It’s an annual event now in its ninth year and the Town of Petrolia expects this year’s “Shop Like Charlotte” which will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9;30 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019, to be one of the best yet.

The ticketed event—$25 at all Petrolia banks—includes a wine reception sponsored by Pelee Island Winery and the Victoria Hall.

“Shop Like Charlotte” features food sampling, giveaways, draws, and in-store demos, plus a grand prize worth more than $1,000 in gift certificates, one from each participating store.

The Petrolia Volunteer Business Group is organizing this longstanding event and all proceeds go to the CEE Hospital.

For more information, contact Denise Thibeault of the PVBG at (519) 464-8420.



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Organizers of this year’s Bluewater BorderFest, which takes place August 8-11, 2019 at Centennial Park, are offering a 15% discount on tickets purchased for members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The link to purchase tickets online can be found HERE and the 15% discount is valid until next Wednesday, July 31 (end of the day).

Use discount code SL CHAMBER at checkout.

Featured performers at Bluewater BorderFest include:

—Tyler Farr and Jerrod Neimann (Thursday, August 8)
—Big Wreck and Tokyo Police Club (Friday, August 9)
—Dennis DeYoung (pictured) and the music of STYX with Mark’s Farner’s American Band (Saturday, August 10)
—Lou Gramm (voice of Foreigner), Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger, and John Payne of ASIA (Sunday, August 11)


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Artificial intelligence (AI) has significant potential to solve complex problems in communities and sectors around the world. At the same time, it brings forward numerous risks, like bias in automated decision making, that create challenges for government, businesses, employees and individuals at home and abroad.

At the May 2019 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Ministerial, the recommendation of the Council on AI was formally adopted. It is the first international standard for AI policies. OECD recommendations are non-binding but are influential statements that frequently form the basis of international standards and the design of national legislation.

This recommendation is significant for three reasons: First, since there were a large number of nations with significant expert input, it is likely to be adopted widely.

The OECD’s recommendations drew from an expert group of more than 50 members from governments, academia, business, civil society, international bodies, the tech community and trade unions to assist in developing the recommendation.

All OECD’s member countries—including the United States— approved this, alongside non-members Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Romania.

The process also underscores the importance of having Canadian businesses at the table early to influence discussions at international standards-setting bodies before the outcomes are enacted domestically. This OECD AI guidance was influenced by not only the OECD’s business advisory group but also from the recommendations from the Business-7 Summit we hosted in 2018.

Second, the recommendation is meaningful for what it contains. It is designed to ensure AI systems are trustworthy and engender confidence in a global framework.

The recommendation consists of two equally important parts:

—Principles for responsible stewardship, including commitments to inclusive growth, transparency, security and safety, human-centric values and accountability.

—National policy recommendations, including that governments invest in R&D, foster digital ecosystems, build human capacity, prepare for labour market transitions and promote international cooperation.

The fact that the recommendation is both value-based and operationally focused makes it both resilient to the test of time and adaptable across many jurisdictions.

Finally, the recommendation allows the OECD to monitor and compare signatories in their respective development and use of AI as well as support the creation of an AI Policy Observatory to allow countries to share tools and best practices, which is expected to be up and running later this year.

Canadian businesses and the burgeoning AI ecosystems across our country will have an important leadership role to play. As Canadian companies explore and adopt AI technology, they can do so in an environment where national and international AI systems are robust, fair and safe.

An early and continued international presence allows us to influence policy at the global level, which in turn builds confidence in our Canadian business community.

This is what will allow Canadian AI to thrive both throughout the country and around the world and what is ultimately needed to create the trustworthiness needed for global principles and national policies to succeed.

The above commentary was provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an organization that counts the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a member.

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It started with a recent visit by Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement & Services, with the senior leadership team at the Town of Petrolia, Lambton County’s second-largest municipality.

With the growing popularity of Petrolia—often billed as “Canada’s Victorian Oil Town—the Chamber is excited to pursue ways that we can build on its strengths and create a new dynamic.

Chamber representatives met with Petrolia Mayor Brad Loosley, CAO Rick Charlebois, as well as Laurissa Ellsworth, director of Marketing, and Denise Thibeault, who serves with the Petrolia Volunteer Business Group.

“Having this opportunity to reach out to our friends and colleagues at the Town of Petrolia was a very well-received opportunity to begin a renewal of our relationship,” said de Silva.

Stay tuned for more information as plans develop later this year.



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Last week’s “90s Trivia Night” was a resounding success, so much so that the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is likely to plan more of these “fun nights” in the future.

So says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, who spearheaded the initiative using the services of event planners (and Chamber members) Morena McDonald and Emma Butler of 519 Events & Promotions.

“It really was a special opportunity to engage our members in a unique way and the fact that we sold out was very encouraging,” said de Silva.

Expectations are that organizing similar events for the Chamber calendar will be something for which members can look forward.

“As we continue to develop our strategy for finding new opportunities to connect and develop strong networks among our members, events like the ’90s Trivia Night’ provide a unique space that we will be continuing to explore.”

Thanks go out to the Refined Fool Brewing Co. for hosting the Trivia Night at their 137 Davis Street location in downtown Sarnia.

The winning team—Team Midnight Society—is pictured.

Second place winner was “Team Clueless”; third place winner was “Hot & Ready.”

See more photos on the Chamber’s Facebook page.


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Want your business to stand out in a big way?

When it comes to a highly leverageable opportunity associated with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, sponsorship of the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night’s “Red Carpet Stars” may be just what the marketing doctor ordered.

For a modest fee, your logo can be affixed to a very attractive “star” decal that is guaranteed to get the kind of exposure from a few days before the Friday, October 18, 2019 event that takes place at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

The stars will be a constant reminder during the OBAA week that your business is a proud supporter of this Chamber signature event and all our community’s business advocate does for the advancement of free enterprise and value creation.

Sponsors receive two tickets to the Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night, a $150 value.

“We put together the Chamber’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards night with the express intention of celebrating and breaking attention to the performance of those companies and individuals who are making a significant difference in our community,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber.

“Our Red Carpet Stars program is one of the ways we’ve made it even easier for those whose goals align with ours in creating and sustaining this event to share our passion. And thanks to Libro Credit Uni0on, our lead sponsor for this year’s 30th-anniversary OBAA, we’re able to extend the opportunity to the entire business community.”

Interested in coming on board as a Red Carpet Stars sponsor? Get in touch with de Silva at (519) 336-2400, extension 1, or by email:


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As previously announced, a renewed Member Perks Card program has been launched by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and physical cards—produced courtesy of Starlight Casino Point Edward—are now available for pickup at the Chamber’s office.

The program, which came into effect on Monday, July 15, 2019, is designed to bring member companies and their employees together for added value.

In an ongoing rollout of the program, member companies are invited to contact Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Member Engagement and Services, to register their discount or other offers, which will then be listed on the Chamber’s website.

Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, said the Member Perks Card initiative is intended to add value to existing and prospective members.

Chamber members will be given one card for every individual employee wishing to take advantage of discounts made available by fellow members.

When a member goes to a business enrolled in the Membership Perks program, the discount or special offer will be applied.

It’s that simple for building your business with the help of a fellow Chamber member.


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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, which is leading an initiative to secure Foreign Trade Zone status for the region, received the unanimous support of Lambton County Council earlier this month.

Establishing a Foreign Trade Zone Point designation for the region has long been seen as one of the “bricks” in a foundation that will help bring a new level of economic prosperity to our region.

As one of its core initiatives, a Chamber task force, made up of representatives from the Blue Water Bridge, JDW International, JMS Warehousing, Lambton College, CIBC Commercial Banking and Libro Credit Union, have been meeting regularly to strategize on ways to further encourage companies to develop and implement advanced trade initiatives.

A presentation by Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva to members of Lambton County Council resulted in a formal statement of support, which is required under the application process.

“We are grateful to members of Lambton County Council for supporting our application,” said de Silva.


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One of Canada’s newest franchise operations has a new location in the London Road Shopping Centre.  The franchise operation, UbreakIfix, is located in Unit N201, on the south side of a new building constructed between London Road and Giant Tiger.

Welcoming franchise owner Luke Faria and staff were representatives of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, including Chamber board chair Ryan Bell, board member Tammy Maure, President and CEO Shirley de Silva, and Gail Ann Bondar, manager of Membership Engagement and Services.

Also present were Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and property developer Rob Dawson.

“I have been an active member in the Sarnia neighbourhood for many years … I know that uBreakiFix will help Sarnia and surrounding areas expand, progress, and evolve technologically and will meet repair needs for commercial and personal devices. I am excited to invest in the community here through this company.” said Faria.

“More and more, we’re seeing more new entrepreneurs and younger entrepreneurs with an interest in developing and opening businesses or products and services. That’s great, and exactly what Sarnia needs,” according to President and CEO Shirley de Silva.

Welcome, UBreakIFix to our community!



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Now celebrating five years in Sarnia from its 1149 Confederation St. location, Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken & Taters is the Member of the Month at the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

A Canadian franchise “quick-service restaurant” organization that’s now 140 locations strong, Mary Brown’s locally is owned by Doug and Corinne Loucks.

In addition, this year Mary Brown’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a big party in Newfoundland, where it was founded (there are 40 locations alone in Newfoundland and Labrador).

Awarded the fastest growing franchise in Canada for over seven years in a row, this year, it has been named one of “Canada’s Best Managed Companies.” 

Co-owner Corinne Loucks says the franchise restaurant, that has been a part of this community for almost five years, is still being introduced to new customers every day.

“People can expect some of the best customer service they will ever receive in the Sarnia-Lambton community,” she boasts. “Our cashiers and cooks come to know our customers by name and we personally deliver every ‘dine-in guest’ their order to their seat of choice. And our store is immaculate!”

The owners also have an ongoing “Summer of 1969” special: seven pieces of chicken, medium tater, and medium salad for $19.69, in celebration for those 50 years of celebration.

We congratulate Mary Brown’s Famous Chicken and Taters of Sarnia for being our Member of the Month! Be sure to pay them a visit at 1149 Confederation St., Sarnia. They’re waiting for you!


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