The provincial government announced it will be moving with a regional approach to Stage 2 of re-opening the province.

The move is made in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so based on trends of key public health indicators.

Stage 2 includes:

  • Outdoor dine-in services at restaurants, bars, and other establishments, including patios, curbside, parking lots, and adjacent properties.
  • Select personal and personal care services with the proper health and safety measures in place including tattoo parlours, barber shops, hair salons, and beauty salons.
  • Shopping malls under existing restrictions, including food services reopening for take-out and outdoor dining only.
  • Tour and guide services, such as bike and walking, bus and boat tours, as well as tasting and tours for wineries, breweries, and distilleries.
  • Water recreational facilities such as outdoor splash pads and wading pools, and all swimming pools.
  • Beach access and additional camping at Ontario Parks.
  • Camping at private campgrounds.
  • Outdoor-only recreational facilities and training for outdoor team sports, with limits to enable physical distancing.
  • Drive-in and drive-through venues for theatres, concerts, animal attractions, and cultural appreciation.
  • Film and television production activities with limits to enable physical distancing.
  • Weddings and funerals, with limits on social gatherings to 10 people.

As more people return to work, the services they rely on will need to be available regardless of the stage a region is in. The province will soon release more details on services such as: child care, summer camps, post-secondary education, training centres, and public transit.

Though Sarnia-Lambton was not included as a region able to move on to Stage 2 just yet, the government will be assessing each region weekly to determine whether they are ready to move into Stage 2.

To read the full statement, click here.

Read More

The Canadian Businesses Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund will provide 62 grants, each worth $10,000 to Canadian businesses to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times. These grants from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce are made possible through the generosity of Salesforce.

The grants will be targeted at small, for-profit businesses that have been operating for several years and are now experiencing challenges because of COVID-19. Applications are now open on the CBRN website until June 12, 2020 at 8:00 pm.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian Chamber’s mission is to help as many businesses as possible stay afloat and remain open. Small business owners put everything they have into their businesses, and these grants will help give a little bit back to them.

For the full article, click here.

Read More

As businesses refocus and manage uncertainty through the COVID-19 pandemic, one piece of advice applies to every industry: put people first to instill confidence, focus, and resiliency. Thought leaders from Canadian Western Bank (CWB Financial) provide insight into how businesses can put employees first.

Proactively engage by mobilizing employees immediately. CWB knew their clients needed immediate help mitigating the uncertainty and so the team made thousands of personal phone calls to understand each financial situation. They said it was the right thing to do, even though they didn’t have full details on how to act on what they learned.

Caring for internal teams. Leadership worked hard behind the scenes to ensure employees felt the same level of proactive engagement. Executive VP of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at CWB Kelly Blackett said quick and consistent communications and constant feedback loops helped to keep employees and leadership informed. Ten extra days off were given to employees for family care. Most importantly, employees were assured of no layoffs.

What does a new normal look like? CWB remains optimistic about their outlook, believing that their service will be more personalized and high-touch than other banks, alongside more tech-enabled as they build out growth momentum.

For the full article, or to learn more about CWB in their webinar with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, click here.

Read More

The following has been provided by Bruce Hein, Owner at Express Employment Professionals.

With the economy facing tremendous hurdles, one thing a company cannot afford to lose is its employees. According to a study by Employee Benefits News, the average cost of losing an employee is 33% of their annual salary. So, retention needs to remain a major focus.

One of the key measures to retaining workers is building employee loyalty. For businesses that furloughed workers amidst temporary closures, or had to lay off employees due to economic hardships, rebuilding loyalty is paramount to ramping up business efforts.

Enhance Employee Development Plans

Though some professional development plans may have been put on hold during these past few months, it’s more important than ever to pour energy back into your workforce. Employees want to work for a company that invests in their future. And the best way to do this is through education, cross-training, or tuition subsidies to name a few. According to a BlessingWhite study, most employees who were willing to quit their job cited lack of career opportunity, with 26% citing lack of growth opportunities. If your business doesn’t have the capital to invest in development now, what you do have is time and talent. An inexpensive way to utilize these tools is through mentoring programs and cross-training among employees. These are all great ways to engage your workforce and build excitement about their roles.

Continue to Create Culture

A company’s culture is the heartbeat of the organization. It ties everything within a business together, binding values, mission, work ethic, and environment. It is one of the most important tools a company has for retention and loyalty. In LinkedIn’s Workplace Culture report, 86% of Millennials say they would consider taking a pay cut to accept a position at a company with a mission and values that align with their own. And a Hays report found that 43% of workers are seeking a new job with culture being the main reason. Employees want to work for a company they believe in and also work in an environment where they feel safe and secure. Your culture is your key to not only recruiting new talent this year but also retaining your current workforce.

Express Employment Professionals help people thrive and businesses grow. The Sarnia Office is located at 347 Christina Street North and serves the Sarnia-Lambton area. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to visit or call 519 336 7962.

Read More

Petrolia Street Bakery and Little Caesars Pizza teamed up last week to deliver 65 loaves of bread to frontline workers at Fairwinds, Rosewood Manor & Slipacoff Dentistry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Little Caesars Pizza has been trying to find ways to thank the frontliners for their work. For this initiative though, they wanted to take it just a bit further by including a small business in the  mix as well.

Little Caesars Pizza reached out to Petrolia Street Bakery, a local bakery that has been open at this location since just after Thanksgiving 2019. The goal of the project was to “break bread” with the community by making loaves of bread to send home with frontliners. The two delivered 65 loaves of bread to staff at Slipacoff Dental, Fairwinds Lodge and Rosewood Manor.

Little Caesars Pizza owner Kathleen Mundy says she has so much empathy for entrepreneurs trying so hard to endure the pandemic. She was delighted by the opportunity to work with Emily, owner of Petrolia Street Bakery and would love to encourage other businesses to reach out and collaborate with small businesses if it’s within their means.


Read More

The Ontario government says the short-term rental of cottages, condos, and other sites will be permitted to resume as of Friday, June 5th. Short-term rentals have not been able to operate since April 4th, with the exception of the rentals being used for emergency housing. Hotels, motels, and student residences have continued to operate during this time period.

During the May-long weekend, the Premier urged those who own cottages to stay home during the pandemic to avoid putting a strain on small town resources. Now, regions that are concerned about the reopening are able to make the decision themselves and may implement their own measures to prevent short-term rentals from operating. Regardless of the decision small communities make, the Ontario government urges everyone to continue practicing public health recommendations.

For the full story, click here.

Read More

The Ontario Government announced a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The group is called the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity.

The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18th. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government service. Interested applicants can click here to apply.

To read the full statement, click here.

Read More

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic. The support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020.

The Government of Canada recognizes that people with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns. Therefore, in addition to financial support, the government will help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs by investing in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program, and create a national workplace accessibility stream through the Opportunities fund.

To read the full statement by the Government of Canada, click here.

Read More

Partners and Sponsors