Moving Québec Towards 2020…
And beyond!

November 22, 2019 -
Hôtel Château Bellevue

A few months ago, I stumbled upon a relevant and inspiring article in the Les Affaires newspaper, which suggested ideas to move today’s Québec forward. I reacted to some of the content. Here are my thoughts on the proposed ideas.

Breaking the Male Entrepreneurship Pattern

I like the idea of men going on parental leave longer than the usual 5-week paternity leave. In theory, the parental leave can be shared between the mother and her partner, but let’s face it: men who request weeks or months of parental leave are rarely perceived positively by their employers. What is so disturbing about it? Is it the fact that men are still typically assuming the role of family providers? Or the fact that men are most often responsible for making decisions in companies? Maybe it has to do with parental leave being mistakenly interpreted as “time off,” still today. I do not have children, yet this leads me to reflect on gender equity in 2019.

With the enhancement of women entrepreneurship, maybe Québec will take another look at the sharing of responsibilities, and not only in the workplace context.

Selena Lu

And just like Selena Lu, President of the Jeune chambre de commerce de Montréal, put it, we might have to resort to incentive measures and mandatory standards to achieve change. For instance, companies that are reluctant to grant parental leave to men could be reprimanded by the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST). Will public registries, fines and judgments be necessary to change mentalities?

Corporate Collaboration

It cannot be repeated too often: alone we go faster; together we go further. I would add that we are also stronger together. I firmly believe in this saying, particularly between companies. And for those who had the opportunity to stay at Hôtel Château Bellevue, maybe you are already familiar with our Treasure chest . By fostering corporate partnerships with other tourism establishments, we offer our guests the best way to discover Québec City. Our front desk team often suggests restaurants and boutiques within walking distance.

Also, as a member of Ôrigine Artisans Hôteliers, formerly known as Hôtellerie Champêtre, we are part of a network of establishments (lodging, food and activities) that offer an authentic, high-quality experience. By promoting this network, we allow tourists from here and abroad to discover our culture. Cooperating companies, especially in the tourism industry, can remain competitive on the global market in a relative labour shortage context.

No Political Partisanship

Politics are widely present in Québec, both in projects that make the province progress and in topics for debate. I believe that a sound solution to minimize the effects of political partisanship would be to invest in the continuous education of citizens of all ages, regardless of their social class. This would allow everyone to have a less biased opinion and to advance as a society.

If the Members of the National Assembly took the time to listen to the people (individuals, groups and businesses), without delivering electoral promises at all costs, which are often times not unanimously accepted by the population prior to the coming into power of their party, maybe we would make fairer choices for society.

Make no mistake: this is not open criticism of the current government. It is a simple opinion, inspired by Claude Béland’s article in the Les Affaires newspaper. I am not disillusioned with regards to politics. On the contrary, I believe that we can change things for the better with our municipal, provincial and federal leaders. I said it, and I believe it: strength lies in numbers, and we are stronger together!

Waste Reduction and Economy

Not so long ago, I wrote about the importance I attach to the environment. Our company’s Green Committee implements initiatives to reduce our environmental footprint. These corporate decisions enable us to have a positive impact on the short and long term. Even the simplest solutions can help change our consumption behaviour. For instance, we put together an internal marketplace at the hotel for employees to exchange—or sell at a low price—secondhand goods and clothes. I can only encourage this kind of team effort. And I must admit, their sincere interest to make a difference for the environment and for circular economy makes me feel proud.

For my part, I continue to hope that, maybe soon, we will find a simple way to integrate composting into our business practices. There is a manifest interest. All that’s left is to find the right way of doing it, in a physical location that is traditionally not suited for composting. Maybe we will achieve this through the resourcefulness of companies like Tero (https://teroproducts.com) or other local enterprises. Who knows? Maybe my interest is shared by other shops and restaurants nearby. It might be a good idea to make it a community-based, sustainable solution.

I also think that composting and recovering our residual materials to generate energy (biomethanization, for instance) should not be calculated as a monetary investment from which we should expect to reach a quick ROI. It is a long-term challenge, and the money investment required to overcome it should be calculated accordingly. One person’s waste could thus become another person’s raw material, therefore promoting circular economy. Solucycle, a local business that invests in the management and recovery of food waste at the source, is a real-world applicability example.

A Bank of Managers for Business Takeovers

There is an alarming lack of corporate succession. I am particularly sensitive to this matter given my implication with the Centre de transfert d’entreprise du Québec, but also because I am an example of corporate succession.

We have to find ways to create a keen interest in business ownership transfers and to inform people of the available tools and places for learning. Here in Québec City, the École d’entrepreneuriat de Québec promotes its business transfer program for SMEs. Maybe by making the connection with bold young people, starting from the time where all their career dreams are still possible, we could put together a bank of candidates for corporate succession. Can promotion campaigns in college schools and universities be potential solutions?

Or, in the opposite, given the ageing population, why not attract seasoned managers getting close to retirement, and let them be a part of this bank of candidates, as mentors?

The entrepreneurial journey is thrilling. We have to encourage more people to take over our companies before they are bought by foreign entities.

Anyhow, the Québec of tomorrow is in our hands, and we must make the right decisions, both individually and collectively. Companies, stakeholders and elected representatives need to work hand-in-hand to move our society forward. It’s really exciting to see all the challenges we have to face; it is up to us to find solutions for the benefit of the Québec society. How about you? What potential solutions inspire you?

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