Last week the Ontario government presented the Fall Economic Statement, 2018 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review. The Chamber applauds the government for the steps it is taking to build a more prosperous Ontario with a strong focus on fiscal accountability and cutting cumulative red tape.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber Network have long called on the government to reform Ontario’s tax system, reduce red tape, and restore fiscal sustainability to the Ontario taxpayer.

We agree that the Government of Ontario will not proceed with the prior government’s initiative that would have taxed the so-called “passive” income for thousands of businesses across the province. This would have greatly increased taxes for thousands of employers in Ontario.

We also applaud the government for increasing the amount of payroll that is exempt from the Employer Health Tax. This is a reasonable step in the right direction. Our members are also supportive of some of the government’s other key priorities, such as their commitment to:

  • Cutting red tape by 25 percent by 2022;
  • Implementing tax reforms for small businesses;
  • Expanding broadband to rural and underserved communities across Ontario;
  • Reviewing electricity costs for industrial users; and
  • Investing in both the Ring of Fire and transportation infrastructure in Northern Ontario.

Combined, these are fundamental steps towards a more competitive and prosperous economy. Ontario is strongest when industry and government work together and we look forward to working with the government in support of businesses of all sizes, in every corner of the province.

For more information, read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Rapid Policy Update:

https://occ.ca/rapidpolicy/2018-fall-economic-statement/

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Wellings of Corunna, one of the area’s most innovative and welcoming facilities for a 55-plus crowd who value an extremely comfortable lifestyle, is host to this month’s Business After 5 Chamber event.

As you’ll soon discover, it’s a short drive to Wellings of Corunna, located at 180 Bunker Ave.

This Business After 5, which takes place on Wednesday, November 21, is taking on a casino theme, one more reason to be excited.

Even better, as those who look forward to the monthly Business After 5, the connections made are often lasting.

We’ll see you there!

Here’s a little more to discover about the Wellings of Corunna eperience:

 

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Every week, nearly 500,000 Canadians miss work due to mental health problems or illnesses, costing the economy in excess of $51-billion annually. In order to remain competitive, businesses need to focus inwards and begin investing in and improving how they navigate mental health in their workplace.

With most adults spending more of their waking hours at work and with one in five Canadians experiencing a mental health problem or illness, addressing the issue of mental health at work is vitally important for all people in Canada— especially employers. Mentally healthy workforces perform better and create opportunities that allow for inclusive growth for all sections of society.

The steps to building a more mentally healthy workplace are simple—small changes lead to a larger impact over time. The first step is to decimate the stigma surrounding mental health problems and illnesses. Businesses can create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognized and valued.

It is not only socially responsible for businesses to prioritize a mentally healthy workplace but also fiscally responsible, all while promoting employee retention. As the leading cause of short and long-term disability in Canada, mental health takes a substantial toll on Canadian workplaces. The longer an employee is absent from work, the higher chance there is for an unsuccessful integration back into the workplace.

Businesses must prioritize adopting best practices for workplace mental health in order to mitigate the risk of losing their employees, a low employee turnover heightens a business’ financial performance over time.

Additionally, a workplace that champions good mental health makes employees more productive and assists in the recruitment of
new workers.

Promoting workplace mental health is also important for risk management. Psychological health and safety in the workplace is a factor that many employers can be held legally responsible for. Implementing mental health policies, in addition to assessing, controlling and/or eliminating any mental health risks in the workplace, would reduce the possibility of businesses being liable to claims. Mentally healthy workplaces can be achieved through fostering a positive culture, promoting employee mental well-being, preventing harm to employee mental health and supporting people with mental health problems and illnesses.

Our economy cannot afford to leave anyone behind, which is why as the voice of Canadian business, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is leading the way in ensuring their workplace allows all individuals to benefit from a healthy and inclusive environment. The Chamber is moving from goal to action by implementing the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

This ‘5 Minutes for Business’ article was produced by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is a member.

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A concert planned for Sunday, December 2 is intended to bring together the culture of the ancient Celts alongside Canada’s indigenous peoples in their common reverence for nature and parity of esteem.

Organizer Dave Clark, who is working with the W.B. Yeats Foundation on this production, has put together”Bridges of the Spirit,” a Canadian Celtic Concert that will include poetry, song, music and dance as a way to bring both cultures together.

Taking place at the Holiday Inn in Point Edward (from 2 p.m.), the concert will feature numerous Celtic and Indigenous performers, including Rant Maggie Rant, The Living Celtic Souls, Smoke Signals, Jeff Black, Red “Dog” George, Alyson Fischer, Kim Carr, Seamus “Wolf Son,” and Dancers from the Sarnia School of Irish Dance.

There will be entertainers from First Nations communities and those of Scottish, Uilleann & Highland Pipers and others at the event.

Tickets are priced at $25 and are available through Eventbrite.

 

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As we approach Remembrance Day, we can’t help but think of the special link that exists with those who served our country . . . in war and peace . . . and especially, of course, those who paid the ultimate price.

When people enlisted for service to our nation and the principles of freedom that came down to war abroad, they had left their jobs to do so—and in some cases, the businesses they owned were at least temporarily left in the hands of others.

Many of those who served their country had strong ties to the Chamber and we especially remember their sacrifice on this day.

As we approach Remembrance Day this Sunday, we ask that you consider all that was given on our behalf.

The peace and prosperity—and especially the peace we enjoy in our nation—came at a price that those who served were willing to pay.

Our acknowledgment of that sacrifice is something we at the Chamber and the entire business community are privileged to extend.

On behalf of the members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, we pledge along with so many others, never to forget the sacrifice that was made for the freedom we enjoy today.

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Representatives of Hydro One recently reached out to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a point of contact for a roundtable discussion on issues related to a critical energy infrastructure for the area.

Hydro One’s key representative at the roundtable was Jason Fitzsimmons, chief corporate affairs and customer care officer.

For the roundtable, the Chamber brought together leaders of the business community, including representatives from Bluewater Power, Sarnia Construction Association, Lambton Federation of Agriculture, Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Imperial, Shell, and the Bowman Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Among the topics discussed were the new transmission station in Enniskillen Township, various capital projects, and corporate restructuring and long-term planning by Hydro One.

Also discussed were reliability improvements planned, energy costs, interconnectivity to other provinces and U.S. states, and time of use billing.

“We welcome these opportunities to connect our members with companies like Hydro One,” said Shirley de Silva, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “This roundtable was especially important given the role Hydro One plays in the development of the critical energy infrastructure in our region.”

 

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A coffee table book organized by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is just about here with an expected delivery of November 20 at the Chamber offices.

Copies of the book, “Discoveries that Matter: Simply Sensational,” will be available for pickup by sponsors.

The project, which was undertaken by the Chamber as a way to promote the Sarnia-Lambton area, was produced by Richard Bain, with a foreword by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who hails from the area.

Richard, who has worked with numerous Chambers of Commerce on similar projects, said “Discoveries that Matter: Simply Sensational” was 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.

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A roundtable held last Friday with key representatives from the new provincial government, including Premier Doug Ford and local MPP Bob Bailey, saw Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce representatives involved in the discussion of the provincial “Open for Business” campaign.

Topics discussed included labour reforms, the reduction of red tape, the Oversized Load Corridor, issues related to local bio and chemical industries, and trade.

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A recent announcement by the new provincial government to repeal and replace Bill 148, a piece of legislation that was deemed “too much, too fast” by chambers of commerce across Ontario,  is welcomed by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

“These changes are encouraging,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We see the corrective steps being proposed through the Making Ontario Open for Business as being a bold step toward creating a stronger and more prosperous province.”

The new legislation will maintain some important provisions such as emergency leave for cases of domestic or sexual violence and 3 weeks holiday after 5 years of working for the same employer. It also includes much-needed improvements to the ratio of journeyperson-to-apprentice.

“It is now more critical than ever to create an economy that ensures both employers and employees are prepared for the labour market needs of tomorrow,” said de Silva. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences of Bill 148 came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.”

According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the months following the introduction of Bill 148, prices have increased for everyday consumer goods and services, impacting every family in Ontario and in the long term, Bill 148 was expected to put between 50,000 and 180,000 jobs at risk and cost the economy at least $150 million.

Ontario College of Trades

In announcing changes to the skilled trades apprenticeship system, the new provincial government sees the need to be more responsive to the needs of the economy and to address a dire labour shortage.

The Ontario College of Trades has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.

With that in mind, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber joined with the Ontario Chamber Network in advocating for a modernization of the College of Trades and the apprenticeship application system, promoting the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revising the system to create more opportunities within the skilled trades.

“Because those reforms were not made through the Ontario College of Trades, the recommended dismantling of that needless bureaucracy is going forward, with responsibility for trades regulation going back to the Province,” said de Silva. “We welcome that move.”

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At a workshop event being jointly sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—through its Global Business Opportunities Community (GBOC)—and the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, business owners will discover ways to “take the LEAP” when it comes to growing their business globally.

The upcoming LEAP Workshop—short for Launch your Export Action Plan—will take place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The workshop will be presented by trade experts from the Canada-Ontario Export Fortum and the Government of Ontario.

Attendees will find out how to assess their export readiness and identify the skills needed to succeed in a new market.

They will also be able to connect with an Ontario Trade Advisor who will help with the development of an Export Action Plan and gain access to the Canada Ontario Export Forum’s toolbox, which includes export resources, programming and sources of funding).

To register for this FREE workshop, click HERE.

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