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by Scott A. Sumner
  A Leaders Luncheon was  held on Monday, June 26 with the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development & Labour at the Prince Arthur Hotel.
The Minister’s presentation  highlighted issues of concern to local businesses, including FedNor, infrastructure spending, the federal deficit and the role of women in leadership.

Patty Hajdu Minister of Labour
“ Today I am talking about our governments approach to growth and growing the economy, the investments we are making not just in skills development but across the board to help insure a strong and thriving middle class. How can we achieve that goal together with small business? We know small businesses are drivers of the economy so it is my interest to meet regularly with small business to learn how we can serve their needs better.”

“ Thunder Bay has always struggled with a fairly challenging economic outlook. We have often relied on resource extraction to drive our economy. We have taken great strides to diversify our economy but I
think we can do more. We need to have the resiliency as a community to keep going if we encounter problems say in forestry and softwood lumber.”
“ The Canadian economy is booming and we are the fastest growing in the G7 so that shows we are on the right track. We need to invest in communities to help and one way is closing that digital divide with
broadband with everyone having access to high speed internet. We are also investing in affordable housing and child care to unlook opportunities for women.”
  “Unemployment has gone down in Thunder Bay recently and we have seen many small businesses add staff. I think people are feeling the optimism in Canada. My son is a welder and he works for a small welding business that just hired 5 new people. The larger contractors are getting the big contracts, say in infrastruture projects, and that lets the smaller firms pick up the slack.We also have real data that shows
job growth numbers that  indicate growth.”
“ We lose out on an opportunity if we don’t fully engage with those that aren’t fully represented in the workforce. Women are a sector that are often in lower paying positions or part time and may not be in
senior levels as often. We want everyone to have the same opportunity for success. The federal government  can go only so far but it is really about selling a vision to corporations of when they add women and diversity they add profits. It is about growing your business. Diverse voices can reach different audiences.”

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