Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS), the oldest and largest health and safety association in Ontario, is suggesting several “low- or no-cost” best practices that a small business owner can use to keep new and young workers safe.

—Getting on top of hazards that new and young workers may face before they start working. Check the processes and equipment these workers will be using for potential hazards, update safe work procedures, and tap into the experience of existing employees. Experienced workers often know of additional hazards and may have solutions to help control workplace risks.

—During orientation training, spend more time on how to do tasks safely, and less time on administration. “We encourage people to cover health and safety topics first, when employees’ attention is focused and they are best able to absorb new information,” said Kirsi Henry, a consultant with WSPS.

—Ensure everyone understands their health and safety rights and responsibilities. They’re the foundation of Ontario’s Internal Responsibility System, in which everyone in the workplace has a role to play in creating a safe and healthy workplace. A good first stop is the mandatory training for workers and supervisors, which is available online HERE. And it’s free.

—Use your time with new and young workers to integrate safety into the conversation. Reinforcing the value of safety during walk-throughs, coaching and staff meetings is a valuable and efficient way to help workers keep safety top of mind.

—Be a health and safety role model. “If you believe in health and safety and demonstrate it in everything that you do, employees will notice,” said Henry of the WSPS. “It’s human nature to mimic and model the culture in the workplace.”

The WSPS has a new website ( that provides roadmaps for health and safety that are based on company size.


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Overwhelming opposition by both businesses and households to a proposed tree bylaw has resulted in Sarnia City Council directing staff to withdraw the plan, at least for the time being.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce was one of the more visible in those who voiced concerns over the plan when we reached out to our members.  We feel that City Council took our members’ concerns seriously and made the right decision.

Here are links to two separate letters sent to Sarnia City Council:

On July 27, 2017, a letter sent from Shirley de Silva, CEO, and Michael John Kooy, Chair.

On October 17, 2017, a letter with summary of consultations.

City Council, which met on Monday, October 23, 2017, took staff advice to drop the tree by-law plan, which would have required businesses and homeowners to seek a permit if they wished to remove a tree.  In its place is a directive for a staff report on a proposed urban forestry management system.

The Chamber will continue, on behalf of our entire community,  to make sure the interests of business are taken into consideration.



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Your voice is being heard.

The Chamber of Commerce was invited to make a submission October 19th to the Standing Committee on Finance as part of “Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2018 Budget.”

The half-day sessions, held at the Best Western Plus on Riverside Drive, represent an opportunity for the views of businesses in Sarnia-Lambton to be included in the consultation process.

De Silva spoke to committee members about the concerns of local business, while acknowledging the government’s response to the most significant corporate tax changes in 50 years.

The government appears to have heard the enormous outcry by business organizations and is scrambling to make improvements.

As part of her presentation,  several key priorities were outlined that would improve overall business competitiveness in the 2018 Federal budget. These include:

—an increase in the threshold filing amount for HST from $30,000 to $50,000 and indexing that to inflation;

—developing a national bio-economy strategy, which would allow communities like Sarnia-Lambton to attract new businesses and develop bio-economy clusters;

—enabling VIA Rail to improve its financial position and services by supporting its plan to invest in a high-frequency corridor using dedicated tracks; and

—establishing a task force to harmonize the transportation of oversized load shipments across the country.

The full presentation document by Shirley de Silva, President and CEO  on behalf of the Chamber can be found HERE.

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The Ontario Government says it is seeking public input on impending changes to employment and labour law rules associated with workers in industries that currently may not be covered by employment standards.

Businesses in the area have until December 1, 2017 to share their ideas as part of the public consultation, which the government says is part of a broader review of the Employment Standards Act special rules and exemptions, as well as Labour Relations Act exclusions.

The first phase of the consultations is said to focus on eight occupations that are currently exempt from minimum employment standards.

Including in that list are: architects, domestic workers, homemakers, IT professionals, managerial and supervisory employees, pharmacists, residential building superintendents, janitors and caretakers, and residential care workers.

The government says it is also reviewing rights under the Labour Relations Act for domestic workers.

Further information on the government’s process for providing input can be found HERE.

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Karen Sanders, who serves as the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce board member representing the Lambton Federation of Agriculture (LFA), brings the perspective of one of the area’s most active sectors to the table.

As co-owner (with her husband Steve) of Hog Wild Farms Ltd., based in Watford. Karen joined the Chamber board earlier this year.

The mother of four growing boys, Karen comes from a farming family. Along with her four siblings, she worked on her parents’ dairy farm near Strathroy.

Although growing up she may not have totally embraced the life, today she’s developed a new perspective for the business, partly through meeting her husband (who also has a farming background), but also from the education she received at Fanshawe College, where she earned a diploma in finance and business.

Almost every day at Hog Wild Farms, Karen and Steve are busy growing food and creating value in Lambton County, and through the Lambton Federation of Agriculture, representing one of the business community’s most important sectors.

Find out more about Karen Sanders and her business by listening to a special podcast produced by Lambton Shield, a Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce member. The podcast featuring Karen will go online next Wednesday, October 25, at 8 a.m.


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It’s a year ahead of us, but the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is looking for ways to “re-energize” one of its already successful signature events to be even more relevant to the entire business community.

The next Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala event, which has a confirmed date of October 12, 2018 at the Imperial Theatre in downtown Sarnia, will include nominations from the entire business community.  By opening up nominations from all businesses and organizations, we’ve set the stage for an even more exciting event.

Organizers are also working on plans to bring a traditionally paper-based nomination process into the digital age, with all workflow going online.

These are exciting times for the Chamber and through the new OBAA outreach to the entire business community, the best is yet to come.

Look for more news on the 2018 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards gala as the plans continue to develop.


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The Federal Government appears to be moving in the right direction on a number of tax proposals that were announced earlier this year, including an announced lowering of the small business tax as well as hints of more changes to come.

Monday’s announcement is definitely a positive one and our Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce members should feel proud that they’ve played a significant role, along with others throughout the country, in expressing their concerns about what the Federal Government had planned.  We remain cautiously optimistic that the Government will follow up on a Ministerial call for further input from Canadian businesses.

By providing a voice for businesses in communities across Canada,  local Chambers help prevent devastating damage.

More news on the Government’s revised tax plans is expected to be released throughout the week. The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce will provide updates as they become available.




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Members and employees of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce are welcome to “stop by” next Tuesday, October 17, as we celebrate Business Week in our community.

Starting at 10 a.m. and running through 3 p.m. at the Chamber building, 556 N. Christina St., we’ll be bringing in speakers and consultants on several issues of importance to business owners.

At 10:00 a.m. Chamber staff will be on hand for a meet and greet, and throughout the day new members will be displaying information about their businesses, trade-show style.

From 10:30 a.m. to noon, four experts will answer all your questions about:

  • WSIB  – Patricia Cowdrey, community coordinator at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
  • Bill 148 (workplace legislation) – Susan Houston, a lawyer with Matthews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP
  • Corporate tax changes – Andrew Jones and Brent Steeves of BDO Canada LLP
  • BizPal – City of Sarnia

At 1 p.m. special guest Lisa Smith, a small business entrepreneur whose Limn Social delivers marketing and public relations expertise, will talk about how your company can benefit from the latest trends online.

Join us, won’t you? We’re looking forward to meeting you and showing you how the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping you move forward.


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The Power of the Purse, a conference where education, motivation and celebration are all key ways that successful women share their empowering stories, is coming to Sarnia on Thursday, November 16 and the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is happy to lend an encouraging hand.

The event, which takes place at the Holiday Inn in Point Edward, starts with a registration at 8:30 a.m., followed by a line up of talented, motivating and encouraging speakers, in both morning and afternoon sessions.

A buffet lunch is included in the $80 admission and there is a reception that follows with opportunities to network and meet the speakers.

Full details on the one-day conference, including details on securing a ticket, can be found online by clicking HERE.


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