Monthly Archives February 2019

Josh Lines recalls the first time he began to think about developing his own hot sauce.

A lover himself of putting a “little spice” on his food, Lines reached out to a friend he knew with the expertise to turn his ideas for what has become “Canada’s hot sauce” into reality.

Now a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Lines is intent on taking his “Front Street Heat” collection of hot sauce offerings even further than he already has—which is in several local stores, and beyond—to London, Windsor.

He’s also selling “Front Street Heat” online at

“It’s continuing to grow,” said Lines, who is working hard to spread the word about a product that is sure to be a hit.

Be sure to welcome one of our latest members to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce!

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It’s an organization that has decades of experience in the thoughtful and strategic implementation of a strategy to improve the way business leaders improve their communication.

We’re talking about Toastmasters International and right here in Sarnia-Lambton there are several clubs to choose from if taking the next step in being a better communicator/presenter is one of your goals.

One of those clubs meets at the offices of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce every Thursday at noon and Julie Jenkins, broker of record and owner of EXIT Realty Twin Bridges Brokerage, would love to have you check out one of their gatherings.

“Members learn from each other in a fun and encouraging environment,” notes Jenkins. “Toastmasters has been one of the best things I have done for my career. It’s helped me to gain the self-confidence to succeed in business and I recommend it to anyone who wants to improve.”

Drop by any Thursday or contact Jenkins if you have further questions. She can be reached by email or by phone at (519) 328-4963.

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A half-day seminar co-sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and Simplify ISO, a firm with extensive experience in helping organizations of all types developing services held to a world standard, attracted several local energy users who now have a path for improvement.

The event, which took place on Monday, was publicized in the Chamber’s newsletter and elsewhere, with Shirley de Silva, the Chamber’s president and CEO, seeing a future for more events of this type in the Chamber’s future.

“Our value proposition for members includes underscoring how the Chamber is building relevance,” said de Silva.

A key speaker at the seminar was Donna Arts (pictured centre), representing Natural Resources Canada, who outlined a rebate program for eligible companies who become certified to the ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard, an area where Jim Moran (pictured left), president of Simplify ISO, can assist companies.

Representatives from Bluewater Power as well as heavy users of energy attended the event, which was free of charge to Chamber members.


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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will convene its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, to take place at the St. Clair Corporate Centre, 265 Front St. N., Sarnia, Ontario.

Networking begins at 6 p.m. and the formal business portion of the event follows at 7 p.m.

All members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce are hereby invited to attend this event, which will include the nomination and swearing in of members of the Board of Directors.

A guest speaker—Liwordson Vijayabalan, CEO of TMRRW Inc., a creative agency based in Sarnia (and Chamber member)—will be featured at this year’s AGM.

The following documents may be accessed by members prior to the AGM:

2019 AGM Agenda

AGM minutes Feb 28 2018

2019 AGM proposed slate of directors



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At an event co-hosted by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce on Friday, February 15, representatives of the Canadian Fuels Association, the trade organization representing the refining industry, presented the results of a study outlining the economic impact its member companies deliver to Canadians coast to coast.

The noon-hour event included introductory remarks by Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva (pictured), followed by an overview of the Southwest Ontario Economic Impact Study delivered by Lisa Stilborn, vice president (Ontario) of the Canadian Fuels Association.

An executive summary of the study’s findings can be seen HERE.

Members of the Canadian Fuels Association, which is heavily represented in Sarnia-Lambton, account for more than 12,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the province.

The industry also:

—Has $1.25 billion in annual operating expenditures.

—Contributes to the economic support of some 1,600 suppliers in an integrated supply chain.

—Provides a $6.7 contribution to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

—Is the source of $320 million in federal and provincial tax revenue.

—Accounts for $550 million in feedstock for the chemical, plastic and rubber industries.

“As we discovered in a new light, this Economic Impact Study is proof positive that the refining industry continues to represent one of the key engines of prosperity, not only for our region but for the entire country,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber.


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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce earlier this week (Tuesday, February 19) released its third annual Ontario Economic Report (OER), offering a unique perspective on the experience of businesses of all sizes across the province. Through the Business Confidence Survey, the Business Prosperity Index, and the Economic Outlook, this report presents a candid look at private sector sentiment and opportunities for economic growth for the year ahead.

“New research shows that businesses are gaining confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook as well as gaining confidence in themselves,” noted Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, which is a member of the OCC.

The entire OER can be seen HERE.

Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the OCC, said challenges relating to access to talent, embracing technological innovations, and the cost of doing business—including regulation, taxation, and input prices—remain major sources of concern to businesses in the province.

“Ontario’s overall prosperity depends on the strength of its regional economies, yet these vulnerabilities are expected to be most acutely felt in rural regions of the province,” said Rossi. “We should all be concerned that the province’s employment growth has been largely concentrated in the Greater Golden Horseshoe since 2003, while other regions have experienced slow or even negative growth during that same period.”

The OCC document is aimed at shaping and informing future public policy and will act as a reference and benchmark for debate and policy change.

Key takeaways from this year’s Ontario Economic Report include:

  • Confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook has improved. Thirty percent of members surveyed expressed confidence in Ontario’s outlook for 2019, up seven percentage points compared to last year.
  • Despite a more optimistic outlook for 2019, decreasing levels of organizational and economic confidence over the years have impacted business’ willingness to invest, take risks, and adopt technological advancements.
  • Businesses are gaining confidence in themselves. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported confidence in their own organization’s economic outlook heading into 2019, a seven-point increase from last year.
  • Revenue projections for 2019 are more positive than those of 2018. Eighty-six percent of respondents believe their organization’s revenues will increase or stay the same over the next twelve months, with only fourteen percent anticipating a decline. This represents a notable change in direction from 2018, when 27 percent were projecting their revenue to decrease.

“This year will be a formative one for the Ontario economy,” said de Silva. “Along with the OCC, we urge decision-makers to develop thoughtful policies that foster competitiveness and address the potential vulnerabilities that loom large within our province,. We need to take action and address these challenges to build a stronger Ontario for today and tomorrow.”

As Ontario’s economy continues to face many challenges outlined in the OER, the OCC’s 2019 Ontario Economic Summit will be dedicated to the question of competitiveness with an agenda that will explore how our province can lead in innovation, knowledge-generation, and trade. The OCC will be engaging its members, government and other leaders to explore these issues and develop the necessary solutions to drive forward a competitive province for years to come.

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Daniela Oana, a teacher/coach at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Sarnia, is part of a team that is hosting the 2019 Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) Boys’ AAA Soccer Champi0nship this June.

Daniela is reaching out to Chamber members with an unusual but not quite unique request: she is seeking promotional items that could be included in “Welcome” packages for some 20 teams that will be visiting Sarnia-Lambton from across Ontario.

The three-day event will be held at Lambton College and the Sarnia Girls’ Soccer Fields.

Anyone interested in discussing this opportunity further can reach out to Daniela directly by email (

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Trying to save money on your industrial energy bill? You’ll want to attend a half-day seminar next Monday, February 25 to find out details of a federal grants program.

The event, which is FREE to attend for Chamber members, takes place at the Best Western Guildwood Inn, beginning at 8 a.m.

Jim Moran, president of Simplify ISO, is working with representatives of Natural Resources Canada to present information on financial assistance for energy management projects.

There will also be representatives of registrars who will help explain the process of achieving the ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems standard.

Simplify ISO is sponsoring this event, which is being offered free of charge to members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The ISO 50001 Energy Management Systems Standard is an internationally recognized voluntary standard that gives organizations a structured framework to manage energy.

Organizations that have implemented ISO 50001 have reduced energy costs and increased competitiveness while minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other environmental impacts. According to Natural Resources Canada, industrial companies that have implemented ISO 50001 have achieved an average cumulative energy performance improvement of nearly 10% within the first two years, resulting in up to $2 million in annual energy cost savings for large Canadian companies.

Members interested in knowing more about this seminar can REGISTER (the event is FREE) to indicate their interest. Attendees coming from outside the area should indicate to the staff at the Best Western Guildwood they are attending the February 25 seminar for a special rate.

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Businesses who host the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Business After 5, a monthly event that attracts hundreds of members and guests to the hosting business, know that it is  a proven method of generating buzz in the community.

With a history of creating memorable networking experiences, it could very well just be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement & Services, would be pleased to discuss how a Business After 5 sponsorship in 2019 would work for your company.

“Business After 5 are one of the Chamber’s most powerful networking events,” said Gail Ann. She can be reached by phone (519) 336-2400 or email.


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A new monthly “casual drop-in” event is being organized by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as part of a strategy to better connect with members, says Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement & Services.

The first “Touch Base Tuesday” will take place on March 5. Members (both prospective and current) are invited to drop by anytime from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this informal connection, an opportunity to put “a face to the names” of people who are committed to making the Chamber experience an even better one.

There will be coffee and treats, but even more important, a chance to connect on a one-on-one basis.

We hope you keep “Touch Base Tuesday” (starting Tuesday, March 5) in mind as you’re “out and about.”


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