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February 2021

Advocacy Alert!! Letter to the Mayor and City Council

Feb 23, 2021

 

City of Brockville

1 King Street West

Brockville Ontario

K6V 7A5

 

Dear Mayor Baker and Councillors

 

On behalf of the Advocacy Committee of the Brockville Chamber of Commerce, I am writing to request your consideration of community business needs for the 2021 budget deliberations. 

In 2020, the Chamber conducted extensive outreach activities to businesses. One key activity involved was one- on-one conversations with our members to discuss how the pandemic has impacted their business.  While most indicated they were able to survive the first shutdown, they believed a second shutdown could be devastating to their business. Unfortunately, that outcome came to fruition.

It is laudable that the City enacted a number of measures in 2020 to assist businesses, especially given the uncertainties and the pressures on the municipality. We appreciated that city helped certain businesses by allowing expanded patios without fees, and erected signs throughout the City to encourage local shopping. Congratulations are also in order that the City ended up in a very positive fiscal situation in 2020 especially given all the upheaval and change required to deal with this devastating pandemic.

During 2021, the Advocacy Committee feels that it is critical to open all City assets, such as campgrounds, islands, public toilets, and marinas etc. for the summer tourism season in order to help Brockville businesses thrive.

Additionally, the Chamber respectfully requests that local businesses be taken into consideration in the 2021 budget.  While continuing existing measures, like patio licenses and shop local signs, is ideal for restaurants or other businesses who might benefit from displaying their wares outside, there are other pressing needs as well.  With the closures in January and February of 2021, there is an urgent need to focus on alleviating businesses’ financial burdens in order to minimize or offset deficits incurred as a result of government mandated business restrictions and the closures.

Many similar-sized municipalities are compounding federal and provincial supports through various forms of alleviation and deferrals of fees for property taxes.  The Chamber is therefore requesting consideration for the City of Brockville to provide certain financial assistance programs for its businesses as well.

Specifically the Chamber is suggesting the following potential actions in the 2021 budget deliberations:

  • Revisiting the 2020 budget and reducing the previously approved tax increase for commercial ratepayers, in particular the small and medium sized businesses hardest hit by the closures.
  • Consideration to reduce the 2021 levy increase for these ratepayers in order to protect the local economy by helping them navigate these trying times trying to keep their doors open.
  • Municipal grants would be effective to further assist small businesses who many not qualify for provincial and federal grants.  A grant program could allow businesses to purchase tents and equipment to operate outside, and/or purchase PPE or upgrades to air purifying systems.
  • Policy changes and elimination of fees could also prove to be beneficial with the implementation of new programs to allow for expansion or continuation of business such as allowing business in the parks. 
  • Enacting activities such as business sector forums (via chat forums), established with the purpose of connecting key business organizations in order to determine urgent needs across different sectors of the economy could help develop tangible steps to seek support for short and long term business needs.

Your consideration of our community’s business needs is appreciated. Together, we can work to speed up the recovery in our city. The Chamber is pleased to meet to discuss these or any other measures enacted to aid our local economy and ensure our businesses viable.

 

Regards,

 

Kent Henderson                                              

Chair – Advocacy Committee

Pamela Robertson

Executive Director

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CANADA UNITED SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUND - Applications will be accepted starting Feb 16, 2021 at 1pm

 

 

CANADA UNITED SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF FUND

 

 

Grants of up to $5,000 available

Applications will be accepted again starting February 16th, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST.

Created by RBC, Canada United is a movement to support local businesses in communities across the country. The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF) was established to help small businesses offset the cost of expenses to open safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online.

Over $14 Million has been contributed by the Federal Government, RBC, and Canada United partners to support recovery efforts due to COVID-19.  We have already provided relief to over 2,000 small businesses across the country.  We are now able to extend relief grants to more small businesses and restart accepting grant applications from small businesses across all provinces for expenses incurred no earlier than March 15, 2020.

Note: Applications will be open again for all provinces and territories on February 16, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST.

If you have already applied but have not heard from us yet, you should be contacted by February 15, 2021. If you can’t find an answer to your question, feel free to contact us at cusbrf@occ.ca.


Get relief for your small business!

The CUSBRF will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national chamber network in support of other chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.

Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000. We intend to support local businesses of all kinds from across the country (from retailers to barbershops to farmers).

Click here to learn more about Canada United.

Program Guidelines

Pre-Application Checklist

How to submit valid documentation

Apply Here (Applications are currently open for the territories and PEI)

Note: Applicants that have successfully applied cannot re-apply for additional funding.

 

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The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce presents a Zoom Update with MPP Steve Clark's from Queens Park on Monday Feb 1, 2021

On Monday February 1, 2021 - Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark, MPP Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes updated the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce membership and businesses in the Brockville and surrounding area. 

Thank you to our sponsors the Leeds & Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre and Allstate for your support. 

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The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce presents a Zoom Update with MP Michael Barrett on Jan 20, 2021

The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce presents A Zoom Update with MP Michael Barrett on Jan 20, 2021

Thank you to our Partner the 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation for being part of the update. 

MP Michael Barrett is a current member of the Canadian House of Commons, representing the Ontario riding of Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes .

 

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Advocacy Alert! Letter to MPP Clark - Chamber Network calls for coordinated approach to reopening Ontario’s economy

February 5, 2021

 

MPP Steve Clark

100 Strowger Blvd

Suite 101

Brockville Ontario

K6V 5J9

 

RE: Chamber Network calls for coordinated approach to reopening Ontario’s economy


Dear Minister Clark

Thank you for your continued leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the situation evolves, your local chamber is receiving concerns from the business community and communicating them to all levels of government.

In the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, it is difficult to think beyond confronting the immediate demands of COVID-19. Vaccine deployment and distribution are certainly top of mind for all Canadians. However, even as we continue supporting each other today, we must also begin looking over the horizon to ensure businesses are prepared for the province’s reopening and recovery. It is never too early to start planning how our province and economy can emerge stronger while doing everything necessary to avoid further lockdowns.

Each region’s experience differs significantly across the province when it comes to transmission rates, tracking and tracing capacity, and other variables. However, businesses of all sizes need a predictable and coordinated effort to ensure society reopens in a harmonized fashion that prioritizes individual safety as well as economic stability. There are several critical elements:

  • A readiness plan with a focus on sectors and regions hardest hit. It is critical that Ontario’s employers are aware of how reopening will take place step-by-step so they can properly prepare.
  • Advanced notice. Businesses and their employees need sufficient time to prepare to get back to work. 
  • Clear guidelines. Businesses need to clearly understand the rules and how they will be enforced. Inconsistent and unclear public health guidelines cause confusion among businesses, employees, and consumers alike, and make it difficult for individuals to take appropriate action to protect themselves and their communities.
  • Fulsome communication. Educational training via virtual workshops in advance of reopening would equip employers with practical information to help them keep staff and customers safe.
  • Workforce management systems. Employers in Ontario should adopt a scalable digital software tool for routine self-screening and assessment by employees, as part of a comprehensive workforce management system.
  • Rapid testing. Sufficient and timely testing and tracing gets employees back to work quickly, ensuring continued productivity and reduced strain on families.
  • Evidence-based decision making. A strong testing and tracing apparatus ensures the province can accurately assess where and how the virus is spreading, so that efforts to target restrictions can be confidently based on solid data to avoid lockdowns and enable businesses to remain open.
  • Continued supports for those who need it most. Finally, continued timely and accessible supports for business will prevent further layoffs, closures, and bankruptcies.
  • Leveraging private sector to support vaccine distribution and deployment. Businesses will be critical in supporting public awareness, logistical capabilities, and best practices.

We deeply appreciate your government’s efforts thus far to collaborate with stakeholders and other governments on many of these elements, and we appreciate your ongoing work to advance a safe and efficient reopening of the province.

As the government explores options to safely re-open the economy, it is worth noting that businesses already adhere to a number of existing health and safety protocols and will do their part to support a safe re-opening. The business community will continue to prove their commitment to safety protocols to protect their worker and customers to keep their doors open.

Public health and safety are priorities for all Ontario businesses. We will continue to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 closely and work with our members, partners, and government to support Ontario business.

 

Sincerely,

Pamela Robertson

Executive Director

Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce

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Advocacy Alert!! Letter to Premiere Ford - CHAMBER NETWORK CALLS FOR COORDINATED APPROACH TO REOPENING ONTARIO’S ECONOMY

STATEMENT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 5, 2021

 

 

 CHAMBER NETWORK CALLS FOR COORDINATED APPROACH TO REOPENING ONTARIO’S ECONOMY

 

(Brockville – February 5, 2021)Today, the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce released the following statement:

 

“In the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic, it is difficult to think beyond confronting the immediate demands of COVID-19,” said, Keeley Patterson, President of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce.  “However, even as we continue supporting each other today, we must also begin looking over the horizon to ensure businesses are prepared for the province’s reopening and recovery. It is never too early to start planning how our province and economy can emerge stronger while doing everything necessary to avoid further lockdowns.”

Each region’s experience differs significantly across the province when it comes to transmission rates, tracking and tracing capacity, and other variables.  The Brockville and District Chamber of  Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have written to the Premier so that when the time comes businesses of all sizes have a predictable and coordinated effort to ensure society reopens in a harmonized fashion that prioritizes individual safety as well as economic stability asking for the following:

  • A readiness plan with a focus on sectors and regions hardest hit. It is critical that Ontario’s employers are aware of how reopening will take place step-by-step so they can properly prepare.
  • Advanced notice. Businesses and their employees need sufficient time to prepare to get back to work. 
  • Clear guidelines. Businesses need to clearly understand the rules and how they will be enforced. Inconsistent and unclear public health guidelines cause confusion among businesses, employees, and consumers alike, and make it difficult for individuals to take appropriate action to protect themselves and their communities.
  • Fulsome communication. Educational training via virtual workshops in advance of reopening would equip employers with practical information to help them keep staff and customers safe.
  • Workforce management systems. Employers in Ontario should adopt a scalable digital software tool for routine self-screening and assessment by employees, as part of a comprehensive workforce management system.
  • Rapid testing. Sufficient and timely testing and tracing gets employees back to work quickly, ensuring continued productivity and reduced strain on families.
  • Evidence-based decision making. A strong testing and tracing apparatus ensures the province can accurately assess where and how the virus is spreading, so that efforts to target restrictions can be confidently based on solid data.
  • Continued supports for those who need it most. Finally, continued timely and accessible supports for business will prevent further layoffs, closures, and bankruptcies.
  • Leveraging private sector to support vaccine distribution and deployment. Businesses will be critical in supporting public awareness, logistical capabilities, and best practices.

“As the government explores options to safely re-open the economy, it is worth noting that businesses already adhere to a number of existing health and safety protocols and will do their part to support a safe re-opening. The business community will continue to prove their commitment to safety protocols to protect their worker and customers to keep their doors open,” added Pamela Robertson, Executive Director  of the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce.

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About the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce

The Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce is a Not-for-Profit Incorporated entity established in 1906. It is part of a network of Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade that exist in virtually every community across Ontario and Canada. The Chamber network consists of 65,000 businesses provincially and 170,000 businesses nationally. Locally, the Chamber has over 400 members and is recognized as this area's official "Voice of Business." This voice is an effective force in influencing issues and legislation affecting business and the community. It is a membership-based association that is led by an elected volunteer Board of Directors. Through proactive leadership in advocacy and networking, the Chamber supports and grows businesses to build a strong economic community. The Chamber serves small businesses, service businesses, manufacturers and other industry and institutions through these core functions:

• Advocacy on behalf of businesses to ensure a competitive business environment.
• Providing networking and recognition events.
• Distributing information pertinent to the operation of business and the business community in general.
• Delivering value added services including discounts, referrals and marketing opportunities.
• Offering a forum in which every business has input into the decisions that affect this community.
• Promoting initiatives that support the economic development of the region

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