CORNWALL, Ontario – At their Jan. 13 meeting, Cornwall City Council passed a motion to look into how Cornwall can become friendlier for remote workers and the remote work industry as a whole.
Councillor Justin Towndale put forward a motion asking city administration to create a report on a strategy to attract remote workers to Cornwall. The motion was seconded by Todd Bennett.
“It is relatively new sector, but one that has yet to be tapped into by many municipalities,” Towndale said. “A lot of these tech firms are looking to higher workers that can work remotely so they don’t have to worry about overhead like office space.”
Towndale pointed to the tech company Shopify, which has recently hired five new remote work employees in Cornwall and the councillor explained that at least one of them has used that opportunity to start their own small business.
“We have a reasonable cost of living, we are very well located,” Towndale explained. “With the cost of living growing in larger cities, now is the time. This doesn’t require any new infrastructure.”
Councillor Todd Bennett stated that remote work was a way for Cornwall to diversify its economy while also possibly attracting new workers for more traditional jobs that are already here.
“It is another opportunity to diversify our economy. We don’t want to get too reliant on one industry or another,” said Bennett. “Remote workers have spouses and those spouses will need jobs and we have a lot of vacancies right now. The more I see this, the more I think of it as the future. Let’s be bold.”
Mayor Bernadette Clement concurred and said that she wanted to see Cornwall explore new opportunities.
“This is a brave new world,” Clement said. “This is why we are here. To be activists and to be investigating things that could bring new money and new people to our city.”
The motion passed unanimously and Council is expecting to receive administrations report on the matter at their Feb. 24 meeting.