The Hon. Andrew Scheer, leader of the federal Conservative Party of Canada, will be a special guest at the Chamber’s Business After 5 event that takes place Wednesday, February 21, 2018.

Scheer, who was elected as leader last May, is Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a former Speaker of the House of Commons (he was the youngest to ever be elected to that position, serving from June 2, 2011 – December 3, 2015). He has served as a Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu’Appelle since 2004.

The Chamber’s Business After 5 event takes place at the Sarnia Riding Club and runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Admittance is complimentary for Chamber members. Others can attend for a $10 fee.

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has released its 2018 election platform, making 18 recommendations intended to bolster the province’s long-term economic outlook.

“The upcoming provincial election provides our business community with an opportunity to ensure that our businesses are being heard by our future elected officials,” said de Silva. “Vote Prosperity provides political parties with tangible solutions to address the challenges businesses are currently facing and to ensure that Ontario is building a prosperous economy that supports local business in our community and across the province.”

Over the next 12 weeks, the Ontario Chamber will be advocating around four fundamental pillars to support a strong economy in Ontario: strengthening business competitiveness, fostering job creation, building healthy communities and improving government accountability.

“We are calling on all political leaders to read Vote Prosperity and consider our recommendations as we aim to make Ontario the best place to start and grow a business,” said Rocco Rossi, president and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “It’s simple: when you choose prosperity, Ontario wins.”

The OCC released Vote Prosperity in October 2017, ahead of the development of platforms for most of the major political parties’. Some of the recommendations from Vote Prosperity include:

  • Allow Ontario businesses to purchase surplus electricity at rates equal to or better than the exported price to other jurisdictions;
  • Allocate resources to focus support on high growth firms and those with high growth potential, by delaying taxation on corporate income growth to overcome Ontario’s scale-up challenge;
  • Focus on strategic growth policies by ensuring that land use planning and development regulations are aligned, to increase density and create more housing stock;
  • Create a meaningful plan to tackle the debt and move towards balanced or surplus budgets.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lambton County is proposing an elimination of the Commercial Vacancy Rebate (CVR) and wants to know what you think about it. The County, which is responsible for administering commercial property taxation in Sarnia-Lambton has been given authority by the Province to eliminate the rebate, if they first inform and consult local ratepayers.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is issuing this short survey to see if there is support for the proposal that will go before Lambton County Council on March 7, 2018.

Prior to 1998, commercial property owners and tenants were taxed separately. Then the Ontario government rolled those taxes together into one and the property owner was responsible for paying taxes on the property. If the property was vacant for a period of time, the owner could apply for a CVR. At that time, the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) valued properties as though they were 100% occupied.  Over time, however, MPAC changed its assessment formula to recognize that a portion of any commercial property would likely be vacant.  MPAC now estimates a relatively lower value on the property (which determines how much taxes they pay) to account for vacancies.

These policy changes have led to cases where property owners can receive two reductions for the same vacancy: a CVR and a vacancy adjustment on their MPAC assessment.

Do you think the removal of the CVR is fair? What will it mean for your business?

Chamber members are asked to fill out a short survey (CLICK HERE), the results of which will be included in a summary report to Lambton County ahead of its March 7, 2018 meeting.

For more details, read this Briefing Note by the County of Lambton.

 

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The Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce, our Port Huron neighbours “next door,” are extending an invitation to their second annual county-wide/international networking event, to take place on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

The event will take place in the lower level of Sperrys Theatre in downtown Port Huron, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

While the event is FREE to attend, an RSVP is required. Click HERE to register.

Attendees will receive a list of participants as part of their RSVP.

 

 

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If you’re a business owner looking down the road to the day when you can comfortably turn over the operation to someone else, the idea of an Employee Share Ownership Plan may be one worth investigating.

With that in mind, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce has asked ESOP Builders, a member organization dedicated to helping business owners on a journey that would include allowing employees to acquire ownership, to host a workshop intended to help with the decision making process.

The workshop, which will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 in the Chamber’s boardroom office at 556 Christina St. N., will include the insights of Perry Phillips, founder and CEO of ESOP Builders, and Marc Lacoursière, president of the Achievement Centre, an organization that provides professional development programs, coaching, and strategic planning to large and small companies throughout the world.

Phillips has helped complete more than 160 ESOPs for small and medium-sized Canadian companies over the last 20 years. Lacoursière has held senior leadership positions in both small privately held businesses and large multi-national organizations and will be speaking about the importance of “ownership thinking.”

Included in the $45 registration fee (Chamber member price) will be a copy of “ESOPs in Canada,” a book authored by Phillips. Non-members will pay $60 for the workshop.

Those attending will learn how an ESOP and ownership thinking can help:

—attract high-level quality employees;
—retain key employees;
—create a culture of employees who think and act like owners;
—improve productivity and profitability;
—finance an owner’s transition, and on their own timetable; and
—create a lasting business legacy.

The March 20 event begins at 7:30 a.m. with a complimentary hot breakfast followed by the presentation and workshop from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Register by clicking HERE.

 

 

 

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There may still be winter weather in Sarnia-Lambton (no matter what your favourite rodent may be saying), but at the Sarnia Riding Club come Wednesday, February 21, it will surely be “toasty warm” as Chamber members gather for our Business After 5.

The event takes place at 980 Riding Club Lane, which is north off Lakeshore Road between Indian and Murphy Roads.

Networking can be one of the best “antidotes” to an otherwise dreary month. And here’s a tip: put the skills you pick up at Karen Minty’s “Stranger Danger” workshop to work.

We’ll see you there!

 

 

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce received “good news” just a few days ago: news of the renewal of our accreditation by the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada, a non-profit organization established to set standards throughout the country.

As an accredited organization, the Chamber is able to verify, locally and throughout the region and beyond, that we are run in a strategic and professional way and that we have reached a standard of excellence as evaluated by an independent organization.

Accreditation is a formal acknowledgment that member chambers of commerce/boards of trade have been successfully evaluated against rigorous national standards of policy, service, and performance.

The Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada includes various provincial Chamber organizations, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, both of which the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce belongs.

 

 

 

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With less than two weeks until the Annual General Meeting of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce takes place, we have a request: please REGISTER NOW for the Wednesday, February 28, 2018 event.

Having an accurate count will help Chamber staff plan for seating and refreshments.

The event will take place in the Gateway Room of the St. Clair Corporate Centre, with networking from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by the call to order and the formalities, including various reports along with business items that include the election of directors and the swearing in of executive officers.

We have two special guest speakers at this year’s AGM—Dr. Katherine Albion, the newly appointed executive director of the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, and James Temple, chief corporate responsibility officer at PwC Canada.

It will be a great time to find out all that’s happening at the Chamber and the exciting times ahead. We hope to see you there!

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An upcoming coffee table book project is well on its way to becoming a reality, with about half the available number of sponsorships now secured, which means now is the right time to step forward to avoid disappointment.

The book, Sarnia Lambton Simply Sensational, is being produced by Richard Bain, a renowned Canadian landscape photographer, in partnership with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. The foreword to “Simply Sensational” is being authored by now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command a mission at the International Space Station and who was born and raised in the area.

Both Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Lambton County Warden Bill Weber have offered their enthusiastic support for the project.

Richard Bain’s work has included a number of similar projects, completed successfully in partnership with several regional groups, including Chambers in Stratford, Niagara, London, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Without exception,  those with whom he has worked have seen positive results from those projects.

Sponsors—which may include businesses, organizations seeking visibility in the area, and local municipalities—will have several copies of Simply Sensational which can be distributed to clients, employees and others. Additional copies will be made available through Ontario bookstores or directly from the Chamber.

If your organization would like to ensure your spot on the list of sponsors, contact Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, directly at (519) 336-2400, ext. 1, or by email: sdesilva@slchamber.ca.

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Industry in Ontario is feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage and significant labour reforms, increasing global and U.S. competition, consistent over-regulation, rising input costs and challenges to accessing talent.

All these insights come from the second annual Ontario Economic Report, issued by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Access to talent remains the largest impact on competitiveness for some 77 percent of Ontario businesses, according to the Report, which contains original economic analysis.

Highlights of the Report:

—Nearly half of businesses are losing confidence in Ontario’s economy;
—Nearly two-thirds of businesses cite input costs for their lack of confidence;
—One in every four small businesses in Ontario projects declining revenue in 2018;
—Contribution of non-financial businesses to Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product is deteriorating; and
—Ontario’s historically low unemployment rate is misleading since more people remove themselves from the workforce or siply give up the search.

Confidence in the broader Ontario economy is at an all-time low of 23 percent.

Economic policy from government was cited as the number one reason businesses lacked confidence in the economy, followed by the high price of input costs, high business tax rates, and a high level of provincial debt.

In the Business Prosperity Index section of the Report, Ontario businesses are said to be relatively more prosperous than compared to historical levels.

While on the surface this is positive, as businesses have more resources available to them to respond to changing business conditions, there is a deterioration in the contribution of non-financial businesses to Ontario’s GDP.

The Report summarizes that a hesitation by business to grow or invest in the face of growing financial resources indicates that Ontario possesses a higher risk operating environment.

 

 

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