Category: Blog

How To Recruit And Retain Employees With Ease

A solid benefits plan makes a great addition to an employee compensation package. With the Chambers Plan your business can recruit the high-quality talent you need to compete. Whether your business has 1 or 100 employees you have just as great a need to attract and retain talent as a larger corporation. Their employee group benefits plan can provide you with options that will allow your business to compete with anyone for those employees.

Protecting your staff shows them you care. It improves your staff retention, makes it easier to hire new employees and makes your workforce happier and more productive with less absenteeism. The advantages of providing protection over not doing so are numerous. In fact, when workers are polled about either having a benefits plan or a $10,000 raise, the majority took the benefits option. In addition, it’s a great area to enhance compensation since health and dental premiums are not taxable benefits though are deductible for the employer. It may cost a lot less after tax than implementing a raise or bonus for both the employee and the employer.

With more than 35,000 firms insured, the Chambers Plan has become a place for SME’s to come for wellness and benefits plan support. Combined with their partnership with local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade there are many tools and resources available to help improve your workplace satisfaction. A Chambers Plan advisor can help you customize this to your staff, keeping in mind an older demographic consisting of Baby Boomers will have a different perspective than a younger firm composed mostly of Millennials.

Whether you have 1 or 100 employees the Chambers Plan can build an offering that meets your needs. If you have a plan an advisor can easily match up an offering or build something different based on your firms needs. Plans can be designed with different categories if necessary for different staffing levels. In addition, the Chambers Plan also provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This is invaluable to small to medium sized enterprises providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment.

The Chambers Plan also provides the best in class out-of-country protection which can be particularly important if you need to travel for your new business. If you and your staff must travel often this can save you significantly rather than buying travel protection for each trip.

Other benefits can be sculpted based on budgets. Costs for things such as paramedical benefits for physiotherapy, chiropractor and massage therapists etc., can be capped or limited to provide budget control. Dental coverage can also be tailored to the company budget as well as the needs of the staff. Drug coverage is another area where a variety of options will meet a variety of budgets. Benefits today are no longer a one size fits all product. Firms with younger demographics may prefer more wellness-related benefits such as paramedicals with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

The Chambers Plan has a group retirement option with both a Group RRSP and a DPSP (Deferred Profit-Sharing Plan) and can also help you with either your individual or your employee’s retirement options. There is a payroll solution provided by Payworks; when used in conjunction with the plan it offers single entry in one system for both your payroll and benefits through their proprietary Tandem link.

By providing benefits employers reap many other positive rewards. An EAP, or Employee Assistance Program is a perfect example. Typically a low-cost item, an employer may add it to their benefits plan to provide counselling for employees who may need a little help from time to time. An employee may have a spouse or dependent child who needs counselling and because it is now available the employee will not be focusing on that issue at working, making them a more positive, productive employee.

More traditional benefits are helpful in many ways. An employee with a tooth that’s bothering them or out of date glasses can improve their well-being by having those things looked after. Their homelife may improve if their dependents can also have the ability to update any issues they have.

Prescription drugs are an even larger issue. Today with the spiraling cost of drugs, knowing you have some coverage means that if a family member needs a script they can obtain it and follow the proper course of treatment. Without coverage drug adherence levels slip and people are less likely to get or maintain the treatments they may need for their own individual situations.

Another simple by-product of a benefits plan is that employee attendance also improves. Not only are they not taking as much time off to help dependents likely to miss time at work for their own reasons. In addition, if they are healthier the time spent at work will be more productive statistically speaking.

Having a satisfied staff bodes well for employee retention and makes it significantly easier to recruit new employees. Go to chamberplan.ca today for more information.


Member Profile: Javelin Technologies

This past April, Javelin Technologies was named one of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers (SMEs). The program recognizes SMEs that offer the country’s best workplaces and forward-thinking policies and evaluates employers on their physical workspace, atmosphere, benefits, communications, training, and community involvement.

With headquarters in Oakville, Javelin has 115 employees in nine locations across the country and serves more than 6,000 engineering and manufacturing customers from coast to coast and around the world. The company’s leaders say it was quite an honour to be recognized as one of the nation’s Top SMEs.

A Canadian success story

Javelin is a classic Canadian start-up story; it began over coffee meetings between co-founders John Carlan and Ted Lee at a Tim Hortons in Oakville. Founded in 1997, the company offered 3D design software solutions for business. They have since expanded their product and service offerings to include engineering data management, automation, additive manufacturing (industrial 3D printing), training and consulting.

Right from the beginning, Javelin focused on quality technical support and training for the tools they provide. Their training staff work with customers to ensure they have a strong understanding of the software and hardware they are using, contributing to efficiency, productivity, and overall business success. Training and consulting services are available for customers remotely and at all locations.

Behind the quality service to customers is a strong, talented team. Javelin believes in work-life balance for their employees, as well as in open communication. On the first Friday of every month, they host a team meeting for all employees across the country. Employees are informed of Javelin’s successes, challenges, and opportunities.

Growing to meet customer needs

For the past three years, Javelin has been on the Growth 500 list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies. One reason is its commitment to continually expanding its product and service offerings to not only meet, but stay ahead of, evolving customer needs. In May 2018, Javelin merged with Cimetrix, an organization with a strong background and leading reputation in additive manufacturing and laser scanning solutions. This merger further strengthened the company’s additive manufacturing capabilities and created a new level of service and support for customers.

Javelin offers a one-stop shop for customers, supporting them from concept design to manufacturing production. Their various products and expertise cover every stage of the process, from helping a designer test a product against simulated conditions such as heat or vibration, to improving the sharing of manufacturing data around the world, to automating complex quoting systems, to 3D printing metal parts for tooling.  

Javelin’s clients are from a wide range of industries, including aerospace, alternative energy, automotive, construction, medical, consumer products, oil and gas, and manufacturing. In recent years, they have focused heavily on their customers in education. Previously, the focus was almost entirely on post-secondary classrooms, but now more teachers and students at the high school level consider access to Javelin’s software and 3D printing to be essential in preparing students for further education and the future workforce.

Expanding again

At Javelin, people thrive on growth. They strive to move the organization forward and continue to be a complete supplier for their customers. At the end of this year, they will be moving into a new facility that is double their current space! The new facility will feature their largest ever, state-of-the-art 3D printing lab. Javelin is proud to say that this will be their fourth move – all within the Oakville border! With this growth, they will continue to grow their business in Canada and dive deeper into the international market.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to Javelin if you’re curious to see their facilities; they will be happy to give you a tour of their 3D printing lab and show you some fascinating 3D printed prototypes and parts.


www.javelin-tech.com

905-815-1906



Want Beautiful Referrals That Close Like Clockwork?

Creating more and better referrals is entirely within your grasp. Beautiful referrals that close like clockwork are the result of four phases in a successful business professional’s network. Can you identify your phase? Which phase would you choose for your business or practice?

Phase One – Gee, I was lucky to get that referral…

When a business professional is in Phase One, they think that their referral opportunities come by chance. They are not connecting their success to any networking or referral-building activity that they may have done. They have no plan or strategy for building their business by referral. They may join networks and attend events occasionally, or not at all, sometimes blaming the organization for not providing them with referral opportunities. 

Unfortunately, a vast majority of business professionals fit into Phase One.  

Phase Two – Hmmm, I have a lot to learn…

A business professional in Phase Two has awakened to the reality that referral marketing works. They realize that business by referral is a major source of their business. They want to learn more about how to create ongoing referrals for their business and practice. They are willing to adopt good networking practices, develop their referral-building acumen and make a monthly plan for their activities. They embrace the concept that giver’s win. Always.

They work hard to generate a high-quality message that speaks to the emotional and business benefits of working with them. They can share their story in a precise and consistent manner that resonates with them and their network. They can identify at least 10 characteristics of their ideal client which they weave into a compelling narrative. They also know that giving a referral to a member of their network is the best way to grow their own business. They enjoy the 34% closing rate of an average referral (1 out of 3 referrals result in closed business).

Roughly 10% of business professionals fit into Phase Two.

Phase Three – It is all about giving and growing my relationships

Phase Three business professionals have embraced the Phase Two referral marketing practices and seek out business professionals who share the same ideal client. They have a growing network that includes like-minded business professionals who are also interested in business relationships of mutual gain. They know that meeting one on one (1:1) is the only way to learn about one another’s business and develop referrals.

Like a seasoned gardener, a Phase Three business professional nurtures their roses by seeking out business professionals who are givers and who also want to create mutually beneficial relationships. Business professionals in Phase Three are aware that they need to remove weeds and watch out for individuals who are transactional by nature or are not truly interested in investing in a referral relationship.

Phase Three folks understand, very clearly, that a referral is a transfer of trust. They know that the best referral is one where a high level of trust is transferred. And that closing for business is much easier with a good referral. The closing rate of a referral from a Phase Three member is 50% or more (1 out of 2 referrals result in closed business).

5% of business professionals might fit into Phase Three.  

Phase Four – Referral Partner Relationships for My Pocketbook and Soul

Phase Four business professionals have a fine-tuned network of 8-10 very special people for whom they would do almost anything to help their partners grow their business. Their selected network members, or referral partners, feel the same way about them. Together, they have developed a powerful understanding that they want to support one another to amazing success. They meet regularly, every month when possible. Given the knowledge of the referral partner about their partner’s business, a referral from another Phase Four business professional has an 80% chance of closing (almost 1 closed piece of business for every referral).

1% of business professionals enjoy referral partner relationships that are good for both the pocketbook and soul.

Business professionals in Phase Four are delighted with the beautiful referrals they give to one another that close like clockwork.


Paula Hope is a leading referral expert. She helps business professionals create the revenue they deserve. To have a chat with Paula, or receive her Monday Morning Referral Tips, please contact her at paula@bookedsolid.ca.

Agile or Irrelevant – Redefining Resilience

KPMG’s 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook

KPMG recently released the 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook which surveyed 1,300 CEOs of large companies from around the world, including 75 in Canada, to get their views on the highest-priority opportunities and most daunting challenges they and their businesses face.


Interestingly, both Canadian and global CEOs told KPMG that the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns. For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And while nearly a third of our GDP is tied to exports, growing trade differences between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the ongoing health of our economy. While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology.

To that end, transformation and disruption have been recurring themes in previous CEO Outlooks. This year is no exception. CEOs in every industry are acutely aware of the new technologies, competitors and workforce trends at their doorstep, and many are making agility and innovation their priority. Canadian CEOs are no different, although their current strategies and concerns reveal room to grow before they can lead their international peers.

A few interesting findings from the 2019 Canadian CEO Outlook:
  • Only 69% of Canadian CEOs want to be disruptors in their market, compared to 96% just one year earlier
  • 54% of Canadian leaders view cyber security as a significant cause for concern, compared to only 7% in 2018
  • Most Canadian organizations (63%) say their inability to find the workers they need is negatively impacting growth
  • 76% of Canadian CEOs agree they need to improve their innovation processes and execution
  • 79% believe AI and robotics will create more jobs than it eliminates, compared to only 65% of their global peers
  • Economic and political uncertainties have driven a third of Canadian CEOs to pursue strategic alliances with third parties as their top growth strategy over mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and organic growth
  • 75% of Canadian CEOs agree there is a higher need to “act with agility”

The 2019 Canadian CEO Outlooks reveals a country of big thinkers and even bigger ambitions. It also indicates that Canadian organizations are at different stages in their journey than their global peers. Chalk it up to less experience with new technologies or the cautious “Canadian way” but Canada has been slow to catch up to the new digital “normal.” We are on our way but now is no time to put our investments, workforce initiatives and innovation strategies on cruise control.

To dive deeper into the key themes from this report and learn about the biggest issues impacting Canadian business, go to: home.kpmg/ca/ceooutlook



Ruth Todd is the regional managing partner for KPMG Canada’s offices in southwestern, northern and eastern Ontario and eastern Canada, and is also the office managing partner for KPMG in Hamilton and St. Catharines. With over 20 years’ experience in audit and advisory services, Ruth brings a practical and innovative approach to helping her clients further their goals and achieve success. Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn at
www.linkedin.com/in/rtoddkpmg/.

Our Summer Reading List

Are you developing your summer reading list? Consider these books recommended by the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee.



Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World

Geoff Mulgan

This book explores how organizations can leverage human and machine intelligence together, to better solve business and social challenges in a future demanding new ways of thinking.


Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen

Getting Things Done is the ultimate book on personal organization. It provides easy and actionable tips on how to attain a sense of control over all your work and provides a road map to the Getting Things Done (GTD) Method. Following the GTD method is intended to free up your brain to solve problems and help keep all your projects, personal and profession, on track.


How Women Rise

Sally Helgesen

Sally Helgesen explores the things that women say, do and think in the workplace that hold them back. And provides practice tips on how to overcome the habits that hold us back and rise to the top of their chosen career ladder. The book is equally inspiring and practical.


If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

Alan Alda

An enlightening book from an actor’s perspective about communication, curiosity and connectedness. Anyone from business to art to science will benefit from this compelling read.


The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Robin Sharma

This inspiring tale provides a step-by-step approach to living with greater courage, balance, abundance, and joy. It tells the extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life.


Powerful
Patty McCord

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was Chief Talent Officer. Her principles are based on encouraging debate and communication, building teams with the future in mind, surrounding yourself with top talent, and going beyond salary surveys to calculate compensation. Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.



How To Easily Offer Your Employees A Wellness Benefits Program

Large companies aren’t the only ones that can provide their staff with a Wellness program. According to a recent (2017) Sanofi Health Survey, wellness and illness prevention are top priorities for employers. Let the Chambers Plan provide you with the resources to provide your staff with wellness options regardless of the size of your organization.

Today, there are varying views about what a wellness program should look like. There are some that feel food stations at work and flex hours are a wellness program. Others feel it should include an Employee Assistance Plan and options like a Lifestyle Spending Account, allowing employees to claim benefits like gym memberships and active devices such as Apple Watches or a FitBit.

Regardless of your point of view, one thing is very clear when it comes to Wellness. A more satisfied, happy employee is a more productive one. Often the increases in productivity while at work, the improvement in absenteeism and the general theory that happy people get along better can make this financially beneficial for employers.

When people feel more taken care of it improves their entire lifestyle, not just their workplace environment. The Chambers Plan can help with that in so many ways. The employee portal for managing their plan, My-benefits.ca, has a health assessment tool an employee or their family members can use to help identify if they have any risks associated with their current health or lifestyle.

The Chambers Plan has always had the goal of supporting business with less than 100 employees providing not only cost certainly but also additional supporting benefits that firms this size may require. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment. In addition, the Chambers Plan provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This is invaluable to small to medium sized enterprises providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program.

Firms can also elect to add the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their benefit plan. This is a low-cost item that can greatly impact mental Wellness in the workplace. It provides face to face counselling to employees and their family members and for only a few dollars a month, employers can add this non-taxable benefit to their plan. Consider the impact to someone dealing with mental health issues; even if it’s not the employee but instead a family member, that employee brings that stress with them to work everyday which does not result in a positive outcome. In addition, these resources can be accessed directly without employer involvement. This confidential treatment allows for resolution of issues without any impact or stigma for them in the workplace.

Today there are so many issues that can affect an employee’s Wellness. More and more people are dealing with the stress of aging parents and the financial burden that goes with it. Some need grief counselling or even assisted living accommodations. Depression is also a very common problem in society that still carries some stigma and needs quiet resolution.

Having security from a benefits plan, whether it includes income protection, health and dental claim protection or a combination of all things can really improve a firm’s perspective on wellness. A Chambers Plan advisor can also arrange for fiscal piece of mind with a Chambers Plan Group RRSP and as a by-product provide financial literacy sessions for employees that may need or wish to know more.

With more than 35,000 firms insured, the Chambers Plan has become a place for SME’s to come for Wellness and benefits plan support. Combined with their partnership with local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade there are many tools and resources available to help improve your workplace satisfaction. A Chambers Plan advisor can help you customize this to your staff, keeping in mind an older demographic consisting of Baby Boomers will have a different perspective than a younger firm composed mostly of Millennials.

Add in the lower overhead of the not-for-profit Chambers Plan, the ease of use for both employees and employers and the consistent stable renewals, the employees won’t be the only ones satisfied. Under the Chambers Plan employees have a lot of resources at their fingertips, and having your advisor demonstrate how to use the Chambers Plan is extremely beneficial so your staff get the most out of it. Wellness is achievable whether you have 1 or 100 employees.

Contact Hynek Financial Group to learn more about the Chambers Plan.



The Value In Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

New venture

  Many entrepreneurs feel that when they leave their job to start their own enterprise they may have to forego things like benefits for a while. This isn’t the case. The Chambers Plan allows them to take the risk on their new venture without risking their personal or family’s health. The Chambers Plan can insure you before you take on employees and provide traditional group benefits even if you are your only employee.

  As a not for profit plan designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs, the Chambers Plan has assembled more than 30,000 other businesses into Canada’s largest pool of its kind providing additional protection and stability for small and medium business enterprises.

One of the great things about the Chambers Plan is that it allows start-ups to participate fully in the pool if they have 3-9 employees, though some 1 and 2 person firms may also qualify. If they are fully pooled they join the other 35,000 businesses and renewals are based simply on what’s needed to sustain the pool. This keeps their costs predictable until they grow to a size where they can take on additional risk. If they had a bad year for claims due to an employee or their dependent it won’t impact rates the way it would if with a traditional carrier.

In addition, as you grow you can move into the Chambers Plan’s partially pooled option. With this your firm takes on more risk as a portion of their claims will be rated against premiums, although for taking on that risk you benefit from reduced rates. As the Chambers Plan is a not-for-profit program, surpluses go back into your claims and provide reduced rates.

Regardless of the firm size, the Chambers Plan offers typical benefits such as life, disability, critical illness, health and dental plans. To determine what levels of protection you want to put into place and also match your budget, a local Chambers Plan representative can help you marry up the two. It’s also important to prioritize the protection when you start your own benefits program, keeping in mind your advisor can help you to evolve your benefits plan as you grow your organization or should your needs change.

 The Chambers Plan also provides the best in class out-of-country protection which can be particularly important if you need to travel for your new business. If you and your staff must travel often this can save you significantly rather buying travel protection on each trip.

Other benefits can be sculpted based on budgets. Costs for things such as paramedical benefits for physiotherapy, chiropractor and massage therapists etc., can be capped or limited to provide budget control. Dental coverage can also be tailored to the company budget as well as the needs of the staff. Drug coverage is another area where a variety of options will meet a variety of budgets. Benefits today are no longer a one size fits all product. Firms with younger demographics may prefer more wellness-related benefits such as paramedical with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

Protecting your staff shows them you care. It improves your staff retention, makes it easier to hire new employees and makes your workforce happier and more productive with less absenteeism. The advantages of providing protection over doing nothing are numerous. In fact, when workers are polled about either having a benefits plan or a $10,000 raise, the majority took the benefits option. In addition, it’s a great area to enhance compensation since health and dental premiums are not taxable benefits though are deductible for the employer. It may cost a lot less after tax than implementing a raise or bonus for both the employee and employer.

Protecting your family and those of your employees is a feel-good thing to do for employers. The Chambers Plan gives you that ability regardless of the size of your organization. They insure most industries and the plan is guaranteed renewable. With the stability in premium provided by the program there’s no reason your small business can’t have a benefits plan as soon as your business is ready regardless of size. You don’t have to give up traditional benefits just because you’ve gone into business for yourself.

 Having the freedom to do what you love while protecting your family’s health and well-being is a part of the entrepreneurial wish-list. That’s why more than 30,000 small and medium sized business have chosen the Chambers Plan to help provide that protection.

Learn more about the Chambers Plan.



New Members: January & February 2018

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome the following organization as new members for January and February 2018.




Advanced Leadership: www.advancedleadership.ca

Bandhu Lakhani Campea LLP: 
www.blchrlaw.ca

Beauty and the Spa: www.beautyandthespa.ca

Bloomtools: www.bloomtoolsmississauga.ca

Cloud Hygiene: info@cloudhygiene.ca

Commissionaires Great Lakes: www.commissionaires-cgl.ca

Falcone Law Professional Corporation: www.falconelaw.ca

Givocity Community: www.givocity.ca

Gnoci: www.gnoci.com

GRIT Online Inc.: www.grit.online

HR Made EZ: hrmadez@gmail.com

InCube Mobility Solutions Inc.: www.e-incube.ca

InStyle Nails & Boutique: www.instylenail.ca

Kearns Marketing Group Inc.: www.kearnsmarketing.com

Lora Caven: www.loracaven.com

Meraki Fitness & Sports Performance: www.merakifitness.ca

Moltec International: www.moltecinternational.com

NHT Associates: www.nhttax.com

Premium Investigative Services: www.piservices.ca

R5 Sites: www.raven5.com

Ralph (Stephen) Ellis – Primerica: www.primerica.com

Ready Care Inc.: www.readycares.ca

Reincom: ron@reincom.ca

Safe Bathing Canada: www.safebathingcanada.com

Smart Reader: www.readycares.ca

Spatless Cleaning Services: www.spaclean.ca

The SBO Corp: ron.alltree@thesbocorp.com

United Water Restoration Group: danes@unitedwaterrestoration.com

 


Inclusivity In The Workplace – Chamber Members and Local MPs Weigh In

Recently, the Oakville Chamber had the opportunity to participate in a round-table on inclusivity with the federal government and local businesses in Oakville. Many inclusive employers encourage others to embrace becoming inclusive organizations because it can lead to greater work productivity and competitive advantages. 
We asked two Chamber members to share their thoughts on inclusivity and this is what they had to say.

Mandy Rennehan – CEO, Freshco

When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

I can’t say it was a conscious decision. My business strategy has always been to lead with my heart and hiring is no different. I lovingly say I hire misfits — they are all unique and don’t fit into a stereotypical mould, and it works. My staff is from all walks of life, different ages and backgrounds. I firmly believe in hiring based on personality and bare potential, a resume is just a piece of paper and skills can be taught. I hire the right person for each job and it shows. My staff are happy, dedicated, and invested in the success of Freshco.

Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

The richness of an inclusive team is the diversity of opinions and points of view. If everyone at Freshco came from a similar background and thought and acted the same way we wouldn’t evolve and grow as quickly as we have. The beauty is having team members raise their hands with fresh ideas, wicked-smart questions, and new challenges that continue to push Freshco to be #1 in the industry.

Julia Hanna – Ritorno

When and why did you decide to become an inclusive employer?

I have always been an inclusive employer. It felt like the right thing to do and proved to be beneficial to my business. From the very beginning, we were able to build successful employee/employer relationships through inclusive employment.

Would you encourage other businesses to become inclusive employers and why?

I would absolutely encourage all businesses to consider inclusive employment. I have found that there are numerous rewards. The employees that I have hired have been appreciative of the opportunity. They give 100% commitment to learning and often have been the most reliable employees.

 

Working collaboratively with government is important. Weighing in on the issue of inclusivity our local members of parliament had this to say.

MP Pam Damoff – MP Oakville North Burlington

What does inclusivity mean to you and why is it important?

Building inclusive communities means fostering fair and equal opportunities for every Canadian and ensuring that Canadians living with disabilities have the same opportunities to find good, well-paying jobs, make a contribution to their communities and the economy, and build a better life for themselves and their families.

A huge component of that is accessibility. We must remove the barriers – both physical or otherwise — that prevent individuals from participating fully in all facets of our community and ensure that persons living with disabilities have fair and equal access to workplaces. However, making workplaces accessible is just one part of the process.  We must also ensure that we are fostering inclusive workplaces by proactively reaching out to businesses and organizations to share the benefits of people living with disabilities, as well as reaching out to people with disabilities for work opportunities and recognizing the valuable contributions they can make to our workplaces and communities.

One of my goals is to make Halton the most inclusive community in Canada. To do that, we must encourage businesses to have an inclusive employment strategy and the accessibility to ensure that all persons who wish to do so can find and meaningful work and receive a competitive wage for that work. Accessibility is about getting through the door while inclusivity is about creating an atmosphere where everyone is welcome and belongs. 

Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

Having an inclusive employment strategy is also good for businesses. Business owners in my community who have made their workplace inclusive say that it created a positive atmosphere for their employees and the business and allowed their business to become more efficient. Inclusive employment benefits our economy, creates workplaces with higher group performance and profits, and a broad range of social and economic benefits from a community perspective. 

Yet, Canadians living with disabilities still face barriers in participating in the labour market. Having open and honest roundtable discussions about the barriers to employment for individuals with disabilities is an important first step in changing perceptions. We must offer meaningful job experiences to individuals of all skill levels. There are agencies who can assist businesses to both hire and accommodate those living with disabilities, and the Government of Canada has programs that can assist businesses be successful. We recently launched the Opportunities Fund (OF) which helps persons with disabilities prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment or self-employment to increase their economic participation and independence. You can learn more at www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/disability-opportunity-national.html.

MP John Oliver – MP Oakville

What does inclusivity mean to you as a politician and why is it important?

In order for everyone in Canada to succeed, we need to know the challenges and barriers that people of diverse communities face. We can only fix problems when we know that they exist in the first place – that’s why it’s so important for folks of all backgrounds to have a seat at the table. This is particularly important in politics, where hearing from diverse perspectives is essential for changing legislation for the better, and investing in the right projects to create meaningful change in our communities.

Why do you think business should consider becoming an inclusive employer?

Much like in politics, businesses can only benefit from having further diversity involved in making decisions. Many Canadians who require additional assistance to succeed in the workplace are not able to reach their full potential, simply because businesses lack the infrastructure to accommodate hiring employees with disabilities. The Government of Canada knows that hiring Canadians with disabilities is an important resource for businesses, which is why we support businesses looking to become more inclusive through the Enabling Accessibility Fund, Skills Link and the Opportunities Fund.

If you would like more information on becoming an inclusive employer please visit:

Community Living Oakville
www.oakcl.org
Discover Ability
www.discoverability.network
Ready, Willing and Able
www.readywillingable.ca



Become an MNP Future Leader

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a partner of the MNP Future Leaders Program!

MNP Future Leaders ProgramAs an entrepreneurial firm built for entrepreneurs, MNP is proud to support our local business communities and young business leaders. They created the MNP Future Leaders mentorship program to recognize the importance of new and growing businesses – the lifeblood of our economy. They are committed to providing them with the support, advice and tools they need to succeed in a rapidly-changing business environment. The program is aimed at current students and recent graduates from their post-secondary institution partners including Ryerson University, Sheridan College and University of Toronto Mississauga who are seeking to start or actively involved in an entrepreneurial enterprise.

MNP has also partnered with key local stakeholders who share the same goal of supporting youth entrepreneurship in our business community including the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, Brampton Board of Trade, Mississauga Board of Trade, City of Brampton, City of Mississauga, and Metroland Media.

Winners will receive free monthly professional mentoring, guidance and advice from an experienced MNP partner for one full year and a personalized award acknowledging their accomplishment as an MNP Future Leader. They will also receive a year-long membership with their local board of trade or chamber of commerce. Member benefits include access to valuable resources and information on current industry trends and public policy issues, advocacy support as well as networking and growth opportunities.

HOW DO I APPLY?
Visit www.MNP.ca/futureleaders for more details about the program and to complete and submit an online application by the April 10, 2018 deadline.