Monthly Archives June 2020

The City of Sarnia released a report advising the next steps regarding immediate opportunities to increase flexibility for existing business owners by advancing temporary amendments to the city’s zoning and refreshment vehicles section of the Business Licensing By-law for a two-year period.

The recommendation includes:

  • Allowing existing restaurant business owners to offer outdoor food sales opportunities on their property or on the city right-of-way within close proximity to their restaurant for a two-year pilot period.
  • Permit a temporary exemption to required parking and landscape standards for commercially zoned property in order to allow business owners to expand their presence on-site to drive sales opportunities in a safe and socially distanced manner, for a two-year pilot period.
  • Direct staff to waive fees associated with the use of on-street parking spaces for food service opportunities for interested food service vendors looking to expand their sales opportunities within close proximity of their existing establishment.

The amendments proposed will provide maximum flexibility for business owners and allow the creation of outdoor shopping and dining spaces by property owners.

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The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership is hosting a webinar with Canadian Mortgage and Housing on the Commercial Rent Relief Program. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 30th from 11:00-12:00 pm and will be open to the first 100 individuals who register.

The session is open to Landlords and Tenants to review that application and approval process. 

Attendees are asked to submit their questions in advance so they may be answered during the presentation. Please email these questions to Karen Richards at

To register, click here.

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) latest policy brief, Small Business, Big Impact: How SMEs are Pivoting During COVID-19, highlights a range of Ontario’s SMEs that have successfully adapted during this difficult time.

The OCC’s latest policy brief highlights 28 SMEs from the Chamber’s network that have adapted their operations and displayed tremendous leadership. Some quickly retooled their operations to manufacture essential products while others modified existing products or services to continue serving clients and remain resilient.

“The SMEs profiled in this brief are true difference makers. Many of these companies recognized the shifting business environment and new economic trends, such as digital delivery, and took immediate steps to fill a gap, leverage technology, or develop critical partnerships during this challenging period. Together, they demonstrate the nimbleness, ingenuity, and generosity of Ontario’s SMEs,” explains report author, Catrina Kronfli, Senior Policy Analyst. 

To access the policy brief or read the full story, click here.

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Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, announced changes to extend time periods for temporary layoffs to allow employers more time to recall laid-off employees. The temporary changes will help protect the jobs of federally regulated private-sector employees and support employers facing economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

For employees laid off prior to March 31, 2020 the time period is extended by six months or to December 30, 2020, whichever occurs first. For employees laid off between March 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, the time period is extended until December 30, 2020 unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff. 

These changes do not apply to employees who are covered by a collective agreement that contains recall rights. These changes also do not apply to employees whose employment had already been terminated prior to the coming into force of the amendments.

To read the full article, click here.

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As we move into reopening and on to recovery phases across the country, health and safety concerns remain at the forefront. The true key to successful work re-integration and economic recovery for parents is the availability of reliable and affordable childcare.

The federal government should ensure a panorama of voices including business, labour, the childcare sector, academics, experts, parents, and children are represented. They can lead by example in ensuring inclusivity in recovery.

The Canadian Chamber and its network believe that one of the strongest contributions that the federal government can make to a national childcare ecosystem is in workforce planning. In doing this, the focus needs to be on planning, training, and financial support surrounding the childcare sector. 

To read the full commentary by Leah Nord, Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, click here.

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Anxiety manifests itself in many ways, from general anxiety disorder to social anxiety disorder. The condition is highly treatable, but less than 40 percent of people who experience anxiety receive treatment.

Anxiety symptoms vary but all types involve the feeling of extreme fear. Many describe it as a constant state of dread. Anxiety can be a state, there are many common disorders that extend past this fleeting feeling. Disorders like GAD, SAD, PD and Phobias are outlined in the following article.

The treatment for anxiety depends on the disorder you are dealing with and can range from medication, to therapy, to natural remedies like exercise, acupuncture, or deep breathing.

Whether you think you are dealing with anxiety or a generalized anxiety disorder, or the feeling of anxiety on a regular basis make sure to incorporate the following habits:

  1. Accept things out of your control
  2. Learn your triggers
  3. Limit your caffeine and alcohol
  4. Eat regularly
  5. Get enough sleep
  6. Move more
  7. Get involved in your community
  8. Seek out support groups
  9. Talk to someone
  10. Take a moment to slow down

To read the full article, click here.

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GMSB LLP feels incredibly fortunate to have been able to continue to operate during the pandemic and to keep all their staff employed (many working from home). They know that most businesses have not been so lucky and wanted to give something back to the community. One of the senior partners at GMSB suggested making a donation to the Inn of the Good Shepherd and everyone enthusiastically agreed. 

The Inn is serving more people now than ever before and they need help, like many other local charities. They have seen many other local businesses make similar donations and GMSB hopes other businesses who have been fortunate enough to operate at nearly full capacity during the pandemic will follow suit. 

GMSB LLP is Sarnia’s oldest and largest law firm. Their office recently relocated from its original site at the bottom of Ferry Dock Hill to 222 Front St. N in downtown Sarnia. There are 10 lawyers working and 25 staff. Thanks GMSB for your incredible display of community leadership!

From left to right in photo: Colin McElrea, Ryan Bel, Maureen Cannon, Greg Bernard, Peter Norris, Myles Vanni.
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Many thanks to the team at the Federal Bridge Corporation – this week, they had two teams of 15 staff at the Good Shepherd’s Lodge for a couple mornings sprucing up the grounds and planting a vegetable garden. This initiative is a part of their “community connections” plan.

Thanks to Degroots Nursery and Roeland’s Plant Farms Inc. for donating the plants for the vegetable gardens.


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The City of Sarnia is here to help you during this time if you are looking to set. up a patio or extend your current deck.

If you are extending a patio or deck more than 1 foot above grade, you will need to contact for a permit and setback requirements.

If you are an existing business owner looking to expand outdoor food sales on your property or require a city right-of-way contact

If you are interested in applying to have an outdoor space or patio for your existing business, click here.

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