The Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce has been around since 1957. We are a small yet active Chamber serving businesses located in towns, villages and hamlets along Lake Huron’s shoreline corridor.
Our Members are located as far away as Sarnia and Goderich as well as closer to home in Arkona, Dashwood, Exeter, Forest, Grand Bend, Ipperwash, Northville, Parkhill, Port Franks, St. Joseph, Thedford and Zurich – and all points in between!
The Chamber had its roots in an earlier Grand Bend Promotion Committee in the 1950s which worked to promote tourism to the area and still today we provide Tourism & Visitor Services to the Municipality of Lambton Shores at the Welcome Centre located in Grand Bend, just 500-metres from the Beach that started it all.
Restaurants Offering Takeout & Delivery
Visit Shorelinetogo.ca to order food for takeout or delivery from the restaurants you love in Arkona, Bayfield, Blyth, Exeter, Forest, Grand Bend, Hensall, Kettle & Stony Point, Ipperwash, Northville, Parkhill, Port Franks, Thedford and Zurich!
Covid-19 Resources for Business
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (Updated April 11; program extended beyond June)
- Government Announces Details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to Help Businesses Keep Canadians in their jobs (April 1)
- Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan
- Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- Temporary Wage Subsidy FAQs
- Avoiding Layoffs, Access to Credit, Support for Farmers, Supporting Financial Stability
- COVID-19 Government Announced Support – March 24 2020 (PDF)
If you are self-employed:
The new Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), available starting early April (via web portal or phone), will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 a month for up to 4 months to:
- workers who must stop working due to COVID-19 and do not have access to paid leave or other income support.
- wage earners and self-employed individuals, including contract workers, who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance.
- workers who are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19.
- working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children that are sick or need additional care because of school and daycare closures.
- workers who still have their employment but are not being paid because there is currently not sufficient work and their employer has asked them not to come to work.
Canada Emergency Rental Assistance for Small Business (CECRA)
Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners so they can reduce rent owed by their small business tenants – by at least 75% for the months of April, May and June, 2020. More information about this program, including a form to be notified is posted on the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation website (they will be the agency administering the program). More details can also be found at the Ontario Newsroom website.
The Province announced a framework for re-opening that includes a 3-Stage approach. Moving from one stage to another will be determined by consistent 2 to 4 week decrease of Covid-19 cases. Visit the Framework for Reopening Our Province webpage or download here (PDF).
Re-Opening Ontario – NEW!
The Province has challenged Ontario businesses to prepare for re-opening. Review your business product or service type and think about how you can embed safe social distancing, customer traffic flow control, cash-free payments, product ordering, pick-up and delivery, limiting customer contact, safety for your staff, cleaning and other processes which could mean your business may be eligible to re-open.
The government and health and safety associations have released more than 90 safety guidance documents to assist employers in multiple sectors, including construction, retail, facilities maintenance and manufacturing. The Ministry of Health has also released a Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces.
The Ontario government has launched a website, the Workplace PPE Supplier Directory, to provide businesses with a list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply PPE to businesses.
All non-essential retailers may reopen if they:
- Are able to limit the number of people in the store to one customer per four square metres of sales floor space to ensure physical distancing can be maintained at all times.
- Have a separate street-front entrance with measures in place that can enable physical distancing.
- For retailers with fitting rooms, these can only be used if the fitting rooms have a cleanable door (e.g. no curtains). In addition, retailers may only use every second fitting room to ensure physical distancing and to increase the ease of cleaning after each use.
Barriers to Business – report it!
Ontario government launched its COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website, designed to help businesses overcome challenges created by this pandemic. Businesses are encouraged to submit any potential roadblocks they are facing.
Sarnia Lambton Economic Partnership (SLEP)
Has put together a page of federal and provincial government programs to help offset the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and the self-employed. Here’s a list of Government, Business, Agriculture and Economic Development Resources.
E-Commerce Program: small businesses will receive a one-hour e-commerce consultation at no charge. The focus is to educate businesses about their options to expand or develop an e-commerce website including such features as an online shopping cart and checkout. Call 519-332-1820 to speak with one of the economic partnership’s staff.
As well, they are seeking your input on a survey they’re conducting on the impact of Covid-19 on YOUR business. Take the Survey!
Sarnia Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC)
FedDev Ontario will deliver the NEW Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in southern Ontario for small and medium businesses that do not qualify for, or have been rejected from, current Government of Canada COVID-19 relief measures. To be considered eligible, businesses will have already applied to other Government of Canada emergency credit relief measures, such as Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), among other sector-specific programs. For eligibility and application, visit the SLBDC’s Regional Relief and Recover Fund webpage.
Huron County Economic Development
- Infographic Sheet: Sell Remotely on Facebook (PDF)
- Infographic Sheet: Set up Shopify (PDF)
- Infographic Sheet: Payments and Shipping (PDF)
- Creating Your Covid-19 Survival Cash Flow Webinar on Vimeo
- Support For Small Businesses in Huron County (PDF)
Community Futures Huron
Community Futures Huron (CFH) is a non-profit Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. Check their website regularly and get on their mailing list to access all kinds of resources including FREE WEBINARS. They have an entire section dedicated to Covid-19 business resources.
- May 12 – FREE WEBINAR: “Digital Health Check” – Understand how your business is viewed online. From listings, views and social media, learn how you stack up against the competition.
Business Development Corporation (BDC)
Have put together a great set of business financial planning and strategy tools for the entrepreneur, divided into 6 sections with each section providing easily digestible steps complete with downloadable Excel spreadsheets, Word planning documents etc. – visit COVID-19: Business planning tools for entrepreneurs
Workplace Safety & Prevention Services
- Post Pandemic Business Resumption Checklist (PDF)
- Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings (PDF)
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
- Re-Opening Guidelines and Global Protocols. TIAO has put together a bundle of reference documents from various sources by sectors for reopening.
- Tourism Industry Conference Call Notes: A digest of conference call questions and answers with links – covers Boating Ontario, Indigenous Tourism, Destination Canada, TIAO’s tourism industry survey results, insurance, Regional Tourism Organizations.
- Joint Letter to Federal Ministers Regarding Economic Relief for Tourism Businesses (PDF)
- Industry Response for Economic Recovery (April 14) (PDF)
- TIAO Provincial Survey Report, Covid-19 Impact (PDF)
Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab
Series of FREE virtual workshops aimed at creating sustainable digital adoption for hard-hit tourism and direct-to-consumer businesses in Ontario planning for COVID-19 recovery. Each monthly one-hour workshop will include a special “Shift Expert” conversation in addition to a mix of tangible tools and templates for take-away learning. SESSION 1 begins May 19 at 3PM; “Backyard Tourism” with Shift Experts from WindsorEats. For more information and to register click here.
- Slide down towards the bottom of their Covid-19 page to “Industry Support” for list of government supports for small business.
CHAMBER & BUSINESS ORGS
Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce
- Quick Hit List: 3 Step Small Business Action Plan (PDF)
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
- Covid-19 Toolkit
- Jump to their FAQs
- Making Sense of Federal and Provincial Business Support Programs (PDF) and webinar recording
Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN)
The Government of Canada and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce established the Canadian Business Resilience Network to help Canadian businesses navigate the COVID-19 reality and prepare for recovery. They are also partnering with Stats Canada on a national survey, the “Canadian Survey On Business Conditions (CSBC)” – the goal to measure the impact on business, from a national perspective.
- Navigating the COVID-19 crisis: Five challenges hoteliers must overcome
- Eight Post Covid Predictions for Hotel Industry
- Three Revenue Strategies in the New Normal
Retail Council of Canada
To assist retailers in their reopening planning, Retail Council of Canada, in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group and retailers from across Canada, have put together a Recovery Playbook webpage on which you can find and download quick and handy Retail Recovery Checklists and other recovery and re-start resources. Each “Playbook” covers a specific area and soon to be released will be Playbooks on Retail Operations, Merchandising and Marketing, Omni-channel and Finances. You can also subscribe for their Recovery Playbook updates.
If you’re having trouble sourcing personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and other similar types of supplies, give these folks a try:
- Bluewater First Aid – 519-490-4738
- RPM Promotions – Ron Plasschaert – 877-606-6004
- The Swag Guy – Dave Finley – 519-280-3146
Dutton Employment Law Firm
Tax Templates Inc.
Visit their website for up-to-date Excel spreadsheets ready for download and use to calculate the “Temporary Wage Subsidy” and the “Emergency Wage Subsidy” amounts.
Off-Peak Time-Of-Use Electricity Rate for Small Businesses, and Farm Customers
The Government of Ontario is working to suspend time-of -use electricity rates for 45 consecutive days, holding electricity prices to the off-peak rate of 10.1 cents-per-kilowatt-hour. This reduced price will be available 24 hours per day, seven days a week to all time-of-use customers. Customers will see rate reductions of over 50 per cent compared to on-peak rates. The discount will be applied AUTOMATICALLY to electricity bills without the need for customers to fill out an application form. Time of use customers whose billing cycle ended before their local distribution company implemented this change will receive the reduced rate as a credit on a future bill. Implementation date: Effective Immediately. For more information: https://www.oeb.ca/rates-and-your-bill/electricity-rates
Stop the Spread Business Information Hotline
The Government of Ontario has launched a toll-free line (1-888-444-3659) to provide support to Ontario businesses who have questions about the province’s recent emergency order to close at-risk workplaces following recommendations by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Help is available from Monday to Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Businesses who have questions about closures of at-risk workplaces or how emergency measures impact their business or employment can call the Stop the Spread Business Information Line.
Municipal Accommodation Tax
In April of this year, the Chamber sent a letter to Mayor and Council outlining its concerns and recommendations regarding the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT tax) and the particular business climate within Lambton Shores and surrounding area regarding short term rentals, the good and the bad. A similar letter was provided to Tourism Sarnia Lambton in November.
Read the Letter (PDF)
Handy Member Quicklinks:
- Directory of Chamber Members
- Upcoming Chamber Events
- Current and previous newsletters
- Chamber Members Only Forum
- Pay My Bill