Advocacy Alert!! Letter to Premiere Ford - CHAMBER NETWORK CALLS FOR COORDINATED APPROACH TO REOPENING ONTARIO’S ECONOMY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2021
(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.
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