Next Wednesday, May 16, will be the latest event in a very popular series of Chamber events.

Yes, we’re talking about Business After 5 and the next stop is the Sarnia Riding Club, hosted by Goodwill Industries. This iconic organization is marking its 85th anniversary of building our community into a genuinely better place to live, especially by helping create jobs every time someone donates their gently used items.

With a “Changing Lives Since 1933” line on its 85th anniversary banner, it’s easy to understand just how powerful Goodwill’s mission has become.

Anyone who’s been to a Chamber Business After 5 event can assure you that the opportunities for networking are virtually unlimited.

And if you don’t see someone you know—a rare occasion indeed—the very helpful members of the Business After 5 committee will step in to help you connect.

Attending a Chamber Business After 5 can be one of the most immediately rewarding aspects of your Chamber membership and certainly one that can result in the start or continuing of a positive relationship … one that can ultimately help your business grow.

We look forward to seeing you at the Sarnia Riding Club, next Wednesday, May 16!

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Among several Member Only Benefits Programs available through the Chamber is one that can save your business money every time you get in your vehicle and go somewhere.

It’s the Esso Business Card Program and it’s available only to Chamber members through our affiliation with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Using this card at any Esso-branded services stations will automatically discount your purchase by 3.5 cents a litre.

An online application for this valuable program can be found HERE.

In the next few weeks, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will be updating our descriptions for various Member Only Benefits, with the information appearing on our website.

Happy savings!


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Are you doing enough to protect the most vulnerable workers in your workplace from injury? The Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) new and young worker inspection blitz, May 1 to August 31, is a signal to Ontario’s workplaces to review and strengthen workplace procedures related to this group. Doing so could help you prevent injuries and avoid penalties from the MOL.

What inspectors will be looking for

Inspectors will target workplaces that employ workers aged 14-24, have workers who have been on the job for less than six months, or been assigned to a new job within the same period. These workers are three times more likely to be injured during their first month than more experienced workers. A company’s specific practices related to these new and young workers will be under the microscope, as well as their overall health and safety program. This includes:

  • Information, instruction and supervision. Are new and young workers getting the required information and supervision to protect their health and safety?
  • Safety measures. Do you have measures and procedures in place to prevent injuries and occupational illness? Violence and harassment?
  • Internal responsibility system. Do you have a functioning joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative?

 What inspectors found last year

Between May 1 to August 31, 2017, ministry inspectors made 2,261 field visits to 1,779 workplaces and issued 6,828 orders, including 88 stop work orders. Among these orders:

  • 1,182 involved violence and harassment provisions
  • 762 involved basic training, including mandatory awareness training for workers and supervisors.

Get a closer look at orders: Inspection blitz results: New and young workers 2017.

3 ways to protect vulnerable workers

Employers can do 3 things to help send new and young workers home from work as healthy as when they started.

  1. Before hiring, assess the job and its hazards. Which scenarios will present risks? Which tasks should be assigned to experienced workers? Are there language barriers you need to address?
  2. Put the emphasis on orientation. In your training, address workers’ three basic rights: to know about hazards, to participate in your organization’s health and safety efforts, and to refuse dangerous work. Accommodate different learning styles for example, in the classroom, in a simulated environment, and on the job. Hand out checklists. Set up a buddy system between experienced and new workers.
  3. Invest in your supervisors. Make sure they know the laws, regulations and hazards, and have the training and experience to help workers adhere to safe work procedures. Supervisors must be patient, repeat instructions, coach, retrain, and offer praise – especially to overcome workers reluctance to ask safety questions.

 How WSPS can help

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In just a few months, readers of Simply Sensational: Sarnia-Lambton will be treated to a collection of magnificent photos of our area intermingled with stories featuring a select group of organizations.

The project is quite simply one of the best-looking “ambassador” pieces to come our way in quite a while and features a foreword by Chris Hadfield, a legendary Canadian astronaut (and one of the area’s favourite sons).

Simply Sensational is being sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the talents of Richard Bain, a noted photographer who has had his hands on similar projects for business groups and communities in the broad region.

As part of the project, Richard is making regular trips to the area from his home base in London and says he’s genuinely excited by what he has come to see and learn about our area.

As a sponsor, imagine what your clients, your friends, and even your family will be taking away from having a copy of Simply Sensational in their hands over the next year?

In the meantime, the Chamber is continuing to reach out to a wide variety of organizations, the intention being to make sure those who see the vision for Simply Sensational have the opportunity to sign up as a sponsor.

Our advice? Don’t wait another day. Contact Shirley de Silva, CEO of the Chamber, by email ( or phone (519) 336-2400, extension 1.

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Government policy is critical to the competitiveness of Ontario’s business community. That’s why the Chamber would like to know where you stand on a number of important economic issues.

A two-minute survey (CLICK HERE) will provide the feedback to help us inform 2018 Provincial Election candidates what matters to the business community.

If you have any problems accessing or completing the survey, contact Monica Shepley, manager of Advocacy and Policy Development, at (519) 336-2400.


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It was about 10 years ago that Dean Holtz and his wife were selling their home.

A professional photographer with a couple of years under his belt by this time, Holtz looked around but wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of photos he saw on various real estate listings.

A little further digging (including Google searches) and Holtz came to the conclusion that there was probably a business opportunity for someone with his photographic skills.

Conversations with at least one of his friends, a real estate agent, lead to Holtz developing a three-stage multi-editing technique, the result being an offering he began presenting to local agents.

While it was at first slow going (one told him that it would be an uphill battle since real estate agents weren’t used to the added cost), eventually several agents began asking for high-quality photos for their listings.

He has since added aerial imagery and eventually entered an exclusive partnership with David Cooke of InSkyPhoto for real estate photography.

Last year Holtz, who is a Chamber member, added RealVision, a 3D virtual tour system, to his offerings.

The local YMCA recently asked him to create a virtual tour and are sending him to six other facilities across Southwest Ontario.

His virtual tour for the Y can be seen HERE.

Holtz is offering a 10 percent discount to fellow Chamber members for any package of services of $500 (plus HST) or more and a 15 percent discount for any package of services of $1,000 (plus HST) or more.


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Building a network of people that will refer others to your company (and vice versa) can be one of the most effective business building tools available to Chamber members.

With that in mind, the Chamber is taking steps to help.

One way is through the creation of a second Network Referral Group, which is currently coming together thanks to the efforts of several interested members.

The group, which is in its early stages of development, is starting to meet every other Tuesday morning, for a light breakfast and networking.

While there is no cost to join the Network Referral Group, this is a Chamber member exclusive benefit and only one person per business category will be accepted.

Interested? Contact Kim Inniss-Petersen, the Chamber’s manager of Member Engagement and Retention, for an application.

Dante Cateni of Terrapure Environmental, who chairs the original Network Referral Group, recently spoke about the benefits of this type of business building activity:


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Delegates to last weekend’s Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce approved the three resolutions that were put forward by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. Delegates to the event, hosted by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, also approved three additional resolutions that our Chamber co-sponsored.

Our three resolutions urged the government to create a provincial broadband strategy, advance Ontario’s bioeconomy, and protect the viability of companies that have reduced carbon emissions in Ontario.

We also co-sponsored resolutions submitted by the Windsor-Essex and Newmarket chambers of commerce.  These resolutions called for delaying Bill 148 scheduling provisions,  address urban blight, and cut red tape for motor vehicle dealers.  These resolutions can be found here.

Advocating on behalf of our members is key to the ongoing success of the Chamber and its affiliates throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada, said CEO Shirley de Silva.

“When the business community presents a united front on issues of importance to business, it helps move our economy in a positive direction,” she said. “We are very pleased to work within the chamber network and see our proposals accepted.  We expect to see those ideas gain traction as a result.”


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Past sponsors of the Business After 5 events at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce have told us time and again how much visibility they received from their hosting.  This is a great unique business marketing opportunity to get hundreds of people through your doors to experience your business.

It’s no wonder then that Business After 5 (BA5)  gatherings are often booked out months ahead.

Reach out today if the idea of capitalizing on what we expect to be GREAT weather and especially if you have an outdoor location that’s ready for a surge in business!

Your contact for these extremely popular BA5s is  Kim Inniss-Petersen at (519) 336-240o or




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With some 90% of business owners admitting to having no formal process when it comes to their sales, it may be time you consider signing up for Outstand, a self-marketing program for those of us who want to engage with customers, build relationships, stand out from the competition—and have fun in doing so.

While Outstand allows you to create and send stunning, branded messages, that’s just the start. The software service provides RESULTS, including how many people open your messages or click on any offers that you make. You can also use text messaging to make sure your message gets seen every time.

The list of Outstand features is a long one: setting appointments, meeting reminders, after meeting follow up, staying in touch, making connections, getting referrals, conveying product benefits.

Remember: Chamber members are eligible for a 30-day FREE trial and, by using promo code SLCOC, receive special pricing after that period.

Take the first step by contacting Kim Inniss-Petersen, the Chamber’s manager of Member Engagement and Retention, to find out how.


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