Monthly Archives July 2019

In just a matter of days now—my how the summer is flying by!—the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will be holding its Summer Cruise on the Duc D’Orleans II and we’d love to count you among the fun-loving passengers.

The big evening comes around on Tuesday, August 13, and the ship’s captain and crew, along with organizers from the Chamber, are already anticipating a great two hours on the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, with food, live entertainment, and conversation.

Tickets for this event are just $30 (plus tax) for Chamber members ($45 plus tax for those who are not yet members).

Click HERE to purchase online.

We’ve also invited our friends from Port Huron’s Bluewater Chamber to come along, so consider this an “international” event that is filled with even more potential for networking than other Chamber events.

The Duc D’Orleans II is a wonderful venue for some summer fun and we hope you’ll join us on Tuesday, August 13—from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.—for an excellent time.


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Looking for a way to help celebrate some great achievements by business people in Sarnia-Lambton?

We know of no better way than to nominate a company or individual for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, a night of special recognition that takes place on Friday, October 18, 2019 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

But the first deadline in a months-long process leading up to that event is THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 2.

That’s the day when nominations close, which means you have just HOURS to complete your nomination form.

CLICK HERE to get started with our very brief, very easy to use online form.

And we’ll see you on Friday, October 18!

Looking for tickets to this event. CLICK HERE to purchase online.

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Robert Gee, who is now manager of Agriculture and Commercial Banking at CIBC, is relatively new in the Sarnia-Lambton community, having moved from London where he was employed as a tax consultant just two years ago.

But Robert has dived right into the business community, not only in his CIBC role but with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Community, where he is a member of the Board of Directors.

“It was in one of my first conversations with the Chamber that I discovered just how important the role of advocacy is, how the Chamber’s influence at various levels of government, municipally, provincially and federally, positively impacts the business of members,” he said.

“That really sold me on joining the Chamber and becoming active in what the organization does on behalf of small business,” said Robert.

He also appreciates how welcoming the business community has been as he finds his footing in his new home.

“People have really been extraordinarily welcome, which is something I very much appreciate.”

Robert Gee can be reached by email at

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It’s an annual event now in its ninth year and the Town of Petrolia expects this year’s “Shop Like Charlotte” which will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9;30 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019, to be one of the best yet.

The ticketed event—$25 at all Petrolia banks—includes a wine reception sponsored by Pelee Island Winery and the Victoria Hall.

“Shop Like Charlotte” features food sampling, giveaways, draws, and in-store demos, plus a grand prize worth more than $1,000 in gift certificates, one from each participating store.

The Petrolia Volunteer Business Group is organizing this longstanding event and all proceeds go to the CEE Hospital.

For more information, contact Denise Thibeault of the PVBG at (519) 464-8420.



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Organizers of this year’s Bluewater BorderFest, which takes place August 8-11, 2019 at Centennial Park, are offering a 15% discount on tickets purchased for members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The link to purchase tickets online can be found HERE and the 15% discount is valid until next Wednesday, July 31 (end of the day).

Use discount code SL CHAMBER at checkout.

Featured performers at Bluewater BorderFest include:

—Tyler Farr and Jerrod Neimann (Thursday, August 8)
—Big Wreck and Tokyo Police Club (Friday, August 9)
—Dennis DeYoung (pictured) and the music of STYX with Mark’s Farner’s American Band (Saturday, August 10)
—Lou Gramm (voice of Foreigner), Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger, and John Payne of ASIA (Sunday, August 11)


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Artificial intelligence (AI) has significant potential to solve complex problems in communities and sectors around the world. At the same time, it brings forward numerous risks, like bias in automated decision making, that create challenges for government, businesses, employees and individuals at home and abroad.

At the May 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial, the recommendation of the Council on AI was formally adopted. It is the first international standard for AI policies. OECD recommendations are non-binding but are influential statements that frequently form the basis of international standards and the design of national legislation.

This recommendation is significant for three reasons: First, since there were a large number of nations with significant expert input, it is likely to be adopted widely.

The OECD’s recommendations drew from an expert group of more than 50 members from governments, academia, business, civil society, international bodies, the tech community and trade unions to assist in developing the recommendation.

All OECD’s member countries—including the United States— approved this, alongside non-members Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Romania.

The process also underscores the importance of having Canadian businesses at the table early to influence discussions at international standards-setting bodies before the outcomes are enacted domestically. This OECD AI guidance was influenced by not only the OECD’s business advisory group but also from the recommendations from the Business-7 Summit we hosted in 2018.

Second, the recommendation is meaningful for what it contains. It is designed to ensure AI systems are trustworthy and engender confidence in a global framework.

The recommendation consists of two equally important parts:

—Principles for responsible stewardship, including commitments to inclusive growth, transparency, security and safety, human-centric values and accountability.

—National policy recommendations, including that governments invest in R&D, foster digital ecosystems, build human capacity, prepare for labour market transitions and promote international cooperation.

The fact that the recommendation is both value-based and operationally focused makes it both resilient to the test of time and adaptable across many jurisdictions.

Finally, the recommendation allows the OECD to monitor and compare signatories in their respective development and use of AI as well as support the creation of an AI Policy Observatory to allow countries to share tools and best practices, which is expected to be up and running later this year.

Canadian businesses and the burgeoning AI ecosystems across our country will have an important leadership role to play. As Canadian companies explore and adopt AI technology, they can do so in an environment where national and international AI systems are robust, fair and safe.

An early and continued international presence allows us to influence policy at the global level, which in turn builds confidence in our Canadian business community.

This is what will allow Canadian AI to thrive both throughout the country and around the world and what is ultimately needed to create the trustworthiness needed for global principles and national policies to succeed.

The above commentary was provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an organization that counts the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a member.

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It started with a recent visit by Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement & Services, with the senior leadership team at the Town of Petrolia, Lambton County’s second-largest municipality.

With the growing popularity of Petrolia—often billed as “Canada’s Victorian Oil Town—the Chamber is excited to pursue ways that we can build on its strengths and create a new dynamic.

Chamber representatives met with Petrolia Mayor Brad Loosley, CAO Rick Charlebois, as well as Laurissa Ellsworth, director of Marketing, and Denise Thibeault, who serves with the Petrolia Volunteer Business Group.

“Having this opportunity to reach out to our friends and colleagues at the Town of Petrolia was a very well-received opportunity to begin a renewal of our relationship,” said de Silva.

Stay tuned for more information as plans develop later this year.



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Last week’s “90s Trivia Night” was a resounding success, so much so that the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is likely to plan more of these “fun nights” in the future.

So says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, who spearheaded the initiative using the services of event planners (and Chamber members) Morena McDonald and Emma Butler of 519 Events & Promotions.

“It really was a special opportunity to engage our members in a unique way and the fact that we sold out was very encouraging,” said de Silva.

Expectations are that organizing similar events for the Chamber calendar will be something for which members can look forward.

“As we continue to develop our strategy for finding new opportunities to connect and develop strong networks among our members, events like the ’90s Trivia Night’ provide a unique space that we will be continuing to explore.”

Thanks go out to the Refined Fool Brewing Co. for hosting the Trivia Night at their 137 Davis Street location in downtown Sarnia.

The winning team—Team Midnight Society—is pictured.

Second place winner was “Team Clueless”; third place winner was “Hot & Ready.”

See more photos on the Chamber’s Facebook page.


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Want your business to stand out in a big way?

When it comes to a highly leverageable opportunity associated with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, sponsorship of the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night’s “Red Carpet Stars” may be just what the marketing doctor ordered.

For a modest fee, your logo can be affixed to a very attractive “star” decal that is guaranteed to get the kind of exposure from a few days before the Friday, October 18, 2019 event that takes place at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

The stars will be a constant reminder during the OBAA week that your business is a proud supporter of this Chamber signature event and all our community’s business advocate does for the advancement of free enterprise and value creation.

Sponsors receive two tickets to the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night, a $150 value.

“We put together the Chamber’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night with the express intention of celebrating and breaking attention to the performance of those companies and individuals who are making a significant difference in our community,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber.

“Our Red Carpet Stars program is one of the ways we’ve made it even easier for those whose goals align with ours in creating and sustaining this event to share our passion. And thanks to Libro Credit Uni0on, our lead sponsor for this year’s 30th-anniversary OBAA, we’re able to extend the opportunity to the entire business community.”

Interested in coming on board as a Red Carpet Stars sponsor? Get in touch with de Silva at (519) 336-2400, extension 1, or by email:


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As previously announced, a renewed Member Perks Card program has been launched by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and physical cards—produced courtesy of Starlight Casino Point Edward—are now available for pickup at the Chamber’s office.

The program, which came into effect on Monday, July 15, 2019, is designed to bring member companies and their employees together for added value.

In an ongoing rollout of the program, member companies are invited to contact Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement and Services, to register their discount or other offers, which will then be listed on the Chamber’s website.

Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, said the Member Perks Card initiative is intended to add value to existing and prospective members.

Chamber members will be given one card for every individual employee wishing to take advantage of discounts made available by fellow members.

When a member goes to a business enrolled in the Membership Perks program, the discount or special offer will be applied.

It’s that simple for building your business with the help of a fellow Chamber member.


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