The COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how businesses operate. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, and Chambers across Canada, have been doing their part to support their members throughout COVID-19. And now, like our members, we must seize new opportunities by looking with fresh eyes at what we can accomplish in 2021 and beyond. Going into the New Year, we will look ahead at how we can extend our impact and lay the foundation for growth as the economy regains its footing.
Your Chamber network is at the core of our ability to support business success. There is no other organization that has the same capacity to reach out to government at all three levels, to represent such a broad segment of businesses and organizations, and truly be the voice of our members in Sault Ste. Marie and beyond.
We have never had more potential because of our ability to support our members and community during the pandemic. Our support and partnership with www.algomamarketplace.com and our ‘Buy Local or Say Good-Bye Local’ campaign are the centerpieces of how we have committed to the success and survival of our small business community.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber has also opened the door for our members to tap into specialty programs like:
- the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP), which allows businesses to access up to $7,500 for hiring a student.
- the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP), which helps businesses access international markets.
- the Rapid Activation Program (RAP), better known as the Digital Transformation Program where digital is no longer an option but a matter of survival.
We can offer these partner programs because our Chamber has a proven track record of supporting businesses and the community of Sault Ste. Marie for over 132 years.
This past year, your Chamber moved quickly to help businesses successfully weather the storm of the pandemic.
- Our advocacy resulted in the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy going from 10% to 75% and for its continued implementation well into 2021.
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy was re-engineered to ensure that owners and tenants could access funds to manage costs and overheads.
- Participation by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines’ Advisory Committee resulted in the Northern Ontario Recovery Fund providing access to $25,000 in recovery costs.
- As a direct result of years of work on the cost of electricity by the Ontario Chamber network, the fall Ontario Budget committed to reducing costs and will save our businesses tens of millions of dollars so they can reinvest in creating jobs.
These are just a few examples of how, for a minimal investment in Chamber of Commerce membership, we can deliver real financial advantages for business.
We are an organization with purpose and we all share a direct interest in strengthening the value of our Chamber and its members. We recognize that 2021 will offer an opportunity to expand our thinking and explore new ways that we can continue to contribute to the success of our members.
To achieve the full potential of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce as well as the Chamber network, provincially and federally, we must become the undisputed champion for Canadian business growth, both through our respected policy and advocacy work and through fresh new initiatives. We need to envisage the Chamber not just as it is, but also as how it could be.
We look forward to working with our members, our stakeholders, the Chamber network, and our community to extend our vision beyond today to find new ways to serve. Join us on this journey, as we re-imagine ourselves so we can better serve our members and all Canadians in the years ahead.
Happy New Year to everyone and all the best to you and your family. We wish you success as we all renew and recover from the challenges that we have shared in 2020.
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce