With the nomination period well underway for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, we continue our series highlighting the various categories under which you can put forward your favourite business (or individual).

The Sarnia Lambton Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala with a single focus on celebrating business success.

Now in its 30th year, this year’s OBAA will take place on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

Nominations can be done online. Just CLICK HERE to get started.

This week’s feature categories are Non-Profit and Outstanding Customer Service—Business.


The Non-Profit category is designed to recognize and reward excellence and innovation among non-profit organizations whose work results in significant social impact within and external to the Sarnia-Lambton community.


  • Displays visionary leadership
  • Customer focused
  • Can demonstrate a commitment to volunteers, employees and partners
  • Demonstrates corporate citizenship and/or community leadership
  • Can show a growth in sales, services and/or growth in the number of individuals served and/or expanded programs and services
  • Recognition of innovative campaigns
  • Demonstrated Social Impact

Outstanding Customer Service—Business

We all want to be well cared for when it comes to doing business. An organization that excels in providing outstanding customer service is bound to get our attention, and drive value throughout the community as a place that we want to send our family, friends and colleagues.


  • An organization that goes above and beyond the job and/or consumer expectations
  • High quality service from beginning to end – the amount and quality of assistance given to customers
  • An organization’s behaviour or activities that help improve morale and public relations

Next week: Inclusivity and Agri-business.

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When Nicole Crosby came to Sarnia-Lambton from the London area about 12 years ago, she was already an experienced financial service professional, having worked in banks in that area.

And while she knew practically no one in this area, she was determined to do something about it.

That something was to join the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and become active in the business community.

‘I knew I needed to get to know people and I knew the Chamber was a great way to get to know the community and in particular the business people here,” she said. “Since then, I’ve probably served on every single one of the Chamber’s committees.”

Earlier this year, Nicole joined the board of directors of the Chamber, a logical step as far as she is concerned.

“I’ve continued with the Chamber as a way to maintain business relationships,” Nicole added. “At one point, I was self-employed and Chamber membership is not only a great way to network but just to get to know what’s going on in the community. It helps keep me aware and involved.”

Is there a Chamber member that you feel would make an interesting profile for this newsletter? Let us know! Send an email to Chamber president and CEO Shirley de Silva

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The local franchise office of Express Employment Professionals is once again partnering with the Inn of the Good Shepherd as part of its Brand It Blue, a company-wide philanthropic initiative.

This will be the third year that Express Employment Professionals, a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, has worked with the Inn, with a food drive being hosted at its 347 Christina Street N. office.

Donations of non-perishable food and personal care items will be accepted through Friday, June 21, but as Bruce Hein, franchise owner said, the firm’s clients are also being encouraged to participate in the food drive (Express Employment employees will pick up the donations.

On June 22, Express volunteers will deliver items to the Inn.

Over the last two years, nearly 200 local businesses have participated in the food drive.

“The summertime is an especially difficult season for food banks,” said Hein. “The donations we receive will help provide meals for families in Sarnia-Lambton.”

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When it comes to games that bring together an enthusiastic crowd and give those competitive souls among us the “fix” they need, there’s nothing like a Trivia Night challenge.

If we’ve described one of your passions, you’ll want to mark Wednesday, July 17 on your calendar as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce hosts a “90s Trivia Night” at the Refined Fool Brewing Co.’s downtown location (137 Davis Street).

Tickets, which can be purchased HERE, are just $15 and there are ONLY 50 tickets available for this event. Registration starts at 6 p.m. and Trivia Time is from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

There will be prizes, food, fun (and yes, beer). We’ll keep this on our radar and hope you will too!

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Nominations can be done online.   Please click “read more” below and get started.

For nomination online form  CLICK HERE .

The Outstanding Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala in Lambton County with a single focus on celebrating business success.

The OBAAs, which celebrate incredible innovations and achievements, is unique in its engagement of a broad range of industry sectors and sizes. We will be celebrating this year on Friday, October 18th.


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This month’s Business After 5, which takes place on Wednesday, June 19, is being made possible by our friends at Starlight Casino Point Edward.

This event is a great opportunity for some networking and reconnecting for Chamber members, especially as summer begins to heat up.

Starlight has a lot to show off, especially after its recent makeover and rebranding and the Chamber is delighted to play a part in helping spread the word.

Expect a warm welcome on June 19 as Starlight Casino Point Edward shows just how inviting it can be!

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In what turned out to be a highly competitive process, four local women—Carlie Pitka, Nicole Newman, Stephany Borthwick, and Laura Batista—were the top prize winners of “WIN This Space,” an annual program organized by the Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation.

The winner’s prize package presented to Lovewell Birth Collective included a one-year membership in the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

The LIVE finale took place at the Lambton College Event Centre last Thursday.

The top prize of a one year’s lease on a commercial space will help kickstart Lovewell Birth Collective’s entrepreneurial journey.

We look forward to welcoming Lovewell Birth Collective to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber community, said Shirley de Silva, President and CEO.



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With the nomination period well underway for the 2019 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, we continue our series highlighting the various categories under which you can put forward your favourite business (or individual).

The Sarnia Lambton Business Achievement Awards (OBAAs) is the most recognized industry gala with a single focus on celebrating business success.

Now in its 30th year, this year’s OBAA will take place on Friday, October 18 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia.

Nominations can be done online. Just CLICK HERE to get started.

This week’s feature categories are Marketing & Promotion and Health, Safety & Environmental Leadership.

Marketing & Promotion

The Marketing and Promotion category will showcase organizations looking for ways to communicate everything their firm does to stand out from the crowd. There’s little point if no one knows what great work an organization does, which is where marketing and promotion prowess comes into play.


Demonstrate a well-designed and executed outreach plan geared to expanding a product/service/business reach through various marketing & promotion strategies. Show creativity and forward thinking in advertising design and/or market outreach strategies.

Health, Safety & Environmental Leadership

Recognizes an organization or business that demonstrates leading environmental, social, and health and safety performance.


Demonstration of leadership in the following sectors:

• Corporate Governance: Third-party recognition of HSE management system (ex. IEC Safety Management Assessment; Ontario Certificate of Recognition (COR), ISO 14001, other accreditation.

• Risk & Crisis Management: Emergency response planning. Participation in CAER. Enrollment/active use of My CNN. Evidence of company emergency response processes linked to municipal response processes.

• Environmental Reporting: Environmental performance targets set and tracked related to site conditions, process emissions, waste reduction, housekeeping, etc.

• Social factors: Workplace processes that motivate, recognize and support employee involvement in HSE initiatives. Support of an active Joint Health and Safety Committee. Active involvement in HSE related associations and demonstrated leadership in the field.

• Performance: Absence of adverse regulatory reporting/exceedances. Incident data maintained and performance recognized as a strong performer vs. peer groups.

Next week: Non-profit and Outstanding Customer Service—Business.

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Accessibility in Canada is inadequately addressing the barriers nearly four million Canadians face. Within the next 20 years, that number is expected to soar to over nine million, but by creating a more accessible Canada, there is a potential to unlock $16.8 billion in GDP by increasing our economy’s productive capacity by 2030, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

Ultimately, improving accessibility not only betters the quality of life for persons with disabilities but would also dramatically increase their labour force participation and consumer spending. Our members have vocalized finding and retaining skilled staff among their top issues, yet there is an entire pool of educated and qualified Canadians with disabilities who are waiting to be hired. With job retention rates 72% higher among people with disabilities, it makes good cents sense to invest in creating an accessible work environment.

Assessing Accessibility

With one in seven Canadian adults currently living with a mobility, vision or hearing disability, tangible improvements in the built environment are needed to improve accessibility and to promote equality and inclusion for Canadians with disabilities. At our annual general meeting and convention, held last fall, more than 300 local chambers of commerce voted in support of a policy resolution to make Canada truly accessible and inclusive by recommending the federal government adopt the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification Program as a voluntary complement to the accessibility requirements of the National Building Code. The program provides the roadmap for the adoption of universal principles and a way for all levels of governments to work together to improve the built environment.

But, the responsibility for the built environment can’t fall solely on the government. Businesses must lead the way in improving accessibility in their workplaces. From contrasting floor and wall colours to adjustable desk heights, there are a number of measures businesses can implement.

Including Inclusiveness

Acknowledging the value that inclusion can bring to an organization and the positive impact it can have on the Canadian economy, we built our headquarters to respect the design priorities reflected in the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification Program and achieved certification this past September. The program measures the level of meaningful access beyond building code, and is based upon the holistic user experience of people with varying disabilities affecting their mobility, vision and hearing.

It is time to access the ability of all Canadians, which is why we are encouraging businesses across Canada to be early adopters of this program and to be leaders in helping build a more accessible nation.

This “5 Minutes for Business” comes from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce which includes the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as one of its members.

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It’s an age-old expression, but when it comes to underscoring the economy in Sarnia-Lambton, there really is strength in numbers.

Even more to the point, those who propose and approve laws and regulations at every level of government know just how effective an organization your Chamber of Commerce is when it comes to representing the interests of business.

And while we live in an era where the pace of change seems to be ever-increasing, at least one thing has remained consistently true and that is the influence that is exerted by a network of Chambers of Commerce, at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

Almost every week, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce receives the kind of contact that represents an implicit acknowledgement of the influence exerted by those who create and maintain elements of our economy.

Either in communication that asks for the support of the business community or seeks the opinion of business ahead of a legislative initiative, it is clear that the Chamber is viewed as a place representing clarity in how those who drive the economy are likely to respond.

Throughout the year, your Chamber takes that role seriously, certainly in our response to invitations to provide input in the form of consultations.

But it’s also why we engage through our participation as a member of the Chamber Network at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which we see as an essential extension of our role in building consensus and—yes—the strength in numbers argument that serves us all so well.

Not long ago, representatives from your Chamber added our local voice to the Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and we’ll do the same when the gathering of members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce takes place in the near future.

What this comes down to is exercising the role of advocacy throughout the year, building on the ongoing initiatives that begin and end with the interests of local business, added to a chorus that represent a clarity of voice from those across the province and the entire country.

None of this happens by accident.

We take our role, of advising on issues that will impact owners of businesses—small, medium or large—very seriously and with good reason.

While we are explicitly non-partisan in our approach to advocacy, we do stand up for the interests of members who see us as being able to effectively represent their interests on a consistent basis with sound economic arguments.

The Chamber is often one of the first places that society as a whole will turn to when formal debates over policy—especially in the context of an election. That in itself is something that has occurred on a consistent basis for decades now.

Clearly, there is a need for engagement throughout the year and with those who have a role in building a society where rules and regulations are part of life.

It’s part of a democratic process that ultimately makes a stronger society.

Our message is that our role, one that includes a strong sense of advocacy when it comes to the interests of business, is as relevant today as it has ever been.

My encouragement is that you join us in making our efforts even more effective in the months and years ahead.

Join us in bringing even more value for our society.


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