Charity Roast ‘22
THANK YOU SPONSORS
A special thank you goes out to all the sponsors that made the 2022 Wise Guys Annual Charity Roast a wild success, contributing to the annual total of more than $360,000 raised throughout 2022.Sally McGarr Title Sponsor Dinner Sponsor
Stay tuned for who will be roasted in 2023, as you will not want to miss another legendary Niagara fundraiser.
A competitive nature has been a driving force in the individual successes of Sally McGarr and Margie Spence, but anyone in their presence can see they draw upon that same competitiveness with one another. This long-standing friendship is one for the books, witnessed by all who attended the 2022 Annual Wise Guys Charity Roast. The camaraderie displayed by these two icons will never be forgotten.
note from the PUBLIS HERS
Several things occur when living through an era of accelerated change. Surges in creativity, invention, bravery, and collaboration are just a few things that emerge. Success is realized by those who come up with the most creative solutions to demanding problems.
This more diverse and creative environment means businesses look different today, with issues that have evolved beyond trade and distribution. To be adaptive, business goals need to clearly identify strategic plans and approach to environmental, social and governance challenges.
Nationally, the quarterly economic growth reports seemingly paint a positive trend, with Q3 reporting a 0.7% GDP increase. The underlying data paints a more realistic picture of what is occurring at a household level. While household disposable income showed a 0.8% increase, consumer spending has declined significantly because of interest rate and cost pressures.
The more detailed trends at a consumer and household level suggest a wider awareness of economic pressure will be realized in the coming year. Business owners have a heightened need to possess deep understanding of respective industry trends. The overall understanding of potential challenges ahead, from current market pressures to changes in consumer behaviors, is what will allow us to weather whatever may come our way.
The determination and resilience shown throughout this past year, specifically from of our local business owners throughout Niagara, is what will yield success in 2023. This strength at a community level is what we believe will continue to secure the foundation of our local and national economies.
Rowe & Brandy
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
– Alan Watts
Rowe Prudente Brandy Henderson
CHIEF EDITOR & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
MANAGING EDITOR Brandy Henderson
Ownera Tech Innovate Niagara
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Reveal Magazine is published by Ownera Media, a subsidiary of Ownera Group Inc. Opinions expressed in Reveal Magazine are not necessarily those of Ownera Media or Ownera Group Inc, their owners, employees or stakeholders. All submitted content inclusive of photography is assumed to be intended for publication. The right to edit, alter or refuse content is assumed. All material and content submitted to Ownera Media for purpose of publication is done so at the risk of the submitter. Ownera Media does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information contained in this publication. Ownera Media is not responsible for any products or services of any third-party advertiser or the content in any advertising of such advertisers.
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WE TAKE YOUR STORIES AND CONNECT THEM WITH OTHERS ON A LEVEL YOU ONLY ONCE IMAGINED.
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Ownera Media offers a wide range of publishing, marketing, branding, and online/digital technology services that are customized to fit your needs. It is no secret that our industry is an ever-changing and ever-evolving world. As your partner, we lend our expertise to publish, market, and oversee the full life cycle of your business campaigns, simply because these are the things we love and do best.
Ownera Media offers a wide range of publishing, marketing, branding, and online/digital technology services that are customized to fit your needs. It is no secret that our industry is an ever-changing and ever-evolving world. As your partner, we lend our expertise to publish, market, and oversee the full life cycle of your business campaigns, simply because these are the things we love and do best.
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THANK YOU TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS
Douglas C Smith
President, C.R. Smith Financial Services Inc & Chair, Wise Guys Charity Fund Brandon Currie
Advisor, C.R. Smith
Financial Services Inc Karen Rice
Executive Assistant C.R. Smith Financial Services Inc Blake Landry
Manager of Economic Research & Analysis Niagara Economic Development Mishka Balsom
CEO and President, Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Imran Zia
Director, Risk Management & Assurance, Vancouver
Fraser Port Authority Michael Cioffi
Director of People and Culture
Match Retail Emma Arnott
Marketing & Branding Manager Spark Innovation
Harry Korosis Senior Partner
Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP
Partner, Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP Maria Lucarelli
Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP
Yarosla Diduch Partner
Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP Jennifer Wark
Director of Human Resources Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP Madeline Zuccala
Registered Nurse Practitioner, Ontario Marianne Tykolis Casey President & Owner Stevensville Garden Gallery Duane Gibson
Owner & General Manager, Gibby’s Electronic Supermarket Dave Nash
President Jack Nash Fine Clothier Jill Croteau
Physician Recruitment Specialist, Niagara Region Public Health Stacy Terry
Executive Director Distress Centre Niagara Catherine Rice
Marketing, Communications + Events Innovate Niagara Dr. William Cherniak
Emergency Physician, Founder and CEO, Rocket Doctor Michelle Johnston
Workplace Wellness Specialist WorkingWell
Volker Loetfering Business Loans Officer Venture Niagara Rahi S. Tajzadeh
CEO, KnowQuest Inc & The Big Leaf Inc Matt Bruder
Director of Planning and Development, Town of Lincoln Shauna Brail
Associate Professor, University of Toronto Mississauga’s Institute for Management & Innovation John Henricks
Founder and President
NPG Planning Solutions Inc. Josh Bond Flett Beccario
Barristers & Solicitors
John Ikola Flett Beccario
Barristers & Solicitors
Paul Di Ianni
Director of Economic Development and Communications Town of Lincoln Liliana Busnello
Manager of Corporate Communications Town of Lincoln
WHAT Niagarans Can Expect of Their Economy This Winter
2022, a lot of Canadians were worried about money.1-2 According to FP Canada’s 2022 Financial Stress Index released back in June, nearly 40% of Canadians considered money to be their biggest concern, beating out personal health, work, and relationships. About just as many Canadians said they feel more discouraged about their financial futures now than they did last year.3
With whisperings of a looming recession on the horizon, many people are wondering what kind of economy they should expect in 2023.4 Reveal posed that question to economy and business experts in the Niagara region. Here’s what they said we might see on the local front.
Potential Christmas Cooldown
“The Niagara region generally experiences a boost in retail employment and sales during the holiday season,” says Blake Landry, Manager of Economic Research and Analysis with Niagara Economic Development.5 But given inflation, the high cost of housing, and the looming economic slowdown, many economists, he says, are forecasting a lighter Christmas season defined by a dip in seasonal spending.
“It’s not going to cool all of the activity, obviously people are going to celebrate Christmas and buy gifts and spend more than they typically do,” says Landry. “But it may not be the same level as we’ve seen in previous years.”
The Christmas dip is part of a larger economic slowdown that Landry expects to see persist into the new year. He says this recession likely won’t mirror those of the recent past, like the financial crisis of 2008 or the recession Canadians weathered during the height of COVID in 2020. Instead, Landry says people should expect a softening of Niagara’s economy — it won’t be the best it’s ever been, but it won’t be the worst, either.
(Slower) Economic Growth
That’s because, over the last five to six years, Niagara has experienced what Landry describes as an economic boom in terms of GDP growth, retail sales, and investment in new building construction. Population growth is a driver of that trend. More people are migrating to Niagara. Between 2016 and 2021, the region’s population grew by more than 30,000 people.6 Earlier this year, Statistics Canada reported Thorold to be the eighth fastest growing suburban municipality in Canada.7
Overall, Landry anticipates seeing relatively strong levels of investment, GDP growth, and employment growth in the Niagara region this coming winter. But at the community level, the impacts of an economic downturn could be
felt more strongly. Some businesses and sectors fare better than others in recession conditions, says Mishka Balsom, CEO and President of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
“Historically, [recessions] have resulted in higher unemployment, a decrease in personal income and a decline in assets,” Balsom wrote to Reveal. “[That] can result in a downturn in demand, and therefore a decline in sales and profits. Small businesses are especially vulnerable during those times.”
So are businesses in the tourism, entertainment, arts, and recreation sectors, says Landry.
Competition for Labour
Accessing labour is a challenge for Niagara business owners, many of whom, Balsom wrote to Reveal, “are unable to find qualified candidates to fill job vacancies.” Those shortages are significant in the healthcare, early childhood education, construction, food and beverage, and accommodation sectors, to name a few.
For employers of remote or hybrid workers, non-competitive pay could be culprit. Historically, salaries
and overall income in St. Catherines-Niagara has fallen short of Ontario’s median income.8
But during the pandemic, remote and hybrid work opened Niagara’s labour market to a larger geographic area, says Landry. That means that Niagara is now part of a labour market that competes with cities like Hamilton, Toronto, and Kitchener for talent.
“Even though we’ve had record job creation [and] the labour force is at a record high right now, employers are still having trouble recruiting people,” he says. “And in order for companies to compete in this labor market, they’re going to have to start paying more, so that’s also going to affect things in the immediate future.”
Landry suspects that in the new year, Niagarans are probably going to see income gains as employers compete in this larger, Ontario labour market. To tackle the labour shortage, Balsom wants to see comprehensive workforce development strategies implemented at all levels, from the government to the private sector.
Getting the economy back on track after nearly three years of navigating lockdowns, supply chain disruptions, and labour force changes will continue to be a priority for businesses and leaders in Niagara. But the region’s economic indicators—population
growth, new investment, and trade, says Landry—mean its economy is in an ideal position to weather the downturn.
“It’s going to be a minor slowdown,” says Landry of the forecasted recession. “And I don’t think it’s going to last much longer than 2023.”
Mishka Balsom also
2https://globalnews.ca/news/9239093/ interest-rates-home-buying-selling-challenges-simcoe-county/ 3https://fpcanada.ca/planners/2022-financial-stress-index
8https://www.livinginniagarareport.com/living-in-niagara-2014/ economic-development-poverty-prosperity-2014/income-and-earnings-in-niagara-2/Expert Contribution: Blake Landry Manager of Economic Research & Analysis with Niagara Economic Development Blake Landry is a Certified Economic Developer responsible for economic, industrial, and business research and analysis at Niagara Economic Development. Mishka Balsom CEO and President of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce sits on the Niagara College Board of Governors, Brock U Goodman School Advisory Council and is Vice Chair to the Chamber Executives of Ontario.
POST Pandemic LEADERSHIPWritten by Henna Razvi
Approximately 100,000 businesses closed in the Canada by April 2020.1 Leaders everywhere had to quickly respond to high insecurity and low employee morale in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.2 In 2022, top leaders agree that agility, empathy, and continuous learning is the way forward.
Spotify launched a paid podcast service that added additional revenue during the pandemic, hotels offered work-from-home day rates, and retailers pivoted to curbside pickup.3 In 2022, leaders all agree that agility is the key to staying in business. “If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s the importance of being able to pivot quickly in response to sudden changes in the external environment.”, confirmed Imran Zia, a Harvard Business Review Advisory Council member.
Michael is the Director of People and Culture at Match Retail. He states, “The pandemic has taught leaders how precious and valuable empathy is when it comes to people
management.” Early 2021 saw the start of the great resignation.4 In Canada, 24% of workers are new to their current role. People continue to leave their jobs voluntarily due to higher costs of living, inflexible remote practices, wage stagnation, lack of benefits, and job dissatisfaction. The challenge for leadership is not just to find talent but to keep it. Imran asserts that leaders must be more than just empathetic, “They also need to be vulnerable and proactively open up conversations” to allow people to see that leaders are genuine in their concerns. Exercising empathy can provide people with a sense of security to combat the everyday uncertainty everyone feels.
Quiet quitting, a term made famous on social media, is when workers do not do more
or less than the job requirement and do not respond to after-hour work-related communication.5-6 It is a response to wage stagnation and job dissatisfaction. Under 32% of the American workforce is engaged in their work. Imran pointed out that “Front-line employees don’t have the option to work from home” and suffer higher commuting costs and less work-life balance.7 The pandemic disproportionately impacted women, middle managers, front-line workers, and the healthcare and technology industries. Most leaders recommend getting input from employees while emphasizing how they contribute to the bigger picture.8-9
70% of leadership learning happens on the job, 20% through feedback and interactions with others, and 10% through formal training. In a study conducted over three years, researchers found a more effective framework to address virtual and hybrid environments. They found that by shifting the focus on the three components of leadership development, it was more important to focus on the pathways between them. They suggest that leaders try to deepen their learnings by taking their experiences and reflecting on them with colleagues to gain greater self-awareness.10 Alternatively,
Director, Risk Management & Assurance – Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Canada
A proud winner of “Internal Audit Excellence Award” from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, Imran also serves as: President of Institute of Internal Auditors Vancouver Island Chapter; Canada, Member of Harvard Business Review Advisory Council; Member of ACCA’s Global Forum for Audit & Assurance; Member of ACFE’s Global Advisory Council; Past Chairman of ACCA’s Members Advisory Committee; Member of the Board of Directors of Broadmead Care
you can apply a classroom-generated idea on the job and get feedback to gain the most out of the experience. In a remote or hybrid work environment, much of the experimentation and feedback can occur in an online setting which supports a faster feedback loop. Feedback is critical to improving self-awareness, one of the most vital components of leadership. Most leaders recommend becoming experts in receiving and delivering impactful and respectful feedback.11 “We have a duty to deliver Coaching sessions that are more fruitful; they must be more considerate to personal factors and individual development plans vs. spreadsheets and KPI.” Michael advocates for a more “human centric” approach for 2023 and recommends creating a welcoming workspace, providing flexible work options, supporting work-life balance, supporting mental health, and connecting with people to understand their motivators.
Leaders must cultivate self-compassion to continue managing their feelings and expressions to fulfill the expectations of their role. Research shows that self-compassion as a practice leads to higher emotional intelligence,
increased resiliency, and higher compassion for employees.12 Leaders perform this emotional labor at the same rate as front-line service workers. Leaders navigate communication with employees suffering from mental and physical burnout and manage their own while performing at high levels. Training and peer support are some ways organizations can support self-compassion in leaders.
Expert Contribution:Michael Cioffi
Director, People and Culture Match Retail
Michael is a people professional; he leads by intention; by making the choice to lead and inspire culture through authenticity, care and embodying the entrepreneurial spirit.
He believes in creating a work environment where everyone is responsible for creating a workspace where employees wake up inspired, feel safe at work and return home fulfilled at the end of the day.
Professionals like Imran and Michael are working harder than ever before to navigate and lead in an unprecedented environment with new challenges. Leaders must be more versatile and socially aware than ever before to keep up with the needs of their workforce while taking care of their mental health.
Michael concluded, “It’s the emotional experience of learning
2https://www.forbes.com/sites/ forbescoachescouncil/2022/01/19/ challenges-business-leaders-needto-be-prepared-for-in-2022-and-beyond/?sh=5755ee0470d2
— of being accountable for employees in your care and making mistakes as we learn to adapt to the new way of people management and work.”Imran Zia - MSc, CPA, ACA, FCCA, CIA, CISA, CFE, CRMA, GRCP
ANYBODY CAN RECALL THAT UNIVERSAL FEELING OF IMPENDING DOOM THAT ARRIVED ALONGSIDE THE BEGINNING OF MARCH 2020, WHEN OUR “UNPRECEDENTED” TWO YEARS OF COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS AND LOCKDOWNS BEGAN. WHETHER YOU HEARD THE NEWS WHILE SAT HAPPILY ON YOUR COUCH WITH FAMILY, OR IN THE BREAKROOM OF YOUR WORKPLACE, NOTHING COMPARES TO THE ANXIOUS TURMOIL THIS NEWS CAUSED INSIDE THE MINDS OF THOSE MOST IMPORTANT TO THE GLOBAL FIGHT: HEALTHCARE WORKERS.
Yes, you may now remember the initial offering of support from the public, graciously thanking front-line workers, especially those in healthcare. But where have those signs and supporting messages gone now?
Although the major effects of the pandemic on the public have slowed as vaccination has become widely spread and waves of COVID outbreaks have come and gone, healthcare workers have yet to experience the same rush of mental and physical recovery. The ongoing shortage of skilled healthcare workers such as nurses, personal-support workers (PSW), and more, continues to affect all areas of public healthcare, especially for the health and wellbeing of those working in it.
This shortage is widespread across our entire healthcare system, but here in Ontario, has disproportionately affected nurses. About 83% of general healthcare workers such as PSWs and care aides reported feeling more stressed at work by the fourth quarter of 2021, while the same figure for nurses surpassed 90% according to Statistics Canada1 The same study recorded an astounding increase in job vacancies within our healthcare system from the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2021, rising by +91.8% for hospitals alone, and a whopping +115% for nursing and residential care facilities.2 The cause of this is predicted to be work fatigue, with almost 1 in 4 nurses surveyed planning to leave their occupation as a whole within the next three years.3
To exemplify the real, personal effects on healthcare workers, recent Practical Nursing graduate of a registered Ontario college, Madeline Zuccala, offers insight as to how it really feels to be a
healthcare worker this year 2022. When asked to touch on her most significant memory of the weight of this situation, Zuccala recalls a nurse to whom she was assigned during a training placement in January of 2022 “…who was on her 16th day in a row at the hospital, with no days off.” Zucalla goes on to express that, “The
The time has come to invest in public services and those who deliver them. Several proposals have been brought forward throughout the year to improve the many barriers presented. In addition to improving enrollment for post-secondary education, there is substantial review taking place to improve international enrollment as well as taking prior education and work experience into account for fast-tracked study and licencing.
Similar sentiments of fatigue are shared across most frontline positions, and the call for additional resources, especially in the form of additional staff, continues. A potential systemic solution to the healthcare worker shortage pertains to educational admissions and timelines. While nursing is one of the most pressured occupations in which to be training workers right now, it remains one of the most difficult post-secondary programs for incoming students to be admitted. Even as a high-achieving, honours high school student, Zucala was rejected or waitlisted from every Registered Nursing (RN) program to which she applied. This led her to pursue Registered Practical Nursing (RPN) through a college diploma, but her now elongated path of becoming an RN will “take [her] a minimum of 2.5 years, even after completing 2 years of school and experience as an RPN. And that’s if [she] complete[s] it full time.”
In a November 2022 announcement by the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship4, changes to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2021, increased occupations included in Express Entry. Of the 16 new occupations added are nurse aides, long-term care aides and hospital attendants.
The enthusiastic stream of aspiring nurses from all backgrounds and experience levels that seek out the profession is a silver lining to what has felt like a dark cloud overhead. To provide the public with the best the profession has to offer, a continued focus on improving education throughout the entire career path is a must. The ongoing commitment from federal and provincial governments to support nurses in action, and members of the community extending positive signs of support and appreciation to the frontlines, we can ahead as we move forward down a bright path together.
1.Government of Canada, S. C. (2022, June 3). Experiences of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, September to November 2021. The Daily - . Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220603/ dq220603a-eng.htm
2.Government of Canada, S. C. (2022, June 3). Experiences of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, September to November 2021. The Daily - . Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220603/ dq220603a-eng.htm
3.Government of Canada, S. C. (2022, June 3). Experiences of health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, September to November 2021. The Daily - . Retrieved November 6, 2022, from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220603/ dq220603a-eng.htm
4.Government of Canada, Newsroom (2022, Nov 16). Solving labour shortages in key sectors like health care, construction, and transportation: Workers from 16 new occupations now eligible for permanent residence. Newsroom - . Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/news/2022/11/ solving-labour-shortages-in-key-sectors-like-health-care-construction-andtransportation-workers-from-16-new-occupations-now-eligible-for-permanent.html
pandemic has just caused so much burnout for our healthcare system, and it feels like we aren’t being recognized and compensated as well as we should be…
feel like people have just forgotten that we are still dealing with the pandemic and the burnout from the peak of COVID in 2020.”
TRAVEL IS ON THE RISE. IT’S TIME TO RE-ANALYZE NIAGARA BOUND TOURS & TRAVELS, ISN’T IT?by Rowe Prudente & Brandy Henderson
One of the most exciting prospects of life this year is that a more welcoming invitation to travel has returned. Although not in the manner we were once accustomed, the less restrictive ability to freely explore has been tremendously refreshing. Despite difficulties faced by the tourism industry, such as inflation and labour shortages, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) 1 has projected a strong decade of growth on the horizon. With average annual increases of 5.8% between 2022 and 2032, it outpaces the overall economy growth rate of 2.7% per year. Research is showing a strong case for the global tourism industry to return to 2019 levels by the end of 2023.
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Travel in Canada has shown similar improvement this year. While data remains below pre-pandemic levels, tourism spending has consistently increased and the trajectory towards complete recovery at a national level is also very strong. Canada began the year with $15.7 billion in tourism spend for Q1, and although it was a mere 1.3% increase to the previous quarter, it saw a 19.8% increase in Q2 coming in at $18.7 billion. 2 While domestic travel has outperformed international over this past year, Destination Canada shows total traveller arrivals from international marketing making a comeback, with positive trending in both 2020 and 2021. 3 To experience a flourishing sector, plans must be manifested to intentionally attract a larger inbound audience, especially in Niagara.
With Ontario owning 42.7% of all travels to Canada 4 and the global travel climate opening, Niagara possesses a substantial opportunity to expedite its own tourism recovery. Earlier this year, the Tourism Sentiment Index released the 50 Most Loved Destination in Canada, with Niagara ranking 3rd place 5, only further confirming what we already know – that people all around the world have a desire to experience what Niagara has to offer.
Considerations to Attracting More Niagara
Bound Tours & Travels
Tourism has always maintained its position as a key sector in Niagara, attracting tens of millions of visitors a year and more than $2 billion in expenditures6. Stability, however, also brings risk of stagnancy and complacency. With the resurgence in travel, we challenge Niagara to consider diversifying its approach to inbound tourism with a few key considerations.
Strengthen Marketing Initiatives
Wanting a destination vacation is one thing, especially a destination as widely recognized as Niagara. Knowing where to go and what to do once they arrive is another thing all together. When reviewing other destinations such as New York, London, or Singapore, there is a vast distinction with messaging across several channels. A variety of itinerary-based travel recommendations, multi-day packages and promotions are highly prevalent.
Target New Segments
Proactively research trending travel behaviours and identify which audiences Niagara can add the most attractive value to, such as cycling, fishing, sports entertainment, and sustainable tourism. Each of these segments represent a robust financial picture worthy of targeting. Take fishing for example. Future Market Insights (FMI) released its 2022-2032 Market Outlook report showing that Fishing Tourism represents an estimated $78.5 billion in key global markets. 7
Maximize MICE Travel Opportunities
Diversify Accommodation Supply
International travellers have varying accommodation expectations, with many seeking a comparable worldclass experience as other competing destinations have provided. Expanding our accommodation footprint to include more luxury and boutique options would be a wise investment. The further addition of accommodations sprouting beyond the centralized area in Niagara Falls is also befitting to a more regionalized approach to welcoming inbound tourism.
Improve Transportation Strategies
Spanning more than 1,800 square kilometres, Niagara includes twelve municipalities each with their own towns worthy of exploration. Destinations that are focused on implementing smart transportation technologies and creating unified partnerships tend to deliver a more accessible and convenience transportation experience. The easier it is for tourists to get around, the easier it is for them to spend across the community in which they are visiting.
Said Rowe Prudente, Founder of Ownera Media - in partnership with Destination Niagara Falls, Vacation & Group Travels.
(This quote was originally published on Owena Media Press Release 12.16.2022)
Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) is a year-round business, offering tremendous benef it to offsetting seasonality trends and mitigating resulting challenges related to employment fluctuations and labour shortages. Spending patterns reported by the WTTC 1 indicate that pharmaceutical, manufacturing and construction industries are resuming travel of this nature ahead of others. Expand beyond tradeshows and expos and target those niche markets by utilizing digital channels and tailored messaging.
Overall, the data surrounding tourism and travel trends presents an optimistic outlook for 2023 and beyond. As socio-economic climates continue to evolve and inflation begins to decrease, those trends are only expected to strengthen. By implementing a more modernized, cohesive approach to attracting tourists, Niagara would be well-positioned to capture more inbound tourism, increase stays and gain from more international spending.
“... we are re-defining how travel to Niagara is approached and booked.”
LEARN, GROW, & SUCCEED WITH SPARKby Emma Arnott
For generations, the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, has been a global brand for business built on an economic foundation anchored by tourism, manufacturing, and knowledge-based sectors. Today, Niagara’s entrepreneurs have never been more determined to disrupt these industries with emerging technologies while adapting to the demands of the global marketplace. As many businesses fail due to high operational costs, we believe that by offering the most affordable environment to grow, entrepreneurs can better position themselves to succeed in today’s economy.
Spark IECI is a non-profit community and tech hub inspired by the entrepreneurial lifestyle, providing equitable opportunities to business owners. Located a stone-throw away from the Niagara Falls GO station and whirlpool bridge to the US, our innovation hub offers modern solutions, tools, and the necessary resources for growth.
Within our 50,000 sq. ft. facility founders can learn and engage with emerging technologies, participate in skill development workshops, tailored programing, and access valuable business amenities. Additionally, to help open doors and remove barriers for entrepreneurs, we have aligned our organization with partners such as Hatch LTD, Niagara Health, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and Venture Niagara, granting access to potential pilot opportunities, investments, and high-level networking. Our goal is to provide everything an entrepreneur requires to not just develop their business but to thrive along the journey by keeping their costs as low as possible.
WITH SPARK INNOVATION, YOUR POTENTIAL IS ENDLESS.
through funding by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, we work with our partners to deliver a 4-month Tech Accelerator Program. Working closely with our partners, specifically The Niagara Falls Ryerson Innovation Hub (NFRIH- a collaborative hybrid program between The DMZ accelerator and the City of Niagara Falls), we serve startups looking to disrupt the tech industry through innovative solutions.
To date, with our support, over 200 companies have worked to create hundreds of new jobs and have raised millions in funding. Spark IECI is designed to always have those next steps business owners are looking to take, including seeking loans, grants, or investment to fund their next phase of development. This year we introduced an available on-demand, 8-stage certificate program that offers soft and technical skill building as well as 1:1 coaching and business plan development. Presented by certified business consultants, these modules cover everything an entrepreneur needs to prepare for any fund-raising goals.
With a new year upon us, we encourage all individuals who are, or who aspire to become an entrepreneur to contact us and book a visit Monday-Friday, 9-5pm, for a tour of the hub and an in-depth view of how we can work with them to achieve their goals.
a business address and 1:1 coaching/ consulting services tailored to their specific needs. Other memberships include desk space, functional private meeting rooms, fibre-optic wifi, full-kitchen access, marketing and business development tools, upskilling workshops/programming, fitness space to de-stress and so much more. In March 2021, the hub opened a public Makerspace powered by Hatch, allowing anyone to prototype physical or virtual components with assistance from our experts, and tools such as 3D printers, CNC machinery, VR software, laser technology and more. Additionally,
Our 4-month Tech Accelerator Program gives founders access to tailored coaches, program perks, and discounts, as well as post-program they receive a 1-year free, no equity taken, all-access membership.
The tall boot of the season. Made with premium comfort, embrace all day wear, a cool square toe and statement buckle. Get there beautifully.
140 YRS OUT OF THE ORDINARY
Legal Excellence and Personalized Approach to Tens of Thousands of Cases Over 140 Years
On the heels of its first year since one of the most prominent law firm mergers in Niagara, Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP also concludes its one hundred and fortieth year of service. A merger is a remarkable accomplishment, and most significantly, the out of the ordinary unity of four successful law firms during one of the most tumultuous periods in world history. With a full year in review, there is no denying the uniting of Chown Cairns LLP, Lancaster Brooks & Welch LLP, Broderick & Partners LLP, and Graves & Richard P.C. has proven to be a successful endeavour.
Perhaps the most demanding and transformative two years that the legal profession has ever seen, the strongest of law firms possess a firm understanding of not only changes to the laws and the system but how those changes have affected their clients. In nearly an instant, a devastating global pandemic transformed our society, strained our laws, and added pressure to the system. A client-first approach has always been apparent at Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP, and is what has set them apart during these unrivalled times - a testament to the unmatched experience of the firm.
“We are united, with great synergies across our various offices. We have multigenerational expertise across several practice areas and often draw upon one another’s experiences. No matter the given task or the problem needing to be solved, the team is adaptable to handle any client need in the absolute best manner possible for the client,” says Harry Korosis, Senior Partner.
This commitment to teamwork and sharing of knowledge is one of the firm’s greatest assets. “The environment at the firm is very collaborative and is of tremendous benefit to all our clients. If one of us is working on a Family Law file that has a corporate element, or a real estate element, for example, we can walk down the hall and easily consult and deliberate with one another. We offer each other different perspectives and insights, and it is so exciting to offer such an outstanding team of experienced lawyers to our clients. It is such an asset,” states Maria Lucarelli, Partner.
YRSFrom left to right, top row to front row: David Thomas, Robert Budgell, Kevin Robins, Paul Bauerle, Marc Digirolamo, Matthew Leask, Rob Burns, John Mirynech, John Willey, Michael Mann, Bruce Smith, Rand Meshki, George Kirkham, Juan Reina, Harry Korosis, Barry Adams, John Broderick, Glenn Parker, John Hopkins, Celina Difelice, Alexandra Del Vecchio, Chelsea Gauthier, Roseanne Trivieri, Robert Welch, Civita Gauley, Maria Lucarelli, Dionne Chambers, Amber Harwood, Dana Hogarth, Melanie Slater
rich history & vibrant future
Thriving for more than a century, the highly qualified legal team at Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP has continuously adapted to a changing legal environment and shifting community landscapes, continuously providing trusted, top-notch services expected of a law firm with such longevity.
Since 1882, with the first office opening in Welland, countless clients and cases have been entrusted to the team, not just because of the long and prestigious history, but because they can be counted on to provide the level of dedication, commitment and results consistent with such a legacy. Over the decades, the firm has also seen several members serve as politicians, judges, Federal Members of Parliament, and Cabinet Ministers.
And with history comes experience, enabling the firm to represent nearly every industry, profession, and personal matter. The firm is also committed to its ongoing legacy, investing in strategic succession planning that ensures the high-quality service extended to its clients will also support their future generations.
“We have multi-generational partners and associates throughout the firm. There is opportunity to grow, and associates are provided ongoing mentorship to prepare and groom them for their future with the firm.” Says Yaroslav Diduch, Partner.
personalized approach across practice areas
These past few years, no part of the law has remained untouched. The need to inject the system with virtual capabilities brought forward a heightened sensitivity to already emotional situations, requiring impersonal navigation through remote and digital forms of communication.
Throughout this, the team at Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP continued to exceed the expectations of their clients, providing them with the highest quality advice, legal insight, and in-depth local expertise.
Family Law, Labour and Employment and Succession Planning, whether for business, wills, or estates, were all areas that saw more attention as of late. With business and estate planning, recent events certainly assisted in placing a top-of-mind awareness in these areas requiring attention.
“Demographics are changing, a larger segment of the population is aging. Family-run businesses are seeking succession, whether intergenerational or an outside successor,” as Korosis expressed.
Remote communication certainly intensified the already time-sensitive and emotional landscape of family law. From motions concerning child support, parenting time, and custody to disagreements surrounding medical care, the safety of travel and wanting to amend existing orders. This department
grew significantly since the merge, assisting greatly with the additional pressures being placed, according to Diduch, “...the growth also solidified our positioning as Niagara’s premier family practice, handling everything from legal aid files to complex divorces. Several generations of experience are represented, from first-year call to thirty years in practice, which helps us best serve every level of client.” This level of experience throughout the team has made all the difference in how these sensitive client cases are handled with care.
Some changes in Labour & Employment required special attention to detail for employers and employees, such as part of Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act. Vita Gauley pointed out: “It was interpreted that companies were required to develop policies that allow employees to disconnect outside of regular office hours, but that was not necessarily what we saw once the legislation and regulations were flushed out. We have been supporting clients in ensuring these policies are in place and also ensuring that employer expectations are clearly articulated.”
After a recent consult, Lucarelli shares; “our approach resonates well with our clients. They often communicate how thankful they are. We are pleased as we were able to have help taking them from worrying to having such peace of mind during a difficult time. We are here to provide that comfort level to everyone, regardless of their unique needs.”
legal support can often feel like a daunting experience. The team at Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP shares a universal mindset to ensure all clients feel welcomed and comfortable, striving to make the legal process as easy and effective as possible for them.
LEGAL ADVISORS preparation & process
While the specific process will vary depending on the situation, it is important to retain counsel from someone you connect with and feel comfortable working with. Before your initial consultation, set some time aside to prepare yourself:
 Assemble an overview of what you need to discuss. Think about your story in a clear and logical order. Write down important dates or points you would like to reference.
 Prepare generalized information and knowledge of key events, incomes, assets, and other relevant details you believe are beneficial for review. Formulate a list of questions you have, whether it be related to the timeline, additional information you might need to collect, and alternate options you should be aware of.
“Gathering preliminary information is always helpful,” Lucarelli emphasized and added, “what we hope our clients get out of the first meeting is to have all their questions answered. We will then provide an overview of what the specific
process will look like for them, demystify any potentially confusing details, and once retained we will give a full list of specifics that will be required – from information collection to the next steps for meetings or court attendance requirements. One of the benefits that have arisen from the legal system needing to adapt and include virtual offerings is that some stages can now be handled more efficiently, both with time and cost for our clients. For example, swearing documents can be done digitally or a virtual court attendance can be arranged.”
At Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP, the client-first approach is applied to every interaction. A testament to the rich history and experience found across the firm, the team is a unified, collaborative group of highly skilled professionals that represent every corner of the law. When you work with any member of Lancaster, Chown & Welch LLP, you gain the experience of the entire collective, ensuring all your legal needs are met with the highest level of skill and urgency.
With locations in Niagara Falls, Welland, and St. Catharines, the firm is heavily invested in the ongoing development of the team and its practices and protocols, providing what the community needs today but also designing a firm that will satisfy the community 10 and 20 years into the future. The multi-generational organization continues to seek out, mentor and shape new talent ensuring it can provide the best service for future generations to come.
As one of the major engines of economic growth, the retail sector has a profound impact on our overall economic stability and performance. From traditional brick and mortar locations to ecommerce outfits, each are part of an integrated system directly influencing local labour force, import and export, and community prosperity.
There is no disputing that the healthcare industry has been pushed beyond limits over these past few years. From frontline workers to researchers and public, private and non-profit sectors, everyone involved is doing their part to provide a stronger, more adaptable industry focused on accessible, timely and quality patient care.
NOTABLESMarianne Tykolis Casey President & Owner Stevensville Garden Gallery Duane Gibson Owner & General Manager, Retail & Online Sales Gibbys Electronic Supermarket Dave Nash President Jack Nash Fine Clothier Jill Croteau, BBA CHRL Physician Recruitment Specialist Niagara Region Public Health, Physician Recruitment Stacy Terry Executive Director Distress Centre Niagara Tracy Geoffroy Executive Director Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation
Recognized for her strong leadership skills, Marianne leads her team in several capacities for Stevensville Garden Gallery, a family-owned and operated business located in Fort Erie.
Daily she acts as director, controller, accountant, and operations lead creating an environment continuously recognized as an employer of choice.
STEVENSVILLE GARDEN GALLERY
Attracting guests from all over Southern Ontario and the USA, Stevensville Garden Gallery offers 80,000 square feet of retail space ranging from home décor to patio furniture, fashion, jewelry, patio furniture, and plants and nursery items.
It’s strategic partnership with Safari Niagara and Stevensville Lawn Services located at the same location make it one of the largest employers in the community.
As an employer of choice, Marianne and her team foster a family-oriented culture that is focused on a guest-first approach. She believes heavily in showing recognition, appreciation, and providing learning opportunities for everyone to excel and grow.
Heavily involved in the community, Stevensville Garden Gallery is a major supporter in a variety of youth activities, fundraisers, and initiatives such as Fort Erie Minor Hockey, Fort Erie Head Injury, Fort Erie Literacy, Fort Erie Navy League, and Fort Erie Horse Rescue while also supporting United Way and Rotary.
Over the years success has not always come easy, but Marianne shares her belief that in addition to the commitment of her excellent team, continued support of the community and from the community are what continues to propel them forward.
Known for taking a leap into unknown digital territory nearly 20 years ago, Duane took the individual family-owned store and entered e-commerce. His bold move led to substantial growth in sales and national recognition for Gibbys across Canada.
GIBBYS ELECTRONIC SUPERMARKET
With nearly 60 years of retail history behind it, Gibbys Electronic Supermarket is home to a state-of-the-art facility with over 30,000 square feet of showroom and warehouse space. As an independent provider of top-quality home electronics, Gibbys Electronic Supermarket is an authorized dealer of most top brands in Canada and supplies one of the largest selections of television, home theatre and car audio equipment coast to coast.
In 2010, Duane joined forces with Rod Hebert from Electronic Supermarket, combining their individual decades of retail experience and leveraging one another’s strengths to forge a new path together.
Regularly involved in the community, Duane is a supporter of several local initiatives and an advocate for fellow business owners. His extensive experience in the retail industry throughout major shifts in consumer behaviour fuels his creativity for new concepts. He was integral in conceptualizing and launching the St. Catharines Design District, representing more than 100 local businesses specializing in home design.
A true success story, the history behind Gibbys Electronic Supermarket is a strong testament of innovation, perseverance, and collaboration taking place in Niagara while drawing in a national audience.
Representing its third generation of family ownership, Dave is known for providing exceptional service and commitment in all that he does, from store operations to community leadership.
JACK NASH FINE CLOTHIER
Celebrating more than 75 years in business, Jack Nash Fine Clothier began as a small merchant tailor store in 1946. As a fullservice retail clothing store, they provide high quality clothing and accessories for both men and women.
Throughout the years, the business experienced major shifts in retail, from the transition of downtown shopping to indoor malls, big box stores and ecommerce. With each shift in the industry, Jack Nash Fine Clothier adjusted to changing consumer behaviours, while continuing to deliver a high quality, personal approach to retail. A large following of long-standing customers is a testament to the quality of service and treatment extended by Jack Nash Fine Clothier.
Going above and beyond to assist their community, Dave and the team at Jack Nash Fine Clothier give more than just monetary donations and sponsorships to the causes that matter to them. They put in their time, effort, and labour to give back any way they can. You can still find memorabilia from 1949 when they proudly sponsored the St. Catharines Teepees Junior Hockey team.
Leading by example, Dave can be found at several charitable functions throughout the year, assisting with fundraising efforts and donating his time to work at various events, such as the Wise Guys Annual Charity Auction.Reveal Niagara Business Magazine by Ownera Media is proud to present leaders in Retail in Niagara who have a genuine passion for the right kind of growth throughout Niagara. These leaders recognize the importance of local engagement, support, and mutually beneficial relationships, making them truly notable in their industry, in our community, and beyond. Dave Nash President Jack Nash Fine Clothier Duane Gibson Owner & General Manager Gibbys Electronic Supermarket Marianne Tykolis Casey President & Owner Stevensville Garden Gallery
Niagara Region Public Health, Physician Recruitment
A recent recipient of the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) Community Service Award, Jill’s work in her field and in her community is instrumental in advancing Niagara’s ability to offer quality healthcare to its residents.
Niagara Region Public Health, Physician Recruitment
Funded by the Niagara region, the Niagara Physician Recruitment program was established in 2001 with a focus on family practice opportunities. Attracting and retaining physicians is critical to ensure residents have access to healthcare.
The program collaborates with clinics across all twelve municipalities
The Niagara Physician Recruitment Program was established in 2001 to promote family practice opportunities and to attract and retain physicians in Niagara.
The program works in collaboration with clinics and all 12 municipalities and is a recruitment liaison with the Niagara Campus of the DeGroote School of Medicine and McMaster University.
In addition to Niagara’s growing population, the aging medical workforce presents further challenge. While recruitment gaps were prevalent prior to the pandemic, the situation has only added to the shortage which can be felt across Canada.
Jill is key in ensuring that the local and global recruitment
efforts extend beyond simply attracting talent, but also ensuring that the physicians have the resources necessary to be successful and happy in Niagara.
Efforts continue to be made for increased efficiency to obtain a license to practice medicine with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and Jill has expressed that the continued advocacy of the Region has made a big difference.
Highly respected in her field, Stacy is passionate about mental health advocacy and suicide awareness and prevention. She also serves as the Chair of the Niagara Suicide Prevention Coalition, a non-funded, community coalition founded in 2003.
Distress Centre Niagara
In operation for more than 50 years, Distress Centre Niagara provides free, confidential 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention and intervention to those in need in the Niagara Region. Highly skilled volunteers respond to a growing average of 35-45 calls a day, and more volunteers are always needed to meet these growing demands.
As a volunteer-driven organization, funding raised allows Distress Centre Niagara to offer its essential services by phone, and recently in the past few years also chat and text support. Fundraising efforts include the Annual Suicide Awareness Walk and Annual Charity Golf Tournament as well as other events such as Bingo.
As Executive Director, Stacy leads her team with compassion, investing in the staff members to provide training, development
and team building opportunities. Volunteers also receive ample training to feel prepared and ready to support.
Known to work tirelessly in the community, Stacy takes every opportunity to provide education about services and support available while advocating for and implementing additional support levers. The launch of chat and text support in Niagara is an example, teaming up with Distress and Crisis Ontario-members in Durham and Windsor.
You can often find Stacy appearing on various tv and radio channels, presenting to local organizations such as Rotary, and serving on appropriate boards, such as her time with Distress and Crisis Ontario (DCO).
An avid volunteer and Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Tracy began her career with United Way and worked as the Director of Development at Brock University before joining the Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation in 2019 as Executive Director.
Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation
The Hotel Dieu Shaver Health and Rehabilitation Foundation raises and
manages funds that aid in providing exemplary patient care at Hotel Dieu Shaver (HDS). As the only rehabilitation hospital in Niagara, HDS providing specialty care to thousands of patients across Niagara each year.
Fundraising efforts go directly to patientcare equipment, which is not funded by the
government, education, improvements to treatment areas, and to speciality clinics such as The Steve Ludzik Centre for Parkinson’s Rehab and the Rankin Family Cancer Rehabilitation Program. Each year Tracy leads the small Foundation team in seeking approximately $1M raised in order to meet the patient care needs and specialty program operational costs.
Tracy’s extensive professional and personal experience has enabled the Foundation to implement comprehensive fundraising strategies. Her involvement in the community
volunteering with organizations such as Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Canadian Association of Gift Planners, Victim Services Niagara and Niagara Children’s Centre are just a few examples of how she is committed to giving back. She has also taught seminars on how giving back can fuel your inner passions, benefit your career, and energize all areas of your life.
Reveal Niagara Business Magazine by Ownera Media is proud to present leaders in Healthcare in Niagara who have a genuine passion to do their part in creating a more resilient and reliable healthcare industry. These leaders recognize the importance of local engagement, support, and mutually beneficial relationships, making them truly notable in their industry, in our community, and beyond.Stacy Terry Executive Director Distress Centre Niagara Tracy Geoffroy Executive Director Hotel Dieu Shaver Foundation
Marketing has never been more important or complicated than it is today. You can launch the most effective and beautifully designed campaign in the world, but if you’re failing to adapt to your audience’s changing preferences, you’re destined to fail. In order to truly succeed with your marketing initiatives, you need data-driven insights into how consumers think and feel about your product or service, as well as their competitors’ products or services. This article will introduce you to marketing intelligence and help you better understand how this knowledge will improve your marketing strategy as well as all other aspects of your business operations.
What is Marketing Intelligence
Marketing intelligence is a broad term which refers to different sources and forms of data that are used to improve marketing processes to drive better results. It can be thought of as an umbrella term that encompasses many other, more specific terms such as competitive intelligence, market research, market analysis, and quantitative research. Marketing intelligence helps marketers understand what consumers think about their brands, competitors’ offerings, and emerging trends in the marketplace.
by: Ownera Media
The Benefits of Marketing Intelligence
If you want your marketing efforts to be successful, there are a few things you need to know. The first is that marketing intelligence can help you stay ahead of the curve in your industry by staying on top of changes in society, new technologies, and customer preferences. It also helps identify trends in your industry that could have an impact on future success. Second, such knowledge is essential for understanding the needs and wants of consumers; it will help you determine who your target market is and how best to reach them. Finally, being knowledgeable about what influences people’s decisions will make all aspects of marketing more effective because you’ll know what type of messages resonate with customers and which channels work best.
What to Include
When Collecting Marketing Intelligence
There are several types of marketing intelligence that companies can use to stay ahead of competitors and improve their marketing efforts.
Competitive Analysis: A detailed assessment of the competition is invaluable data to assist in the evaluation of your own products, services and customer approach while also empowering you to best align and highlight your own competitive advantage within the market.
Customer Analysis: Research in this area must be applicable to new and existing customers. While new customer acquisition a necessity, it is also critical to improve existing customer relationships by understanding what they want from a product or service. This analysis invites positive changes to your business and may even result in the creation of new products or services to fit changing needs.
Gathering Marketing Intelligence
Marketing intelligence is a process that involves extensive research about your industry and competitors to better position yourself. More than just understanding what your competitors are doing, marketing intelligence is about understanding trends and changes in your industry. It’s also important to understand what customers want, which you can find out by looking at where they spend their money. The more knowledge you have, the better you’ll be able to create a strategy that will help you stay ahead of the curve.
Product Analysis: Scrutinizing your products and services against others offered within the market should be done both internally and through public review. By understanding the differences between them and how the market is responding to those differences may confirm or reframe your competitive advantages and influence improvements.
Market Analysis: Investigate and maintain an active pulse on other business areas your target audience is engaging with, such as industry conferences, member organizations, magazines, or journals. This knowledge enables you to determine the most relevant media outlets, digital communication channels, and industry forums to consider for your marketing strategy.
Every company should have a marketing strategy, and continuously enhance that strategy with updated marketing intelligence. It’s important to know what your audience likes, how they interact with social media, and what they are searching for online. Use marketing intelligence to better understand what your audience wants so that you can provide a better service and improve all aspects of your marketing.
While the medical field is one of the most sought-after professions, it’s also one that comes with its share of stress and dangers. Many people go into medicine in the hope of making a difference in peoples’ lives, and there is no denying that technology has the power to
enhance the abilities and reach of those serving the industry.
As a sector, MedTech supplies several advantages to healthcare service providers, all designed to lead to better patient care. Clinicians and patients can both benefit from time saved through streamlined
procedures. A more efficient, advanced, and less invasive healthcare environment is on the horizon.
Currently transforming the world of medicine, these are a few innovative medical technology updates worthy of review:
An entire industry of devices is blooming, designed to help patients collect, evaluate and transfer data but also clinician devices such as outpatient monitors, repositionable adhesives, and moisture-responsive incontinence materials.
Compatible with most smartphones, those with diabetes can access products like Dexcom, designed for lifestyle management that also transmits your data to your medical practitioner.
A continuous challenge is hospitals and clinics is gaining access to reliable and fast results that aid in effective and timely diagnosis and patient care.
As an example, a facility in Barrie, Ontario, implemented a unique FilmArray® technology demonstrating reduced diagnostic time related to meningitis/ encephalitis syndrome. This shortened the length of stay by an average of thirty-six hours per patient, saving money and reducing strain on resources. Several other diagnostic technologies are continuously evolving, tested and made available.
Robotic-assisted procedures are minimally invasive while offering accuracy, repeatability, control, and efficiency. This, in-turn, offers patients fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to normal activities
Currently used in Asia-Pacific regions and Latin America, the Hugo robot has up to four arms mounted on individual wheeled carts that be configured differently to accommodate operating rooms and procedure types. Leveraged primarily for gastric bypass and gallbladder removal, the Medtronic device has secured new stages of approvals in Canada.
Often as small as a single human cell, microbots can be deployed to repair an issue from the inside, avoiding unnecessary incisions in patients. They are less likely to cause tissue damage, and in some instances, can access difficult to reach surfaces.
For example, microbotic developments are being explored in endodontic treatment to address the removal of biofilm in the canals, a leading cause of failure that results in infection.
Remote Surgical Support
CoReducing surgical procedure times without compromising patient outcomes would assist in patient care backlogs. By providing remote access for surgeons to effectively leverage their peer group and academic centres can have significant positive impact.
Telepresence technology allows a remote surgeon to see exactly what the frontline surgeon is seeing and doing, while interacting and supporting one another through augmented reality devices, as if they were in the same operating room.
Laboratory Capacity Enhancement
Challenged to meet growing testing demands, laboratories are in need reliable, efficient ways to transform operational and clinical performance. An increasing shortage of skilled employees and growing budget constraints place a greater reliance on evolved equipment, such as The Siemens Healthineers Atellica Solution.
Automated quality control and calibration, a sophisticated vision system, intelligent sample management and test scheduling improve workflows even in tightly staffed lab environments.
Designed to improve patient care and outcomes, these services leverage technology in different ways. From utilizing digital communication tools to diagnosis treatments, to ongoing healthcare services that aid in post-care treatment and monitoring. Access to virtual care services has increased substantially in Canada, not only including telemedicine options but a vast array of virtual patient services as well.
Innovate Niagara, an organization that helps entrepreneurs start, grow & succeed, connects us with Steve Boese to share the unique differences between co-working spaces and incubators, to assist you in making the best decision for your company
INCU BATORS VS.
Many things have changed over the course of the pandemic and the office environment has been no exception. This includes businesses that never operated with remote employees before going fully virtual with team members spanning the globe, to hybrid work environments (more on that later), to businesses that have remained fully in the office.
Many business owners are still trying to figure out what works best. Since every business is different, there is no magic bullet solution. However, what we’ve been seeing a lot over the past 6-8 months is a combination, or hybrid, of the work-from-home and in-person work environments.
There is great flexibility for most people working from home, yet there is nothing that can replace faceto-face meetings. While there are many different technologies to keep up with communication and productivity in a virtual work
environment, many businesses have noticed that their team culture, a vital part of their business, has lacked in a virtual setting. In addition, there may be those on a team that don’t have a home environment suitable for work or would simply rather work in a more collaborative, in-person setting to help them learn and grow in their career.
On the other side, there has been a welcome change for many who worked in a more rigid environment pre-pandemic that required them to constantly be at their desk, in the office, with allocated/timed breaks. Life doesn’t happen according to a clock, and appointments, kid schedules, and many other daily life occurrences are not always conducive to a “9-5” job.
As most businesses were forced to employ some type of virtual environment during lockdowns, they quickly realized that they were able to operate virtually, at least to an extent. With positives and negatives for both at-home and in-person work environments, this leaves room for a hybrid environment built-to-suit for your respective business. There are many challenges with this model as well but adopting a hybrid approach helped some businesses that were divided on which path to take and afforded them with some of the best aspects of both.
Steve Boese Manager, Tech Incubation Innovate Niagara
As Manager of Innovate Niagara’s interactive digital media and tech incubator, Steve oversees all business aspects and responsibilities of the incubator and works with all portfolio companies, post-secondary institutions, and technology partners.
entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers, employees of a company that is not located in the area, lifestyle businesses, etc. all working in the same space. Many co-working spaces also offer some additional services, beyond typical amenities, like networking events & business opportunities for their members. It can be a great place for those who don’t want to commit to a full office, or that don’t have the need to, while still offering the amenities of a large office.
Incubators are different. Incubators are traditionally for startups (early-stage tech companies), however, there are now incubators in many other sectors from food to fashion. The constant factor is that incubators are used to drive innovation in the specific industries they’re designed. Much of the value is driven from the on-site industry expertise, support, and company collaborations.
A tech incubator has tech companies side-by-side with other tech companies, coupled with tailored programming and support to drive innovation & collaboration and fuel growth.
fin-tech, and many others. We are also proud that we have a variety of founders from all over the world and that diversity helps foster innovation.
The reality is the work dynamic continues to evolve and many companies and entrepreneurs are still trying to figure out what works best for them. But if you’re interested in some flexible space for your business there are a lot of great options. Take a quick search on the internet or contact one of the Niagara region’s two local Small Business Enterprise Centres (located in St. Catharines & Niagara Falls) who can help identify some great co-working spaces throughout the municipalities of Niagara.
If you’re a startup in the tech sector looking to change the world for the better, contact us at Innovate Niagara to discuss if Innovate, Niagara’s Tech Incubator, is a fit!
One of the challenges that arises with a hybrid model is office space with a nontraditional use pattern. There are solutions to this.
Co-working spaces and incubators are options for businesses, employees and entrepreneurs to take the space that suits their needs. They typically offer access to amenities like having a business mailing address, bookable boardroom & meeting rooms, access to a kitchen, collaborative or maker space, and flexible desk space that still gives individuals the energy of a larger office space by sharing it with others. While these amenities are similar in both co-working spaces and incubators the similarities tend to end there.
Co-working spaces are typically more attractive to all types of entrepreneurs. There may be solo-
The good news is that we have both working environments in the Niagara region! There are several different co-working spaces in the region that provide companies, employees, freelancers and entrepreneurs with flexible space to work. At Innovate Niagara, we host Niagara region’s only tech incubator. All of our incubator companies are selected through a competitive tenancy process. Companies must be in the tech industry, have a product in market that is generating revenue, and must be committed to helping Niagara’s tech industry grow. Our incubator is tech agnostic, meaning we have incubator companies from a variety of different sectors within the tech industry. This includes, SaaS, AI, data, app development, video game development, ed-tech, clean-tech,
TECH INCUBATOR HAS TECH COMPANIES SIDE-BYSIDE WITH OTHER TECH COMPANIES, COUPLED WITH TAILORED PROGRAMMING AND SUPPORT TO DRIVE INNOVATION & COLLABORATION AND FUEL GROWTH.
TELE HEALTH: The Future
the pandemic, many Canadians were accessing health care online. Whether it’s to look up symptoms, call a government health line or do an online consultation, the Covid-19 pandemic changed how Canadians accessed healthcare and magnified the flaws in healthcare systems worldwide. The main issues surrounding telehealth are accessibility, underutilization of technology, and healthcare funding.
RURAL HEALTHCARE ACCESS
Whether it is due to safety concerns, lack of access, ease of use, or personal preference, telehealth is gaining popularity with Canadians. According to Dr. William Cherniak, founder, and CEO of Rocket Doctor, “Pre-pandemic, telehealth was less than 1% of all doctor visits. By the summer of 2020, roughly 70% of all medical visits in some communities were being done virtually.” 33% of patient-reported visits between January 2021 and March 2022 were virtual, and 21% of healthcare visits were videoconferences. Between June 2021 and March 2022, 47% of patients who were given the option chose to videoconference over an in-person consult. Other forms of telehealth options include phone consultations and secure email or messaging. According to one study conducted in Nunavut, 50% of patient care visits would not have been used by a patient or a professional, or both, if telehealth had not been an option.1 The cost and labor of traveling great distances to access healthcare are too great for too many people, which means that specific populations will be at higher risk of health issues. Telehealth can significantly reduce the disparity created by the uneven distribution of the traditional healthcare system.
HEALTH: of Healthcare
ACCESS, TECHNOLOGY, & COST
1 Nunavut telehealth project impact evaluation report. Montreal (QC):
The need for a more accessible healthcare system has pushed technological advances in medicine that may not have come about without the stressors of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Dr. Cherniak commented, “Alongside this boom of access has been enormous advances in digital health, including smart patient intake forms, natural language processing, data science / predictive analytics…”
A pilot study in Saskatchewan showed that the presence of robotic technology significantly reduced the need for transporting respiratory patients out of their homes, directly resulting in lower overall transportation costs for the province.2 A similar project showed that robotic technology reduced the need for medical transportation by 60% in Labrador.3 Telehealth accessibility also forces governments to improve internet infrastructures to maintain secure data and consistent access at specific speeds. Tele-psychiatry is also on the rise as more and more people are being affected by mental health issues emerging in the wake of the pandemic.
Health practitioners are in the later stage of their careers, so incorporating telehealth training into their current ecosystem is challenging. Not every facility is equipped for access to telehealth technologies or databases. Patients who do not speak English also struggle to use the technology. Language barrier is the biggest factor for telemedicine
cancellations according one study in adult cardiology. In the future, telehealth training will be a part of practitioners’ training. Telehealth equipment will likely be set up in the emergency rooms, easy to access, and logged on immediately for stat calls.4 Telehealth also makes it easier for health professionals to share information about medical cases internationally. Family members who are scattered over great distances can now participate in a group telemedicine call to support.
COST AND FUNDING
Compared to the rest of Canada, healthcare costs are twice as much in northern Canada, with large indigenous populations.5 An unsustainable 40% of Nunavut’s annual health budget is spent on health-related travel and accommodation.6 Telehealth makes it possible for patients to receive care without traveling long distances. An in-person consultation can cost up to CAD 1048 in Nova Scotia, while telehealth ranges from $17 to $70.7 Care Management Solutions is estimated at US$11.5 Billion in 2020 and projected to reach 25.5 Billion in 2027. Telehealth is emerging as one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.8 “Today, the key question to the future of digital health/ telehealth is ensuring that our governments continue to adequately fund doctors to provide this service through our public healthcare.”, concluded Dr. Cherniak.
Physician and patient interest in telehealth services will ensure that it remains a permanent part of the Canadian healthcare system.9 Canada Health Infoway’s 2021 Digital Health Survey found that 90% of respondents with at least one virtual healthcare interaction were satisfied with the care they received. 69% of Canadians are interested in healthcare by telephone, 56% prefer video, and 57% secure messaging.10 Telehealth is pushing the boundaries to bring accessible, immediate, and effective healthcare to people worldwide. The goal is to reach and save millions of lives.
TRENDS ARE SHAPING CORPORA T E
WHICH in 2023?By Jade Prévost-Manuel
quitting. The great resignation. These are a few of the phenomena motivating Canadian employers to rethink their strategies for retaining their teams, says workplace wellness specialist Michelle Johnston.
“Employers are looking to enrich the employee experience, and I think they’re turning to wellness programs to do that,” says Johnston, who founded her company—WorkingWell—to help organizations design employee wellness programs that better the employee experience.
Canadians want to feel better at work. We sat down with a workplace wellness specialist to learn how companies can make that happen.
All our bouquets are hand-tied and delivered in luxury packaging. Our boxes make people cry – in a good way, we promise!
The pandemic accelerated discussions around workplace wellness, a term that generally describes policies, programs, and activities designed to positively impact employee health and behaviour. Pre-pandemic, 80 per cent of working Canadians reported that they would experience improved overall wellbeing if their employer offered personalized wellness programs. This past April, nearly half of Canadians reported feeling more sensitive to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic than they did before its onset, according to a LifeWorks Inc. Mental Health Index.
“People are being mindful about how they want to show up at work, and they’re realizing how precious their time and attention is,” says Johnston.
The benefits of implementing a corporate wellness program are myriad: Employees are happier, more present and productive, and they feel more connected to their company and teams. Here are some of the corporate wellness trends companies might want to focus on in 2023.
Managing employee stress has been, and will continue to be, top of mind for employers, says Johnston. Stress-related wellness programs generally teach employees tactics for reducing, or at the very least, managing, stress. They can look like informal weekly drop-in classes for activities dedicated to motivation and mindfulness, such as yoga or Tai-Chi, or formal training programs that target workplace stress.
Expert Contribution: Michelle Johnston
Workplace Wellness Specialist
Michelle Johnston is the founder of WorkingWell, a company dedicated to elevating and transforming the employee-employer relationship through the delivery of workplace wellness services. With over two decades of experience, Michelle works successfully with organizations across Canada helping them create a culture of trust, respect, and wellbeing.
3 Financial Tools
EVERY BUSINESS NEEDS
Every company, no matter its size or purpose, needs financial management tools to keep it on track. A common misconception, often across new businesses, is that a bank account with detailed statements and shoebox bookkeeping method is enough to track expense and profitability.
Volker Loetfering, a Business Loans Officer with Venture Niagara, expresses the importance of working with experts - “Having a good bookkeeper and accountant that can explain the financial ratios and point out errors or warning signs is ideal. If budget allows, a consultant can help to educate yourself.”
The predominant tools that need to be at the core of every business include budgeting, forecasting, and modeling. The budget shows what you expect to spend, the forecast predicts where you’ll end up and the model shows how you’ll get there.
When asked what common misconceptions business owners have about financial tracking, Rahi Tajzadeh, Chief Executive Officer of The Big Leaf, shares “Often there is a lack of understanding the key metrics in their industry, market(s), and internal operations and marketing. They often focus on a few of each, without necessarily understanding the impact of all the metrics, especially on financial KPIs. This can be, and often is, related to a lack of communication
within and between organizations’ departments, leaders, and employees. Lastly, a lack of candor can contribute to this phenomenon, which acts as a significant source of risk in any business.”written by Brandy Henderson
A budget is a plan for how much money a company is going to make and spend over a period. A budget can be a monthly, quarterly, or annual, but typically the most common is an annual plan, created with the goal of balancing income and expenses.
The process can be as simple as writing down all income earned by your business for the year, then finding out what you need to spend that amount on to operate your business (the expenses). “Make sure to include your own compensation, even if modest in the early stages,” says Volker.
Define what your expected surplus or shortfall will be. If you have an excess of funds left at the end of each month, use those funds to cover deficits incurred during previous months. If there are deficits at the end of each month, they should be put towards savings to offset any possible future deficit months.
A budget should be updated at least once a month to help you keep up with the flow of money coming in and out of your company. It also allows you to plan better because if there is an issue with cashflow, you’ll know about it before it becomes a problem.
A forecast is used to predict revenue and cashflow, generally created by looking at three things: the past, the future and assumptions about how certain events might unfold. “A cashflow forecast is paramount to all businesses, with a minimum of a two-year version that includes monthly revenue, COG (Cost of Goods) and expense details,” says Volker.
As you grow, build the habit of breaking your forecast into three sections: short-term (next two years), medium-term (next five years) and long-term (next ten years). Updates can be made monthly or quarterly, depending on the business and how quickly it changes, or if you have updated your budget or model.
A financial model is a way of analyzing the balance sheet and income statement to determine how a company will perform in the future, predicting expenses, revenues, and cash flow for up to five years.
Created every 12-18 months, there are many factors that influence the timeframe of updates, including the size and complexity of the business and its recent growth. A financial model can be updated as often or infrequently as you want, but it’s best to do so after you’ve reached a milestone in your company’s lifecycle.
For example, if you’re just starting out and haven’t made any sales yet, there may not be much to update in your financial model until you begin tracking revenue. If you’ve raised funds from investors or partnered with another company, put together an updated plan for how this investment will affect your finances.
The most financially disciplined businesses leverage all three tools in their planning and operations. They have a budget for day-to-day operations, a forecast for the future, and a financial model that captures current realities. They also have an accurate understanding of both the cash balance (current assets minus current liabilities) as well as the company’s overall liquidity (cash balance plus marketable securities). “Always compare actual numbers with what you have forecasted – if you are doing better than what you projected, repeat and build on it. If you are doing worse, find the reason and course correct it,” shares Volker.
The effective use of these tools provides decision makers actionable information to make sound decisions on things like whether to borrow money, whether to go into debt, what kind of pricing they should set for goods and services, how much inventory they should buy or sell, how many employees they should hire or lay off, and so on.
Volker Loetfering Business Loans Officer Venture Niagara
A highly accomplished Business Development Manager, Volker holds 25+ years’ experience working in Europe and North America with extensive experience in business and economic development & financing; and banking.
Rahi S. Tajzadeh, CMC, MScM, BComm
CEO, KnowQuest Inc CEO, The Big Leaf Inc
A Certified Management Consultant, Rahi’s background in entrepreneurship, consulting, and research brings a unique perspective and set of tools to better identify opportunities, craft strategy, and execute.
“All three of these tools need to be an integral part of a full (internal) business plan. The business plan is an all-encompassing document that summarizes everything the business knows about their industry, market, opportunities therein, value proposition(s), marketing plan, operations plan, and financial plan. As such, a detailed model is built into the internal business plan (also called the Full Business Plan), as are a detailed budget, and forecasts (or pro-formas); all are necessary, and necessarily integral to risk mitigation and informed decision/strategy making.” Shared Rahi.
The right mix of these different financials provides business leaders with data to make informed decisions about future opportunities. While each tool has its own function, when used together they provide complete insight into a company’s financial strength and is an incredible aid when seeking growth opportunities.
“Funding and financial support is available for businesses. Get to know your lending partners: establish rapport with your advisor, branch manager, especially the head-teller at your bank. And be prepared with your document packages,” says Volker.
finance, real estate, & investment
Rethinking Niagara’s Cities & TownsBy Jade Prévost-Manuel
Dowe need to rethink how we’re planning our cities and towns? Ask John Henricks, President of Niagara urban planning firm NPG Planning Solutions Inc., and he’ll tell you that if we want any hope of solving Canada’s housing problems, the answer is YES.
“The demand for housing is high, [but] the supply is low, so we’ve got to increase that supply,” says Henricks.
To plan the cities and townships of the future, Henricks says Canadian urban planners need to plan for population growth, and fast. Last month, the federal government announced its plans to increase immigration into Canada, with the goal of welcoming 500,000 immigrants in 2025. The government also announced it would focus more on attracting newcomers to small towns and rural communities.
Given its current growth trajectory, Niagara could soon become home to a lot more people. Between 2016 and 2021, the region’s population grew by more than 30,000 people. Over the next 20 years, it could top 600,000. Urban planning experts agree that more buildings need to go up—Shauna Brail, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Institute for Management & Innovation, says that the need for warehouse space, for example, “has increased dramatically” as Canadian cities face shortages of industrial space for lease. But undoubtedly one of the biggest priorities for urban planners is getting more housing built.
MEETING THE DEMAND FOR HOUSING
Housing developments can be tough to plan in some parts of Niagara where developable land comes in limited supply, says Henricks. Some cities and towns will have no choice, he says, but to intensify.
“The old, you know, 50-foot lots on 66-footwide roads, those are not sustainable.”
“That’s especially true in Lincoln, where two-thirds of the municipality’s land, says the Town of Lincoln’s Director of Planning and Development, Matt Bruder, is protected Greenbelt or Niagara Escarpment land.”
Creating higher urban density, or building upwards and inwards, instead of out, could solve the problem. Rather than developing single family homes with large yards, the region could look to developments like apartments, condominiums, and stacked townhouses, among others, to create more housing for more people. These kinds of developments could help alleviate Canada and Niagara’s housing woes. They save on land, can control urban sprawl, and are generally more affordable.
PLANNING FOR COMPLETE COMMUNITIES
“It all feeds into each other,” he says. “If you’re not providing all the elements of a community, then people have got to go elsewhere […] so we need places to live, but we need places to work and shop, too.”
The design of complete communities, or mixed-use neighbourhoods, is a trend on the rise in Canada and internationally. In a mixed-use neighbourhood, people become less
As President and founder of NPG Solutions, John brings a wealth of experience in municipal and land use planning, as well as land development. He has held management positions in the public and private sector of Ontario and Alberta.
While housing is top of mind for a lot of cities right now, planning for complete communities—mixed-use areas that meet most, if not all, of the needs of their residents—goes beyond building residential infrastructure, says Bruder. It also means rethinking transportation and considering what amenities are accessible to residents, whether they be doctor and dentist offices, grocery stores, or even pubs.
Director of Planning and Development
Town of Lincoln
A registered professional planner with nearly 15 years experience. Matt manages the Provincial Class Environmental Assessment process for large transportation projects to directing planning, building, and by-law departments among many others.
John Henricks, RPP, MCIP NPG Planning Solutions Inc.Matt Bruder
“[People are looking] at neighborhoods that can really work for everybody,” says Brail. “For families, for young adults, and for aging adults.”
dependent on cars and have more choices when it comes to housing. Buildings are revitalized instead of torn down, a more efficient use of land than outward sprawl. People and businesses want to invest in the community. Today, nearly 20 per cent of Canadians are aged 65 and over. For aging Canadians, mixeduse neighbourhoods that offer a variety of accommodation types—houses, apartments, and townhouses, for example—can allow Canadians to age within their communities.
“[People are looking] at neighborhoods that can really work for everybody,” says Brail. “For families, for young adults, and for aging adults.”
SUSTAINABLE , COMMUNITY ORIENTED INFRASTRUCTURE
At the community level, townships are designing for more active transportation by creating cycling infrastructure and pedestrian walkways. Roads in Lincoln that were once bordered by ditches and gravel shoulders are being redesigned, where feasible, to accommodate sidewalks and bike lanes, says Bruder. In Jordan Village, his team has looked at closing off Main Street to vehicular traffic altogether, with the vision of turning it into a gathering space for shopping and events.
These proposed changes buy into some of the urban planning trends that cities across Canada are hopping onto. Some places, Brail says, are looking at ways of maximizing high-quality, multi-use public outdoor spaces. Some are looking into the idea of 15-minute neighbourhoods, a type of dense, mixed-use neighbourhood whereby, theoretically, the basic needs of community members are within a 15-minute walk from their homes. Others are planning for micro-mobility, a concept in
which forms of transport like electronic bikes and electric scooters are used to commute short distances.
Not every Niagara town or city can accommodate these changes, says Bruder. In places like Lincoln, which have a large rural contingency and isolated urban centres, those changes are a long way off. Yet while the demand for cars and parking in Niagara is high, the region’s transportation infrastructure is undergoing several changes. Niagara’s local transit systems are being consolidated to make travel between towns and cities easier for Niagarans. The provincial government is bringing back year-round GO Train service to Niagara. The Niagara of the future could, perhaps, see more of these trends incorporated into its urban landscape.
Shauna is cross-appointed at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, U of T. As an economic geographer and urban planner, her research focuses on the transformation of cities as a result of economic, social, and cultural change.
1 https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/ news/2022/11/an-immigration-plan-to-grow-the-economy.html
9 https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/1002260/ontario-bringing-backyear-round-weekend-go-rail-service-to-niagaraShauna Brail Associate Professor , University of Toronto Mississauga’s Institute for Management & Innovation
“We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us - how we can take it, what we do with itand that is what really counts in the end.”
Emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EI or EQ (Emotional Quotient), refers to the set of skills that make up the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions in ourselves and others. In short, emotional intelligence makes the difference between average performance and stellar performance at work and in our personal lives.
Emotionally intelligent people make better leaders, workers, parents, friends, teachers, counselors, or therapists because they have the ability to use their understanding of others’ emotions as well as their own to guide decision-making and influence others in ways that foster productive working relationships and positive personal interactions.Joseph Fort Newton Tara Meyer Robson
“When awareness is brought to an emotion, power is brought to your life.”Plato
“All learning has an emotional base.”
“There are certain emotions that will kill your drive; frustration and confusion. You can change these to a positive force. Frustration means you are on the verge of a breakthrough. Confusion can mean you are about to learn something. Expect the breakthrough and expect to learn.”
Emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened.
It isn’t something people are born with – it’s something they acquire through experience and intentional effort.Aldous Huxley
“Experience is not what happens to you - it’s how you interpret what happens to you.”Kahlil Gibran
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.”David Borenstein
“Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.”
“Any person capable of angering you becomes your master.
”Kathleen Spike Epictetus Brian Koslow
“To increase your effectiveness, make your emotions subordinate to your commitments.”William James
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
THE MODERNIZATION OF LAWS IN CANADA
Adapting to emerging work-force trendsWritten by Henna Razvi
Canadian employment laws aim to create fair working conditions, pay, and worklife balance. The government made the independent Expert Panel on Modern Federal Labour Standards of Canada in 2019 to consult on issues facing Canadian employers and workers.1
2019 to 2021
From 2019 to 2021, many laws have changed surrounding leaves, work hours, wages, terminations, administration, and enforcement of labor standards, holidays, work hours, breaks, and overtime.
Ontario employers can internally regulate their companies independently of the government was proposed in Bill 66, which received royal assent in April 2019. Ontario public sector employees have an annual salary increase cap of 1% for the next three years. April 2019 also saw changes in minimum standards legislation, a reduction in the minimum wage, and reducing lieu time entitlements in Alberta. The addition of new leaves of absence, expansion of unpaid wage liability from six to 12 months, and records retention rules made by British Columbia’s government. Federally Regulated Employers saw changes, including additional employee rights about shift changes, requesting flexible work, and other leave entitlements including leave for traditional Aboriginal practices, bereavement leave, medical leave, and court/jury duty leave).2
More recently, Bill C-3, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, introduced two significant changes: new paid medical leave provisions and new bereavement leave provisions. The new medical leave provisions require employers to provide up to 10 days of paid sick leave based on length of service. Employees are entitled to 3 days of paid bereavement if they have completed three consecutive months of employment. These changes are effective by December 1, 2022.
On October 1, 2022, the Regulations Amending Certain Regulations Made Under the Canada Labour Code proposed reimbursement of reasonable work-related expenses, the service of documents, and a regular rate of wages. The proposed regulations consider whether the cost is connected to an employee’s work performance, where the expense is required as a condition of employment, and if the expense enables an employee to perform the work.
Ontario is the first province in Canada to legislate a “right to disconnect” for employees. Effective June 2, 2022, any employer with 25 employees or more must have a written “disconnect from work” policy. Similarly, Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, under Bill 88, requires employers with 25 employees or more to have a written “Electronic
Monitoring” policy for businesses that monitor their employees.3|4
Vita Gauley, a partner at Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP (LCW), has been supporting clients in ensuring that written policies are in place and employer expectations are articulated clearly to avoid “greater after hours communication than may be ultimately needed”. “The legislation itself highlights that if the employer’s policy on disconnecting from work does not create a greater right or benefit, the policy is not enforceable under the Employment Standards Act. This effectively suggests that there is no legal right created to disconnect unless an Employer has by policy created one.” Vita points out that it is unlikely that employers will document an expanded “disconnect from work” policy.
Called to the bar of Ontario in 2019, Mr. Ikola completed his Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario. Prior to being called to the bar, he was an
lawmakers should examine future employment laws for their full implications.
With more remote or hybrid options on the job market comes complicated legal risks of health, safety, digital security, tax, and immigration. Federal and provincial governments are working on updating legislation to meet the needs of the newly emerging work environment. Canadians should stay informed about the changes, provide input where they can, and make informed choices about the impacts of laws that are far more complex than they seem.
IMPACT ON EMPLOYEE-EMPLOYER RELATIONSHIPS
In a time where digital communication is prevalent in our society, we had to further distance ourselves from each other due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The “right to disconnect” can potentially “exacerbate an already existing problem of a lack of trust” between employees and employers, as per John Ikola and Josh Bond from Flett Baccario, Barristers & Solicitors. It can pit employers against employees and break down trust. Being employers themselves, they understand how important it is to facilitate flexibility in their organization so their employees can have a work-life balance. “If they want to watch your kid’s soccer game or attend a personal call during work hours, we understand. We want you to have a family or a personal life outside work.” Said Josh. “When you codify laws like this, you must anticipate that some employers may create new rules like no phones at work.” Many more systemic issues also stress employee and employer relations, but
Practicing law since 2004, Mr. Bond completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Windsor, relocating his family to Niagara and joining Flett Beccario in 2018.
4https://gowlingwlg.com/en/topics/navigating-change-incanada-new-age-of-employment/overview/Expert Contribution: Vita Gauley Partner Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP Vita Gauley is a Partner at Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP in the Labour and Employment Law Practice Group which provides support and legal advice on a wide range of employment related legal matters. Contribution: John Ikola Flett Beccario, Barristers & Solicitors esteemed instructor at Brock University for over 10 years Expert Contribution: Josh Bond Flett Beccario, Barristers & Solicitors