The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is making our website available for the free promotion of various events of interest to the community.

Posting on the Chamber website is easy:

—Start by visiting www.slchamber.ca and click on the Events heading on the home page. The direct link can be found HERE.

—Click on Calendar List and then Add Community Event.

Organizers can then fill out the details on the event and submit. We’ll take it from there!

 

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This year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala, which takes place on Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, continues to take shape.

With nominations now officially closed, the 257 businesses and individuals are being personally contacted.

Once the nominations have been accepted, the work of putting together the submission packages will begin, with another deadline being added to the calendar.

Nominees have until the end of August to put together their package—which will be submitted online this year.

Judges will then begin their job ahead of the OBAA event.

 

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A comprehensive review of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce by-laws, which was undertaken with a goal of making sure the revised document is consistent with federal legislation that governs our organization, has been completed.

Ryan Bell explains in a video that can be seen below how and why the review process was done and what comes next.

That includes members of the Chamber being able to review the proposed by-law document (which can be seen HERE).

The existing by-law document can be seen HERE for comparison purposes.

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A gift book project that promises to showcase the Sarnia-Lambton region as never before is on its final stretch as deadlines for production and printing approach.

Still, there are just a few opportunities remaining for sponsors to come forward ahead of the printing.

Photographer Richard Bain, who has worked with numerous Chambers of Commerce on similar projects, says the book—titled “Simply Sensational Sarnia-Lambton”—is one of the most interesting he has undertaken.

“This is a marvelous area and one where the photographs do a great job of telling the ongoing story of one of Ontario’s hidden gems,” says Richard.

Looking for a “last minute” opportunity to get involved with “Simply Sensational”?

Contact Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, to get started. She can be reached by email (sdesilva@slchamber.ca) or by phone at (519) 336-2400, extension 1.

 

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Take a good look around your home and you’ll probably see how things have become a little “untidy” over the months/years since you did a good “spring cleaning.”

Chances are, your response will be to roll up your sleeves and take steps to put things in order.

It’s that kind of thinking that’s lead to a formal review of by-laws for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The intention was to see if current by-laws line up with the Boards of Trade Act, federal legislation that governs how organizations like the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce must operate.

Using a checklist provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, members of the Chamber’s Governance Committee have suggested some changes, cleaning up inconsistencies caused by “piecemeal” amendments that had been made over the years.

Those proposed changes are now posted on the Chamber website, along with the existing by-laws for member review and comment.

Comments can be sent to: info@slchamber.ca.

 

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Leading an organization as diverse as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce makes for exciting days and the kinds of challenges come from dealing with so many people with a passion for business and creating value in the community.

It also demands focus, which is another element that creates its own sense of value in attempting to balance the heritage of leadership with a desire to continually calibrate what we’re doing with an ever-changing society.

With that in mind, we are keeping up with those changes not only to provide leadership as we identify key initiatives but to propel the organization forward and adapt our strategies to reflect our current marketplace.

You have probably come across the term “big data” on numerous occasions.  There is so much low-cost sophisticated technology available today, so why not take a closer look. While not necessarily scientific, our initial exploration reveals that visitors to our website are 54.2% female and 45.8% male.  Some 27.1 % are returning visitors, with 72.8% new to the site.  Our largest visitor age demographic falls into the 25-34 age category with 69.9% still using the desktop, followed by 22.8% using mobile devices and 7.2% tablets.

Successful Chambers of Commerce will be those that adopt development and sales strategies that understand reflect their marketplace with results that are measurable.  Our Chamber has made great strides in the last year with the development of a strategic plan that will serve as the blueprint for a renewal process for which we can all take pride.

Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll also be undergoing another part of that “renewal” in communicating key elements of the strategic plan, something that our members and, indeed, the entire community will want to understand if we are to be truly successful in creating a path to a successful future.

As we take those steps, together and individually, I believe we will all benefit from a focused approach that continues to generate the extraordinary value that the Chamber has become known for in the past.

I also believe our best days are ahead of us.   Together we are stronger!

Join with us on the journey, won’t you?

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The City of Sarnia has published online a comprehensive guide to this fall’s municipal election, with instructions and a list of planned information sessions.

The page on the City’s website is designed to help citizens become familiar with the new methods for internet and telephone voting that will take place between 9 a.m. on October 11 through 8 p.m. on October 22. The voting can take place anytime (24/7) between those dates and times.

For the first time ever, voters will be able to cast a ballot for Mayor, City/County Councillors, City Councillors, and School Board Trustees, with voting by telephone, smartphone, tablet, or computer, with the intention being to provide an accessible, environmentally-friendly and convenient way to vote.

While full details are available online, the City is also holding a series of information sessions to help with the transition.

City staff have also indicated they will be happy to host information sessions for Chamber members. Contact the Chamber office if your business has an interest in having a session held.

Dates, times and locations for the public sessions can be found online at the City’s website.

The Sarnia Votes page on the City’s website is extensive in its resources for candidates and voters.

 

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It’s taken six years for Sarnia to get “in the queue” for a little sprucing up adjacent to Highway 402 overpasses at Indian Road and Christina Street, but for the Communities in Bloom Committee at the City, it will be worth the wait.

Sarnia Councillor Anne Marie Gillis (pictured), who chairs the committee, said she had no doubt that the work, which will include the planting of pines, maples, birches, spruce and other species, would eventually take place.

It was two years ago that the committee began a push for the 402 beautification project, the intention being to help drive tourism at the key entry point from Michigan and beyond into Ontario.

At one point, there were concerns that Sarnia had been “forgotten” but Gillis said it was really an issue of this area getting in line.

Eventually, says Gillis, along with “lots and lots of discussion,” Sarnia was bumped up to the point where the work will begin as early as this fall, although it could be pushed to next spring (there is, after all, only one landscape architect with the Ministry of Transportation, which is footing the $150,000 bill).

In the meantime, the Chamber salutes all who have worked hard on the Communities in Bloom Committee to make this announcement a reality.

Photo by Tyler Kula, Sarnia Observer, used with permission.

 

 

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Tariffs. Trade talks. Pipelines. Electoral change. While the Canadian economy continues to grow (albeit somewhat slowly), these are just some of the factors that might slow it down. As we head into summer, and the mid-point of 2018, now is a good time to take stock of Canada’s economic performance and consider what the latter half of the year might have in store for us.

The economy stumbled into 2018, slogging its way through weak consumer spending and housing markets. Real GDP increased at a pace of 1.3% in the first three months of 2018—the slowest quarterly growth in nearly two years. The Canadian economy grew at less than a 2% rate for the third consecutive quarter, a far cry from the nearly 4% average between July 2016 and June 2017.

The good news is that economic growth seems poised to accelerate. While the cumulative result was disappointing, the quarter finished strong with February GDP up 0.4% month-over-month, followed by a 0.3% increase in March. Exports increased 1.6% in April, a good sign for an economy that will need export markets to make a bigger contribution to growth in place of consumer spending. This encouraging finish has hastened confidence that the economy is improving with stronger momentum going into Q2.

The bad news is that uncertainty about a variety of economic issues is weighing on business investment. Any optimism about the economy taking a turn for the better is tempered by the risk that uncertainty will drive investment away from Canada. Imports declined in April, indicating that business investment and domestic demand were scaled back during the month.

Ongoing insecurity about trade policies continues to cast a shadow over Canada’s outlook. The recent steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the United States—and the Canadian retaliation— are increasing investors’ concerns about the future of NAFTA, and even what a U.S. withdrawal would mean for Canada. With a new government in Ontario, Canada will have its work cut out to maintain a united front in response to further possible retaliatory measures.

Further complicating matters are the extraordinary measures taken by the federal government to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline—a step that never should have been necessary. This is another sign that we need to take a long hard look at our broken regulatory system and ensure Canada remains an attractive place to invest and do business.

These developments have heightened the existing doubts about Canada’s business competitiveness. The Canadian tax system is losing relative competitiveness compared to its peers due to recent tax reform in the United States and France. Significant uncertainty also surrounds how the Canada Revenue Agency will assess the new small business tax changes in the 2018 Budget. These factors are causing business investors to seek other markets or sit on their wallets.

The outlook for business investment is crucial because everything else the Bank of Canada usually considers in monetary policy decisions suggests the economy can handle higher borrowing costs. The central bank has been cautious thus far but recently signalled that higher interest rates will be warranted and that the governing council will take a gradual approach to policy adjustments.

The current data on economic growth supports this. Canadian households may be able to manage rising mortgage and consumer debt, as long as Canada’s economy continues to grow and unemployment remains relatively low. However, the risk that Canada’s economic prospects and investor confidence can be derailed by any number of uncertain issues remains high. The IMF’s recent mission to Canada concluded that our economic outlook is subject to significant risks—including a sharp correction in the housing market and a banking system with heavy exposure to household and corporate debt.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Crystal Ball Report predicted uncertainty for Canada’s economic and political outlook in 2018. Financial and economic imbalances have created a tenuous economic recovery. Rising protectionism has the potential to escalate into a trade war. Markets and business models are being disrupted by new technologies and opportunities. Overall, Canadian businesses are grappling with the speed of change. Adding to this, Canada’s economic performance in the first half of 2018 demonstrates that one of the few certainties in today’s economy is an enduring state of uncertainty.

This “Five Minutes for Business” was provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, of which the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is a member.

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation is hosting the live finale presentations of its “Win This Space” contest next Wednesday, June 20, with the winner to receive a free storefront space for a year.

The event will take place at the Lambton College Event Centre, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

There is no fee for entrance and light refreshments will be served.

The project is funded by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southwestern Ontario.

Sponsors include Libro Credit Union and its Libro Prosperity Fund and Bluewater Power.

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