Business Survey to Assess COVID-19 Impact on Local Economy

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THUNDER BAY – As Ontario is set to unveil the plans for re-opening the economy, plans by a working group here in Thunder Bay are set to do a monthly survey to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy and on local businesses.

“We need to know what our businesses need – now, and as time progresses,” said Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce.  “In our role as business advocates, we want to help the government develop supports that make sense for our region’s specific needs.  To be effective, we need businesses of all sizes to tell us what those needs are as they are evolving.”

Madge Richardson, Executive Director of the North Superior Workforce Planning Board, says their interest is in preparing the workforce to meet the ‘new normal’.  “The information we collect through this survey will help develop programs that bridge gaps between the emerging needs of employers and the existing workforce,” she said.  “We’re looking to employers to help us anticipate their labour requirements and be ready to meet them.”

To ensure the unique circumstances of Thunder Bay District businesses are considered in government planning, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is working together with the North Superior Workforce Planning Board, the Thunder Bay CEDC and Northern Policy Institute to conduct a monthly business impact survey that will assess the ongoing effects of COVID-19 on businesses operating in the region over the next six months.

The April survey launched this morning.

The 5-minute survey will be repeated each month through September in communities across the region.  We strongly encourage respondents to participate in the survey each month. Participants returning regularly will allow for information to show how the effects of COVID-19 evolve over time for businesses.

The information gathered will inform advocacy work that helps shape federal, provincial and municipal government policies, ensuring Thunder Bay’s needs are identified and considered. It may also be used by community partners as a way of identifying workforce and business needs and developing supports unique to the region.

The survey is open to businesses of all sizes and can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BR2T5L8