MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (October, 2022)

Pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel on a busy news week, alongside Jeanhy Shim, Gareth Watson, and John Northcott, talking the impact of Hurricane Fiona and changing travel rules.  You can watch our segment here.

A few thoughts on our conversation.

Hurricane Fiona has brought significant damage to Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia, a place that has been close to my heart for many years.  Although the human toll and importance of personal safety are top of mind, our discussion (being the Business Panel) focused on business.

There are many aspects of how disasters and challenges that have the potential to impact business for any period of time can be problematic.  Despite technological advances and increases in remote work arrangements, companies of all sizes tend to generate a lot of paper; this is especially the case for small businesses.  When disaster strikes, it is a good reminder to think about the ease with which a company could continue to operate, in the event that “the office” could not be accessed for a period of time, is damaged, or worse.  Here are a few things for business leaders to think about:

  • What information is critical to the company’s operation?  Where is it stored (i.e., online, paper, both, etc.)?
  • Does the company have online systems that are secure and operating well?  Consider areas such as accounting, banking, staffing, payroll, sales, customer service, operations, etc.
  • Does the business leader have access to critical information in the event of a disaster?  Consider areas such as insurance, banking, financial information to complete claims and support applications, etc.
  • Does the company have a communications strategy in place for contacting staff members, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders?
  • Does the company have a plan and strategy for continuing to operate, where possible, such as through remote operations or an alternate location?
  • Does the company have a list of alternate suppliers, in the event that existing vendors are unable to fulfill their role?
  • Does the company review its insurance coverage on at least an annual basis?  Business continuity insurance is an area to discuss with qualified insurance advisors, among others.
  • What areas of the business still need to be migrated to an online solution?  In other words, what is in all of that “paper” anyway, and what are the areas of priority that need to be addressed?

This is an important area and something that will not be resolved in a day or two for most companies.  Advisors can help business leaders work through the detail to developing and implementing a plan to resolve this problem.

We also discussed the travel industry, in terms of the impact of rising costs/inflation, the removal of some COVID19 related travel requirements, and airline services from new providers.  While rising costs are expected to have an impact on spending in range of areas, some travelers will likely be looking for ways to make their money go further.  Tactics could include shorter duration trips, lower cost destinations, or traveling with others to make the most of accommodation dollars.  Given that the travel industry has struggled during the pandemic, it will be interesting to see whether the relaxing of restrictions such as masking on planes are an attraction or detraction for travelers, as COVID numbers rise in some areas.

And, finally, here are a few photos of beautiful Nova Scotia; thinking of everyone in Atlantic Canada who has been impacted by Hurricane Fiona and hoping for calmer seas ahead.  Thanks for watching.

MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (July, 2022)

Thrilled to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel from my home away from home in beautiful Nova Scotia, alongside Elmer Kim and Natalie Kalata.  Our discussion included thoughts on Air Canada’s flight schedule cuts, Canada’s latest economic numbers, and the Cineplex fee that has would be movie goers talking.  You can watch our segment here, and below are some thoughts on our discussion.

The travel industry has been hard hit by the COVID19 pandemic and it’s not surprising that after more than two years, people are eager to get out and explore again.  It has been well reported that many air travel entities are short staffed, including airports, security, and airlines, resulting in numerous delays and cancelled flights.  Air Canada announced a schedule cut of approximately 15% of its Summer schedule, while Westjet proactively scaled back its own schedule.  This is analogous to making the playing field smaller, in an attempt to achieve successful operating outcomes within a larger system that has been challenged and is not able to operate at full capacity.  This situation is a good example of the many challenges of implementation, and businesses that face significant deviation from the plan can find themselves in a host of excess costs and resource drains in an attempt to recover.  It will be interesting to see the degree of operating success that airlines are able to find over the Summer, as well as what the Fall might bring.

Canada’s economy experienced a slight decline in May, as preliminary numbers indicate that GDP fell by 0.2%.  Although in contrast to earlier months, the recovery is not expected to be a straight line; ongoing monitoring is the approach that should be taken here.  Of note, the housing market continues to cool, demonstrating that interest rate hikes have had an impact, and manufacturing and construction are sectors to watch, as staffing and supply chain issues are likely to continue to have an impact.  The services sector is also one that suffered during the pandemic, and the relatively slow recovery could be a function of staffing concerns, but also consumer choice tradeoffs, as inflation continues to soar.

Cineplex’s new online ticket fee hasn’t impressed some movie goers, as the company says it plans to invest and evolve its digital infrastructure.  Although the fee doesn’t apply to all ticket purchases, such as those bought in person at the box office, it seems to be a counterproductive move at a time when entertainment and events companies should be doing what they can to welcome customers back.  It might not seem like a lot of money, but the reality is that consumers have a lot of choices, and once they are lost, it can be very difficult to get them to return.  This is an important reason why business leaders should think carefully when making decisions that impact customers directly, as well as their company’s competitive position in the marketplace.

It’s been great to join from Canada’s Eastern shore; thanks for watching!


MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (May, 2022)

As flood waters continue to rise in my area, pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott, talking rising interest and inflation rates, falling stock markets, implications of the latest jobs report, the end of COVID19 support programs, and consumer shopping habits. A lot to discuss, watch our segment here.


The intersection of all of these areas, something that tends to not be particularly well understood, is the impact on the “front lines” of business. It is relatively easy to step back and look at the economy through a broad lens, such as GDP, employment levels, or even the stock market; however, what businesses face directly, especially in difficult times, is much different. A few things to keep in mind as we consider this issue:

  • Unemployment doesn’t tell the whole story.  Just because unemployment levels are low, it does not mean that businesses have the staff members that they need.  In fact, many companies are having a difficult time finding (and keeping) staff in a wide range of areas, including accounting, technology, sales, and healthcare, as well as front line workers; this includes both staff numbers and key skills.  Ask a business leader how hiring has been going in what is a very tight labour market (they will likely have a lot to say).
  • The “stars” can write their own ticket.  Related to this point, it is the best staff members, in terms of performance and skillset, who have the most choices in this type of market when it comes to employment opportunities.  Companies should re-think their compensation strategy and flexibility in terms of work arrangements, in order to be competitive.  The “we just want people in the office” mindset, when not essential, is a losing proposition and some companies have likely found this out too late.
  • Supply chain problems persist.  This crisis has impacted companies more than is generally realized, and this reality can only be fully appreciated at the front line level.  In short, companies need supplies and inputs to manufacture products and deliver services.  In the absence of this, their ability to do so stalls, resulting in either delays or inability to fulfill customer needs and generate revenue.  Remember that revenue eventually becomes cash, and it is easy to understand where a business is left when its sources of cash are impacted or lost.
  • COVID19 support programs concluded.  As these programs effectively end this weekend, a lot of companies may find themselves unable to operate on a sustainable basis.  This can vary, as some industries have been impacted more than others (think tourism, events, and some services).  Expect to see the impact of this in the coming months.

The bottom line is this: building a company to the point where it can successfully operate over time and employ staff is not something that happens overnight.  Numerous companies have either quietly closed up shop over the past couple of years (think about the vacant retail and commercial spaces in your community) or are on the brink of doing so.  Many of these are small businesses, however, some are larger, impacting a lot of jobs and families.

Once a business is gone, it’s gone.  How long does it take to replace this loss with another company?  Years, decades, sometimes longer.  It is the patchwork of these companies that make up Canada’s economy and there is a need to better understand business issues at the frontline level, instead of taking primarily a broader approach.  This is especially true in challenging times, which are reasonably expected to continue for at least the next year and likely longer.

And finally, on a personal note, my contribution to this week’s Business Panel came directly from a flood zone, surrounded by water, but safe (there should not be any water in this field).  Not sure how long this “island life” will continue, but it is a reminder that we are living in unusual times.  Thank you for watching!



MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (April, 2022)

Pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel on a busy news week, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott.

 With a diverse array of topics, here are some thoughts on our chat:

The early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were met with shock, anger, and sanctions by a range of countries.  Over a month later, what has the impact been?  It’s true that many companies have indicated that they will no longer do business with or in Russia, which should impact supply on both a consumer and corporate level.  It has been reported, however, that some companies continue to operate there under franchise arrangements, and in the absence of being able to see the details of the agreement (franchise, license, joint venture, or otherwise), it is difficult to identify exactly why this is the case (an important lesson for business leaders considering doing business abroad).  Regardless, companies that continue to operate in Russia will certainly face negative response from customers and the public in areas such as North America and Europe, which could result in costly brand and financial damage where it matters.

As we look ahead to Canada’s budget day, it will be interesting to see the impact of the arrangement between the Liberals and NDP, policy announcements in areas such as national defence spending and security, as well as the balance between moving forward from COVID19 and recognizing that the pandemic still has a considerable impact on businesses, consumers, and the economy.

And speaking of inflation, Dollarama’s recent results announcement indicates that the Company has been financially successful over the past while (not surprising for companies of this nature in difficult economic times) and a plan to incorporate products with a $5 price point.  Those who shop at Dollarama know that existing products can cost as much as $4, and given inflation and cost increases related to supply chain and other manufacturing and procurement problems, it is not surprising to see rising retail prices.  This approach might also bring in additional products to Dollarama, providing more variety for shoppers (let’s hope they did their research!).

And, finally, Amazon warehouse workers in the New York City area voted to unionize on Friday, representing the first successful US organizing effort in the Company’s history.  This situation did not involve major trade unions and has been characterized as a grassroots effort, and given the significant wealth gap between business owners/leaders and the “average worker”, expect to see this trend continue; the question is: how far will it go?  Consider the many people who effectively piece together their own income, through various casual or gig economy jobs, with little in the way of security or benefits, while multi-billionaires exhibit excessive lifestyles on social media.  The reality is that there is a cost to this gap, and as we have discussed on the Business Panel before, it is not about everyone earning the same amount of money, but, rather, bringing a sense of fairness to the issue to generate better outcomes for everyone.

Thank you for watching, and let’s hope that we see peaceful days in Ukraine very soon.

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MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (January, 2022)

New year, new episode of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, alongside Sherena Hussain and John Northcott, covering a range of business topics.

Areas we discussed include:

There has been lots of news about the impact of inflation on consumers (an important story, of course), however, it is critical to remember that it also impacts companies.  Businesses can end up paying more for the goods that they need in order to develop and deliver goods and services, and face the need to increase employee wages in times of rising prices (this varies, depending on how well the company has managed its compensation strategy over the long term, among other things).  While some are calling for an immediate increase in interest rates to slow inflation, it is important to recognize that many businesses have taken on additional debt over the past couple of years to combat the challenges of COVID19 and increasing the cost of money too quickly could have a domino effect.  The pandemic has led to the permanent closure of many companies, and as others sit precariously on the brink, rising interest costs could result in job losses and business closures, which would not help the current situation.  Achieving a balance is extremely important, a reality that could use more attention.

As we reach two years into the global pandemic, both Canada and the US are taking action to require truckers that cross the border to be subject to vaccination requirements.  Without going into the details here, it is important to remember that a healthy society is the basis for a healthy economy, both of which are desirable outcomes.  Although some in the trucking industry have indicated that they are not in agreement with these rules, it is interesting to look at transportation and logistics to identify areas of improvement, including opportunities to utilize technology and automation.  In an industry that has faced a global crisis and staffing vacancies (some of which is situational in nature), identifying a new way forward should already be a key area of focus.

Netflix is an example of a company that has benefited over the past couple of years, while people were largely confined to their homes, looking for things to do.  Although life has not returned to pre-pandemic conditions as of yet, moderation in growth and financial results is not surprising.  Companies in this situation need to focus on retention of existing subscribers and growth opportunities, including areas such as new and complementary content and services.  This represents the need to shift gears and perspective; it will be interesting to see what strategies are employed, beyond the price increases that have been implemented over the past while.

And, finally, the CEO of BlackRock released his annual letter to CEO’s; commentary that seems longer than it needs to be, including a number of areas that have been discussed on the Business Panel over the past couple of years.  Regardless, his comments relating to climate policy have caught the attention of some, in terms of its importance to business profits, as opposed to activism or similar objectives.  Another way to articulate this idea is the need for companies to focus on the market opportunity, in terms of how to develop and deliver products and services to meet the needs of customers on a sustainable basis.  This is a tall order, but given the critical nature of areas such as climate and the environment, it is both a human priority and a business opportunity that is still very much ahead of us.  Business advice can help companies to identify, develop, and implement strategies, representing a valuable resource, when leaders need it most.

Thanks for watching, and see you again soon.  Hope that 2022 finds you well and is a year of healthy abundance!

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

Great to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel on a busy news week, alongside Dennis Mitchell and John Northcott. Our discussion focused on the impact of the Omicron variant on the markets, the good news in the latest Canada jobs report, and the intellectual property dispute between Peloton and Lululemon.


Some quick thoughts on our chat:

With the global pandemic approaching two years since the first days of widespread knowledge, Canadians have been looking forward to at least some return to normal life.  Greater access to things such as travel, events, and simply getting together have brought some optimism, however, the recent appearance of the Omicron variant is a reminder of the tenuous situation in which our world remains.  Markets reacted negatively to this development, perhaps, recognizing the potential for restrictions to return in the not too distant future (something that has already occurred in Europe) and what the impact on many businesses could be.  Equally concerning is commentary from scientific experts, including those responsible for developing vaccines, in terms of how well existing vaccines will work against the new variant (work on potential adjustments is already underway).  In these early days of Omicron, we are reminded that the best things that we can do is to follow the science and live our lives in a manner that stops the spread of COVID19; it is difficult to see how a healthy society or economy are possible without doing so.

With Canada adding 154,000 jobs last month, employment levels are almost 200,000 jobs higher than before the pandemic.  These measures represent points in time and employment is closely linked to the health of the community and the ability of businesses to operate (the supply chain crisis also impacts the extent to which companies are able to function well).  One of the interesting aspects of employment is the relative tightness of the labour market, especially in front line areas where people may be reconsidering their career objectives.  Also of note is the office job that can be conducted from anywhere, opening up new employment choices for many.  Employers will have to be careful about the choices they make, in terms of setting policy around the options of how employees can work (i.e., remotely, blended, on site, etc.), as staff members are likely seeking out what they view as the best career offering.  Remember that the “best” employees tend to have the most choices, which can leave some employers to a future of marginal workers; it can be difficult to unwind this type of situation once it has occurred.

And, finally, the intellectual property dispute between Peloton and Lululemon will ultimately come down to the details, as this is the nature of patents and other protections.  Of note, some business leaders might be surprised to learn that strategic partnerships tend to require far more time and resources than expected, which can lead to disappointing results.  Those who have lived this experience might have found themselves wondering why the partnership failed to reach what was considered to be its potential.  Keep in mind that having two parties doesn’t necessarily mean that there is less work for each to do, as well as the fact that one entity is not an extension of the other.  These common challenges are beside the point that the parties might also find that they cannot or do not wish to work together any longer.  Advisors can help business leaders to evaluate and address strategic partnerships, and it will be interesting to see where the IP experts draw the line in resolving this dispute.

Thank you for watching and enjoy the best of this Holiday Season!

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

Pleased to join the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel on a bright Fall morning, alongside Mark Warner and John Northcott.  With lots to discuss on this busy news week, we chatted about the global supply chain backlog, the US opening its land border to vaccinated Canadians, and worker concerns at Instacart, among other companies.  Here is a clip from our discussion and some thoughts.

Although the global supply chain backlog received a lot of media attention this week, it represents a story that has been in the background for a number of months (if you had asked a random person on the street what they think about the supply chain problem, they probably would have kept walking).  This situation impacts companies and consumers alike, in that delays in receiving goods in need creates additional problems, as well as price increases.  Given the magnitude of the problem, it is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon, putting some items out of reach for a while.  Resolution will require time and collaboration from various parties, some of whom are likely not used to thinking creatively to solve problems.  This story is a reminder that implementation is difficult and various pieces are involved in the supply chain, including sea and land vessels, a range of workers, and policies and procedures to guide task completion.  Look for initiatives to improve operational efficiency going forward and consumers should be prepared to be flexible in expectations and to pay more for goods.

While Canada opened its land border to vaccinated US travelers a couple of months ago, the US will be reciprocating in early November.  It is uncertain what the initial level of uptake will be, however, it is fair to say that the pandemic has left a lot of people wishing for a return to some sense of normalcy.  As Canadians tend to favour the southern US states, where vaccination levels are currently relatively low, it will be important to ensure that screening requirements are consistently enforced upon return to protect against setbacks in the Canadian economy.  Travelers should be prepared to face additional costs and delays, something that is part of traveling (those who are not willing to follow guidelines or incur costs have the option to stay home).  One thing that we should be able to agree upon is the need to avoid a significant number of travel related cases of COVID19.

And, finally, Instacart’ s shoppers have indicated that they will take strike action against pay and working condition issues, shining a light on some of the challenges that are incurred by front line workers generally.  This issue has roots well in advance of the pandemic, as the gap between pay levels at senior and front line levels has become increasingly significant.  In a world of millionaire and billionaire CEO’s, contrasted with front line workers who have to take on various jobs, often without benefits or security, just to meet basic living requirements, many have simply lost patience with this issue.  Further, wage increases over the years have not kept pace with the rising cost of living or income appreciation at more senior ranks generally, causing additional frustration.

COVID19 has only made this situation more difficult, and as workers are integral to the ability of most companies to generate wealth, there needs to be some sort of reckoning on this issue.  Expect that many are tired of billionaires flaunting their wealth, in what can be viewed as a lack of attention and fairness being paid to wage levels in the lower ranks, and as job vacancies increase and people continue to rethink how they earn a living (workers have recognized that they do, indeed, hold some power).  It will be interesting to watch as this situation continues to unfold.

Thank you for watching and enjoy the Fall season.  See you again next time on the Weekend Business Panel!


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!


MEDIA: CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel (September 11, 2021)

Fortunate to have the opportunity to remember the victims of the September 11th terror attacks on air, alongside Elmer Kim and John Northcott.  On the 20th anniversary of the attacks that changed the world in many ways, this human tragedy is also a business story.  I recall the details of that day so clearly, and one of the things that I thought about was the many people who were simply going about their day to earn a living: the morning commute, getting a coffee, moments at their desk, greeting a colleague in the hallway, boardroom meetings “first thing”.  Others were travelling for work in the skies above; too many would not reach their destination.  As a career business person, I have done all of these things, often without a second thought.  How tragic it is that thousands of people would have these “normalcies” be the last moment of their lives.

September 11th gives me the feeling every year that the carefree days of Summer are gone in an instant, a door that slams shut with profound sadness.  We remember the victims today and every year on this day.

We also discussed the business news of the week, including Canadian economic developments and the global semiconductor chip shortage.

It is always positive to see the economy add jobs and beat expectations, however, given the realities of COVID19, it is difficult to know if this is merely a point on the curve or part of an overall growth trend.  The pandemic, unfortunately, continues to be very much a part of our communities and business environment, and as the Fall weather cools, the importance of taking recommended steps to combat COVID19 should not be lost.  Our economy is depending on Canadians to do the right things, to avoid cycling back to the days of business closures and other setbacks, as nobody wins when this happens.  Businesses are not measured by peaks and valleys, but rather, by the ability to survive over the long term; this is extremely difficult to achieve when the surrounding community is not healthy.

Related to this point, although it might sound like an obvious statement that companies need products and services to sell in order to be financially viable, the ability to do so in our current world is anything but a given.  Many companies are unable to get the materials that they need in order to manufacture products, with a prominent example being the semiconductor chip shortage,  This situation is multifaceted, as it is impacted by the high demand for technology, as well as geo-political and logistical factors.  Although not every situation can be resolved in the short term, business leaders need to bring creative solutions, as well as procurement options and strategies to manage customer expectations.  Having said that, the reality is that many consumers will simply have to wait until the shortage dissipates and expect to see higher prices, while businesses look for other options to resolve their own inevitable financial challenges.

Thank you for watching.  Today is a good day to do something to help others; we can all make a difference.

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

It’s the Federal Election edition of the CBC News Network Weekend Business Panel, talking all things business, alongside Jeanhy Shim, Rubina Ahmed-Haq, and Hillary Johnstone (personal finance, business, and the roof over your head, we had it all!).

With so many topics in play, we focused our discussion in the areas of the economy, jobs, and affordability.  Here are a few comments about the issues facing Canadians, businesses, and the days ahead.

It’s hard to imagine a strong economy without COVID19 being well under control, at a minimum.  A healthy society is an important foundation for a healthy economy, and it is a reasonable concern that Canada will not have the ability to truly move ahead until the days of the pandemic are in the rear view mirror, making this effort Job #1.  In the absence of doing so, communities face the risk of an ongoing cycle of relaxing measures and opening businesses, only to have to reverse course a short time later.  This is very difficult not only for Canadians, but also for business leaders who are trying to reach a point of some stability within their company.  Those who have been in business understand that “normal” times are challenging enough; the uncertainty and additional measures associated with COVID19 have left many companies in a precarious position, with others having closed up shop altogether (evident by driving around and noting all of the vacant storefronts).

This situation directly relates to jobs, as companies only need staff members when there is sufficient demand from the marketplace (customers) and they are able to operate (regulatory).  The third component of this equation is supply, in that companies need to be able to procure the necessary materials to deliver products and services.  Times of COVID19 have resulted in a global supply chain glut, making many products and manufacturing inputs significantly delayed or unavailable; the semiconductor chip shortage is one example.

There is also a shift occurring in the labour market as a whole, as people consider where work is available, as well as the type of role that they want to pursue.  Factors such as the increase in remote/flexible work environments, as well as the stress associated with front line sectors, such as healthcare, have led to shortages and hiring challenges; expect demand for education and training to increase in the coming months, as Canadians re-think their careers.  In the case if remote workers, this has resulted in some interesting developments in the housing market, as location is no longer reliant on the daily commute.

From a consumer perspective, the cost of so many things continues to rise, including food, household items, and housing.  While wage growth has not kept pace even in normal times, the gap between the super-wealthy and lower to mid-level workers has continued to increase, to a point of ridiculousness, in some cases.  The intent, obviously, should not be to have all people earning the same amount of money, but rather, to manage wage levels carefully (at the business level) and ensure that the tax system is fair (at the government level).  There have been too many situations of wealthy corporations and people paying little to no tax, while lesser earners pay their fair share.  Canadians also have good reason to question why some at the top of corporations received large bonuses, while being slow to increase employee wages and/or taking COVID19 business financial support at the same time.

This is the backdrop of the Federal Election, and as a business person, I first look for good ideas, with the source or party being of lesser relevance.  It is less than ideal to see party platforms that bring a “piecemeal” approach to policy, as people do not live their lives in this manner, nor do businesses operate this way.  This approach also raises the question if anything truly “gets fixed”, as opposed to utilizing one short term approach after another.  There also tends to be a disconnect between policy and implementation, with the latter being much more challenging than many in the political realm appreciate.  Experienced business leaders understand the importance of solutions that can be readily implemented and resolve problems, an important part of the foundation of a sustainable company going forward.

Thank you for watching, and remember that it’s important to vote to ensure that our voices are heard.  Ballots can be cast by mail this time, just apply to do so by September 14, 2021.