The Sarnia Community Foundation will join community foundations across Canada on Saturday, May 2 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in a virtual “Stay At Home Gala”. The event unites Canadians across the country with a goal to raise funds to manage the impact of COVID-19 on our communities. The funds raised will be donated to Lambton Mental Wellness and St. Clair Child and Youth to expand their mental health programmes in the county. Additionally, a number of local Food Banks will be supported from this event as well.

The event aims to offer all the familiar elements of your standard gala. The SCF is working with several local restaurants to provide menu choices for take out options, including Sitara Indian Cuisine, The Dante Club, and The Sarnia Golf & Curling Club. Their menu and details on how to order are featured on sarniacommunityfoundation.ca.

On top of this, the gala will feature speakers, entertainers, musicians, and more! Everyone has been looking for a reason to get dressed up, kick back with a drink, and what better way to do so then by raising critical funds to help your community. All proceeds stay local.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Sarnia Community Foundation’s office at 519 332 2588 or 519 333 8867. If you simply want to donate to this event, you can either purchase a ticket and not use it, or call the office for donation options. 

For the full statement, click here.

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The Workplace group is offering FREE work training online for employees, employers, and job seekers. They are offering certificates and training such as:

  • WHMIS, AODA Customer Service Standard
  • AODA IASR and the Human Rights Code
  • Supervisor Health and Safety Awareness
  • Worker Heath and Safety Awareness
  • Bill 168 Respectful Workplace
  • Bill 132 Sexual Violence and Harassment.

To register or for more information, email shannon.richardson@theworkplacegroup.ca, marlene.wood@theworkplacegroup.ca, or call 519 337 7377.

To learn more or access their facebook page, click here.

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On April 27, the Ontario government released a framework that Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will use to guide the government’s eventual loosening of emergency measures. 

The top priority has, and always will be to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario. However the necessity to prepare for a responsible restart of Ontario’s economy is becoming a growing priority as well. 

Before addressing the stages of reopening, the government will consider factors that impact the risk of spreading COVID-19. The Chief Medical Officer of Health and health experts will be looking for criteria such as:

  • A consistent two-to-four week decrease in the number of new daily COVID-19 cases
  • Sufficient acute and critical care capacity, including ventilators and personal protective equipment 
  • Approximately 90% of new COVID-19 contacts being reached by local public health officials within one day to contain community spread 
  • Ongoing testing of suspected COVID-19 cases, especially of vulnerable populations

Chief Medical Officer of Health, Christine Elliott, states that “the collective efforts of all Ontarians to stay at home and stop the spread of COVID-19” is what allowed the government to consider plans to move into the next phase. However, to achieve the next steps, it is crucial to continue these efforts so thresholds can be met and Ontario can begin to move forward.

There will be three stages involved in reopening the economy to ensure maximum safety. 

  • Stage 1: Identify select businesses that were ordered to close/restrict operations that can modify operations to meet public health guidelines. Opening outdoor spaces like parks. Hospitals can begin to offer select non-urgent and scheduled surgeries. 
  • Stage 2: Opening more workplaces that pose a low-risk, such as some service industries, offices, and retail workspaces. Some public gatherings would be allowed and more outdoor spaces open. 
  • Stage 3: Opening of all workplaces responsibly and further relaxing of restrictions on public gatherings.

It is noted that throughout these stages, there must be significant mitigation strategies to limit the risk of spread, this would include continued protection for vulnerable populations, strict hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and the continued practice of physical distancing.

For the official statement from the Ontario Government, click here

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Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announces partnerships with provincial governments to deliver Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for Small Businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19.

What you should know:

  • The program provides forgivable loans to qualifying commercial property owners to cover 50% of three rent payments. These are payable by eligible small business tenants’ who are experiencing financial hardship during the months of April to June.
  • These loans will be forgiven if mortgaged property owners agree to reduce the eligible small business tenants’ rent by at least 75% for the three corresponding months. This would operate under a rent forgiveness agreement, which includes not evicting the tenant while this agreement is in place.
  • Small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations or have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations.

For more information and the official statement by the federal government click here.

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The YMCA wants to see you SWEAT for Sarnia! YMCA SWEAT for Strong Kids will be an online, three day event from April 30th to May 2nd. This will involve taking part in Y Thrive online classes, joining a Facebook live class, or conducting your own workout and then heading to their Facebook page to share your Sweaty Selfie. They will be sharing more information about the fundraiser in a Facebook Live stream to answer questions, thank their sponsors, and share their lineup of live classes!

To visit the YMCA SWEAT for Strong Kids Facebook page, click here.

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The Canada Revenue Agency opens its application process today (April 27) for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), therefore allowing them to release funds by May 5th. CEWS provides a wage subsidy of 75% (up to $847 per employee/week) for up to 12 weeks.  The wage subsidy will enable you to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, help prevent further job losses, and better position you to resume normal operations.

Who is eligible:

  • Individuals
  • Taxable Corporations
  • Registered Charities
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Partnerships consisting of eligible employers

(eligible employees are individuals who are employed by you in Canada and has received eligible remuneration for 14 or more consecutive days in the eligibility period)

Your revenue reduction period eligibility depends on whether you received a:

  • 15% drop in revenue between March 15 to April 11
  • 30% drop in revenue between April 12 to May 9
  • 30% drop in revenue between May 10 to June 6

(to determine this, compare your eligible revenue for the starting month of the claim period with your baseline revenue or the average of January and February 2020)

Eligible remuneration includes: 

  • Amounts you paid an employee as salary, wages, and other taxable benefits, fees, and commissions.

(severance pay and items such as stock option benefits or the personal use of a corporate vehicle are not part of eligible remuneration)
For more details on how the subsidy is calculated, eligibility, and how to apply, click here.

For a step-by-step guide on how to apply for CEWS, click here.

To help you calculate your subsidy amount, click here.

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Dr. Bill Howatt, chief of research, Workforce Productivity at The Conference Board of Canada, has produced a short video that focuses on Mental Health and COVID-19.

You can see the video below, which contains an acronym for PLAY.

P is for Passion: Do the things that you love and bring you joy and do them with intention.

L is for Live in the Moment: Capture special moments, and don’t take them for granted.

A is for Awesome: Look for the awesomeness in every day and embrace it.

Y is for Youthful: Don’t be afraid to have fun, be silly and be vulnerable every now and then.

The entire video by Dr. Howatt can be seen below:

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Patrick Gill, senior director of Tax and Financial Policy with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, is offering a five-step plan for businesses to find their way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

His comments come on behalf of the Canadian Business Resilience Network, an initiative of the Canadian Chamber.

“It feels as though the world has stopped and in many ways it has,” said Gill. “So what should non-essentials do when a winter like this has come. Before cash balances dry up, Canadian businesses should use the emergency measures that governments coast to coast have announced to put their workers and operations into a state of hibernation.”

Gill says if your company is not able to function right now, “think—hibernation.”

He lists five ways to make this happen.

—1. Take care of the health, safety and liquidity of your workers. Use the emergency benefit of the new wage subsidy to keep your workers attached to you ,but safe at home. “And please don’t let go of your workers if you can,” said Gill. “You’ll recover faster if you do.”

—2. Talk to your bank or credit union about your debt obligations or accessing emergency credit. Interest rates have been slashed and interest-free loans are available and the business credit availability program can help as well.

—3. Don’t worry about the taxman right now. Tax deadlines, audits and payments have been extended at every level. Call your accountant for details.

—4. Speak to your landlord and discuss the situation with them. And know that many provincial governments have stayed evictions. It’s in both parties’ best interest to sort things out.

—5. start planning now for your emergence from hibernation.

“This winter will end how quickly and successfully you emerge can be boosted by doing a little planning now,” said Gill.  “And remember, we’re all in this together. So speak to your banking partners—your lawyer, insurer, banker and accountant. They want to help and they can help. You can survive this economic winter by hibernating like a Canadian.”

 

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