The City of Sarnia is here to help you during this time if you are looking to set. up a patio or extend your current deck.

If you are extending a patio or deck more than 1 foot above grade, you will need to contact building@sarnia.ca for a permit and setback requirements.

If you are an existing business owner looking to expand outdoor food sales on your property or require a city right-of-way contact business@sarnia.ca

If you are interested in applying to have an outdoor space or patio for your existing business, click here.

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From May 1 to August 31 2020, commercial evictions are paused. Landlords can’t seize goods or lockout commercial tenants who are eligible for federal/provincial assistance. 

Landlords can go to court to get an eviction order, but if it is for outstanding rent, it cannot be enforced before September 1, 2020.

If your landlord evicted you or seized your goods between May 1 and June 17, 2020, they must return any unsold goods and let you back into the unit. If they’ve already sold the goods, the proceeds must go towards your unpaid rent. If they’ve re-rented the unit, your landlord must pay you damages.

These changes do not apply to landlords and small businesses participating in CECRA for small businesses as the program already suspends evictions. 

Commercial tenants who can pay their rent must continue to do so. Landlords should work with their tenants to come to an agreement and apply to the CECRA for small businesses. 

For more information on renting commercial property in Ontario during COVID-19, click here.

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The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020 (Bill 156) received Royal Assent. The Act will further protect against the health and safety risks of on-farm trespassing.

In recent years, farmers have faced increased levels of trespass and theft of livestock from their farms as well as mental health stress due to these threats. Bill 156 will increase protections for those farmers while simultaneously protecting the right for people to participate in lawful protests on public property.

The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020, helps deter trespassers by: 

  • Escalating fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences.
  • Prescribing aggravating factors that would allow the court to consider factors that might justify an increased fine.
  • Allowing the court to order restitution for damage in prescribed circumstances which could include damage to a farmer’s livestock or from theft.
  • Increasing protection for farmers against civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act, provided the farmer did not directly cause the harm. 
  • Removing consent to enter a farm property when it was given under duress or false pretenses.

To read the full statement from the Ontario Government, click here.

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Canadian Businesses have suffered their greatest economic shock in living memory. The global pandemic has upended revenue forecasts, demolished growth projections, and slowed cash flows to a trickle.

Some of the major cash flow challenges include: sharp and unexpected drops in company revenues, lost cash flow by expanding e-commerce capabilities (or lack thereof), disruption of supply chains, lack of human-to-human contact for many service companies, and many women-owned companies have been hit especially hard due to the concentration in service sectors and carrying the heaviest responsibility for child care.

To sustain cash flow, the immediate task is to manage costs and revenues. The Canadian Business Resilience network offers some essential tips for a successful strategy:

  1. Understand where you are: Take a close and objective look at your situation, understand how long you can operate under these conditions, and identify possible courses of action if things get worse. 
  2. Conserve and stabilize cash resources: What are the key activities and resources you absolutely must keep and which ones should you let go? Examine your accounts receivable and try to collect advance payments or at least get a firm customer commitment about the payment date. See if your supplier will defer payments on goods you’ve already ordered or received.
  3. Find more revenue: If you have assets you don’t really need any more, sell them. Try and form strategic alliances with other businesses to bundle and create increased value for customers and increased sales for both firms. Ask existing clients for referrals to potential new buyers, or using resources to get the extra working capital you need. 
  4. Stay connected: Maintain a close relationship with your financial advisors, institutions and accountant. Don’t neglect your business and customer networks in the turbulence of the moment. Now is the time to strengthen these connections, not ignore them. 
  5. Find current and future market opportunities: Being agile and creative can reveal opportunities you might not have noticed in the pre-COVID-19 times.
  6. Adjust your product or service: A quick pivot can put you back in business and help you stay relevant to your customers.
  7. Look to the future: the pandemic will slowly fade over the coming months, but now is the time to think about the post-COVID-19 business world. Perhaps this means a stronger online presence, your customer base characteristics, diversification will be a necessity and risk management, and financing will assume new importance.

To read the full list by the Canadian Business Resilience Network, click here.

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Are your sales volumes growing but you can’t seem to turn a profit? Or maybe you’ve got a great product but sales just aren’t picking up? It could be a problem with your pricing strategy.

BDC Senior Business Advisor Alka Sood says there are seven key steps entrepreneurs can follow to establish a pricing approach that works for their business:

  1. Calculate your direct costs: Includes raw materials, duty, freight or shipping charges, direct labour costs, etc.
  2. Calculate your cost of goods sold or cost of sales: A simple way to calculate cost of goods sold is to add up your raw materials or product costs, wages, benefits, amortization expenses, and factory overhead. 
  3. Calculate your break-even point: These include the costs of running a business and going to market regardless of your manufacturing or sales volume. Overheads are typically referred to as “fixed costs” because these costs don’t necessarily increase or decrease if volume increases or decreases. 
  4. Determine your markup: Expressed as a percentage of cost of goods sold or cost of sales. It is set to try and ensure that the company receives a high enough gross or profit margin to be able to pay for its indirect fixed costs while also earning a target profit. 
  5. Know what the market will bear: If your competitors have lower profit margins and you offer a higher price that would give you a higher margin, you could lose sales. How much you charge depends on your strategic position in the market. There is great importance in deciding ahead of time how you want to be positioned.
  6. Scan the competition: It’s key to know your marketplace. Competitors’ prices can have a direct impact on what you’re able to charge.
  7. Revisit your prices regularly: The business environment is constantly changing and that can affect your goals and margins. Annual budget setting is a good time to look at how your costs for inputs, energy, labour, interest rates, taxes, and more may be increasing.

For the complete list by the BDC, click here.

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Tourism Sarnia-Lambton has developed a “Restart Sarnia-Lambton Toolkit & Resource Guide” to assist our Tourism Industry Partners with reopening through the stages of COVID-19.

Reopening business is a phased approach and business owners must be flexible and prepared to adapt with COVID-19 regulations as we move forward. This guide highlights 8 steps to operating during a pandemic:

Step 1: Determining if your business is approved to open and identify the restrictions.

Step 2: Preparing your workforce by protecting them, educating them, and communicating with them about COVID-19 regulations, rights, and options.

Step 3: Preparing your workplace by planning routine cleanings, installing the proper safety signage, setting a limit on the number of people who can enter, etc.

Step 4: Creating a plan to physically distance.

Step 5: Reducing touch points and increasing cleaning.

Step 6: Preparing your supply chain by coordinating delivery schedules, ensuring your business is stocked with the necessary supplies, and making a plan moving forward.

Step 7: Communicate with confidence with your employees, your customers, and clients.

Step 8: Equip your staff and workplace with the necessary signage and resources.

To read the full guide, check our their website.

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With the cancellation of all Canada Day Fireworks, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton has partnered with all 11 municipalities in Lambton County to deliver an innovative and uplifting experience for residents to collectively enjoy from a safe distance.

Using snapd’s Augmented Reality platform, the community can expect local content and a virtual fireworks experience to commemorate Canada Day right from the comfort of their own backyards, balconies, or living rooms.

You will be able to view the Sarnia-Lambton Virtual Canada Day Celebration anywhere within the boundaries of Lambton County. Many of the local municipalities are also offering additional virtual activities leading up to Canada Day.

For more information, check our Tourism Sarnia-Lambton’s website.

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With the COVID-19 crisis rapidly transforming the modern economy, the report outlines the need for Ontario to unlock opportunities and manage the threats of its increasingly data-driven economy.

The reality is that almost everything we do as consumers replies on and is made possible to some extent by data analytics and related technologies from fraud detection to supply chain optimization. In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated this transformation, as the need for digitization and the integration of health data have become more critical than ever.

In Data We Trust reflects on the value of data innovation, explores lessons from COVID-19, and outlines organizational best practices, and policy recommendations focused on privacy, cybersecurity, data sharing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

To move forward with such a data-driven economy, privacy frameworks should protect individual rights while encouraging data-driven innovation. Businesses and other organizations have an important role to play to ensure their own privacy practices enhance public trust.

Data sharing offers an opportunity to improve efficiencies and spur innovation across the economy, therefore organizations should collaborate on shared standards and infrastructure to enable data sharing across all sectors.

To read more about the data revolution and the In Data We Trust report, click here.

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The Ontario government is providing employers with a new general workplace guide, which will help them develop a safety plan to better protect workers, customers and clients. The new downloadable toolkit offers tips on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as more people get back on the job during Stage 2 of the reopening of the province.

The new guide will help each employer create a safety plan that is right for their own unique workplace. It includes information on the use of face coverings, as well as applying controls in the workplace, from most important to least important. It also includes information on what personal protective equipment may be needed for workers.

The materials in this guide will help employers:

  • Identify the risks for transmitting the virus through person-to-person contact.
  • Determine what controls are needed to help mitigate risk.
  • Create a workplace safety plan based on the identified risks and appropriate controls specific to the employers workplace.
  • Implement the plan in the workplace and review and update it as the situation evolves.
  • Communicate the actions being taken to workers and other people entering the workplace.

To read the full statement and access the guide, click here.

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The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to help cover operating costs during a period where revenues have been temporarily reduced to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program is meant to help you pay non-deferrable operating expenses and quickly return to providing services to your community and create employment. Eligible businesses are Canadian based, in operations as of March 1, 2020, the loan is used to continue or resume operations, your business has a federal tax registration, and your businesses 2019 payroll was between $20,000 and $1.5 million.

To read more about the program, click here.

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