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House of Commons Emblem

Standing Committee on International Trade


NUMBER 084 
l
1st SESSION 
l
42nd PARLIAMENT 

EVIDENCE

Monday, October 30, 2017

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

  (1525)  

[English]

     Good afternoon and welcome, everybody, on this windy Monday in Ottawa. Anybody who has an umbrella still working is very fortunate. Most umbrellas got ripped this morning.
    My name is Mark Eyking. I'm chair of the Standing Committee on International Trade. We are embarking on a study of multiculturalism and international trade, and this is our first meeting.
    Welcome to our witnesses. I met you before we started. We're going to have a couple of meetings on this topic, which is very important because our country is made up of many different cultures and nationalities, and there's a connection, of course, between the people in this country and trade.
    Without further ado, we'll get going. We'll give the witnesses roughly five minutes and then open up dialogue with the members.
    We'll start with the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce. Go ahead, sir.
     Mr. Chair and committee members, thank you very much for inviting the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce to speak to you today.
    The CPCC is dedicated to the promotion, development, and expansion of business, trade, and investment opportunities between Canada and Poland, as well as the development of relationships and networking opportunities with other ethnic business organizations in Canada in support of our members.
    The Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on June 21, 1994. This date is significant because it coincided with the arrival of the last large wave of Polish immigrants to Canada. Between the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, some 100,000 Polish people settled in Canada. Since then, economic activity throughout the Polish community has flourished. Canada's Polish community now numbers almost one million, and the latest Polish-Canadian business directory lists about 5,000 direct-to-consumer businesses. This directory does not include the many more Polish Canadian manufacturing, construction, and transportation companies that operate on a business-to-business basis.
    Unfortunately, the continuous prosperity of these companies is currently in doubt. The limited availability of skilled workers is a serious hindrance to many of them. While Canada's immigration policies are theoretically designed to address workforce shortages, existing programs are insufficient when it comes to addressing the current crisis. Organizations such as ours regularly raise these concerns in our discussions with public officials, but the Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce does not believe in raising a problem without also offering a solution.
    The CPCC is well connected to a large network of businesses around the world. By way of this network, we can help identify sources of qualified skilled labour for potential immigration to Canada. In particular, there are thousands of qualified Polish and other eastern Europeans who currently reside and work in the United Kingdom. As a result of the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations, many of those two million EU citizens feel that their future is in question; however, the situation presents a great opportunity for Canada. A prudently designed immigration program would assist businesses in Canada's Polish community as well as other Canadian businesses in gaining access to this highly educated and trained English-speaking workforce in a timely manner. The Canada-Poland Chamber of Commerce is ready and willing to serve as a credible partner of the Government of Canada in facilitating such an initiative.
    It is important to underscore that throughout the history of immigration to Canada, there have been many examples of community organizations being engaged in the process, including by assisting immigration authorities in the processing of thousands of immigration applications. I was actually sponsored by the Canadian Polish Congress to come to Canada.
    In one example that I was involved in personally, shortly after the declaration of martial law in Poland in 1981, the Canadian Polish Congress entered into a sponsorship agreement with Canada's immigration department to facilitate the immigration of people fleeing persecution under the then Communist regime in Poland. This program was extremely successful. The Toronto branch, just one branch of the Canadian Polish Congress that helped administer it, successfully sponsored around 30,000 people between 1987 and 1991.
    We would recommend that such a program, or a similar version of it, be considered today as an easy way of filling the urgent skills gap in our labour force. We are deeply invested in the continued well-being of both Canada's Polish communities and the Canadian business community as a whole. That is why we stand ready to do our part in securing a skilled workforce that will benefit Canadian businesses, strengthen the economy, and expand international trade.
    Thank you.

  (1530)  

     Thank you, sir.
    We'll move over to Cyclone Manufacturing.
    Go ahead. You have the floor.
    I have a presentation, if you would like to have it.
    We'll circulate it for you. Is it bilingual?
    No, it's in English.
    Okay. We'll have it translated and we'll distribute it.
    It will be translated later, but could we have a copy of it now?
    Yes, go ahead—if that's okay with the committee.
    Is that okay with the committee?

[Translation]

    I am the only one who speaks French.

[English]

    I'm sorry to interject, Mr. Chair, but it's unfair to those on the committee who require a French copy. Can we get it after?
     Is that fair enough, to have it after the meeting?
    An hon. member: Those are the rules.
    Okay. We don't have unanimous consent.
    Sorry about that, sir. It's no problem. It happens all the time. We'll get it translated. It's not a problem at all.
    Go ahead. You have the floor.
    Thank you.
    Cyclone Manufacturing was founded in 1964. It entered into the aerospace business in 1978. We are a vertically integrated company as a first-tier and second-tier supplier to all major aerospace customers. At the present time, we have 360,000 square feet of floor-space. Altogether, we have more than 100 CNC machines.
    We are, I would say, one of the biggest privately owned companies in North America at the present time. We supply components all over the world: in America, or the United States, 23%; in Europe 32%; in Canada 37%; and in Asia 8%. We supply as far as Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, South America, Brazil, and Europe, so basically all over the world.
    Our major customers are Bombardier; Boeing; Triumph; AIDC; Israel Aerospace Industries, IAI; Embraer; Avcorp; ShinMaywa in Japan; Stelia; Saab in Sweden; Zodiac; MHI, Mitsubishi, in Japan; Spirit in the U.S. and France; FACC in Austria; and General Electric.
    Again, I can talk about the European customers, which would be Bombardier, FACC, Saab, Stelia, and IAI in Israel. In North and South America it would be Bombardier, Lockheed Martin, Spirit, Triumph, Embraer, and Avcorp. In Asia it would be AIDC in Taiwan, MHI, AVIC, and ShinMaywa.
    We produce components for all passenger airplanes, such as Airbus A320, A330, and A350; Boeing 777X, 737 MAX, and 787; Bombardier CRJ, CL-350, Global Express 5000 and 6000, Global Express 7000 and 8000, C Series, and Q400; Embraer; Gulfstream; Lockheed Martin; and so on.
    We have four facilities in Ontario. Three facilities are in Mississauga and one is in Milton. A fifth facility is in Poland. Altogether it's 360,000 square feet. At the present time, we have 750 employees. We are expanding at roughly 15% a year. At year end 2017 we shipped $98 million Canadian. Next year we have to ship 15% more, so we have to hire 15% more employees, with 15% more floor space and 15% more equipment.
    I believe we have more special processes—we have proof by our customers—than anybody else here in Canada at the present time. We are producing components like spars for a Dreamliner, 10 metres long, and small components as well, for the A350 Airbus and many other airplanes.
    I'm going to skip some of this, I think. I have just a few minutes.
    The majority of our components are mainly wing assemblies, like ribs. We have a contract for the A350 Airbus,14 spoilers on each wing. You'll see those on the landing. All of the wing tips on the 737s are produced at Cyclone.

  (1535)  

     Recently we have won many contracts for doors, especially from Boeing. Right now on the Dreamliner 787 and the 737 MAX 9, the pilot escape doors are made by Cyclone.
    We are also making flight control systems. All the ribs produced for the 8050, leading edge and trailing edge, are produced at Cyclone.
    We have major contracts on the Bombardier Global Express 7000. We are producing a leading edge for that airplane.
    Going back to the question of what our problem is, it's skilled labour. Some 90% of our employees were not born in Canada. I wasn't born in Canada either; I arrived in 1978. Ten years later, in 1990, I bought the company.
    We have 25 employees. Right now we are producing as much in two days as we used to produce in a year—and thank you very much; Canada is a great country, and I really appreciate it—obviously with Canadian government help. Without it, we couldn't do it.
    What I can say is that we are working together with Poland right now. I set up a corporation in Poland, and I can see that regulations in Canada are really favourable. We have much fewer regulations than in Europe. I don't see any problems. I have to educate them in Poland. I have to educate customs. I have to educate everybody. We are breaking ground: we are something new.
    Thank you very much. I appreciate and thank you for your invitation.

  (1540)  

    Thank you, sir. We're glad you came to this country. Your company has contributed greatly to our economy, and you have quite a footprint around the world. Thanks for coming.
    We're going to move now to the British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
    Go ahead, Ms. Terry.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee members, for the invitation and the opportunity to speak on this important issue today.
    The British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce was founded in 1951. It is based in Toronto, but we're just about to open an Ottawa branch, so it is expanding across the country. They currently have 100 members, and like my colleague here, they work very closely with several international partners, including the British American Business Council. It includes British chambers in the U.K. and U.S., which is a total of 30 chapters, plus the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe, so it's a significant network.
    In addition to being the founding member for the Ottawa chapter, I also have my own company, BTI Global Innovation. We provide consulting services to governments and individual companies for their international trade expansion and also for setting up and expanding in Canada.
    With that, I'd like to hand over to my colleague, Karima-Catherine. Karima is here representing her own company, and also the board from the Toronto chapter.
    Thank you.
    Hello, everyone. I'm also an immigrant. I arrived in Canada in 2000.
    I founded my company, Red Dot Digital, in 2014. We provide consulting services to any type of industry. We recently expanded to France and to the U.K. We also have a year-on-year gross of about 50%.
    I am also on the board of the British Canadian Chamber of Commerce and am co-chair of membership, so I'm here in that capacity as well.
    That's it.
     Thank you.
    That winds up the presentations.
    Before I go further, I'd like to recognize Jerry Sherman. It's good to see you here, sir. You're a familiar face around the Hill. You're from Embassy Connections Canada.
    We're going to start a dialogue now with the MPs. First, we have Colin Carrie from the Conservatives for five minutes.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to the witnesses for being here.
    I have two questions, so what I'm going to do is just read them out, and then maybe get the panel's opinion on them.
    You mentioned skilled labour challenges. Are there any recommendations you could make to the government with regard to immigration policy? Are there ways to improve the ability of ethnocultural communities to trade within different regions by improving our immigration policy? That's question one.
    The other question is with regard to free trade agreements. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are. Do these free trade agreements help the ethnocultural communities facilitate trade around the world, and should we be pursuing more free trade agreements? If so, are there countries that you could recommend that would be priorities?
    With that I'll be quiet. Maybe we can start with Mr. Sochaj and move across the panel.

  (1545)  

    As I mentioned, Canadian regulations are quite simple. We don't have any issues here in Canada with import. We are exporting 95% of our.... Actually, if we include Bombardier—it's also export—all of our products are going for export.
    As far as I can see, the major problem we have right now is Europe. I think a comprehensive agreement will help us. Once it's ratified.... Officials in Poland, for example, are very passive. They don't take any chances. They are afraid to be blamed for something that goes wrong. Their regulations are not very clear. They are subject to interpretation, and many times they change depending on which government is in power. I think if we have that agreement ratified, it would really help us in doing more business with Europe.
    As for immigration, I don't have a particular program in mind because I'm not too familiar with all of the programs right now. I know there are many different ones, but most of them, as far as skilled trades are concerned, involve an invitation from the particular business. That process is expensive. I think it's currently $3,000 just to get a confirmation of employment.
    We have a big transport company that is in constant need of drivers, for example. It said that it wasn't going to spend $3,000 for somebody who, the next day, after immigrating to Canada, leaves for another employer. That makes no sense. It's a big company that hires about 300 drivers, so to them, this expense would become really prohibitive.
    What I have in mind is that the chamber and other chambers—not necessarily only the Canada-Poland Chamber—assist in this process and get this evaluation themselves. I can give an example. The Polish Congress administered such a program, and it was extremely successful. As a result, as I mentioned, we had so many businesses that were created based on this wave of immigration. I don't want to pillage Great Britain when it comes to skilled trades, but there is uncertainty for those people. They don't really know what the rules are going to be after the Brexit negotiations conclude, so I think that creates a short window of opportunity to try to entice those people to come to Canada. We could be very helpful with that. We would, obviously, have to sit down with the department and talk about what's possible. We don't want to propose something that is not acceptable to the immigration department whatsoever.
    I think there is a way of trying to work this out that benefits Canada. It's not just about Polish businesses, obviously. I've talked with members of the provincial Parliament and with Minister Sousa, and all of them confirmed that this is the number one issue that they're confronted with by businesses wherever they go around the province. I have to assume that you, ladies and gentlemen, have encountered similar problems, with business people talking to you about a shortage of labour.
    I can give you a simple example. I have a—
     Maybe I'll get the example later, because I think I have less than two minutes left for the other two.
    Sorry.
    I am sorry, but you don't have time for another question.
    The last issue, as far as the CETA is concerned, we obviously think it's a great agreement. The problem is that, first, it's not quite ratified. It's already working, but there is a lack of information for Canadian businesses on how to use it, really. The regulations are hard to come by. We are attempting to go to every presentation possible on that, and we don't have clarity on that. Polish sites, for example, have much better instructions. As you know, it's a 400-page agreement, and not everybody can interpret that. You know as well that the whole problem is in regulations, not in an agreement.
    That's what we're lacking.
    Thank you, sir.
    We're going over to the Liberals, now. Mr. Fonseca, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you to the presenters.
    As you all know, we have a very diverse multicultural country and all of us are immigrants, except for our indigenous peoples, so we have come from all over, no matter whether it was the British or the French who were our earliest settlers, or our newest settlers that we have coming in today. The international trade committee, when we signed CETA, was looking at opportunities to expand trade and to leverage that potential that we have with our multicultural communities, and the chambers of commerce that many of you are in front of. What we are trying to find is how to have the successes that we've heard from Andrew, who has had a great deal of success in terms of international trade, in terms of growing his business here, and what we can do from our side, through our Canadian export programs or the like. It could also be around immigration, in terms of bringing in that skilled labour, but from a government's perspective, how can we be of service to you to help expand those businesses?
    It's one thing to sign a trade agreement, but it's another to see that come to life and to expand business. We've seen the success that Andrew has had with Cyclone, his manufacturing business, but we want to help others. You have forged the path.
    We'll hear from the ladies first, because we just heard from the gentlemen, and then we'll move over to the Polish Chamber of Commerce.
    Bernadette and Karima.

  (1550)  

    Do you want to go first?
    I'd like to take it in a little bit of the opposite direction and talk about the service industry, which I represent, and what we call the gig economy. We don't have a shortage of labour. What we have is a shortage of opportunities to break into the markets that have been typically and systematically given to the large companies, like the Deloittes, and so on. There seems to be a gap in Canada with medium-sized companies. You have the big ones and then you have the freelancers, but there is no real small and medium ecosystem. You will have the ones that are product-oriented in the tech industry, but rarely in the true service industry, servicing the tech industry. This is, I think, where the opportunity lies for us.
    Would this include international trade?
    Absolutely.
    If I may, what I'm looking for from the government is less red tape and more direct information as to what to do in matchmaking. Everything I've done from an international trade perspective I've found out on my own. I made the mistakes and I forged my own path, and that takes a hell of a lot of time and a lot of money.
    Andrew, your perspective has been that you have benefited from many programs, be they at the provincial level or the federal level, to help you expand your businesses around the world.
    Yes. In our case, we are opposite. We have plenty of opportunities, but have to really keep our balance sheet in balance. Our business is very capital intensive. I cannot expend too much. I have to keep my accounting, my bookkeeping, within certain bank requirements. These are our major problems. As I mentioned before, I appreciate that the Canadian government has helped us a lot in the past. That's how we managed to build the company to the size that it is.
    As the Canadian government, I think what you can do is have Canadian diplomatic facilities all over the world be informed of new regulations. They would have something ready when we call. Then if we call Warsaw, or any other embassy, we could get up-to-date information. They are not always kept up to date. Sometimes when I call, they refer me to the government here in Ottawa, to call somebody here in Ottawa to get information.
    I think that would help as well.
     Thank you. That pretty well wraps up your time.
    We're going to the NDP now. Ms. Ramsey, you have the floor for five minutes.
    Thank you so much.
    We've heard a lot at the trade committee about the skilled labour shortages that exist in different sectors across the country, and we hear of a lot of newly immigrated Canadians. There's a skills mismatch. They have skills from their home country. They're coming here and they're doing very different work from what they are trained for because there isn't a way to connect their skills with the Canadian reality. I'm wondering if you have any recommendations on how we can improve that, and what role, if any, your organizations play for your members and for new Canadians coming to facilitate that skills connect.

  (1555)  

    We don't do much. Our organization does mostly networking and facilitating, so we don't have resources to provide special courses to train newcomers.
    I can tell you from my experience that there are two issues. The first one is adapting to the new country. I came from Poland with a master's degree in business administration and law and administration, and for the first three years I was a cab driver. It's the cliché of immigration to Canada. I'm not begrudging that. I think that was just a part of what I had to do, because my English was very poor, to adapt to the new country, and now there's no problem with that.
    But you're absolutely right. There is this lack of coordination between a mass immigration and their skills set to what's actually needed in Canada. That's why I'm proposing something to try to, at least...part of immigration, based on the needs of Canada. Organizations like ours could be helpful in evaluating those jobs.
    The example I wanted to give you is very simple, the very low-tech job of butcher. This guy, who is one of our members, is producing Polish sausages and so on. He has three butchers who are 65 years old. They're still willing to work, but God knows how long they can work. He's willing to give somebody $15,000 just to find him a butcher. He's that desperate. There's a real shortage. I'm not sure if we can train people in a short period of time, especially for such a simple job, but which requires certain cultural knowledge of how we prepare certain things.
    Our solution is simple: import people who can do that job. They are available. There are almost two million European immigrants in Great Britain, and their future is uncertain. They're open to being solicited to come here. I think that's one thing.
    Obviously, the colleges have a role to play in training, but I think it would be wise for them to also contact chambers like ours to maybe gauge which skills are necessary.
    Yes, it would be great to see a partnership between the chambers that exist.
    Do you want to touch base on that?
    Yes. Everybody has touched on points that I've experienced first-hand.
    One of my previous roles with the U.K. government was in economic development and regeneration. We obviously did quite a lot of in-depth studies into this as well. One thing we focused on was training and education and upskilling, and programs there, and also helping companies with their export plans. We implemented programs to actually help companies with their business expansion and how to do international trade and put programs in place. We walked them through the whole process step by step. It's a case of knowledge sharing but also practical, hands-on support, and exactly as you pointed out, working in collaboration and partnership with colleges and other educational institutions to make sure you are actually putting the right people through.
    At the other end of the spectrum, however, I actually experienced first-hand a company here in Canada that really wanted to hire a scientist from Poland and couldn't because of immigration issues, and that person was integral to their company. Sometimes you'll get somebody who's extremely well qualified and is probably the best person in the world to do that particular job, but because of the processes in place—as somebody alluded to, red tape—it actually blocks that company from being successful here in Canada, so much so that they might even consider moving offshore or setting up a branch office elsewhere.
    Actually, I wasn't going to raise it, but Karima-Catherine made a really good point as well. So much focus in Canada seems to be put on the manufacturing industry, which is great because they do a wonderful job, and we need them and those are really good-quality jobs. However, some of the largest companies in Canada, such as CAE and CTI, are actually service-based providers. I don't know whether Karima-Catherine has had the same experience as I have, but as a service provider, if you contact a person in the federal government for support and help, they're really not as interested as they would be if you were a manufacturing company. However, you are still a business here. You're still paying taxes and you are still employing people, and there is capacity to grow.

  (1600)  

    Thank you.
    We have to move on. We are going over to the Liberals now.
    Mr. Dhaliwal, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you to the presenters.
    I came to Canada as an immigrant as well, speaking very little English. I learned English here. I went to the University of Calgary and did my engineering studies there, but—the other way around—my daughters were born here, and both went to Hungary to do their medicine studies. They are doing their residency in the U.S., but they are facing the same barriers now. In fact, born here, they still have to write the English test. I can see that not only the skilled labour, but even students who are born here and go to Europe to have higher education are facing the same challenges when they come back.
    We've signed CETA. When we form these trade agreements, does this create barriers for ethnocultural communities, or does it help? How can we improve on that?
    I think CETA is a great idea. It's just ironic that with Brexit, now you'll have to negotiate a separate trade agreement with the U.K.
    Voices: Oh, oh!
    Ms. Bernadette Terry: You'd better get started on that.
    I agree. It's a great agreement, but as I said before, we are lacking information on how to practically use it. Large companies will manage. They will hire lawyers and will do it, but medium and small companies, which actually provide the most employment, are totally left in the dark. To be honest, I cannot explain it to them, because I don't understand how it really works.
    I think some kind of workshop, not so much with politicians—with all due respect—but with practitioners in the government to explain how that actually works, would help us to provide this information to businesses. As I said, there are a lot of Polish-Canadian businesses. Their natural partner would be Poland, but I cannot answer their questions, because I don't know. Actually, the Polish side has a better handle on that, and they have prepared much more precise information on what's available and what's not.
    I think this is something that could be done quickly and easily; there just has to be a will to meet and talk.
    We are actually planning an event around CETA to inform our members.
    Those are happening, but, as I said, there is no set of regulations—or simple instructions, I would rather say, because we don't need to read thousands of pages of bureaucratic language; we would need a translator for that. I think that some simple instructions that we can get and disseminate to our members and the people in our community at large would go a long way toward fulfilling this agreement.
    I fully understand.
    I have a question for the British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce. You've been in business for many years. There are other communities, like the Sikh community, that have been here since 1888 and whatnot, but they only recently established the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and organizations like that.
    Do you provide leadership to guide them in the right direction on how they can get involved so the ethnocultural communities that are in business can benefit from this free trade?
    Sorry, do you mean in Canada?
    Yes.
    I'm sorry. Can you repeat the question, please?
    Do we help other ethnic chambers to do what we do, to sort of teach them and guide them?
    I believe so.
     I don't think we do that, no.
    Have you ever—
    I'm sorry. You'll have to repeat from the start. I apologize.
    You've been in this business for many years, British-established. There are newer communities that are forming chambers of commerce, and they are doing business on the international scene, whether it's China, Taiwan, Japan, or India. How can you take a leadership role to encourage them, and provide that leadership so they get the experience, the tools, and the resources that you fellows have, and have provided over many years?

  (1605)  

     Sorry. You're going to have to have a very short answer.
    Yes. We're very good at making partnerships. What we do is we meet with other chambers—as you said, Indian, Chinese, and so on—and we talk to them and we collaborate on events, and we collaborate on partnerships and so on.
    Thank you.
    That wraps up the first round. We're going to go into the second round now.
    We're going to start off with the Liberals in this round. Madam Ludwig, you have the floor.
    Thank you for your excellent presentations.
    You talked about the use of colleges, for example. On October 3, I met with Colleges and Institutes Canada. One of the ideas a college president had from the College of the North Atlantic was to look at the recognition of credentials in the home country before immigrants come to Canada. If they're not there, is there an opportunity for us to get some prior learning assessments or recognition online before the person ever enters Canada and then ends up being a taxi driver? Could you speak to that?
    Those are all good ideas. I don't know how helpful we could be. We are a relatively small organization based on volunteers only. We don't have an office, per se.
    If that opportunity was there, sir, would that be a good opportunity?
    Absolutely. We would like to get involved in things like that.
    This, again, would be the professional associations. I'm thinking engineers and nurses. With the U.K. and Europe, I don't think there's this problem. I'd go back to other things that are the barriers to entry to the workforce. I would say it's soft skills. In some cultures, for example, you don't look at someone in the eye, and you can actually not have a job just by not doing that. I think this is where maybe there's an opportunity also to take immigrants on board.
    Thank you.
    Could I also get each of you to make a comment about some of the opportunities and changes around trade financing, trade research, legal aspects of international trade, market entry, and how well versed new immigrants are on those challenges? Once those challenges are mitigated, as you well know as successful business people, the opportunities there are immense.
    I'm going to start.
    With immigrants we're looping in many different immigrants. You have immigrants who come here with different skill sets. I think the ones you're talking about, and who would be interested, are the higher educated immigrants. Then you have everybody else who doesn't have the opportunity or who doesn't even think about it. Also, sometimes they live together so whatever they know stays within the community and there's no penetration of information. I think there's more outreach to be done in that field.
    To be clear, lots of times in Canada with people who have different skill levels we also have that challenge of trying to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and opportunities.
    I really think there's also an opportunity to educate the companies because more and more often you'll see immigrants coming in who are highly skilled, and they will not be able to enter the job market because the company on the other end will be very willing to do diversity inclusion and everything else, but they will say, “Well, he's not really like us.” I've seen that happen many times. I think there's an opportunity to educate both the immigrant and the company that is welcoming immigration.
    Thank you.
    I'm going to mention this, so excuse me. We've heard different witnesses talk about the opportunity for diversification on boards. If we look at companies that are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, we see those that have a more diversified board of directors—new ethnicity, gender, what have you—tend to have a higher rate of return. So thank you for bringing that forward.
    Absolutely.
    Yes, absolutely. I agree with Karima that knowledge of opportunities quite often gets disseminated from people to people, not through programs, not through official statements, or even announcements by governments. People usually learn from one another about how to get a job, find a job, and find the opportunities. I think disseminating more information through your organization and ones like ours adds more specific.... It could help a lot.
    Thank you. Do I have more time?
    You only have a half a minute, so you can get a quick answer in there.

  (1610)  

    Andrew, perhaps I could get your recommendation, as someone who has been so tremendously successful in a very short period of time. It may not feel short to you, but I think that's very fast. What recommendations would you give to others on how to supersede the system, work through it, and be willing to take on significant risk, particularly as a new immigrant?
    Maybe I was just really lucky.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    That's a good answer—a short answer. Thank you, sir.
    I am lucky to be in this type of business right now. Aerospace production is sold out for the next eight years. I don't need to go after.... Yes, I am spending money on exhibitions ,and so on, on aerospace shows, but at the same time, I have just one person doing sales. My customers are calling me, actually. I don't need to call them.
    Thank you, sir.
    We'll move on to the Conservatives now. We have Mr. Van Loan from the riding of York—Simcoe.
    Welcome to the most exciting and vibrant committee on the Hill, sir.
    Thank you. It is an exciting committee.
    I want to commend the committee for doing this study. When I was trade minister and we made the Canada-Europe free trade agreement the focus of our efforts, I came to the conclusion also that Canadian business had a serious problem, which was that we were opening lots of doors but not necessarily walking through them with all the trade agreements we were entering into. I tried during that time—I don't know how it continued afterwards—to focus particularly on the chambers of commerce, such as yours, of those countries to stimulate a bit of opportunity.
     I look at your success, Andrew, with Cyclone, and I come to the conclusion that while you are tremendously successful, it's not because of your Polish market strategy. Because of the nature of your product, there's not a big Polish market for it, isn't that correct?
    My sense is that we have in this country all sorts of folks who come from these backgrounds, but somehow the business community finds it too easy to be seduced by the easy big market next door: go to the United States; we talk the same language and watch the same football game on Sunday and can talk about that, and so on. Even to the extent that we've been in Europe, it has been overwhelmingly U.K. stuff—a similar kind of problem.
    My question is particularly for the Poles. In the Polish community there has been a great deal of success in trade, but it has tended to be through people in the Canadian Polish community finding products in Poland to sell to the Canadian market, both the diaspora market and the broader Canadian market, with not so much going the other way.
    Why is that, and what needs to be done to change it?
    First of all, because the majority of Polish businesses are small and medium-sized, it's hard for them to undertake the policy of exporting. It's more complicated, more capital intensive. That's one reason.
    Then, the regulations were so much more complicated. Poland went through a definite market change. Then it was independent and then part of the EU. The regulations on importing were therefore changing.
    What Andrew just mentioned is also very difficult. For example, interpretation of particular laws and regulations in Poland is very questionable. You may get different interpretations, depending on which city you're trying to do business in.
    People were not eager to export to Poland because of all these complications. The current agreement with Europe should facilitate exporting much better, but again, we need to have some simple rules from the perspective of Canadian businesses. We have to basically encourage people. People get into their habits quite easily, and it's difficult to get them out of them.
    My hope was that with so many people having people-to-people ties in Europe—language ties, cultural ties—you could take any country in the European Union, and we have it in Canada. If we could persuade Canadian businesses somehow to look within their own ranks or look within those communities and find people to bring into their ranks to develop a strategy to seize opportunities in these markets....
    What would it take to wake up Canadian businesses to do that? I place the fault to some extent on the existing Canadian business community, which keeps going down the path of least resistance.

  (1615)  

    If our big brother from the south would care enough, that would do the trick.
    I went on a trade mission to London in June. There was massive emphasis on big companies, massive emphasis on tech companies, and the small and medium ones that employ people were not of interest. I had to call them out a couple of times and say that we are here, we're doing our thing, and we are exporting.
     If there's anything to be done, I think it's to share the stage a little bit with the big ones and showcase those that are not stars but that are still doing the job of employing and doing the work.
     You don't have much time left. You only have about 20 seconds.
    I was afraid I was right at that point.
    Well, I'll simply say I haven't heard an answer from anybody, and it's not any different from before when I was trade minister; I kept shaking the business community, saying, “Look at these opportunities that are coming down the road.”
    It's not going to be done by government. It can't be done by government. It has to be done by entrepreneurial people within these communities, who can go to businesses and create those opportunities. Is there anything that the Canada-Poland Chamber is doing?
    We can't.... That has to be recorded as a statement and not a question.
    We're going to move over to the Liberals. If you can't understand French, you should put an earpiece on, because Madam Lapointe has the floor.

[Translation]

    Good afternoon.
    If you speak French, so much the better!
    I speak a little bit of French.
    Congratulations.
    Welcome to the committee.

[English]

     I could speak in English, but I'm the only one speaking French here, so I'm sure you'll understand why I want to express myself in French. It's my

[Translation]

    mother tongue.
    We are in Canada.
    Exactly.
    Mr. Sochaj, you said that the company you bought in 1990 was created in 1964. When did you arrive in Canada?

[English]

    I arrived in March 1978.

[Translation]

    Did you start working for Cyclone MFG Inc. right away?

[English]

    Yes, the next day.

[Translation]

    Wow! Did you have all the necessary skills? What kind of training did you have? I am curious about all that.

[English]

    I finished university in Poland. I designed a diesel engine for my diploma, and then when I arrived here I went to Ryerson and to Humber College. I took classes over seven years, and then when the company was for sale, I was ready to buy it.

[Translation]

    We talked about general skills earlier. What should we say to Polish people, from your home country, who are immigrating to Canada? What should they know about Canadians, both francophones and anglophones, when it comes to negotiating with us, for example? That information could be put into a little guide.
    Thank you very much for the question.
    That question was more for Mr. Sochaj.

[English]

    I'm not sure if I really understand, but I was probably seven years old when I made my plan to come to Canada. The Canadian consul in New York asked me the same question, why I would like to come here.

[Translation]

    Was it difficult for you to adapt to a different culture?

[English]

    Not at all, I felt at home.

[Translation]

    What about you, Ms. Goundiam?
    I was sort of lucky. I come from a family of diplomats, and I have lived around the world, so I didn't really have any trouble in that respect. However, other communities tell me about adaptation issues.
    There should be a guide on general qualities, such as punctuality. There should be an explanation of what it means to be a Canadian. The communities know it. They often say that something is very Canadian, that it is very upstanding, and so on. I could write the guide, if you like! The difference is very obvious when we go back home.
    The opposite is also true.
    Our colleague talked earlier about the different languages and cultures in European countries. For example, I would not speak to Portuguese people and Polish people in the same way.
    I completely agree.
    I am currently doing business in the United Kingdom and in France, and I see differences between those two countries. I have lived there. Often, I am the bridge between all those countries because I understand how things work. So there are differences, and they have to be taken into account.
    Those differences must also be explained to businesses.

  (1620)  

    Absolutely.
    You said that you went on a mission to London and had difficulty recruiting small and medium-sized businesses to participate in a trade mission abroad.
    Do you have any suggestions for us? How should we try to encourage them to take advantage of all the export opportunities presented by the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA?
    They should be given funding. I paid for my ticket and my hotel accommodations. I paid for everything, but representatives of Accenture, Deloitte and other businesses were there with all expenses paid for them. So small businesses really need help in that area.
    I stayed at that hotel for two weeks at my own expense, and they had five days there at the expense of their business. In my opinion, they had no place even being on the trade mission. Deloitte doesn't need to go on a trade mission to London because they already have offices in that city. I think that assistance must be provided to smaller businesses that don't really have the opportunities or the means to participate in trade missions.
    Do you have any advice for us on twinning in order to help Canadian businesses establish relationships with other countries' businesses?
    It could be done through a chamber of commerce like ours, for example.
    Thank you.
    You're welcome.
    It's interesting.

[English]

     Yes, I know, and you were on a roll there, but we have time for one MP and we're going to give it to the Conservatives.
    Mr. Allison, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    To our guests, thank you as well.
    I want to go back to what Mr. Carrie talked about earlier, the skills shortages—you alluded to it as well—and the match. I know that one thing our government tried to figure out is how we align the skills shortages. It's something that all governments have to work on.
    Talk to us about your experience specifically. I know you're looking for machinists and general labourers, etc. Do you do apprenticeship training? Talk to me about some of the things you do. If you're short of apprentices or short of machinists, where would you go to look for them, if they're not provided in Canada?
    Is that where some flexibility to bring them in...?
    We are working with Sheridan College. My son finished at Sheridan College here in Canada, so he has a close relationship. At the same time, we are hiring either Ryerson or U of T students. As soon as they show up, we train them. We provide apprenticeship programs, things like that, and there are some co-op programs in high school. We do that all the time. We don't mind. We are happy to hire young graduates.
    I want to say thank you for doing that. Not enough Canadian companies do apprenticeships. We see that in Europe they've been very successful with great apprenticeship programs.
    I think we should start educating parents and young students. I believe there is still some stigma that manufacturing means working in a dirty place, when actually people wear white shirts to work, and so on. With high-tech computerized equipment with joy sticks, it's almost like playing Nintendo.
    Karima, I like your experience. You're in a digital world, so you're in a different type of business altogether. Talk to me about the skill sets that you're looking for in your business. How easy are they to find?
    I have an example. When I started the company three years ago, about six or seven months into it I got a call from a friend of mine who is a college professor. In his class, everybody had found an internship or job except one person. She was the only immigrant in the room, but she was the best student. I met her. She had 10 years' experience in retail and she was a marketing professional, but she came from Dubai of Indian origin and she couldn't find a job here in Canada.
    I hired her. I started to train her as an intern, but I didn't train her in the hard skills. That's not what she needed. She needed to understand the codes and how to work in Canada. Fast-forward two years—we have just had her for two years. She's working for me. She's amazing. We are a great team. That's the success.
    I do that across the board. I do it with generations as well. We have boomers who are not hot enough in the market. We bring them in. They have amazing backgrounds. They have stories. They have patience, and they know how to do business.

  (1625)  

    That's great. Thanks.
    If I may, I'd like to say something also. I have members, such as auto body shops and small construction companies, that have a hard time finding people. Even if they try to train people, they don't stay in the job because they find it too hard. Some young people especially who come here with their parents have much higher aspirations than to work in menial jobs, I think.
    I know that's a problem. It's hard for those companies to find workers. Even if they train them, they don't stick around for a long time.
    That's certainly the concern I have. I talked to a manufacturer who's doing auto in the Stoney Creek area. He said he could hire 50 people tomorrow, if he could find them, but he can't find them. That's the other side of the challenge we have on this: we have companies that don't have the people they need and we have people who don't have work and who don't necessarily—
    That's why the immigration program has to be designed in collaboration with organizations such as ours, because we can be much more practical in that area, I think. Everybody is well-meaning. I'm not saying there is any conspiracy to keep people away; it's just that sometimes you need practitioners.
    Thank you, Mr. Allison.
    That wraps up our first panel. Guests, thank you very much for coming. You have very interesting stories, and you're working hard.
    We are going to break for a few minutes because we have another panel on deck, MPs.
     If the witnesses want to stay for the second panel as an audience, they're welcome to do that.

  (1625)  


  (1630)  

    Welcome back, everyone.
    Welcome to our panellists for our second round.
    As everybody knows, this is the international trade committee, and I'm the chair, Mark Eyking. Our study is on multiculturalism and international trade.
    We have two guests with us for the second panel: the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario and the Polish Canadian Business and Professional Association of Windsor. Welcome, folks.
    We'll start with the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario. Welcome, and thank you for coming via video. You have the floor.
     Are you bilingual?
    No, I prefer to use English.
    That's fine, and you'll hear the translation if somebody is speaking French.
    Without further ado, you have the floor.
    Thank you for inviting us to present from this location.
    My name us Tiziana Tedesco. I'm the director of trade for the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario.
    The Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario, or ICCO, was founded in the 1930s as an organization, and was later recognized by the Italian government as a chamber of commerce operating outside of Italy. ICCO is a Canadian company with offices in Italy. Its main objective and mandate is to offer business assistance and business services to small and medium-sized companies both in Italy and Canada. We're also part of a network of chambers of commerce outside of Italy that includes 75 offices around the world. We are all part of an association that has its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
    As a chamber of commerce, we have a strong presence both in Canada and Italy. We are founding members of the greater Toronto business alliance, which includes the Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business & Professionals, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and the Toronto Chinese Business Association. We are also a founding member of EUCCAN, which is the European Union Chamber of Commerce, with head offices in Canada. With them, we have organized many initiatives and projects in the past, trade delegations to not only Italy but also to elsewhere in Europe and to China, and also seminars and information sessions for our respective members.
    At a local level, the Italian Chamber of Commerce also has strong relations with Italian-Canadian businesses and cultural associations. Together with them, we organize events and networking opportunities, such as fundraising events, business assistance services, and initiatives.
    As a chamber of commerce here in Canada, we're also membership based. We have over 500 members, most of which are small and medium-sized Canadian companies. We offer services to both members and non-members, which include market research, coordination of trade delegations, and B-to-B meetings. We organize trade events, business delegations, and institutional delegations. We also work in facilitating investment attractions both in Canada and in Italy, and we offer a virtual office and soft landing services to our members and non-members.
    In the past, we've also published a series of books and publications which give an overview of the successes and achievements of the business community and the Italian-Canadian business community, mainly in Toronto and the GTA. Lately, we again started collaborating with a group called GIT, Gruppo Italia. This is a group of Italian companies that have recently opened offices in Canada or started a business here. We offer them assistance in linking them with the right professionals and the right companies here that could help them solve some problems or give them suggestions and assistance to further develop their business networks and business relations in Canada.

  (1635)  

     This is mainly—
    Your time is almost up. Do you have any final comments?
    No. I was just going to say that this is mainly what we do, and the kind of services we provide. That's about it, actually.
    That's fine. When we have dialogue with the MPs, if you have any more comments, we'll have lots of time to get them in.
    We are going to move over to the Polish Canadian Business and Professional Association of the wonderful town of Windsor. Is it a town or a city?
    It's a city.
    Yes. This committee had the pleasure of going to that city.
    Welcome. You have the floor.
    The Polish Canadian Business and Professional Association of Windsor was incorporated in 1997 as a non-profit corporation in Ontario. We support the needs of business leaders, established professionals, community organizers, and young people of Polish heritage in Windsor.
    For the last 22 years, we've organized annual Polish business dinners for business leaders and young people. We invite high-ranking keynote speakers, such as the late Honourable Herb Gray, former deputy prime minister of Canada; diplomats, such as trade consuls and ambassadors of Poland to Canada; the city mayors of Windsor and our twin city, Lublin, Poland; and international trade lawyers, just to name a few. These dinners also serve as a venue to promote businesses in Windsor, especially those owned and operated by Canadians of Polish heritage, such as Eagle Press, one of the largest press manufacturers in all of North America.
    Besides business dinners, our association spearheaded five Polish weeks in Windsor. During each week, we organize over 20 events celebrating our heritage with food, traditional dance performances, and educational activities with the University of Windsor and the City of Windsor. These types of events encourage trade between Canada and Poland on a local level. For example, our Tatry Song & Dance Ensemble has 70 dancers. This group has been importing traditional costumes from Poland for the last 40 years.
    The third type of activity our association focuses on is Canada-Poland promotional materials, such as display exhibitions. Our new exhibition is a Polish-Canadian commemorative exhibition called “Canada 150”. It has nine displays divided into three groups.
    The first group, “Contributions of Poles to Canada”, includes well-known Canadians of Polish heritage, such as Casimir Gzowski and Alexandre Kierzkowski.
    The second group, “Reasons Why Poles are Grateful to Canada”, includes information on the Polish army Kosciuszko training camp at Niagara-on-the-Lake during World War I, the Polish army recruiting station in Windsor during World War II, and “The Odyssey of Wawel Treasures”, which are Polish national artifacts that were held safe in Canada during World War II. Some were actually stored in the Macdonald building, in the basement.
    The third group is “Contributions of Poles to the World”. This includes displays with lesser-known information about Pope John Paul II, Marie Sklodowska-Curie, and of course Chopin.
    Actually, the opening of this last group of displays is this Thursday in the Macdonald building.
    These exhibitions also create trade opportunities between Canada and Poland. Often, archival material for our displays is purchased from Polish collectors and museums. Most recently, in 2017, our association received a $17,000 donation from the Polish Senate to cover the costs of four displays for our Canada 150 project, highlighting members of Parliament in Canada of Polish heritage. So far, we've counted 22 of them.
    Our association also spearheaded the creation of the Windsor-Lublin twin city partnership agreement in 2000. Since then, there have been delegations from both of our cities, including politicians, scholars, students, and trade professionals. Our association also participated in the Canada Trade Day in Lublin in 2004.
    As a result of this partnership, memorandums of understanding have been signed by the University of Windsor and several universities in Lublin to promote scholar and student exchange programs. When the Polish community in Windsor celebrated its 100th anniversary, Lublin donated to Windsor a handmade brass goat fountain worth $35,000.
    Another important aspect of our association is our focus on young people. We put a lot of effort into supporting our local youth, from providing scholarships to sponsoring national and international Polish youth conferences, such as Quo Vadis. I personally led the Quo Vadis Polish youth conference in 2010, in Windsor, for 150 Canadian and American students and young professionals, where many Canadian politicians were present, and also the Speaker of the Polish Senate. In 2010, the budget for the conference was $61,000, and both the Canadian and the Polish governments sponsored this conference.
    Since the signing of CETA, the window of opportunity for international trade between Canada and Poland has grown. Our association stands firm on motivating and supporting young people to become more educated and more interested in business opportunities with Poland. It would be beneficial to have more internship opportunities in Europe, and a more formal student exchange program between Canada and Poland. Such a program exists in Europe, and it's called Erasmus.
    I myself interned in the European Parliament in Brussels a few years ago. The experience inspired me to choose a career in international law. I think the federal government should simplify student exchanges and internship programs for young Canadians.

  (1640)  

     In conclusion, over the last 20 years of existence our association has generated half a million dollars for our combined projects. The impact of our local community work does indeed have a positive impact upon Canada-Poland trade as well as upon multiculturalism in Canada.
    Thank you very much.
    Thank you.
    Before I go to the other MPs, the city to the north, of course, is Detroit, and they have a large Polish population. Do you have many connections back and forth with them?
    We have, especially through our Polish business dinners. We always invite the representatives of the Polish American Congress and we work that way together, as well as through attending their events, of course.
    We're going to start off with Mr. Carrie, from the Conservatives, for five minutes.

  (1645)  

    My first question will be for Madam Tedesco.
    You mentioned in your opening statement the virtual offices that you provide. That perked me up a little bit. Any recommendations you can give to the government for improving and helping simplify the business between countries would be a great asset.
    Could you tell us a little bit more about your use of technology in these virtual offices? Do you get assistance from the Canadian government with it, or is it something you do independently? I've never heard of it.
    This is something we do independently. Basically, what we have found is that small and medium-sized companies often have a lot of interest in doing business here in Canada. At the same time, they don't have the strength to go on their own. They need more assistance locally.
    We have some offices that we use to welcome the small and medium-sized companies. What we do is suggest and offer to them the opportunity to stay with us for a minimum of three months, or up to six months or even a year, during which time we help them first of all connect with our members and with our network of contacts locally. We organize meetings for them and have them participate in and attend our networking events so that they have as many chances as possible to interact with local businesses and grow their network of business contacts.
    At the same time, they can stay at our office and can use our boardroom and our common spaces. We find that this way they have a better idea of what their opportunities are, in the GTA mostly, the greater Toronto area.
    We find this to be a very successful project. Once again, they are small and medium-sized companies. This is something we would like to keep doing. The City of Toronto gave us some support for this project, which was very welcome. We are looking forward to continuing to work on this.
    Good for you.
    We talked to the other panellists a bit about the challenges of a skilled workforce. Maybe we can follow up with you too. Do you have any recommendations for the Canadian immigration system to streamline things, to connect people with certain unique skills from other areas of the world with Canada? Is there something you could suggest?
    Thanks to our members, we usually help the companies come to meet with people. For example, we assist them in opening up a business here, but we won't do all the documentation and provide everything. What we do is set up an appointment for them with a financial institution or with a law firm or an immigration lawyer, who will guide them through the right process to get all the services and assistance they may need.
    This is something that you do independently.
    Okay.
    Usually we ask our members for support. If we have a law firm among our members and there's an Italian company that wants to come and set up business here, we're going to tell them to come and use use our offices, and we'll put them in touch with a law firm that can help them with all the documentation, all the paperwork, or we'll tell them that they will be able to meet with immigration, who will tell them what the requirements will be for them to open up a business. We are like a liaison between the two parties.
     That's great.
    Could you comment also on the various free trade agreements? Do they help you do business across the borders, and do they help decrease red tape? If the free trade agreements are working for your members, are there any countries you could think of with which we ought to be pursuing them further?
    Right now I'm thinking about CETA, obviously, the agreement between the EU and Canada. This year we have organized three seminars for our members and for Italian companies we've done some video conferencing and web seminars with experts from here to explain what CETA is all about and give indications to the companies of Italy. We had one seminar in September in Toronto for our members here. We had two seminars—one in Milan and one just outside Milan—via the web with local companies there, with the help of local business associations.

  (1650)  

    Thank you.
    I'm sorry. Mr. Carrie had a question at the end that went over time, but that's all right. It was a good question.
    We're going to move over to the Liberals now.
    Mr. Peterson, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    To our witnesses, thank you for being with us today.
    We're embarking on what I think most people on this committee consider to be a very important study. One of its goals is to see how Canada and the Canadian economy can leverage the relationships we have with ethnocultural groups within our multicultural society to make sure we're getting the most we can out of trade deals, and not necessarily only trade deals, but also out of exports and imports with countries from which many new Canadians come. I think the way we do that is to study what exists now and see how it can be improved, so I appreciate your being here today.
    I want to start with a couple of questions for Ms. Barycka with the Polish Canadian Business and Professional Association of Windsor.
    It's a mouthful, I know.
    I'm curious. Are there other organizations like yours across the country, or are you the pioneer and hoping that others...?
    Is it business organizations, professional business associations, that you're asking about?
    Yes.
    I believe we may be one of the only organizations like this in Canada, especially that has been in existence for this long.
    That's great. Congratulations. I think it's an important role.
    I had the pleasure of travelling to Poland at one time. You mentioned Pope John Paul. I was in Cracow shortly after his passing, and what a remarkable outpouring that was to see. I went all the way up as far north as Gdansk, in the beautiful part of the world there. I think what you're doing is great.
    Ms. Tedesco, I'm from the riding of Newmarket—Aurora. I know that many of my constituents are members of your chamber, especially some of my friends who do business in Aurora.
    I have a question that applies to both of you. We see that the statistics are clear, I think, and they show that recent immigrants do a lot of business with countries that they immigrated from and are able to easily tap into existing networks and markets from their home countries, for lack of a better phrase. You two are focused on two specific countries. Do you track this information? Do you have this data? Is there a best practices about what works best and what doesn't? Is there any way we can take information that you have and apply it to other groups across Canada who might be like yours?
    I'll start with Madam Tedesco.
    Yes. We think the local Italian-Canadian business community here is fundamental and is a great point of reference and starting point for the development of trade and business relations between companies from Canada and Italy. It's important for us. We like to say that we have a double vision of the market reality in both countries. By having offices in Milan and in southern Italy as well—people who collaborate with us and help us identify—we're able to be present in both countries at the same time and liaise and make sure that we connect the right businesses together to develop business relations.
     Thank you.
    Do you have anything to add, Anna? Do you track the data? Do you know what works best? Are there certain industries or services that may be using their relationships from Poland and Canada more than others?
    I'm not really sure I have the answer to that question. I'm sorry.
    That's okay. I just think it's important that we look at things that may be working to see whether we can replicate them in other organizations and make sure that all Canadians can leverage the best practices of what might be working when tapping into these types of relationships.
    Anna, just to follow up, what do you see as the role of the groups or members whom you represent? Is it networking? Is it best practices? Is it everything it can be? Is it growing? Is the value there? Do you see it expanding in the future?

  (1655)  

    What I tried to stress in my presentation at the very beginning was that we work very locally. We are a Windsor organization, but our main goals are to promote, encourage, and support businesses that are in Windsor run by people of Polish heritage, and as well to support the youth who are coming out of Windsor and are staying in Windsor, to support them in any way we can, if they want to go into business.
    For example, on our board of directors we have an owner of an automotive firm. We have a dentist. We have a professor at the University of Windsor. We really do want to provide mentorship opportunities for young people like me in any sort of discipline that they want to go into. We encourage people to be part of our organization so that we can help them get further in their business and professional lives.
    Okay, thank you.
    We're going to move over to the NDP,
     Ms. Ramsey, you have the floor for five minutes.
    Thank you so much. It's wonderful to have two groups who are very well represented in Windsor. There's a chapter of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario in Windsor as well that is quite strong and vibrant and offers all of the services that you mentioned, Ms. Tedesco, which local businesses can tap into.
    Then we have the Polish Canadian society, which really is a source of pride for us locally as well. I know you'll be having your upcoming dinner very soon, and I'm looking forward to it.
    Both of you spoke to some really specific things that I believe contribute to your success.
    Ms. Barycka, I want to focus on you. You talked a lot about the youth focus and its importance. We see a lot of entrepreneurship from our youth. Could you speak a little about how you're successful in mentoring the youth, in making the connections to Poland, to Polish businesses, and making sure that the trade opportunity is there for younger Polish Canadians as well?
    I also want to say that I think your connection in having a twin city is critical. It creates a shared space between Windsor and Lublin. I think that's important. Of course, there's the history that you've shared. Your presentation here last year with Alexandre Kierzkowski was wonderful, highlighting the shared history that we have.
    I want to ask you about that youth focus because I think it is something unique to Windsor. If you can, just expand on that and let us know what you're working on to promote young Polish Canadians in business.
     Thank you for the question.
    We have a very strong young Polish community in Windsor. We have a dance group. We have the Polish Canadian Students' Association of Windsor. We have a couple of other organizations that we really like to promote. As an association, we sponsor events—everybody is always looking for money. That's how we mainly support: it's financial support and mentorship.
    We also sponsor the annual Quo Vadis conferences. These conferences are something new but have been going on since 2009. Every year we have an annual Quo Vadis conference in a different city in Canada, whereby around 100 to 150 students and young professionals of Polish Canadian descent descend upon one place. We have discussions about heritage, leadership, and unity and we invite prominent Polish Canadians. This is a great venue for young people to network at. One thing money can't buy is the networking and the people you meet at such events.
    As an association, I would say that our main goal is to let the youth organize themselves—they know how to do it best—but we like to provide the financial support so that they can do so. We are very youth-focused. As you can see, I'm here.
    As for Lublin, it is a city that we've been partners with since the year 2000. It's one of the most vibrant. The delegations go back and forth for a number of years. We really do have a great connection with that city, because of the university partnerships, because of people on the international committee at the City of Windsor who work really hard on these relationships. It's a great venue and also a great continuation of trade relations that we can make between the two cities. It's a very strong relationship, and I think more cities should be connected to Poland that way.

  (1700)  

    Ms. Tedesco, I was able to travel with Minister Champagne to Italy on the delegation. Please give my regards to Corrado. I spent some time with him there and enjoyed our time together.
    I want to ask you specifically about small and medium-sized enterprises. We heard from one of our earlier panellists that this is a particular area of challenge where trade is concerned, and we certainly hear that a lot at the trade committee. I heard on the Italian trip that the small and medium-sized businesses were really struggling with the opportunities that were there.
    Can you speak specifically to what work you're doing at the Ontario chamber around SMEs and opportunities that exist?
    You're intending Canadian small and medium-sized...?
    Yes. How do they make the connection to establish opportunities to trade with Italy? What does that look like, and how can you facilitate it?
    When we're in touch with small and medium-sized companies and they're interested in doing business in Italy or in Europe, we work very closely with our network of offices in Italy and in Europe. As I said, we're part of EUCCAN. We collaborate a lot with the chambers of commerce in Italy, and with the business association especially. We try to do matching work in order for the companies to find the perfect match in Italy and in Europe to conduct business there. Our strength is to have people working for us right there locally, and through them, to match the requests of the Canadian companies with the requests of Italian companies to try to facilitate potential partnerships and business relations.
    Resources are a challenge—
    Whoa. You're way over time. You're at six minutes. I have never seen six minutes yet on this committee, but it was a good dialogue and we're going to have to move on.
    Mr. Fonseca, you have the floor.
    Thank you, Mr. Chair.
    Thank you, Ms. Tedesco and Ms. Barycka. The Italian and Polish communities have a very deep and rich history here in Canada and have been here for well over 100 years—150 years—so, from the beginning. Each of those communities, the Italian Canadians and the Polish Canadians, is over a million people.
    I know that the low-hanging fruit has always been NAFTA, and maybe those relationships within North America with the United States, where a lot of business has been done. Now, however, we have CETA. CETA has come to fruition, and we have this tremendous opportunity with two countries, Poland and Italy.
    How have you disseminated all of that information about CETA, all of the opportunities that exist? Have your members hooked into it to look at how we can do more trade now with Italy and with Poland?
    I'll start with Ms. Tedesco.
     I think I mentioned briefly before that we've organized CETA seminars for our members here and for companies and member companies that are located in Italy. We liaise with local business associations in Italy. Through them we were able to invite their members to web seminars. We connected from here, from Toronto, with some of our members who have been involved in CETA dealings and are experts, such as legal firms and other members who know specific aspects of the trade agreement and are able to give presentations and information to the companies in Italy. This is how we operate.
    We had two seminars, one in Milan and one in Varese just outside Milan, one in June and the other in July. In September we had a seminar here in Toronto for our local members.

  (1705)  

    What has the response been?
    There is a lot of interest, especially among the Italian companies. They really see Canada as a place to do business now, more even than in the past. The message we try to give them is to come to Canada, that it's a gateway to North America, that Canada is the place to start.
    That's great. A number of years ago we saw Ferrero Rocher open a huge plant in Brantford, Ontario. It brought a lot of workers and a lot of investment. We want to see more of that, and a vice versa, going over to Italy with Canadian products and services and companies.
    I want to hear from Ms. Barycka.
    At our business dinners we often have ambassadors from Poland to Canada. We had a trade commissioner from the embassy once before who also made presentations about best practices in trading with Poland and where to start, which is usually the main question, especially in Windsor. You can imagine that there aren't that many people who know how to do business with Poland right off the bat.
    From my association's perspective, we focus locally. That's usually how we promote that information. We ask the Polish embassy to do presentations for us.
    Thanks. I always say that people buy from people. We have a tremendous person—someone whose alma mater was actually the University Of Windsor—Sergio Marchionne, who heads Fiat Chrysler. He studied in Toronto and at the University of Windsor and now is over in Italy running this global company. We have to tap into this diaspora, which is all over the world, to create these trade relations.
    Ms. Barycka, I like what you've done with your sister city Lublin. We in Mississauga have a sister city in Japan and we've been able to attract more than 20 Japanese businesses to Mississauga. Much of it has to do with having that sister city and having those relationships. As I said, people buy from people.
    We thank you for the work that you do as you continue to promote Canada and promote trade, and now with CETA. As I said, we don't want to leave it dormant. We want to make sure that CETA flourishes. If we can be of service, we would like to hear from you how we can better help the different diaspora chambers of commerce to succeed.
    Your time is up. It's a good statement, though.
    We're going to move into our second round.
    Madam Lapointe, you have the floor.

[Translation]

    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    Welcome, Ms. Barycka.
    It was said earlier that your city, Windsor, was twinned with the city of Lublin. People from Poland have told us that they were experiencing labour issues.
    Does the fact that you are twinned with another city make it easier to engage in promotion with the Polish? Does it encourage you to invite Polish people to come work here, in Canada, and to immigrate here?

[English]

    I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question.

[Translation]

    Okay.
    Does the fact that you are twinned with Lublin, in Poland, create ties? That country has universities.
    Does this make people from Poland want to immigrate to Canada, especially those from regions experiencing labour issues, according to what people who appeared before you told us?

[English]

     Being twinned with Lublin creates a type of conversation that other cities may not have directly with another city in Poland, but what that exchange currently focuses on is actually the university exchanges—the student exchanges, the scholar exchanges, and the professor exchanges. We've had Ph.D students write an entire book on Polonia and Windsor, and they did it at the University of Lublin. These are the types of tangible examples I can give you right now.

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    How many of those students will remain in Canada?

[English]

    From what I understand, those are student exchanges, so they—

[Translation]

    So no students want to stay here. Is that correct?

  (1710)  

[English]

    Exactly.

[Translation]

    You said that members of your chamber of commerce don't only do business with companies from Italy, but also with companies from China and from other European countries.
    I would like you to give me more details on that. As I understand, your chamber of commerce is working with other organizations.

[English]

    We're part of a group of local associations here in Toronto—organizations like ours that do business with their respective countries. There's the Toronto Chinese Business Association, the Federation of Portuguese-Canadian Business & Professionals, and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce. We collaborate with them in order to get our members to meet locally, but also to do business in these countries, India and China.
     In the early 2000s we organized a delegation to China in collaboration with a Chinese business association here and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. We have ways to make sure that we have the necessary networking elements and association in all those countries to put together delegations. It's always important to partner with companies or associations that have a real presence in a foreign country, because it will give you a more direct presence there and a better opportunity to connect with the right businesses there.

[Translation]

    You represent companies from the Toronto region more. Canada has a large Italian population, especially in Montreal. Are you sharing your best practices with other Italian chambers of commerce across the country?

[English]

    Absolutely we do, yes.

[Translation]

    Okay.
    My colleague talked about the opportunities presented by CETA. Do you have any suggestions for us to help people take advantage of those CETA opportunities?

[English]

    I think the important thing is to provide as much information as possible, but also to bring companies into the foreign market so that they can directly experience and gain a sense of the opportunities that there are in a foreign country to develop business. That's what we also like to do—organize trade delegations and business delegations with companies here and take them over to Italy, and if necessary to Europe, to get a direct sense of the opportunities.
    I believe we can do this easily because of our presence in Europe and our working relationship with businesses and organizations here, such as EUCCAN, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada, that operate in Toronto.

[Translation]

    Thank you.
    Italy and Poland are very beautiful countries. I would have certainly liked to have been in Ms. Ramsey's place and gone to Italy.

[English]

    Thank you, Madam Lapointe.
    We're going to move over to the Conservatives.
    Mr. Allison, you have the floor.
    Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
    To our witnesses, thank you for being here today.
    I love the fact that you are doing seminars and trying to encourage other.... Could you give us examples of any successes? How has it worked out? I realize it's a case of trying to make people aware of what's going on. Do you have any tangible results in terms of companies having done business as a result of it? Could you give me an example of your trade delegations from which, as Peter has mentioned, there has been some investment back in Canada as a result?
    Do you have any examples for us from those of how it has worked out?
     Usually, a trade delegation is the starting point. It's a starting point to have the opportunity and the possibility to start business relations. For example, about four years ago, we had a delegation here in Toronto from Milan. It was an ICT delegation in digital media. For each participating company, we organized meetings here with potential partners. One of the companies that came with that trade delegation actually became one of the companies that used our virtual offices and soft landing here in Toronto. They stayed with us for over a year. They opened a company here, so now they are incorporated in Canada. This is one example, but there could be more.
    This was in ICT, but we had another company in the furniture and interior design sector that came. We organized B-to-B meetings over a three-day period. They realized there was potential, and now they've opened a company here. It's called Trevisana Kitchens and Interiors, and they're doing contract work with major building companies and providing kitchen furniture for this. They've been working now for the past three years at least.

  (1715)  

    Excellent. You talked about seminars. How would you describe your chamber? Are they fairly well versed? Do they understand what needs to happen in terms of the services that are available through Canada? When you do seminars on trading with Europe, does that include export development and various programs that the Canadians have? How would you judge your chamber in terms of their knowledge and ability? We hear time and again that SMEs struggle with the knowledge. Larger companies obviously get it. They have people on staff who help them with these things. Can you comment briefly on that?
    For small and medium-sized companies, as you said, it's harder to get a grasp of how everything works, and that's why we're here. For example—just a simple thing—how do you export wines with the LCBO? How does the LCBO work? There are regulations that we need to explain, and obviously the SMEs need more explanation and more support. That's why we're here.
    When we cannot provide the information, we go through our members and the experts who are part of our association. Even with CETA, there are a lot of questions that the companies have. We try to answer them all, but we don't have the information directly, so we try to put them in contact with the people who do have more details. It's a one-by-one type of service. At a seminar, you can give the general idea, and then it's important to assist every single company as far as what their requirements are; labelling, what's changing in labelling with CETA—ingredients, what's allowed—and what the tariffs are and how they're going to change. Obviously, each company has particular needs, and we need to address those one by one. That's what we try to do.
    Anna, did you want to add anything to that?
    Yes, very quickly, I was talking about the Quo Vadis conferences, and the young people who get together around Canada every year. About three years ago, we had a gentleman who was inspired at the conference, and he decided to go to Poland to start producing a car that used to be made in Poland in the 1940s or 1930s, or something like that. Obviously, it's the other way; it's not coming to Canada, but that's a specific example. I can tell you, yes, we inspire and we promote, and all these kinds of things, but there are specific examples of people who have actually done something from these conferences.
    Another thing I was thinking about when you asked your question is that I wish you had invited more young people like me who are actually doing business with Poland, such as the gentleman I just mentioned with the cars. He's a Polish immigrant. He would have a lot to say. May I suggest that maybe there should be more young business people next time.
     Thank you. That's a great idea. We'll take your advice on that one.
    We're going to move over to the Liberals now.
    Madam Ludwig, you have the floor.
    Thank you.
    I'd like to go back, Anna, to your discussion with Madam Lapointe about the exchange students. I represent a riding in eastern Canada, in New Brunswick. We had the Atlantic partnership program. With that Atlantic initiative we were only focusing on immigration. One area we are focusing on is encouraging international students to stay.
    What types of opportunities would be there for your exchange students to stay in Canada after they graduate?

  (1720)  

    May I ask you a question? Is there a federal student exchange program between Canada and Europe right now besides youth mobility or the Canada experience program or anything like that?
    There is not.
    I think there is a lot of opportunity in that.
    The other question you asked me before was whether the university students who came stayed. They didn't because it's an exchange, but I feel that there's a lot of opportunity—especially in Windsor, in that we have that partnership—to even make this a Canada-wide partnership whereby the federal government could help with an exchange program or something like it.
    Certainly as part of the immigration policy there could be some opportunities with the exchange students and looking at their areas of study. Often international students, let's say from Saudi Arabia, will come over and take business training. What a phenomenal opportunity for us to draw upon Saudi students who have chosen, most often for language and for safety and other reasons, to study here in Canada. We should encourage them to stay and then also teach us about the opportunities for business in their areas.
    I absolutely agree.
    Great. Thank you.
    When you're talking about young people, what do you think the greatest challenges are with young people becoming involved with trade?
    Money.
    Is it access to financing?
    Yes. We're educated, but we really don't have the money. If some funds could be funnelled into new businesses, maybe focused on new immigrants or young people under a certain age—you'd cap it somewhere.... If there were some program to help people start off and get off the ground, I really think it would be very valuable to every ethnic community here in Canada for young people to start businesses.
    About 20 years ago there was a program called the export partnering program. It would partner college or university students up with businesses. As my colleague Mr. Allison mentioned about internships, there was a great synergy there.
    Would a type of program like that be beneficial not only for the students but also for the businesses in the multicultural environment?
    Is this employment and funding for a new business—something like that, in conjunction?
    The way that program ran was that the students would work on a project directly with a new business or an export-ready business or in helping a business become export ready. They would do the research. They would do a lot of the homework that the business owner wouldn't know to look for or not have the time to look for. They would gain valuable skills. The employer or the business would gain, it could be a business plan or exporting opportunities, something that could help in looking at the competitor analysis or in determining where and how to qualify buyers. They'd both end with a great experience: one, the students have experience in industry while they're still students; and two, the business owner potentially and ideally has a business plan. In my experience, often in the end the business typically hired the students.
    Absolutely that sounds great. I can tell you from personal experience that I've been thinking about starting my own business. I reached out to the small business organization in Windsor. They have a mentorship program and can provide a grant, if you do all the steps they ask you to, which is exactly what young people I think are looking for. The traineeship and a grant and focusing on young people is, I think, the way to go right now.
    If we looked at mentors, are there mentors whom you can think of? I know your area is Windsor. Are there mentors whom you see today in industry who you think would be great to work with young people in your area?
    Absolutely. I can name you a few.
    What would it take, do you think, to make that connection between youth and potential mentors?
     It would take a simple phone call. Really, for people who are involved in the community, some things only take a phone call, especially being involved in the political community in Windsor for so long and having business dinners, having our Italian friends and Chinese friends there. It's not only limited to the Polish community. That's an easy connection to make.
    Do I have more time?
    No, your time is up, but they're good questions.
     I have a request from Ms. Ramsey to ask one short quick question. Go ahead.

  (1725)  

    Both of you clearly have some resources. We heard from our earlier panellists that they're struggling to find the resources to fund the work that you're doing. I wonder if you could each tell us how you fund yourselves. Is it through your membership? How do you find those community partners, if that's the way you're doing it?
    Anna, you go first.
    As an association we've been looking to have mentors on our board of directors, experienced people who have helped with grant writing, which is a very long and tedious process. It's very difficult for a person who is not experienced to write a grant and receive a grant, especially because you have to be incorporated and not-for-profit, all those kinds of things. I think to help people get some financial funding, you need those mentors who have experience in writing those kinds of grant applications because they take forever and ever.
    Ms. Tedesco, please go ahead.
    As far as we're concerned, we offer services and we charge fees for services. If we had more funding, obviously there would be more services and a lot more opportunities and possibilities to do a lot more. That's obviously something we would really welcome because we're a small organization and everything we do we need to either charge a fee to whoever is using our services, or rely on supports from outside sources, business organizations, and local governments at all levels. That's how we operate.
    Thank you very much.
     That wraps up our day today with our panels. We had great dialogue and great witnesses this afternoon. We're going to take your advice and put many of your things in our report. If you want a copy of our report, when we get it done, we'll get it to you.
     Thank you, everybody, for this afternoon.
     Before I end the meeting, just a reminder that tonight we have votes. The ambassador knows we're going to be running a little late. If anybody is going tonight, that's okay. We have another group of panellists coming. We're going to do just one panel on Wednesday.
    Thank you very much again.
    The meeting is adjourned.
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