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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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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