Feature – A Powerful Voice for Ottawa’s business community
THE LOOK IS NEW, as is the name. But the goals of the newly created Ottawa Board of Trade remain unchanged:
– Increase prosperity through advocacy and economic development
– Deliver greater value and increased benefits to Ottawa’s business community.
Only do it better.
Creating the synergy required to ‘do it better’ was the driving force behind the recent consolidation of the city’s three chambers of commerce. The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the West Ottawa Board of Trade were the first to act, coming together in June to create a single organization—the Ottawa Board of Trade. Two months later, the Orléans Chamber of Commerce came aboard, giving the three organizations the single, powerful voice they had sought for years.
The consolidation comes 17 years after the 11 municipalities of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton amalgamated as the City of Ottawa. At the time, it was assumed that the five existing chambers would also merge to form a single organization.
But it wasn’t until about 18 months ago that the three remaining chambers agreed that their members would be better served by a single, united organization.
Although still in its infancy, officials from all three organizations are optimistic that the Ottawa Board of Trade will truly benefit Ottawa’s business community.
“There has never been a better time…to strengthen the Ottawa business community,” said Ian Sherman, chair of the Ottawa Board of Trade.
“This consolidation marks a historic turning point for Ottawa’s business community,” said Mischa Kaplan, chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade.
“This…will enhance our synergies…bolster our Ottawa business community and represent the region in a more substantial way,” said Andrew Scott, chair of the Orléans Chamber of Commerce.
Ian Faris, the president and CEO of the Ottawa Board of Trade, shares their optimism, pointing out that Ottawa’s business community will be better served when it speaks with one voice. “As a result of this consolidation, we’re uniquely positioned to impact community prosperity through advocacy and economic development,” he says.
“We can now deliver greater value and benefit to our members and potential members and—perhaps most important of all—we can significantly strengthen the voice of business in our community.”
The three organizations clearly don’t intend to wait until the ink is dry on the new deal before making their voice heard.
They’ve already met to determine if there are additional synergies that can increase the number of businesses in Ottawa who support the organizations’ work; to enhance the impact of the organizations’ work on the Ottawa business community, and to position the Ottawa Board of Trade as the strongest possible voice for business in the Ottawa region.
“We’re planning to launch a number of signature initiatives this fall,” says Faris, “once we have a fully integrated membership, staff complement, and communications vehicles.” Those plans include a new awards program for micro-businesses and entrepreneurs, a breakfast series to provide networking, education and recognition opportunities for businesses from various areas of the city, a Women’s Leadership Council and a Next Generation Council—to better focus the new organization’s work and initiatives to these growing segments of the board’s membership.
Another major initiative will see the Board of Trade sponsor economic development and city building conferences to complement its advocacy initiatives on projects like LeBreton Flats, and LRT connectivity to areas like Kanata, Stittsville, Barrhaven and, eventually, the proposed Gatineau LRT system.
And that’s only scratching the surface, says Faris. Together, the three chambers have voiced their support for the Ottawa International Airport Authority’s position on retaining non-profit; local community ownership of airports, they expressed their displeasure with the Ontario government about changes to labour and employment standards reform; and they provided the City of Ottawa with commentary and direction in support of the 2018 budget.
More is already being done by the newly created Ottawa Board of Trade, with more to be done in the future,” says Faris.
“Consolidation has given the city’s business community a strong voice,” he says. “We’ll be doing all we can to make sure that voice is heard.”
Ottawa Board of Trade New Logo Explained…
Inspired by the circular shape of the “O” in the font and the “O” in Ottawa, the Ottawa Board of Trade’s new logo effectively captures the board’s heightened level of energy and enthusiasm.
The logo consists of a series of multi-coloured concentric circles:
• The green circle represents sustainability and support for the region’s natural environment;
• the purple circle represents Ottawa’s diversity, inclusion and wealth;
• the orange circle stands for the innovation and expansion of the city’s business sector;
• the blue circle demonstrates stability and the area’s rich history
When taken in sync, the circles illustrate:
• The value of working together
• The sectors of our economy
• The various sizes of our businesses (from entrepreneur to major employers)
• The regions of our city
“Our logo represents everything the Ottawa Board of Trade stands for,” says Ian Faris, the new organization’s CEO and President [he was also CEO and president of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce]. “It positions us a professional organization, wholly committed to serving the city’s business community and to promoting the region’s economic future.”
Did you know?
• The Ottawa Board of Trade was founded on June 10, 1857 by a special Act of Parliament
• Ottawa’s first Mayor, John Bower Lewis, was also the Board of Trade’s first Chair
• Mr. Lewis was also elected to the House of Commons, representing the riding of Ottawa City from 1872 to 1873
• Decade by decade the Ottawa Board of Trade actively supported the construction of new buildings, homes, schools, hospitals, bridges and roads
• Through public opinion, the Board facilitated the introduction of tap water to residents via the Thomas C. Keefer plant in 1875
• The Ottawa Board of Trade was instrumental in founding the annual Tulip Festival, and the Winter Carnival now popularly known as Winterlude
2018 Ottawa Board of Trade
Ian Sherman, EY (Chair)
Mischa Kaplan, Cardinal Research Group (Vice-Chair)
Joelle Hall, Richardson GMP (Vice-Chair)
Lynn Johnston, TD Canada Trust (Corporate Secretary)
Ruby Williams, Deloitte (Treasurer)
Ian Faris, Ottawa Board of Trade (ex-officio)
Board of Directors
James Baker, Keynote Group
Craig Bater, Augustine Bater Binks LLP
Priya Bhaloo, TAG HR
Dirk Bouwer, Perley-Robertson,
Hill & McDougall LLP
Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism
Wayne French, Waste Management
of Canada Corporation
Cyril Leeder, Myers Auto Group
Mark Nisbett, Brookstreet Hotel
Robert Rheaume, BDO Canada LLP
Andrew Scott, Pita Pit Ottawa
Greg Skotnicki, Market Maker Agriculture
Amanda-Lyn Smith, The Massage and Treatment Clinic
Wendy Trudel, Community Employment Resource Centre
Shelley True, TRUEdotDESIGN
Jorge Useche, RBC Royal Bank
George Van Noten, The Minto Group
Rob White, Red Chef Ventures