In the span of a few months, Canada went from one of the tightest job markets in recent history to record unemployment and reduced hours with an unprecedented rapidity. As we reopen across the country and move into recovery, we know that available jobs and the skills required will change. Canadians will need reskilling, upskilling, and skills training programs to get them back to work. 

The federal government has a Supply Chain Council, which represents a good start in representing inclusive voices in our economic recovery. The Council includes representatives from business, labour, and nonprofits, as well as women-led, academics, and aboriginal businesses. This model should be replicated across all levels of government. 

As employees continue and return to work, the key to successful work reintegration and economic recovery for parents is the availability of reliable and affordable child care. We must appreciate that the female workforce – as employees, as business owners, and as entrepreneurs – is bearing the brunt in terms of earnings, advancement, mental health, and work/parenting choices. There will be no inclusive recovery – or recovery period- without the participation of women in the workforce.

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In a recent survey by Sun Life Financial, over half (56%) of Canadians surveyed said COVID-19 is negatively impacting their mental health. Join Carmen Bellows, Registered Psychologist & Director of Mental Health Solutions at Sun Life Financial, as she speaks about how to develop and maintain a positive mental health environment in your organization.

Click to register here.

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On Wednesday, July 22 join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and CWB Financial for a webinar to discuss the future of working remotely and the long term outlook for flex work essential to all organizations and business owners. 

Jeff Wright, Senior Vice-President, and Cory Gould, Chief Information Security Officer at CWB Financial as they answer the following questions:

  • What resources are in place to assist teams to be set up in productive new work environments and supporting mental health?
  • How do Chambers of Commerce, associations, and business owners support their employees and teams?
  • What are the major cyber security threats for SMEs during and post-pandemic?

Click to register here.

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A gift ninja is someone who anonymously delivers a gift to your address without any contact and in return you pay it forward by delivering a gift anonymously to another Sarnia Ninja Club member.

The Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce wants to participate in our own shop local event with our chamber members starting this Friday, July 17th and ending Saturday, July 25th. This event will require that you shop local in our Sarnia-Lambton community and send your receipts to the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

For every receipt from a local business, take a photo and email it to Three receipts will get a chance to win prizes from the Chamber. Be sure to write your name on the receipt because all drop offs will be entered for a chance to win one of the prizes listed on the Sarnia Ninja Club website, including gift certificates to Boston Pizza, Sunripe, Alton Farms Estate Winery, and more!

For more information on the Sarnia Ninja Club initiative, click here.

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The Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce is happy to announce that the proposed plan to close down Christina Street on weekends for the remainder of Summer has been passed by City Council! 

The idea came from the fact that people who walk and cycle take more trips downtown than those in cars. The plan is that on Friday’s at 4 pm until Sundays at 8 pm, Christina Street (from George to Wellington) will be closed to create a Pedestrian Friendly Zone. All side streets will remain open.

The initiative will begin this Friday, July 17 and run until September 27, totalling in 11 weeks of this project. Each week the success of the closure will be monitored. 

More information about this initiative is available on our website here.

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, Leah Nord, issued the following statement about the Labour Force Survey figures:

“Today’s Labour Force Survey data shows that another 1 million Canadians have made their way back to work as provinces and territories continue to re-open their economies, albeit at different stages.

However, we still have a long way to go before we return to a fully engaged workforce. Employment in accommodation, food service, and retail remains well below pre-COVID levels because jobs in these industries require close physical proximity with others.

In a period of high uncertainty, Canada has the ability to control a quicker path to re-employment by shifting the focus away from CERB and toward expanding the eligibility for CEWS. Doing so has the potential to deliver the first wobbly steps of Canada’s economic recovery. As this happens, Canada needs a broader discussion about how to reform Employment Insurance so that we can respond to current and future workforce needs, ensuring Canadians remain connected to the labour force and including strong upskilling and reskilling training components. 

To read more, click here.

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The Governments of Canada and Ontario are providing the best support possible to help farmers manage challenges beyond their control by enhancing AgriInsurance coverage for the 2020 growing season to include labour shortages due to COVID-19.

The federal government made a commitment on May 5th to work with the provinces and territories to explore possibilities for expanding the AgriInsurance program to include labour shortages as an eligible risk for the horticulture sector. This work with provincial and territory’s partners would insure against lost production due to an insufficient workforce, should producers be unable to find enough labour to harvest.

Ontario farmers already enrolled in an eligible production insurance plan who suffer from crop losses due to labour disruptions during the 2020 growing season will have access to further insurance through Agricorp. The added insurance coverage will include:

  • Inability to attract sufficient on-farm labour due to COVID-19
  • Illness or quarantine of an on-farm labour and the producer due to COVID-19

To read the full statement, click here.  

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The Ontario government is expanding access to reliable broadband and cellular service in underserved and unserved parts of the province.

The application intake for the $150 million Improving Connectivity for Ontario program (ICON) opens today. This funding will help drive economic investment and job creation across the province, while allowing more people to work from home more efficiently, engage in online learning, and connect with family friends.

Any areas across Ontario that do not meet the national standards for broadband speeds would be eligible for provincial funding. Up to 12% of households in the province- mostly in rural, remote or northern areas- don’t have adequate broadband service, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

The province’s investment of $150 million announced is part of the $315 million Up to Speed Ontario’s Broadband and Cellular Action Plan. This action plan has the potential to leverage up to $1 billion in partner funding for broadband infrastructure investments.

To read the full article, click here.

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, released the following statement in response to the government’s economic snapshot:

“[July 8,2020] economic statement projected a deficit of 343 billion dollars with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 49.1% a sum that will undermine Canada’s fiscal capacity for decades.

As snapshot demonstrates, these measures have come at an enormous price- one that far exceeds even the most pessimistic estimates – and their cost will continue to mount throughout the coming year and beyond. Declining government revenues mean that the burden will be borne by an economic infrastructure that has been badly damaged.

Recovery must start along the Main Streets of this country. The Canadian Chamber has proposed a 51-point Roadmap to Recovery. We ask governments to focus on growth with the same energy and commitment that they directed toward lockdowns and subsidies.

Read the full article here.

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