Applications are now being accepted from members interested in taking an active role on the Board of Directors of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Past appointees are also invited to seek reappointment by renewing their applications.  Application forms and additional information regarding the Board can be obtained by clicking here or by contacting Shirley de Silva, President & CEO.

To assist the Nomination Committee, please provide (in addition to your application) a resume outlining your background and how your experience would benefit the Chamber.  Special consideration may be given to those who are members of underrepresented groups.

Interested members are invited to submit an application with attached resume by mail to the Chamber’s office at 556 N Christina St, Sarnia, ON  N7T 5W6 or by email to Ana Dailey.

THE DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION IS 4:00 p.m., FRI., NOV. 17, 2017.

Charles Fisher
Chair, Nominations Committee

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Your directory is one of the many benefits of being a chamber member but what you may not realize is that you can enhance your directory that can help your business stand out from the others.

Your membership directory enhancement includes:

  • The first business to be listed after a search
  • An attention grabbing star next to your listing
  • Additional key words for more accurate search finds
  • Multiple listings (up to 2 categories)
  • Your own logo to reinforce your brand and image
  • 2 images at the bottom of your listing

Click here to maximize your listing or email kim@slchamber.ca for more info!

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, alongside the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and management-consulting firm, MNP, have released a comprehensive handbook (Steering Through Change) to help Ontario businesses navigate the new costs and regulations associated with Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act. The handbook provides a summary of the incoming changes, outlines the potential risks to business, and identifies strategies to help mitigate the impact.

From substantial increases to the minimum wage, new scheduling provisions, reforms to the collective bargaining process and dozens of other changes, Bill 148 will present many challenges for employers.

The handbook includes important insights into the legislation and offers practical solutions and strategies to support businesses through the initial changes. As the implementation dates draw closer, employers will be able to turn to this handbook to understand the legislation and navigate change.

MNP and the OCC will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 2 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. to discuss the handbook and go into further detail about the full slate of changes Bill 148 will implement. Join the webinar to learn more, click here to register!

The handbook provides a better understanding of how to manage and plan for Bill 148, should the legislation pass. However, there is still an opportunity to provide feedback on Bill 148 before it comes to a final vote. To date, the bill has passed the second reading and has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Business owners are strongly encouraged to send requests to deputize in front of the committee and send written submissions to the Standing Committee including your thoughts and concerns regarding Bill 148.

You can e-mail your submission to the following address:

Eric Rennie, Clerk, Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, 416-325-3506

erennie@ola.org   cc: comm-financeaffairs@ola.org

 

 

 

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Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), the oldest and largest health and safety association in Ontario, is suggesting several “low- or no-cost” best practices that a small business owner can use to keep new and young workers safe.

—Getting on top of hazards that new and young workers may face before they start working. Check the processes and equipment these workers will be using for potential hazards, update safe work procedures, and tap into the experience of existing employees. Experienced workers often know of additional hazards and may have solutions to help control workplace risks.

—During orientation training, spend more time on how to do tasks safely, and less time on administration. “We encourage people to cover health and safety topics first, when employees’ attention is focused and they are best able to absorb new information,” said Kirsi Henry, a consultant with WSPS.

—Ensure everyone understands their health and safety rights and responsibilities. They’re the foundation of Ontario’s Internal Responsibility System, in which everyone in the workplace has a role to play in creating a safe and healthy workplace. A good first stop is the mandatory training for workers and supervisors, which is available online HERE. And it’s free.

—Use your time with new and young workers to integrate safety into the conversation. Reinforcing the value of safety during walk-throughs, coaching and staff meetings is a valuable and efficient way to help workers keep safety top of mind.

—Be a health and safety role model. “If you believe in health and safety and demonstrate it in everything that you do, employees will notice,” said Henry of the WSPS. “It’s human nature to mimic and model the culture in the workplace.”

The WSPS has a new website (www.wsps.ca/smallbusiness) that provides roadmaps for health and safety that are based on company size.

 

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Overwhelming opposition by both businesses and households to a proposed tree bylaw has resulted in Sarnia City Council directing staff to withdraw the plan, at least for the time being.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce was one of the more visible in those who voiced concerns over the plan when we reached out to our members.  We feel that City Council took our members’ concerns seriously and made the right decision.

Here are links to two separate letters sent to Sarnia City Council:

On July 27, 2017, a letter sent from Shirley de Silva, CEO, and Michael John Kooy, Chair.

On October 17, 2017, a letter with summary of consultations.

City Council, which met on Monday, October 23, 2017, took staff advice to drop the tree by-law plan, which would have required businesses and homeowners to seek a permit if they wished to remove a tree.  In its place is a directive for a staff report on a proposed urban forestry management system.

The Chamber will continue, on behalf of our entire community,  to make sure the interests of business are taken into consideration.

 

 

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Your voice is being heard.

The Chamber of Commerce was invited to make a submission October 19th to the Standing Committee on Finance as part of “Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2018 Budget.”

The half-day sessions, held at the Best Western Plus on Riverside Drive, represent an opportunity for the views of businesses in Sarnia-Lambton to be included in the consultation process.

De Silva spoke to committee members about the concerns of local business, while acknowledging the government’s response to the most significant corporate tax changes in 50 years.

The government appears to have heard the enormous outcry by business organizations and is scrambling to make improvements.

As part of her presentation,  several key priorities were outlined that would improve overall business competitiveness in the 2018 Federal budget. These include:

—an increase in the threshold filing amount for HST from $30,000 to $50,000 and indexing that to inflation;

—developing a national bio-economy strategy, which would allow communities like Sarnia-Lambton to attract new businesses and develop bio-economy clusters;

—enabling VIA Rail to improve its financial position and services by supporting its plan to invest in a high-frequency corridor using dedicated tracks; and

—establishing a task force to harmonize the transportation of oversized load shipments across the country.

The full presentation document by Shirley de Silva, President and CEO  on behalf of the Chamber can be found HERE.

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The Ontario Government says it is seeking public input on impending changes to employment and labour law rules associated with workers in industries that currently may not be covered by employment standards.

Businesses in the area have until December 1, 2017 to share their ideas as part of the public consultation, which the government says is part of a broader review of the Employment Standards Act special rules and exemptions, as well as Labour Relations Act exclusions.

The first phase of the consultations is said to focus on eight occupations that are currently exempt from minimum employment standards.

Including in that list are: architects, domestic workers, homemakers, IT professionals, managerial and supervisory employees, pharmacists, residential building superintendents, janitors and caretakers, and residential care workers.

The government says it is also reviewing rights under the Labour Relations Act for domestic workers.

Further information on the government’s process for providing input can be found HERE.

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Karen Sanders, who serves as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce board member representing the Lambton Federation of Agriculture (LFA), brings the perspective of one of the area’s most active sectors to the table.

As co-owner (with her husband Steve) of Hog Wild Farms Ltd., based in Watford. Karen joined the Chamber board earlier this year.

The mother of four growing boys, Karen comes from a farming family. Along with her four siblings, she worked on her parents’ dairy farm near Strathroy.

Although growing up she may not have totally embraced the life, today she’s developed a new perspective for the business, partly through meeting her husband (who also has a farming background), but also from the education she received at Fanshawe College, where she earned a diploma in finance and business.

Almost every day at Hog Wild Farms, Karen and Steve are busy growing food and creating value in Lambton County, and through the Lambton Federation of Agriculture, representing one of the business community’s most important sectors.

Find out more about Karen Sanders and her business by listening to a special podcast produced by Lambton Shield, a Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce member. The podcast featuring Karen will go online next Wednesday, October 25, at 8 a.m.

 

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It’s a year ahead of us, but the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is looking for ways to “re-energize” one of its already successful signature events to be even more relevant to the entire business community.

The next Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala event, which has a confirmed date of October 12, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, will include nominations from the entire business community.  By opening up nominations from all businesses and organizations, we’ve set the stage for an even more exciting event.

Organizers are also working on plans to bring a traditionally paper-based nomination process into the digital age, with all workflow going online.

These are exciting times for the Chamber and through the new OBAA outreach to the entire business community, the best is yet to come.

Look for more news on the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala as the plans continue to develop.

 

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