At a glamourous gala event at Club Regent Event Centre, The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce celebrated eight outstanding organizations who make Winnipeg a better city.
Chosen by volunteer judges drawn from the business community, the 2018 Spirit of Winnipeg Award recipients and finalists embody the ambitious, innovative, caring spirit of our prairie home.
We're so grateful you're part of our community.
Nominations for the 2019 Spirit of Winnipeg Awards - the tenth year of our efforts to shine a spotlight on outstanding Winnipeg organizations - will open in the autumn.
The Winnipeg Chamber: What does Spa Botanica do?
Gabrielle Zoppa and Harman Dhaliwal: We are a full service day spa that's been operating over four years.
WC: What sets Spa Botanica apart from others in your industry?
GZ: We deliver our services in a unique way, following Ayurvedic facial procedures. Our facial and body services are based on natural and fresh ingredients. We make our own masks and scrubs using ingredients such as turmeric, sandalwood, rose petals, oranges, cucumber and so on. We mix and match these ingredients to create custom services according to your needs.
WC: What's your favourite thing to do (or place to visit) in Winnipeg?
Gabrielle: I love camping, skiing, climbing anything to do with nature and the outdoors. In the city, my favourite thing to do is listen to live music.
Harman: Cooking and good food! One of my fave spots is Deer and Almond as well as Stella's.
WC: What questions do you get most frequently from clients?
HD: Mostly people ask what kind of products we use and to describe our more unique services such as our Indian Head Massage or OM Fresh Facial.
WC: Why did you join The Winnipeg Chamber? As a business in Winnipeg, how can we help you?
GZ: We joined to get a chance to meet others in the community and get our name out there. We're also gaining insight and wisdom from other business owners throughout the city.
WC: What's your best piece of business advice?
GZ: Always stay positive and have the ability to be flexible as time goes on. Have money saved up to get you through the first few years. Always keep a fresh perspective and a keen imagination.
WC: What's your best business success story?
HD: Hmm....we view success as ongoing and multifaceted. When we first opened we literally had $0.00 in both our business and personal accounts and experienced severe financial crises, which was very hard as we both had young children. There was a time early on where we were both using the food bank to feed our families, which was hard but also something we are extremely grateful for today.
We have both made enormous sacrifices for the business, so the fact we have come out of our debt and survived the darkest days and now have a viable business with an incredible clientele is our true success story. Spa Botanica is a second home to us and we have poured our hearts and souls into it. Life wouldn't be the same without this beautiful space, doing what we love!
Canadian Business has released their rankings for the 2018 list of Best Managed Companies and we're thrilled to see proud Winnipeg Chamber members in every category. Congratulations to the organizations recognized for their tireless focus on their people.
View the full list of Canadian companies here.
On Friday, March 23 Mayor Bowman returns for his last State of the City Address before Winnipeggers head to the polls for a civic election.
The Winnipeg Chamber asked some of our members what questions they'll bring with them as 1,200 community leaders gather to hear how city leadership plans to tackle our pressing financial, infrastructure and social needs.
Jessica Dumas, President, Jessica Dumas Coaching & Training
Winnipeg is a popular living area for many Indigenous people, it has the largest Indigenous population than any other major city in Canada. Indigenous community members share a common vision for our city and in order to gain real success, we need to engage and involve the Indigenous community in a much more bold and active way.
Some Winnipeggers will acknowledge that we are on the land of Treaty 1 and home of the Red River Metis, but still few know what that means. Acknowledging “Treaty” should call to acknowledge the legal binding Treaty agreement and the contribution and dedication by the original Treaty signatories. Indigenous people want to help Winnipeg achieve higher economic opportunities, and Urban Reserves are a way to do that. What will Winnipeg do to ensure the success and efficient access to potential Urban Reserve land?
Tanjit Nagra, President, University of Manitoba Students' Union
Public transportation systems impact everyone in our city, even those who don’t use the bus – but this issue in particular is especially important to students. This past year, the federal government eliminated the Public Transit Tax Credit, and the provincial government dismissed their commitment to pay for 50% of municipal transit operating costs. I hope to hear from the Mayor how Winnipeg is going to ensure that Winnipeg Transit remains efficient, reliable, and accessible to all in spite of these recent changes.
Alfred Schleier, Director Business Development, PCL Constructors Canada
I hope to get clarity on the process to confirm the development fees for commercial properties, which is stagnating or delaying development investment.
i also want to hear more on how city leaders are approaching prioritization of projects to proceed to construction.
Justin Phillips, CEO & Co-Founder, Sycamore Energy Inc.
What steps has the city actually taken to implement their sustainability plan? And how are sustainability plan initiatives prioritized - by best return on investment or best carbon improvements?
Also, does the city have plans similar to other leading municipalities to take advantage of all the unused roof top real estate on city buildings by installing solar?
Sarah Leeson-Klym, Manitoba Regional Director, Canadian CED Network
How does the Mayor and City plan to integrate social value and community benefit into their procurement processes?
We believe governments can not only 'get the job done', but can dramatically increase their impact for the public good by choosing local, socially responsible vendors like social enterprises, co-operatives, and local small businesses. These vendors are typically environmentally responsible, focused on local jobs (often employing folks who have trouble accessing the mainstream labour market), and they re-circulate dollars in the local economy. But, without valuing those kinds of impacts in the procurement process, often the choice comes down to price and nothing else. Other cities like Vancouver are making the shift to this kind of social procurement, and we'd love to see Winnipeg become a leader in this area.
Lanny McInnes, President & CEO, Manitoba Home Builders Association
Winnipeg needs an inclusive and fact-based plan for growth. The discussion on how to grow our City should not be reduced to a “Downtown” vs “the rest” debate.
Our city needs an approach to growth that drives both economic and residential growth in a sustainable way and that is followed and implemented by our civic government to encourage confidence and investment. What steps will the Mayor take to facilitate a fact-based plan for growth being adopted and implemented by both Council and the City’s administration?
Liz Choi, Chief Strategy Officer & EVP Business Development, ECG Education Group Canada
With the recent announcements of new real estate developments in downtown Winnipeg, many look forward to positive changes. However, I have also heard from commercial real estate agencies that the increased vacancy rate will pose a significant challenge. Recognizing the potential and the exciting opportunities new development brings, I am curious how this will impact downtown businesses overall and if you and the City Council are concerned. Quite likely there will be movement by large businesses to move to new towers which will drive consumers to alternate downtown locations. What strategies are in place to ensure all parts of our downtown remain vibrant and businesses stay viable? Would you offer any special incentives to small to medium sized businesses to locate in the downtown?
Kevin Selch, Founder, Little Brown Jug Brewing
The prosperity and cultural life of our city depends on our ability to retain and attract mobile talent. What is the city doing to support innovation and to ensure that the kinds of services that mobile talent looks for in a city are available in Winnipeg? More specifically, which metrics are you benchmarking and how will you know when you’ve achieved success?
Scott McFadyen, Winnipeg Community Taxi Coalition Spokesperson
What is the Mayor’s vision for transit in Winnipeg, and how does he see taxis, ride-share, buses and active transit working together to ensure Winnipeggers get from point A to point B as quickly and safely as possible? What is the City’s long-term plan to enforce the Vehicles-for-Hire bylaws as the Winnipeg Parking Authority has suggested their role is interim? Is the Mayor open to creating a Transit Ombudsman to manage complaints and issues with Winnipeg Transit, active transit and Vehicles-for-Hire?
Michelle Richard MCP. MCIP. RPP, Richard Wintrup & M Richard Associates Ltd.
The first Our Winnipeg sent out the warning that the City needed to embrace ‘growing up’ as well as ‘growing out’. It said that density needed to be embraced and it identified the best places for it to go. It set up the City’s first urban structure that included for the first time, areas for growth called ‘Transformative Areas. These include the Downtown, Centres and Corridors, Major Redevelopment Site and New Communities. Yet, according to City’s Our Winnipeg report card, most of the growth is still going to the periphery.
Is this concerning to the Mayor? If so, what is his plan to create the conditions where investors are successful in developing dense projects in Transformative Areas. Other cities are moving towards tools such as minimum densities and maximum parking ratio in areas targeted for higher density. Yet the City of Winnipeg, outside of the Downtown, in its regulation and practice, still employs maximum densities and minimum parking ratios (ie. exactly opposite to many cities). Is there a commitment to bringing Winnipeg more in line with other major Canadian cites?
Two years ago, many were shocked by the results of Brexit, as the United Kingdom narrowly chose to leave the European Union. Since the June 2016 vote, work has been underway for the UK to become the first country to leave the EU.
The United Kingdom's current minority government situation adds an additional layer of complication to negotiations. Industry groups we met also raised the important point that other government functions need to continue. As examples, the UK is looking at education reforms and a new industrial strategy was launched in late 2017. However, with Brexit taking up so much time and energy, there are concerns that some of these other priorities could slip through the cracks.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May made a large Brexit speech last week, but the real test will be at the March 22-23 European Council meetings. Attended by the heads of state (or government) for EU countries, these council meetings will focus heavily on Brexit. The UK hopes it will be able to secure agreement on a transition period of around two years at those meetings, providing certainty for business.
Regardless of Brexit, we will continue to have trade between our two countries. The UK is Canada’s third largest export destination and there was a clear hope expressed to build on CETA. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce will continue to monitor EU-UK negotiations, looking to support our members' needs to grow international trade.
What would happen to your organization if 20% of your employees either did not show up for work or were not feeling at their best while at work?
1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year, every year. Consider for a moment your own workplace. If 1 in 5 employees is suffering from a mental illness, what is that costing your company in lost productivity and short-term absences?
We all have a bad day every so often; the kind of day where nothing goes right or you just don't "feel" productive. There's nothing wrong with having a bad day. But when every day starts to be a bad day, that's not such a good thing. And, it's not good for business.
What do you mean when you say it is not good for business? What are the ‘real’ costs?
The statistics below show us clearly the impact of stress and mental illness on the corporate bottom line. Left unaddressed, these types of statistics will continue to grow.
Because lifestyle factors are modifiable and resilience skills can be developed, the burden of workplace costs related to stress or mental health problems can be slowed or even lowered.
Why is it important for leaders to embrace their own mental health?
Leadership is about being accountable to yourself and to others. Consider the last time you flew on an airline. In the unlikely event of cabin decompression, all passengers are instructed to don their own oxygen mask before aiding the person sitting beside them, even if that person is a child. In other words, you are no good to anyone else if you are unconscious.
The same holds true for the mental health of a leader regardless of your role in the organization.
By taking care of yourself, you can take care of others. By taking care of yourself, you can influence others to do the same. By taking care of yourself, you can better lead others and make wiser decisions for the business.
What can you do to take charge of how well you cope with the demands of work and life?
Can a one day seminar or conference really make a difference?
Embrace the power of one idea! Sometimes we sabotage our own progress by making things more complicated than they need to be. The late Steve Jobs embraced the simple idea of a walk as a means to clear his head and approach challenges from a different perspective. Imagine how many ideas you can be exposed to by placing yourself (and your team) in an environment where the collective purpose is to discover ways of becoming better leaders!
Manitoba Start offers a wide range of Diversity and Intercultural training for Manitoba businesses and organizations. As the leading provider of career services for newcomers to Manitoba, they address employers’ recruitment needs by matching the unique skill sets of qualified, job-ready newcomers with employers’ specific job requirements.
They offer customized diversity training for management to frontline staff to meet workplace needs and support organizations in building cultural competence. As a starting point for building cultural awareness, they offer 4 signature courses that build on diversity competency objectives.
Level 1: Defining and Achieving Workplace Cultural Awareness: This foundational course helps participants to become aware of cultural values that affect all workplace interactions. By explaining in detail the dynamics of culture and diversity and specific cultural aspects that affect the workplace, the course helps participants gain useful strategies that can be applied immediately in the workplace.
Level 2: Workplace Communication: The Impact of Culture
Taking the foundational knowledge about culture and diversity to the next level, this course explores the impacts of cultural filters to the process of communication. Barriers to effective Intercultural Communications are identified and strategies for overcoming them explored, allowing participants to start applying them to their own workplace situation thus improving their communication with colleagues, clients, and customers.
Level 3: Recognizing Cross-Cultural Conflict in the Workplace
This course focuses on learning to recognize conflicts that may arise within a culturally diverse environment. Building on the diversity awareness and communication skills courses, this session helps participants to recognize their own cultural ways of dealing with conflict and to examine cultural norms that affect how others see and deal with conflict. It provides take away strategies and tools that can be applied in the workplace.
Level 4: Engaging your Diverse Work Team (Supervisory)
Specifically designed for managers, team leaders and supervisory staff, this workshop provides essential tools to assist in supervising diverse employees. This course explores ways in which cultural values and perceptions affect the process of managing and overseeing employees, and strategies to lead a diverse talented workforce.
We also offer three free one-hour sessions on three different topics:
These free courses can be delivered at meetings or incorporated into ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions.
To request a free session at your workplace or explore Manitoba Start's signature training programs, check out their Diversity and Intercultural Training website or contact Jaime Chinchilla (Coordinator, Diversity and Intercultural Training) at 204-944-8833 x 165 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our good friends at CPA Manitoba are introducing new FCPAs and handing out awards as part of their 2018 Member Recognition Program - and we're so proud of our members and their employees who are being honoured.
These recipients celebrate excellence among Manitoba's Chartered Professional Accountants through their career accomplishments and contributions to the community. A giant round of applause goes to:
Lifetime Achievement Award
Gary Hannaford, FCPA, FCA – Currently retired, formerly CEO of CPA Manitoba
Fellow CPA (FCPA)
Deborah Grenier, FCPA, FCA – Partner at KPMG
Joel Lazer, FCPA, FCA – Senior Partner at Lazer Grant LLP
Peter Miller, FCPA, FCA – Partner at KPMG
Early Achievement Award
Kyle McMurtry, CPA, CA – Managing Partner at Grant Thornton LLP
Pamela Miller, CPA, CGA – Associate Partner at MNP
Sara Stasiuk, CPA, CMA – Vice President, Finance and Operations at The Forks North Portage Partnership
Community Service Award
Richard Pope, FCPA, FCA – Managing Partner and CEO at Pope & Brookes Chartered Professional Accountants LLP
Scott Sissons, CPA, CA – Partner at KPMG (and Treasurer of the Board of The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce)
To view the other honourees and find out more about CPA Manitoba's upcoming Member Recognition Gala head to this web page.
The Winnipeg Chamber: The City is embarking on a mandatory review of the OurWinnipeg 25-year plan, seeking public input on a range of items. From your perspective, what can the city do to promote a planned, livable city for the next twenty five years?
Mayor Bowman: This is a very opportune time to be taking a critical look at OurWinnipeg. Why? Because Winnipeg today finds itself in a strong and steady cycle of population growth. On average, population growth over the next 25 years in Winnipeg is estimated to increase by 8,200 people per year.
What this means is Winnipeg is expected to add the equivalent population of the City of Morden, each year, for the next 25 years. We need to be planning for this growth!
WC: As Mayor, you have helped ramp up infrastructure spending in Winnipeg. Right now there is $182 million ask to senior levels of government for more money to fix our roads over the next six years. Where do things stand?
MB: Millions of dollars in federal funding is currently sitting idle in a bank account when it could be used to fix many of our regional roads. The province simply has to endorse and submit to the federal government. Council’s unanimous proposal to access this funding, and regional road renewal across our city can be further bolstered. The federal budget has just been released, and Manitoba’s provincial budget is being released in early March. So, I remain hopeful that in this context we will see progress on this request.
Addressing our city’s infrastructure needs, and fixing our roads in particular, remain top priorities for many, many Winnipeggers. There remains a tremendous opportunity right now for federal, provincial, and city governments to work together and partner in rehabilitating Winnipeg’s regional roads, and there’s an opportunity to do it at no additional incremental cost to Winnipeg and Manitoba taxpayers!
WC: NAFTA is a front burner issue for a lot of local businesses. How do you see your office playing a role in those discussions - and in promoting Winnipeg businesses globally?
MB: Winnipeg has always been a trading city, and open and free trade remains critically important for Winnipeg and Manitoba. Notwithstanding today’s trade rhetoric, I do believe cities and businesses, on both sides of the border, remain keenly interested in maintaining strong trade relationships. Canada remains the largest single export market for the U.S and vice versa. Nearly nine million American jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, and almost two million Canadian jobs are related to Canadian exports to the United States.
So, it is more important than ever to be advocating against protectionist policies. And we have seen over the last year that Mayors and local officials can have an important role to play in advocating for free trade. The recent Bombardier-Boeing dispute underscored how local governments can play an important role in national issues, and how we can help build and strengthen partnerships between businesses and government stakeholders in Winnipeg and the United States.
We’ve also seen how Winnipeg’s participation in the North American Strategy for Competitiveness (NASCO), as a grassroots organization focused on the competitiveness of the North American supply chain, workforce, and energy independence, underscores the importance work at the local level can have on increasing competitiveness and opening up trade opportunities.
At the end of the day, no two nations depend more on each other for their mutual prosperity and security than Canada and the United States. We represent one of the closest trading relationships between any two nations in the world. We have worked together as friends, allies, and partners on many different levels, and I remain committed to promoting that interdependence nationally and internationally.
WC: Over your term as Mayor you have successfully brought down the business tax in each successive budget. However, Winnipeg remains the only city with a business tax in Canada. What are the next steps in reducing taxes for small businesses, the job creators of our economy?
MB: Yes, I have remained committed to reducing Winnipeg’s business tax, and have done so each year since being elected. I’m not planning to deviate from that trajectory!
You are correct that small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy. They assume an incredible amount of risk, they work hard, they’re significant employers, and at the same time are very active volunteers and sponsors of many different community events and initiatives. They power our economy, and they empower our communities!
WC: What has been your biggest accomplishment since taking over as Winnipeg’s 43rd Mayor in October 2014?
MB: I feel we’ve really returned a sense of pride to our city. Actually, pride in our city has always been there. What I’ve tried to do is better reflect the level of pride many Winnipeggers already feel about our city, and I’ve tried to raise these feelings to the surface for all to see. We are an incredible city!
We are ethnically and economically diverse, we’re growing, we’re rebuilding after years of infrastructure neglect, and we’re building in a better and smarter way. There’s a lot to be proud of in Winnipeg, and I will continue promote this pride!
WC: What do you still want to accomplish this term?
MB: There is still more work to do to on an efficiency front as well as improving certain processes at the city. We know the permitting system remains one of the processes businesses are frustrated with even though we have made some improvements. And I know many taxpayers feel we can be more efficient with the money they send our way.
As well, I think we can work at better orienting city services around residents and ratepayers rather than around the process itself. We have to do a better job of putting residents and ratepayers first.
WC: What do you look forward to sharing with the Chamber’s membership at the State of the City?
MB: This is a great opportunity to provide an annual status report on the city. It’s also one of the best opportunities and to engage with business leaders who want to make our city an ever better place to do business, and I look forward to underscoring how Winnipeg continues to grow, and that we need to be planning and building today to support this growth.
WC: One last question, how far do the Jets go this year?
MB: I’m not normally superstitious, but I’m not taking any chances on this one! So, I’ll reserve comment!
Yesterday the federal Finance Minister released his much anticipated third budget. While there are many details to pore over, two things jump out: more deficits, and a lack of focus on our country’s competitiveness.
The federal budget deficit is scheduled to increase from $17.8 billion in 2016-2017 to $19.4 billion this fiscal year, a nine per cent increase. Budget forecasting documents only go out to the year 2022-2023, when the government projects an over $12 billion deficit. Over that time almost $100 billion will be added to the federal debt.
Those budget numbers also assume our economy will experience real GDP growth of 2.0 per cent a year from 2017 through 2022. Given the fact we are entering the tenth year of economic expansion, many (myself included) find those growth projections overly optimistic... and a recession would blow a huge hole in those deficit numbers...
Every 0.1 per cent decrease in annual GDP growth leads to an increase in the federal deficit of around $500 million. Given this is already one of the longest periods of economic expansion on record, continued straight-line GDP growth for five more years seems unlikely.
Irrespective of a recession, our economy is facing considerable uncertainty brought on by NAFTA renegotiations. The Bank of Canada has already said they are projecting this uncertainty will reduce investment and export growth. The longer those negotiations drag on, the greater the damage.
A rainy day will undoubtedly come at some point, and our government is choosing to not pack an umbrella.
On the taxation side, this federal budget left a lot to be desired. With the U.S recently increasing their competitiveness by reforming their tax system, our federal government instead chose to sit on their hands.
Nothing in the budget responds to the U.S tax moves; just a promise Finance Canada will analyze them. The government also doesn’t step back from their growth-inhibiting small business tax changes. More information on these measures were provided in this budget. They include a phasing out of the small business deduction on passive income earned above the $50,000 threshold. As companies earn above that threshold in a year from passive investments, a straight-line reduction of $5 for every $1 of income will take place. This means companies earning over $150,000 in passive income will lose out on access to the small business tax rate.
While at least the small business tax changes are clearer now, they still move our tax code in the wrong direction. What is urgently needed is a review of our entire taxation system so it best encourages growth and prosperity. We can no longer tweak on the edges - a comprehensive review is needed urgently.
On a positive note for business, the budget commits $11.5 million over the next three years to pursue targeted regulatory reforms with the goal of making our regulatory system “more agile, transparent and responsive.” These measures should help reduce regulations that inhibit business innovation.
Further to reducing red tape, the federal government is planning to reduce the current number of business innovation programs by up to two-thirds. The current 92 different business innovation programs buried across departments represent a virtual maze for entrepreneurs to navigate. Funding won’t decrease, so simplifying and streamlining programming is a positive step.
Locally, the budget includes a commitment to introduce legislation to enable Western Economic Diversification to collaborate more effectively with provinces. With our provincial government currently developing an economic development strategy, the timing couldn’t be better. The more both levels of government collaborate in this area, the more effective business programming we will see.
The budget also makes commitments to improve female entrepreneurship and workforce participation. If successful, those steps could also provide additional economic growth. Improving the Working Income Tax Benefit and making further investments to create a new Indigenous skills and training strategy are both positive steps forward.
On the whole, however, this federal budget doesn’t go far enough to address the competitiveness challenges we face. It continues to strain the government credit card with no end in sight.
Challenges are on the horizon. This federal budget doesn’t go far enough to address them.