We must all work to improve the canvas – Charla Robinson TBCC

Thunder Bay has had its credit rating re-affirmed by Standard and Poors
Thunder Bay has had its credit rating re-affirmed by Standard and Poors

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President
Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Another week and another report that ranks Thunder Bay in comparison to other communities on a particular set of criteria.  The report that’s in the news this week is from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.  It discusses the top places in Canada to start and grow businesses.  Based on their criteria and research, it ranks Thunder Bay at 109 out of 121 communities.  Cue the media calls to local elected officials and business development leaders with the question: “Do you agree with the ranking in this report?”.

To me, what is more important than the specific ranking is the opportunity that these types of reports provide us to understand what the experts have identified as key indicators of success.  These detailed studies don’t come cheap!  Rather than becoming defensive about our standing, let’s take full advantage of the free research they give us.  Let’s look at those highly ranked communities to learn more about what they are doing to achieve success and work to apply those best practices in our city.

In this era of global competition, Thunder Bay is one of thousands of communities who are trying to attract and retain entrepreneurs and immigrants.  We must not dismiss the views and opinions of economists and researchers from other jurisdictions, because it is those insights that are informing the decisions of the entrepreneurs and immigrants that we want to entice to our city.  It is information from groups such as CFIB, Money Sense Magazine, The Conference Board of Canada, and The Globe and Mail that define the views of those looking at us from the outside.

Let’s keep up our efforts to improve the picture that is being painted of our community by economists who may have never set foot in our region.  We know that we have an amazing city – we must all work together to improve the canvas so that others can see it as well.

Charla Robinson
President, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce