate said she found the protégé experience rewarding. Steve made her comfortable and she appreciated his advice and direction throughout the day. Disclosing one’s disability is a personal choice that is optional within MentorAbility, however Kate indicated that the smaller employer made it easier for her to disclose.
Steve has indicated that he liked the program and would recommend the MentorAbility to other employers as he believed it was a good way to introduce people to the trades and to dispel some common misconceptions many younger people may have. He found Kate to be keen and willing to learn about the trade. “There is so much to learn” said Steve, “especially if you are trying to decide if the career is right for you and this is what you want to dedicate the rest of your life to.” Kate knew she liked carpentry however she wanted to be sure it was right for her as well. She joined the mentorship program as she felt it would help her make those decisions. Kate encourages other protégés to seek a match early in their career so that they can determine if this is the right career path for them. As a result of MentorAbility, Steve offered Kate a job and she accepted. What started as a chance to test the waters lead to employment. Steve found a good candidate and Kate found a career. Steve and Kate both encourage other employer mentors and protégés to become involved in MentorAbility. Think outside the usual hiring norms and look for talent in non-traditional places and find successful matches you would not have expected. Contact PPRC MentorAbility to discuss how you can participate in the inclusive initiative either virtually or in-person. We will be pleased to facilitate your mentoring experience. www.pprc.ca. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund Financé en partie par le Fonds d’intégration du gouvernement du Canada
Steve Brzezynski, Owner SLB Carpentry and Kate, MentorAbility Protégé
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 3 5
COVID Highlights Symbiotic Relationship Between Health, Business BY J E F F B U C KST E IN
TTAWA’S BUSINESS COMMUNITY has stepped up to
assume a key leadership role in promoting health during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, says Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health (OPH). “Business got it right. They took an approach that it was important to prioritize the health of their employees and the public. This has made a difference - even beyond their business - in terms of being a role model to others,” she says. Local businesses have promoted the usage of masks, set up distancing, and sought to find new and innovative ways of conducting business, such as virtually, and many have paid the salaries of employees who needed to be home because they were sick or had to care for somebody. “The message they send is that they don’t want to do things in a way that causes risk and growth in the transmission of the virus because that will be bad for both business as well as for the health of the population. I think that’s been a really helpful perspective,” says Dr. Etches. COVID-19 has also resulted in an expanded OPH outreach to the local business community. Dr. Vera Etches “It’s been extremely helpful to me
to talk to business partners like the Ottawa Board of Trade. They were instrumental in helping us understand there was support for a policy to require masking to protect employees in workplaces,” says Dr. Etches. OPH and the Board of Trade have collaborated to hold business reopening safety webinars, and Dr. Etches expects that partnership with business, in order to promote the health of the population, will continue to grow in the future. “This is a foundational shift for us,” she says. But more still needs to be done in terms of influencing behaviour, particularly away from the office. “Businesses can help employees understand if they’re going to gather after work for a drink or something like that, that increases their risk of transmission in the community. So, we are encouraging peoples’ actions outside of the workplace to align with public health measures - limiting contacts, and using distance and masks if indoors,” Dr. Etches says. The challenges in fighting COVID-19 have highlighted the close relationship between business and health. “COVID has really underlined that businesses are important for the health of the community first and foremost by
36 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
keeping people employed. People need income. They need the supports of employment for health,” says Dr. Etches. The experience of seeing certain businesses struggle to survive COVID-19 therefore highlights the importance to society of being able to help them stay afloat for as long as possible because preserving jobs contributes to the overall health of the community. “We also need to think about employment opportunities for people who have lower income and about the protections that can provide - for example, sick leave if somebody needs to stay home so that they don’t put others at risk for coming into contact with the virus,” she adds. On a personal level, Dr. Etches has been impressed by how Ottawa has risen to the occasion. “I like to focus on how adaptable people have been, and how motivated people have been to care for one another. A really positive aspect of what we’ve seen in our community and across the country is that people have learned new behaviours that provide protection,” she says, citing how the wearing of masks, physical distancing, and people staying home when sick have helped to control the pandemic. But COVID-19 has also exposed societal concerns, including the difficulties that people experience when they are socially isolated, putting a spotlight on the importance to human health of finding new ways to connect. Another problem is that disadvantaged populations have been hit harder by the pandemic. People with lower income, for instance, may have a job that puts them at greater risk of exposure to the virus and they might also live in housing where it is harder to self-isolate. “When we look at the counts of people who have tested positive we’ve seen that, unfortunately not everybody has the same risk. We need to continue to look at those inequities. We see that as more of a
systemic issue,” says Dr. Etches. Dr. Etches is concerned with the uptick in COVID cases in the community as the fall and winter flu season approaches. Currently “that is clearly manageable in terms of keeping it out of hospital so we’re aiming for an approach where that stays the case,” she says. The worst-case scenario would occur if the rate of COVID-19 transmission in the community rises too fast and potentially spiking numbers overwhelm hospitals and long-term care homes, with public health testing and tracing unable to keep up with the surge. “I think that both best and worst-case scenarios are possible, and the deciding factor is going to be how much we practice those new behaviours of physical distancing and masks, and staying home when we’re sick. Those are the things that keep the virus down and I’m hopeful we will make it through with manageable levels,” says Dr. Etches. She acknowledges that will be a challenge as people must be indoors more in the colder weather, but that OPH is working to get the message out. “We’re looking to reinforce on the social side that you need to limit contact in gatherings that people do in their private homes where they’re not wearing masks or where they cannot distance,” Dr. Etches stresses. The Ottawa community can help strike an ideal balance between economic prosperity and achieving the health goals of OPH amidst the pandemic challenges by supporting local businesses through alternative means of investment, such as through virtual purchases, and by continuing to adhere to proper social distancing and other recommended practices, says Dr. Etches. Businesses can also promote and organize their own influenza immunization drives to help keep respiratory illness low in the community, she adds.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 3 7
CAPITAL/Ottawa Community Foundation
Cooking for a Cause
HE OTTAWA COMMUNITY
Foundation (OCF) is expanding the way we think of philanthropy. COVID-19 has shown that no single organization or even sector can solve complex issues facing our city alone. The OCF believes that philanthropy–beyond plugging holes left by funding gaps–can play a unique and leading role in the recovery by building partnerships across sectors. When the pandemic first hit, the OCF responded quickly. The Foundation granted close to $5 million, including delivering additional funding through the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund. This effort reached about 200 organizations that serve tens of thousands of people in the community. “We launched our Rapid Response Fund to provide critical assistance to front line agencies serving those disproportionately
Marco Pagani, President and Chief Executive Officer Ottawa Community Foundation
38 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
affected by the pandemic. Thanks to the remarkable generosity of current and new donors, we were able to support a range of needs,” says Marco Pagani, the OCF’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The organization understood a rapid response was not enough. “We needed an approach that facilitated a thoughtful recovery,” shares Pagani. “To inform our decisions, we gather intelligence from community agencies, find where the fault lines are at a systemic level, and then invest in rebuilding our social infrastructure with partners across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors,” he explains. Pagani cites the example of the Ottawa Community Food Partnership (OCFP). Led by Parkdale Food Centre, OCFP addressed food insecurity by working with local restaurateurs and caterers affected by lockdown measures to prepare and deliver
JEFF RADBO UR NE
PHILANTHROPY’S LEADERSHIP ROLE FOR A THOUGHTFUL RECOVERY
For example, the OCF is incubating the Ottawa Climate Action Fund (OCAF), whose role is to align carbon reduction with community benefit through capacity and investment opportunities. Launching with a $22 million contribution from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities via the Government of Canada, OCAF is an exciting example of how philanthropy can play a leadership role in bringing partners together to strengthen resilience in our region. The Fund is currently exploring how it can make the biggest impact. “Whether it’s residential energy efficiency, intensification, or renewables, we’ll need investors and project partners to support lowcarbon solutions for long-term sustainability,” says Pagani. He stresses the importance of viewing philanthropy not as a secondary afterthought, but rather as a leading partner along with the public and private sectors. “Philanthropy is informed by deep knowledge of our community’s lived experiences. These perspectives are invaluable to our long-term recovery,” he elaborates. “As I look ahead to OCF’s role, I know that philanthropy, on its own, isn’t enough. On many issues, the cost of the challenges far outstrips the funds available. No one group can lead the recovery alone. None have all the resources nor ideas, but together we do. We can collectively reimagine systems that have perpetuated inequity,” Pagani stresses. Any person or organization that wishes to engage in a philanthropic journey to support a thoughtful recovery should consider the Ottawa Community Foundation as an excellent place to start. “Our goal is to be a most trusted partner to fulfil impact philanthropy and deliver positive, systemic, and sustainable change,” says Pagani.
PHOTO CR EDIT TK
fresh and frozen meals for those in need. “As a result of these partnerships OCFP is now contributing to research on new approaches and relationships developed during the lockdown period to improve food distribution. This was an example of OCF coordinating pieces and partners in a complex food system during a time of need,” he says. OCF looks to the community sector as a source of innovation, even during the disruptions of COVID-19. “We saw an unprecedented level of ingenuity in the way our sector responded to evolving needs. We don’t talk about the social sector in this way, but I believe these are some of the best entrepreneurs in our city. I’m inspired by their desire to reimagine their role, scale their response, and deepen their impact,” Pagani says. “I believe we can address immediate needs during the pandemic while also developing new partnerships that create lasting change. This is vital if we want to have a meaningful, thoughtful recovery,” he adds. Pagani brings vast business experience to the organization, including leading billion-dollar companies in the high-tech sector to supporting VCs and start-ups. He also knows the not-for-profit sector after serving on the boards of local charities and being a longtime volunteer at the Ottawa Food Bank. “The Ottawa Community Foundation has earned a strong reputation for its excellence in endowment management, donor engagement and its grants program. Six years ago, I took on the role of CEO with the goal of taking us to the next level. To me, that means moving the needle on deeply rooted and interconnected issues like food security, housing, and inequality,” he says.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 3 9
Fill a Fridge for your Neighbours in Need By Samantha Ingram, Ottawa Food Bank
• Fill-a-Family-Fridge: $252 or collect 84 pounds of food • Fill-a-Fridge (single person): $63 or collect 21 pounds of food
While many are excited for the upcoming holiday season, there are over 39,000 food insecure people in Ottawa who feel the pressure of what the holidays mean for their already tight budgets. It is hard enough to not be able to provide gifts to your loved ones during the holiday season, but not being able to provide food either is heartbreaking. For that reason, the Ottawa Food Bank is calling on you to participate in this year’s Holiday Food Drive, presented by Mosaic, at your workplace, in your school, or with your team. Whether you raise food or funds, your generosity will help the Ottawa Food Bank provide emergency food services for its community food programs and their clients well into the winter months. Want to set a goal for your efforts? It can cost a family of four $252 per week to fill their fridge with nutritious food. You can help neighbours fill their fridge by raising funds or collecting food.
Due to the pandemic, coming together with colleagues to support the community can be a little more difficult. Yet, not impossible. In the Ottawa Food Bank’s virtual Holiday Food Drive toolkit, you will find easy to create online donation pages and simple to share event graphics. To get all the information and resources you need to assist your campaign, head to ottawafoodbank.ca. Your support of the Ottawa Food Bank’s Holiday Food Drive helps provide more than food and support to people across the city. It also provides peace of mind. Your support let’s people in need know that the community cares about them. Your support makes a difference.
40 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
PREPARING FOR RECOVERY, REIGNITING GROWTH T
HE PANDEMIC HAS hit every industry and business
hard, none more than small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). How this group manages and positions itself for the future may spell the difference between a serious recession and a depression as the economy reopens. SMEs matter. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the SME segment represents 99.8% of all Canadian businesses and is responsible for 54.2% of all economic output. SMEs share much in common and have unique needs relative to large companies and sole proprietors. They are typically owner operated, regionally based and concentrated in several labour-intensive sectors including manufacturing, construction, business services, wholesale trade, retail and hospitality. At the same time, the SME segment is not unsophisticated or passive. The BDC reports that 90% of all Canadian exporters, representing 25% of our total exports, have fewer than 100 employees. At the same time, SMEs are vulnerable to economic downturns and unexpected disruptions and often lack the resources to bounce back quickly. Specifically, SMEs don’t have the same advantages as larger companies in terms of market power, access to capital, revenue diversification and depth of management and capability. Most leaders we speak to have adjusted and are beginning to explore how they can reignite their growth engines and improve operational resilience. We have identified a number of these transformational developments, which could include: • The potential for a significant drop in consumer demand due to higher unemployment, potentially higher taxes and reduced disposal income; • A reduction in available capital for investment and working capital for companies with weak balance sheets; • Fundamental shifts in consumer behavior, both in terms of reduced aggregate demand and a shift to online commerce; • The possibility of significant labour shortages in certain regions, sectors and skill sets (even with high overall unemployment) due to pandemic effects, internal migration between localities and restrictions around immigration;
• Changing practices towards work, office and travel, and how it impacts business development, infrastructure management, customer service and role definition. What can SMEs do today to stabilize their business and position themselves for future growth? We recommend taking the following steps today to set your business up for a more sustainable future. 1. Get an in-depth grasp on your financial situation. You need accurate information to make key decisions; 2. Revisit customer and channel needs as they may have shifted; 3. Reconsider your operating model. The ability to quickly and efficiently scale operations will be important when the economy re-inflates. Firms should consider new operational approaches such as outsourcing non-core activities and forming strategic partnerships with other SMEs offering complementary services; 4. Accelerate digital adoption. Though it may be painful, now is an ideal time to automate manual, routine activities and digitally enable operations and value delivery; 5. Retool your supply chains to build resilience and reduce operational risk. Prudent leaders should look to diversify your supplier base, including adding local vendors; 6. Prioritize talent management. The operational agility required in these difficult times puts a premium on having a skilled yet flexible workforce. Companies should revisit their training and succession plans; 7. Explore untapped markets. Firms facing a recessionary environment should seek out new markets that could be disrupted with existing strategies, products, brands and capabilities; 8. Be realistic – your firm may be in certain industries like hospitality, entertainment or retail that may not bounce back to what it was pre COVID-19. It may be time to consider a strategic pivot. Building a recovery plan doesn’t have to be a challenge you face alone. MNP is ready to support businesses as they explore opportunities and examine their path ahead. To get first hand advice from a variety of experts, visit MNP’s Business Advice Centre at www.mnp.ca/covid-19.
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 4 1
SOLVING FOR GEN X, Y, AND Z. See how HR is evolving at HRPA.ca
42 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
THE WORLD IS REBOOTING. ARE YOU READY? 2020 has brought new forces to the workplace. At the HRPA 2021 Annual Conference and Trade Show, we’re facing them head-on.
PHOTO CR EDIT TK
Tickets are on sale now. Secure yours at hrpaconference.ca
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 4 3
Ottawa Commercial Real Estate
SUCCESS IS WITHIN US
merkburn.com Tel: 613.224.5464
Looking for the best employees?
Start with Canada’s best benefits plan. Get a free quote at ChamberPlan.ca or contact the Ottawa Board of Trade.
4 4 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
NACCA: SUPPORTING ABORIGINAL BUSINESSES DURING THE PANDEMIC A
BORIGINAL BUSINESSES AND entrepreneurs in Canada
routinely face challenges not encountered by those in the mainstream business sector. These barriers – a lack of access to capital, the proximity of rural and remote communities to markets, a shortage of skilled labour, and poor internet connectivity – have become even more daunting during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, a disproportionate number of Indigenous businesses – the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) estimates as many as 95 per cent – have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, many of them severely. “As a national leader in Indigenous economic development, NACCA immediately recognized the need for a COVID-19 response tailored specifically to the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs,” says Jean Vincent, the chair of NACCA’s board of directors. “Most Aboriginal businesses employ fewer than five people. Many, in fact, are sole proprietors. It was clear to us from the outset that the federal government’s emergency program for mainstream Canadian businesses would not meet the needs of these entrepreneurs and businesses.” The federal government agreed. Following consultations with NACCA and Indigenous Services Canada, it created the Indigenous Business Stabilization (IBS) program in April of this year. Through IBS, a total of $306.8 million, including $204 million for an Emergency Loan Program, was made available to Indigenous businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. The program provides shortterm, interest-free loans of up to $40,000 of which 25 per cent is a non-repayable contribution. Responsibility for administering the IBS and the emergency loan program rests with NACCA and the 59 Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs) it represents. Autonomous, Indigenouscontrolled, community-based financial organizations, AFIs provide developmental lending, financing, and support services to First Nations, Métis and Inuit businesses across Canada. The NACCA represents AFIs at the national level. Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs have been helped, says Jean. In fact, since receiving the emergency loan funds late in May, NACCA has allocated $165 million for delivery by more than 30 AFIs. And the first AFI to provide support under the program – the Tale’awtxw
Aboriginal Capital Corporation in British Columbia – has issued more than 80 loans to Indigenous entrepreneurs in British Columbia. But, says Mr. Vincent, if Aboriginal businesses and entrepreneurs are to survive this pandemic, some changes to the program may be required. “For one thing, discrepancies exist between the assistance available through the IBS program and the aid offered at the regional levels through federally run programs like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Western Economic Diversification Canada. Not only are our efforts being duplicated but assistance to Aboriginal businesses in those areas is generally not available elsewhere.” More important, however, is what happens to the program once the pandemic ends. “We would like to permanently keep the funds being made available through the IBS program,” says Mr. Vincent. “This would allow us to continually recycle that capital throughout the NACCA network of AFIs.” What remains of $307 million would represent the first major injection of funds for NACCA and its member AFIs since the organization was formed in the mid-1980s with a $200-million investment from the federal government. Since then, says Mr. Vincent, NACCA has clearly shown that its member AFIs can do a great deal with a relatively small sum. “Over the past 45 years, Canada’s AFIs have made more than 48,000 business loans totalling some $2.7 billion. We’ve been able to do that because we continually recycle that initial investment. Money is loaned out, money is repaid, and then that money is loaned out again.” As a result of that process, NACCA still has that initial investment to assist Aboriginal businesses. But the number of Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs has increased dramatically and additional funding is now required to meet their needs. NACCA believes that the extra funds would allow it to double its loan portfolio. That, says Mr. Vincent, would go a long way to closing the socio-economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses. And, he adds, that could eventually lead to a $27.7-billion annual contribution to the Canadian GDP. “Clearly, extending and enhancing NACCA’s ability to help Aboriginal businesses would be good for them. But it would also be good for the entire country.”
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 4 5
THE LAST WORD
Trade is essential to economic recovery for Canadian small businesses BY M I N I STE R M A RY N G
the G20, the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic tering domestic economies and closing borders. Businesses Cooperation, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. were forced to close. People were urged to stay home and stay I also continue to work with my international counterparts – physically distant. including Singapore, India, New Zealand, Japan, United Kingdom, Unfortunately, the decision extended into areas of the France, South Korea, and others – to keep our supply chains open global economy where it may yet do lasting damage, notably in interand predictable for Canadian businesses. national trade. Canada remains the only G7 country with a free trade agreeBut as many countries restart their economies, Canada believes ment with all other G7 partners. This is Canada’s competitive advanit’s essential that our trade relationships remain transparent, trusttage: our free trade agreements give us priority access to two-thirds ing, and strong, so that Canadians can continue to depend on and of the global economy and 1.5 billion customers, notably in North benefit from these relationships – and the opportunities they bring. America with the new NAFTA, in Europe with the Comprehensive Canada’s commitment to international trade that benefits everyEconomic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and in the Asia-Pacific with one – including small business owners, women, and Indigenous the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific entrepreneurs – matters now more than ever. Partnership (CPTPP). Before the pandemic, trade accounted for nearly two-thirds of Access to these markets provide a better quality of life for our economy and supported over 3.4 million Canadian jobs. Many Canadians, and continue to create opportunities for small businesses of these were traditional economic drivacross the country. ers like agriculture, resources, and forAnd our government isn’t letting estry – and we must ensure that workers COVID-19 stop us from helping Canadians and businesses in these sectors continue explore new opportunities. We are working to thrive. to advance digital trade and e-commerce At the same time, we need to grow for our businesses – which is more importopportunities for knowledge-based secant now than ever. In fact, I was thrilled to tors so that Canadians succeed globally. host Canada’s first-ever virtual trade misThat’s why we’re working to diversify our sion to South Korea at the beginning of trade sectors to include globally-relevant, November, where we helped women entretechnology-intensive industries such as preneurs and all small business owners clean tech, health tech, advanced manucreate new exciting partnerships so they facturing, and digital industries. can grow their businesses across dynamic Canada will continue being a forceAsia-Pacific markets. ful voice for stable, reliable, rules-based As we look to the future, Canada will international trade because Canadians’ keep leading on the world stage to tackle prosperity depends on it. challenges and advance rules-based trade. Canada has taken a leadership role And by continuing to be bold and unlock throughout the pandemic to promote rulesnew opportunities for our businesses, based trade to support our people, through we will fuel our economic recovery and Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion international organizations including position Canadians for success in a postand International Trade COVID world.
S COVID-19 SWEPT the world, countries responded by shut-
46 C A P ITAL FAL L 2020 | THE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE OF THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
Scale and Stabilize Your Business Digital Main St. Sell online and futureproof your business investottawa.ca/digital-mainstreet
STRONGER TOGETHER. 150 years of commitment to;
ADVOCATING for inclusive and sustainable community prosperity. BUILDING support for all local businesses to launch, pivot and grow. CHAMPIONING Ottawa as the best place to live, invest, work, and visit.
Recovery Activation Program Evolve your business, digitally transform, and adapt to the new normal wtctoronto.com/rap
Trade Accelerator Program Build confidence, grow your business, explore new markets wtctoronto.com/tap
INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS. BE A MEMBER. www.ottawabot.ca
All programs are free, low cost, or subsidized
TH E BUS I N E S S M AG A Z I N E OF TH E OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E | FA L L 2 02 0 C A P I TA L 4 7
THE LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW EXPERTS
À PROPOS DE NOUS
As a boutique labour and employment law firm, Emond Harnden has represented the interests of management in both official languages since 1987.
Emond Harnden est un cabinet d'avocats en droit du travail et de l’emploi qui représente exclusivement les intérêts des employeurs, dans les deux langues officielles, depuis 1987.
AN INTEGRAL PART OF YOUR TEAM 48 C A P I TAL FAL L 2020 | T HE BUSINES S MAG A ZINE O F THE OT TAWA BOA R D OF TR A D E
PARTIE INTÉGRANTE DE VOTRE ÉQUIPE
PHOTO CR EDIT TK
Emond Harnden is trusted, not simply as advisors, but as an integrated member of our clients’ HR departments and senior management teams. We are devoted exclusively to advising management on labour relations and employment matters. Our team brings a forward-thinking approach to labour law.