Monthly Archives March 2018

Shirley de Silva, CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, will be speaking before Lambton County Council next week at its Wednesday, April 4 meeting, presenting both an overview of the Chamber’s strategic direction and a summary of its position around a proposal to do away with a property tax rebate known as the Commercial Vacancy Rate.

Details on the Chamber’s position will be presented to Lambton County Council ahead of its meeting next week.

As part of her remarks, de Silva will share with members of County Council on how the Chamber is continuing a renewal process that will help all communities in the County grow.

“Our vision, and our ongoing commitment, is to serve the entire communities where our members will do business, building on a foundation of purposeful initiatives and cooperative actions,” said de Silva, ahead of the presentation to County Council. “When we set our minds to work together, and I’m talking about the business community and those of you who your constituencies have trusted to represent them around the table here at Lambton County Council, great things happen.”


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With Leadwave Technologies sponsoring April’s Business After 5, to take place at Brownstones Sports Lounge and Restaurant, you can forgive the kind of pun that includes an invitation to “backup” your vehicle when you arrive on Wednesday, April 18.

Well, we’ll try.

At any rate, “I.T”s the place to be to “network.” April is like any other month in that it’s a great time to gather, to catch up with Chamber members you may have missed over the winter months, and brush up on your connections.

We’ll see you there!

Remember: the event is a private one for Chamber members and guests. Others are subject to a $10 entrance fee. Visa, MasterCard and Debit are all accepted for drink payment and you must be 19+ to attend.



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A report issued by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce shows how businesses should strategically “brace for change” when it comes to taking full advantage of future technologies, including automation, artificial intelligence, and advanced robotics.

In a report titled “Skills for an Automated Future,” the report outlines how global labour markets are adapting to the impact of new technology and the demand for skills to match.

As one participant in a Canadian Chamber of Commerce roundtable put it: “We are moving from a knowledge economy to a wisdom economy.”

In the report’s executive summary, the  Canadian Chamber of which the local Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is a member, points out the need for businesses to view employee development as a competitive edge for attracting and maintaining the best talent.

There is also a need for an updating of government funding mechanisms for training to recognize the various educational pathways.

“The measurement of skills and competencies needed in the workforce, the transferability of qualifications and more flexibility for educational institutions can all support the workforce adaptation for future technology,” according to the report.

The full report can be accessed HERE.



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Organizers of this year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards and Gala Event are getting ready for what is arguably the first in a number of “key dates” leading to the big event this October.

We’re talking about the day when nominations open for the OBAAs, which will be Monday, April 9 at a “launch” event held at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

Beginning at 11:30 a.m. media and guests, including past winners and representatives from Libro Credit Union, our lead sponsor, will “officially” open the process that leads to the OBAAs on Friday, October 12 at the Imperial Theatre.

Significantly, the Chamber has opened up nominations this year to All businesses in Sarnia-Lambton, a decision that is considered to be a strategic element in the organization’s renewal process.

“We believe the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards (OBAA)  process can be the start of a journey that leads to membership,” said CEO Shirley de Silva. “Through this event, business leaders can experience first hand how being nominated for an OBAA by customers and peers can be an enriching experience, something to which both past nominees and the winners can attest.”

Look for more information on the entire OBAA process, including how nominations are going online, in future editions of the Chamber newsletters and on our website.




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Former figure skating champion Elizabeth Manley, who won a silver medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada, will take the stage at the Enbridge Famous 5 speaker series on Thursday, April 12, 2018, sharing her experiences, including her well-known battles with depression.

Manley is the latest in the speaker series, which is sponsored in part by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Single tickets for the event, which takes place at the Holiday Inn, 1498 Venetian Blvd., Point Edward, are $40 (a table of five is $300). The event begins at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets, which can be purchased by clicking HERE, should be purchased by April 9, 2018.


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Representatives from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce had the chance to bring an international flavour to last Friday’s “State of the County” event hosted by the Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce, an opportunity that underscores the strong relationship enjoyed by both business organizations.

Shirley de Silva, CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, joined Lambton County Warden Bill Weber and Board Director Jean Xu in taking part in what was the 12th annual event.

Held at a banquet facility in Marysville, the “State of the County” event was headlined by St. Clair County Administrator Karry Hepting, who outlined her top priorities. Other speakers included County Commissioner Jeff Bohm, Port Huron City Manager James Free, Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez, Marine City Manager Elaine Leven, and Algonac City Manager Denice Gerstenberg.


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The excitement around Chamber member TMRRW Inc. developing a new co-working space in downtown Sarnia is beginning to spread and we’re pleased to congratulate Liwordson Vijayabalan and his partners—Lewis Menelaws and Jason Neung—on the initiative.

The 3,000 square feet of space is being called Altspace (powered by TMRRW INC.) and Chamber members are being asked for their views ahead of the space being prepared for clients.

Located in the former Taylor’s Furniture building at 140 Christina St. North, Altspace is intended to serve a void in the business community and should be especially attractive for entrepreneurs who might be looking for an alternative to working from home.

Coworking is a proven solution around the world for hustlers working in that “grey area.”

We salute the TMRRW INC. folks for recognizing this need and invite Chamber members to participate in the online survey. A link to the survey can be found HERE.


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As part of the Chamber’s  Members Only Benefit Programs, Chamber member Joe Gorzeman of JoeGoPhoto is offering an area-exclusive service that puts a company’s virtual tour online.

The service—Google Business Virtual Tours—is one that Gorzeman says can help a business “stand out from the ordinary” in its online presence.

Having an online presence is something that every business should have as a “basic” part of their marketing toolkit.   But the Google Business Virtual Tour takes that to the next level, by letting ‘visitors’ click their way in the front door before they take the time to arrive at the bricks and mortar premise.

Further information on this Members Only Benefit, you can contact Kim Inniss-Petersen at or visit

And make sure you tell Gorzeman you’re a Chamber member!

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Spring is definitely “in the air” and Richard Bain’s work on an upcoming coffee table book is also heating up.

Production of “Sarnia Lambton Simply Sensational” is well underway and the publication will be delivered later this year.

As part of the project, Richard Bain is working with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and a limited number of partnering organizations.   Those spots are going fast, says CEO Shirley de Silva.

“We are very encouraged with the response so far,” she says. “But time is running out and we don’t want anyone to be disappointed.”

The foreword to “Simply Sensational” is being authored by now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command a mission at the International Space Station and who was born and raised in the area.

Demand for the book is expected to exceed supply, with Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Lambton County Warden Bill Weber both offering their enthusiastic support for the project.

Richard Bain’s past work has included a number of similar projects, completed successfully in partnership with several regional groups, including Chambers in Stratford, Niagara, London, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Without exception, those with whom he has worked have seen positive results from those projects.

Partners—which may include businesses, organizations seeking visibility in the area, and local municipalities—will have several copies of Simply Sensational which can be distributed to clients, employees, and others. Additional copies will be made available through Ontario bookstores or directly from the Chamber.

If your organization would like to ensure your spot on the list of partners, contact Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, directly at (519) 336-2400, ext. 1, or by email:

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is inviting members of its Chamber Network (including the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce) to take part in a FREE webinar intended to explain how industrial power users can take advantage of the Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI), a program to help customers who use peak power of more than 500 kilowatts in an average month.

The webinar, which will take place on Friday, April 6, 2018, is being sponsored by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ontario Ministry of Energy. It will run from 11 a.m. to noon and provide an overview of important program timelines and energy-saving opportunities.

To register for the webinar, click HERE.

Customers that participate in the ICI are called Class A customers and pay Global Adjustment (GA) based on their percentage contribution to the top five peak Ontario demand hours in Ontario over a 12-month period. Participating customers that can successfully predict the top five peaks and reduce their demand may see a reduction in their Global Adjustment costs.

The ICI program eligibility expanded in 2017 to include manufacturers and greenhouses with average monthly peak demand greater than 500kW.

This webinar provides an opportunity for ICI participants to connect with other program participants and energy experts from industry, the IESO, and Ministry of Energy. Stay informed on how to successfully participate in the ICI or determine if the program is right for your organization.

The Know Your Power initiative is a one-stop-shop for information on energy-saving programs and opportunities to improve your energy efficiency that will help businesses identify measures to help reduce electricity bills and conserve energy.

Who Should Attend?

—Businesses participating in the ICI program
—Eligible businesses interested in opting into the program
—Energy managers specializing in industrial processes
—Energy consultants
—Qualified energy efficient contractors
—Local utility companies and municipalities


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