With a recent Ontario government announcement of new legislation intended to cut unwanted regulations, also known as “red tape,” the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is open to hearing from members with specific stories about how they are impacted by needless bureaucracy.

As part of our ongoing advocacy efforts on behalf of all members and at all levels of government, we’ll be making sure those stories are heard.

”The fact is, governments at every level have had a habit of adding needless regulation over the years, with complexity translating into extra work but not a lot of value for the business,” said Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva. “More often than not, those regulations simply add cost, which makes not only businesses less competitive but makes the price of goods and services more expensive.”

Share your story by email (CLICK HERE) or reach out anytime to the Chamber office: (519) 336-2400. We’re listening!

 

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Tourism Sarnia-Lambton is partnering with Ontario South West, the regional tourism office, in providing a workshop event designed to help deliver customized experiences to our visitors.

The event will take place on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 from noon to 3 p.m. at Stonepicker Brewing Company, located at 7134 Forest Rd., Plympton-Wyoming. A complimentary lunch will be provided.

Presenters for this event are Joanne Wolnik, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corp.; Cindy Walker, Chocolatea; Laura Soetemans, Stonepicker Brewing Company; and Beverley Horodyski, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

The workshop is limited to 25 participants and while there is no cost to participate, pre-registration is required. CLICK HERE.

Questions? Please contact Beverley at Tourism Sarnia-Lambton at (519) 336-3232, ext. 102

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is in the early stages of developing a series of workshops intended to help members stay current and up-to-date as they deal with ever-changing conditions in business.

Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, says the initiative is needed if members are to stay competitive in whatever business sector they happen to be in.

”It’s been said that if you’re standing still in business, you’re actually falling behind,” said de Silva. “We firmly believe that and are looking to help members effectively compete in this environment.”

The Chamber is already at work identifying resources—local and beyond our community—where members will be able to become even more competitive through various workshops.

Even as we work to put together this series of learning experiences, we invite you to touch base with any specific needs your business may have.

So what are your learning gaps?

We’re interested in hearing from business leaders who are keen to share their own expertise in areas where Chamber members will benefit.

Love to hear from you—by email (CLICK HERE) or by calling (519) 336-2400.

As we work together, we grow stronger, more prosperous and everyone wins.

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Express Employment Professionals is once again bringing in one of its executives, Art Atkinson, who is vice president of the staffing agency’s Express University, to conduct a learning opportunity: Holding People Accountable.

While many leaders think of holding people accountable in a positive manner, there is a better way to view accountability, says Atkinson.

Attendees will learn some of the methods that he says are much more effective and productive, including:

—how to get your team members to “want to do what you want them to do.”

—how to determine why someone is not doing what you want and the ways you, as a leader, can get them to do those things.

—How important it is that your vision and each team member’s vision aligns.

—What effective one-on-ones look like and the benefits of consistently doing them.

The Tuesday, May 7, 2019 event, which has been pre-approved for two continuing professional development hours through the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), will take place at the Sarnia Golf ancd Curling Club (500 Errol Road West), from 8 a.m. To 10:30 a.m. The cost is $35 plus HST and seating is limited. Breakfast is included.

Online registration is required by going to expressspeakersbureau.eventbrite.ca.

Further information about Atkinson can be seen here:

 

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If the idea of getting some of the latest business equipment available anywhere from a company that’s family owned and operated for nearly 60 years appeals to you, there’s a great option right here in Sarnia-Lambton.

Add in the fact that this particular business—MC Business Solutions—is a longstanding member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and it just gets better.

The firm, with a local store in downtown Sarnia that opened in 2010, started in Kent County, where it was originally established as Maple City Typewriter by brothers Keith and Ed Koke, classically in a garage. They now employ over 60 staff.

Their story, which is featured on their website (www.mcbs.ca), includes an acknowledgement that in the beginning there was “a limited vision of the future but a burning desire to be the BEST technology and service provider” in their region.

Those early days had the brothers installing cash registers, mechanical adding machines, “wet copiers,” and, as the firm’s first name would indicate, typewriters (those of you who remember what a typewriter was can explain it to your children and grandchildren).

In 1975, the firm became a Canon dealership, with gradual adoption of technology that came along, including facsimile machines, and toner-based copiers.

Expansion into Windsor (2005) included the MC Business Solutions re-branding and another another five years later the opening of the Sarnia location.

Jeff Dam, Ed Koke’s son-in-law, is a co-owner of the business, while Jacqueline Smith (pictured) manages the Sarnia location.

Today, the depth of their product offerings include digital copier/printers, scanners, software solutions, wide format plotters, mailing systems, shredders, interactive white boards, furniture, and supplies.

Then and now, the three pillars of “Service Excellence, Honesty, and Transparency” are what drives MC Business Solutions, a proud member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

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For business owners who are looking for a robust benefits package (for themselves or for their employees) but might be thinking they’re “just too small,” the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, through its Chambers Plan, may be the answer.

Starting with a “no minimum firm size” (meaning your company is eligible to apply even if it’s a one-person operation), the Chambers Plan was designed specifically to protect small businesses, from those that are home-based to growing companies (up to 50 employees).

The Chambers Plan is also geared to grow and evolve with the needs of a company.

And because there are no industry restrictions with the Chambers Plan, as long as you’re a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, you’re eligible. In short, based on the specific needs of your business and employees, there’s a plan that’s right for you.

The Chambers Plan has a guaranteed approval feature (there are no health questions or medical exams to separate you from a benefits program) and renewal of coverage is also guaranteed as long as you pay your premium and maintain your Chamber membership.

Stable rates are made possible by the bundling with thousands of similar firms and a “partial pooling” concept on health and dental benefits. That means small fluctuations in a firm’s claims do not automatically factor into the rates, giving firms greater rate stability over the long term.

The Chambers Plan operates under the direction of the not-for-profit Chambers of Commerce Insurance Corporation of Canada, with volunteer directors who are also Chamber members.

What all this means is that your interests as a Chamber member are front and centre. All surpluses are reinvested in the Plan to help control premiums.  This is why 850 Chambers of Commerce (including the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce) actively endorse Chambers Plan.

There are additional features that make the Chambers Plan worth looking into, including connections with professional accounting, counselling, legal, and human resources experts who understand the challenges faced by small business.

The process of applying is simple and fast: most health and dental claims are processed within 48 hours and health options include on-the-spot processing of prescription drug claims using the Assure Card.

One more thing: the Chambers Plan Service Centre works in concert with a local Chambers Plan advisor to give you answers to all your questions.

Locally, that advisor is Selectpath Benefits & Financial, formerly LBM Consulting.

Interested in learning more? Connect with us today by calling (519) 336-2400 or by emailing gabondar@slchamber.ca, to get started.

 

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News of a Provincial Government initiative that would see the creation of a Central Procurement system for the public sector has some members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce concerned about the effects such a strategy would have on small and medium-sized businesses that currently supply goods and services.

Whether it be hospitals, school boards, or other bodies that might fall under such a system, questions about how a Centralized Procurement System would help small businesses outside the Greater Toronto Area are being raised.

We want to hear from our members and local public sector organizations so that we can take your concerns to the OCC and to the Ontario Government.

Plans are beginning for a roundtable discussion on Centralized Procurement.

Stay tuned as these plans begin to take shape.

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Earlier this week, representatives of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce made the trip down the 402/401 to Queen’s Park to participate in “Advocacy Day,” an initiative organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

With the provincial government approaching the one-year mark of its mandate, Advocacy Day is a forum to share ideas on how to foster a competitive business climate and strong, prosperous communities.

Attending on behalf of the local Chamber were Chair Ryan Bell and CEO Shirley de Silva (pictured).

“These are a rare but welcome opportunity for Chambers across the province to present a united front when it comes to putting forward our voice on issues that are critically important to all our members,” said de Silva.

This year’s event, which took place on Monday, March 25, included:

—Queen’s Park question period
—Town hall meetings with government and opposition MPPs
—Small group consultations with senior government officials
—Closing reception with MPPs

“Increasingly, those in government look to businesses—as represented by the Chamber of Commerce—for leadership on issues that drive the economy, not only for our area but across the province,” said de Silva.

 

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Next Tuesday, April 2 is “Touch Base Tuesday” and Chamber staff are looking forward to seeing members between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for an informal connection.

Look it as an opportunity to put a “face to the names” of people who are committed to making the Chamber experience an even better one.

There will be coffee and treats, but even more important, a chance to connect on a one-on-one basis.

We hope you keep “Touch Base Tuesday” in mind as you’re “out and about.”

And we look forward to seeing you next week!

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In just a few weeks, we’ll be seeing flashes of green just about everywhere, and the Chamber is getting in the mood as we approach our April Business After 5 event.

Thanks to sponsorship by Libro Credit Union, which is hosting the event at their 1315 Exmouth St. branch in Sarnia, Chamber members and guests are sure to get in the springtime mood, all the while planting seeds of new business.

Why not put this event in your calendar right now!

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday, April 17, starting at 5:15 p.m for this particular event.

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