The Finnish Labour Temple is Undergoing a Major Renovation!
INSIDE Getting your Team to Care about Customers Three Organizations #GetReal #TakeStride To Be #ActionHeros for Mental Health Government of Canada invests to maximize community and business growth opportunities North Superior Publishing
MV FEDERAL CEDAR OPENS OCEAN-GOING SHIPPING IN PORT OF THUNDER BAY
The Construction Climate In Thunder Bay!
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
MV FEDERAL CEDAR OPENS OCEAN-GOING SHIPPING IN PORT OF THUNDER BAY The Marshall Islands-registered M.V. Federal Cedar became the first ocean-going “Salty” vessel to enter the Port of Thunder Bay during the 2021 navigation season. The vessel berthed at the Richardson International Main Elevator Sunday morning, April 4, marking the earliest opening to saltwater vessel traffic at the Port in 5 years. The vessel is loading 12,000 metric tonnes of Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) Wheat for direct export to Puerto Rico.
operated by Fednav, Canada’s largest ocean-going, dry-bulk shipowning and chartering group. The agent for the vessel is Thunder Bay Shipping Inc. Federal Cedar Captain Pradeep Dattajirao Nalawade and Chief Engineer Kalyan Kumar Roy have earned the Port’s Top Hat Honours for 2021, however no ceremony will be held due to pandemic protocol. The marine shipping industry continues to maintain measures to prevent potential spread of infection and enable the essential movement of food and supplies to consumers.
The 5-year old Federal Cedar is owned and
Port of Thunder Bay Virtual Opening of Navigation This years event was virtual with participants from across North America. Here are some key points from the event. The 10.2 million tonnage at the Port of Thunder Bay last season was the highest since 1997. It was second highest number of ocean vessels at 157 in history of the Port. There were record canola shipments. Wheat shipments have surged and in 2020 wheat was up 34% over 2013. The Port of Thunder Bay is doing about 79% of all Manitoba grain shipments as well as Saskatchewan and Alberta grain. The Port of Thunder Bay completed their terminal reconfiguration program which included rail upgrades and expansion, new lay down and paving and a 50,000 square foot heated building.The total project was $13.5 million with $ 6.5 million from the federal government and $ 1 million from NOHF. The remainder was from Port of Thunder Bay earnings. The Port has seen other in bound cargo like structural pipe and rail from Europe. There has been fertilizer from Morocco and destined for Manitoba.
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
Publisher’s Note Scott Sumner
The Construction Climate In Thunder Bay!
At this time we have experienced over 1 year of the onset of Covid 19 and living in a pandemic. This environment has definitely affected construction activities. Many projects that were underway have been able to complete or get closer to completion. Others have tried to start and may have experienced closure as the Ontario government has imposed restrictions. The new athletic building at Lakehead University is complete and fitted up just ready to allow opening! There are two projects ongoing at the waterfront with the overpass and the work on the parking roof structure at the condos. We have outlined the exciting new Finnish Labour Temple project in this issue. Some work has begun on a new outdoor pavilion structure at the Whitewater Golf Course. Construction had begun on a new building for an engineering firm near the Twin City Crossroads and Arthur Street. There are some apartment projects underway. The city of Thunder Bay have awarded some road work and sewer projects. Here are the recent Ontario restrictions currently in effect until May 20th,2021.
Construction As of April 17, all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector will be closed, with only essential construction permitted to operate. Examples of nonessential sites may include shopping malls, hotels and office towers. Critical infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges will continue. Residential construction that has already started will continue. Essential construction Construction activities or projects and related services (including land surveying and demolition services) are essential if they: • are associated with the health care sector or long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space • ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in: municipal infrastructure provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors • support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage or in the supply of resources
New Lakehead University Athletic building addition • support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities or child care centers within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014 * industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19covid 19 pandemic • would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products • were started before April 17, 2021 and would provide additional
capacity: * for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services * in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services * to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials • support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services See their Ontario website for further details.
What Makes Walking Such a Good Idea? One of the benefits during these covid days, if we can find any, is that there seems to be a whole lot more people walking around. Whether that translates into people being more active than they were before covid is debatable. But at the very least it has caused people to get outside and develop habits of regular walking. The habit of daily walking is a very good thing. Regular daily walking has been shown in many research studies to help improve almost every aspect of your health. Whether that be to mobilize the joints, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems, or even your mental and
emotional state, walking will have positive effects. Walking is top of the list along with good nutrition and sleep. How much walking is needed? It depends on your lifestyle. If your work and home activities have you up and down and mostly on your feet all day then 30 minutes of brisk walking is good. However, if you are sitting for most of the day then at least 60 minutes of walking should be your goal. This can be broken up many ways (30 mins x 2, 15 x 4, 10 x 6 etc.). Do not fall into the trap of convincing yourself that you do not have time. Any amount of walking is better than none. In fact, most non-walkers will spend more time thinking about why they cannot walk then the time it would take to just go out and do it. People with a sedentary lifestyle will start to see health improvements with as little as 15 minutes per day. Various studies show that just walking 30 minutes per day will: reduce your risk of stroke by 30%, increase your brain’s ability for memory and planning, reduce depression symptoms by 30%, decrease risk of getting diabetes by 30%, drastically reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of hip fractures by 43% and can overall add 2 years to your life! That is a bonanza of results for such a small effort. That is far better than any drug or magic supplement can do. For those who have arthritic knees, hips or low backs, where walking may be more painful, there are options. Firstly, any new activity may need to be introduced slowly, so try walking only 5-10 minutes at a time. If that is still too painful or dif-
ficult then I recommend using an elliptical machine, a stair stepper, marching in one spot, walking in the pool or lake (summer) or classical style cross country skiing (winter). Really, any movement will show health benefits. Walking is considered the best because it is a whole-body weight bearing low impact activity. The beauty of walking is its ease and versatility, and it is free! Walking is a 12 month per year activity, even in Thunder Bay. Especially this time of the year, there is not better time to get outside, breath the air, let the sun make that vitamin D for you and get your body moving.
Walking, your life depends on it. James DiGiuseppe is a local chiropractor with a busy family and wellness practice. For more health information or to contact Dr. DiGiuseppe visit: www.portarthurchiropractic.com
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
North Shore Municipalities Sign Agreement for Natural Gas Services in the Rural North. Lakeshore Natural Gas, a wholly owned local distribution company of the five Municipalities of Marathon, Terrace Bay, Schreiber, Manitouwadge and Wawa, announced today that it has signed a Letter of Intent for a long-term Gas Supply Agreement (GSA) with Certarus Ltd. The agreement contracts Certarus for the transportation, storage and supply of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for the proposed North Shore Gas project. The North Shore Gas Project is a $55 million proposal for an innovative mobile energy distribution solution to serve residential, commercial and industrial customers in the five municipalities. Compressing gas for on-road transportation is a safe and cost-effective way for rural and remote communities that are
not served by traditional pipelines to get the low carbon energy they need. “We are pleased to announce this new agreement with Certarus. In 2020, Lakeshore Natural Gas issued a competitive gas supply procurement process and as a result, selected Certarus and CNG as the preferred options for this project. Our municipalities are confident that we have found a trusted and well-established gas supply partner in Certarus, and that today’s announcement brings us one step closer to delivering this critical energy project for underserviced communities in the north,” says Daryl Skworchinski, CAO for the Town of Marathon and President of Lakeshore Natural Gas.
The municipalities have strongly advocated the Ontario government for natural gas services to support economic development and relieve the pressure of high heating and energy costs on residents, businesses and industry in rural northern communities.
The North Shore Gas Project is already five years in design and development.
“Certarus specializes in safely delivering low carbon energy wherever our cus-
The proposed project includes the handling, compression, delivery, storage and decompression of CNG by Certarus from the company’s plant in Red Rock to delivery points in each municipality. Following receipt of regulatory approvals and permits, local distribution works will be constructed and operated in each of the five municipalities to deliver natural gas to customers.
tomers need us. While the remote location of these municipalities may have made energy security an issue in the past, we are pleased to help them transition to a clean energy future with a safe and secure supply of CNG to fuel their homes and businesses. Together with Lakeshore Natural Gas, we look forward to demonstrating a clear pathway to deliver clean and cost-effective energy to rural communities in Northern Ontario,” says Curtis Philippon, CEO & President, Certarus. The North Shore Gas Project is anticipated to serve up to 13,000 potential customers, realizing energy costs savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as reduced GHG emissions for the region. “The North Shore Gas Project is shovelready and we will be seeking the final regulatory and financing approvals in the coming months,” continues Skworchinski. “There has never been a better time to invest in clean and efficient energy sources for the north. People are struggling to heat their homes, schools and businesses, and mobile natural gas delivery is the only solution that makes economic and environmental sense.” If the project is successful in receiving all of the necessary Ontario regulatory approvals in 2021, the full roll-out of the project is proposed to take place over three years (2022 to 2024).
About Lakeshore Natural Gas The five proponent Municipalities of Marathon, Manitouwdge, Terrace Bay, Schreiber and Wawa, have jointly incorporated Lakeshore Natural Gas as the operating name for the Local Distribution Company (LDC). The proposed natural gas distribution system will be owned and operated by the Utility (Lakeshore Natural Gas), a company owned in equal parts, by the five Municipalities. About Certarus Certarus is the North American leader in providing low carbon energy solutions through a fully integrated compressed natural gas (CNG), renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen platform. The company safely delivers clean burning fuels to remote communities and industrial customers not connected to a pipeline. By displacing more carbon intensive fuels, Certarus is leading the clean energy transition and helping customers lower operating costs and improve environmental performance. With the largest fleet of specialty trailers in the world, the company is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for low or zero emission fuel distribution. For more information, visit www.certarus.com.
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
Lakehead University in Top 100 of Times Higher Education Impact Rankings for second time For the second year in a row, Lakehead University has placed in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings measure the societal impact of universities by evaluating an institutions’ success in delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The rankings measure the impact universities make to the world in the areas of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Lakehead finished 99th out of 1,115 universities from around the world, based on its performance in meeting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Moira McPherson, Lakehead’s President and Vice-Chancellor, said she was proud that Lakehead ranked so highly for the second year in a row. “We’re excited that Lakehead remained in the top 100 even with nearly 350 more universities being included in this year’s ranking as compared to last year,” Dr. McPherson said. Lakehead is the only primarily undergraduate university in Canada that participated in the 2021 Impact Rankings and one of only 26 universities from North America to be included in the top 100. The University was among just 260 universities from around the world that qualified to participate in all 17 SDGs.
Ranking ahead of several top comprehensive and research-intensive Canadian universities, Lakehead scored highly across many SDGs, including a top 10 ranking in SDG 15: Life on Land.
experiences in the world.”
“This ranking is also due to Lakehead
“As our University community continues to make these SDGs a priority, we once again see how Lakehead is world-class. Students, faculty, staff and alumni should be proud of this exceptional accomplishment.”
University’s longstanding commitment to Indigenous learners and communities, which helps us succeed and lead with regards to sustainability and social justice,” Dr. Barnett said.
The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings capture qualifying universities’ impact on society and align with commitments in Lakehead’s Strategic and Academic Plans.
Dr. David Barnett, Lakehead’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic), agreed.
The Life on Land SDG evaluates how universities support land ecosystems through education and action, how they contribute to sustainably managing forests, combating desertification, halting and reversing land degradation, and how they halt biodiversity loss by measuring their research on land ecosystems. This year’s top 10 spot in SDG 15 recognizes the work of Lakehead researchers on life on land, as well as education about, and support for, land ecosystems. Lakehead’s policies and procedures relating to landsensitive waste disposal, such as its commitment to reducing plastic waste on campus, contributed to its top 10 ranking. Lakehead also scored highly on other metrics, including a top 20 ranking in Life Below Water, a top 30 ranking in No Poverty and Zero Hunger, and a top 40 ranking for Reduced Inequalities and Clean Water and Sanitation. “To be in the top 100 globally – and top 40 on a number of goals – demonstrates the significant work accomplished by Lakehead students, faculty, and staff to contribute to solving the grand challenges facing the world today through education, research and partnerships,” added Dr. McPherson. “It also shows what we already know – that Lakehead offers one of the best educational
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
The Finnish Labour Temple is Undergoing a Major Renovation! BY SCOTT A. SUMNER
Thunder Bay BUSINESS The Finnish Labour Temple has been a landmark in Thunder Bay since it opened March 1910! The historic building, located at 314 Bay Street in the Bay and Algoma district, has been the centre of the large Finnish community of Thunder Bay. The famed Hoito restaurant located in the basement of the three storey building opened on May 1st, 1918 and always was a major attraction for people local and from far away. The Hoito was established to feed hungry bush workers that could find lodging but not a decent meal when they came into Port Arthur. It served
affordable, home-cooked meals to residents and visitors in the Bay and Algoma District until it’s recent closing due to financial difficulties. The Finlandia and the Hoito have been the home to cooperative and labour movements, and served as the economic anchors of the Bay and Algoma area in the beginning and Finnish businesses started establishing themselves in the area soon afterwards. Some of which included hotels, stores, bakeries and boarding houses, pool rooms, taxi services and of course, sauna. Brad McKinnon recently bought the Finnish Labour Temple, which includes the Hoito restaurant, and has begun major renovations to transform the historic property.
Brad lives in Southern Ontario but was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie. He then spent 4 years in Thunder Bay at Lakehead University taking Forestry and Biology as well as education. Brad worked in the forest industry in NW Ontario for Domtar and Buchanan in silver culture technology and then went on to education in Barrie as a teacher. He is now a realtor with Century 21 in Barrie and completes real estate developments. “ I loved the Hoito and the Bay and Algoma District as well as Thunder Bay while going to university, being partial to the Port Arthur side and lived on Van Norman Street then,” said Brad McKinnon. “ When I saw the Finnish Labour Temple up for sale I thought it could be a good opportunity to come in and rejuvenate the Hoito and the Bay and Algoma District. In my opinion the area looked a little run down, in need of some TLC. Renovating the Finnish Labour Temple and bringing new residents to the area could be good financially and socially to Port Arthur. We want to try and bring
people back to the downtown core.” “ This is a complex project. In essence we have taken away everything but the brick and exterior frame.We have also left the historic facade on the Bay Street side but are redoing the east side entrance facing Algoma. It was a mishmash of various renovations so we are trying to add something contemporary but also add to the heritage look.We also will clean up the parking lot and improve the whole lot.”says McKinnon. There will be 16 units in the property- 2 commercial and 14 residential. At this point they anticipate some sales and some rentals. In the next week or so the McKinnon team are going to start listing some units and see what the market demand is and what people are looking for. The citizens of Thunder Bay will tell us what they need notes McKinnon. The Finnish Labour Temple will become 27,000 square feet in size with an addition of about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet.They are adding extra living space up in third storey, which was the attic space, and increasing the size of the east side entrance going up two stories. So they have the original envelope of the building and are adding to it. There will also be the original Hoito Restaurant and Embassy Bar. The future of the Embassy Bar they are not sure of yet as it will depend on whether there is a higher or better use for the space. The apartment units will be well finished with nice kitchens with Quartz counters tops, well equipped bathrooms, bedrooms all able to accommodate a queen or king bed with night stands, nice open hallways with 10 foot plus ceilings and good trim detail.The size of the units will range from low 800’s square feet to almost 1800 square feet. The condos will be in line with the market at the upper end because of the amenities being put into them such as high end flooring, kitchens, spray foam insulation in all the walls and high efficiency hot water boiler heat pumps in every unit which should create low utility bills. Continued
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
The Finnish Labour Temple is Undergoing a Major Renovation! Continued “ We have my own crew guys that work for me and local trades people from Thunder Bay including local electrician’s, plumbers, HVAC, sheet metal, drywall and other various trades,” said Brad. “ The time frame for completion is a quick as possible.We started November 16th, 2020, took a month off for Christmas, and started up again for 5 months so far. I would say by the end of this year we should have the first floor finished and people moving in. Early 2022 we will finish the second and third floors with an anticipated delivery date to the people of Thunder Bay- so the main floor this year and the second and third floors by first and second quarters of 2022.” Mckinnon recently purchased the old Kivela Bakery building which fronts onto Secord street and shares a laneway with the Finnish Labour Temple. There will be three phases of the overall project with the Finnish Labour Temple. Phase 2 will be a 9 unit building facing Algoma Street and Phase 3 will be a 14 unit building facing Secord Street, both brand new 3 story buildings with excellent views. Brad anticipates just the Finnish Labour Temple building renovation investment alone to be $ 3.5 to $ 4 million dollars. “ We aren’t setting an actual date of construction of the next two buildings yet. I would like to start this year but the high cost of materials make it difficult.We are seeing the cost of lumber up as much as
350%compared to last year. The cost of a 7/16 exterior sheeting for example is $50 now versus $12 last year.The high prices make it difficult for developers. We are in an inflationary period right now.” notes McKinnon. I have talked to other business owners in the neighbour and the reaction has been excellent.” “ There is an active real estate market in Thunder Bay right now. We have seen people leaving Toronto for other cities because they can work from home now. They come to Thunder Bay because you have great people and a great location. If you like the outdoors it is a phenomenal place to live and also very accessible with air travel. It may take as much time to travel by car through Toronto in traffic as it does to fly here.” says Brad.“ I think Thunder Bay and NW Ontario is an up and coming area. It is becoming trendy and a place where Southern Ontario people are looking to move to retire.” We asked Matthew Mills who is leading the project at Form Studio some questions on the project. This is a very interesting transformation of the historic Finnish Labour Temple. “This is a very exciting project, one which will transform the historic building into a new stage of its life while maintaining its ties to its rich history and keeping its iconic restaurant.”
historic buildings. Incorporating new construction processes without compromising the historical context and value of a building can be challenging. We look for innovative solutions to maintain the original look and feel of the building while giving it new life and meeting current building standards.”
How has the design process gone converting and updating the space to include 14 residential units? “It’s been an enjoyable design process, with a client who has a great vision for the future of the building and who cares about the historical importance of the building and its ties to the history of the City and the local finish culture and heritage that it represents.” Has there been any challenges along the way? “There are always design challenges in
How will the new look of this project fit into the Bay and Algoma neighbourhood? “The greatest thing about this project is that the look of the building will remain relatively the same, preserving its strong historical connections within the Bay and Algoma community.” There are plans to include two new residential structures as well. How will that affect the overall nature of the project? “There are currently vacant lots within the Bay/Algoma area and the introduction of new residential structures will assist in the urban in fill of the area and complement the existing ambiance. We really feel like this will add to the overall project, creating a more vibrant, safe, and active community.”
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
Three Organizations #GetReal #TakeStride To Be #ActionHeros for Mental Health Children’s Centre Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association Thunder Bay Branch and ThunderCon are calling upon all action heroes to grab their capes, cosplay, and costumes, and assemble from May 1-9, 2021 to virtually walk, run, or roll in support of Mental Health Week 2021. No matter where you live or what kind of physical activity you prefer, the three organizations are encouraging people across our region to sign up, #getreal, #takestride, share their activity with their friends and family on social media and have fun participating in the Virtual Mental Health Walk/Run, while raising funds to protect and promote good mental health for everyone.
ThunderCon and the partnership with Children’s Centre Foundation is helping to bring awareness to the important work going forward in mental health. Good mental health isn’t about being happy all the time. In fact, a mentally healthy life includes the full range of human emotions—even the uncomfortable ones like sadness, fear and anger. This walk is to support Mental Health Week initiatives across Canada by recognizing, labeling, and accepting that our feelings are all part of protecting and promoting good mental health for everyone”, explains Jennifer Hyslop, CEO, Canadian Mental Health Association, Thunder Bay Branch.
“This year ThunderCon decided to partner with two amazing mental health charities and come up with the idea for an event that is a little different than we are used to. We normally host a weekend event for all lovers of anything comics, action heroes, anime, cosplay and more through ThunderCon but with COVID-19 cancelling large gatherings, we thought we don’t have to change the shared commitment to enjoy all these things, we just have to change the format”, says Kevin Taylor, Chair of ThunderCon.
“COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives, and our mental health”, says Christina Foresto, Chair, Children’s Centre Foundation. “The need for children’s mental health services alone has dramatically increased in the last year. The data is out there – physical fitness is a proven way to mitigate the effects that the current pandemic has had on mental health and wellness. We encourage people to join us for this year’s virtual walk/run to promote the health and wellness services offered by Children’s Centre Thunder Bay & CMHA. We need our community to come together as action heroes for mental health, now more than ever.” continues Foresto.
“This shared commitment from
Participants can choose their own route
to walk, run, ride, roll, scooter or team up with fellow co-workers - any physical activity they choose no matter where they live. People completing outdoors
“We’re confident our strong community of colleagues, friends, and family will unite virtually to ride, walk, and fundraise together, providing crucial
activities must follow the directions of their local provincial or territorial governments and respect the rules in place at that time around physical distancing.
support for mental health services”, said Kevin Taylor, Chair of ThunderCon.
Next Issue: Thunder Bay Business Main Topic: Economic Report on Thunder Bay Ad Copy Deadline May 25,2021
Contact Sylvia @807-629-7095 www.thunderbaybusiness.ca
Registration for the virtual walk/run is open on raceroster.com. Registration is open to individuals, families, colleagues, teams, marathon runners, dog walkers, etc. Each race participant will receive a downloadable bib, charitable receipt for donations over $20 and finisher chip. Prizes will also be awarded to the top fundraisers, top teams, and top distances. For more information on how to #GetReal #TakeStride to be an #ActionHero for mental health, please contact Dayna Pupeza, Children’s Centre Foundation Coordinator at (807)343-5035, or email@example.com
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
Getting your Team to Care about Customers 5 strategies for creating a customer service culture
ing and support. Some managers claim they’re too busy for this. My question: in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace where your service is increasingly the only significant differentiator, what could possibly be more important to managers than ensuring your team provides outstanding service that customers notice, pay a premium for, and tell others about?\
One of the most common challenges I hear from managers and business owners is how to get staff to want to provide better service. After having trained literally hundreds of customer service teams for over 25 years, I’ve observed that the organizations who nurture the best service behaviors use these five strategies…
Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, Hall of Fame speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit www.JeffMowatt.com
Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month
5. Turn Service Stars into Owners
As the expression goes, owners care more, and it shows (particularly to customers). Employees who have a vested financial interest in ensuring customers are happy over the long term take a different approach to service than those who are just waiting for a paycheck. That may mean putting your money (actually your equity) where your mouth is. At some point high performing frontline employees, who presumably don’t earn as much as managers, are going to want to create a more secure financial future. One of the most effective ways to involve them – literally – is to offer share ownership to your star perform-
Cultivating a customer service culture isn’t complicated. It does however require train-
1. Educate towards Empathy It’s easier to get employees to care about customers by putting them in the place of customers. That’s why when clients bring me in to conduct customer service training seminars for their teams, I ask participants to create a list of what they expect when they are customers. Then we reveal tips on how, by simply changing a few words, staff can demonstrate that they understand the customer’s perspective. Compare: “I’ll have to check our schedule” vs. “I’ll be happy to check our schedule for you.” 2. Send Grumps to your Competitor Pay attention to how each of your employees responds when a customer casually asks, “How are you?” If an employee uses that small-talk question as a license to complain about how he or she feels (tired, busy, or ready for a break) it’s time for a chat or a training review. That employee needs to make a serious choice to either a) stop burdening customers with their problems, or b) consider working for the competition. That might sound harsh, but the last thing today’s harried customers need is to be forced to listen to the soul sucking lamentations of a service provider who over-shares. The bonus of sending toxic talkers to work for your competitor is your remaining staff will appreciate the more positive atmosphere with the purging of just one negative person. 3. Catch them Being Good! That message was pasted on a banner at a daycare across from a fitness room where I was working out. It was meant to remind the staff to pay attention when toddlers are doing the right things; not just correcting them when they misbehave. Similarly, managers foster better customer experiences by catching employees when they provide exceptional service. The key then is to ensure all team members learn from the positive behavior. That leads us to… 4. Stage CAST© Meeting Getting employees to care requires more than a onetime event; it requires ongoing nurturing of your customer service culture. To make the process more efficient, consider staging CAST© meetings. CAST© stands for a Customer Service Team Meeting. It’s where leaders and their teams talk about how to make the experience better for customers, employees, managers and other stakeholders. CAST meetings take as little as 90 minutes a month and you’ll find that in as little as six months they transform your customer service culture. Essentially they involve reminding team members of your service mission and standards, providing a coaching moment, disseminating customer service feedback, discussing ways to enhance the experience, and celebrating your service legends – examples where staff went above and beyond for customers. I detail the step by step process in my book, Becoming a
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
GET IT IN WRITING © 2021 Brian Babcock Whether your construction project is a kitchen renovation, or a new commercial building, you need to get the deal clearly and completely set out in a written contract with your contractor. Verbal contracts may be enforceable, but the problems of proof are obvious. In addition we often see written contracts that are incomplete or vague.
If the price cannot be established, the contract may be void.
it? What happens if a permit cannot be obtained?
3. What is the scope of work? This is perhaps the point that causes the most litigation. “To build a deck” is way different
5. How are changes approved? How are they priced? 6.
1. Who are the parties? If you need to enforce the bargain, are you suing an individual, a corporation, a partnership?
than “to build a 16 by 24 foot cedar deck in good workmanlike fashion, including two foot railings on both sides, stairs facing the yard, and foundation, all to Code or better.” Detailed specs and drawings are best practice.
2. The price. Is it a fixed price? Time and materials? Or some less definite basis?
4. Is a permit required? If do, who is responsible for obtaining it, and paying for
Here are a few key points to consider about construction contracts:
construction area. 10. When is payment due? Is there a deposit? Payment in stages? What happens if there is a dispute about completion or quality of the work?
When is the start date?
7. Does the contractor undertake to work continuously until completion? Nothing fun about living or working in a half finished construction zone Sometimes weather, availability of materials or subcontractors may require a pause. What happens then? 8. Fixed time for completion? What happens if it is not done on time?
This list simply scratches the surface. While a homemade agreement might be good enough for a home project, be wary of just signing whatever the contractor puts in front of you. Read it, understand it, compare it to this list. For larger projects, we at Weilers firmly believe that a few dollars’ worth of prevention by having a lawyer draft or review the contract can save major costs and headaches down the road.
9. What access to the site will the contractor require? Health and safety may require that you not live or work in the
Government of Canada invests to maximize community and business growth opportunities FedNor funding to help create or maintain more than 600 jobs through business expansion, community growth and economic recovery efforts April 15, 2021 – Thunder Bay, ON – Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario – FedNor Across the country, Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) are helping entrepreneurs start or expand their businesses, and investing in communities to strengthen the economy. In Northern Ontario, these community-based, not-for-
profit organizations are working hard to create jobs and provide a full range of business development services, including access to capital, mentoring, information and referrals, as well as support for community economic development, recovery efforts and special projects. The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay—Superior North, and Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay—Rainy River, today announced a FedNor investment of more than $2.4 million in support of four
projects to help communities and businesses expand and prosper, while helping to create or maintain over 600 jobs in the Thunder Bay and Greenstone regions. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor. The FedNor funding will support four strategic initiatives led by Thunder Bay Ventures and the Greenstone Economic Development Corporation, two of the region’s Community Futures organizations. These projects will help attract highgrowth businesses to the region, create local jobs and support business development, growth and regional recovery efforts. Today’s announcement is further proof of the Government of Canada’s commitment to Canadian businesses – helping them to overcome the challenges posed by COVID-19. Initiatives like these will help get Canadians back to work and ensure that small businesses, which are the backbone of the Canadian economy, can play a major role in Canada’s economic recovery. Quotes “Strong local economies rely upon the prosperity and growth of local businesses and entrepreneurs. In these uncertain times, we want Canadian businesses to know that we have their back. We will help our business and community partners adapt to the quickly evolving social and economic realities, and support their efforts to strengthen and grow Northern Ontario’s economy and create good jobs.” • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedNor “Today's announcement of $2.4 million in funding from FedNor will support small businesses and community organizations in our region in serving Thunder Bay and Greenstone and creating strong, middleclass jobs for families here in Northern Ontario. I'm proud to see our government supporting these community-based organizations that are responding to the needs of families in the North.” • The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay—Superior North
“Northern Ontario has a wealth of innovative and resourceful entrepreneurs who are establishing and scaling up businesses, creating jobs and strengthening the economy of Thunder Bay—Rainy River. This announcement is a great example of how our government, through FedNor, is supporting recovery efforts and economically priming our communities as we emerge from the pandemic.” • Marcus Powlowski, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay— Rainy River “We are proud to partner with the Government of Canada to support local businesses, create high-quality jobs and help maximize the economic potential of the Thunder Bay region. Today’s announcement will support our ongoing operations, allow us to increase investment in local businesses and support our Community Futures partners with the administration of the Northwestern Ontario Investment Pool.” • Wayne Fletcher, President, Thunder Bay Ventures “This strong show of support highlights the importance of the Community Futures Program and demonstrates confidence in the work we do to accelerate growth, support recovery efforts and fuel the regional economy. I am thrilled that FedNor recognizes our continued record of success in fostering community, business and economic growth, while helping businesses start up and scale up in the Greenstone region.” • Mary Jane Dunn, President, Greenstone Economic Development Corporation Quick facts · FedNor’s Community Futures Program (CFP) supports 24 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) located throughout Northern Ontario. These community-based, not-forprofit organizations are staffed by professionals and are each governed by local volunteer board of directors familiar with their communities' needs, concerns and future development priorities. · CFDCs offer a wide variety of programs and services supporting community economic development and small business growth.
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021
Cape Breton Island Golf: Highland Links, Cabot Links, Cabot Cliffs BY SCOTT A. SUMNER
Thunder Bay BUSINESS It is always fun to see other parts of Canada! In August, several years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Cape Breton Island, primarily to play some golf, but also to see a beautiful part of the world! I hope to be able to return again soon once travel is more possible in our world! Two flights will get you from Thunder
Bay to Toronto to Sydney, Nova Scotia in good time. You can easily pick up a rental car and your adventure will begin! My first stop was the famed Highland Links Golf course consistently ranked in the top ten in Canada. This seaside course is also home to the historic Keltic Lodge Resort & Spa located on one of the most beautiful settings you will ever see. The large white inn was constructed in 1950 and features fine dining and beautiful rooms with ocean views. One of the highlights of Cape Breton Island is the drive you take around the perimeter of the island up some large peaks, overlooking pristine ocean. On my trip there were even whales visible in the backdrop that attracts the attention of the many tourists on the road. You will end up travelling through Cheticamp, a historical seaside village where the houses and Main Street are right adjacent to the ocean! My next destination was Inverness, Nova Scotia, a former coal mining and fishing village. Inverness had seen quite a bit of economic downturn with the stopping of coal mining and limited fishery. It has seen its population drop to 1500 people. The community leaders had always felt the former coal-mining site, right on the ocean, would be perfect for a true links style golf course and a few years ago their dream was realized with the opening of Cabot Links. Andrew Alkenbrack is the General Manager of Cabot Links and has lived at Whistler, the French Alps and many other locations around the world working with major brands like Four Seasons. “ Two courses will create synergy. Our co owner Mike Kaiser of Cabot Links, who also
owns famed Bandon Dunes in Oregon, says one course is a curiosity and two is a destination. Ben Cowan Dewar is the local partner on site. The people will stay longer. Cabot Cliffs is a Coore - Crenshaw design and a great layout.” said Andrew. “ Cabot Cliffs is a very spectacular setting with natural beauty and ocean views. The views are even more spectacular along the cliffs and many holes are right on the ocean with others between huge seaside dunes. The excitement will build as you play through the holes.”
“ You can fly into Halifax and then take the three hour drive to Cabot Links. The other option is a two hours drive from Sydney. We also have 11-passenger luxury Mercedes Sprinters you can take with us from the airports. It is a great with a group of people. Right now Halifax has more flight options. You could also fly privately, including with private jets, into Port Hawkesbury which is 1 hour away,” said Andrew.
The people who come to Cabot Links to play are geographically located from the eastern US 40%, Ontario 25% and 25% from Nova Scotia and local traffic. They also get some guests from Florida and Europe, which is growing. “ In Cape Breton we have the Trans Canada Trail where you can hike and mountain bike. There is the Inverness Beach, Tuna fishing, and world-class salmon fishing on the river. We are starting to offer other opportunities during your stay. We promise excellent food and beverages and warm Cape Breton hospitality.” smiles Andrew. “
We want people to say this was amazing, a lot of fun and I can see myself bringing back some friends.” After my rounds at Cabot Links and tour of the new Cabot Cliffs course it was off to Halifax for the return trip to Thunder Bay. My travels allowed me to see much of Nova Scotia. In all my golf travels in Canada and the world the Cabot Links destination ranks near the top! It really is a special place you must see. www.cabotlinks,.com
THUNDER BAY BUSINESS MAY 2021