Too Small to Fail: Canada’s Economic Recovery Needs a Small Business Rebound

Too Small to Fail: Canada’s Economic Recovery Needs a Small Business Rebound

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Date: Wednesday, December 9th 2020

Time: 3pm EST

COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on small businesses in Canada. The pandemic has resulted in many businesses being shuttered and has left many in survival mode, unsure of whether or not they will be able to make it through the coming months. The impacts of the crisis have also been felt more sharply by women since they are over-represented in small business employment. Being the backbone of the Canadian economy, we cannot expect a full recovery without a small business rebound.  

Join the Canadian Club of Ottawa on December 9 as we bring together leaders from industry, government and academia to discuss how small businesses are working through the crisis and what can be done to help them thrive in a post-pandemic economy. This expert panel will be moderated by Heather Scoffield, Ottawa Bureau Chief and Economics Columnist at The Toronto Star, and will feature: 

Perrin Beatty - President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

The Honourable Perrin Beatty, PC, OC, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the 200,000-member Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s largest and most representative national business association. Before joining the Canadian Chamber in August 2007, Perrin held the same role at Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). A descendant of one of Canada’s most prominent manufacturing families, he grew up in Fergus, Ontario and graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1971. Perrin was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative in 1972. During his 21 years in Parliament, he served as Minister in seven different portfolios, including Treasury Board, National Revenue, Solicitor General, Defence, National Health and Welfare, Communications and External Affairs. In 1994, Perrin joined a number of private sector boards and worked as a consultant in communications. In addition, he was an Honorary Visiting Professor in Western University’s Department of Political Science. From 1995 to 1999, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In keeping with his long-standing interest in education, Perrin served as Chancellor of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2015. He has received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Western University, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and Wilfrid Laurier University. Perrin is currently a member of the board of directors of Mitsui Canada and in 2018, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his lifetime of public service and for his devotion to the development of our nation as a community leader and corporate visionary. In 2020, the Government of Japan awarded Perrin the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, in recognition of his many distinguished achievements in international relations and advancements in Canada-Japan business relations.


Dr. Wendy Cukier - Professor, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Ted Rogers School of Management and Director, Diversity Institute

Dr. Wendy Cukier is the Diversity Institute Founder, Academic Director of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and Research Lead of the Future Skills Centre. Dr. Wendy Cukier is one of Canada’s leading experts in disruptive technologies, innovation processes, and diversity and inclusion. The  Diversity Institute works with partners on projects (including several with OCC) aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership and entrepreneurship. Wendy leads the  Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, funded by the Government of Canada which promotes inclusive supports for women and other diverse entrepreneurs. Wendy was also an integral part of the bid for the new $260m Ryerson-led Future Skills Centre, funded by the Government of Canada and now leads a program of research focused driving innovative approaches to bridges the skills gap. She has helped create and grow several successful startups and social ventures including Flybits, Think2Thing, the Madeleine Collective, and Growing North (now Green Iglu).

Wendy received many awards for her work advancing diversity and inclusion, including the Meritorious Service Cross, one of Canada’s highest civilian honours. She has been recognized with the Harry Jerome Diversity Award,  the 2019 CATA Alliance Sara Kirke Award, a YWCA Women of Distinction Award, WXN most powerful women and, most recently, the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Community Builder Award and was named one of the International Women’s Forum 2020 Women Who Make a Difference. She has an MA, MBA, PhD in Management Science and two honorary doctorates.


John Stackhouse - Senior Vice President, Office of the CEO, RBC

John Stackhouse is a nationally bestselling author and one of Canada’s leading voices on innovation and economic disruption. He is senior vice-president in the office of the CEO at Royal Bank of Canada, leading the organization’s research and thought leadership on economic, technological and social change. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail and editor of Report on Business. He is a senior fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. His latest book is Planet Canada: How Our Expats Are Shaping the Future, which explores the untapped resource of the millions of Canadians who don’t live here but exert their influence from afar.


Paul Thompson - Associate Deputy Minister Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Mr. Paul Thompson was appointed as Associate Deputy Minister at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in November 2017.

He has held executive positons in various departments including the Privy Council Office, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Treasury Board Secretariat. Prior to his current role, he held several Assistant Deputy Minister positions at Employment and Social Development Canada and most recently as the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for the Skills and Employment Branch. 

Mr. Thompson has 3 teenage children and enjoys staying active in a number of summer and winter sports and outdoor activities.

Mr. Thompson holds a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Toronto.


Heather Scoffield - Ottawa Bureau Chief and Economics Columnist at the Toronto Star

Heather Scoffield is the Ottawa bureau chief and economics columnist at the Toronto Star. Her writing focuses on political economy and its effect on people. Previously, she was Ottawa bureau chief for The Canadian Press, leading an award-winning team of 15 journalists focused on politics, public policy and the nation’s capital. Over the course of her 27-year career in journalism, she has covered monetary and fiscal policy, economics, trade policy, social policy, aboriginal affairs, environment and energy, and several different political parties. Before joining CP in 2009, she spent 12 years at the Globe and Mail. She and her team won several National Newspaper Awards for their work, among other recognitions. Heather has a Master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario and a BA in international relations from York University. She lives in Gatineau, QC.