The Annual General Meeting of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will take place on Wednesday, February 28, 2018, in the Gateway Room of the St. Clair Corporate Centre.

James Temple, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at PwC Canada (formerly Price Waterhouse Cooper), will speak at the event.

Temple is considered one of Canada’s leading voices on corporate social innovation, with his role at PwC providing oversight to ways the firm can embed social, environmental and economic integrity into the fabric of its business.

He has presented workshops at venues such as the World Volunteer Forum and the International Corporate Citizenship Conference and has been featured in articles and videos for TED, the Globe and Mail, Forbes, Strategy Magazine, and Canadian Business.

In 2012, Temple was named one of the world’s top Corporate Social Responsibility practitioners by the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence. He was also an inaugural Young Professional of the Year.

We look forward to being inspired and re-energized when it comes to learning about ways members of the business community can use their skills, voices and relationships to become catalysts for change.

More details on the Chamber’s AGM will be forthcoming as we get closer to the February 28 date.




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For members and leadership of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, networking has always been a key component of a better future, both professionally and personally.

Key examples of how networking has played a role include the monthly “Business After 5” series of get-togethers, events that are typically held the third Wednesday of every month, with various businesses hosting, opportunities that are often scheduled several weeks or months ahead.

But professionals who have studied the “art of networking” have identified elements of networking that those who want to make better use of a fundamental business building tool may be able to use.

That strategy starts by understanding how an event like the Chamber’s Business After 5 works—and how those who attend take advantage of opportunities (or more to the point, miss out on others).

We’ve divided the focus of a networking strategy into three components:

Personal—Chamber members, perhaps naturally, gravitate toward people they know. These may be close friends, people with whom they may developed a casual relationship (maybe even at the last Chamber gathering), or the “Oh, look, I haven’t seen you in ages!” moment.

Operational— This category of networking has its focus on a specific industry or business relationship that may be shared by the people connecting at an event. They may be working in the same office or nearby. Or they may be part of the same industry. There’s a natural connection.

Strategic—This is the category that might be called the “undiscovered country” of networking at an event like Business After 5. It’s one that requires some thinking about what the networkers are intending to accomplish, which may be how to solve a particular problem, finding an expert who might be able to assist in a task, or identify those who could be suppliers to a firm.

While the first two networking categories—Personal and Operational—are in themselves valuable and necessary, the key is not to make them exclusive. The result would be the dreaded “cliques” that weaken the overall usefulness of a networking event.

It may take more energy to shift into “strategic” mode, but the rewards are bound to make that type of thinking—and the value that results—worth it in the end.

Do you have your own “lessons learned” when it comes to networking? Your ideas are welcome and may become the basis of a future article in the Chamber Times. We look forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, the Chamber is moving forward on a strategy to help members develop their networking skills. Working with Chamber member Karen Minty and her 40 Hours business (, we’re creating a series of workshops that will help set us on the path to a transformative experience.

Stay tuned and happy networking!


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As the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce moves forward on an exciting project to create a coffee table book that will showcase our area, the invitation has been extended for a very limited number of companies and organizations to become involved.

The book, working title Sarnia Lambton Simply Sensational, is being produced with the help of Richard Bain, a renowned Canadian landscape photographer, who is already putting together key elements of the project.

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

The book will have a foreword written by famed astronaut Chris Hadfield, who grew up in Sarnia-Lambton – the first Canadian to command a mission of the International Space Station.

Richard Bain has already published a number of coffee table books in partnership with some of the broader region’s Chambers of Commerce, including Stratford, Niagara, London, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo. Without exception,  chambers have been very complimentary of the positive results generated by those projects in their communities.

No more than 30 sponsors will, on acceptance, receive several books to distribute to their 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:

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Photo by Helloquence on Unsplash

For any organization, looking to the future and reinvesting in not only the current generation of members but those who will grow into leadership roles, in their business life and the community as a whole, are both key initiatives.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is no different.

Those realities are behind a direction that we’ve now embraced, which is to better integrate our ‘next generation’ group— ‘Young Professionals’—into the mainstream of the Chamber’s activities.

That effort will include an ongoing mentorship and educational growth component, along with a strategy that seeks to provide space—with both professional and business social elements—that will also be consistent throughout the entire Chamber organization.

The strategy behind the change reflects a better understanding of the core mandate that the Chamber has in the business community and how members who are relatively new in their professional roles are able to build relationships and see their career journey develop over time.

We believe these are exciting times in this period when the changes that every generation has experienced create learning experiences for all of us. Our Young Professionals will well positioned to help build a core leadership component for the future and an even more dynamic Sarnia Lambton.

For more information on Young Professionals or how to become involved in its development, please contact or call 519.336.2400.




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Representatives of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce are preparing to make a presentation to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as part of annual pre-budget consultations, but individual members still have time to bring forward any concerns on key issues.

Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber, will be among those travelling to Windsor for the Friday, January 19 hearing.

“We have been specifically invited to present our views on several important subjects, including the impact Bill 148 is expected to have on our economy and the impact the Government’s Cap & Trade strategy will have on our members,” said de Silva. “We know from experience that Governments at all levels have an obligation to take the pulse of the public on important issues, including budgets. Taking the time to exercise that right and responsibility is something we take seriously but it begins with action.”

Members can contact the Chamber office with any questions and the Government has set a deadline for public comments ahead of the budget. The deadline for written submissions is Friday, Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.

Written submissions should be addressed to Clerk Eric Rennie ( or by mail to:
99 Wellesley St. West
Toronto, ON M7A 1A2




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Chamber members are specifically being invited to participate in this year’s EmployerOne Survey, an initiative of the Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board that will ultimately inform prospective employees, as well as students and job seekers.

The survey, which can be accessed HERE, is a key method being used by the SLWDB to bridge any gaps that may exist between demand and supply in the workforce. The deadline for participation in the survey is January 31, 2018.

The survey asks questions about your current workforce, hiring trends, skills in demand, and recruitment strategies. This survey is best completed by owners, managers, and human resource departments. Any questions on the survey should be directed to Shauna Carr, executive director of the SLWDB at (519) 332-0000.


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This is exciting!  The Chamber’s Business After 5 tradition continues with the first event of the season taking place on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 at the St. Clair Corporate Centre, 265 Front Street, Sarnia.

Hosted by Grind Cafe & Catering Co, a new Chamber business, this month’s Business After 5 (to be held in the Gateway Room), is a great chance to network and “catch up” with long-standing connections—and, of course, meet new members.

We are all busy, of course, says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Chamber. But we also need to make time to form new business relationships and the Business After 5 is the ideal opportunity for this to happen. We hope to see you there!

There is no admission cost for Chamber members and guests (a $10 entrance fee applies to others).


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Members are being asked to participate in a survey intended to assess the impact of various issues involving the North American Free Trade Agreement. The confidential survey, which is being initiated by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, will inform discussions with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, policy advice to both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada as it applies to NAFTA.

Members have until Monday, January 15, 2018 to respond to the survey, a link to which can be found HERE.

As part of a strategy pursued by the current U.S. government, NAFTA has been reopened, with discussions between the United States, Canada and Mexico ongoing since last summer.

“Opportunities such as this one are part of what makes the Chamber network such a powerful and influential one,” said Shirley de Silva, president and CEO of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce. “But the real strength comes when individuals take the time to participate in these invitations and we hope that will be the case here.”


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Sarnia-Lambton Member of Parliament Marilyn Gladu has earned the congratulations for seeing her Private Member’s Bill—C-277—enacted into law.

The new legislation, also known as the “Framework on Palliative Care in Canada Act,” received Royal Assent on Tuesday, December 12, 2017.

Now that the law has been enacted, the federal government must come up with a cohesive national plan that will bridge provincial action with the effect of giving people who are dying the option of quality “end-of-life” care.

She explained the process that took place in order for the Private Member’s Bill to become law.

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Subject matter expert Anthony Folan of Integral HR Solutions is presenting a “Marijuana in the Workplace” half-day seminar that will provide employers with “must know” information on the subject.

The event, which is scheduled for January 18, 2018, from 8 a.m. to noon, will take place at the Hampton Inn in Sarnia/Point Edward. The sponsor is the Sarnia Lambton Industrial Alliance. The cost is $40 (plus HST) per person with the fee including a hot buffet breakfast.

Attendees will learn:

—Employers rights and responsibilities around “Marijuana in the Workplace”
—Fitness for Duty—Police recommendations
—How to determine whether your organization is ready for Bill 148, including an Employment Standards Update
—Proven performance management strategies
—Bulletproof terminations
—Creating an effective workplace cell phone policy.

To register for this “limited space” event, click HERE.

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