Category Members

With the nomination period well underway for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, we continue our series highlighting the various categories under which you can put forward your favourite business (or individual).

The Sarnia Lambton Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala with a single focus on celebrating business success.

Now in its 30th year, this year’s OBAA will take place on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

Nominations can be done online. Just CLICK HERE to get started.

This week’s feature categories are Marketing & Promotion and Health, Safety & Environmental Leadership.

Marketing & Promotion

The Marketing and Promotion category will showcase organizations looking for ways to communicate everything their firm does to stand out from the crowd. There’s little point if no one knows what great work an organization does, which is where marketing and promotion prowess comes into play.

Criteria:

Demonstrate a well-designed and executed outreach plan geared to expanding a product/service/business reach through various marketing & promotion strategies. Show creativity and forward thinking in advertising design and/or market outreach strategies.

Health, Safety & Environmental Leadership

Recognizes an organization or business that demonstrates leading environmental, social, and health and safety performance.

Criteria:

Demonstration of leadership in the following sectors:

• Corporate Governance: Third-party recognition of HSE management system (ex. IEC Safety Management Assessment; Ontario Certificate of Recognition (COR), ISO 14001, other accreditation.

• Risk & Crisis Management: Emergency response planning. Participation in CAER. Enrollment/active use of My CNN. Evidence of company emergency response processes linked to municipal response processes.

• Environmental Reporting: Environmental performance targets set and tracked related to site conditions, process emissions, waste reduction, housekeeping, etc.

• Social factors: Workplace processes that motivate, recognize and support employee involvement in HSE initiatives. Support of an active Joint Health and Safety Committee. Active involvement in HSE related associations and demonstrated leadership in the field.

• Performance: Absence of adverse regulatory reporting/exceedances. Incident data maintained and performance recognized as a strong performer vs. peer groups.

Next week: Non-profit and Outstanding Customer Service—Business.

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Accessibility in Canada is inadequately addressing the barriers nearly four million Canadians face. Within the next 20 years, that number is expected to soar to over nine million, but by creating a more accessible Canada, there is a potential to unlock $16.8 billion in GDP by increasing our economy’s productive capacity by 2030, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Ultimately, improving accessibility not only betters the quality of life for persons with disabilities but would also dramatically increase their labour force participation and consumer spending. Our members have vocalized finding and retaining skilled staff among their top issues, yet there is an entire pool of educated and qualified Canadians with disabilities who are waiting to be hired. With job retention rates 72% higher among people with disabilities, it makes good cents sense to invest in creating an accessible work environment.

Assessing Accessibility

With one in seven Canadian adults currently living with a mobility, vision or hearing disability, tangible improvements in the built environment are needed to improve accessibility and to promote equality and inclusion for Canadians with disabilities. At our annual general meeting and convention, held last fall, more than 300 local chambers of commerce voted in support of a policy resolution to make Canada truly accessible and inclusive by recommending the federal government adopt the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification Program as a voluntary complement to the accessibility requirements of the National Building Code. The program provides the roadmap for the adoption of universal principles and a way for all levels of governments to work together to improve the built environment.

But, the responsibility for the built environment can’t fall solely on the government. Businesses must lead the way in improving accessibility in their workplaces. From contrasting floor and wall colours to adjustable desk heights, there are a number of measures businesses can implement.

Including Inclusiveness

Acknowledging the value that inclusion can bring to an organization and the positive impact it can have on the Canadian economy, we built our headquarters to respect the design priorities reflected in the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification Program and achieved certification this past September. The program measures the level of meaningful access beyond building code, and is based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing.

It is time to access the ability of all Canadians, which is why we are encouraging businesses across Canada to be early adopters of this program and to be leaders in helping build a more accessible nation.

This “5 Minutes for Business” comes from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as one of its members.

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It’s an age-old expression, but when it comes to underscoring the economy in Sarnia-Lambton, there really is strength in numbers.

Even more to the point, those who propose and approve laws and regulations at every level of government know just how effective an organization your Chamber of Commerce is when it comes to representing the interests of business.

And while we live in an era where the pace of change seems to be ever-increasing, at least one thing has remained consistently true and that is the influence that is exerted by a network of Chambers of Commerce, at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Almost every week, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce receives the kind of contact that represents an implicit acknowledgement of the influence exerted by those who create and maintain elements of our economy.

Either in communication that asks for the support of the business community or seeks the opinion of business ahead of a legislative initiative, it is clear that the Chamber is viewed as a place representing clarity in how those who drive the economy are likely to respond.

Throughout the year, your Chamber takes that role seriously, certainly in our response to invitations to provide input in the form of consultations.

But it’s also why we engage through our participation as a member of the Chamber Network at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which we see as an essential extension of our role in building consensus and—yes—the strength in numbers argument that serves us all so well.

Not long ago, representatives from your Chamber added our local voice to the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and we’ll do the same when the gathering of members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce takes place in the near future.

What this comes down to is exercising the role of advocacy throughout the year, building on the ongoing initiatives that begin and end with the interests of local business, added to a chorus that represent a clarity of voice from those across the province and the entire country.

None of this happens by accident.

We take our role, of advising on issues that will impact owners of businesses—small, medium or large—very seriously and with good reason.

While we are explicitly non-partisan in our approach to advocacy, we do stand up for the interests of members who see us as being able to effectively represent their interests on a consistent basis with sound economic arguments.

The Chamber is often one of the first places that society as a whole will turn to when formal debates over policy—especially in the context of an election. That in itself is something that has occurred on a consistent basis for decades now.

Clearly, there is a need for engagement throughout the year and with those who have a role in building a society where rules and regulations are part of life.

It’s part of a democratic process that ultimately makes a stronger society.

Our message is that our role, one that includes a strong sense of advocacy when it comes to the interests of business, is as relevant today as it has ever been.

My encouragement is that you join us in making our efforts even more effective in the months and years ahead.

Join us in bringing even more value for our society.

 

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Nominations for the Chamber’s 30th annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night are now open!

The Sarnia Lambton Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala with a single focus on celebrating business success.

The OBAAs, which celebrate incredible innovations and achievements, is unique in its engagement of a broad range of industry sectors and sizes from across the province. We will be celebrating this year on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in Sarnia.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be presenting a series of articles intended to explain in some detail each of the 16 categories that businesses and individuals can be nominated.

Nominations can be done online. Just CLICK HERE to get started.

This week we give you the details on the first two of a total of 16 categories available for nomination: “Cool Place to Work” and “Tech-novation.”

Cool Place to Work

Having a place that focuses on creating a healthy, positive and productive work environment is the very definition of a “cool place to work” and this award epitomizes those qualities. You know you work in such a place when your friends keep asking how they can join the team you love so much.

Criteria:

Through a commitment to staff development, work/life balance, fair employment practices, and employee communications, the organization provides an exceptional work environment with proven positive results in employee satisfaction and retention.

Tech-novation

It’s one thing to apply the latest technology to the work you do. It’s quite another to lean into not just the “latest and greatest” but incorporating a spirit of innovation in doing so. That’s what it means to be a “tech-novation’ standout, an organization full of people who look for ways to be the best at what they do and lead the way.

Criteria:

Bringing a sense of enthusiasm and a commitment to driving technological innovation throughout the value chain.

Next week: Marketing & Promotion and Health, Safety & Environmental Leadership.

 

 

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the national business organization that includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a member, is gearing up for this October’s Federal election with an initiative intended to put forward its core policy statements.

Much of what the Canadian Chamber is advocating appears on its VoteProsperity election policy website that puts forward the needs of Canadian businesses to all parties.

In an open letter signed by the Hon. Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, all party leaders and caucuses are asked to embrace the organization’s seven priorities.

Those priorities include:

  • A regulatory system that works for everyone, including business;
  • A tax system that is fair, efficient and modern;
  • Greater access to new markets around the world, and the breaking down of domestic trade barriers;
  • Helping SMEs in a way that’s meaningful to them so that they can grow and succeed at home and abroad;
  • Helping Canada seize the power of the digital age, while also investing in more traditional trade-enabling infrastructure;
  • Helping grow the 21st-century workforce with the skills, education, and training required to prosper; and
  • An affordable approach to filling the gaps in pharmacare without disrupting today’s employment provided plans.

The open letter “challenges (all of Canada’s federal party leaders) to give our 200,000 business owners what they must have: a fighting chance to compete and grow,” said Beatty. “Canada’s businesses have every right to expect a level playing field with the countries they compete against. We call on all party leaders to build their business policy proposals around the Vote Prosperity checklist, which outlines what Canada’s job creators themselves have identified as mission critical.”

The entire open letter can be seen HERE.

Locally,  a unified strategy to bring forward the interests of business is one of the most important initiatives available, especially in an election year. “When a business succeeds, Canada succeeds. Our businesses need the next government to be a forward-looking partner that helps them build a stronger and more innovative Canada for all,” said Beatty.

The Canadian Chamber’s platform was developed in partnership with Canada’s provincial and territorial Chambers of Commerce, an entire network of 450 organizations that will be working together throughout the election period to keep Canada’s political leaders focused on taking bold steps to protect and strengthen Canada’s competitive position.

 

 

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Thanks to this month’s host,  WMA Promotions, May’s Business After 5 will be taking place next Wednesday, May 15 at the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club.

Members and guests will be treated to a golf-themed event (no surprise given the venue!) and another great opportunity to network in one of the community’s most appealing places to relax and network.

WMA Promotions, our sponsor, is a marketing and promotions company owned by Wayne Archer, who is pictured with Kendra Langis, a member of his team.

Thanks also to a dedicated volunteer committee that works hard to make each and every Business After 5 gathering the best possible spot to exercise your networking skills.  We look forward to welcoming you on Wednesday, May 15, beginning at 5 p.m. and running through 7 p.m.

See you there!

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Delegates to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Convention gathered last weekend to consider several resolutions, including two that were presented by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Both Board Chair Ryan Bell and President and CEO Shirley de Silva were in attendance at the event, which was held in Muskoka starting last Friday and concluding on Sunday.

One of the resolutions sponsored by the Chamber urged the Provincial Government to improve the quality of roads in Ontario by implementing higher standards for asphalt used in paving and measuring the subsequent performance of the material.

Another, which was co-authored with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, urges the Government to introduce a compulsory course on business and commerce principles. Such a course, which would be required in order to receive an Ontario Secondary School Diploma, would be based on existing business and family economics curriculum.

”The real value of coming together with Chambers and Boards of Trade from every part of Ontario is being able to come to united positions on various issues of importance to our members,” said de Silva.

”Representatives of the Government not only listen to what a unified Chamber Network has to say on key issues, but they seek out the opinions of business, as represented by our members. Plus, we have evidence that the collective input of the business community does influence the details of proposed legislation,” she added.

 

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Thanks to this month’s host,  WMA Promotions, May’s Business After 5 will take place on Wednesday, May 15 at the Sarnia Golf & Curling Club.

Members and guests will be treated to a golf-themed event (no surprise given the venue!) and another great opportunity to network in one of the community’s most appealing places to relax and network.

Thanks also to a dedicated volunteer committee that works hard to make each and every Business After 5 gathering the best possible spot to exercise your networking skills.  We look forward to welcoming you on Wednesday, May 15, beginning at 5 p.m. and running through 7 p.m.

See you there!

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The local office of Express Employment Professionals is co-hosting a free online seminar on Diversity and Inclusion as part of its ExpressTalks series on topics of interest from a professional development perspective.

The half-hour presentation takes place this Thursday, May 2 from 11:30 a.m. to noon (Eastern).

The presenter is Patty Smith, vice president of Human Resource and Compliance for Express Employment Professionals. For the past 10 years, Smith has offered extensive leadership and organizational development solutions and is known as a dynamic and strategic innovator with extensive experience in change management, organizational development assessments and transformations, executive coaching, emerging brand strategic planning, succession planning, and knowledge management.

Register online by clicking HERE.

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is about to begin the lead-up to the annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala, which this year takes place on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

On Wednesday, May 8, the official launch of the nomination period takes place at an event to take place at noon at the Imperial Theatre.

Thanks to the generous support of Libro Credit Union, a great partner who is returning as the title sponsor, the Chamber is well poised to make this 30th anniversary event another great one for companies and individuals.

The key for those who are nominated is to put their best foot forward in showing the entire community what it means to set new standards of achievement in the 16 categories of the OBAAs.

In a spirit of continuous improvement, an operating philosophy that many organizations have embraced over many years—even decades—the Chamber is working to make it easier for companies and individuals to be nominated.

There was a day, not so very long ago, when mounds of paper were the norm, starting with paper-based nomination forms, plus the submissions of those nominated for an Outstanding Business Achievement Award.

During last year’s event, the Chamber took big steps toward slimming down the paperwork. This year staff and volunteers hope to do even better, not just by continuing with the online nomination form but with improvements to the workflow that will make tracking each nominee through acceptance, submission and judging more efficient.

It’s a task that Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva hopes will improve the entire process, even as she expresses gratitude for those who lend their expertise to the process.

“Three decades of focusing on the achievement of so many companies has become a big part of the narrtive that those who attend the OBAA event are able to share throughout the year,” said de Silva.

“It’s events like the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala that help push us forward, even as we look to our peers for encouragement and congratulations on the kind of accomplishments that we can all celebrate together.”

Look to the Chamber website (and this newsletter) for upcoming news on the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala, including a link to the digital nomination form.

 

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