Local Chamber of Commerce shines as it hosts provincial gathering

Three resolutions sponsored were adopted by delegates to AGM

Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario's Official Opposition, was interviewed by Kim Warburton, vice chair of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, as part of the OCC Annual General Meeting and Convention on Saturday.

It began with an evening at Paddy Flaherty’s Irish Pub, but by the time the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting ended Saturday and delegates headed home to their various bases throughout the province, it was clear that Sarnia-Lambton had made an impact.

The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce stepped up with distinction to complete hosting duties around the 105th annual gathering but it also sponsored (and co-sponsored) three resolutions that were adopted during sessions at the Holiday Inn, Point Edward.

Those resolutions included:

—A resolution urging the Government of Canada to keep a rein on the minimum level for which goods coming into Canada are taxed. That resolution, co-sponsored by the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce, refers to the “De Minimis threshold” (DMT), defined as the minimum amount on which duty or tax would be collected. That amount is currently set at $20 Canadian.

—a call for the Government of Ontario to deliver a comprehensive, equitable and formula-based funding plan for infrastructure renewal while consulting with municipalities on ways government programs can become less burdensome. The government is urged to link funding to asset management plans, a move which a document provided in the resolution said would encourage strategic planning and accountability.

—a request that the Government of Ontario take steps to measure total compensation, including wages and benefits, in the public sector, something delegates to its Annual General Meeting were told is currently lacking. The local Chamber joined the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce and the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce, authored the resolution that calls for the collection data on compensation, which would be used to “benchmark” future practices and compare against the private sector.

Highlights of the AGM included the appearance of Premier Kathleen Wynne (on Friday), and Saturday’s appearance by Patrick Brown, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and Andrea Horwath, leader of the New Democratic Party of Ontario.

The delegates were also hosted at a dinner on Friday night, held at the St. Clair Corporate Centre. They later were given the opportunity of attending First Friday events in downtown Sarnia, including the Beer Show at Bayside Centre.

A team of volunteers, headed by Michael John Kooy, chair of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, worked for several months, meeting on a weekly basis, to make sure the event went smoothly.

Sponsorship by several organizations and companies was essential to having the event come together. Those sponsors included:

Bluewater Power, County of Lambton, Curran Contractors Ltd., D’Arcy Bell and Ryan Bell, Egg Farms of Ontario, Gamble Hub International, Imperial Oil, Lambton College, Lambton Federation of Agriculture, Lambton Mutual Insurance Company, Larlyn Property Management Ltd., RBC Wealth Management Ltd., LEHDER Environmental Services Limited, MJ Waste Solutions, Pollutech Enviroquatics Limited, Sarnia Construction Association, Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corp., Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership, Sarnia Lambton Industrial Education Cooperative, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Corp., Steeves and Rozema Group, and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton.

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