The Chamber is working on a Local Holiday Gift Guide – We will be creating a shop local gift guide for chamber members to gain inspiration for their holiday shopping this year.

Simply send us an email at info@slchamber.ca by Nov 30th with an image of your product/service to be featured. The Virtual Guide will be sent out Friday, December 4th.

#sharejoy #shophere #shoplocal

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The generosity of our community enables The Inn to help thousands of people. Whether it’s focusing on purchasing food items most needed or getting those bulk purchase deals, helping that family stay housed with Rent/Utility assistance or providing school supplies to children, your financial donation allows The Inn to help in so many ways!

The Inn of the Good Shepherd is a registered Canadian charity and we are pleased to be able to provide a tax receipt for all financial donations.

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This week’s Black Friday sales have the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce underscoring the importance of shopping local.

CEO Allan Calvert said people might be inclined to shop online for convenience, but sites like Amazon don’t provide any benefit to our community where we live.

“Keep in mind some of these giant outlets do not participate in paying local taxes, for example, or contributing to our community when it comes to some of the social organizations that desperately need help this time of year like the Inn of the Good Shepherd, Rebound and Pathways,” said Calvert. “Often we find it’s the local retailers that are the ones that typically step up and, if it’s not financially supporting some of these organizations, they provide gift items for events like the Rotary charity auction.”

Calvert said small businesses are the backbone of the local economy and they need to be supported more than ever during the pandemic.

“Typically anything that you’re shopping for, if you look hard enough you can find it here, if anything buy gift cards from these retailers.”

He noted the plight of small business owners in locked down areas like Toronto is heartbreaking.

“I’ve been watching some of the national media, especially in the metro Toronto area, where they’re interviewing small shop owners and they’re absolutely brought to tears and crying in the interview. That is not something we want for our retailers in this town.”

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Pathways Health Centre for Children is taking one of its biggest fundraisers online.

Executive Director Alison Morrison said the pandemic has forced them to reimagine their Secret Santa Shoppe for 2020.

“With COVID-19 we couldn’t find a way to have all of our children visiting our centre to place those special orders for Christmas shopping,” said Morrison. “So we’ve taken the event online.”

Morrison said families can make gift requests online at pathwayscentre.org until November 27.

She said the elves will do the shopping and then families will be invited to a special curbside pick-up event at 1240 Murphy Rd. on December 11.

“We’re hoping that families will come in their cars to Pathways Health Centre for Children where we will have an event set up that’s still going to be special for kids. Christmas trees and music and our dancing elves that will deliver those packages right to your car window.”

Pick-up hours are 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. but further times will be scheduled if needed.

The Secret Santa Shoppe raised $43,000 last year.

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Farm Credit Canada (FCC) opened a new office in Sarnia on September 28. The office, located at 111 Business Park Drive, offers a great location for customers and staff, right off the highway and just on the edge of town. Previously located in Wyoming, the FCC team of 13 employees relocated in Sarnia, in September.

“At FCC, we care about our customers,” says Perry Wilson, senior district director at FCC. “When our lease expired, we saw an opportunity to ensure that our office location supported our commitment to excellent customer service. We conducted market research and found that Sarnia was the best location for our customers and staff.”

The Sarnia office serves more than 500 customers for a loan portfolio of $560 million. The new 4,900 square feet office space has allowed the local FCC team the flexibility to better serve the needs of customers and the agriculture industry.

“Never before has Canadian agriculture mattered more to Canada or the world,” says Wilson. “Agriculture is the backbone of a strong and healthy Canada, and the world relies on Canada as a source of safe and healthy food. FCC advances the business of agriculture by providing products and services tailored to the industry. As Canada’s leading agriculture lender, we’re happy to open a new office in Sarnia.”

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CERS provides direct and targeted support to business owners covering up to 90% of eligible expenses.

Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.

This subsidy will provide payments directly to qualifying renters and property owners, without requiring the participation of landlords.

If you are eligible for the base subsidy, you may also be eligible for lockdown support if your business location is significantly affected by a public health order for a week or more.

To find out if you are eligible & access more resources, click here.

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Join Fairwinds Lodge, Lambton Ford & The Inn of the Good Shepherd on Friday, November 27th from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Lambton Ford. Donate your Teddy’s, Toys & Tins to support the Inn and Anthony’s Children’s Christmas Party. 

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Sarnia has received the first $1 million payment from Cestar College of Business, Health and Technology for a new dock at Sarnia Harbour.

The Toronto-based affiliate of Lambton College has pledged $4 million for the dock, a key component of the Sarnia-Lambton oversized load corridor.

“While we have all faced challenging times this year, it brings us great joy that we are able to give back to the City of Sarnia through this donation,” said Cestar director Adrian Sharma.

The Cestar Dock will become the water terminus of the corridor which, when complete, will provide an unobstructed road route to improve the competitiveness of local fabricators and large industry by reducing shipping costs and boosting exports.

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The Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (“SLBDC”) is pleased to advise that, in light of the current uncertainty in the economic climate, it will assist in facilitating the sustainability of Lambton County based businesses through the crisis by providing financial support through a NEW round of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in collaboration with the Federal Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

 

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) offers financial support for businesses in Lambton County that are unable to access federal and provincial relief funding programs, or are unable to obtain a loan/credit from traditional financial institutions.

 

Eligible businesses interested in a Regional Relief and Recovery Fund loan will be expected to provide the SLBDC with a completed application and supporting documents. Maximum assistance under the program will be $40,000 to be used for operational costs, staff related costs, and costs related to the return to operations for those businesses which have been closed.

 

Loans will be provided at 0% (zero) interest, with no scheduled principal payments until March 31, 2023. Principal repayments can be made at any time and 25% (not to exceed $10,000) of the loan can be forgiven provided the recipient has paid 75% of the original loan amount prior to December 31, 2022. If the recipient is unable to repay the loan by March 31, 2023, the loan will be converted to a term loan with interest rates up to 5%, effective April 01, 2023. The full balance must be repaid by no later than December 31, 2025.

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Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, issued the following statement marking National Housing Day:

“On this special day I would like to acknowledge the important work done by our housing and homelessness partners across the province, and across the country, to support our most vulnerable and ensure they have a safe place to call home.

Our government is committed to tackling the housing pressures that have been building for years. We are actively working with our federal and municipal partners, investing in more affordable housing, expanding the community housing supply and addressing local housing needs.

We were the first province to sign on to the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit, which is making $1.4 billion available to help people in need pay their rent. This year we expect 5,200 Ontarians to receive direct payments, and we anticipate that number to grow in the future due to the hardship created by the pandemic.

When COVID-19 struck, we knew that we needed to take steps to protect the most vulnerable, including those in precarious housing situations. That’s why we are providing $510 million to municipalities and Indigenous program partners through the Social Services Relief Fund. It can be used to help deliver critical supports – such as expanding shelter services, food banks, emergency services and rent supports – and encourage the development of longer-term, permanent solutions to homelessness.

Creating permanent housing is a priority for our government. That’s why we developed a Community Housing Renewal Strategy to help address the high demand for housing and the stress on our community housing system. As part of the strategy, we are investing nearly $1 billion this year to help sustain, repair and grow community housing and help end homelessness in Ontario.

This past July, our government passed Bill 184, the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, which lays the groundwork for us to empower our community housing providers, protect our existing housing stock and create new supply.

Our government will freeze rent in 2021 for rent-controlled and non-rent-controlled units, to give the vast majority of Ontario tenants some relief during these unprecedented times.

We are also supporting creative solutions to help more people find the housing they need. The new Veterans’ Village that will be built in Kingston is one example of how Ontario is turning unused provincial properties into affordable housing. And I am encouraged that more communities are exploring modular supportive housing units. Our government wants to work with communities to ensure projects can begin quickly and more people can get a roof over their head.   

Our government will continue to work closely with all of our partners to find innovative ways to help more people access the affordable housing and the support they need today, and in the years to come.”

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