Fast Five for Business: February 23 Update

February 23, 2021

Your Chamber team continues to meet regularly with officials at all levels of government. Over the past few weeks our focus has been on advocating for the roll-out of a comprehensive rapid testing program, developing new financial support for businesses impacted by public health orders, and working toward a safe reopening strategy for all industries.

In this edition of the Fast Five we look at how the pandemic is impacting labour markets, how Manitoba’s business opening and closing figures compare to the rest of the country, a new plan to help lead downtown into the future, and a Team Canada effort by some of the country’s CEOs to help speed up public health projects.

1. Business leaders unite to help speed pandemic efforts

With pandemic restrictions approaching one year and Canada facing new variants and vaccine delays, the country’s business community is coming together to help our nation recover from its health and economic crisis. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has brought together 19 CEOs and senior executives from leading companies to contribute their entrepreneurial skills and experience in delivering projects at scale. The group will help accelerate the deployment of COVID-19 mitigation tools on the ground by connecting companies creating vaccines, delivering testing, tracing and other support programs for the businesses requiring these services. Read more about the COVID-19 Recovery Leadership Council – Read More.

2. Developing a downtown recovery plan

The past year has seen thousands of workers relocate their offices from downtown towers to spare bedrooms and kitchen tables throughout the province. Without a reliable base of customers, many downtown retailers, restaurants and service providers have suffered. That’s why the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and Centreventure are partnering to lead the development of a plan to guide the area through the pandemic and beyond. If funding is approved by City Council later this month, the planning team will look at the interplay between businesses, social services, cultural institutions, housing and infrastructure in the downtown, and how to best position the area for the post-pandemic future. “Without a comprehensive downtown plan you get too many ad-hoc and one-off developments,” Winnipeg Chamber President & CEO, Loren Remillard told The Winnipeg Free Press. “That’s why it is so critical to our downtown. It is an area of the city that needs to succeed.” Read More.

3. Bank of Canada: A complete recovery is a shared recovery

As more people are vaccinated, the Canadian economy will strengthen, but a complete recovery in the labour market will take a long time, according to Tiff Macklem, Governor of The Bank of Canada. Speaking to the Calgary and Edmonton Chambers of Commerce on Tuesday, Macklem said the second wave of the pandemic has further hurt women and youth, with both groups seeing their share of the long-term unemployed (people out of work for at least 26 weeks) rise more quickly than others have. He added that technological changes brought about during the pandemic — including working from home and increased online shopping — will have long-term impacts on the labour market, and that all Canadians would benefit from a shared recovery that includes opportunities for the unemployed to upgrade their digital skills. Read More.

4. The Bottom Line For Business

How many businesses have closed or opened during the pandemic, and how is Manitoba’s vaccine program progressing? Economic Development Winnipeg’s Chris Ferris looks at these questions in the latest instalment of The Bottom Line For Business. Read More.

5. Canada’s labour market in a post-COVID world

Canada’s labour market was already headed for a seismic shift before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. But the pandemic has sped up the pace of change and left many employers and employees wondering what the future of work might look like in our country. A new discussion paper from the Brookfield Institute For Innovation + Entrepreneurship tries to identify some of the big trends that could impact the Canadfian workforce over the next decade, including a rapid shift to online living, booming growth in artificial intelligence and automation investments, an increasing focus on reconciliation and inclusion, and the growing climate crisis. Read More.