Category Advocacy

As we get closer to the wrap up of the Chamber’s year, it’s useful for any member to consider what priorities, particularly when it comes to one of our key activities—advocating on issues of importance to area businesses—we should be focused on next year and beyond.

With that in mind, the Chamber is reaching out to members with a survey specifically related to Advocacy.

A link to that online survey can be found HERE.

Advocating directly to various levels of government, and not only to policymakers but regulators who play a role in influencing decisions that affect business is one of the key responsibilities of the Chamber.

It’s one that our leadership takes very seriously as a key way to make sure that members of government and the bureaucrats and regulators understand the impact—positive and negative—of initiatives that ultimately affect the competitiveness of a business.

This is an ongoing challenge but one that can’t be overlooked in its importance.

Quite often, our elected representatives seek out the opinion of business, including the research that our colleagues at the provincial level—the Ontario Chamber of Commerce—and federally—the Canadian Chamber of Commerce—have undertaken.

But there are also times when it’s up to the local Chamber and its leadership to step forward to add to the discussion when it comes to important initiatives.

The more timely our involvement, the more likely it is that legislation or regulations that create value for our community and the businesses that continue to strengthen us will head in a direction that all of us can better appreciate.

For that reason alone, please take the time to fill out the survey by clicking HERE.

Your responses will play a critical role in improving our ability to advocate on your behalf.

 

 

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Sandy Marshall, whose vast petrochemical expertise, including his current role as executive director of Biooindustrial Innovation Canada, has earned him a spot as a speaker at “Scaling up 2019,” a three-day conference on delivering a bio-circular economy took place earlier this week (November 4-6) in Ottawa.

A link to the Ottawa conference can be found HERE.

Marshall, who was raised on a farm not far from Sarnia, graduated as a chemical engineer from the University of Waterloo before joining what was then Polysar Inc., a predecessor to the current Arlanxeo.

He became executive director of BIC in 2016.

Marshall was one of several speakers talking about the future of Canada’s industrial bio-economy.

At another event, held in Sarnia in September and hosted by BIC, Marshall pointed out how outcomes around this new economy will be measured in decades, not the typical quarters many firms typical use to measure progress.

“This is a long game,” Marshall said. “BIC has been around for 12 years, officially, and we’re just starting to see some outcomes. We have to look at this in decades and not in quarters.”

 

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Lambton Public Health, a unit of the County of Lambton, is reaching out to members of the business community to develop a better understanding of how cannabis legislation has affected the workplace and how employers have responded to the legislation.

Crystal Palleschi, an epidemiologist, is asking for ONE survey completed per workplace, with a deadline of November 22, 2019 to take the survey,

The survey (which takes about 5 to 7 minutes to complete), can be accessed by CLICKING HERE.

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is currently seeking nominations from members to sit on the Board of Directors, for 2020.

The Board of Directors is responsible for all aspects of policy and strategic direction of the Chamber.
Duties include:

—Oversight and governance of policy and procedures
—Represent the interests of members
—Regular attendance and participation at monthly meetings

Successful Board nominees will have the following qualifications:

—A track record of leadership in their areas of expertise or business
—Experience representing the voice of business
—Experience in community building
—A reputation for high ethical standards in business
—A track record of involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and related organizations

“We count on the expertise, experience, and enthusiasm of our directors to guide and advise the organization throughout the year,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO. “This is an important role for our organization and one that is rewarding as well—especially given that the success of our business leadership strategies ultimately makes a real difference in the growth and health of our community.”

Members may nominate themselves using a downloadable application, which can be accessed HERE. The deadline is Friday, December 6, 2019 at 4 p.m.

 

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the province-wide organization that includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce among its membership, is encouraging all Chamber members to complete a survey that will be used in its ongoing advocacy work on behalf of Ontario businesses.

A custom link for responses from our area has been provided by the Ontario Chamber, which is organizing the province-wide survey.

That response link can be found by clicking HERE.

“Our Chamber has long continued with a sustained strategy when it comes to advocacy on issues of importance to our business community,” says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO. “This survey, which our colleagues at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are coordinating, is an important tool for us to keep important issues at the forefront of those whose roles include drafting proposals that will affect the efficiency and competitiveness of our members. We urge our members to take an active role, starting with completing this survey.”

 

 

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Major overhauls of a business take time, buy-in, and frankly, they can be a little frightening. Not so of these mini tweaks. These seven things can help you move the meter in your business in less time than it takes to wolf down a sandwich and check your voice mails.

Find Out What They Like

Your customers are more valuable to your business than from just a revenue perspective. Knowing what they respond to can help you shape services and products, create more meaningful content, and engage them more on social media. So, don’t be afraid to ask them what they like. Create a short survey and email it to them or “hang” it on your website if you get a lot of traffic. The key here is short but there are a few other things to keep in mind.

Ask for Reviews

Depending on the type of business you have, spend a few minutes reaching out to satisfied customers for reviews, referrals, or testimonials. It may feel awkward at first but these types of social proof go a long way for potential customers. Think of it as giving people an opportunity (and a gentle reminder) to share something with their tribe that will be of value to them. Doesn’t everyone need a good plumber or hairstylist? Of course, they do. Now give your customers a way to help their tribe.

In your communication, help them explain why reviews are so important to the success of your business. If you’re asking for reviews, make it easy for them to respond by inserting URLs to the review site in your email request. If you are asking for testimonials, post them to your site when you get them. If referrals were what you were after, give them an incentive to do so or surprise them with a discount later.

Reach Out to a Complementary Business for a Special Program

Another way to get more interest in your business is to offer something your competitors aren’t. A simple way to do that is to partner with a complementary business for a special offering. For instance, if you’re a health food store you could partner with a local caterer to host a “healthy meals in minutes” program in your store. This could attract new business for both of you.

Rework Your Social Media Cover Images

With the help of easy to use templates on Canva, you can now redesign your cover image on your social media profiles during your lunch hour. Keeping them fresh will help attract more eyes and give consistent visitors something new to look at.

Go Live on Facebook

If you have your phone with you, you can go Live on Facebook during your lunch hour. Not sure what to talk about? Think about a question you’re often asked at your business and answer it. Encourage people to ask questions of you as well. You can broadcast for up to 90 minutes but keeping it between 15-20 minutes is probably sufficient. You’ll get more views if you remain live for at least 15 minutes. Then save the video and post it to your site.

Figure Out Your Most Popular Posts

Look at the data and figure out what hit home with your audience then do more of it. If you notice image quotes make up most of your engagement on Twitter, keep that in mind when creating content.

Share the Love

Go through your customer files and pull out your most loyal. Now make sure you follow them on social media and share their content, where appropriate. Add in flattering comments like “Good advice” and “Love this perspective.” This will make them feel good and people will be more likely to click on the links and share if they know why you like it.

Small business owners are busy people and because of that, often digital marketing falls to the wayside. But you don’t need much time to make a little progress every day. Make a list of things you can do that only take a few minutes. Then when you have a moment before a meeting or while you’re eating lunch, you can make the most of your most valuable resource – your time.

 

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Following through on an issue long on the radar of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, the Ontario Government’s Red Tape Reduction Ministry has launched a new webpage to hear directly from businesses.

The site—at https://www.ontario.ca/page/cutting-red-tape—is a spot where anyone across the province (and beyond) can submit their ideas on modernizing regulations and reducing red tape.

Prabmeet Sarkaria, associate minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, launched the new webpage on October 18 at the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Annual Manufacturing Conference.

The site will provide a simple, straightforward way for businesses to contact the government with their regulatory concerns.

“We want businesses to tell us directly how we can continue to reduce their regulatory burden and make Ontario work smarter for them, in order to help make them be more competitive and support greater investment in Ontario,” said Sarkaria. “The regulatory knot that was stifling business wasn’t tied overnight. Untying it carefully and effectively will take time and persistence, and we will get the job done.”

The province has stated a target of reducing the cost of complying with regulations affecting businesses by $400 million yearly by 2020.

 

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Whether everyone wants to acknowledge the approaching climate crisis or not, the reality is that it is already affecting our lives and it is going to change our world. The question for voters in this election is which party is best prepared to lead us through this difficult time.

Our goal, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is to reduce GHG emissions to 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050. That clearly means that fossil fuel consumption has to decline rapidly and be replaced by renewable energy and conservation, creating a potential bonanza of opportunities for business and tradespeople.

The Green Party will:

—Develop a national strategy based on respect for science and evidence that will guide future governments of all stripes, so we avoid changing direction after every election.

—Use sound economic theory to tax the things we want people to stop doing and reward the things we want them to do.

—Complete a national building retrofit (residential, commercial and institutional) to reduce heating and cooling needs

—Green and expand our electricity generating system to provide zero-emission energy for electric transportation.

—Build a cross country high voltage transmission system to make renewable energy from one province available to other provinces.

—Develop new, high value, finished products that can be made from our abundant natural resources.

Fighting climate change will require a concerted national effort, and it will forever change our economy. While some political parties may seek to hold on to the past, history teaches us that it is those that grasp the future that ultimately survive and flourish. We’ve ignored the alarms for too long, we are already in the era of consequences, and further change is inevitable. Vote for a livable future for your children and grandchildren. Vote Green.

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In this election campaign, the Conservatives have a platform that will have a positive impact on the business community. From affordability to trade policy, there are many offerings that will help small business owners and Canadians as a whole.

First off, we will repeal the punishing small business taxes put in place by the Liberals to tax passive income in corporations at 73% above a threshold. We will eliminate the carbon tax, which is driving up the cost of everything, and doing nothing to reduce emissions. Tax rebates of $850 for families making under $47,000 will put more money into the pockets of those who need it most. We will return an additional $350 to each senior, and increase veteran pensions.

Our plan to help first time home buyers achieve their dream involves a return to 30-year mortgages, and a stress test that is less demanding for initial down payments. We will help students (and their parents) to fund their education by increasing the government match on Registered Education Savings Plans to 50%.

In terms of red tape, we will reduce the number of regulations. On the trade front, we will build on the Conservative record of 53 trade deals to continue to diversify the countries Canada is doing business with. We will return to fiscal responsibility, with a balanced budget by 2024.

Our Real Plan for the Environment will focus on clean air and water here in Canada, with reduced pollution, while using technology to cut emissions here at home and to help other countries in their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint.

We will address our aging demographic, and increase funding for healthcare, including mental health and addictions.

All of these plans will help people and businesses in Sarnia-Lambton!

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My name is Adam Kilner and I am running to be your Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton. My parents are proud to have raised 13 children in our community.

My father, Earle and my mom instilled in me the importance of hard work and service to others. Over the last six years, I have served this community while ministering with Dunlop United Church.

I am running on a commitment to environmental leadership, social inclusion through growth and economic justice. I’m on the side of working Canadians and their families.

Small businesses are incredibly important to our community, and the NDP has stood up for lower small business taxes, opposed unfair merchant fees, and fought to make it easier to pass on small businesses to the next generation.

I believe that small businesses should have access to all the support they need to grow, innovate, and stay competitive. Our plan for public, universal pharmacare means that businesses will save approximately $600 per employee with extended health benefits every year. We’ll also make it easier for the family business to be passed on to future generations with new legislation to end the unfair tax treatment of family transfers of small businesses.

Recognizing that a shortage of workers is a major barrier for many small businesses operating in our community, we’ll make important new investments in training Canadians and boost support to traditionally underemployed groups, ensuring that they can access good jobs that pay a fair wage.

I feel our community’s frustrations growing as governments work for the rich and well-connected, ignore the investments we need in Sarnia-Lambton, and overlook our desire to grow and lead. I will work hard to change that.

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