Small Business: Too Big To IgnoreOctober 15, 2020
(Toronto – October 15, 2020) – The pandemic has highlighted challenges for small business: their access to digital technologies and skills. In advance of Small Business Week 2020, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and partners are kicking off a vital conversation today about these gaps with the launch of their report, Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills. The report is a Skills Next project and a collaboration between the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Public Policy Forum, and the Future Skills Centre.
“We are deeply concerned about the impacts the COVID-19 crisis is having on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities, and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “They are the backbone of the Canadian economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of jobs in the private sector. Yet they face critical labour shortages, skill mismatches, and challenges related to broadband internet access that threaten their competitiveness.”
“Skills and digital access need to be front and centre in our discussions of economic recovery and growth. COVID has taken a terrible toll on small businesses but it has also disrupted old ways of doing things. We need to take advantage of this disruption to accelerate innovation and competitiveness across all sectors. Most of the discussion regarding skills is dominated by organizations focused on large businesses even though SMEs account for the vast majority of jobs in the corporate sector,” said Wendy Cukier, founder of the Diversity Institute.
“Broadband is a basic infrastructure requirement in today’s economy, but the ongoing pandemic has made it even more essential to public health and economic resilience,” added Ashley Challinor, Vice President, Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “For businesses and workers, particularly those practicing physical distancing, connectivity is necessary to ensure they can remain productive by using digital tools such as video conferencing. Without adequate access, those in rural and remote regions will be vulnerable to additional layoffs and business closures.”
Canadian Small Business Week takes place during the third week of October every year. This year, the celebration will occur October 18-24, 2020. Over the course of Small Business Week, the OCC and local chambers will be participating in the “Small Business: Too Big To Ignore” campaign across the province, actively engaging small businesses in discussions about the top obstacles impeding their growth and the ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
Be the first to read the Skills Next project report: Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills. Skills Next is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.
About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.
For more information, please contact:
Ceara Copps – Edwards, Manager, Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org| Mobile: (647) 936-6734