As businesses refocus and manage uncertainty through the COVID-19 pandemic, one piece of advice applies to every industry: put people first to instill confidence, focus, and resiliency. Thought leaders from Canadian Western Bank (CWB Financial) provide insight into how businesses can put employees first.

Proactively engage by mobilizing employees immediately. CWB knew their clients needed immediate help mitigating the uncertainty and so the team made thousands of personal phone calls to understand each financial situation. They said it was the right thing to do, even though they didn’t have full details on how to act on what they learned.

Caring for internal teams. Leadership worked hard behind the scenes to ensure employees felt the same level of proactive engagement. Executive VP of Human Resources and Corporate Communications at CWB Kelly Blackett said quick and consistent communications and constant feedback loops helped to keep employees and leadership informed. Ten extra days off were given to employees for family care. Most importantly, employees were assured of no layoffs.

What does a new normal look like? CWB remains optimistic about their outlook, believing that their service will be more personalized and high-touch than other banks, alongside more tech-enabled as they build out growth momentum.

For the full article, or to learn more about CWB in their webinar with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, click here.

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The following has been provided by Bruce Hein, Owner at Express Employment Professionals.

With the economy facing tremendous hurdles, one thing a company cannot afford to lose is its employees. According to a study by Employee Benefits News, the average cost of losing an employee is 33% of their annual salary. So, retention needs to remain a major focus.

One of the key measures to retaining workers is building employee loyalty. For businesses that furloughed workers amidst temporary closures, or had to lay off employees due to economic hardships, rebuilding loyalty is paramount to ramping up business efforts.

Enhance Employee Development Plans

Though some professional development plans may have been put on hold during these past few months, it’s more important than ever to pour energy back into your workforce. Employees want to work for a company that invests in their future. And the best way to do this is through education, cross-training, or tuition subsidies to name a few. According to a BlessingWhite study, most employees who were willing to quit their job cited lack of career opportunity, with 26% citing lack of growth opportunities. If your business doesn’t have the capital to invest in development now, what you do have is time and talent. An inexpensive way to utilize these tools is through mentoring programs and cross-training among employees. These are all great ways to engage your workforce and build excitement about their roles.

Continue to Create Culture

A company’s culture is the heartbeat of the organization. It ties everything within a business together, binding values, mission, work ethic, and environment. It is one of the most important tools a company has for retention and loyalty. In LinkedIn’s Workplace Culture report, 86% of Millennials say they would consider taking a pay cut to accept a position at a company with a mission and values that align with their own. And a Hays report found that 43% of workers are seeking a new job with culture being the main reason. Employees want to work for a company they believe in and also work in an environment where they feel safe and secure. Your culture is your key to not only recruiting new talent this year but also retaining your current workforce.

Express Employment Professionals help people thrive and businesses grow. The Sarnia Office is located at 347 Christina Street North and serves the Sarnia-Lambton area. Local businesses and applicants are encouraged to visit or call 519 336 7962.

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Petrolia Street Bakery and Little Caesars Pizza teamed up last week to deliver 65 loaves of bread to frontline workers at Fairwinds, Rosewood Manor & Slipacoff Dentistry.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Little Caesars Pizza has been trying to find ways to thank the frontliners for their work. For this initiative though, they wanted to take it just a bit further by including a small business in the  mix as well.

Little Caesars Pizza reached out to Petrolia Street Bakery, a local bakery that has been open at this location since just after Thanksgiving 2019. The goal of the project was to “break bread” with the community by making loaves of bread to send home with frontliners. The two delivered 65 loaves of bread to staff at Slipacoff Dental, Fairwinds Lodge and Rosewood Manor.

Little Caesars Pizza owner Kathleen Mundy says she has so much empathy for entrepreneurs trying so hard to endure the pandemic. She was delighted by the opportunity to work with Emily, owner of Petrolia Street Bakery and would love to encourage other businesses to reach out and collaborate with small businesses if it’s within their means.


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The Ontario government says the short-term rental of cottages, condos, and other sites will be permitted to resume as of Friday, June 5th. Short-term rentals have not been able to operate since April 4th, with the exception of the rentals being used for emergency housing. Hotels, motels, and student residences have continued to operate during this time period.

During the May-long weekend, the Premier urged those who own cottages to stay home during the pandemic to avoid putting a strain on small town resources. Now, regions that are concerned about the reopening are able to make the decision themselves and may implement their own measures to prevent short-term rentals from operating. Regardless of the decision small communities make, the Ontario government urges everyone to continue practicing public health recommendations.

For the full story, click here.

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The Ontario Government announced a new advisory group that will provide advice on how young people can overcome social and economic barriers and achieve success. The group is called the Premier’s Council on Equality of Opportunity.

The council will have up to 20 members, including a chair and a vice-chair. Membership will be intergenerational and cross-sector, and will include youth between the ages of 18 to 29 and adults with expertise from community organizations, not-for-profit businesses, education, and government services.

The council will focus on the challenges facing young people today such as completing an education, skills training, and employment. As an immediate priority, the council will identify strategies to support vulnerable and marginalized youth to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Those interested in joining the council are invited to apply to the Public Appointments Secretariat by Thursday, June 18th. Eligible candidates should have expertise in areas such as community service, business, education, and government service. Interested applicants can click here to apply.

To read the full statement, click here.

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Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced support to help Canadians with disabilities deal with extra expenses during the pandemic. The support includes a special one-time, tax-free payment to individuals who are certificate holders of the Disability Tax Credit as of June 1, 2020.

The Government of Canada recognizes that people with disabilities are also at higher risk of job loss during economic downturns. Therefore, in addition to financial support, the government will help Canadians with disabilities get and maintain good jobs by investing in five new projects across the country through the Accessible Technology Program, and create a national workplace accessibility stream through the Opportunities fund.

To read the full statement by the Government of Canada, click here.

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Canadian seniors across the country are facing significant health, economic, and social challenges due to COVID-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday that seniors eligible for the Old Age Security (OAS) pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) will receive their special one-time, tax-free payment during the week of July 6.

Through this measure and others, the government is providing nearly $900 more for single seniors and more than $1,500 for senior couples, on top of their existing benefits, to help these vulnerable Canadians with extra costs during the pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced a number of measures to support seniors, including those most vulnerable. The government is also investing an additional $20 million in community organizations that offer services to seniors, and have reduced minimum withdrawal requirements for all types of registered retirement income funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for the year 2020.

Click here to read the full statement.

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The Canadian Business Resilience Network’s vast network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 100 of Canada’s leading business and industry associations, the Roadmap to Recovery lays out nine policy areas and specific measures that our political leaders must start considering to help ensure a sharp and lasting recovery.

The nine policy areas featured in the roadmap are:

  • Getting Canadians Back to Work
  • Keeping Supply Chains and People Moving
  • Managing Debt and Deficits
  • Navigating Global Fragmentation
  • Adopting Technology and Innovation
  • Ensuring a Resilient Resource Sector
  • Planning for Small and Medium Business Continuity
  • Strengthening Our Public Health Infrastructure
  • Rethinking Government’s Role and Priorities

To read the full roadmap in detail, click here.

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