NOVA Chemicals, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce “Business of Year” in 2018, is sponsoring a unique opportunity designed to connect its construction workforce with businesses in Lambton County. Aimed at contributing to the local economy and in keeping with their commitment to be a “good neighbour” during construction of their growth projects, FindIt Lambton offers the opportunity for local businesses to promote their services through a mobile app.

From food and beverage services to rental accommodations, retail, entertainment and more, the app is intended to be a one-stop shop for tradespeople working on NOVA Chemicals’ construction projects to find what they need in Lambton County.

As a first step, Chamber members and other businesses are encouraged to visit www.finditlambton.ca to create a FREE business listing. Directory listings are fully customizable and can include photos and your business’ unique selling points. There is a wide range of search categories that make it easy for users to find you.

On Thursday, April 4, Chamber members are invited to join NOVA Chemicals to kick off the FindIt Lambton initiative. Businesses may sign up on the FindIt Lambton website, or at the event, which takes place at Collide Coworking (148 Front St. N, Sarnia). The event is from 4 pm to 7 pm with brief remarks at 4:30 pm.

NOVA Chemicals is moving forward with two significant projects for its Ontario operations involving a capital investment of approximately $2 billion CAD. With these projects, NOVA Chemicals is not only expanding its St. Clair Township asset base and improving competitiveness but also bringing new technology to Ontario, growing manufacturing exports and strengthening the area’s long-term economic viability.

They estimate their projects will result in significant construction employment opportunities — 800 to 1,000 workers at peak. Initial estimates are for several million construction labour hours, with the majority sourced from the local area. They also estimate these projects will create approximately 150 permanent full-time jobs between NOVA Chemicals direct hires and contractors, including an estimated spin-off impact of approximately 750 additional new jobs in the local community.*

Click here learn more about NOVA Chemicals.

*Based on the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada’s commonly used multiplier effect for investments in the manufacturing sector of five indirect jobs from every direct job.

Read More

It may seem like a long way away, but anyone who has a busy calendar will agree—Friday, October 18 will come sooner than we think.

It’s the Chamber’s 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards—sponsored by Libro Credit Union—and plans are shaping up for this event to be another amazing one.

“We’ve already had our first meeting to map out what is already a great event,” said Shirley. “But every year our goal remains: taking steps to make the coming event even better than the year before.”

Stay tuned for details on deadlines for nominations in the next few weeks and start thinking about who should be on your list of nominees for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards!

Read More

A research project designed to identify retention challenges faced by international students  has received funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The $19,700 grant was received as part of a joint presentation from the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the County of Lambton, the Sarnia Lambton Local Immigration Partnership, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board, and YMCA Immigration Services.

A ceremony acknowledging the project was held last Friday, with local MPP Bob Bailey in attendance.

“I look forward to seeing the positive results of this valuable research project,” said Bailey.

The project also explored hiring practices of local businesses, with a goal of identifying additional challenges and opportunities to economic diversity, gaps in the skill sets of candidates, as well as succession planning and entrepreneurship.

Organizers extended a special thank you to Lambton College for the support received in connecting international students with project researchers.

Read More

Chamber Ambassadors, or “Chamber Champions” are a treasured group of volunteers who host ribbon-cutting,  groundbreaking ceremonies and celebrate milestones with Chamber members.  Part of what makes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce community work so effectively is welcoming new members and sharing what is happening with everyone.

With that in mind, Chamber staff and the Chamber Champions are inviting members to share achievements.

We really want to celebrate each other and in order to do that, we need you to inform us.  Got something going on that we can talk about?

Reach out to Gail Ann today—by email (gabondar@slchamber.ca) or phone (519) 336-2400—to get started.

Read More

Representatives of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—Board chair Ryan Bell and President and CEO Shirley de Silva—will be heading to the provincial capital later this month to engage with legislators and their staff as part of Advocacy Day 2019.

The event, which is organized by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (of which we are members), will include visits with several Provincial Government ministers and staff, with opportunities to have conversations outlining the position of businesses regarding various issues.

The full-day event will include attendance at Queen’s Park question period, town hall meetings with government and opposition MPPs, small group consultations with senior government officials, and a closing reception with MPPs.

‘These conversations are very important as we continue our advocacy efforts on behalf of Chamber members,” said de Silva.

“Although this is an event that brings together representatives from Chambers across the province, we’ll be making sure that issues that are of local importance are part of the conversations that take place.”

The Advocacy Day event takes place on Monday, March 25 at Queen’s Park in Toronto.

 

Read More

This week’s announcement of a grant from the Transport Canada Airports Capital Assistance Program that will be used to complete improvements at the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport is an important milestone for Sarnia-Lambton.  The formal announcement was made by Kate Young, MP for London West. Young is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Science and Sport and also to the Minister of Public services and Procurement and Accessibility.

Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, was in attendance at  Wednesday’s public announcement at the airport. Through ongoing efforts, including last summer’s Business After 5 that was held at the airport, the Chamber has formally advocated for the improvements.

“We continue to make the point that having a well-maintained airport facility here in Sarnia is an economic driver for us,” said de Silva.  “Our members, who know and understand just how critical this piece of infrastructure is to our future, are behind us and continually bringing forward their key inputs forward. This week’s announcement is a great example of how important these conversations are to the process,” she added.

Also attending were officials from the City of Sarnia, including Mayor Mike Bradley,  representatives of the City-owned airport management team and the Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership.

In the photo, from left, are Stephen Thompson, CEO of SLEP, Shirley de Silva, MP Marilyn Gladu, MP Kate Young, and Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley.

Read More

For those who are Irish (or, like most of us, just want to be), next week’s Business After 5, the monthly networking event organized through the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, is one you surely won’t want to miss.

It’s just a few days after the “official” day but the Chamber is taking every opportunity to make sure you won’t forget how “Saint Patty’s Day” can be celebrated in style.

To make this successful, organizers, including our sponsor for this event, LEADWAVE Technologies, are coordinating with BrownStones Sports Lounge and Restaurant, located at 1000 Finch Dr, Sarnia, right at the corner of Finch and Wellington.

As anyone who’s invested some serious networking effort will already know, these events are seen as key, not only to meeting new people in our business community, but building ongoing relationships that make doing business even more enjoyable.

Has it been a while? We’d love to catch up and there are people at the Chamber’s monthly Business After 5 gatherings that can help you make those connections, even if you’re new to the community (or the Chamber).

 

Read More

“WIN this Space,” an initiative of the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation that’s now in its third year, is an opportunity to kickstart entrepreneurship for Lambton County and applications are now open through next Thursday, March 21 at 5 p.m.

The winner of this year’s contest will be able to choose both a one-year lease storefront and a one-year membership to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

If you have a unique business idea, are willing to put in some hard work to complete a detailed business plan, attend mandatory business training sessions to help sharpen your business acumen, and present your idea to a judging panel in a LIVE finale, this contest is for you,

Those who are interested should visit the unique website for the initiative—www.winlambton.com.

All the details on what to expect, including rules and FAQs, will help guide you through the process.

And remember the deadline: Thursday, March 21 at 5 p.m.

 

Read More

When it comes to visibility of business leaders in our community, it would be hard to miss someone like Kathleen Mundy, even if you weren’t aware that she’s on the Board of Directors of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

For starters, Kathleen has had numerous careers, including as a Realtor and, more recently, as a franchise owner of several Little Caesars restaurants in the area.

But none of that happened by accident. Kathleen, who serves as Third Vice Chair in her Board role with the Chamber, essentially bootstrapped her Little Caesars business over the years, having first pledged to herself and others (and then achieving the goal) of opening “five stores in five years.”

She’s also the kind of entrepreneur that delights in sharing her passion for business creativity with others, one reason that she continues making the kind of connections that continue to drive value in others.

In short, Kathleen serves as a model, not only for women in business, but for those who aspire to do great things.

If you know Kathleen (and chances are several of our readers are already connected), be sure to give her a “thumbs up” for all the great work she continues to do.

 

Read More

Fifty years of cutting and pasting has left Canadian taxation uncompetitive, cumbersome and inefficient.

Now more than ever a Royal Commission on taxation, with everything on the table, is needed to align Canada’s tax system with the economy of today and tomorrow.

Much has changed since the Carter Royal Commission created the basis of our tax system in the 1960s. New technologies, global supply chains and international competition have disrupted entire industries. Governments worldwide are competing to harness innovation by trying to understand how new developments like artificial intelligence and the sharing economy will reshape how we live and work, including how we tax.

The pace of change in today’s economy requires capital investments, investments in talent and skills as well as organizational agility to keep up and compete. According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s report on Canadian tax competitiveness, our tax system falls flat on all three counts. The Canadian business community believes the accelerated capital cost allowance measures announced in last year’s Fall Economic Statement lack what is needed to spur the necessary investments. Our dauntingly byzantine federal tax system ranks 41st in the world in the time it takes to prepare and pay taxes. Canadian businesses are concerned the personal tax bracket structure on high income-earners will drive highly skilled workers elsewhere.

It is clear Canada’s outdated tax system has real costs—both in terms of money and time—for Canadian business. It has real implications for strategic, tactical and operational decisions.

The changing global tax environment not only provides an excellent opportunity for Canada to rethink its own system but practically requires it. If we look at G7 and OECD countries, there is a prolonged trend toward greater tax competitiveness. The OECD has encouraged Canada to “[r]eview the tax system to ensure that it remains efficient—raising sufficient revenues to fund public spending without imposing excessive costs on the economy—equitable and supports the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.” Similarly, the IMF executive board of directors has suggested Canada conduct “a careful and independent review of the overall Canadian tax system, weighing the pros and cons of incremental versus more radical approaches, and assessing their revenue implications and potential spillovers to other countries.”

A Royal Commission’s terms of reference should be guided by the principles of tax competitiveness, simplicity, fairness and neutrality. The inquiry should explore the following aspects of Canada’s tax system through a comprehensive review:

  • Broadening the tax base to explore the most effective tax policy solutions
  • Adjusting the tax mix to better promote business investment and economic growth
  • Bridging the digital tax divide to ensure a fair and equitable tax system
  • Simplifying the tax filing experience with digital filing solutions
  • Legislating a Taxpayer Charter of Rights to hold the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) accountable
  • Providing a representative for small business to resolve conflicts with CRA
  • Conducting regular comprehensive reviews to keep the tax system up to date

If Canada is serious about enhancing its competitiveness, we need to focus on how governments can use tax policy to harness disruption and new global business models. It is crucial we recognize a modernized tax system can be a key driver of Canada’s business innovation and economic growth.

The above was provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an organization that includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce among its members.

 

Read More

Partners and Sponsors