Surrey Business News

Board Chair Mes­sage Sig­ni­fies Busi­ness Lead­er­ship Dur­ing the Pan­demic

– How­ever, some in­dus­tries es­ti­mated to ac­tu­ally have a higher level of em­ploy­ment than Fe­bru­ary 2020.

- Business · Unemployment · Infectious Diseases · Employment · Society · Health Conditions · Surrey · Zoom Video Communications · British Columbia

Doug Ten­nant The COVID-19 pan­demic im­pacted us all in 2020 and will con­tinue to do so in 2021. For the Sur­rey Board of Trade’s (SBOT) busi­ness mem­bers, it has been a try­ing time, with safety pro­to­cols mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to do ‘busi­ness as usual’. The SBOT, un­der the stal­wart lead­er­ship of Anita Hu­ber­man, also had to shift the usual man­ner of do­ing busi­ness to achieve our ends.

We moved to vir­tual plat­forms for net­work­ing, ed­u­ca­tional, and gala events, while also shift­ing our ad­vo­cacy to fo­cus on the press­ing pan­demic-re­lated needs of our mem­ber­ship. The board mem­bers of the SBOT have also shifted the way we go about our gov­er­nance work, while still ful­fill­ing our man­date of guid­ing, mon­i­tor­ing, learn­ing, and con­sult­ing dur­ing 2020. One of the im­me­di­ate shifts the SBOT Board made in March of 2020 was tak­ing our meet­ings fully on­line, us­ing Zoom as our plat­form. In some ways our board meet­ings have been en­hanced by us­ing a dig­i­tal plat­form as our dis­cus­sions and de­lib­er­a­tions have be­come more fo­cused and or­ga­nized.

Our abil­ity to guide and to mon­i­tor the SBOT was not neg­a­tively im­pacted by the pan­demic as our

CEO main­tained her Ends and Ex­ec­u­tive Lim­i­ta­tions re­port­ing, and ex­ter­nal mon­i­tor­ing through our au­di­tors, BDO Canada, was un­changed.

The SBOT Board is re­spon­si­ble for seek­ing ed­u­ca­tion in ar­eas that will as­sist our gov­er­nance abil­i­ties and our un­der­stand­ing of the is­sues fac­ing our mem­ber­ship

(both be­fore and dur­ing the pan­demic). Board mem­bers par­tic­i­pated in gov­er­nance we­bi­nars, re­viewed and dis­cussed re­ports and ar­ti­cles on good gov­er­nance, and re­ceived in-house pol­icy gov­er­nance train­ing dur­ing the pan­demic. We also re­quested and re­ceived re­ports on the im­pact of COVID-19 on Sur­rey busi­nesses.

One Board ac­count­abil­ity that has been im­pacted by COVID-19 is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to con­sult with our ‘own­ers’, who we de­fined as the busi­ness mem­bers of the SBOT. PRE-COVID 19, this would be done in­for­mally at the SBOT’S in-per­son events and for­mally at the Novem­ber Busi­ness in Sur­rey break­fast.

While Board mem­bers have par­tic­i­pated in many of the on­line net­work­ing events hosted by the SBOT, the abil­ity to have per­son-top­er­son con­ver­sa­tions is very much re­duced on an on­line plat­form. The Board has still found ways to con­sult di­rectly with sub-sec­tions of our own­er­ship.

Many of our busi­ness mem­bers have had to fight to make it through 2020 and the pan­demic. I am feel­ing op­ti­mistic that the year 2021 will be bet­ter.

BC busi­nesses want­ing to re­duce air pol­lu­tion and save on fuel costs can ac­cess more in pro­vin­cial re­bates through the Cleanbc Spe­cialty-use Ve­hi­cle In­cen­tive (SUVI) and Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cle Pi­lot (CVP) pro­grams.

The SUVI pro­gram is re­ceiv­ing $31 mil­lion in fund­ing through Strongerbc, the Province’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery plan, to dou­ble the max­i­mum re­bates for medium and heavy-duty ve­hi­cles avail­able for BC busi­nesses, lo­cal and re­gional gov­ern­ments, public sec­tor or­ga­ni­za­tions and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions in their adop­tion of spe­cialty-use zero-emis­sion ve­hi­cles. Those pur­chas­ing el­i­gi­ble ve­hi­cles will have ac­cess to 33% of the cost, up to a max­i­mum of $100,000 per ve­hi­cle, up from $50,000 max­i­mum.

Ve­hi­cles el­i­gi­ble for SUVI re­bates in­clude medium- and heavy-duty ve­hi­cles such as bat­tery elec­tric or hy­dro­gen­fu­elled pas­sen­ger buses, air­port and port ser­vice ve­hi­cles and heavy-duty trans­port trucks, as well as smaller spe­cialty-use ve­hi­cles such as mo­tor­cy­cles, cargo e-bikes, and low-speed util­ity trucks.

To fur­ther sup­port one of

BC’S most im­pacted sec­tors, tourism com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing res­tau­rants and other hos­pi­tal­ity busi­nesses, are el­i­gi­ble for dou­ble the re­bates and can ac­cess 66% of the cost of an el­i­gi­ble medium- or heavy-duty ve­hi­cle, such as a food de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle or shut­tle bus, up to a max­i­mum of $100,000 per ve­hi­cle.

Quick Fact:

In 2018, BC’S com­mer­cial trans­port sec­tor ac­counted for ap­prox­i­mately 60% of BC’S trans­port emis­sions and 22% of to­tal pro­vin­cial emis­sions.

In the last 100 years, there have been 14 re­ces­sions, 25 bear mar­kets, 1 global de­pres­sion, dou­ble-digit in­fla­tion and in­ter­est rates, count­less wars, con­flicts and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, and one global pan­demic (COVID-19).

Dur­ing this time, more than 1 bil­lion peo­ple have been lifted out of poverty, life ex­pectancy has dou­bled, child mor­tal­ity has been cut by 50%, and the ad­vance­ments in health care, tech­nol­ogy, and lit­er­acy have been truly stag­ger­ing.

The world is a tremen­dous place where the com­bined im­pact of hu­mankind and free en­ter­prise mar­kets have dra­mat­i­cally im­proved the stan­dard of liv­ing for bil­lions of peo­ple.

Main point – Out of prob­lems come op­por­tu­nity, if we fo­cus on see­ing it!

While the COVID-19 pan­demic and re­sul­tant eco­nomic lock­down have had a ter­ri­ble toll on peo­ple and busi­nesses and will do so for some time to come, there will be op­por­tu­ni­ties. Right now, we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a num­ber of ma­jor so­ci­etal and eco­nomic trends that will cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for busi­ness for many years to come:

• In­ter­est rates are likely to re­main low

• Govern­ment ac­tion is cre­at­ing stim­u­la­tive con­sumer and busi­ness ben­e­fits;

• The pan­demic is re­al­lo­cat­ing dis­cre­tionary spend­ing;

• COVID-19 is ac­cel­er­at­ing the adop­tion of new con­sumer be­hav­iours; and

• The ris­ing mil­len­nial de­mo­graphic is cre­at­ing new mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.

How do you take ad­van­tage of the chang­ing con­di­tions to find new op­por­tu­ni­ties for your busi­ness? Strat­egy 1: Op­ti­mize What You Have Now

Think about how you can lever­age all your cur­rent re­sources, re­la­tion­ships and cus­tomers. Sell more of what you have to your cur­rent cus­tomers. Sell some­thing new to your cur­rent cus­tomers. Or, ramp up sales and get new cus­tomers.

Strat­egy 2: Lis­ten to Your Cus­tomers!

As con­sumer sen­ti­ment is chang­ing rapidly, there has never been a bet­ter time to truly lis­ten to and un­der­stand the needs of your cus­tomers.

Strat­egy 3: Cre­ate New, Post-pan­demic Prod­ucts and Ser­vices

As the pan­demic shifts to a new phase, now is a great time to gain a com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage by launch­ing new prod­ucts and ser­vices, es­pe­cially if your com­peti­tors are re­trench­ing. Fig­ure out where your mar­ket is go­ing and what you can of­fer of value that will give you an edge when the lock­downs end, and the econ­omy re­turns to full strength.

The econ­omy will sta­bi­lize even­tu­ally. Use the time now to po­si­tion your busi­ness for the emerg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Anita Hu­ber­man Sur­rey Board of Trade The Sur­rey Board of Trade’s 5th Sur­rey Labour Mar­ket In­tel­li­gence Re­port on Covid19-re­lated im­pacts in­di­cates that 29,000 jobs have been re­cov­ered since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic. Now Sur­rey is in a net deficit of just over

Hu­man Cap­i­tal Strate­gies 8,000 jobs, down from a peak of over 37,000 jobs lost since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic. “While other sur­veys and statis­tics show dire busi­ness fu­tures, Sur­rey shows good eco­nomic pro­gres­sion and a pos­i­tive eco­nomic fu­ture,” said

Anita Hu­ber­man, CEO, Sur­rey Board of Trade. “How­ever, we can’t lose sight of those busi­nesses that are the hard­est hit by the pan­demic – and need­ing con­tin­ued sup­port by busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tions and govern­ment.”


• The to­tal es­ti­mated net deficit of jobs in Sur­rey since Fe­bru­ary 2020 is now just over 8,000 jobs, down from a peak of over 37,000 jobs lost.

• Since the end of July 2020, Sur­rey has re­cov­ered over 29,000 jobs (over 78% of the jobs lost be­tween March and July 2020) with over 4,500 of these re­cov­ered jobs be­ing at­trib­uted to the month of De­cem­ber. In the last half of 2020, the num­ber of jobs has been on a steady in­cline.

• The Util­i­ties in­dus­try is the only in­dus­try in Sur­rey that has trended in the op­po­site di­rec­tion of over­all jobs, with sig­nif­i­cant gains in the first half of 2020 (over 1,000 jobs gained) and con­sis­tent losses in the sec­ond half (over 750 jobs lost).

• The in­dus­tries that have seen the strong­est re­cov­ery, in terms of num­ber of jobs re­cov­ered since July, in­clude: Ac­com­mo­da­tion & Food Ser­vices (al­most 7,000 jobs); Busi­ness, Build­ing & Other Sup­port Ser­vices (over 4,100 jobs); and Trans­porta­tion & Ware­hous­ing (over 3,300 jobs).

• Em­ploy­ment losses by oc­cu­pa­tion in De­cem­ber 2020 were seen in Man­u­fac­tur­ing & Util­i­ties oc­cu­pa­tions (ap­prox­i­mately 690 jobs), Health oc­cu­pa­tions (ap­prox­i­mately

400 jobs), and Art, Cul­ture, Re­cre­ation & Sport oc­cu­pa­tions (ap­prox­i­mately 187 jobs) in Sur­rey.

• Though Sales & Ser­vices oc­cu­pa­tions have seen a steady in­crease in jobs since July (over 1,000 jobs gained in De­cem­ber 2020), these oc­cu­pa­tions have seen the great­est over­all loss in Sur­rey (over 10,000 jobs lost) since the be­gin­ning of the pan­demic.

• Man­u­fac­tur­ing & Util­i­ties oc­cu­pa­tions show an over­all net gain of jobs when com­pared to Fe­bru­ary 2020 (ap­prox­i­mately 1,000 jobs), how­ever these oc­cu­pa­tions have con­tin­u­ally posted a job loss in ev­ery month of Q4 2020.

• Though in De­cem­ber, some jobs were re­cov­ered in both of the fol­low­ing in­dus­tries, they have seen the great­est over­all losses since Fe­bru­ary 2020: Whole­sale & Re­tail (over 5,700 or 11.3% of jobs lost); fol­lowed by Con­struc­tion (over 5,500 or 17.3% of jobs lost); Other Ser­vices (al­most 4,100 or 26.9% of jobs lost); and Trans­porta­tion & Ware­hous­ing (al­most 2,200 or 7.9% of jobs lost).

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 ?? ?? City of Sur­rey is in­stalling 40+ elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions at 10 public fa­cil­i­ties across the city thanks to fed­eral fund­ing. City of Sur­rey is in­stalling 40+ elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing sta­tions at 10 public fa­cil­i­ties across the city thanks to fed­eral fund­ing.
 ??  ?? Ea­monn Percy
Ea­monn Percy
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 ??  ?? Kerry Jothen
Kerry Jothen

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