The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are looking for your insight on what matters to business amidst the pandemic. The interactive results from the first round are LIVE!

This survey will take a deeper dive on business confidence as well as other pressing issues. Tell us how confident you are in Ontario’s economy and recovery, and what your organization’s outlook is for 2021. Share your views by taking a short three-minute survey here.

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Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy

The new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy provides rent and mortgage support until June 2021 for qualifying organizations affected by COVID-19. The rent subsidy would be provided directly to tenants, while also providing support to property owners. The new rent subsidy would support businesses, charities, and nonprofits that have suffered a revenue drop, by subsidizing a percentage of their expenses, on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of 65 percent of eligible expenses until December 19, 2020. Organizations would be able to make claims retroactively for the period that began September 27 and ends October 24, 2020. More details to come. A top-up Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy of 25 per cent for organizations temporarily shut down by a mandatory public health order issued by a qualifying public health authority, in addition to the 65 per cent subsidy. More details to come.

 

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

The extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) until June 2021, which would continue to protect jobs by helping businesses keep employees on the payroll and encouraging employers to re-hire their workers. The subsidy would remain at the current subsidy rate of up to a maximum of 65 percent of eligible wages until December 19, 2020. Read more here.

 

Canada Emergency Business Account 

An expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), will enable businesses, and not-for-profits eligible for CEBA loans—and continue to be seriously impacted by the pandemic— access to an interest-free loan of up to $20,000, in addition to the original CEBA loan of $40,000. Half of this additional financing would be forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022. Additionally, the application deadline for CEBA is being extended to December 31, 2020. Read more here. 

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The Business Diversity Economic Expo is a virtual trade show event for diversifying 

supply chains & celebrating inclusivity. This year, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is using its convening power to address the equity gap in business with the Business Diversity Economic Expo, a business to business virtual trade show and networking event, putting a spotlight on businesses which are Black-owned, Indigenous-owned, People of Colour-owned, Women-Owned, LGTBQ2+-owned, and businesses owned by People with Disabilities. 

Dates: 

  • October 28: 11:30 am- 3:30 pm 
  • November 17: 10:30 am – 2:30 pm

Interested in accelerating diversification in your supply chain? If you are a procurement officer or supply chain leader from a large private sector, public sector or academic institution, apply to get your tickets to the Business Diversity Economic Expo here.

Interested in exhibiting at the Business Diversity Economic Expo? Fill our the application to exhibit here.

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Three Themes Emerge from Latest KPMG Pulse Report: KPMG recently shared that it had surveyed 1,300 CEOs globally in January/February (pre-COVID) and then in July/August (post-COVID) conducted a Pulse Survey to see if and how findings have changed. CEOs’ priorities have changed. There are three key themes that have come out of the Canadian findings: growth in a digitally accelerated economy, digital workforce enablement and leading with purpose. Read more about it here.

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Hilton has rolled out a new program promoted as “Workspaces by Hilton”. This program offers guests the opportunity to use the bright, clean, spacious and quiet guest rooms as an alternative place to work during the day.

Your remote office will include:

  • Quiet, socially distant guest rooms 
  • Peace of mind backed by the power of Hilton CleanStay 
  • Comfortable desk chair in a modern & well-lit work area 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Access to All Hotel Amenities
  • Hilton Honors Members. Earn points on WorkSpaces by Hilton reservations. 

Book your WorkSpace at Hampton Inn by Hilton Sarnia. Call 519-339-8000.

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Sarnia-Lambton Rebound’s staff faced the pandemic head-on and accepted the challenge to be creative with our youth programming and bounced back on a virtual level. Since March, Rebound has offered youth, ages 8 to 24 on-line programming on various platforms, such as Zoom and Facebook and continues to drop off activity and goody bags to youth in need of supplies.

“Despite the havoc that COVID-19 has created in the world, Rebound is excited to present the following video, created by Dragonfly Media to let our community know that we’re still very much here, but we need their help in terms of donations,” stated Carrie McEachran, Executive Director. “We’re hoping the community will connect with the message and share the video on their social media platforms to gain momentum. Since we’ve had to cancel all fundraisers this year, our goal is to raise $50,000 by the end of the year and support programming that doesn’t receive any funding, such as Rebound Rocks, the r.Lounge and Spectrum LGBTQ25+”

To watch the video, click here.

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In honor of Small Business Week, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, announced an investment of $12 million to support the Canada United campaign bringing the fund to $14 million. Created and launched by RBC, Canada United is a national movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. As part of the Canada United movement, RBC brought together more than 70 of Canada’s leading brands, the national chamber of commerce network and business associations to rally Canadians to “show local some love” by buying, dining and shopping local.

The purpose of the fund is to REIMBURSE small businesses with grants of up to $5,000 to cover the costs incurred to reopen safely and/or adopt digital technologies in moving their business online:

  • Purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves.
  • Renovated physical space to adhere to local, Provincial or Federal reopening guidelines.
  • Developed or improved e-commerce capabilities for your business.

Application Intake Opens Monday, October 26. 

To see if you are eligible, click here. 

 

To apply, click here:

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The accelerated need for employees to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the inherent interconnectedness of the personal and professional realms. This abrupt change in working conditions has driven greater demands for cloud service and security tools, emphasizing our need to communicate sensitive data regardless of geography. 

Two of the most-used technologies have been collaboration (cloud) and security (cyber) tools, with one in five small businesses in Canada experiencing a cyber-threat or attack over the past few months.

Cloud security breaches regularly make headlines – but often, the challenge exists not in the security of the cloud itself, but in the policies regarding security and control of the technology.  

Supporting a remote workforce requires a modern and flexible network alongside uncompromised connectivity and ongoing user education. 

When configured correctly to implement security monitoring, cloud services can be used effectively and securely. This allows employees working from home to:

  • Access and retrieve all the data and information as if onsite 
  • Collaborate via software as a service (SaaS), replicating the office environment through cloud-based virtual tools 
  • Easily use, share, and collaborate on sensitive and confidential information
  • Acknowledge that cybersecurity involves understanding your network, acknowledging the risks, and knowing how to respond to threats promptly

As the work-from-home trend continues well beyond the pandemic and will likely manifest itself as a permanent structure for many companies and their employees, cloud security will become an increasingly integral part of everyday business. A not-so-daunting must-have after all!

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Nearly 7 in 10 Canadian hiring decision-makers agree that looking at a candidate’s social media profiles is an effective way to screen applicants, according to a new survey from The Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

Furthermore, 68% believe employers should screen all applicant’s social media profiles, while the majority (65%) say they use social networking sites to research potential job candidates—with 2 in 5 saying they do so for every or most candidates.

Seventy-seven percent of Canadian hiring decision-makers believe employees should maintain a “work-appropriate” social media presence.

For those who use social networking to research candidates, more than half (52%) have found content on a social networking site that caused them not to hire a candidate.



Social Media and Recruiting

“Looking at a candidate’s social media profiles has become a common screening method in recent years,” said Bruce Hein, franchise owner of the Sarnia Express franchise office. “However, I wouldn’t recommend using just social media as a screening tool.”

Job Seekers Lacking Social Media Accounts

In the Harris Poll, nearly a quarter (24%) of hiring decision-makers say they are not likely to consider a candidate that does not have an online presence.

“While it might be expected for a sales or marketing professional to have a LinkedIn profile, there is nothing wrong with choosing to stay off of social media,” Hein added. “If anything, employers might appreciate knowing that their new hire won’t be wasting time at work scrolling through their news feed.”

 

Cleaning Up Social Media

With the country continuing to reopen from the COVD-19 shutdown, Express experts say now is the ideal time for job seekers to clean up their social media accounts to avoid losing out on employment opportunities.

“Remember that even outside of work, you represent your company,” Hein continued. “Inappropriate posts have caused employees to be disciplined by their employer and even terminated.”

“While social media is meant to be a fun place to connect with our family, friends, and community, a wise rule is not to post content you wouldn’t want your boss or coworkers to see.”

“Social media can be a great tool for connecting with others, but it’s important to remember that potential employers are looking at your accounts, too,” Express CEO Bill Stoller said. “Take the time now to clean up your online presence to avoid the heartache later of losing out on the job.”

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The pandemic has highlighted challenges for small businesses: their access to digital technologies and skills. In advance of Small Business Week 2020, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, and partners are kicking off a vital conversation today about these gaps with the launch of their report, Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills. The report is a Skills Next project and a collaboration between the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Public Policy Forum, and the Future Skills Centre.

“We are deeply concerned about the impacts the COVID-19 crisis is having on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities, and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario,” said [Allan Calvert, CEO, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “They are the backbone of the Canadian economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of jobs in the private sector. Yet they face critical labour shortages, skill mismatches, and challenges related to broadband internet access that threaten their competitiveness.”

“Broadband is a basic infrastructure requirement in today’s economy, but the ongoing pandemic has made it even more essential to public health and economic resilience,” added Ashley Challinor, Vice President, Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “For businesses and workers, particularly those practicing physical distancing, connectivity is necessary to ensure they can remain productive by using digital tools such as video conferencing. Without adequate access, those in rural and remote regions will be vulnerable to additional layoffs and business closures.”

Canadian Small Business Week takes place during the third week of October every year. This year, the celebration will occur on October 18-24, 2020. Over the course of Small Business Week, the OCC and Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will be participating in the “Small Business: Too Big To Ignore” campaign across the province, actively engaging small businesses in discussions about the top obstacles impeding their growth and the ways in which these challenges can be overcome.

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