An industry-led task force is taking a look at how to spur on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in Northumberland County.

The Northumberland Economic Task Force has a mandate to deliver initial recommendations by June 4 on actions to support the recovery of local businesses post-pandemic.

Those actions will be shared with the municipal councils that make up the county, as well as the Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee.

Brendan Cunneen and Dan Borowec are the co-chairs of the task force. Cunneen is a business professional with more than 35 years of experience and Borowec is the director of economic development for the county.

“As we move in the direction of restarting our economic engines, this grass-roots collaboration will inform local and provincial recovery plans with recommendations that reflect the direct impacts of the pandemic on the Northumberland business community,” Cunneen said.

“We will be proposing locally-developed actions in response to local conditions in order to drive meaningful outcomes.”

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The task force will be made up of local business owners as well as representatives from the county’s municipalities, chambers of commerce, industry associations, health authorities and the education sector.

There are six working groups that are meeting with a focus on targeted sectors including micro and small business, manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, professional and development/construction.

“By leveraging valuable insight from stakeholders about the definitive economic impacts of the pandemic, we will develop an action plan of tools and advocacy to support our local businesses as they navigate the current environment,” stated Borowec.

“We will also continue to collaborate with neighbouring communities to support a shared vision for economic stabilization and sustainability. Our community is resilient. We will move together in the direction of recovery and renewal.”

The task force will collect data from the working groups on business owner needs and will identify and implement response actions, programs and services and advocate wit hall levels of government on recovery measures.

The working groups will begin meeting virtually this week.

“All areas of our local economy have been significantly impacted by COVID-19,” stated Bob Sanderson, county warden and task force member. “This is a critical effort as we collectively work to position Northumberland for a thriving future.”

“I am confident in the critical work the Northumberland Economic Recovery Task Force will provide towards helping develop a plan that gets our communities on the road to recovery,” stated Northumberland-Peterborough South MPP David Piccini.  “It is critical that we lean on our job creators and private sector for their innovative ideas and direct input. I look forward to receiving the initial recommendations from the Task Force.”

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