This past weekend was the first of eleven Weekend Walkabouts, where Christina Street is closed from Friday evening to Sunday evening so vendors can operate on the streets and sidewalks, and consumers can walk between stores while practicing social distancing. 

Where can you park downtown? Well, on evenings and weekends, the places shown on the map are free to community members! Use this as a tool to keep parking stress free.

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The Canadian Economy has been hit hard by COVID-19. Small, local businesses have been especially impacted and now face the difficult task of recovery. Local small businesses provide nearly 70% of all private sector jobs in Canada. 

The goal of this event on July 25 is to inject $100M into the Canadian economy on a single day across the nation. The Big Spend is meant to be more than a symbolic gesture of hope. It is a practical step we can take as part of a larger action plan for economic recovery in Canada. When we add the benefits of buying local to the positive impact of what economists call the “multiplier effect” we help create a snowball of growth for our communities and our countries as a whole. 

The Sarnia-Lambton Business/Economic Task Force is proud to support “The Big Spend” initiative as Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, Sarnia-Lambton Workforce Development Board, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce continue to collaborate on programs and resources that support our local business communities. 

To visit the national event website, click here.

To read the full press release, click here (PDF).

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As part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the government introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to quickly rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position the Canadian economy as we bridge to the other side. 

Initially, CEWS was put in place for a 12 week period providing a 75-percent wage subsidy to eligible employers. It was extended for an additional 12 weeks, ending on August 29 2020. The government is now proposing a further extension of the CEWS until December 19, 2020 providing proposed program details until November 21, 2020.

During consultations on the CEWS, businesses and employers indicated that the CEWS was invaluable in keeping workers on the payroll. Some suggestions included lowering the 30% threshold each month to allow businesses to increase their sales and still be eligible for CEWS, having tiered support options, extending the program past August 29th, and flexibility in their approach to eligibility.

Click here to read the full statement.

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The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses provides relief for small businesses experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. 

Property owners must notify each of their tenants in writing once they have requested the extension on their behalf. Not all tenants in the original application need to be included in the request for the July extension. Property owners can only opt-in once and no new tenants can be added. 

The entire application process and further details can be found here.

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The Ontario government announced a made-in-Ontario Intellectual Property Action Plan to help ensure the tremendous social and economic benefits of taxpayer-funded research and innovation stays right here in the province. 

Researchers and entrepreneurs are taking the lead against COVID-19 with made-in-Ontario solutions and ground-breaking research and clinical trials for vaccines, treatments, rapid testing, and modelling.

The government is strengthening Ontario’s intellectual property (IP) position through this act, that will drive the province’s long-term economic competitiveness by prioritizing IP generation, protection, and commercialization. 

Together, Ontario’s SITIP and Intellectual Property Action Plan will respond to the report prepared by the Expert Panel on Intellectual Property. Read more above the plan here.

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Please join us in welcoming The Currency Exchange House Limited to our Chamber Community!

They offer highly competitive foreign exchange services to wholesale and retail customers. TXH is located at the end of highway 402 and is accessible to individuals and businesses resident in Ontario, and to travelers who are crossing the border. Dual currency ATMs are available 24 hours daily in our lobby.  Customers can pay for their transactions with cash, debit card, or Bank Draft, and in turn receive either cash or cheque payments for their purchases.  Preferred rates are offered on transactions over $1,000 USD and $10,000 USD.  Custom rates are available for large transactions.  Modified hours due to Covid-19 are:

  • Cash Window Service is open 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on Tuesday and Friday
  • Dual Currency ATM is open 24 hours

For further information visit our website at or call our branch manager, Mary Sue Knowles, at 519-337-3703.

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Chamber members, Dragonfly Media Inc. and The Inn of the Good Shepherd collaborated to create a video on what a day in the life of donations looks like. 

The video features board members, volunteers, sponsors, and staff telling the audience about the many ways donations are used and distributed throughout the community. 

To watch the full video, click the following link to The Inn of the Good Shepherd’s Facebook Page.

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The Ontario Government is modernizing the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) in order to strengthen trust and transparency of Ontario’s energy sector and improve regulatory processes for the benefit of provincial ratepayers. 

As part of this process, the province is recommending the appointment of a new leadership team which includes Susanna Zagar as the OEB’s new Chief Executive Officer and Lynne Anderson as the OEB’s new Chief Commissioner. 

The restructuring of the OEB is a part of the government’s ongoing commitment to improve energy sector regulation for the benefit of Ontario ratepayers. This includes pursuing greater efficiencies, reducing regulatory burden, and enhancing transparency and accountability. 

For more information about these structural changes or to read the full statement, click here.

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Perrin Beatty issued the following statement about the extension of the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program:

“There is a clear need for continuing support for SMEs and a number of sectors, including hospitality and travel, which have been hard-hit and will be slow to return to normal. An effectively updated CEWS program must encourage Canadians to transition from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit to the wage subsidy. The program must create a positive incentive to return to work.”

He continues to discuss the ways our shared recovery will depend on how quickly businesses are able to get back up and running, and reintegrating Canadians back into the workforce will take a more challenging course than originally anticipated.

To read the full statement, click here.

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