advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
The importance of aggregates for the future of Waterloo Region Will the Ontario election be another taxpayersâ€™ revolt? Business priorities for the 2011 election Laurierâ€™s Global Innovation Exchange will foster greater engagement with business community
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| OCTOBER 2011
Will the Ontario election be another taxpayers’ revolt? Darrell Bricker
Laurier’s Global Innovation Exchange will foster greater engagement with business community Dr. Max Blouw
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The importance of aggregates for the future of Waterloo Region
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Being Solutions-Focused: business priorities for the 2011 election
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Provincial election campaign important for local business Ian McLean
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The economy, education and health care are all priorities
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
message from the chair
Moving forward together BY JEFF MACINTYRE The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerceâ€™s journey has just begun. What we know and what we continue to see is change. As we progress we understand that the future is dynamic and the needs of our members will continue to evolve. The fundamentals are the same. Business associations must provide networking opportunities, advocacy support, education for emerging changes and products and services that will assist the member to be more successful and profitable.
we are. Your efforts and dedication to the community have resulted in what we are today. It has been the devotion of our staff, many volunteers and fellow board members over the years that have given guidance and resulted in success. It has been the countless hours that we have put in for the benefit of others. As we move towards the future, it is hard to imagine what our future will look like. Technology, advances in manufacturing and a social media process that seems to change by the day will articulate what is to come.
The task of staying relevant to members can be daunting but is really quite simple. Listen. What we have learned over the past 125 years is to get out there, talk to the members and ask questions and then listen. Keeping an eye out for issues that are both currently relevant and those that will surface will be the key to our next 125 years.
As much as the future will be directed by things that may not even be invented and we could thank everyone with a mass communication sent in seconds, we need to step back and appreciate everyone with the time and sincerity they deserve. An old fashioned thank you and a handshake are necessary at this time. Thank you to everyone for your commitment to making us what we are today. The handshake is on its way.
The year has been fascinating as we celebrate a significant milestone. The dialogue and discussions we have had with new and long term members have been both insightful and educational. They have been inspiring and have taught us about creativity, resiliency and motivation. We have talked to those that have created community and can draw a straight line between their business, volunteerism and the look and feel of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Region. We have talked to people from Woolwich Township, Kitchener, Waterloo and people from far reaching communities. The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce has and will continue to shape the future of our area. This is something that we should all be proud of. We will listen, we will learn, we will guide and we will connect our members and all other businesses that either reside or want to work with local businesses. It is with great appreciation that we celebrate our milestone and take the opportunity to thank all of those who have made us what
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff MacIntyre CHAIR, BOARD OF DIRECTORS Jeff MacIntyre is the owner of two small businesses in Waterloo Region. Winexpert Kitchener South is an on-premises winemaking shop. So There Business Solutions assists employers to increase profitability through market access, sales assistance, business development planning strategies, mentoring and training.
message from the president
Provincial election campaign important for local business BY IAN MCLEAN Over the last year, local businesses have been required to make tough choices to deal with the economic downturn. They continue to tell us that they expect governments at all levels to do the same.
organization is comprised of small and medium enterprises. Controlling costs, particularly government fees and taxes, is critical for their success.
The recent recession did require employers to examine all their financial and operational components. However, business owners and managers have not seen the same expenditure control measures being implemented within the public sector. This is a pattern that needs to change for Waterloo Region to lead a provincial economic recovery.
Many members across the small business sector are concerned with higher energy prices. In a past Advocate article, I noted that modernizing the energy supply, adopting a culture of innovation, and constructing the relevant infrastructure are essential factors in the overall economic renewal of the province. Queenâ€™s Park must ensure that the demand for electricity is met while keeping prices affordable and stable for all consumers.
As the October 6th Ontario election approaches, the focus of our advocacy will be on making certain that candidates from the major parties are aware of issues for the business community. The common element across the spectrum is ensuring fiscally responsible and efficient government. A major issue in the upcoming election is the provincial labour arbitration system. The current controversy extends back to the 2010 Ontario Budget where Finance Minister Dwight Duncan indicated that in order to manage spending pressures and help redirect up to $750 million by 2011-12 to sustain public services like schools and hospitals, the compensation structure for all nonbargained employees in the Broader Public Sector and Ontario Public Service would be frozen for two years while all existing collective agreements will be honoured. Municipalities are excluded, however the province recommended they exercise restraint in order to address the provincial deficit. The failure of the provincial government to impose wage freezes on unionized public sector workers is placing significant pressure on municipalities. Many large urban centres will be completing or have completed recent negotiations with transit workers, police, and firefighters. Many of these contracts are ultimately settled through arbitration, a process that provides municipal employers with limited control over the outcomes. Fundamentally, the current arbitration system fails to recognize the relative costs of living and other factors for the provision of services. More importantly, the system erodes the capacity of elected officials to make local decisions for local issues.
As an article by Ontario Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Len Crispino later in this edition notes, elimination of the provincial deficit remains a paramount concern. Although projections have been shrinking due to increased economic activity, the shortfall will remain in double digits for a significantly extended period of time. The OCC argues that the schedule for deficit elimination requires acceleration, a message that is consistent with what we have heard from Waterloo Region businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. Apart from the budgetary deficit, it should also be noted that Ontario carries a debt well in excess of $200 billion. Interest payments on these charges could alternatively be spent in health care and education, making a strategy for eliminating these shortfalls a priority. As we did in April for the federal vote, the Chamber will be conducting candidate meetings in our three local ridings where we will advance issues of concern for the local business sector. If you have any issues for discussion at these sessions, please contact me and I will ensure they are included on the agenda.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ian McLean Ian McLean is President and CEO of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.
Small businesses are a significant component of the national, provincial and local economies. Approximately 80 percent of our
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Mark your Calendars! Notice of Annual General Meeting The 2011 Annual General Meeting has been called for Wednesday, September 14, 2011 at which time the new Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors will be installed. Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011 Registration: 4:30 pm to 5:00 pm Business Meeting: 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm (reception to follow) Location: Waterloo Inn Conference Hotel 475 King St. N., Waterloo Please register online at: www.greaterkwchamber.com Chamber members have the opportunity to vote at the Annual General Meeting to confirm the Nominating Committeeâ€™s slate of names to the 2011-2012 Board of Directors. The Nominating by the Board, recommended For moreCommittee, information,appointed please contact the thirteen candidates for the thirteen available positions on the Board. Chamber office at email@example.com or The call for independent nominations for the 2011-2012 Board of Directors closed on by telephone at 519.576.5000. August 8, 2011 with no additional nominees. Therefore, an election is not required.
For more information, please contact the Chamber office at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 519.576.5000.
The economy, education and health care are all priorities BY ART SINCLAIR There has been a traditional perception in Ontario politics that economic issues tend to dominate the Queen’s Park agenda during a recession. When the economy recovers and the level of activity increases, the government and voters switch their focus to the high spending portfolios such as health care and education. An expanding public treasury from more businesses and individuals paying taxes will illicit committed responses from across the political spectrum on how to most effectively spend the new revenue. In recent history, Bob Rae faced an electorate in 1995 that was obsessed with job creation and regaining some significant economic momentum after the devastating recession that commenced in 1991. Rae essentially committed to staying the course and found out the electorate empathically wanted change. Four years later, in 1999, the economy was relatively strong and the opposition Liberals attempted to win the vote on Mike Harris’ record in health care and education spending. However, the Tories management of the economy convinced the electorate that a second term was warranted. In 2011, the economy, education and health care are all high priorities. In Waterloo Region, it has often been stated that we were well into a downturn long before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September of 2008. The Goodrich plant closed in 2006 while the Canadian dollar started rising relative to US currency. The layoffs and restructuring in manufacturing were evident long before any Wall Street chaos, subprime mortgage fiascos, and global recessions. As the 2011 provincial vote approaches, the compilation of economic issues that can win or lose the election is significant. Voter response to the HST is at the top of most agendas, even though it is highly unlikely this measure will be repealed after October 6. Hydro rates and the energy portfolio may dominate candidate debates while WSIB premiums are a perpetual concern for many businesses. The latest CIBC World Markets’ (July 18) Canadian Metropolitan Economic Activity Index rankings place the Kitchener Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) second nationally behind only Toronto. Our region was cited for a very strong labour market, healthy population growth, relatively high quality employment, and low
business bankruptcies. The news is positive and indicates we may be close to our economic performance of 2005 when local unemployment was among the lowest in Canada. The education and health care portfolios will also be priorities in Waterloo Region. Local per resident funding for hospital services is among the lowest across Ontario. The provincial government has not increased expenditures at a rate consistent with our population growth, leaving significant issues within the entire health care system. This funding inequity impacts our capacity to attract businesses and investment. The presence of two large universities, a community college, and two school boards serving urban and rural students ensures that the education portfolio remains a local priority. On a positive note, all three post-secondary institutions have benefited from significant infrastructure investments from Queen’s Park and Ottawa. The new Conestoga College campus in Cambridge opens in September while Wilfrid Laurier recently received $73 million for their new Global Innovation Exchange facility on the Waterloo campus. However, with the increasing importance of university/college and business collaboration for meeting the opportunities of a global economy, future federal and provincial investment in the education system remains critical. After five years of restructuring and uncertainty in Waterloo Region and across Ontario, indicators are directed towards a significant positive shift to sustained economic and employment growth. It is incumbent upon the provincial government, and their federal counterparts, to maintain an environment that allows the private sector to continue leading this recovery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Art Sinclair Art Sinclair is the Vice President Policy and Advocacy for the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
perspective on health care
OMA: Health Care should be a priority in the Provincial Election BY MARY SUE FITZPATRICK Recent polling conducted by the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) revealed that 9 in 10 Ontarians believe that health care is the most important issue, despite the focus on jobs and the economy of late. In addition, their polling data shows that regardless of which party Ontarians affiliate with, they still choose health care as their number one issue. With the next provincial election scheduled for October 6th, Ontario’s doctors have developed a thoughtful and practical set of policy recommendations that they believe can enhance and strengthen our health care system. Released earlier this year, the OMA’s provincial election platform “Better care. Healthier patients. A stronger Ontario” contains 41 recommendations designed to improve patient care and strengthen Ontario’s health care system. There are three broad objectives of the platform: promoting healthier living; modernizing our health care system; and, helping more patients obtain the care they need. Specific policy recommendations developed through comprehensive and thorough consultation with patients and physicians include: • Fighting childhood obesity by requiring fast food chains to list calorie contents on menu boards, and by mandating physical activity in our high schools; • Ensuring every person in Ontario has an electronic medical record (EMR) by 2015 and expanding EMRs to 5,000 more physicians; • Expanding the number of Family Health Teams; • Implementing a mental health strategy with a focus on our young people whose parents continue to find significant gaps in resources and care options;
The OMA has asked that serious consideration be given to their proposals and that the parties incorporate some of these recommendations into their respective platforms. According to OMA President, Dr. Stewart Kennedy, “Health care isn’t just a cost, it’s an investment. If people are healthy and well they are more productive members of society. More importantly, if you have a strong health care system, employers from around the world will be attracted to invest in Ontario. A strong health care system is the foundation for a strong and vibrant economy.” While investments in health care are necessary, they are becoming a challenge to maintain. The OMA believes that the future sustainability of health care in this province is crucial and that action must be taken to make it more resourceful. Ontario doctors have been able to help find efficiencies that will save the system over $100 million. They want to have an Ontario health care system that is comprehensive, that improves access and results in best outcomes for patients. The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce couldn’t agree more. Our Chamber Health Care Resources Council applauds the OMA and our Ontario doctors for developing the association’s 2011 provincial election platform and recommendations to enhance patient care and strengthen the provincial health care system. We would like to see many of their recommendations incorporated into a provincial health care strategy that is both sustainable and resourceful. To learn more about what Ontario’s doctors are recommending, “Better care. Healthier Patients. A strong Ontario.” can be viewed on the OMA website at www.oma.org.
• Reducing the number of Alternative Level of Care patients by increasing long-term care capacity and home support services; ABOUT THE AUTHOR
• Expanding the number of Physician Assistants (PAs) and allowing them to work across the spectrum of medical care; • Introducing new measures to make it easier for low income students to consider medical school. Looking ahead to the provincial election, Ontario’s doctors have been urging all political parties to make health care a top priority.
Mary Sue Fitzpatrick Mary Sue is Vice President Family Physician Resources and Health Advocacy.
Will the Ontario election be another taxpayers’ revolt? BY DARRELL BRICKER The end of what feels like the longest election campaign in the history of Ontario is rapidly approaching. And, as the finish line looms into sight, a few things are becoming clearer. First, the Progressive Conservatives under new leader Tim Hudak have opened up a comfortable 10 point lead over incumbent Premier Dalton McGuinty and his Liberal Party. In this game, 10 points is a difficult but not impossible gap to close. Second, this race is predominately between a country mouse and a city mouse. The Liberals remain strong in their Greater Toronto Area (GTA) bastion, but the Tories have consolidated their lead outside of the big city. Finally, new NDP leader Andrea Horwath could still serve as a spoiler in this campaign (a la Jack Layton in the federal election), but it isn’t happening yet. Nonetheless, this is an important trend to watch. Events in other elections may point to what could happen in the upcoming provincial vote. Both the federal election and the Toronto municipal election show that the most influential trend of late is the re-emergence of the GTA suburbs as an important political force. In both elections we saw the suburbs, including the near suburbs (now part of Toronto as a result of amalgamation), vote overwhelmingly for government restraint. Put simply, both elections were taxpayer revolts. The question now is how people who support strong public services and aren’t afraid to increase taxes to get them (the left) will vote in October. In the last two outings, the left split their vote or stayed home, which allowed the energized and unified taxpayers coalition to win. Will the left do the same in October? The big challenge for both the NDP and Liberals will be to mobilize and consolidate left and centrist voters. That’s because Hudak and the PCs now own the right and center right (the taxpayers’ coalition). What might help the left to come together is the expenditure review process that the Ford government in Toronto is currently undertaking. While this may seem too “Toronto-centric” for many readers, the truth is that Toronto is where the next provincial election will be fought and won. There simply aren’t enough seats in play in other parts of the province to impact the results the way that a big move in Toronto could. Also, Ford’s review process is reminiscent of the way that Mike Harris handled the first part of his tenure as Ontario’s Premier.
Harris promised a “Common Sense Revolution” to Ontario’s voters, and he immediately implemented a series of major cuts and cost transfers to other levels of government that showed that he meant business. By following a similar approach to dealing with the “Gravy Train”, Mayor Ford could remind people of what the Harris government did. And, if either the Liberals or NDP are able to use the Ford example as a way to “paint” a relativelyunknown Tim Hudak (i.e. Hudak is the new Harris, and Ford is showing you what that means), they could consolidate the left, and potentially drag some centrist voters away from the Tories. While McGuinty and the Liberals are formidable and disciplined campaigners (just ask John Tory), they are less likely to consolidate the left than the NDP. Why? Because this is shaping up to be a “change” election. In the end, every election is about either change or continuity. And, in a change election it is extremely difficult for a two-term majority government to look like anything but continuity. This gives Horwath and the NDP a tremendous opportunity to consolidate a new left that still looks like change. And, if that happens, there’s still potential for the bottom to drop out of Liberal support. In the end, this should all work to the advantage of the PCs who have a unified coalition and a large lead in the polls.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Darrell Bricker Darrell Bricker is Chief Executive Officer, Ipsos Public Affairs. Ipsos Public Affairs – a Division of Ipsos, the world’s second largest market research firm, conducts corporate reputation & social research around the world. Dr. Bricker holds a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a BA and MA from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Summer networking 1
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*Photography by Adamski Photography
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
June 1, 2011 to July 31, 2011 ABCO Group
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Laurier’s Global Innovation Exchange will foster greater engagement with business community DR. MAX BLOUW It has been a wonderful year for Wilfrid Laurier University as we celebrate our 100th anniversary as a post-secondary institution and as an engaged member of the local community. Laurier traces its roots to the opening of the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary of Canada in 1911. From the very beginning, the university has enjoyed a supportive relationship with the local business community. As historian Kenneth McLaughlin noted in the previous issue of the Advocate, the Waterloo Board of Trade, through the generosity and foresight of local business and community leaders, provided the five acres of land upon which the Waterloo seminary was established. Indeed, this region’s enduring prosperity is due in no small way to the recognition among local leaders that post-secondary education is vital to the health of a community. This understanding was evident when Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy, Ontario’s Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, recently announced that the province was investing $72.6 million in Laurier’s new Global Innovation Exchange, a $103-million educational facility that will be built on University Avenue on the site of the former St. Michael’s school, across from Laurier’s Waterloo campus. The Global Innovation Exchange is a transformational project that will propel Laurier’s renowned School of Business & Economics to new heights. Both a concept and a physical structure, the Global Innovation Exchange will house Laurier’s business and economics programs together with our mathematics programs. The building will include classrooms, lecture halls, math and computer labs, an auditorium, and meeting space, all of which will be equipped with the latest technology to enhance the university’s interaction with industry and academic partners locally and around the world. At four storeys and 215,000 square feet, this exciting new facility will enable Laurier to accommodate an additional 2,000 students. More importantly, it will bring Laurier’s unique focus on integrated and experiential learning together with partners at the local, national and international levels. The Global Innovation Exchange will also help Laurier carry on the tradition of mutual support that has existed between the university and the community for the past century. Over the years, Laurier has provided tens of thousands of young people — many from Waterloo Region — with the quality
education they need to pursue successful careers in a wide range of industries. The university has also worked hard to develop professional development opportunities for working people who want to improve their knowledge and skills. Laurier was the first in Canada to offer a one-year MBA, and our part-time MBA options are popular with those balancing education and full-time jobs. More recently, we’ve added the Laurier Executive Development Centre and an Executive Masters in Technology Management program. As well, Laurier is a founding partner in the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, where our faculty and students interact with aspiring and established technology entrepreneurs. Laurier is a leader in applied business research. The School of Business & Economics is home to research chairs and research centres in a variety of areas, from financial services and supply chain management to insurance, brand communication and the management of technology enterprises. For the past century, local business leaders have supported the university through volunteer leadership, student mentorship and financial support. Laurier will again need this support as we work to secure the $30-million investment that is still needed, in addition to the province’s $72.6-million contribution, to realize our full vision for the Global Innovation Exchange. We’re confident that the people of Waterloo Region and the business community will recognize the value in supporting this state-of-the-art educational facility. As The Waterloo Region Record said in a recent editorial, the province’s contribution to this project “is, at once, a meaningful recognition both of what Wilfrid Laurier has achieved and what it can accomplish in the years ahead.” To learn more about the Global Innovation Exchange and how you can participate, please contact Rob Donelson, Vice-President of Development and Alumni Relations, at email@example.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Max Blouw Dr. Max Blouw is the President and ViceChancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University.
The importance of aggregates for the future of Waterloo Region BY NICHOLAS BOGAERT Aggregate extraction has been a hot topic in the community recently, as evidenced by high levels of media attention and public involvement in current applications. Proposals for new or expanded extraction sites can cause substantial controversy. The common refrain from groups opposed to new pits and quarries is some acceptance of the need for aggregate, but opposition to a specific proposal because it is in the wrong place. It seems â€œthe wrong placeâ€? depends on the circumstance, and could be farmland, a natural area, a rural residential area, a cultural resource, or the Greenbelt. These positions cannot all be correct. The reality is that aggregate can only be extracted where it geologically occurs, and this often involves areas with competing land uses or resources.
build our public infrastructure. Much of the new growth is to occur in built-up areas in the form of infill development, and the trend will be to move away from single family homes in favour of more apartments and townhouses. This is not expected to reduce overall aggregate consumption, and will require more high-quality aggregates (such as crushed stone) for larger buildings.
PORTION OF REHABILITATION AREA AT THE DUFFERIN AGGREGATES MILTON QUARRY
It is well established that (SOURCE: DUFFERIN AGGREGATES) aggregate resources play an important part of our daily lives. They are used in the construction of our roads, bridges, homes, schools, and hospitals. The following are some examples of the amount of aggregates used in some typical construction activities: - A brick home typically uses about 22 truck loads; - The average school needs approximately 650 truck loads; - A typical large office block uses approximately 800 truck loads; - One kilometer of a six-lane road utilizes approximately 2,590 truck loads.
As Waterloo Region continues to experience strong economic and population growth (60% population growth and 55% employment growth projected between 2001 and 2031), an increasing amount of aggregates will be required to construct buildings and renew /
In 2010, Ontario produced approximately 166 million tonnes of aggregates, with Waterloo Region contributing 7.5 million tonnes (4.5%). As local supplies of aggregates increasingly become depleted, new sources are required to replace them. Recycling of aggregate products is on the rise (amount recycled doubled between 1991 and 2006), but it cannot replace the need for new licenced reserves.
There are inherent environmental and economic benefits to making aggregate resources available close to where they are required. Extracting aggregate resources further from market areas consumes more fossil fuels and produces more greenhouse gases, due to longer transportation distances. Moving aggregate operations further away only transfers the impacts to other areas of the Province. There may be less people living in the immediate area of a remote pit or quarry, but the material still has to be transported to market areas (such as Kitchener-Waterloo) through the use of more large trucks on our highways, more trains on rail lines travelling through numerous communities, and additional urban fringe redistribution / transfer yards. There is a movement towards increasing the local sourcing and consumption of food to reduce trucking costs and environmental impacts, and the same principle should apply to aggregate resources. In fact, this has been the cornerstone of Ontario aggregate policy for decades.
impacts (including water and natural heritage). These studies are reviewed in detail by the Provincial Ministries, Municipalities, and Conservation Authorities. The decision by the Province (or the Ontario Municipal Board in the case of an appeal) to issue an aggregate licence is based on a number of factors, including minimizing social and environmental impacts.
REHABILITATION TO TENDER FRUIT LANDS AT THE LAFARGE FONTHILL PIT (SOURCE: MHBC)
In Ontario, a sophisticated planning system protects the most important environmental features and directs aggregate extraction to rural areas. Approximately 25 pieces of provincial and federal legislation apply to the extraction of aggregate resources. New applications must complete a variety of studies, examining aspects such as land use compatibility, traffic, noise, and environmental
Aggregate operations are required to be rehabilitated to compatible after-uses following the completion of extraction, and there are some excellent rehabilitation examples located in Southern Ontario. Examples include: rehabilitation to public use (Snyderâ€™s Flats along the Grand River outside Kitchener, Don Valley Brick Works in Toronto, Kerncliffe Park in Burlington); rehabilitation to specialty crop lands (tender fruit production and vineyards on the Niagara Peninsula); rehabilitation to golf courses (Osprey Valley in Caledon, Fanshawe Golf and Country Club in London), rehabilitation to urban uses (U of T Erindale Campus in Mississauga), and thousands of acres of land rehabilitated to agricultural and pasture use. Aggregates are an integral part of modern society, and if southern Ontario is to continue to accommodate more growth as outlined in the Provincial Places to Grow plan, additional aggregate resources will continue to be required. Aggregate operations can co-exist with other rural uses through careful site design and working with the local community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
REHABILITATION AT SYNDERâ€™S FLATS (SOURCE: MHBC)
Nicholas Bogaert is a Senior Planner with MacNaughton Hermsen Britton Clarkson Planning Limited, who is a planning, urban design, and landscape architecture firm with offices located in Kitchener, Woodbridge, London, Barrie, and Kingston. He is a land use planner, with expertise in aggregate resource management, heritage resource planning, subdivision planning and design, and commercial planning and site design.
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Mark your calendar BY CHAMBER STAFF
September 14, 2011
September 22, 2011
October 4, 2011
2011 Annual General Meeting
Networking Breakfast Series presents State of the Arts
Cowan Insurance Group presents a New Member Welcome
7:00-9:00pm Location: Holiday Inn Kitchener Member Advantage: $28 General Admission: $40
5:00-7:00pm Admission: Complimentary
4:30-7:00pm Location: Waterloo Inn Conference Hotel Admission: Complimentary
September 20, 2011 Chamber After 5 regional tradeshow 4:00-8:00pm Location: Bingemans Admission: Complimentary
*A panel discussion will explore what’s really going on in our local arts organizations and why it’s good business to support the arts.
September 29, 2011
Learn how working together can work for you! Find out how the Chamber’s services and events can help your business grow. Learn about volunteer opportunities and network with other new and current Chamber members. Title Sponsor:
Research In Motion Chamber Young Professionals Kick-Off Event 5:00-7:00pm Location: Walper Terrace Hotel Member Advantage: $5 General Admission: $10
Notice of Revision to Chamber By-Laws The Chamber Board of Directors Governance Committee is recommending to the Membership that the Chamber General By-Laws (No. 1) be revised. A blackline version of Chamber General By-Law (No .1) showing the revisions being recommended can be viewed online at www.greaterkwchamber.com, as well as the clean version of the revised Chamber General By-Law (No. 1). Visit the website and click on “Media Centre” and select “Nominating Committee Report” dated July 29, 2011. The Chamber membership will vote on the approval of the revisions to Chamber General By-Law (No. 1) at the 2011 Annual General Meeting on September 14, 2011.
October 4, 2011
October 13, 2011
October 25, 2011
Rogers Chamber Connections
5:00-7:00pm Location: Waterloo-Wellington Flight Centre Member Advantage: ** New this seasonComplimentary admission** General Admission: $10
6:00pm-9:00pm (Ticket also includes access to the Tent for the remainder of the night) Location: Concordia Hall, Concordia Club Admission: $35
Research In Motion Chamber Young Professionals
*Does networking intimidate you or do you thrive on meeting new people? Come out to this casual bi-monthly event with friendly faces and easy conversation that provides an opportunity for B2B networking.
*Donâ€™t miss an opportunity to entertain your clients at one of KitchenerWaterlooâ€™s most distinctive event attractions: Oktoberfest! For $35, receive admission to Corporate Night at Concordia Club, a Souvenir pin, one (1) serving of schnitzel or sausage on a bun, a complimentary beer and enjoy a networking opportunity that includes Oktoberfest programming such as authentic German dancers and the tapping of the Keg.
7:00pm Kitchener Memorial Auditorium Complex *Rangers vs. London Game Title Sponsor:
October 26, 2011 Womenâ€™s Leadership Committee presents a Financial Planning Event 11:30am-1:30pm Location: Waterloo Inn Conference Hotel
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
2011 Election of Directors Nominating Committee’s Slate of Candidates Nominee Profiles Kathryn Allamby is responsible for providing strategic support to divisional senior management, as well as oversight and leadership to the finance teams across the division. Her accountabilities include leading the division’s financial planning and reporting processes, ensuring a robust accounting and control environment across the division, and partnering with businesses on key transactions and initiatives. During her 15-year tenure with Manulife, Kathryn has held a variety of positions and was appointed to her current role in April 2006. Prior to that, she played leadership roles in the U.S. Insurance Business Unit; Corporate Controllers where she was responsible for coordinating the company-wide planning and management reporting functions; and Corporate Risk Management. KATHRYN ALLAMBY, CA Vice President & Chief Accountant, Canadian Division Manulife Financial
Prior to joining Manulife, Kathryn worked at another global life insurance company and articled at KPMG in Toronto. Kathryn is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto.
Rick Baker is Founder and Chairman of Spirited Leaders Corporation (Spirited Leaders). Spirited Leaders is an education resource, a company created to help local business leaders build the business success they desire - with focus on positive culture, strong business values, people strengths, and positive change.
W.F.C. (RICK) BAKER, P. Eng. Founder & Chairman Spirited Leaders Corporation
Rick has served as a Director on the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Board since 2007. Prior to his appointment to the Board, Rick was Chair of the Chamber Energy & Environment Forum Committee, and a member of the Chamber Networking Breakfast Series Committee. He has played an active role in business development for over 20 years as Founder and CEO of Spirited Investors Corporation and Founder and President of Baker Investment Group Inc. (BIG Inc), BEST Co. Inc. (now, VIP Energy Services Inc.), The Baker Energy Service & Trading Company Inc. (The BEST Co), Gazbec Inc., and Gas Ontario Inc., all based in Waterloo. Rick also was a Founder and owner of Cibola Canada Energy Marketing Company (Kitchener) and the Founding Chairman of the Ontario Energy Marketers Association (Toronto). Rick has served as Chair on industry self-regulating associations, managed major energy industry rule changes, and is well known and respected both in the energy industry and the business community. He also served as a Director of the Brantford Chamber of Commerce in 1989-1990.
Brian Bennett has been on the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors since 2005. Brian has over 28 years of extensive Financial Services experience in retail and commercial banking, and is currently a self employed Professional Consultant. Brian has lived in a number of communities in Southwestern Ontario during his career, and has been an active participant in local activities. He lived in Waterloo Region from 1996-1998 and relocated here again in 2004. He is a graduate of the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. BRIAN BENNETT Professional Consultant BME Consulting
Paul Eichinger has been with Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty (CBPBR) since September of 2004 as Vice President of Development Services. Paul provides direction and support (in a non-licensed capacity) for a variety of development related projects and activities. Paul came to CBPBR from the City of Waterloo, where he served in several roles, including Director of Economic Development. Paul’s engineering training and background, and his experience in land development, building construction, real estate and economic development are skills that are beneficial to both the clients and staff at CBPBR. PAUL EICHINGER, P. Eng. Vice President, Development Services Coldwell Banker Peter Benninger Realty (CBPBR)
Paul is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario, and has been a Chamber Board member for two years and a member of the Chamber’s Regional and Municipal Affairs Committee for over 10 years. Paul is also a member of the University of Waterloo President’s Golf Tournament Committee and is the former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre.
Sabrina Fitzgerald is a senior manager in the Tax group of PwC. Sabrina is a Chartered Accountant, and specializes in the high net worth area working with small to medium sized business owners on succession planning, estate planning, remuneration strategies, and corporate re-organizations as well as corporate and personal tax integration. She is also an active member of the PwC Private Company Services team in Waterloo. Her keen interest in entrepreneurship was developed at an early age being involved in several family businesses over the years, including running a franchise from both the perspective of a franchisee and franchisor. She received an Honours Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a minor in Business French. SABRINA FITZGERALD Senior Manager, Tax Group PwC
Sabrina is an active member in the community, a Past-President for the Waterloo Wellington CA Association, a member of the Centre for Family Business, Waterloo Wellington Estate Planners Council, Women’s Leadership Exchange, and a committee member for the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Networking Series.
Neil Henderson is a partner practising in the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) Waterloo Region office. Neil earned a B.A.Sc. in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto in 1986 and obtained a law degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1990. Neil is a registered Canadian and United States patent and trade-mark agent. Neil has a depth of experience in working with clients ranging from individuals, SMEs, to large multi-nationals. Although his specialty is Intellectual Property law, he is sometimes described as a corporate commercial lawyer who knows way too much about IP. Because of his engineering background, he takes a practical, system-based, and inventive approach to working with clients on their legal issues and opportunities. NEIL HENDERSON Partner BLG Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Dave Jaworsky is the Senior Director of Corporate Responsibility at Research In Motion, the designer and manufacturer of the BlackBerry® smartphone. Dave and his team manage global corporate citizenship, and BlackBerry sustainability & accessibility initiatives for RIM. Dave serves on the boards of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI), Communitech and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. He is a former board member of the Centre for Communications and Information Technology (CCIT, part of the Ontario Centres of Excellence organization). He is an active volunteer in his community, working with Capacity Waterloo Region, the Chamber’s Health Care Resource Council, the Airport Business Advisory Committee, as well as minor sports. DAVID JAWORSKY Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility Research in Motion
Dave has been working in the Canadian high-tech sector for 25 years, in roles ranging from software development to corporate sales. Dave joined RIM over 10 years ago, and he holds a Bachelor of Mathematics degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. Dave lives in Waterloo with his wife and two sons.
Cameron Kozlowski is the Commercial Banking Area Manager at BMO Bank of Montreal with responsibility for the bank’s commercial financial services in Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. Cameron has been employed with BMO for over three years and has held several senior commercial positions. Prior to joining BMO, Cameron worked in financial services for 21 years at the Canadian operations of a major international bank in the areas of commercial, retail, corporate, loan recovery and asset acquisitions. Cameron has a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Manitoba with majors in Finance and Economics combined with accreditations from the Canadian Securities Institute and Institute of Canadian Bankers. Continuing education goals include the completion of a CGA designation and enrolment in a MBA program. CAMERON KOZLOWSKI Commercial Banking Area Manager BMO Bank of Montreal
Cameron is a member of the Kitchener Westmount Rotary Club and has held various board positions. He also served on the board of the Kitchener Waterloo Alzheimer Society and the Finance Committee of Knox Presbyterian Church Waterloo. Cameron was born and raised in Gimli, Manitoba. He has worked and resided in Kitchener-Waterloo for the past nine years. Cameron is married and has three children.
Sandra Schelling is the Dean of Continuing Education and Corporate Training at Conestoga College. Prior to Conestoga she worked at York University in the Centre of Continuing Education meeting the needs of the GTA. She is active in numerous college boards including the Provincial Contract Training Network that meets the needs of local industry province-wide, and the Heads of Continuing Education that meets the needs of individuals upgrading their skills.
SANDRA SCHELLING Dean, Continuing Education & Corporate Training Conestoga College
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Ron Schertzer has 30 years of National and International business experience from the electrical, packaging, and most recently geothermal industries. He is presently Vice President, Sales for NextEnergy and is responsible for NextEnergy's Regional Sales Managers, Business Development staff, as well as their National network of more than 250 qualified dealers and installers. Prior to joining NextEnergy, Ron was Vice President with the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), who is responsible for public electrical safety in the Province of Ontario. Ron is an expert in creating and implementing regulatory systems, as well as training standards.
RON SCHERTZER Vice President, Sales NextEnergy Inc.
Tim Sothern is a Partner with BDO Canada LLP Chartered Accountants and Advisors. He is a Chartered Accountant and received his BBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and his MBA from the University of British Columbia. Tim is also a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP).
TIM SOTHERN Partner BDO Canada LLP
An active Chamber member, Tim’s volunteer commitment spans more than 15 years and has included commitments to the United Way, Supportive Housing of Waterloo, Waterloo Minor Girls Softball Association, and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. Tim has been a member of the Chamber Volunteer and Member Services Committee since 2003, including 2006 and 2007 as its Chair. Tim has also chaired the Committee Leadership Group meetings for the Chamber and in 2007 was the winner of the “Volunteer of the Year” award at the annual Chamber Business Excellence Awards. Tim was appointed to the Chamber’s Board of Directors as Treasurer in March 2008. He now serves as the Board Secretary and is a member of the Board Finance and Governance committees.
A resident of Waterloo, Sandra Stone has been the General Manager of Conestoga Mall for the last 12 years. She has worked with Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.* (owner of Conestoga Mall) for 23 years, serving in various marketing and management positions at Market Square (Kitchener), Burlington Mall, Waterloo Town Square and Lynden Park Mall (Brantford), as well as the Regional Customer Service Manager overseeing customer service functions of 16 regional shopping centres in Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. Prior to joining the commercial real estate industry, Sandra was the national marketing manager of a Kitchener-based chain of jewellery stores, which saw growth from 12 to 32 stores in six years. Originally from Northern Ontario, Sandra was attracted to the KitchenerWaterloo area when recruited to work in the Record's advertising department. SANDRA STONE General Manager Conestoga Mall (Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc.)
She is the Canadian representative on an ICSC committee focused on education and professional development. Sandra is also a member of the K-W Oktoberfest Advisory Committee and the City of Waterloo's Economic Development Committee. She previously served on the joint Kitchener Waterloo Storm Water Management Advisory Committee, City of Waterloo 150th Anniversary Committee, Waterloo Region District School Board Fast Forward Advisory Council as well as several fundraising events. For the past four years, Sandra's professional focus has been on the expansion and redevelopment of Conestoga Mall. *Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc. has been named one of Canada's 50 best employers for the past six years.
Martin van Nierop is currently Senior Director, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Waterloo. He has been in this role for the past two years, at one point also wearing another hat as Director of Communications & Public Affairs, the latter position he enjoyed for more than 20 years and four presidents. As Government Relations Director, he is commissioned to work with all levels of government — municipal, provincial, federal and even foreign, to advance the university’s priorities. He works closely with political leadership, government staff and the business community to ensure that there is advancement on key projects (such as LRT) for the university, community, government and all stakeholders. MARTIN VAN NIEROP Senior Director, Government Relations & Strategic Initiatives University of Waterloo
He has been involved with the business community in a number of ways, typically as Director of the university’s public affairs department. He has enjoyed working closely with such business community and advocacy organizations as Leadership Waterloo, Communitech, CTT, and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. His current role as Government Relations Senior Director is an excellent conduit for close collaboration with the business leadership of Waterloo Region and beyond. Martin is a resident of the City of Waterloo, is married with two daughters, and enjoys coaching hockey and soccer.
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP advocating for the Chamber's future success BY ALEXIS CONRAD At Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), our drive to deliver the best possible results for all our clients goes beyond the walls of our offices. Our tradition of service to the community is born out of our responsibility and commitment to the communities in which we are located. As such, BLG has proudly supported the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce as a corporate sponsor since 2006. BLG has deep roots in the Kitchener-Waterloo community through its predecessor firms in the region, most recently via joining forces with the team from Shortt Hanbidge Richardson and Welch in 2008. BLG's Waterloo Region office has access to a national firm and is able to assist with all of your legal needs, including a complete range of day-to-day and transactional corporate, intellectual property, commercial and residential real estate, and labour and employment legal services. Our clients benefit from access to national resources and expertise on any given area of law, while enjoying the personal relationships that make the region a unique place to do business. Our Firm believes it is important to support the organizations that help our communities thrive. Collaboration with our community organizations is a key element to the success of the Waterloo Region office, and without it, we wouldnâ€™t be the largest and one of the most successful law firms in Canada. In addition to our corporate sponsorship of the Chamber, many members of our Waterloo Region office are active participants in the Chamber. For example, Suzanne Gross, a member of our national Business Development team, has been a member of the Women's Leadership Committee since 2006 and the Chair since late 2009. She was invited to the committee after acting as the Firm's liaison with the Chamber. Drawing on his previous work experience in the environmental business arena, Chris Toal, a Corporate/Commercial lawyer, has served as the Chamber's representative on the Region of Waterloo's Water Efficiency and Advisory Committee since 2007, and was recently re-appointed for a three-year term. Chris has also
helped coordinate speakers for the Chamber's Energy and Environment Forum on topics of interest to the local business community, such as the region's Commercial, Industrial, Institutional Water Efficiency programs. Also in our Business Development department, Alexis Conrad is a former employee of the Chamber, working as the Events and Sponsorship Manager from 2006 to 2008. Since joining BLG, Alexis continues to work with the Chamber as a volunteer on the Business Excellence Awards Committee and more recently, the Physician Recruitment Task Force. BLG's sponsorship of the Chamber also allows us to further serve the region's business community by supporting the Chamber's advocacy efforts. Understanding your business and how legal changes affect you today and tomorrow is BLG's business, and like us, the Chamber plays a major role in listening to the wants and needs of the business community in order to help it succeed. "BLG knows that the Chamber is an important and effective part of supporting our clients' interests and the interests of the greater business community," said Neil Henderson, BLG's Waterloo Region Office Managing Partner. "The Waterloo Region is home to a diverse business community that encompasses both traditional industries and high-tech players and the Chamber gives us a cohesive voice that advocates for our collective interests." The Chamber acts as an important partner to the Firm to help us achieve our goals. For example, the Chamber and BLG are involved in similar recruitment activities to attract the best and brightest professionals to the area. Just as the Chamber has been working tirelessly to attract new family physicians to the area, our Waterloo Region office has been actively scouting the top legal talent from around the world. Recently, BLG welcomed Todd Bissett to the team. Todd is an M&A lawyer who has worked in Beijing and Shanghai, China, and Silicon Valley, California. His wealth of knowledge and international experience not only allows BLG to better serve our clients, his connections to venture capital firms abroad is an asset to the region's business community as a whole.
FRONT ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): NEIL HENDERSON, LEAH ELLIOTT, LARRY RICHARDSON, HEATHER TANNER, JEFF WONG BACK ROW (LEFT TO RIGHT): KEN HANBIDGE, SUZANNE GROSS, TODD BISSETT, ALEXIS CONRAD ABSENT: DAVE SHORTT AND CHRIS TOAL
The Firm's involvement in the Chamber has also played a major role in our networking initiatives, helping us grow our business by developing relationships with existing and new Chamber members. The Chamber's networking events are also a fantastic way of integrating new members of our team into the business community. For example, when Leah Elliott, of our Commercial Real Estate Group, joined the Firm in 2009, the Chamber played an essential role in introducing Leah to her current network. Outside the Chamber, many of our team members are involved in various groups throughout the region. Leah sits on the Communitech Board, and Jeffrey Wong, a Partner and Patent Agent at BLG, is an active volunteer and board member of Ray of Hope. Also, Matt Certosimo, a Labour and Employment lawyer with BLG, is a member of Wilfrid Laurier University's Board of Governors.
Whether volunteering with a local community group or sitting on a committee with the Chamber, BLG's professionals and staff are actively involved in the Waterloo Region. We take great pride in our citizenship role and strive to continue to deliver meaningful benefit to the region through our partnership with organizations like the Chamber. For more information on BLG, please visit blg.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexis Conrad Alexis Conrad is the BLG Business Development Manager, Waterloo Region.
advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Chamber Star - Don Wales The Chamber Star was developed to recognize volunteers and is a way for the Chamber to show appreciation for their significant efforts. It is awarded to an active committee member three times a year, following a Committee Chair nomination process. We are excited to announce that Don Wales is the newest recipient of the Chamber Star. Don is Chair of the Chamber Connections Committee and a member of the Golf Committee. He played an active role in revamping the Business After 5 event series into the successful Chamber Connections it is today. Don has a positive attitude and energy which is seen in everything he does. Through his commitment to volunteering, he has introduced new exhibitors to the Chamber Connections series and has assisted with creatively strategizing new sponsorship and silent auction ideas for the Chamberâ€™s Golf Scramble. This has made Don an invaluable asset to the Chamber and the committees where he participates.
Thank you Don, for your time and support of the Chamber, its members, and our community!
Don is a Registered Insurance Broker for Commercial Lines at Erb and Erb Insurance Brokers Ltd. He has been in this role for the past year. Prior to working in Commercial Lines, Don assisted in the Personal Lines Department since September 8th, 2009. Don worked in Marketing at Enterprise Rent-A-Car before his move to insurance.
2012 CALENDAR Produced by the KWS Volunteer Committee; all proceeds support the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony.
Purchase the 2012 Leejay Levene calendar online or through local businesses. For details, go to kwsymphony.ca/calendar If your business would like to sell these calendars on our behalf please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
buytoday! kwsymphony.ca/calendar 26
Founded in 1948
IN SUPPORT OF
Member notables MMMC Architects MMMC Architects, a full service architectural firm with studios in both Kitchener and Brantford, is proud to be the recipient of the Chamber of Commerce Brantford Brantâ€™s 2011 Company of the Year Award. Based in Brantford since 1960, MMMC Architects Kitchener Studio opened in 2006 to better service the fast growing golden triangle area. The Kitchener Studio, a member of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce since 2009, employs 8 fulltime staff and the Brantford Studio currently has 19 employees. MMMC Architects KW projects include the recently opened new Anselma House Womenâ€™s Shelter, Sunnyside Long-Term Care Home, W.T. Townshend Public School, St. Luke Catholic Elementary School, Cambridge Library & Gallery and the iconic Kinsmen Headquarters.
Funding Announcements for improvements at Region of Waterloo International Airport The Region of Waterloo International Airport recently secured significant funding commitments from the federal and provincial governments for facility improvements and upgrades. The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced $3.2 million in federal funding on August 2, 2011. Under the Airports Capital Assistance Program (ACAP), the money will be used to partially rehabilitate the pavement on Runway 08-26. On August 3, local officials gathered at the airport to officially open the new combined maintenance and fire hall facility. The governments of Canada and Ontario each committed nearly $2.4 million towards this project through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The Region of Waterloo contributed the balance of the total eligible project cost of $7.1 million.
New Executive Director for Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society On June 29th, 2011 the Board of Directors for the Kitchener Waterloo Humane Society announced the appointment of Jack Kinch as Executive Director. Mr. Kinch possesses an extensive background in business leadership across the private and public sectors and has, for the last decade, managed community programs for the YMCAs of Greater Toronto and Simcoe/Muskoka. His experience includes organizational development, operations management, business development and human resource management. The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce would like to congratulate Mr. Kinch on his appointment and welcome him to our community.
(continued on page 28) advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
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K-W Realtors donate $23,000 to ROOF The Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors (KWAR) recently donated $23,000 to Reaching Our Outdoor Friends (ROOF), a local organization providing support to homeless and at-risk youth. The donation originated from KWAR’s 18th annual charity golf tournament held at Conestoga Golf Club on Tuesday, June 21, 2011. With the support of many sponsors, the 2011 tournament exceeded last year’s fundraising effort by $3,000. Since 1993, KWAR has donated more than half a million dollars to support local charities.
The Frugal Decorator & Boutique Grand Re-Opening On Thursday July 28, 2011, The Frugal Decorator & Boutique held a grand opening party at their new 50 Ottawa Street South, Unit 101 facility in Kitchener. Carolann Mackie, the Frugal Decorator, and her staff offer a wide variety of services for residential and commercial projects including colour consulting, space planning, lighting plans and residential staging to sell. The new location is a unique retro-fitted space with brand new home decor.
The MT Spaces receives grant The MT Space recently received a $100,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). These funds are specifically dedicated to hiring a general manager to focus on the day-to-day development and sustainability of the company over the next two years. MPP for Kitchener Centre John Milloy and Ontario Trillium Foundation representative Peter Hinchcliffe announced the financial support of the OTF at the official launch of IMPACT 11 on July 27th at The Walper Hotel. IMPACT 11, which runs September 21–25, 2011, received an essential boost of $48,000 from the Canadian Heritage and $25,000 from the Kitchener and Waterloo Community Foundation earlier this summer.
Member Notables are taken from local news sources and member submissions. In order to be considered “notable” an item must be an accomplishment or event that is outside of the ordinary course of business and therefore deemed newsworthy. While we would like to include all submissions, space constraints make it necessary for the Advocate editors to choose items that best fit the above criteria and are most timely.
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advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
Being Solutions-Focused: business priorities for the 2011 election BY LEN CRISPINO Elections are a time for platforms and promises, debate and division. But they can also be a time for ideas and insight, valour and vision. It is during these times that advocacy can have the most impact on Ontario’s future prosperity. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been Ontario’s non-partisan business advocate for 100 years and acutely aware of how critical government policy is to the competitiveness of Ontario’s business community. Public policy can encourage or deter foreign direct investment. It can upskill workers and legislate safe working environments. It can mandate industry practices and bind businesses in red tape. Government can ease or increase the cost of doing business. Hence the private sector’s keen interest in Ontario’s 40th general election. Where will the elected members of Ontario’s 40th Legislative Assembly take the province over the next four years? The OCC, in direct consultation with its members and the business community at large, have identified several public policy areas of strategic importance to the private sector in Ontario. They all play a critical role in creating a world-renowned business environment. One priority is eliminating the provincial deficit. The province’s fiscal situation is a significant impediment to Ontario’s future prosperity. Thus, it is important for the new government to accelerate the pace for balancing its budgetary deficit. Such action maintains Ontario’s dept-GDP ratio in a reasonable range over the next five years. Elimination of the deficit is intrinsically linked to improving Ontario’s economic outlook and attracting foreign direct investment, much like tax change – another priority for businesses across Ontario. Decreases to corporate and personal income, business education and fuel taxes are important to attracting investment to the province and keeping the businesses that are already here healthy and vibrant as well. Capital costs, Ontario Health Premiums and payments associated with the Workers Safety and Insurance Board all contribute to a heavily burdened private sector. But enhancing economic activity is not only about cutting taxes and eliminating deficits. Strategic investments into basic public services are also needed to boost productivity and encourage investment.
Transportation infrastructure is one such public service that is a priority for businesses in Ontario. With the growing population and increased pace and quantity of cross-border and interprovincial trade, Ontario’s transportation infrastructure requires major new investments to overcome existing constraints. Ontario is also in desperate need of a reliable and sustainable energy infrastructure that will serve the growing number of users, including new enterprise. Energy is closely tied to the cost of doing business and is evermore a determining factor in where to invest and set up production facilities. Thus, energy costs are causing trepidation among more and more businesses across the province. All of that said, while the public sector is working to reduce the deficit and tax burdens and make strategic investments, the private sector has an important role to play in boosting innovation. Existing provincial innovation policy results in many emerging opportunities and valuable investments being missed or arising elsewhere outside the province. This is a major concern for Ontario businesses and the overall economy. To reverse this trend, Ontario needs to increase its focus on fostering a culture of innovation and supporting research and development opportunities that can yield high return on investment. With a combined 225 years of advocacy experience, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce are committed to working with the Government of Ontario and all local chambers and boards of trade to find solutions to the issues facing the private sector in Ontario. Working together and being solutions-focused can only serve to make the province stronger and more prosperous. For more information on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, visit www.occ.on.ca.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Len Crispino Len Crispino is the President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.
Helping us make our vision possible A special Thank You to each of these Chamber Sponsors.
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MEDIA PARTNERS advocate SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2011
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Published on Sep 1, 2011
Published on Sep 1, 2011
In this September | October edition of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Advocate Magazine we break down the Ontario provincial election an...