With a new government now in place, officials from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) have written to each provincial Cabinet minister, outlining a blueprint to execute over the next four years that will help make Ontario open for business. The OCC’s blueprint includes both policy asks where immediate action is required to support business and foundational recommendations for long-term prosperity.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce advocates on your behalf as  a member of the OCC through its Chamber Network.

A key tool to making this province competitive is reducing red tape. The OCC believes Premier Ford’s step to create a separate Deputy Minister for Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction is an excellent start in lowering the administrative burden felt by Ontario businesses.

“We are providing all Ministers with a blueprint for steps that can be taken to ensure we are growing Ontario’s economy and building shared prosperity for all,” said Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Each ministry has a fundamental role to play in making Ontario open for business and we look forward to working with Premier Ford as well as his cabinet in achieving the policy commitments that support businesses across the province.”

The themes that emerged in the OCC’s blueprint for making Ontario open for business include:

  • Fiscal balance: fundamental to economic growth is ensuring that the Government of Ontario’s own fiscal house is in order
  • Business competitiveness: the most powerful tool in making this province competitive is reducing red tape; we ask that the government prioritize lowering the administrative burden on business and ensure that regulation is streamlined and effective
  • Investment growth: investing in Ontario through strategic spending is essential to fostering job creation and building healthy and productive communities across the province.
  • Government accountability: Poor implementation of government initiatives in the past has led to resource waste, mismanagement, and disruption for both businesses and residents.

“To ensure Ontario’s economy has a strong foundation, business and government must work together to support evidence-based policies. As Ontario’s business advocate, the OCC is committed to working with the Ontario government to ensure the public policies introduced contribute to a competitive business environment as well as the economic and social well-being of our province,” added Rossi.

The entire document outlining the Chamber’s blueprint can be seen HERE.

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When it comes to being competitive, experts around the world say one of the best strategies is to look beyond the border, which is where Global Affairs Canada comes in to play.

This Canadian Government department, through its Trade Commissioner service, is offering a “Step by Step Guide to Exporting,” a resource that would be especially useful for members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce looking for new markets beyond our community.

The Guide, which can be accessed HERE, is a good jumping off point for business owners/operators who may not be sure of what is even possible when it comes to international trade.

Here are just a few of the ways the Guide can help interested businesses:

—Be more competitive. Apply proven export strategies.

—Sell to more customers. Target global buyers online.

—Close more deals. Secure sources of export financing.

—Enter more markets. Leverage the benefits of free trade.

—Save time & avoid risks. Learn the legal aspects of trade.

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The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has already begun to engage the newly elected government on important issues, one of which is the legislation the previous government enacted—Bill 148.

Now the Chamber and its network—which includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—is reaching out to business to provide specific evidence of how Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act) has negatively impacted their business.

The OCC—through the local Chamber—is looking for firm-level financial data and testimonials related to administrative challenges and legal challenges that have been recorded since Bill 148 took effect on January 1, 2018.

The data is being collected anonymously and the Chamber will not be sharing the information publicly. Rather, it will summarize the data in a document that will be shared with government officials.

HERE IS A LINK to the form that the Ontario Chamber is asking members to fill out. It includes three short, demographic questions followed by a free-form opportunity to detail your experiences under a series of headings.

“We all understand how difficult the adjustment to the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act has been on many within our business community,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We hope that this information will be of use in persuading the government to enact significant changes.”


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Members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce are being invited to register for a complimentary webinar being organized through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Amazon Canada.

The webinar is designed to help expand the impact of a business beyond its local borders. Participants will learn how small and medium-sized businesses can use the Amazon Marketplace as an additional sales channel to reach millions of customers in over 25 product categories.

Registration for the Wednesday, August 15, 2018 webinar–“Selling on the Amazon Marketplace”–is underway now. Click HERE to register for the event.

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is making our website available for the free promotion of various events of interest to the community.

Posting on the Chamber website is easy:

—Start by visiting www.slchamber.ca and click on the Events heading on the home page. The direct link can be found HERE.

—Click on Calendar List and then Add Community Event.

Organizers can then fill out the details on the event and submit. We’ll take it from there!


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This year’s Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala, which takes place on Friday, October 12, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, continues to take shape.

With nominations now officially closed, the 257 businesses and individuals are being personally contacted.

Once the nominations have been accepted, the work of putting together the submission packages will begin, with another deadline being added to the calendar.

Nominees have until the end of August to put together their package—which will be submitted online this year.

Judges will then begin their job ahead of the OBAA event.


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A comprehensive review of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce by-laws, which was undertaken with a goal of making sure the revised document is consistent with federal legislation that governs our organization, has been completed.

Ryan Bell explains in a video that can be seen below how and why the review process was done and what comes next.

That includes members of the Chamber being able to review the proposed by-law document (which can be seen HERE).

The existing by-law document can be seen HERE for comparison purposes.

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A gift book project that promises to showcase the Sarnia-Lambton region as never before is on its final stretch as deadlines for production and printing approach.

Still, there are just a few opportunities remaining for sponsors to come forward ahead of the printing.

Photographer Richard Bain, who has worked with numerous Chambers of Commerce on similar projects, says the book—titled “Simply Sensational Sarnia-Lambton”—is one of the most interesting he has undertaken.

“This is a marvelous area and one where the photographs do a great job of telling the ongoing story of one of Ontario’s hidden gems,” says Richard.

Looking for a “last minute” opportunity to get involved with “Simply Sensational”?

Contact Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, to get started. She can be reached by email (sdesilva@slchamber.ca) or by phone at (519) 336-2400, extension 1.


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Take a good look around your home and you’ll probably see how things have become a little “untidy” over the months/years since you did a good “spring cleaning.”

Chances are, your response will be to roll up your sleeves and take steps to put things in order.

It’s that kind of thinking that’s lead to a formal review of by-laws for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The intention was to see if current by-laws line up with the Boards of Trade Act, federal legislation that governs how organizations like the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce must operate.

Using a checklist provided by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, members of the Chamber’s Governance Committee have suggested some changes, cleaning up inconsistencies caused by “piecemeal” amendments that had been made over the years.

Those proposed changes are now posted on the Chamber website, along with the existing by-laws for member review and comment.

Comments can be sent to: info@slchamber.ca.


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Leading an organization as diverse as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce makes for exciting days and the kinds of challenges come from dealing with so many people with a passion for business and creating value in the community.

It also demands focus, which is another element that creates its own sense of value in attempting to balance the heritage of leadership with a desire to continually calibrate what we’re doing with an ever-changing society.

With that in mind, we are keeping up with those changes not only to provide leadership as we identify key initiatives but to propel the organization forward and adapt our strategies to reflect our current marketplace.

You have probably come across the term “big data” on numerous occasions.  There is so much low-cost sophisticated technology available today, so why not take a closer look. While not necessarily scientific, our initial exploration reveals that visitors to our website are 54.2% female and 45.8% male.  Some 27.1 % are returning visitors, with 72.8% new to the site.  Our largest visitor age demographic falls into the 25-34 age category with 69.9% still using the desktop, followed by 22.8% using mobile devices and 7.2% tablets.

Successful Chambers of Commerce will be those that adopt development and sales strategies that understand reflect their marketplace with results that are measurable.  Our Chamber has made great strides in the last year with the development of a strategic plan that will serve as the blueprint for a renewal process for which we can all take pride.

Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll also be undergoing another part of that “renewal” in communicating key elements of the strategic plan, something that our members and, indeed, the entire community will want to understand if we are to be truly successful in creating a path to a successful future.

As we take those steps, together and individually, I believe we will all benefit from a focused approach that continues to generate the extraordinary value that the Chamber has become known for in the past.

I also believe our best days are ahead of us.   Together we are stronger!

Join with us on the journey, won’t you?

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