Elliot Lake and North Shore Business Development Corporation) General Manager William Elliott offers year-end statement
Like people, many institutions and organizations found 2021 and 2020 both years of adjustment and change as life went on through the pandemic.
ELNOS (Elliot Lake and North Shore Business Development Corporation) General Manager William Elliott has a few words about 2021, and a look to the future, in his year-end message to the community.
He talks about challenges faced last year by the organization and how it navigated the hurdles of COVID.
“Since March 2020 the various ELNOS committees have met via Zoom, and the Board continues to meet this way due to capacity restrictions in the boardroom,” he said. “I suspect that virtual meetings will be common from now on, as they really do allow for more participation.”
But, said Elliott, 2021 brought some positives for the non-profit organization.
The community has been fortunate to see the vast majority of businesses survive COVID and some thrive, Elliot said.
“We have also seen new business start, despite the very challenging market conditions.”
Looking ahead, Elliott said he expects further challenges from COVID and other factors causing uncertainty in business.
“Every time we think we see the light at the end of the tunnel a new variant is identified, new rules and regulations are put in place (often accompanied by much confusion as to their implementation and effect), and new concerns are created,” he said.
The following is Mr. Elliott’s full 2021 year-end message, as provided to ElliotLakeToday.
Like many organizations last year ELNOS faced many challenges; how we ran our business, how we interacted with potential new clients, how we serviced existing clients, etc.
During the most severe restrictions, the office was closed, though I stayed as the only staff member on-site in order to handle inquiries.
We have now returned to ‘near normal’ though the office door remains locked so that anyone coming in can be screened before entry. All common areas of the building require the wearing of masks and participants wanting to use the boardroom must be fully vaccinated.
Since March 2020 the various ELNOS committees have met via Zoom, and the Board continues to meet this way due to capacity restrictions in the boardroom. This has had mixed results – while many miss face-to-face contact, not having to travel for meetings (especially in the winter months) has been a plus for many Directors. I suspect that virtual meetings will be common from now on, as they really do allow for more participation.
In some cases, it is also much more cost-effective, as there is no need for costly travel expenses when meeting online. I believe many community organizations will stay with virtual meetings as the norm, with only the occasional in-person meeting to satisfy the social need of directors.
ELNOS has been very fortunate in that the vast majority of our clients have survived COVID, some have even thrived, and we have also seen new business start, despite the very challenging market conditions. While we were able to offer payment relief to clients who asked for it, the Federal and Provincial governments took on the lion’s share of the business support activity.
The local Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) office was especially busy administering a number of these support programs with great success. The ELNOS Board opted to take a ‘wait and see’ approach and committed to being there for them when clients identified specific needs. The local business community has shown themselves to be resilient, flexible, creative and committed, and certainly capable of rising to the COVID challenge.
Looking forward to 2022 there remains a lot of uncertainty; every time we think we see the light at the end of the tunnel a new variant is identified, new rules and regulations are put in place (often accompanied by much confusion as to their implementation and effect), and new concerns are created.
However, the vaccination process continues to roll out and continues to show great success in reducing infections and reducing the harm in those that do end up infected. As a country, we have shown a strong commitment to ‘do the right thing’ for our fellow citizens, and I am hopeful that this course of action will see us free of the majority of restrictions come the summer of 2022.
There will still be an economic reckoning, as businesses start to repay government loans, individuals are faced with the tax implications of government supports and the taxpayers are called on to address the (significant) debt created to fund these supports. The economic impact of COVID will be felt long after the disease itself is reduced to a footnote in the history books.
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