Last Thursday night, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce held its 122nd Annual General meeting. It is truly amazing the longevity of this organization and the continued relevance that it has maintained through out the past century plus twenty-three years. It predates the Incorporation of the City of North Bay, by almost 20 years.
I can only imagine the challenges that the first group of businesses were dealing with, when they decided to group together and form the first organization, so many years ago. When you look back at what the village of North Bay was like in 1894, it was rough. But for many immigrants, it was a chance for a better life. I can remember my grandmother Lily Chirico telling us what it was like here in the early 1900’s saying “the good old days…they weren’t that good. They were hard”.
Those business people who had the vision and sense to form the Chamber before automobiles were common place, no electricity, paved roads, running water and the such, knew that together they were stronger. They had the foresight to know, that as an organization of business people, that business was the driver of success and prosperity for the people that called North Bay home. Looking back, I for one am grateful to them.
Flash forward to 2017. The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce is stronger than ever and looking forward to the next 122 years. Although so much has changed in the past 122 years, from my point of view, everything is relative. This City and its business community have survived two world wars, the Great Depression, countless economic downturns and issues that are probably more common place than we care to think.
The Board of Directors of the Chamber are in the midst of completing a new strategic plan. This plan will set the direction of the Chamber for the next number of years and will act as a road map for this organization through those years. It is important for not only our organization, but for any group to look back at their history and see what that past has taught.
More likely than not, those first members of the Chamber didn’t look at the future with trepidation but rather, embraced the opportunities that were presenting themselves. With every problem that faces us, there is the corresponding opportunity that goes along with it. If our ancestors hadn’t worked together to grow this community and take advantage of those opportunities, we probably wouldn’t be enjoying the type of lifestyle we have today. Lessons learned!
Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.
The Provincial Government (Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs) will be holding hearings in the province regarding the planned Minimum Wage Increase; they will be in North Bay sometime the week of July 10th (date and times, still to be determined).
The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce has already registered to present findings from this short survey from our members. The survey takes less than 2 minutes of your time and it is extremely important that you participate with your views and comments.
Take the survey now by clicking HERE. It is best that the owner (or manager) of the company fill out this survey.
Please note that the survey does not collect any personal information and as such, you and your company remain anonymous.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Chamber office 705.472.8480.
Over the past few months, in my new role with the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, I have met with many Chamber members and business owners who live, work, and play in our district. The common theme that is heard, is that how much they love North Bay and the area that they call home. Lakes, green space, safety and quality of life are familiar and popular reasons that pop up in conversations.
That is the positive side of the equation as to why we live here but the next logical question is: how do we attract, retain and provide the jobs for our next generation. All to often we hear of youth out migration and that there are no jobs for the unemployed or under employed. North Bay and Northern Ontario are not alone when it comes to this topic.
According to the latest Labour Market Group statistics for April of 2017, some 407 job postings remain unfilled. Not every one of these positions are going to be filled within our community as some are specialized and require certain skill sets and or professional designations for the positions. Who and where we work, are and have been changing and although lots has been said about the lack of drive and work ethic of the “Millennium Generation”, I beg to differ.
After meeting with many of our young professionals and young entrepreneurs in the past few months, I have a different view point than some of the critics of the new generation. These young and future leaders of our communities are getting involved and are getting vocal about breaking down barriers for new business creation in the North. They are and will be a force to contend with when it comes to looking at how we do business in our communities.
Gone are the days of isolation and protectionism. The world has become much smaller than when I was starting out in my career. The younger generations are looking at problems differently than the generation before. It is very relative to what our parents probably thought as we were leaving the nest some years ago. After talking to many of them, I am not hearing about the problems but rather the opportunities that are before them.
We as a business community in the North Bay and District could take a lesson from the next generation. Opportunities rather than problems, not a bad place to start the change of attitudes.
Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce.
In this month’s “Did you know…” series shows highlights in the following infographic celebrating and bringing awareness to the significant role of the military in our community. CLICK HERE.
In concert with the Armed Forces Day celebrations – hope you can attend these events as well. Friday, June 16, 2017 and Saturday, June 17, 2017.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Meet and Greet the air demonstration teams at the Canadore College Aviation Campus from 6 pm to 8 pm. FREE.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Twilight air demonstration at the North Bay Waterfront, with great entertainment from 5 pm to 10 pm.
For more details on the events, CLICK HERE.
Tonight, at West Ferris Intermediate Secondary School, the Near North District School will be holding its final special Board meeting regarding the future of three secondary schools in our City. The ARC process has been ongoing for the past number of months with numerous public meetings and presentations from the public which culminated in a recommendation from the committee to eliminate one of the schools and refurbish/expand the remaining two.
The ARC Committee asked for and listened to the public input. After the consultation, they completed their assigned task, which of course was the recommendation noted above. Further to their recommendation, a staff recommendation and report regarding the process was produced on May 23, 2017. The staff recommendation regarding the secondary schools also agrees with the ARC committee recommendation and provides further recommendations to:
1) determine the appropriate north site (Chippewa or Widdifield),
2) determine appropriate site for Special Education Programs, and
3) refurbishment of the two 7-12 sites rather than new build.
The business community is fully aware that the Board is faced with some tough decisions. Financially, 3:1 is the most viable long-term solution. But this issue is more than a financial decision. This is about community, where we live and where our children learn and play. High school rivalries have been around since the second school opened in our city many decades before this writer was born. After 40 + years of being out of high school, friendly rivalries continue to exist amongst former high school friends from “the other schools”. This has been a part of our lives, our children’s lives and I certainly hope, our grand children’s lives.
The North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce Board and members have expressed concern, made presentations, talked to trustee’s and made their views known. Closing existing secondary schools and consolidating to one Super School will have a direct impact on our community and not just the business community. The Board Trustee’s have the opportunity to show that democracy works and that it isn’t just about the number’s. Listen to your community, listen to the experts, the Super School is not an option for this community.
Peter Chirico is the President and CEO of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce.
To view the submission to the school board: CLICK HERE
Lake Nipissing Study completed
North Bay, ON – May 29, 2017 – The Lake Nipissing study has been provided to the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and submitted to the funders, Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Peter Chirico, President and CEO for the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce commended Dr. Doris Smith, the third-party consultant that undertook the report regarding the study for opportunities to increase the sustainability of Lake Nipissing and the walleye fishery. Mr. Chirico noted “I don’t think we were too surprised with the results of the study by Dr. Smith, but it did provide a few opportunities that are promising for future sustainability.”
While there was an abundance of information in the report, there were four items, that the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce determined could be opportunities to support the walleye fishery with further study or funding.
These items were:
- a) potential for a new Lake Nipissing focused community website with open communication and transparency of annual monitoring, survey data, stock estimates and harvest estimates for all stakeholders and stewards of the lake to have access;
- b) support the current restocking efforts;
- c) support a third party to undertake a further study on stress levels of catch and release (winter vs summer) to determine if there are further opportunities;
- d) support a third party to undertake a further study of the cormorant issue and/or invasive species.
Under Ontario Trillium Foundations guidelines the study was required to allow partners, stakeholders and stewards of the lake to access grow funding through OTF, to implement some of the solutions.
CLICK HERE for the full report.
Patti Carr, formerly the Executive Director, until her recent move to the position of VP of Policy and Communications, for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce was awarded the Burnie Gillespie Memorial Award at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) Annual General Meeting (AGM) this past weekend in Sarnia, Ontario.
The Burnie Gillespie Memorial Award is the highest honour for a chamber executive in the province. The award is given to a chamber professional who demonstrates excellence in chamber management and outstanding commitment to the community through volunteer service.
Ms Carr stated “it is certainly an honour and provides affirmation that after 29 years of hard work and dedication with the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, that it did not go unnoticed.” While somewhat humbled among this great network of peers that she gets to work with on a regular basis, some of them mentors that have been past winners of this award, she also noted “this work we do is not just an individual effort, we work with a great staff, a great volunteer board of directors, and a great network of Chambers across the province and country; for which I am truly grateful and allows me to provide my best to the chamber, the community and the region.”
Both Patti Carr, VP of Policy and Communications, and Peter Chirico, the new President and CEO for the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce were in attendance at the OCC AGM this past weekend. Mr. Chirico stated “this was a complete surprise for Patti and I can’t think of a more dedicated person to receive this award. Chamber management inherently requires a huge commitment to the business community,” said Chirico, “but the Gillespie Award goes further to recognize an individual who goes well beyond the daily requirements of the position and Patti has always demonstrated her commitment to the businesses of our district.”
The award is presented annually to a chamber or board manager whose excellence in chamber management and dedication to community service has led to chamber success. It is named after Burnie Gillespie, a man who devoted his life to volunteering and was a leader among chamber professionals at the community, provincial and national levels for more than 25 years.
“On behalf of the board of directors, we are so pleased to see Patti recognized by her peers in the network,” said Brad Gavan chair of the board of directors. “She is truly a leader for the chamber and very dedicated to people and the community. Much of her volunteer efforts outside the chamber go unnoticed, and as such we are very proud of her accomplishments that are now recognized through this prestigious award.”
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Regional Mayors join the MPs present at the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development’s media announcement. From left to right: Mayor Peter McIsaac, Powassan; MP Marc Serre, Nickel Belt; MP Anthony Rota, Nipissing-Timiskaming; Mayor Leo Jobin, Chisholm; Mayor Al McDonald, North Bay; Mayor Hec Lavigne, Callander; the Honourable Minister Navdeep Bains, MP Mississauga-Malton; Mayor Al Spacek, Kapuskasing and President of FONOM. Missing from the photo but in attendance: Mayor Peter Murphy, Mattawan.
The Honourable Minister Bains was in North Bay today at Discovery North Bay to announce the launch of the new Prosperity and Growth Strategy for Northern Ontario. A targeted approach to economic development through innovation. The strategy will focus on ways to build on Northern Ontario’s unique strengths and competitive advantages in mining, resources and agriculture, among other sectors.
Navdeep Bains is the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and is also the Minister responsible for FedNor.
With the recent Federal Budget, the funds to FedNor will be increased to $46.13 million per year, which is a $25 million dollar increase over five years, to support businesses and communities in Northern Ontario. Along with the regional strategy for Northern Ontario, the Government of Canada will eventually have its own version of this strategy in every region of the country through the Innovation and Skills Plan.
Minister Bains stated “Each region of our country has unique strengths. That means innovation doesn’t just happen in the big cities—it happens in every region of the country. Where innovation happens matters because that’s where the best jobs are located. Our government’s goal is to promote regional advantages that help our homegrown companies develop into globally competitive successes.”
North Bay, ON, April 5, 2017: Today the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) with the support of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, and other Chambers across the province, sent an open letter to Premier Kathleen Wynne calling on the government to take action through Budget 2017 to contain the costs of the cap and trade system to better support Ontario’s business community. At a time of low business confidence across the province, and increasing competition from the United States, rising input costs for Ontario business risk negatively impacting jobs and investment in Nipissing district and across province.
In the letter, the OCC warns that the province must measure the impact of cap and trade among other input costs to fully understand the cumulative burden facing Ontario’s business community. Because businesses are directly affected by the costs associated with cap and trade, the Government of Ontario must ensure that the revenue and design of the system is allocated and developed in a way that supports Ontario’s business community.
“With all the other increasing costs to businesses, the provincial government were quick to add the cap and trade without any regard to what this added cost would mean to businesses,” said Patti Carr, Vice President of Policy and Communications, North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce. “Along with the OCC, we are calling on the Premier to take action and support our businesses and local economy.”
The OCC has identified four priority actions that would assist the business community to better navigate the cap and trade system:
- Prioritize the allocation of cap and trade revenue for businesses, in addition to other efforts to offset the cost of cap and trade. Making the process to access resources as quickly as possible will be important, especially for smaller businesses who have little time or money to dedicate to program applications.
- Prioritize innovation funding. Many Ontario businesses have already taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint. Achieving further reductions could be difficult and will often require the implementation of new technologies.
- Create greater post-2020 design certainty. Post-2020 certainty is important for businesses looking to make long-term investments in Ontario.
- Monitor and respond to regional impacts. To ensure the strategic allocation of cap and trade revenues, government should conduct a regional analysis of the impacts.
“Increased input costs imposed on the private sector mean that Ontario risks losing out on jobs and investment, and risks an economically and environmentally damaging shift in production to jurisdictions that are not taking action to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Graham Henderson, Chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More action must be taken. In all policy decisions, the provincial government must consider how we can prevent exporting jobs while importing pollution.”
The letter is aimed at impacting government policy in Budget 2017, and builds on the OCC’s meetings with senior government officials. These meetings have emphasized the need to ensure Ontario’s businesses remain competitive and confident in the face of a changing economy.
The North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce and Ontario’s Chamber Network have engaged in significant advocacy on the cap and trade issue since 2015. This letter builds on the OCC’s earlier communications to government calling on the Ontario Energy Board to disclose cap and trade costs to taxpayers as a line-item on natural gas bills. Last year, the Ontario Chamber Network also called on the government to delay the implementation of the cap and trade system until 2018.
CLICK HERE to read the OCC letter to the Premier.