The COVID-19 crisis is having a disproportionate economic impact on women. There are several reasons for this including temporary business shutdowns affecting occupations that employ predominantly women, closing of childcare facilities, and being precluded in the planning of the recovery. 

The pandemic has also exacerbated existing inequality and has been especially challenging for certain groups of women, including racialized women, Indigenous women, single mothers, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and those living in rural areas. 

The brief outlines a path to Ontario’s “she-covery” by examining data on the gendered labour market impacts of the pandemic and offering policy solutions to confront both immediate and longer-term challenges. Throughout this, an intersectional lens is essential to ensure no women are left behind. 

Click here to read the full report.

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Companies with 100 or more employees are the most likely to increase employee count in the second half of 2020, according to a recent survey from The Harris Poll.

Largely following the same pattern as the first half of the year, hiring decision-makers at companies with just a handful of employees remain doubtful staff size will increase any time soon.

Just 10% of companies with 2 to 9 employees anticipate hiring more staff, while 29% of companies with 10 to 99 workers said they will bring on more people. Businesses with 100+ employees display the most optimism at 33%.

“It’s not surprising that some larger companies are optimistic,” said Bruce Hein, franchise owner of the Sarnia Express franchise office. “With people stuck at home these last several months, home renovations are on the rise, and large retailers and their suppliers have been busy trying to meet demand. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for small business owners to live paycheque to paycheque, and the pandemic has pushed many small businesses over the edge.”

Express experts agree small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic shut down and may not have the capital to come out on the other side.

Although there is no one area that hiring decision-makers in Canada overwhelmingly say their companies plan to hire employees for in 2020, General Labour (20%), Customer Service (17%), Sales (15%), and IT/Technology Support (14%) top the list. And, as company size increases, they are more likely to report plans of hiring employees in IT/Technology Support this year (2 to 9 employees, 2%; 10 to 99 employees, 8%; 100+ employees, 30%).

“For the last three months, administrative and accounting/finance positions have been the most common roles we are filling in our region and they haven’t been confined to one industry,” Hein notes. “Whether it’s a law office, an insurance agency, or an industrial company, companies continue to have needs for essential roles like a controller, bookkeeper, payroll, and accounts payable and receivable.”

As the unemployment rate continues to drop, Express CEO Bill Stoller is optimistic and business will continue to pick up across the country.

“While they may not look the same as before the pandemic, jobs are coming back strong, and we need workers to fill them,” he said.

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The Ontario government is providing $37 million to help more than 15,000 people train for new jobs and upgrade their skills to enable them to contribute to the province’s economic recovery. The funding will support 86 projects and provide training in high-demand skills like information technology, advanced manufacturing, truck driving, construction, and horticulture. The programs include internships and other hands-on learning experiences, and in most cases, the training is provided at no charge.

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Jane McKenna, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and members of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. The announcement was made at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 105 Training Centre in Hamilton.

“As part of our government’s made-in-Ontario plan for growth, renewal and economic recovery, we are making multi-billion-dollar infrastructure investments in transit, highway, and broadband projects,” said Premier Ford. “To get the job done, we need to train as many electricians, welders, carpenters, and other skilled workers as we can. Today’s investment will ensure we have the right people rebuilding our province and contributing to our long-term success.”

“Jobs change lives. Whether you’re a student, a graduate or a mid-career worker, we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to upgrade their skills, gain practical hands-on experience and find a good job,” said Minister McNaughton. “Today’s announcement is an important step forward and a real opportunity to set people down the path to new in-demand careers.”

“Our government values the workers and businesses that help build Ontario,” said Parliamentary Assistant McKenna. “By providing opportunities for thousands of people to upgrade their skills and train for new jobs, we’re making it easier to build a rewarding and life-changing career in the skilled trades.”

Some of the skills training projects receiving funding include:

  • The Ford Motor Company of Canada in Oakville will receive more than $954,000 to create up to 244 co-op learning spots to give college and university students practical, hands-on experience for careers in manufacturing, vehicle connectivity, and business operations.
  • The Greenhouse Academy in Thorndale will receive $440,000 to train secondary students about how to grow plants, prepare seedlings for reforestation projects, and gain real workplace and business experience.
  • Roland Gossage Foundation will receive $500,000 for their Soldiers in Tech project to help up to 45 veterans train for careers in web development and technology.
  • The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario will receive $450,000 to support women in the trades and for health and safety training.

The province is working to finalize agreements with training providers. The full list of successful recipients will be available on September 25, 2020.

To read the full story, click here.

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Join us downtown this weekend for the weekend walkabout with the Sarnia Street Cruisers this Saturday 3-7 pm and the International Symphony Orchestra’s “Through the Looking Glass” this Saturday at 2 pm.

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The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has been named as one of the Top 20 Canadian Economic Development Groups in Site Selection Magazine’s Canada’s Best Locations 2020 Awards.

Recognizing local or regional economic development groups, the awards take into consideration excellence in regional partnerships, proactive and innovative programming, and quality data, web tools and resources. In a recent news release, Site Selection Magazine credits recent projects and investments such as Forge Hydrocarbons, LCY Biosciences, and Woodland Biofuels as key factors in Sarnia-Lambton’s recognition, along with population growth.

This is the third consecutive and seventh time overall in the 14-year history of the Canada’s Best Locations awards that the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has been named as one of the best economic development groups in Canada. “We are thrilled to once again earn this recognition for the Sarnia-Lambton area,” said Stephen Thompson, CEO of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership.

“The Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership has established a strong team that proactively engages in unique projects to support business in our communities,” Thompson added, noting “We are proud to offer a wide array of programming that positively assists businesses of all types and sizes.”

“The real reward for that quality programming, above all else, is to bring the jobs and the investment to the area,” he noted. “The Site Selection recognition will bring great exposure to the area, aiding that fundamental cause.”

Joining SLEP on the Top 20 list are economic development offices from larger cities like Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal. “It’s putting us amongst an incredible list of innovative communities and economic development offices,” Thompson said.

Site Selection’s Canadian Competitiveness Award also recognizes Ontario as the most competitive province in a competitive nation, followed by Alberta and British Columbia. “The annual Canada’s Best Locations feature sheds additional light on Canada’s many location options for corporate site selectors,” says Mark Arend, editor in chief of Site Selection. “We salute the provinces and communities that made this year’s rankings.”

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are looking for your insight on what matters to business amidst the pandemic. How confident are you in Ontario’s economy and recovery? What is your organization’s outlook for 2021? How happy are you with the pandemic recovery programs offered by the government? 

Share your views by taking a short three-minute survey here:[Sarnia_Lambton

All responses will be kept strictly anonymous and confidential.  Closing date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at midnight .The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring the government understands the issues impacting business in this province. That’s why we need your help to express the voice of business loud and clear at Queen’s Park.

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Local talented musician Donovan Woods newest album release called ‘Without People’ is due out in stores like Cheeky Monkey on November 6th.

Sarnia raised folk and country singer-songwriter Donovan Woods has released several albums of folk and roots music over the years, including the Juno Award-winning Both Ways. Not only does Donovan write and record his own songs, but many other high profile musicians have recorded his songs including Matt Andersen, Alan Doyle, Tim McGraw, Billy Currington, Logan Mize & The Reklaws to name a few.

The announcement of a new release from Donovan is exciting to his many fans, but this release does have another purpose. Donovan has put together special indie-retailer exclusives for the vinyl release of his forthcoming album, ‘Without People’.

The message to fans from Donovan is to consistently remind fans that the spirit of this campaign is to support indie retailers. Donovan has delayed launching the sale of the album/new merchandise on his web store to ensure as many indie retailers can take pre-orders so that fans have the option to support local businesses.

Leading up to the release, Cheeky Monkey will be taking pre-orders of both the limited edition exclusive to indie stores coloured vinyl… and of the CD. The limited edition vinyl will include an autographed insert and a special note written by Donovan.

The Top 10 indie stores with the most pre-orders by mid October will be awarded a ‘Without People T-Shirt Bundle’ to use as a draw item for all their customers.

As of Thursday, September 10th Cheeky Monkey will be taking orders in the hopes of making Donovan’s hometown THE #1 seller of this release.

To pre-order your’s stop into Cheeky Monkey located at 130 Christina Street North downtown Sarnia, call 519-332-0978 or email

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September 19, 2020 would have been the fourth annual Petrolia Harvestfest event at the Petrolia Farmers’ Market site. The event has become incredibly popular, often selling out weeks ahead of time. The meal has always been sourced within 100 km of Petrolia and has featured food from Petrolia Farmers’ Market vendors using the talents of local chefs.

Director of Community Services and Facilities, Dave Menzies said, “The decision to move this popular event to 2021 was made with many factors in mind. Namely, we would like to encourage those that would generally purchase tickets to this event to spend that money in a Petrolia restaurant that evening and show your support to our local restaurateurs. Secondly, gathering limits and physical distancing requirements make the “family-style” dining event unattainable. We want to welcome people to enjoy this event when it is safe to do so.”

The sponsors for the 2020 Petrolia Harvestfest event are pleased to join the Town of Petrolia in announcing “Petrolia Harvest Days” – a series of Saturday events designed to celebrate the season in a safe, family-friendly way.

September 15 – October 13 – Annual Scarecrow Festival in Victoria Park

September 19 – 9 a.m. – noon – Get your family photo taken with the Scarecrows! Immediate family photos will be taken by the Petrolia Community Services Advisory Committee! * All you need to do is bring your family and a camera!

*Weather permitting. Alternate date September 26 from 9:00 a.m. – noon

September 26 & October 3 – 7:30 a.m. – noon – Petrolia Farmers’ Market Thanksgiving draw! You could WIN one of three turkey, produce and Petrolia Bucks prize packs just for shopping at the Petrolia Farmers’ Market!

October 3 – 7:30 a.m. – noon – Visit the Petrolia Farmers’ Market for some last-minute ballots! The draw for the three turkey, produce and Petrolia Bucks prize packs will take place, and the winner will be announced at Noon.

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

October 10 – 9:00 a.m. – noon – Bring your carved pumpkin to Victoria Park! We are having a carved pumpkin contest!

Rules for the Carved Pumpkin Contest:

  1. Carve it at home and include any extra items you want to decorate your pumpkin.
  2. Lights will be provided.
  3. The pumpkins will not be returned.
  4. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, October 14, 2020

October 10 -1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Check out the carved pumpkins in Victoria Park and at the Petrolia Library! They will be lit up for one evening only!

These events have been generously sponsored by Barb and Rick Charlebois, Brooke Telecom Cooperative Ltd., Bourque Renovations, Stewart Electric, Suncor, and the Cogeco Connexion Employee Volunteer Program.

“…I am very pleased with the creativity that staff has shown when adapting to meet the ongoing changes and challenges in 2020. Community spirit is so important in times like this, and with these safe and family-friendly events our community can feel like we are all together even when we are apart.” Said, Mayor R. Brad Loosley.

For more information, please visit or find the Town of Petrolia on Facebook.

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September 14, 10:00 A.M. ET | Virtual Briefing On The B20 And G20 – The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation and acts as a key arena on a range of global issues, including those affecting Canadian businesses. This includes trade, tax, digital economy, health policy and many others. The B20 is the voice of the private sector at the G20 and represents the global business community across all G20 member states, including Canada. On Monday, September 14 at 10 am (Eastern Standard Time), the Canadian Chamber is hosting a virtual meeting for you to hear about the work of the G20 and B20 under Saudi Arabia’s presidency this year. We will hear from the Prime Minister’s personal representative to the G20 and Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chris MacLennan, as well as the B20 sherpa, Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, and representatives from the Trade and Investment Taskforce and Digitalization Taskforce.

Click here to register.

September 17, 1:00 P.M. ET | Future Of Transportation: Trucking  – 70% of Canadian goods are transported by truck, whether it’s groceries, raw materials, or other items essential to Canada’s economic well-being. Before and throughout the pandemic, the trucking industry has been invaluable in helping to keep supply chains open and flowing. Join us as we focus on the initial impacts of COVID-19 on trucking operations and steps the industry has taken to mitigate those impacts. We will also have a discussion on what the future of trucking may look like in a post-COVID world.

Click here to register.

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