Welcome to our latest Let’s Talk for Chamber Members, where we focus on important issues affecting local businesses like yours, in a spirit of dialogue to be shared together.
Now approaching its third year, we thought it useful this fall to recap some Let’s Talk themes we’ve brought to light, while pointing to a few recent Chamber ‘news you can use’ items to assist your business.
It’s been a haul, but most of us survived and even thrived
The pandemic and its aftermath has obviously dominated the last few years. Among the interrelated consequences has been issues related to labour shortages and changing workplace trends, supply-chain woes, inflation and cost shocks, as well as social issues like street-level addiction/ mental illness and homelessness affecting downtowns and communities.
We’ve also spotlighted health care shortages, with many Niagara residents and chamber members lacking decent access to primary medical care. Ensuring adequate health care is critical for businesses who rely on the continuity of healthy, valued workers obtaining medical services they need to stay well. As a measure of good news here, everyone is excited about the new South Niagara hospital expected to open in 2028.
Opportunities continue in the vibrant south Niagara business sector, as many of us pivot to new ways of business operation and staffing, while managing inflation and supply-cost issues in a challenging economy.
A number of us were also helped by CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) support through the pandemic, but are struggling with loan repayment, which has only been extended, for those eligible, to Jan. 18, 2024. There’s no question some additional time — at least— is needed for some members.
For more information on CEBA: https://ceba-cuec.ca/
The business community and its stakeholders are also collaborating to tackle social troubles in south Niagara. Among them is to have naloxone kits and training on hand, which reverses critical opioid overdoses. These various programs have saved lives across the country: For more information about the Ontario Workplace Naloxone Program and compliance measures, please visit: https://southniagaracc.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/OCC_CRC_Workplace_Naloxone_Program_04262023-rd-1.pdf
Meanwhile, red tape and expensive administrative bureaucracy continue to bedevil business members. As one measure, the provincial government has introduced the Less Red Tape, More Common Sense Act, 2023. The government says if passed, it will improve services for people and reduce costs for businesses. There is also a ‘Red Tape Portal’ where Chamber businesses can submit their ideas on making it easier to access services and do business in Ontario.
Link to the Red Tape Portal for Businesses: https://www.ontario.ca/page/ministry-red-tape-reduction
Pulling together, to help us all succeed
Finally, we are also looking for members to convey thoughts on issues impacting your business.
1. Cost-shock issues- including inflation, human resources, taxes and overhead, rent and red-tape burden
2. Getting the people you need/ staffing
3. Community, infrastructure and related issues affecting your local business environment.
4. Supply-chain matters
5. Business development/ profit opportunities and challenges
6. Other (please specify)
Dolores Fabiano, executive director of the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce, welcomes Chamber members to share thoughts on issues affecting their business and communities, as we move into 2024.
“This feedback helps us stay true to your priorities, as we keep members informed about what’s happening, on a timely basis,” Fabiano says. “Moving forward, we’ll also boost relevant current-event podcasts and roundtables, and want to know what interests and concerns you.
“We’ve appreciated all your many useful comments and ideas.”
For additional feedback, including those for future roundtables, podcasts and Let’s Talk editions, please submit your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
As this is the last issue for 2023, we offer best wishes for a happy, healthy and memorable holiday season. See you next year!