A councillor hopes re-learning how to count will aid the city’s job growth.
Paul Hubert, Ward 8 councillor, wants council to start counting jobs with his Hire 1 program. The goal of the program is to have small and medium sized businesses in London hire an additional person each. He notes there are 20,000 small and medium businesses in London.
The motivation for this program stems from the lack of recognition these businesses get for their contributions to the economy. “It’s an opportunity to really encourage them to be part of the solution here,” Hubert explained.
“It’s simply a recognition of two things. One is the strength of our local economy is really small and medium sized businesses, and secondly, many of those small and medium sized employers have returned to pre-recession levels.”
Peter White, president of the London Economic Development Corporation, explained not every business was where they wanted to be. “We know there are some businesses willing to support this program, while other businesses are still dealing with challenges,” he said.
“We’re going through a significant transformation of our local economy,” Hubert explained. He noted this was not just about the recent plant closures, but also a change in what skills employers were looking for.
White explained Hire 1 would join a series of initiatives already in place, as the LEDC works on about 10 different hiring initiatives at a time.
“If we have a goal set, it’s a great way to potentially work at opportunities with employers and employees,” White said.
Hubert noted part of the goal was merely to encourage a positive environment for hiring.
“Sometimes we focus on the negative and sometimes it becomes a cycle,” he explained. He noted he wanted small businesses to celebrate their individual hires as much as a company would celebrate a large hiring.
White explained focusing on the negative became a problem for businesses as well. “Sometimes having focus on a positive story like this, even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to each business being able to hire somebody, it’s just the focus of a positive outcome will help.”
Hubert also hoped to complement Hire 1 with a campaign promoting locally produced products and services in London.
Though the promotions won’t come to fruition for a while, Hubert explained council wanted to see a report on his initiative. However, he was in a bit more of a rush.
“I’d like to see this up and running by June 1,” he said.
—with files from Cameron Smith