In November following our Business & Reconciliation panel discussion, we told you to expect updates and accountability as our organization learns from others and continues walking the path of reconciliation.
On December 1 we were honoured to be invited to join others walking that path. Our Executive Vice President Alana Cuma was asked to the Foresight Incubator on Indigenous Issues, a day-long conference at Thunderbird House where Indigenous organizations (First Nations, Metis, Inuit and Urban), government departments (federal, provincial, municipal), Regional Health Authorities, community-based organizations, educators and the private sector came together to update each other on their work - and look for opportunities to share our resources and strengths.
Reconciliation is a necessary, unimaginably enormous goal that begins with a simple if challenge act: building relationships. That's why your Winnipeg Chamber is pleased to participate in events like the Foresight Incubator - not as an organization in charge, but as one learning and partnering with others. We were thrilled to engage in the day's goals of
Our deep thanks go to The Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development for facilitating the event - we look forward to the next.
The Manitoba government hosted leaders from The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce as well as the province’s large and growing aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors at a roundtable on November 24 that focused on building upon the industries’ existing strengths by making progress on the construction of the Factory of the Future, previously announced by the federal government and the National Research Council (NRC).
“Manitoba’s aerospace sector is world-class,” said Premier Pallister following the meeting. “We have the largest aerospace presence in Western Canada, employing more than 5,400 Manitobans in high-value and high-skilled jobs. Our province and our partners in aerospace and advanced manufacturing are poised to benefit from the development of a Factory of the Future here in Manitoba. But in order for those benefits to be realized, this facility needs to move from discussion to construction in the very near future.”
The roundtable representatives were from Manitoba Aerospace Association, Composites Innovation Centre, Winnipeg Airports Authority, WestCaRD, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Manitoba and Winnipeg chambers of commerce as well as manufacturers Boeing Canada, Precision ADM, StandardAero and Magellan Aerospace. Participants representing the Manitoba government were Premier Brian Pallister, Deputy Premier Heather Stefanson and Growth Enterprise and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen.
Progress on the NRC Factory of the Future is critical to the continued strength and future economic development of our aerospace and manufacturing sectors and the highly skilled people they employ,“Progress on the NRC Factory of the Future is critical to the continued strength and future economic development of our aerospace and manufacturing sectors and the highly skilled people they employ,” said Bob Hastings, CEO, WestCaRD. “Partners in industry and government are coming together to offer support for this project and to express our desire to see progress that will benefit these sectors and the economy of Manitoba.”
According to the NRC, the Factory of the Future program is designed to support technology advancement in Canadian manufacturing by giving Canadian companies access to state-of-the art technology, NRC expertise and support in composites and biocomposites manufacturing, design and simulation, information and communication technologies, processes and systems.
The Winnipeg facility was announced by the federal government in June 2015. Additional facilities have been announced and are progressing as part of the NRC’s Factory of the Future program in Montreal/Boucherville, Ottawa and London.
“Significant efforts and investments have been made by governments and industry in the Manitoba aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries,” said Stefanson. “Industry and government are united in the importance of this project and the sensitive nature of its construction timeline and we urge the NRC and the federal government to move quickly on the construction of this facility.”
At The Winnipeg Chamber, we want business success to translate into shared prosperity for every member of our community. How do we know if that goal is being achieved?
We PEG it - a joint project between the United Way of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
Peg (Winnipeg’s Community Indicator System) has been tracking progress on over 60 indicators of wellbeing in our city for the last number of years. The project was developed through an extensive community engagement process with the goal of inspiring action and creating change through tracking key measures of wellbeing. In order to do this, Peg uses an interactive website with engaging technology, data visualization at both thematic and geographic levels, and stories that bring the data to life.
We were pleased to have our Executive Vice President Alana Cuma attend the December 9 advisory group as this important project develops a new three year plan and fundraising strategy. To find out more and see how you can get involved, head to www.mypeg.ca.
The Chamber's December opened with a pop-up holiday market, expert advice on managing seasonal business swings and networking with over 150 small business owners.
Even amid the hecticness of the holiday season, we were gratified to see a large turnout at our latest Small Business Council Forum - and experience the energy and wisdom that emerges when so many dynamic individuals come together in one community. Attendees engaged in a lively discussion of riding December's peaks and valleys while getting some holiday shopping done in support of Winnipeg entrepreneurs.
The Forum also included an announcement of upcoming engagement with city hall. On January 16 Chamber staff and some members of the Small Business Council will head to our city's political epicentre to discuss recurring issues facing the business community - permit delays, clarity around work for architecture and construction companies and others. City administration have also expressed a strong interest on communicating their priorities and programs to the Council and look forward to member feedback on how best to achieve that.
The next free Small Business Council Forum is set for February 9. All Winnipeg Chamber members with fewer than 50 employees are automatically considered part of the Council and are welcome to attend, network and experience the benefits when the drivers of Winnipeg's economy come together to speak in one voice.
Nearly 1,300 community leaders, politicians and business people came together on December 8 for the largest State of the Province Address in The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce's history, eager to hear the upcoming priorities of Premier Brian Pallister's newly elected team.
Teamwork formed the core of Premier Pallister's message to the audience as he laid out the challenges facing Manitoba's economy and the opportunity to "turn the canoe" by drawing on the strengths of our community. "Never underestimate a Canadian - and never underestimate a Manitoban," Premier Pallister said after emphasizing the urgency of Manitoba returning to fiscal balance.
At various points, the Premier called on groups in the assembly to stand and be recognized - the 100 high school students sponsored by Herzing College as well as MLAs from all party affiliations. He also announced the creation of a new team charged with advising the government on fiscal policy: The Premier's Enterprise Team.
“Manitoba’s new Premier’s Enterprise Team will offer its vast entrepreneurial and business expertise to the development of a new provincial strategy for economic growth,” said Pallister. “This strategy will guide the future policy and funding decisions of government to ensure that our efforts are focused on Manitoba’s many untapped opportunities for sustainable, long-term economic development.”
The Premier’s Enterprise Team will incorporate elements of the government’s work to reduce red tape, increase access to venture capital, and to expand trade and workforce training to meet the needs of Manitoba’s job-creating sectors such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing, value-added agricultural processing and industries attracted by the province’s clean hydroelectric energy, Pallister noted. Chaired by Hartley Richardson and vice-chared by Barb Garney, the PET includes
Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Loren Remillard noted the record-setting crowd enjoyed what audiences have come to expect from the State of the Province and State of the City addresses - first-hand knowledge of policy and action that will shape their community for years to come.
In spite of blizzard conditions, we had a full house for last Tuesday’s social entrepreneur gathering at Fools & Horses. The event, hosted in partnership with Social Enterprise Manitoba and Transition Winnipeg, was structured to bring together entrepreneurial communities that don’t often get a chance to mix, including the social enterprise, business, and environmental communities.
What's a social enterprise?
A social enterprise is sometimes defined as a non-profit that generates revenue through a for-profit venture. More broadly, it can also refer to commerce that puts social and environmental outcomes at the core of doing business. The Chamber’s BOLD platform calls for Winnipeg to become the social enterprise “capital of Canada.”
Format and selected presenters
The evening primarily consisted of informal networking and mixing, but it started off with an opportunity for a select few initiatives to present their concept or business to the audience. A number of submissions were made and the best ones were chosen to present. For this round, we targeted job opportunities for those facing barriers to employment, as well as low-carbon initiatives.
Each initiative had about six minutes to present in a “Pecha Kucha” style, where presenters would verbally narrate 20 graphic slides timed for 20 seconds each. First, we heard from Kelly Kuryk, the Program Manager for Compost Winnipeg, about their inititaive to collect business and household orgnanic waste and ensure it is responsibly composted. Andrea Villeneuve then presented “Level IT Up,” an information technology program designed to build pathways to employment for people with intellectual disabilities.
A focus on northern communities
The final two presentations were concepts focused on improving wellbeing in northern communities, including a concept by architectural Master’s student and former nurse Nancy McKinnon, who calls her idea a “Smart House for the North.” A similarly-themed concept was presented by Sean McKay of the Composites Innovation Centre, but his concept is intended to facilitate learning and food production in the form of a classroom and greenhouse. Mother Earth Recycling also made a successful submission but couldn’t make it due to the weather.
A "live think-tank"
The format drove a lot of great conversation following the presentations, propting some to label the evening a “live think-tank.” Some of the conversations about the two northern initiatives were particularly productive, encouraging connections between a number of stakeholders working on similar ideas.
Stay tuned for future events designed to drive meaningful community conversations...
On the shop floor of the Winnipeg Industrial Skills Training Centre, two things are apparent.
First, this is a busy, hands-on program. The thirty students who've enrolled at the centre to pick up valuable metal fabrication skills are striding purposefully between machines to keep up with their assignments. "We have things set up to simulate a real work environment," says general manager Scot Taylor. "They're practicing the craft all day to figure out what their niche is..."
Second, there's a positivity in the space that complements the purposeful hum of activity. The few instructors provide steady streams of advice from over their pupils' shoulders while other students examine each others' work with compliments and pointers.
Located on King Edward Street, WISTC is a second chance for most of the adults who arrive for its 24 week-long program. The 34 year old centre only accepts students who are unemployed and on some form of EI. After brief theory and days perfecting their skills, enrollees are put in practicum job placements while instructors leverage their industry connections to find full-time, permanent work for grads.
"I've seen more than one student come in to say 'I've just found employment' and they've got tears in their eyes, they're so happy and excited," says Taylor, who says the success rate of the program orbits around 80 per cent depending on the strength of the economy. "Just the other day, we had a former student come in who had graduated the program 16 years ago, is still in the metal industry and still pops in to say hello."
The bulk of WITSC's funding is secured through Manitoba Education and Training due to the impact the centre has on students' live and the skilled labour supply in Winnipeg. The rest is made up through sales of production work, as students complete orders for companies who've subcontracted to the centre.
For businesses who want to support the centre and hire skilled labour, WISTC Board Chair John Kell has a simple message: "Give us a call. Phone the centre and find out about hiring our students. Talk to our staff, they're world class in the industry and they will give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about our students."
Listen to the full interview with GM Scot Taylor and Board Chair John Kell below. You can contact WITSC by calling (204) 783-7031 or visiting them at 903 King Edward Street.
The Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC), a coalition of Canada’s eight largest urban regional chambers of commerce, is calling for airport policy reform to align Canada with global best practices, and for our international airports to be factored into transit infrastructure planning by all levels of government.
Economic performance is increasingly tied to global relevance. Airports, and the communities they serve at home and abroad, are prime economic engines that require supportive policies and robust government services. They create vital access to high growth markets and facilitate significant economic benefits for tourism, trade, and overall business productivity.
“Canada’s international airports play a pivotal role in supporting our economy by facilitating the movement of people, goods, services and ideas,” said Adam Legge, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and Chair of the Canadian Global Cities Council. “While our airports drive a collective $59-billion in economic activity, our current state hinders our economic potential, and affects Canada’s profile and ability to remain relevant in the eyes of foreign investors, international business travellers and tourists.”
The CGCC has identified five recommendations for Canada’s airports policy across three categories:
Members of the CGCC and CAC discussed these recommendations this morning at an Economic Club of Canada event in Ottawa. CGCC members will also spend the day on Parliament Hill to meet with federal ministers and share their point of view on Canada’s International Airports Policy.
The CGCC’s full position paper is available here.
The members of the CGCC are: Jan De Silva, President & CEO of Toronto Region Board of Trade; Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal; Adam Legge, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; Iain Black, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade; Janet M. Riopel, President and CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce; Loren Remillard, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce; Todd Letts, CEO of the Brampton Board of Trade; Patrick Sullivan, President and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.
About the Canadian Global Cities Council
Founded in 2015, the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) is a coalition of Presidents and CEOs of the eight largest urban regional Chambers of Commerce/Boards of Trade in Canada: Brampton, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Representing 52 per cent of Canada’s GDP and more than half of the country’s population, CGCC collaborates on international and domestic issues impacting our regions’ competitiveness. We are focused on infrastructure, economic environment, trade, and talent.
Annette Sabourin, Vice President of Aboriginal Markets, is Dene from Northern Manitoba. With 23 years of experience in financial services, Annette is responsible for RBC's Aboriginal Markets Commercial Team in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwestern Ontario and Private & Public Sector in North of 60 and the Territories. Annette leads a team of sales professionals specialized in First Nations and Aboriginal owned & operated businesses helping them access capital to create opportunities for own source revenues and sustainable economic development. She is honoured to be leading the Aboriginal Banking team in her Region and believes in an increasingly bright future for Canada's growing First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities.
Annette, RBC has a long history of partnering with Canada’s Indigenous people and communities. How would you characterize this relationship?
In a few words, I would say deep, diverse, and definitely valued.
I am truly proud of RBC’s long history of building relationships with First Nations, Métis and Inuit governments, businesses, communities, organizations, and individuals. Not only do we seek to earn the right to be a strong financial services provider, we strive to be a valued community partner and the employer of choice for Indigenous people.
I feel it is important that we come together to help make communities stronger and to address issues that are important to all of us whether it be the environment or the challenges faced by Indigenous youth.
As Labrador NunatuKavut Inuit Leader Todd Russell wisely said, “You can’t build a country without your indigenous peoples. When we’re weak, this country is weak. And when we’re strong, this country is strong.” We at RBC believe that pursuing dynamic and diverse partnerships is key to building a strong economy and healthy communities across Canada.
What inspires you to do the work you do?
I have been fortunate to travel to communities large and small – from the very remote to the far north. What defines these communities are the people I meet. From Elders passionate about preserving culture and protecting their people to the youth with dreams for tomorrow while standing in the face of adversity, I am inspired by generations of individuals seeking to honour tradition and culture while addressing the social issues and economic needs that face communities. I am inspired by the resilience of Canada’s Indigenous people.
Let’s talk about community support. How has RBC supported Indigenous Communities?
From the arts to sport to healthcare to education to the environment and more, we have proudly entered into several partnerships across diverse organizations while supporting events and causes meaningful to Canada’s Indigenous people.
For example, from a health and wellness perspective, last year, we announced a three year partnership with Heart & Stroke Foundation, Kidney Foundation of Canada, and National Aboriginal Diabetes Association to help provide access to care to more remote communities through mobile screening and education here in Manitoba. Healthier Together Mobile Screening Program is a unique initiative designed to help facilitate early detection of chronic health issues while providing the education and counselling that isn’t always available in all communities. Through RBC Foundation’s donation of $225,000, programs such as this are made possible.
We also recently supported the North American Indigenous Games in Saskatchewan. This celebration of community, culture, and sport presented such a moving experience for all of us privileged to attend and support this event.
From breakfast programs to Indigenous art galleries and exhibits to Aboriginal business education programs to friendship centres, we are partnering and supporting Indigenous people and Indigenous culture in many different ways.
You clearly have a great deal of passion for Indigenous communities. What are you looking to add to your list of passions in the coming months?
In addition to continuously exploring ways to deepen our relationship with Indigenous people and communities across our region, I feel very strongly about the newly launched wemattercampaign.org. Similar to the It Gets Better campaign for the LGBT community, We Matter is an online and social media campaign designed to gather messages of hope for our Indigenous communities in videos from individuals across Canada. We Matter has already published several videos from people in communities large and small - some well-known faces and some unknown - individuals who each carry with them powerful messages that remind us of the value of life and the honour of identifying as Indigenous. This campaign is in response to the suicide epidemic affecting our Indigenous youth and shares through these videos as well as art and story that there is always a way forward. I feel very proud that RBC is a founding partner of this initiative.
You spoke earlier about being the employer of choice for Indigenous people. How is RBC doing that?
While taking steps to ensure a diverse an inclusive workplace, we also are committed to creating opportunity for Indigenous individuals to seek out work experience and employment opportunities while also benefitting from scholarships and awards.
The Aboriginal Student Internship Program, our three year national summer internship program, provides students with exposure to a variety of career options. Intended for students enrolled in a two year or longer post-secondary program such as Accounting, Finance, Social Science, or Business Administration, this program provides students with coaching, mentoring, and a head start towards building not only valuable work experience but potentially a full time career post-graduation.
Similarly, our Pursue Your Potential Aboriginal program recruits Indigenous talent to help us better serve our communities. This voluntary program compliments an individual’s job search and application process by providing coaching and guidance on finding the right career path, resume writing and interviewing skill building, and highlighting of candidates to hiring managers and our recruitment team.
But it is also important that we continue to contribute to a culture of inclusion at RBC. That is why I choose to be the Executive Advisor of our regional employee resource group, RBC Royal Eagles. With over 250 employee members in our region of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and North Western Ontario with additional chapters coast to coast, the Royal Eagles seek to provide mentorship, a sense of community, cultural education, and community volunteerism. Consisting of both Indigenous employees and allies, Royal Eagles is RBC’s oldest employee resource group dating back to 1990. Our Royal Eagles have helped champion our recognition of National Aboriginal Day and Orange Shirt Day in remembrance of the victims and survivors of residential schools and they lead the organization of the Royal Eagles Backpack Program providing schools supplies and backpacks to communities in need.
We all have a role to play in building a better tomorrow for all Canadians.
You mentioned that there are many more ways that RBC supports Indigenous communities across Canada. How can I find out more about these partnerships?
It is important to stress that this truly is a two-way and highly valued partnership. To learn more about just some of the many ways we partner together is through our annual publication A Chosen Journey: RBC Aboriginal Partnership Report. This report shares through story, timelines, and profiles how we are collaborating through banking, finance, & investments; social development and community presence; thought leadership; employment, education, & training; and supplier diversity.
While it is not the complete story, it demonstrates both the endurance and breadth of our partnerships