MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (September 25, 2021)

Pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel for a third time in September, alongside Sherena Hussain, Dennis Mitchell, and John Northcott, talking vaccine passports, post-election priorities, and the tenuous circumstances of Chinese real estate conglomerate, Evergrande.  Our segment was bookended with coverage of the release of Canada’s Two Michaels from China, after Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou reached a deferred prosecution agreement in the US, resulting in extradition charges being dropped (a story that we covered on the Business Panel in December, 2018).

Some thoughts around our discussion:

COVID19 has brought significant challenges for businesses, especially those with limited resources.  Vaccine passports are another area where business leaders need to plan effectively for implementation, in order to ensure smooth operations.  In considering this issue, ensuring a safe workplace for staff and customers is nothing new, nor is the ability to determine, within reason, how a company will deliver its services.  In the case of customers, it is not uncommon in a civilized society to be required to prove identity or status in certain situations, such as entering an establishment where alcohol is served, renting a car, or traveling to another country.  A vaccine passport is analogous to these situations, as well as numerous others, and those who do not wish to utilize it have other options (stay home, order takeout food, shop online, etc.).  Business leaders also have an opportunity to consider the use of contracted security staff or, perhaps, technology solutions, when requesting vaccine passport information, and should not hesitate to seek professional advice for an objective viewpoint.  One area where everyone should be able to agree is the importance of putting the pandemic behind us; there is no benefit to giving COVID19 a home in our communities.

Related to this point, now that the Federal election is over, Job #1 should be making the pandemic history.  Key steps include reviewing and extending financial programs where appropriate, as well as taking the necessary steps to support vulnerable areas, such as healthcare and essential pandemic related sources of supply (and building capacity within Canada).  Going forward, increased support for commercialization of Canada’s innovation and technology economy should be a priority, to build companies of scale that are well positioned to operate globally.  Of note, commercialization efforts should be focused primarily on “building a business”, including access to sufficient growth capital.

And, finally, as the world watches China’s Evergrande struggle to meet its financial obligations, it is a good time to remember that “big business” is not without challenges.  Small businesses often have the view that “growth” and “sales” will solve all of their problems, but this isn’t the case.  Large (or larger) companies face numerous challenges, many of which are the same types of problems that are experienced by small business, but played out on a larger scale.  Keep in mind that the more that a company has, the more that is at stake, which can represent significant risk.  When smaller companies make it a habit to put the necessary foundational systems, policies, and procedures in place, they have the beginnings of what is needed to support future growth and sustainability.

Thank you for watching, on what was a very busy news morning; see you again soon!


Jenifer Bartman
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