With less than two weeks until the Annual General Meeting of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce takes place, we have a request: please REGISTER NOW for the Wednesday, February 28, 2018 event.

Having an accurate count will help Chamber staff plan for seating and refreshments.

The event will take place in the Gateway Room of the St. Clair Corporate Centre, with networking from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by the call to order and the formalities, including various reports along with business items that include the election of directors and the swearing in of executive officers.

We have two special guest speakers at this year’s AGM—Dr. Katherine Albion, the newly appointed executive director of the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, and James Temple, chief corporate responsibility officer at PwC Canada.

It will be a great time to find out all that’s happening at the Chamber and the exciting times ahead. We hope to see you there!

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An upcoming coffee table book project is well on its way to becoming a reality, with about half the available number of sponsorships now secured, which means now is the right time to step forward to avoid disappointment.

The book, Sarnia Lambton Simply Sensational, is being produced by Richard Bain, a renowned Canadian landscape photographer, in partnership with the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. The foreword to “Simply Sensational” is being authored by now-retired astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command a mission at the International Space Station and who was born and raised in the area.

Both Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Lambton County Warden Bill Weber have offered their enthusiastic support for the project.

Richard Bain’s work has included a number of similar projects, completed successfully in partnership with several regional groups, including Chambers in Stratford, Niagara, London, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Without exception,  those with whom he has worked have seen positive results from those projects.

Sponsors—which may include businesses, organizations seeking visibility in the area, and local municipalities—will have several copies of Simply Sensational which can be distributed to clients, employees and others. Additional copies will be made available through Ontario bookstores or directly from the Chamber.

If your organization would like to ensure your spot on the list of sponsors, contact Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, directly at (519) 336-2400, ext. 1, or by email: sdesilva@slchamber.ca.

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Industry in Ontario is feeling the impact of the rising minimum wage and significant labour reforms, increasing global and U.S. competition, consistent over-regulation, rising input costs and challenges to accessing talent.

All these insights come from the second annual Ontario Economic Report, issued by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Access to talent remains the largest impact on competitiveness for some 77 percent of Ontario businesses, according to the Report, which contains original economic analysis.

Highlights of the Report:

—Nearly half of businesses are losing confidence in Ontario’s economy;
—Nearly two-thirds of businesses cite input costs for their lack of confidence;
—One in every four small businesses in Ontario projects declining revenue in 2018;
—Contribution of non-financial businesses to Ontario’s Gross Domestic Product is deteriorating; and
—Ontario’s historically low unemployment rate is misleading since more people remove themselves from the workforce or siply give up the search.

Confidence in the broader Ontario economy is at an all-time low of 23 percent.

Economic policy from government was cited as the number one reason businesses lacked confidence in the economy, followed by the high price of input costs, high business tax rates, and a high level of provincial debt.

In the Business Prosperity Index section of the Report, Ontario businesses are said to be relatively more prosperous than compared to historical levels.

While on the surface this is positive, as businesses have more resources available to them to respond to changing business conditions, there is a deterioration in the contribution of non-financial businesses to Ontario’s GDP.

The Report summarizes that a hesitation by business to grow or invest in the face of growing financial resources indicates that Ontario possesses a higher risk operating environment.

 

 

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As local companies will discover on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, there is a largely untapped source of quality employees out there.

Through the “DiscoverAbility Forum,” held at the Holiday Inn in Sarnia/Point Edward and sponsored in part by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Business SenseAbility is partnering with local employment agencies to outline the real, proven advantages of employing people with disabilities.

The event is FREE but registration is required. Click HERE to register.

As you will hear from local inclusion champions, hiring people with disabilities has a positive impact on business growth and can give the business the competitive advantage it needs.

Keynote speaker Lisa Kelly will provide the business case for hiring people with disabilities and present an online toolkit designed to provide employers with a “roadmap” that outlines the benefits of hiring those with disabilities and the tools they need to start hiring the talent they need.

Hiring people with disabilities is not just “doing the right thing,” it is “doing the smart thing for your business.”

The event is in support of Community Employment Services Lambton College, Community Living Sarnia-Lambton, the Goodwill Career Centre, Goodwill Industries—Essex, Kent, Lambton, Lambton County Development Services, The Workplace Group and the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Breakfast will begin at 7 a.m., with the keynote beginning at 7:20 a.m. sharp, followed by the panel of inclusion champions. There will be local community service booths set up to give attendees an opportunity for networking and connecting with local service providers who can assist with inclusive hiring plans.

 

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, an umbrella organization of which the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is a member, has outlined a set of clear priorities that will give Canada a competitive edge, improve productivity and grow the economy.

In “10 Ways to Build a Canada that Wins,” the Chamber is offering a roadmap to what’s possible with a focus when we all work together.

Included in the “10 Ways”:

—Make Canada a Magnet for Business Investment;
—Ensure a Globally Competitive North America;
—Make Canada an Agri-food Powerhouse;
—Develop Agile Workforce Strategies;
—Make All of Canada an Export Gateway;
—Improve Regulatory Efficiency, Achieve Regulatory Alignment and Ensure the Unrestricted Movement of Goods and People Across Canada;
—Help SMEs Trade and Grow;
—Provide Opportunities for Business Development to Support Self-determination for Indigenous Peoples;
—Make Canada a Global Innovator;
—Make Canada the World’s One-stop Shop for Green Resources and Technology.

Along with a detailed document, which can be found HERE, the Chamber has produced a video which gives a glimpse into what is possible.

 

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you walk into a room full of strangers?

“Stranger Danger! I don’t know what to say, how to introduce myself, or what to talk about. So I’m going to only talk to people I know, take frequent bathroom breaks and leave early without ever meeting anyone new.”

UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS ALMOST FULL SO REGISTER TODAY

Networking is one of the most important marketing tools for businesses to ensure their long-term success. Yet, it is one of the most intimidating, time-consuming, and poorly executed methods used. For those new to the game, it can sometimes result in uncomfortable introductions, awkward silences, and quick getaways to the food table to recover.

But it doesn’t have to be like that! Networking is a learnable skill that even the most introverted people can learn to do with ease.

Chamber member Karen Minty, a well-known writer and networking pro, is offering a two-hour workshop to help change that thinking for the better, giving you a quick overview of the what, when, why, and where to network, with easy practical tips that you can try out right there at the workshop.

Put Stranger Danger behind you and learn to network like a pro.

The event takes place Friday, February 16 at 9 a.m. in the Chamber Boardroom, at 556 Christina St. N. Limited space available so register today by email at karen@fortyhours.com. Cost is $35+HST. Tickets are going fast, so don’t delay!

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“Red Tape”—loosely defined as the needless “piling on” of rules and regulations—is an ongoing challenge for businesses across the province and right here in Sarnia-Lambton.

We intend to keep the pressure on the government to reduce Red Tape by sharing your stories about how these types of regulation have impacted your business.

With our links to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and its annual Business Confidence Survey, we’ll be helping to spread the word.

Please send us your story today. You can email us HERE.

 

 

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Two local financial services professionals, Dennis Kjeldsen and John Pilkey, both connected with Sun Life, are hosting an event next Wednesday, February 7, 2018: “Private Corporation and Tax Planning: What the Legislative Proposals Mean for You.”

The event, which features guest speakers Jennifer Poon and Michael Kraik, takes place at the Sarnia Riding Club from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

An RSVP is requested. Refreshments and appetizers will be provided.

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The Annual General Meeting of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, a time for both reflection on the past year’s accomplishments and a look ahead, is right around the corner.

Registration (no cost) is requested: CLICK HERE.

Members are invited to attend the event, Wednesday, February 28, 2018, in the Gateway Room of the St. Clair Corporate Centre, with networking from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., followed by the call to order and the formalities, including various reports along with business items that include election of the directors and the swearing in of executive officers.

We have two special guest speakers at this year’s AGM—Dr. Katherine Albion, the newly appointed executive director of the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, and James Temple, chief corporate responsibility officer at PwC Canada.

It will be a great time to find out all that’s happening at the Chamber and the exciting times ahead. We hope to see you there!

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Whether you work in business or non-profit, a well-told story can help you grow your business. With the help of two professional writers/storytellers, this 90-minute workshop will help you weave the four required elements of a good story into a captivating article that will capture your audience’s attention.

Two local writers, Karen Minty and J.D. Booth, are bringing their experience to workshop attendees, with a POWERFUL guarantee: within 90 days of the course, you will receive a placement (story and photo) on Lambton Shield, a digital-only local news site that has grown in popularity through telling stories that matter to our community.

Whether you are starting from scratch or just looking to wordsmith your message, these two writers will provide tips and hands-on help so you can tell your story like a pro.

The workshop will run from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Wednesday, February 21, 2018 in the Chamber’s boardroom. Investment is $39 per person for Chamber members, $59 for non-members. All ticket prices are plus HST.

To register for this limited space workshop, CLICK HERE.

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