For Immediate Release: April 24, 2020
Greater Moncton Economic Development
Stakeholders Work on Recovery Plan
Economic development organizations from across southeast New Brunswick are working together on an economic recovery plan as the region prepares to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton and 3+ Corporation are leading a group of stakeholders that include the City of Moncton, Ville de Dieppe/Expansion Dieppe, Town of Riverview, Town of Sackville, WorkingNB, and Opportunities New Brunswick on the plan. The group has also reached out to other Chambers of Commerce and smaller municipalities in the region for input.
This new Southeast Economic Recovery Task Force has been meeting virtually for the past month. Their work to-date has focused on responding to the immediate economic impact of the pandemic. One of the group’s first initiatives was creation of a joint COVID-19 information hub on the CCGM website that includes government and private sector assistance programs.
As New Brunswick begins to prepare for a gradual resumption of the economy, the group has now turned its attention to the recovery phase.
“We know many businesses in our region have suffered greatly during the pandemic,” Chamber CEO John Wishart said. “We now need to identify what is needed by both individual businesses and our economy as a whole to emerge stronger from this crisis.”
Recovery work will be focused on short- and long-term needs. The group conducted a survey of Greater Moncton area businesses last week which identified the greatest challenges facing business owners. Next steps will include determining longer-term supports for the business community based on the survey results, identifying labour force supply and demand, and guiding businesses and organizations on how to safely resume operations for both their employees and customers.
“We know our business community will need help to recover,” 3+ CEO Susy Campos said. “We believe it is through all of these agencies working together that we can create a plan that assists everyone through the challenge of reopening and rebuilding.”
The Chamber-3+ survey revealed some immediate needs. The majority of the 156 respondents cited meeting payroll, paying lease costs and assistance to meet loan and line of credit obligations as their greatest needs.
On the impact of COVID-19 on their business, 46 per cent said it was “very serious”, while another 42 per cent said it was “serious”. Twenty-six per cent of respondents have laid off all of their employees while another 35 per cent said they had laid off some workers. The number of layoffs was nonetheless substantial, with individual respondents saying they had laid off 250 people, 142, and “92 out of 104”.
A total of 35 per cent of respondents said they had closed their business, with all of those owners saying that so far, the closure was ‘temporary’. The Task Force plans additional surveys during the recovery period to keep up-to-date on community needs.