Our Trading Future
Amid a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, Canada and the United States each face a time of transition given we are each other’s most important trading partner. This period of transition in turn creates additional uncertainty – and opportunity – for businesses on both sides of the border. In this time, a renewed focus on building trade security and resiliency are of vital interest for Canadians and Americans alike.
In the U.S., despite a change in Administration, the protectionism remains. As America’s international relationships are rebooted with a new Administration, the importance of trade to businesses, consumers and decision makers in Canada and the U.S. is critical, as is the importance of renewed collaboration on shared global challenges. Unfortunately protectionism remains economically harmful, and yet is popular for many American politicians on both sides of the aisle. For the Canadian government, there is a long list of bilateral issues that are taken up with the Americans, and it is critical that economic matters remain a priority.
Given both countries reliance on trade and maintaining as agile a border as possible, business needs to ensure they have a voice and this has taken on a new imperative in the context of our economic recovery from COVID-19. This is a critical year to ensure the foundations of the commercial relationships are strong to deliver business-friendly and citizen-friendly outcomes. Our Canada-U.S. trading future depends on getting this right.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY NEEDED TO ADDRESS SKILLS MISMATCH
It’s unfortunate to have people out of work in Ontario while many employers cannot find qualified candidates to fill job vacancies. Labour shortages are one of the greatest challenges facing businesses today. In some instances, shortages are exacerbated by what is known as a “skills mismatch,” a dynamic in which employers’ needs don’t align with the skill sets of job seekers. Multiple factors contribute to this dilemma, including individuals pursuing qualifications in fields with limited employment opportunities and a rapidly-evolving labour market.
Ensuring businesses find employees with the right skills is vital to our overall competitiveness. While immigration is a tool used to fill short-term talent gaps, Ontario needs a workforce development strategy to prepare us for the future needs of the labour market. Specific emphasis must be placed on attracting and retaining skilled labour in high-demand sectors of the economy. These include, but are not limited to, construction, logistics, early childhood education, agriculture and food and beverage manufacturing, health care and long-term care.
As we work towards economic recovery, it will also be crucial to support and target skills training to those demographic groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19, many of whom may be looking to re-enter the workforce or join it for the first time. These include racialized people and Indigenous populations, women, newcomers, youth, persons with disabilities, older workers, and LGBTQ2S+ peoples.
Kawartha Lakes Community Futures Development Corporation (KL CFDC) was founded in 1986 as the Victoria County Employment Development Group. Our goal is to create employment through strategic capital investments in small and medium sized enterprises, support entrepreneurs in the development of new, innovative and disruptive technologies, provide innovative business counselling and support opportunities and develop partnerships and dynamic community economic development initiatives in the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Kawartha Lakes CFDC currently has a lending capacity of up to $300,000 for local businesses that cannot secure financing through more traditional channels.
We are not in competition with other financial institutions but encourage collaboration and partnerships with these institutions in providing critical capital and financing needs to our local entrepreneurs who are looking to start, innovate or grow their business.