Richmond celebrates businesses’ resiliency through challenging times

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:23 PDT, Thu September 29, 2022

Last Updated: 12:29 PDT, Tue October 11, 2022

In challenging economic times, Richmond has key strengths to help weather the storm. This was the overarching message from business leaders at the City of Richmond’s 2022 business and partner appreciation event held Tuesday (Sept. 27) at the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Wilson School of Design in Richmond.

“Businesses—whether here in Richmond or globally—have faced tremendous challenges due to the pandemic, only to be followed by inflation and other global concerns,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie, as he welcomed over 100 local companies and partners attending the event. “So many businesses and leaders have responded with innovation and resiliency—pivoting your business models, adopting new technology, changing your offerings, and in some cases, serving different customers.”

Keynote speaker Jean-François Perrault, Scotiabank’s senior vice-president and chief economist, acknowledged the ongoing bad news about the global economy and the likelihood of recession in Europe and in China. He noted that while Canada’s growth will slow, the country’s economic situation is faring better than many other major markets. One of the greatest challenges that many Canadian firms face across sectors is a labour shortage. This phenomenon illustrates strong consumer demand for goods and services. 

“That slowing in economic growth is coming off a very strong base,” Perrault noted.

Panel moderator Paul Tilbury, chief operating officer of Dayhu and chair of the city’s economic advisory committee, opened the discussion on recovery and resilience in an evolving economy by asking panelists what resiliency meant to them—and what they may be doing differently today that they were not doing three years ago.

“Resiliency means looking forward, not back,” said panelist Nancy Small, chief executive officer of Tourism Richmond. She noted that the pandemic showed us the importance of tourism to our local economy, and that “travel is in our DNA—we will never take what we have for granted again.” 

Small is optimistic for the future, mentioning that Richmond continues to be well placed to welcome visitors from all over the world.

Fellow panelist Trevor Boudreau, manager of government relations at Vancouver International Airport, spoke to the digital and climate change aspects of resiliency. He noted that in 2021, the airport announced plans to be a net zero carbon airport by 2030, and that currently, it provides shuttles for their employees to help reduce emissions and retain employees. In addition, in 2022, the airport launched its “Digital Twin” platform, which enables airport employees to use data to solve challenges in real-time and plan for the future.

Shaena Furlong, chief executive officer of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the third member of the expert panel, noted that across the chamber’s diverse membership, a number of businesses pivoted during the pandemic in response to new challenges and opportunities. In the current environment, approximately one-third of their members have indicated that labour shortages are a key challenge moving forward. Furlong noted this may indicate the importance of re-skilling and upskilling and is an opportunity for employers to look at benefits beyond wages to help attract and retain employees.

Brodie thanked businesses for their hard work, acknowledging that their success makes Richmond’s economy prosperous and the city a desirable place to live and work.  

The city’s economic development office works to grow Richmond’s business and employment base while maintaining a competitive business environment. For more information, visit

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