Monthly Archives March 2020

The Canadian Government, combining the resources of Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada, plans to provide some $65 billion in direct lending and other types of financial support at market rates to businesses with viable business models whose access to financing would otherwise be restricted as the result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Details on the program are available by clicking HERE.

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Chamber members are being encouraged to complete a survey intended to provide planning information regarding an integrated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and keep various levels of government aware of the grassroots impact on the crisis.

The survey, which can be accessed HERE, takes just a few minutes to complete.

Results of the survey (which will be periodically updated) can be seen HERE—Covid19 Business Impact Report1

Full results will be provided to members and others as the responses are compiled.

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In light of the sweeping economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP) has proactively mobilized to support local businesses in navigating these uncertain times.

“We are here to help in every way we can,” said Stephen Thompson, SLEP CEO. “Any business or entrepreneur with questions is encouraged to review our online resources for the latest information or reach out through our website or by calling our office at 519-332-1820.

Thompson says the SLEP team understands the crucial role that businesses and workforce play in Sarnia-Lambton’s diverse economy.

“We continue to work collaboratively with our partners to ensure that any questions and concerns businesses have during these uncertain times are addressed and our local economy remains sustainable,” said Thompson.

Key to these initiatives is accessing information, he added. “Our office has experienced a significant increase in inquiries from local businesses as they seek the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 situation and resources available from the government in these uncertain times.”

As of last week, the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has refined its strategic focus and launched a number of new initiatives and resources to assist businesses in an effort to ensure businesses in the Sarnia-Lambton area have access to factual up-to-date business information, resources, and funding opportunities during this rapidly evolving situation.

Immediate actions to support the sustainability of local business include:

—COVID-19 Economic Taskforce

SLEP has formed a business and economic focused Taskforce that is being chaired by its CEO. Also central to the Taskforce are the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board, along with business, tourism, all Covid19 Business Impact Report1coming together to develop strategies and resources to support business and employment.

—Business Resources Toolkit

SLEP has developed an online toolkit. A Resources for Business webpage is updated daily as new information becomes available from Provincial, Federal, and Local resources. The Resources webpage can be found HERE.

—Providing an immediate response to business inquiries

SLEP is responding to inquiries and proactively reaching out to local businesses offering information to help navigate available resources and also to supplement any “needs-related” information for local and regional strategies as well as those Provincially and Federally. While increasing our support of local businesses through our Business Retention and Expansion Campaign, we are also continuing to generate and serve new business and investment leads.

—Engaging partners and levels of government for urgent business needs

SLEP has initiated daily calls with the Provincial Government to act as a conduit and connector for emergency economic response to businesses in the Sarnia-Lambton area and is connecting key local and regional businesses, such as safety/emergency equipment suppliers and specialty chemical producers to help strengthen Provincial and Federal supply chains in this critical time of need.

“We encourage each and every business in the Sarnia-Lambton area to visit our online resource page and contact us through our website or by phone with any additional questions,” said Thompson. “We understand that these are uncertain and potentially difficult times and will do our best to help businesses navigate the information available and connect businesses with the appropriate advice and resources.”

To stay up-to-date on health-related information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Lambton Public Health website and the Province of Ontario website.

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Last week’s resignation of Shirley de Silva as president and CEO of the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce has left a gap in the operations of the organization, one that the Board of Directors has met to discuss next steps.

While day to day operations, including member services, communications, and administration (including accounting) remain intact, the future of the organization’s staff leadership is an area that will require action, said Ryan Bell, Past Chair of the Board.

“Add to the complexity of the COVID-19 upheaval throughout our community and you can see the need to move forward in a way that is thoughtful and respectful of our culture and the need to maintain a sense of continuity,” said Bell.

“We’re committed to keeping the members informed about our next steps in these challenging times.”

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In light of the COVID-19 pandemic the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is planning to hold a virtual Annual General Meeting, a required element of the organization’s by bylaws.

“There is essential business we need to conduct including the approval of last years’ financial statements and the election of new directors who have been waiting patiently since applications closed in December,” said Mary Jean O’Donnell, newly elected Chair. “We think a virtual AGM will be innovative and welcomed by our members.”

The board is reaching out to its technology partners to determine the feasibility of such an event and membership will be notified as soon as that process is set in place.

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has elected Mary Jean O’Donnell as Chair of the Board, effective immediately.

O’Donnell was to become Chair at the twice-delayed Annual General Meeting, replacing Ryan Bell, who has served as chair since February 2019. Bell remains on the Executive Committee as Past Chair, an important role that provides continuity for the governance of the Chamber.

“Given the current circumstances, we were uncertain as to when we would hold the AGM.  Traditionally the Chair is appointed at the AGM, but legally it is the Board who elects the Chair from among the directors, so we don’t need to wait until the AGM to make this change,” said Bell. “Mary Jean has worked tirelessly for the Chamber since she joined the board and especially in the last few weeks. I have served as Chair for longer than expected and I feel it is time to hand over the reins to Mary Jean. I am honoured to be able to pass the torch to such a capable and passionate leader. I will stick around as Past Chair for a year to help however I can.”

O’Donnell is owner of MJ Waste Solutions and currently serves as Chair of Tourism Sarnia Lambton.

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Representatives from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce took part in a recent career fair organized and hosted by Lambton College. Over 80 employers were in attendance ranging from retail to manufacturing to hospitality, agriculture, healthcare, and more.  The career fair provided an opportunity for businesses to connect with graduating students seeking employment.



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Electrozad, a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, has been recognized for overall business performance and sustained growth with the prestigious Canada’s Best Managed Companies designation.

Now in its 27th year, Canada’s Best Managed Companies is one of the country’s leading business awards programs recognizing Canadian-owned and managed companies for innovative, world-class business practices.

This award marks the third consecutive year that Electrozad has earned the designation, having first been acknowledged in 2018. Electrozad was selected for its commitment to service excellence, business diversification, modern marketing strategies, and its focus on corporate culture and employee development.

“This year’s Best Managed winners are a testament to the success found when businesses are deliberate about seizing the opportunity to do better; they invest in game-changing technology, commit to their corporate purpose and social responsibility, and solidify their place on the world stage,” said Peter Brown, Partner, Deloitte Private and Co-Leader, Canada’s Best Managed Companies program.

The announcement is made as Electrozad marks its 65th year of business. Established in 1955, Electrozad was the first independent electrical distributor in the area and the first distributor of Allen-Bradley automation products in Eastern Canada. The company has thrived on a culture of innovation and continues to support its customer’s electrical and automation projects with industry-leading products, services, and solutions.

“We’re honoured to have been selected for this award which reinforces the emphasis we have placed on long-term business strategies and strengthening our competitive advantage. We’re supported by an accomplished team that has been instrumental in our success, and we’re fortunate to have strong vendor and customer partnerships that drive our business forward,” said William Smith, President of Electrozad.

The Best Managed program is sponsored by Deloitte Private, CIBC, Canadian Business, Smith School of Business, and TMX Group.

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The health and safety of our staff, Chamber members and the community are of the utmost importance, so we have implemented some changes to our operations until the provincial emergency is over.

The Chamber is open for business, but all staff are working remotely and our offices are closed to the public.

Please call 519.464.3699 for more information.

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When Dave Hockin was first called to the bar, having graduated from the University of Saskatchewan,  he ultimately decided to begin his law practice in Ontario.

Now more than four decades later, Dave finds himself retiring and seeing his daughter Melanie, who became a lawyer herself in 2007, take over his practice.

As a new member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Hockin Law delivers a wide range of legal services, including the drafting of wills and powers of attorney as well as estate services.

The firm also advises on the need to incorporate a client’s organization, working with accountants,  to determine appropriate share structure, preparing articles of incorporation, completing the organization of the corporation and preparing resolutions of directors and shareholders, as necessary.

We heartily welcome Hockin Law as one of the latest new members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.


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