Cornwall Ontario Chamber of Commerce President Rick Shaver Blames Another Report. First the CFIB and now Moneysense Magazine!

Rick Shaver & Premier McGuinty - Photo courtesy of Team Cornwall

CFN –  Cornwall sure has been “branding:” itself of late.   Moneysense Magazine comes out with a Best City to Live in Canada each year and for this year Cornwall Ontario dropped from 90th in the 190 city ranking to 167.    The City also finished 98 out of 100  in the CFIB Communities in BOOM report on Small business growth and viability.

Mr. Shaver’s standard response is to criticize the reports instead of reflecting that the leadership and vision of city leaders of this city of nearly 50,000 people has room for improvement and maybe, just maybe, look for solutions instead of excuses?

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) recently issued a report entitled “Communities in Boom.” The report seeks to rank Canada’s top entrepreneurial cities.
Mayor Bob Kilger and Rick Shaver, President of the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce, issued a joint statement today concerning the report.

“We welcome any information that may help us better understand the needs and concerns of our business community and what we can do collectively to improve our economy. Unfortunately, the
sample size for Cornwall is relatively small, and as a result, it’s difficult to draw any definitive conclusions from the CFIB report.”

Both the City and the Chamber of Commerce are committed to the retention and expansion of small and  medium enterprises. The Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre is currently conducting an average of 25
consultations with new and prospective entrepreneurs on a monthly basis.  The Chamber of Commerce also supports small businesses through a variety of programs and services.

This week, for example, it is hosting BizFest, a week-long conference focused on innovation, growth and development of the business community. The City of Cornwall is a major sponsor of BizFest .

That was Mr. Shaver’s answer to the CFIB report, and BIZFEST, an event that was an utter disaster that saw the Chamber lose thousands of dollars which the Chamber apparently could not afford as it’s been running in the red now for several years relying on income from the Motor Vehicle services office it is the franchise holder of.    Imagine a Chamber of Commerce losing money or potentially going bankrupt?  Now that’s leadership!

Mr. Shaver’s response to the Moneysense report was issued solo – Mayor Kilger decided not to dance with the Chamber prez on this one.  He did give a quote to another BLOG cum sort of media outlet about the Employment numbers not working for him, but Cornwall failed in each score across the charts of the Moneysense report.

We had to search for the release as apparently the Chamber has lost the Cornwall Free News email….again.

The Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce is surprised and somewhat suspect of  the results of the recent MoneySense showing Cornwall dropping to 167 th position in the Best Places to Live report. “The Chamber has reviewed the findings of the survey and will continue to study the methodology used in determining the decline in our rating.” States President Shaver.


The report considers factors such as climate, ease of travel, affordable housing, population growth and unemployment. The data and methodology used in the study is confusing and perhaps not the most accurate way to grade the cities. For one, how can the quality of life be assessed without the input of the people living there; Should the lifestyle of the population be considered, the results may be very different.


President Shaver notes that Cornwall was not the only city in the area that experienced a decline in their rating, among them; Hawkesburry, Brockville, Belleville and Cobourg. It appears some categories are based on projections, rather than accurate numbers. The most baffling, is the  unemployment rate at 12%, which the Chamber feels is close to double the actual percentage.


According to the methodology, the unemployment rate category is one that carries a great deal of  influence on the outcome of the report. Weather is the most influential category and the  methodology measures 1cm of rain equal to a foot of snow.


The Cornwall Chamber of Commerce invites Moneysense to visit Cornwall and get a first hand look at what our city has to offer it’s residents. The Chamber encourages residents to follow Mayor Kilger’s lead and not let the outcome of this survey distract us from the many positive attributes Cornwall has to offer.

Um, yeah.  I know Ricky, it can be confusing.  So I phoned Moneysense Magazine today and within minutes was speaking with Sarah Efron the Managing Editor of Moneysense Magazine.

She had the following to say:

MoneySense is Canada’s top personal finance magazine, and this is the seventh year we’ve put out the Best Places to Live list. It’s a great tool for city governments and citizens to use to address areas where the city needs improvement, and see how their city is changing over time. 

The source of our unemployment data is Statistics Canada and Canadian Demographics. Unemployment makes up 10 out of our 105 points. 

Sometimes Local Politicians use our score as a way to show solidarity with their constituents as a positive tool to promote growth.

She said it was normal for leaders to react to poor scores, and of course they react to good scores too like nearby Ottawa Ontario that scored the number one spot on the list as the best place to live in Canada.

With the City of Cornwall falling in every category from 2011 to 2012 it seems odd to try and single out one category?    Mr. Shaver is also on the board of Kinsman Cornwall Lift Off 2012 which still has to announce who is on their board, or much of any details to this years event.  He returns to the Balloon fest after quickly resigning as its president in 2011 when the event had to request an emergency $30,000 loan from Mayor Kilger and the City of Cornwall.

Mr. Shaver did not return our attempt to contact him for reply to this story.   You may post your comments below.

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  1. It’s hard to concentrate on Lift Off when you’re swimming in scotch and your partner in CRIME has fled the city.

  2. These reports are no different then some of the car safety reports, it is written to stir economics.

  3. I do believe Cornwall has much to do to improve but honestly “What has changed from last year to this year?”

    Don’t get me wrong I am not saying we are doing well but seriously what has changed? Not honestly enough to drop from the middle of the pack to the bottom!

    I am a young advocate for change and I consistantly critize the lack of modern applications to our local systems but this result will only garner “some” merit if it stays consistant! If Cornwall jumps drastically back up then these results are dangerously misleading. However, if they continue to place Cornwall in this position then maybe they finally caught up with Cornwall’s true state of affairs!

  4. We all remember the “Cornwall Strategy” launched in the year 2000, which aimed to make the Cornwall city “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy by 2010.”
    This was just one in a range of objectives, which in virtually every case remained unrealized, in the fields of innovation, “social cohesion” and employment.
    However, spending on research and development increased only slightly, remaining well below the target of % of GDP. As for social cohesion, suffice it to say that the risk of poverty (after social transfers) has increased.
    But from the outset, the whole business was so ill-conceived.

    The sequel to this story is “Cornwall 2020”: a strategy that aims at “smart, sustainable, inclusive growth.” In ten years’ time, everything in Cornwall – Ontario is supposed to be “smart”: growth and the economy, regulation, specialization, houses and networks… We will even have “smart” traffic management. At the same time, everything – and once again that includes growth and the economy – will be sustainable.
    Apart from that, the strategy does not have much in the way of surprises: a 75% rate of employment target, an industrial policy that aims to “improve the business environment” with – you guessed it – “smart” regulation to reduce “the administrative burden on companies.”
    And it goes without saying that none of this would be possible without a “stronger, deeper, extended single market” backed up by a reinforced “Services Directive” and the implementation of “competition policy” (i.e. deregulation, privatization, and the dismantling of public service), which will supposedly promote growth and innovation.
    The one aspect of the Cornwall 2020 that is new is its approach to governance which ought to be understood in the context of the latest innovation in the field.
    “Fiscal discipline” and structural reforms will be combined to achieve “stronger governance”: “Fiscal consolidation and long-term financial sustainability will need to go hand in hand with important structural reforms, in particular of pension, health care, social protection and education systems.”
    On the level of structural reforms, nothing particularly restrictive will be implemented, but new political resources will be made available to national players who wish to follow the neo-liberal route, and “healthy” public finances will be a virtual prerequisite for governments that wish to preserve their social welfare systems.

  5. I think if you block off the natives, take away the train,put the bus stop out in St.Andrews, have 700 police in the city its hard to expand ?

  6. Kilger and Shaver sound like Dumb and Dumber.

  7. Now that’s progress!…..NOT! From 90 to 190. WOW! Then we placed 98 out of 100!
    Those stats are almost unbeatable if we were looking to place ourselves at the bottom of these lists.
    Who and what is to blame for these outstanding numbers? Cornwall isn’t looking like filet mignon, but rather like a very tough piece of bottom round!
    What’s that slogan that greets us as we arrive into this beautiful city of ours “Cornwall, a world of possibilities” I think we need a new chef and a lot of new cooks to create some tasty items on our menu.

  8. I love Admin’s comment on the Chamber, he’s right that Board couldn’t plan a 2 car funeral and when they do plan an event it seems it’s always to the benefit to some Board members or the cliques they support. Case in point the recent AGM was held at Schnitzels where Joey G is the Brand Manager with his significant other who is the Manager and then Breakfast Connections is catered by Real Dish. Often wonder if these expenses ever go out for a quote, just asking..

  9. You sure slam the Chamber of Commerce pretty often don’t you? Were you not recently a director on said Chamber? By my count, the fact that the Chamber has been “running in the red now for several years” and your description of Bizfest as an “utter disaster” is on you just as much as its on Mr. Shaver or any other Chamber director. Those things happened on your watch. You place all the blame on other when in reality, you should be taking some of that blame yourself.

  10. Author

    Donnie when I ran for the Chamber during the last term I was thanked for running but told I’d lost. When I asked for the vote count I was told the chamber didn’t give those out.

    After two members passed away they were forced to place me on the board, which I was for only a few months. I had no role in Bizfest and would not have vetted it or supported it based on the numbers as presented. When someone forgets the largest line item in a budget for an event, and then someone vettes that it’s a sad day for business leadership.

    This sort of behavior is why I will not renew my membership until there’s a housecleaning of the Chamber from the top down. They just had their AGM this week and you should see some of the doozy changes they made to their charter…. Pettiness, cronyism, these are things I want nothing to do with in any organization I belong to, never mind represent.

  11. @FrancoAmerican…..and hard to sustain….support the local economy!

  12. @Chris: I’ve heard that City Council, Chamber of Commerce, some members of Schnizels and Real Dish are all part of “The Clique”. They want to control everything in Cornwall.

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