A concert planned for Sunday, December 2 is intended to bring together the culture of the ancient Celts alongside Canada’s indigenous peoples in their common reverence for nature and parity of esteem.

Organizer Dave Clark, who is working with the W.B. Yeats Foundation on this production, has put together”Bridges of the Spirit,” a Canadian Celtic Concert that will include poetry, song, music and dance as a way to bring both cultures together.

Taking place at the Holiday Inn in Point Edward (from 2 p.m.), the concert will feature numerous Celtic and Indigenous performers, including Rant Maggie Rant, The Living Celtic Souls, Smoke Signals, Jeff Black, Red “Dog” George, Alyson Fischer, Kim Carr, Seamus “Wolf Son,” and Dancers from the Sarnia School of Irish Dance.

There will be entertainers from First Nations communities and those of Scottish, Uilleann & Highland Pipers and others at the event.

Tickets are priced at $25 and are available through Eventbrite.


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As we approach Remembrance Day, we can’t help but think of the special link that exists with those who served our country . . . in war and peace . . . and especially, of course, those who paid the ultimate price.

When people enlisted for service to our nation and the principles of freedom that came down to war abroad, they had left their jobs to do so—and in some cases, the businesses they owned were at least temporarily left in the hands of others.

Many of those who served their country had strong ties to the Chamber and we especially remember their sacrifice on this day.

As we approach Remembrance Day this Sunday, we ask that you consider all that was given on our behalf.

The peace and prosperity—and especially the peace we enjoy in our nation—came at a price that those who served were willing to pay.

Our acknowledgment of that sacrifice is something we at the Chamber and the entire business community are privileged to extend.

On behalf of the members of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, we pledge along with so many others, never to forget the sacrifice that was made for the freedom we enjoy today.

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Representatives of Hydro One recently reached out to the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce as a point of contact for a roundtable discussion on issues related to a critical energy infrastructure for the area.

Hydro One’s key representative at the roundtable was Jason Fitzsimmons, chief corporate affairs and customer care officer.

For the roundtable, the Chamber brought together leaders of the business community, including representatives from Bluewater Power, Sarnia Construction Association, Lambton Federation of Agriculture, Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, Imperial, Shell, and the Bowman Centre for Sustainable Energy.

Among the topics discussed were the new transmission station in Enniskillen Township, various capital projects, and corporate restructuring and long-term planning by Hydro One.

Also discussed were reliability improvements planned, energy costs, interconnectivity to other provinces and U.S. states, and time of use billing.

“We welcome these opportunities to connect our members with companies like Hydro One,” said Shirley de Silva, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “This roundtable was especially important given the role Hydro One plays in the development of the critical energy infrastructure in our region.”


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A coffee table book organized by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is just about here with an expected delivery of November 20 at the Chamber offices.

Copies of the book, “Discoveries that Matter: Simply Sensational,” will be available for pickup by sponsors.

The project, which was undertaken by the Chamber as a way to promote the Sarnia-Lambton area, was produced by Richard Bain, with a foreword by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who hails from the area.

Richard, who has worked with numerous Chambers of Commerce on similar projects, said “Discoveries that Matter: Simply Sensational” was 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.

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A roundtable held last Friday with key representatives from the new provincial government, including Premier Doug Ford and local MPP Bob Bailey, saw Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce representatives involved in the discussion of the provincial “Open for Business” campaign.

Topics discussed included labour reforms, the reduction of red tape, the Oversized Load Corridor, issues related to local bio and chemical industries, and trade.

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A recent announcement by the new provincial government to repeal and replace Bill 148, a piece of legislation that was deemed “too much, too fast” by chambers of commerce across Ontario,  is welcomed by the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

“These changes are encouraging,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “We see the corrective steps being proposed through the Making Ontario Open for Business as being a bold step toward creating a stronger and more prosperous province.”

The new legislation will maintain some important provisions such as emergency leave for cases of domestic or sexual violence and 3 weeks holiday after 5 years of working for the same employer. It also includes much-needed improvements to the ratio of journeyperson-to-apprentice.

“It is now more critical than ever to create an economy that ensures both employers and employees are prepared for the labour market needs of tomorrow,” said de Silva. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences of Bill 148 came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.”

According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the months following the introduction of Bill 148, prices have increased for everyday consumer goods and services, impacting every family in Ontario and in the long term, Bill 148 was expected to put between 50,000 and 180,000 jobs at risk and cost the economy at least $150 million.

Ontario College of Trades

In announcing changes to the skilled trades apprenticeship system, the new provincial government sees the need to be more responsive to the needs of the economy and to address a dire labour shortage.

The Ontario College of Trades has become overly focused on enforcement and regulation, limiting its ability to serve the public interest by attracting and training new tradespeople.

With that in mind, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber joined with the Ontario Chamber Network in advocating for a modernization of the College of Trades and the apprenticeship application system, promoting the skilled trades as a viable career option for young people, and revising the system to create more opportunities within the skilled trades.

“Because those reforms were not made through the Ontario College of Trades, the recommended dismantling of that needless bureaucracy is going forward, with responsibility for trades regulation going back to the Province,” said de Silva. “We welcome that move.”

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At a workshop event being jointly sponsored by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce—through its Global Business Opportunities Community (GBOC)—and the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, business owners will discover ways to “take the LEAP” when it comes to growing their business globally.

The upcoming LEAP Workshop—short for Launch your Export Action Plan—will take place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

The workshop will be presented by trade experts from the Canada-Ontario Export Fortum and the Government of Ontario.

Attendees will find out how to assess their export readiness and identify the skills needed to succeed in a new market.

They will also be able to connect with an Ontario Trade Advisor who will help with the development of an Export Action Plan and gain access to the Canada Ontario Export Forum’s toolbox, which includes export resources, programming and sources of funding).

To register for this FREE workshop, click HERE.

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Are you looking to: sharpen your competitive edge, develop a business plan,  launch a new product,  expand, apply for a business loan or develop a succession plan?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you should consider attending a complimentary, 90-minute workshop on Effective Market Research being held at the Chamber board offices on November 29.

Successful businesses rely on credible, replicatable market intelligence.  However, most small and medium-sized companies don’t have a dedicated marketing department.  This workshop will help you understand what market research is and, because time is money, show you how to locate the data you need in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

The workshop will be delivered by Reginald Hutcherson, whose strategic business planning firm has advised several Fortune 500 companies, including Colgate Palmolive, Hewlett-Packard and Spar Aerospace. Hutcherson is well qualified to help Chamber members take that first step in understanding and obtaining the kind of market intelligence that can help you grow your business.

A recent arrival to Sarnia-Lambton, Reg is bringing his insights to a select group of chamber members in a no-cost, 90-minute, interactive workshop.  Don’t miss this opportunity to hone your market research skills.  It will be time well spent.

The November 29 workshop is first of a two-part series titled “Concepts and Ideas Used By Successful Businesses.”

Part one:  “Time & Cost Effective Market Research”- November 29, 2018
Part two:   “Defining Your Target Market”—will be a follow-up to the November 29 workshop.

To register for this workshop CLICK HERE.

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There was excitement in the air at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, with dozens of nominees gathering with hundreds of their, colleagues, friends, and family for one of the signature events of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Our Outstanding Business Achievement Awards, the 29th annual event, was all it was expected to be—and more.

For starters, there’s something to be said—especially in a time where modern business fashion is more likely to be “casual” than anything else—for a “dress-up” event that makes us all feel a bit brighter.

Suit and tie. A dress designed to catch the eye and draw more than a compliment or two.

It’s all part of the OBAA experience.

But then there’s also the excitement of the nominees who brought their very best to panels of judges who themselves, on the Friday, October 12 night of the OBAAs, were not aware of who the winners would be.

Some 15 categories were judged from among nominees made earlier this summer, plus one “Chamber Champion” selected by a group of past chairs of the Chamber’s board.

None of this would have been possible without the generous lead sponsorship of Libro Credit Union, and for their support we are very grateful.

A special thanks goes to McFarlan Rowlands/Economical Select for sponsoring the Nominee Reception/Rehearsal evening.

Here, then, are the categories, sponsors, nominees and, of course, our winners of this year’s OBAA event:

Agri-businesssponsored by Cargill Ltd


High Park Company, Hog Wild Farms, Penta TMR, Sipkens Nurseries, Podolinsky Equipment Ltd.


Podolinsky Equipment Ltd.

Business of the Yearsponsored by Scotiabank


Dragonfly Media, Guardian Real Estate Management, NOVA Chemicals, Royal Protective Services Sarnia


NOVA Chemicals

Cool Place to Worksponsored by TMRRW Inc


Blackwater Coffee Company, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, Rally Engineering, Rebound, TWD Technologies, The Painted Cat

Winner—EXIT Realty Twin Bridges

Exporter of the Year—sponsored by Global Affairs Canada


AG Event Graphics, New England Arbors, Zen Yarn Garden

Winner—AG Event Graphics

Health Safety and Environmental Leadershipsponsored by Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association and Industrial Education Cooperative


Ontario Choice Tree Service, Terrapure Environmental

Winner—Terrapure Environmental

Inclusivitysponsored by Cogeco


Children’s Aid Society of Sarnia Lambton, Goodwill, Grace United Church, Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions, RBC

Winner—Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions

Marketing and Promotionssponsored by Bluewater Power


FortyHours, Greg’s Auto Detailing, PM Entertainment Group & Foundation (Bluewater BorderFest)

Winner—PM Entertainment Group & Foundation (Bluewater BorderFest)

Non-Profitsponsored by LEHDER Environmental Services


Family Counselling Centre, Lambton Elderly Outreach, Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton, Sarnia Community Foundation, Twin Bridges NPLC, Workplace Group

Winner—Sarnia Community Foundation

Outstanding Customer Service (Business)sponsored by RBC Royal Bank


A Taste of Britain, Big Fish, Bluewater Hearing, Deb’s Shoe Gallery, Math Plus Tutors, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, Mortgage Wellness, Freshii, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique, LBM Consulting/Selectpath

Winner—Bluewater Hearing

Social Responsibilitysponsored by Pinchin Ltd


Bushido Sing Judo/Jiu-jitsu Club, Lambton College, Preferred Towing, Sarnia Green Drinks

Winner—Lambton College

Tech-novationsponsored by CIBC


Cogeco, LEADWAVE Technologies, Corporation of City of Sarnia

Winner (tied)—LEADWAVE Technologies and Corporation of the City of Sarnia

Business Leadershipsponsored by Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership


Julie Jenkins, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges, Judith Morris, Lambton College, Bill Yurchuk, Lambton Elderly Outreach, Lindsay Davey, Tiny Tots Sensory Baby Toys & Sewing Club

Winner—Judith Morris, Lambton College

Entrepreneursponsored by Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation

Adaleah Lacey, Adaleah Lacey Photography; Dean Haldenby, Haldenby Financial Group; Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW


Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW

Member of the Year, sponsored by Imperial Theatre


Dave Watson, Goodwill, Michael John Kooy, RBC Dominion Securities


Dave Watson, Goodwill

Outstanding Customer Service (Individual)sponsored by Air Canada


Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company; Donna Paddock, Danske Industries; Christian Willemsen, The Co-operators; David Burrows, The Show with David Burrows; Caroline Bekkers, Canadian Cancer Society; Aaron Deactis, DeGroot’s Nurseries; Danielle Edgar, Lambton Pharmacy; David Pugh, Ontario Choice Tree Service; Cara Quinn, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique; Alexa Pape, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia; Luc Berube, LEADWAVE Technologies.

Winner—Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company

Chamber Championsponsored by Past Chairs

Selected by the Chamber’s Board of Directors: Franco Filia, The Co-operators Insurance

And finally … we all look forward to seeing you next year for another “Outstanding” event!

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, along with title sponsor Libro Credit Union, are pleased to announce the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards winners following last Friday’s event at the Imperial Theatre.

It was a great evening celebrating all the nominees and winners!

Agri-business—sponsored by Cargill Ltd

  • High Park Company
  • Hog Wild Farms
  • Penta TMR
  • Podolinsky Equipment Ltd. (winner)
  • Sipkens Nurseries

Business of the Year—sponsored by Scotiabank

  • Dragonfly Media
  • Guardian Real Estate Management
  • NOVA Chemicals (winner)
  • Royal Protective Services Sarnia

Cool Place to Work—sponsored by TMRRW Inc

  • Blackwater Coffee Company
  • EXIT Realty Twin Bridges (winner)
  • Rally Engineering
  • Rebound
  • TWD Technologies
  • The Painted Cat

Exporter of the Year—sponsored by Global Affairs

  • AG Event Graphics (winner)
  • New England Arbors
  • Zen Yarn Garden

Health Safety and Environmental Leadership—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association
and Industrial Education Cooperative

  • Ontario Choice Tree Service
  • Terrapure Environmental  (winner)

Inclusivity—sponsored by Cogeco

  • Children’s Aid Society of Sarnia Lambton
  • Goodwill
  • Grace United Church
  • Helen Lomax Pathways & Transitions  (winner)
  • RBC

Marketing and Promotions—sponsored by Bluewater Power

  • FortyHours
  • Greg’s Auto Detailing
  • PM Entertainment Group & Foundation  (winner)

Non-Profit—sponsored by LEHDER

  • Family Counselling Centre
  • Lambton Elderly Outreach
  • Safe Communities Sarnia-Lambton
  • Sarnia Community Foundation  (winner)
  • Twin Bridges NPLC
  • Workplace Group

Outstanding Customer Service—Business—sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

  • A Taste of Britain
  • Big Fish
  • Bluewater Hearing  (winner)
  • Deb’s Shoe Gallery
  • Math Plus Tutors
  • Young Drivers of Canada—Sarnia
  • Tourism Sarnia-Lambton
  • Mortgage Wellness
  • Freshii
  • Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique
  • LBM Consulting/Selectpath

Social Responsibility—sponsored by Pinchin Ltd

  • Bushido Sing Judo/Jiu-jitsu Club
  • Lambton College  (winner)
  • Preferred Towing
  • Sarnia Green Drinks

Tech-Novation—sponsored by CIBC

  • Cogeco
  • LEADWAVE Technologies (tied – winner)
  • Corporation of the City of Sarnia  (tied – winner)

Business Leadership—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership

  • Julie Jenkins, EXIT Realty Twin Bridges
  • Judith Morris, Lambton College  (winner)
  • Bill Yurchuk, Lambton Elderly Outreach
  • Lindsay Davey, Tiny Tots Sensory Baby Toys & Sewing Club

Entrepreneur—sponsored by Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation

  • Adaleah Lacey, Adaleah Lacey Photography
  • Dean Haldenby, Haldenby Financial Group
  • Liwordson Vijayabalan, TMRRW  (winner)

Member of the Year—sponsored by Imperial Theatre

  • Dave Watson, Goodwill  (winner)
  • Michael John Kooy, RBC Dominion Securities

Outstanding Customer Service—Individual—sponsored by Air Canada

  • Dave Duguay, Blackwater Coffee Company  (winner)
  • Donna Paddock, Danske Industries
  • Christian Willemsen, The Co-operators
  • David Burrows, The Show with David Burrows
  • Caroline Bekkers, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Aaron Deactis, DeGroot’s Nurseries
  • Danielle Edgar, Lambton Pharmacy
  • David Pugh, Ontario Choice Tree Service
  • Cara Quinn, Skin Glow Aesthetic Boutique
  • Alexa Pape, Young Drivers of Canada – Sarnia
  • Luc Berube, Leadwave

Chamber Champion—sponsored by Past Chamber Chairs

  • Franco Filia, Co-operators  (winner)
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Partners and Sponsors