With so many people nominated for one of the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, organizers at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce felt commissioning a short video to help with the online process would be helpful.

David Burrows, a Chamber member well known in the community for his social media skills and live streaming (including this year’s 2018 OBAA event on Friday, October 12), came through with flying colours.

As mentioned in the video above, nominees will have already received their notification and those who have accepted the nomination will have received a link to the Google Forms document.

If for ANY reason you have not received that email, be sure to contact the Chamber’s office at (519) 336-2400.

And remember, the deadline for submissions is August 29, 2018 at 4 p.m.


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Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala which takes place on Friday, October 12.

The online sales can be accessed by clicking HERE through the Imperial Theatre box office system.

To provide a little “nudging,” the Chamber is offering a chance for “early bird” ticket buyers to win one of EIGHT $25 gift certificates to the coffee shop or restaurant of their choice. Lucky winners will be drawn randomly from those who purchase their OBAA tickets by 5 p.m. on Friday, September 14, 2018. 

The event, one of the year’s most anticipated events on the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce calendar, is often close to being sold out. This year, demand is expected to be even higher, at least partly due to a new open nomination approach, where both Chamber members and non-members alike are open to being nominated.

The result was a higher number of nominees than has been the case in years past.

This year’s ticket prices remain unchanged at $75 per person.

Shirley de Silva, CEO and president of the Chamber, said taking an “open arms” approach to the OBAA event, with lead sponsor Libro Credit Union, has already generated new interest in the organization, with the hope being that even those who may not yet be members will consider coming on board once they get a taste of all that’s offered.

“The Chamber has so much to offer, not only in the events that are organized but in the ‘behind the scenes’ work where we advocate on issues that are key to the success of all businesses in the area.”



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A group dedicated to helping businesses—including members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—has launched an initiative designed to help advance manufacturing expertise and activity throughout Canada.

Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium—EMC—has provided an online resource providing up-to-date labour market information on the manufacturing sector, with manufacturers, job seekers, students, and employment service providers being the ones most likely to benefit. All that’s required to access the database—found HERE—is to complete a survey, which will become part of a growing body of information (although the data cannot be identified to any individual or company).


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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and by extension the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, is behind a coalition advocating free trade principles within North America and around the world.

Keep Trade Free is intended to help organizations mobilize at the local, state and federal levels to advocate for freer trade within North American and around the world, as well as to ensure a successful renegotiation of NAFTA for continued economic prosperity for Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

While the principles of free trade are well-recognized as producing net benefits for all those involved, current initiatives by the U.S. threaten to destabilize the free flow of goods and services in ways that can already be seen.

The idea that “we are all in this together” is a message that is resonating with Keep Trade Free supporters.

The facts on the table worth considering in any discussion around trade:

  • Canada is the largest trading partner of the U.S., resulting in U.S. companies relying on Canadian buyers to the tune of nearly 300 billion USD.
  • Nearly nine million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada, which leaves the U.S. at risk of losing two million of those jobs by 2026 with continued tariffs and a failure to reach a new NAFTA agreement.
  • Each American household stands to lose more than 1,000 USD of purchasing power without a renewed NAFTA. With an average household income of 59,000 USD, families will lose up to 20% of what they have to spend after paying all of their bills. That is real pain for the average U.S. family.
  • More than two-thirds of a trillion USD of goods and services cross the U.S.-Canada border every year, which amounts to nearly a quarter of all U.S. trade.
  • The supply chains of U.S. and Canadian companies are so inextricably integrated that it would take companies three to five years to fully restore their suppliers with solely domestic providers. No company can weather that storm, U.S. or Canadian.

Canada and the U.S. have been growing together as neighbours for nearly 200 years, creating shared prosperity for businesses on both sides of the border.

We need to come together with one voice to protect North American companies and jobs because we are already one business community.

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Peninsula, a firm built on the premise that not every firm in need of professional human resources and employee relations advice has access to those services beyond those that may be directly working for them, has partnered with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a value-added provider.

The firm is introducing BrightHR, a platform that streamlines the process of keeping employee records up to date and in one place.

Peninsula, which was established in 1983 and is based in Toronto, supports more than 50,000 small- to medium-sized businesses worldwide.

Professionals on the Peninsula team understand the needs of a business, providing expert consultations in HR and employment-related matters.

In an arrangement with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce (through an affiliation with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce), a Peninsula consultant will visit your business, conduct a review of your current documents and processes, and recommend solutions for workplace compliance.

Using a tailored suite of documents and processes, Peninsula will recommend solutions for workplace compliance, helping a Chamber member to establish a framework to effectively manage employees.

“You’ll be better equipped to manage everyday HR concerns,” says an overview of Peninsula services.

Even better is a commitment by Peninsula to provide ongoing access to the firm’s guidance and compliance teams.

“It’s not just for emergencies, but also to support any day-to-day matters, too,” according to the firm’s overview information.

The firm understands that every industry has its own unique challenges and is confident that it can resolve these issues.

To connect with Peninsula and get started with a discussion on how it can help, contact the Chamber at (519) 336-2400 and ask for a referral.


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Remember all the spam you got when companies concluded they needed express consent under the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation to keep sending you emails? You would receive an email from a Nigerian prince advising that, while he does not currently have any lucrative commissions on a business transaction for you, he would still like to have your consent to continue sending you email offers. The same thing occurred in Europe leading up to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on May 25. Similarly, California will be putting into action the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018.

The debate is happening now in Canada. There is pressure on the government to redefine consent, increase penalties for non-compliance and increase transparency obligations, even though the new breach notification regulations under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) do not come into force until November 1, 2018.

This is a reaction to massive security safeguard breaches and declining trust. On the surface, this seems like a good idea—let’s give back control of personal data to the individual. However, the wholesale wresting of personal data away from the companies that collect it shatters the social contract of the service/data exchange that apps are built on and disrupts decades-old established business models.

There are many costs to this new regime in Europe. The obvious one is compliance—acquiring the technology to successfully respond to individual requests for data transparency, retooling for data portability and extracting personal data across multiple platforms.

The traditional business model is also affected. The idea that an app was free was never accurate—if you’re not paying for something, then you’re the product, as the saying goes. Disrupting this model could increase the cost of apps and other digital services or platforms and stifle innovation.

Data and the techniques and technologies employed to collect and analyze it will allow us to solve some of the world’s most pressing economic, social and environmental problems. Data is now the engine of economic growth and prosperity. Countries that promote data availability and use it for societal good and economic development will lead the fourth industrial revolution and give their citizens a better quality of life. But to seize this opportunity, people and businesses need to be able to share data with one another.

Finally, regulatory overreach could disrupt the free flow of information, which is one of the digital age’s greatest benefits. For instance, the Los Angeles Times has responded to GDPR by cutting access to its website in most European countries—something that goes against the basics of the internet.

Ironically, none of these new rules will have any impact on how data is protected. Almost half of IT decision makers in the EU note that cyber attackers will still find a way to access almost anything they want. More needs to be done to go after those who cause the most harm, such as those who engage in cybercrime and fraud. Government agencies should follow the money and prosecute those who commit fraud online.

The right framework for Canada’s data economy is one that both creates trust and incentivizes innovation. In this new world, we cannot ignore the role that companies that are yet to be created will play—both as innovators and wealth creators. Canada’s framework for the data economy must help SMEs start up, grow and become world leaders in the digital space.

For more information, contact Scott Smith, director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has updated its Municipal Election 2018 page to include important dates, resources and official lists of candidates throughout the area.

Look for the information to be updated as the election nears.

In the meantime, members are encouraged to check out the @sarniaelections Facebook page for information on Sarnia candidates, a forum that provides highlights and the opportunity to ask questions.

Live in Sarnia? Check out the City’s website for a series of videos explaining how electronic voting works.

Still have questions? You can also attend one of two public information sessions that will take place at Sarnia City Hall on Wednesday, September 19 at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.


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Last week, members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce Trade Corridor Task Force met with members of the St. Clair Economic Development Alliance to look for ways each group can continue to promote trade in the region.

With major highways—I-69, I-94, and Highways 402 and 401—bisecting Ontario and Michigan, the opportunities for communities to attract business investment and create jobs can’t be overlooked.

As one of the key points discussed, the Trade Corridor Task Force on the Canadian side of the border is in the process of applying for Foreign Trade Zone designation, which St. Clair County has already secured.

The two groups plan to continue meeting and building on this important binational relationship.

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We’re entering one of the most exciting times on the Chamber calendar and starting Monday, August 20, general admission tickets for the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala go on sale at the Imperial Theatre box office.

The event, which takes place Friday, October 12, 2018, is seen as one of the highlights and this year takes place in proximity to Business Week.

Right now, dozens of businesses and individuals have been notified of their nomination to one or more of the 16 awards categories. They are busy assembling their online submissions for the judging process.

But for what is expected to be a sold-out event, getting one of the “best seats in the house” is about to begin.

We recommend not putting it off!

Contact the Imperial Theatre box office today—tickets will be available online through the Imperial Theatre website: www.imperialtheatre.net.

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Five years in business cannot go unnoticed! For that reason alone, Alton Farms Estate Winery has rebranded itself and is throwing a two-day party—Saturday, August 18 and Sunday, August 19—to which everyone is invited. For these proud members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, this will be a celebration to remember.

With the first 50 people each day receiving a $5 gift certificate, the Altons (Marc and Anne) are putting on a show that includes live music by Paul Garrett and Sue MacIntyre.

Heaven’s Wildlife Rescue Rehabilitation & Education Centre will be there with their rescued wildlife, showcasing the rehabilitation of wild animals – a wonderful experience for young and old alike. Visitors are invited to hop on the hay wagon and tour the vineyards, and learn how wine is made.

Blind wine tastings will be part of the fun, a great way to learn and appreciate what goes into making an exceptional wine. Relax on the patio and enjoy a glass of one of Alton Farms Estate Winery’s VQA wines with a slice of pizza from their wood-fired oven. A BBQ will be on for those with an appetite for hamburgers and hotdogs and hourly draws and fun games will also take place throughout the afternoon.

The official unveiling will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday with both Anne and Marc offering friendly words of thanks followed by our distinguished guests: Matthias Oppenlaender, CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, MP Marilyn Gladu and their other wonderful friends.

The festivities will also include hors d’oeuvres with wine and music by El Camino.

Tickets for the Saturday Reception are $20 and are available on Eventbrite. Follow the link on their website.  Please note that all the afternoon activities are free.


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