Rebooting Halifax’s economy

Rebooting Halifax’s economy

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This is a guest post from Halifax Partnership
(Member since 1996)

Contributors:

Wendy Luther
President & CEO Halifax Partnership

The past two and half months have presented health, social and economic challenges beyond what any of us have ever experienced. What this challenging time has shown us is the incredible leadership and resiliency of our residents, our businesses and organizations, our governments and our communities to respond to and weather crisis.

Ensuring the health and safety of Nova Scotians and reducing the spread of COVID-19 has been, and will continue to be, of utmost importance as we start to reenergize our city and province in the coming days and weeks.

The full impacts of COVID-19 on our economy won’t be known for many months to come. Fortunately, Halifax came into the pandemic in a strong economic position, experiencing record population growth and the highest GDP growth seen in many years (2.6% in 2019).

What we do know, is that following Public Health directives and measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is the fastest path to economic recovery.

While our community has been managing the health crisis, Halifax Partnership and Halifax Regional Municipality have been proactively planning for business and economic stabilization. They’re also working on recovery in partnership with our public, private and post-secondary partners and businesses across the city, including close collaboration with the Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

Halifax’s three-phased Economic Response and Recovery Plan was approved by Halifax Regional Council in mid-May. It supports moving through the urgent health crisis, reopening and stabilizing our economy and restoring Halifax’s economy to recapture pre-COVID economic momentum and growth.

Since late March, the Partnership has had over 900 points of contact with Halifax businesses impacted by COVID-19. We are helping companies navigate and access the many government programs and private sector resources they need most, through direct outreach and the resource hub on our website. We have also retooled all of our programs and services to meet businesses’ immediate needs and to support Halifax’s long-term economic recovery.

In response to what we’ve heard, the Partnership recently announced two new business support programs. Our new Virtual Adviser Program, delivered in partnership with BoomersPlus, matches qualified companies with a seasoned Virtual Adviser to help them manage COVID-19 impacts.

We have also expanded our Connector Program – which facilitates professional networking between young talent, newcomers and local business leaders – to address immediate labour demands in industries experiencing shortages. Businesses can register for both of these initiatives on the Partnership’s website.

What has inspired and encouraged me over the past few months is the extraordinary levels of innovation, leadership and collaboration among all orders of government, our businesses, our hospitals and research centres and our post-secondary institutions to respond to the local, national and global impacts of COVID-19.

They’re undertaking R&D on rapid-response diagnostic tests and vaccines. The Canadian Center for Vaccinology is located in Halifax and is running the first clinical trial in Canada for a COVID-19 vaccine.

They’ve pivoted to design and manufacture personal protective equipment including medical gowns, screening booths and 3D printed face shields. They’re connecting hospitals and medical staff with the supplies they so desperately need.

They’re developing new products such as a respiratory monitoring machine for patients on ventilators and providing specialized technology and e-services to help with e-learning, pandemic related anxiety and senior care. More inspiring stories can be found at HalifaxInnovationDistrict.com.

When I hear stories like these, I feel very proud and optimistic about our future. I’m confident that together we will restart and restore Halifax’s and Nova Scotia’s economy and come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before.

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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