The past few months I have become been exposed to many business ideas which leverage social justice. The initiatives span community revitalization to investment brokerage. What has struck me this is not so much that businesses care but that there is growth oppourtunity in it for them.
I am not a person who as ever believed in a trite black and white vision of the world i.e. all business is bad, all poor are their victims. That businesses see the impact of poverty and empathize is not a stretch of my imagination. You need us, and when us includes 20% poverty rate it hurts you. Some may call that self-serving but it is best to remember a vast number of business owners are small businesses. You too have families to feed and employees to pay.
Inspiring you to be creative around social inequity issues serves us all. Recently the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington re-iterated their support of LRT in Hamilton, publicly. In their statements they cite community revitalization as a primary reason to support it. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with that as a primary reason, the fact developers support community change is important. We are all stakeholders in our communities. I suggest we come together where we both have vested interests and work together as opposed to vilifying one another.
More importantly, I welcome businesses and their respective associations to a frank discussion on social issues in Hamilton. Issues of adequate training and recruitment, employee reliability, childcare, crime and others are important factors for both sides of the equation. In a recent ground breaking report by Dr. Kubursi of Econometric Research Limited , economic spin off and asset retention also come under important consideration for community economic development.
For example, greater asset retention allows for greater income mobility. It allows potential employees to deal with transition to employment seamlessly. This ease of transition allows employers to train and retain staff, avoiding the expense of high employee turnover. Transition to higher income diversifies neighbourhood demographics, increases spending, strengthening a community overall. This renewed strength creates communities ripe for development and investment potential.
Ontario is currently undertaking a Social Assistance Review. As it stands, the system currently serves no one effectively. I am calling on the Hamilton business community to provide feedback and ideas for resolving the problem. I hope you will dialogue with me about your concerns. I sincerely believe there are equitable solutions that provide a win-win situation for all.
We are all a pieces of the same puzzle called Hamilton. I call to you for strategic and creative input in solving that puzzle.