The Ontario Government is investing $3 million to provide free online health and safety training for the first time. These virtual courses aim to make it easier for job seekers and workers to get essential qualifications, while practicing physical distancing. 

Up to 100,000 job seekers can now take free online workplace health and safety training through Employment Ontario. There are 10 courses available, including topics such as infection control, conducting health and safety incident investigations, ladder safety, slips, trips and falls prevention, and prevention workplace violence and harassment.

In addition, worker and employer members of Joint Health and Safety Committees can now use video conferencing to take training in real time with qualified instructors from training providers approved by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer. 

Job seekers should contact an Employment Ontario service provider in their area to enroll.

To read the full statement, click here.

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The Ontario Government is issuing a new emergency order and amending another under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which will allow municipalities to quickly pass temporary bylaws for the creation and extension of patios and allow covered outdoor dining areas to serve customers. 

Under the Planning Act, the process to pass temporary use bylaws to create or extend a patio could take several weeks or more. As restaurants are currently only permitted to host dine-in guests on outdoor patios under Stage 2, this exemption under the emergency order will cut red tape and reduce the process time for passing these bylaws to a matter of days.

The government also amended an emergency order to clarify that outdoor dining areas can open if they have a roof, canopy, tent, awning, or other covering. At least two full sides of the outdoor dining area must be open to the outdoors and must not be substantially blocked in any way. 

To read the full statement by the Ontario government, click here.

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The provincial government has developed a made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal, and economic recovery. This plan includes measures that will make it easier and faster to build provincial infrastructure. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hardships for individuals, families, and businesses throughout the province. The proposed initiatives will start Ontario heading down the road to recovery by getting critical infrastructure projects built faster, creating jobs in communities across the province. 

The government is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Nearing of Necessity process. Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately 5 to 10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects. Each hearing adds months of red tape and construction delays for critical provincial infrastructure, costing up to five months for transit projects and up to 12 months for provincial highway projects.

To read the full statement, click here.

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The Ontario Government proposed legislation that, if passed, would give the province the necessary flexibility to address the ongoing risks and effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The legislation would allow the government to chart a responsible path to economic reopening and recovery without putting all the progress made in fighting the virus at risk. It would also provide the government with the necessary flexibility to ensure select tools remain in place to protect vulnerable populations, such as seniors, and respond to this deadly virus.

The Reopening Ontario Act, 2020 would, if passed, ensure important measures remain in place to address the threat of COVID-19 once the provincial declaration of emergency has ended. Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Continue emergency orders in effect under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) under the new legislation for an initial 30 days.
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders for up to 30 days at a time, as required to keep Ontarians safe. 
  • Allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to amend certain emergency orders continued under the EMCPA if the amendment relates to: labour redeployment or workplace and management rules, closure of places and spaces or regulation of how businesses and establishments can be open to provide goods or services in a safe manner, compliance with public health advice, rules related to gatherings, and organized public events.
  • Not allow new emergency orders to be created.
  • Allow emergency orders to be rescinded when it is safe to do so.

To read the full newsroom article, click here.

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The most serious pandemic in a century has triggered one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression. The combination of great uncertainty, fear of infection, individual restraints following public guidelines and mandatory lockdowns, however, immediately produced a sharp contraction in economic activity. The extent of the shock on the labour market is much larger: despite a massive shift towards telework, in all countries the number of those effectively working collapsed as companies have frozen hiring and put part of their workforce on hold through subsidized job-retention schemes.

OECD countries have taken massive steps to improve access to, and the generosity of, sick leave and out of work income support as well as job retention schemes, whose take up has been unprecedented in many countries. As economic activity picks up, however, policy must accompany the recovery by striking the right balance between providing continuous support to workers, households, and companies still affected by persisting restrictions and encouraging business activity as well as permitting necessary restructuring.

To continue reading the full report, click here.

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Facebook has launched a free six-week initiative called Summer of Support, designed to help business owners get the digital skills and information needed to navigate these challenging times. The program will feature a mix of content including free online training and live sessions. Each week will focus on a different theme and highlight different speakers, like basketball legend and entrepreneur Magic Johnson, as well as Chairman of O’Shares Investments and television personality Kevin O’Leary.

For more information on the initiative, click here.

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This summer, the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce would like to support downtown merchants to grow their businesses on the weekends. The proposed plan is to create a Pedestrian-Friendly Zone by closing Christina Street from George Street to Wellington Street on Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon, allowing merchants to utilize the entire sidewalk. In the past few days, we visited 38 businesses in the downtown area (on Front & Christina Street) and found that 95% of businesses in the area are in-favour of this initiative. 

The Pedestrian-Friendly Zone will start Friday, July 17 and end on Sunday, September 27, 2020. It will require road closure on Christina Street from George to Wellington Streets from 4:00 pm on Fridays until 4:00 pm on Sundays. Front, George, Lochiel, Cromwell, Davis, and Wellington Street will remain open to allow for traffic flow and access to parking. Special accommodations will be made to support residents and visitors with mobility challenges.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is creating an application to Sarnia City Council for an exemption from the Noise By-Law #144. Anyone who feels they may be adversely affected by such an exemption or who wishes to make their views on this subject known to City Council, should contact the City Clerk’s Office.

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Please welcome our newest member: Fairwinds Retirement Lodge!

Situated in a cozy neighbourhood, Fairwinds Lodge is surrounded by green space. Here, you’re free to enjoy life and go wherever the wind takes you.

Live your life fully every day in a welcoming environment that offers: peace of mind, lots to do, attentive service, and 24/7 on-call emergency support.

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Due to COVID-19, the Rotary Club of Sarnia’s 38th Annual Mackinac Pancake Breakfast under the Bluewater Bridge cannot take place. The Rotary Club is asking for the support of the Sarnia Lambton community for their virtual Mackinac event so they can continue to support charitable organizations in the community. 

The virtual event will be held Friday, July 10 at 8:00 PM with an online concert by area performer Cliff Erickson streaming live on Facebook. The cost to watch the show is an optional donation to The Rotary of Sarnia Charitable Foundation. You can make any donation amount by purchasing a combination of tickets equal to the amount you wish to donate. 

The following morning, July 11th, the Port Huron-Mackinac Sailboat Race will begin where we have provided a link to webcams under the Bluewater Bridge so you can watch the sailboats online from wherever you choose.

Their goal is to raise $10,000 as they usually raise this amount with the pancake breakfast, and they would like to fulfill their commitments to Sarnia Lambton causes. 

For more information, click here.

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the release of draft regulations that will help employers who sponsor a Registered Pension Plan (RPP) or salary deferral leave plan for their employees to manage and maintain their benefit obligations through the crisis.

The proposed draft regulations would support the effective administration of such plans through the COVID-19 pandemic, providing temporary relief from various registration rules and other conditions that must be complied with under the Income Tax Regulations by:

  • Adding temporary stop-the clock rules to the conditions applicable to salary deferral leave plans for the period of March 15, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
  • Removing restrictions that prohibit an RPP from borrowing money.
  • Extending the deadline for decisions to retroactively credit pensionable service under a defined benefit plan or to make catch-up contributions to money purchase accounts.
  • Permitting catch-up contributions to RPPs to be made in 2021 in the event that 2020 required contributions to be reduced.
  • Setting aside the 36 month employment condition in the definition “eligible period of reduced pay” for the purpose of using prescribed compensation to determine benefits or contribution levels.
  • Allowing wage rollback periods in 2020 to qualify as an eligible period of reduced pay for prescribed compensation purposes.

The government will continue to monitor and respond to the wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19, and take additional actions as needed to protect the health and safety of Canadians and stabilize the economy.

To read the full statement, click here.

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