Monthly Archives October 2018

A recent announcement by the new provincial government to repeal and replace Bill 148, a piece of legislation that was deemed “too much, too fast” by chambers of commerce across Ontario,  is welcomed by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

“These changes are encouraging,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We see the corrective steps being proposed through the Making Ontario Open for Business as being a bold step toward creating a stronger and more prosperous province.”

The new legislation will maintain some important provisions such as emergency leave for cases of domestic or sexual violence and 3 weeks holiday after 5 years of working for the same employer. It also includes much-needed improvements to the ratio of journeyperson-to-apprentice.

“It is now more critical than ever to create an economy that ensures both employers and employees are prepared for the labour market needs of tomorrow,” said de Silva. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences of Bill 148 came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.”

According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the months following the introduction of Bill 148, prices have increased for everyday consumer goods and services, impacting every family in Ontario and in the long term, Bill 148 was expected to put between 50,000 and 180,000 jobs at risk and cost the economy at least $150 million.

Ontario College of Trades

In announcing changes to the skilled trades apprenticeship system, the new provincial government sees the need to be more responsive to the needs of the economy and to address a dire labour shortage.

The Ontario College of Trades has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.

With that in mind, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber joined with the Ontario Chamber Network in advocating for a modernization of the College of Trades and the apprenticeship application system, promoting the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revising the system to create more opportunities within the skilled trades.

“Because those reforms were not made through the Ontario College of Trades, the recommended dismantling of that needless bureaucracy is going forward, with responsibility for trades regulation going back to the Province,” said de Silva. “We welcome that move.”

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At a workshop event being jointly sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—through its Global Business Opportunities Community (GBOC)—and the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, business owners will discover ways to “take the LEAP” when it comes to growing their business globally.

The upcoming LEAP Workshop—short for Launch your Export Action Plan—will take place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The workshop will be presented by trade experts from the Canada-Ontario Export Fortum and the Government of Ontario.

Attendees will find out how to assess their export readiness and identify the skills needed to succeed in a new market.

They will also be able to connect with an Ontario Trade Advisor who will help with the development of an Export Action Plan and gain access to the Canada Ontario Export Forum’s toolbox, which includes export resources, programming and sources of funding).

To register for this FREE workshop, click HERE.

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Are you looking to: sharpen your competitive edge, develop a business plan,  launch a new product,  expand, apply for a business loan or develop a succession plan?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you should consider attending a complimentary, 90-minute workshop on Effective Market Research being held at the Chamber board offices on November 29.

Successful businesses rely on credible, replicatable market intelligence.  However, most small and medium-sized companies don’t have a dedicated marketing department.  This workshop will help you understand what market research is and, because time is money, show you how to locate the data you need in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

The workshop will be delivered by Reginald Hutcherson, whose strategic business planning firm has advised several Fortune 500 companies, including Colgate Palmolive, Hewlett-Packard and Spar Aerospace. Hutcherson is well qualified to help Chamber members take that first step in understanding and obtaining the kind of market intelligence that can help you grow your business.

A recent arrival to Sarnia-Lambton, Reg is bringing his insights to a select group of chamber members in a no-cost, 90-minute, interactive workshop.  Don’t miss this opportunity to hone your market research skills.  It will be time well spent.

The November 29 workshop is first of a two-part series titled “Concepts and Ideas Used By Successful Businesses.”

Part one:  “Time & Cost Effective Market Research”- November 29, 2018
Part two:   “Defining Your Target Market”—will be a follow-up to the November 29 workshop.

To register for this workshop CLICK HERE.

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There was excitement in the air at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, with dozens of nominees gathering with hundreds of their, colleagues, friends, and family for one of the signature events of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Our Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, the 29th annual event, was all it was expected to be—and more.

For starters, there’s something to be said—especially in a time where modern business fashion is more likely to be “casual” than anything else—for a “dress-up” event that makes us all feel a bit brighter.

Suit and tie. A dress designed to catch the eye and draw more than a compliment or two.

It’s all part of the OBAA experience.

But then there’s also the excitement of the nominees who brought their very best to panels of judges who themselves, on the Friday, October 12 night of the OBAAs, were not aware of who the winners would be.

Some 15 categories were judged from among nominees made earlier this summer, plus one “Chamber Champion” selected by a group of past chairs of the Chamber’s board.

None of this would have been possible without the generous lead sponsorship of Libro Credit Union, and for their support we are very grateful.

A special thanks goes to McFarlan Rowlands/Economical Select for sponsoring the Nominee Reception/Rehearsal evening.

Here, then, are the categories, sponsors, nominees and, of course, our winners of this year’s OBAA event:

Agri-businesssponsored by Cargill Ltd


High Park Company, Hog Wild Farms, Penta TMR, Sipkens Nurseries, Podolinsky Equipment Ltd.


Podolinsky Equipment Ltd.

Business of the Yearsponsored by Scotiabank


Dragonfly Media, Guardian Real Estate Management, NOVA Chemicals, Royal Protective Services Sarnia


NOVA Chemicals

Cool Place to Worksponsored by TMRRW Inc


Blackwater Coffee Company, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, Rally Engineering, Rebound, TWD Technologies, The Painted Cat

Winner—EXIT Realty Twin Bridges

Exporter of the Year—sponsored by Global Affairs Canada


AG Event Graphics, New England Arbors, Zen Yarn Garden

Winner—AG Event Graphics

Health Safety and Environmental Leadershipsponsored by Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association and Industrial Education Cooperative


Ontario Choice Tree Service, Terrapure Environmental

Winner—Terrapure Environmental

Inclusivitysponsored by Cogeco


Children’s Aid Society of Sarnia Lambton, Goodwill, Grace United Church, Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions, RBC

Winner—Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions

Marketing and Promotionssponsored by Bluewater Power


FortyHours, Greg’s Auto Detailing, PM Entertainment Group & Foundation (Bluewater BorderFest)

Winner—PM Entertainment Group & Foundation (Bluewater BorderFest)

Non-Profitsponsored by LEHDER Environmental Services


Family Counselling Centre, Lambton Elderly Outreach, Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton, Sarnia Community Foundation, Twin Bridges NPLC, Workplace Group

Winner—Sarnia Community Foundation

Outstanding Customer Service (Business)sponsored by RBC Royal Bank


A Taste of Britain, Big Fish, Bluewater Hearing, Deb’s Shoe Gallery, Math Plus Tutors, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, Mortgage Wellness, Freshii, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique, LBM Consulting/Selectpath

Winner—Bluewater Hearing

Social Responsibilitysponsored by Pinchin Ltd


Bushido Sing Judo/Jiu-jitsu Club, Lambton College, Preferred Towing, Sarnia Green Drinks

Winner—Lambton College

Tech-novationsponsored by CIBC


Cogeco, LEADWAVE Technologies, Corporation of City of Sarnia

Winner (tied)—LEADWAVE Technologies and Corporation of the City of Sarnia

Business Leadershipsponsored by Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership


Julie Jenkins, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, Judith Morris, Lambton College, Bill Yurchuk, Lambton Elderly Outreach, Lindsay Davey, Tiny Tots Sensory Baby Toys & Sewing Club

Winner—Judith Morris, Lambton College

Entrepreneursponsored by Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation

Adaleah Lacey, Adaleah Lacey Photography; Dean Haldenby, Haldenby Financial Group; Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW


Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW

Member of the Year, sponsored by Imperial Theatre


Dave Watson, Goodwill, Michael John Kooy, RBC Dominion Securities


Dave Watson, Goodwill

Outstanding Customer Service (Individual)sponsored by Air Canada


Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company; Donna Paddock, Danske Industries; Christian Willemsen, The Co-operators; David Burrows, The Show with David Burrows; Caroline Bekkers, Canadian Cancer Society; Aaron Deactis, DeGroot’s Nurseries; Danielle Edgar, Lambton Pharmacy; David Pugh, Ontario Choice Tree Service; Cara Quinn, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique; Alexa Pape, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia; Luc Berube, LEADWAVE Technologies.

Winner—Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company

Chamber Championsponsored by Past Chairs

Selected by the Chamber’s Board of Directors: Franco Filia, The Co-operators Insurance

And finally … we all look forward to seeing you next year for another “Outstanding” event!

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, along with title sponsor Libro Credit Union, are pleased to announce the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards winners following last Friday’s event at the Imperial Theatre.

It was a great evening celebrating all the nominees and winners!

Agri-business—sponsored by Cargill Ltd

  • High Park Company
  • Hog Wild Farms
  • Penta TMR
  • Podolinsky Equipment Ltd. (winner)
  • Sipkens Nurseries

Business of the Year—sponsored by Scotiabank

  • Dragonfly Media
  • Guardian Real Estate Management
  • NOVA Chemicals (winner)
  • Royal Protective Services Sarnia

Cool Place to Work—sponsored by TMRRW Inc

  • Blackwater Coffee Company
  • EXIT Realty Twin Bridges (winner)
  • Rally Engineering
  • Rebound
  • TWD Technologies
  • The Painted Cat

Exporter of the Year—sponsored by Global Affairs

  • AG Event Graphics (winner)
  • New England Arbors
  • Zen Yarn Garden

Health Safety and Environmental Leadership—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association
and Industrial Education Cooperative

  • Ontario Choice Tree Service
  • Terrapure Environmental  (winner)

Inclusivity—sponsored by Cogeco

  • Children’s Aid Society of Sarnia Lambton
  • Goodwill
  • Grace United Church
  • Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions  (winner)
  • RBC

Marketing and Promotions—sponsored by Bluewater Power

  • FortyHours
  • Greg’s Auto Detailing
  • PM Entertainment Group & Foundation  (winner)

Non-Profit—sponsored by LEHDER

  • Family Counselling Centre
  • Lambton Elderly Outreach
  • Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton
  • Sarnia Community Foundation  (winner)
  • Twin Bridges NPLC
  • Workplace Group

Outstanding Customer Service—Business—sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

  • A Taste of Britain
  • Big Fish
  • Bluewater Hearing  (winner)
  • Deb’s Shoe Gallery
  • Math Plus Tutors
  • Young Drivers of Canada—Sarnia
  • Tourism Sarnia-Lambton
  • Mortgage Wellness
  • Freshii
  • Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique
  • LBM Consulting/Selectpath

Social Responsibility—sponsored by Pinchin Ltd

  • Bushido Sing Judo/Jiu-jitsu Club
  • Lambton College  (winner)
  • Preferred Towing
  • Sarnia Green Drinks

Tech-Novation—sponsored by CIBC

  • Cogeco
  • LEADWAVE Technologies (tied – winner)
  • Corporation of the City of Sarnia  (tied – winner)

Business Leadership—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership

  • Julie Jenkins, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges
  • Judith Morris, Lambton College  (winner)
  • Bill Yurchuk, Lambton Elderly Outreach
  • Lindsay Davey, Tiny Tots Sensory Baby Toys & Sewing Club

Entrepreneur—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation

  • Adaleah Lacey, Adaleah Lacey Photography
  • Dean Haldenby, Haldenby Financial Group
  • Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW  (winner)

Member of the Year—sponsored by Imperial Theatre

  • Dave Watson, Goodwill  (winner)
  • Michael John Kooy, RBC Dominion Securities

Outstanding Customer Service—Individual—sponsored by Air Canada

  • Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company  (winner)
  • Donna Paddock, Danske Industries
  • Christian Willemsen, The Co-operators
  • David Burrows, The Show with David Burrows
  • Caroline Bekkers, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Aaron Deactis, DeGroot’s Nurseries
  • Danielle Edgar, Lambton Pharmacy
  • David Pugh, Ontario Choice Tree Service
  • Cara Quinn, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique
  • Alexa Pape, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia
  • Luc Berube, Leadwave

Chamber Champion—sponsored by Past Chamber Chairs

  • Franco Filia, Co-operators  (winner)
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More than 300 business leaders from every corner of the country—including Sarnia-Lambton—came together last month to focus on the challenges they face and come up with ways to address them.

The opportunity came in the form of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting. which is the largest gathering of business leaders in Canada.

“The Chamber’s AGM is the parliament of Canadian business,” noted Hon. Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “The policy resolutions that they put forth are what’s on the mind of business owners from the small town shop to the corner office (and) they spoke with a focussed conviction: they loudly stated the case for getting more projects done, bringing more jobs and trade prospects to cities and towns across Canada.”

Members spoke with unity about a variety of issues, including the country’s lagging infrastructure and the fact that it limits Canada’s ability to grow.

“You cannot grow your economy without getting your products to market, and our lagging infrastructure is significantly limiting Canada’s ability to grow,” Beatty added. “Canada’s regulatory framework is suffocating our ability to create more middle-class jobs that build our roads, ports, and wind farms alike, and 300 Chambers across Canada have had enough. They are calling for real change.”

Some 63 policy motions were tabled for the debate process, of which 49 were passed, 3 were defeated, 1 was withdrawn, and 10 were referred to the Chamber Board committee for review. All of the resolutions can be found here.

Resolutions of note that received overwhelming support included:

·         Urging the Federal Government to create a national strategy in support of Canada’s bioindustry, a sector that is particularly important to our area. This resolution was submitted by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. Click HERE to see what happened next.

·         The need for greater clarity within the Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69) (100% approval).

·         The need for greater clarity within the Impact Assessment Act (Bill C-69) (100% approval).

·         Supporting a competitive LNG industry in Canada (100% approval)

·         Ensuring front-of-package labelling regulations for food products do not affect Canadian business competitiveness (100% approval)

·         The Importance to the Economy of Expanded Oil Pipeline Infrastructure (100% approval)

·         Maximizing Value For Taxpayer Dollars on Public Infrastructure Projects And Defending The Rights Of Canadian Companies And Workers (100% approval)

·         Addressing Barriers to Interprovincial Trade (98.6% approval)

·         Protect Canadians with a taxpayer Charter of Rights (96.9% approval)

“The real power of the Canadian Chamber lies in its grassroots, with more than 400 chambers mobilized across the country, that, collectively, reflect the voice and concerns of business owners from every main street in the country,” added Beatty. “It is an incredibly powerful and effective voice, and the AGM policy debate is the lifeblood that supports it.”

Trends discussed during workshops and panel discussions outside of the debate process included the burgeoning cannabis industry, the future of work and the skills gap, Canada’s aging population, the millennial workforce, and diversity and inclusion, among many others.


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With online and telephone voting in the City of Sarnia now taking place, an event held last Wednesday (the day before voting began) was a timely opportunity for candidates to put their best foot forward.

Sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, with support from Lambton Mall, the event took place during an extended “dinner hour” in space adjacent to the food court.

“We have a tradition of helping to encourage active involvement in the political process,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber. “This event was one way we were able to extend our reach and encourage one-on-one interaction with the candidates.”

This year’s municipal election has fielded a near-record number of candidates. Voting in Sarnia began October 11 and wraps up on October 22.


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Lambton Public Health is asking for the help of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as it looks ahead to the upcoming winter season, with all its snow and ice challenges.

The agency, along with Age-Friendly Sarnia, is hosting a FREE two hour “Snow Removal Brainstorming Session” on Wednesday, October 24 from 2 p.m to 4 p.m. at the Kiwanis Room in the Sarnia Arena, located at 134 Brock Street South.

Attendees are being invited to share their ideas, feedback and support for snow removal in the community, the objective being to improve safe access for all.

For more information on the event, contact Jennifer Graham, health promoter with Lambton Public Health, at (519) 344-2057, ext. 3568 or email:

The event is FREE but organizers are asked to register online by clicking HERE.


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This is a new feature that will appear from time to time in the Chamber newsletter. Members are invited to contribute brief items at no cost.

The Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board is hosting a FREE (but registration required) workshop on “Maximizing Your Workforce by Attracting & Retaining Older Workers.” The event is being held on Wednesday, November 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Tourism Sarnia-Lambton building on Venetian Boulevard. Registrants will discover the benefits of attracting and retaining older workers and strategies for success in doing so. Register by emailing Julie Allen——or by calling (519) 332-0000.



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The OCC’s Fall Policy Survey is underway. The initiative, which is an integral part of advocacy work that is done both provincially and locally as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce incorporates findings from across the province into its strategy to advocate on behalf of our members.

The findings of the survey, which wraps up on Friday, October 26, will be published in the Ontario Chamber’s Economic Report.

This is your opportunity to have your voice heard on issues that matter most.

The impact of government policy on your business and the overall state of the Ontario economy.

The survey is securely hosted by Navigator, an independent consulting firm. All responses will be kept strictly confidential.

By taking a few moments to complete the short survey, you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

CLICK HERE to begin the survey.

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