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Your organization can learn how to guide your enterprise through the COVID-19 crisis through specific steps that can help blunt the impact of the crisis.

So says the experts from Deloitte in a guide made available online.

Included in the guide are several key points, including recognizing that in the face of certain challenges and a still uncertain set of risks, business leaders are rightly concerned about how their companies will be affected and what they have to do next.

In the heat of the moment there are a number of lessons from history that can be applied now.

Deloitte has pooled its insights in affected areas around the world to provide practical insights for chief executives and their leadership teams in taking appropriate action.

The guide can be found by clicking HERE.

 

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As Canadians grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 virus, there are unsung heroes that have helped keep supply chains open and flowing. Canada’s long-distance truckers have been on the front lines, putting their own lives at risk to keep grocery store shelves stocked for shoppers. These people are vital to economic growth – about 70% of Canadian goods are transported by truck.

It has not been easy. While truck drivers are considered essential workers, which provides them with the ability to travel between Canada and the US, they face significant challenges to their normal work routines.

While some progress has been made in negotiations with various orders of government, the drivers are unable to access washrooms and showers at some truck stops and are being refused access to facilities at more and more distribution centres. This barrier makes them unable to follow government-mandated hygiene requirements.

Drivers also need adequate support from shippers and receivers.  As Maryscott Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council and Stephen Laskowski, President of the Canadian Trucking Alliance noted in a piece yesterday morning, some shippers and receivers are not letting drivers use their bathroom facilities and insisting they stay in their trucks.  Surely, given that these drivers are keeping our economy moving, shippers and receivers can develop practices and protocols to keep drivers and their employees safe while providing driver access to these facilities.

“If we can work together to get the product to the people it needs to get to, why can’t we work together to ensure we look after each other’s basic human rights and needs?” asked Mike Millian, President, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada.

We should all be inspired by recent acts of generosity and good spirit towards truck drivers. There are stories around the country of family-run businesses that are taking measures to truck drivers to give them at least a bit of a break. For instance, one business in Quebec is permitting truckers a free 30-minute stay at certain hotels. Another in Nova Scotia offers them free meals. These are just some of the ways Canadians are stepping up to help one another.

To the Canadian trucking industry, we thank you. Canada is grateful for the work you do to keep Canadians fed and watered through this difficult time.

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A number of resources designed to help employers, including members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, are now available across various government agencies, and elsewhere.

Thanks to our relationship with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the local Chamber is passing the following resources on for your benefit. We hope you make good use of these to benefit your employees:

We start with a comprehensive list of resources from the Government of Canada, which can be found HERE.

Another resource, again from the Government of Canada, focuses on Mental Health @ Work. This can be found HERE.

The Canadian Red Cross is offering a pocket guide for mental health issues. “First aid for the mind and our social networks is just as important as first aid for the body. Learning psychological first aid skills for mental health crisis could save a life.”—say officials with the Candian Red Cross.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has published a guide to help with mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic. It is available HERE.

The Canadian Psychological Association has produced a series of Fact Sheets, available HERE.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has put together some resources and suggestions to help support your mental health at this time of uncertainty. Those resources are available HERE.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in the U.S. has recognized that fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger. Their resources on managing anxiety and stress can be found HERE.

The Conference Board of Canada includes a conversation with Dr. Bill Howatt, Chief of Research, Workplace Productivity. That resource is available HERE.

A parting comment: If you have additional resources you’d like to share with your fellow Chamber members, please don’t hesitate to send a note to us at info@slchamber.ca

We’ll do our best to pass them along!

 

 

 

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St. Joseph’s Hospice, a Chamber member, is appealing to fellow members as it looks to satisfy a need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for use by staff members.

In addition to N95 masks, the Hospice is seeking donations of surgical gloves, surgical masks, safety glasses, and face shields, as well as disposable medical isolation gowns, says Larry Lafranier, executive director.

Donations of items, which must be new and in the original packaging, can be left in the recycled bin in the main entrance foyer at the Residence—140 Water Street—with a business card or contact information. Unfortunately, handmade items cannot be accepted.

Business hours are preferred—8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 

 

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CanWeb, a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, is making a limited time offer to a select number (the first seven or eight firms that contact them) for use of its remote desktop software.

David Grant, a past chair of the Chamber and owner of CanWeb, is making the offer to members (again the first seven or eight to take advantage of the offer).

They must have between five and 50 employees for a 20-license package (there is a monthly fee for additional users).

There is no charge for the first two months, with no obligation to buy after that and the software can be installed remotely and removed after the COVID-19 crisis passes.

Grant says not all companies may qualify as there may be technical roadblocks for a few.

“Since this is a no-charge service, it will only be done for a limited number of companies and as staff resources allow,” said Grant.

If interested in booking a 10-minute call with Dave Grant, click HERE (choose “Free Remote Desktop Offer”) or contact him by email at ask@canweb.ca.

 

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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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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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