Media Releases

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9th, 2021

 

The Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce to Participate the Ramping Up of Deliveries of Rapid Test Kits to Small Businesses Provincewide

2.4 Million free rapid tests kits helping small business stay open and keep employees and their families safe through the help of local chambers of commerce and boards of trade

Simcoe, ON – Today, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce announced that the Ontario Chamber Network has supported the delivery of 2.4 million free rapid test kits in over 105 communities across the province through the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ontario and Canadian governments.

 

Through this initiative, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce is rolling out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in Norfolk County.    The program is helping small businesses keep their employees and families safe by curbing the spread of COVID-19 at work so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster.

 

“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been indispensable resources in their communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy are interdependent. That is why our Simcoe Chamber is proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses in Norfolk County in collaboration with the Delhi, Waterford and Long Point Country Chambers of Commerce and the Port Dover Board of Trade.   You do not need to be a Chamber or Board of Trade member to receive your kits.  We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen our local economy safely,” said Sue Downs, President of the Simcoe and District Chamber.    

 

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative provides free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses. The tests are distributed through participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community in our County.

 

The Initiative builds upon the success of the program that was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario and Government of Canada. Through this pilot, the chambers have delivered 300,000 kits to almost 3,000 businesses in the region.

 

“With vaccinations on the rise and case counts lowering, rapid testing is another critical part of curbing the spread of COVID-19, contributing to the safe reopening of our economy. As the indispensable partner of business, we are incredibly proud of the Ontario Chamber Network that has quickly mobilized to put free rapid screening kits into the hands of small businesses across Ontario,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

 

Interested SMEs can log into the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce website at www.simcoechamber.on.ca  to order their two-week supply of rapid tests.  The kits will be ready for pick-up at the Simcoe Chamber office at 10 Argyle Street, Simcoe

 

Click here to see which chambers and boards of trade are participating in the program to date. More chambers of commerce and boards of trade will be joining in the coming weeks.

 

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:

Linda Branderhorst, General Manager

Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce

10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON   N3Y 1V5

Email:  general.manager@simcoechamber.on.ca

Office:  519.426.5867

Mobile:  519.583.2248

http://www.simcoechamber.on.ca/

 

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce

Since 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.

 

For Immediate Release – May 11, 2021

Simcoe, ON – The Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce (SDCC) is excited to bring a COVID-19 Self-Screening Program to Norfolk County small businesses. The latest information from Health Canada suggests that up to 1/3 of people carrying the virus are asymptomatic and over 50% of known cases were transmitted by an asymptomatic carrier! This makes it incredibly important to find asymptomatic carriers early. Through this Program employees self-test twice per week, get results in 15 minutes, and dramatically increase the opportunity to detect carriers early and reduce the spread of the virus. The Chamber said the rapid antigen detection (RAD) tests they acquired can be used by non-medical personnel. These tests are 90 percent accurate and can be used to help identify COVID cases quickly, ensuring the businesses can best protect their employees and keep customers safe in the event of a COVID case in their facility.

The Province of Ontario has provided SDCC with an initial 45,000 kits to distribute – at no charge -starting Monday, May 17, 2021, to any business with less than 150 employees. Starting immediately, businesses can book an appointment at www.simcoechamber.ca/rapidtest to come to our office at 10 Argyle Street, Simcoe to watch a short training video and pick up their testing kits. Businesses will receive a two-week supply of kits to start and can reorder as needed.

“Businesses are in a difficult position right now as they try to provide the goods and services we rely on while managing the potential for COVID cases to spread,” said Linda Branderhorst, Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce, GM. “These tests offer one more tool in their arsenal to help them protect their customers and employees while continuing to operate their businesses.”

Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce Board President, Sue Downs, says “I am thrilled that we are able to offer small businesses this amazing, free opportunity to help keep their employees, and our community safe. We are grateful to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for their help with this program at the provincial level so we can get these kits into the hands of local business.”

Participating businesses will be required to track and report all results weekly to the Chamber, and those results will be shared with the Ontario and federal Ministries of Health. Businesses are also required to report positive or inconclusive cases to Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit.

“With Norfolk County workplaces experiencing a surge in cases, the timing and availability of these asymptomatic testing kits could not be better,” said Sue Downs.

“On behalf of the Chamber and its Board of Directors, I hope workplaces will take advantage of these kits to keep their staff healthy and safe.”

The distribution centre for the test kits will be located at 10 Argyle Street, Simcoe, Ontario. The centre will be operated by Chamber staff and volunteers between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday to Friday, though pick-ups will be by appointment only.

“It has become very clear that the distribution of rapid testing kits for local businesses is so important if we hope to flatten this curve and prevent another lockdown”, added Zvi Lifshiv, Director of Strategic Innovation and Economic Development with Norfolk County. “The County is pleased to support this initiative and assist businesses by offering a safe way to dispose of this biomedical waste these test kits generate through this Chamber of Commerce initiative.”

For more information, or to schedule an appointment to pick up your Rapid Antigen Detection kits, contact the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce at (519) 426-5867 or visit www.simcoechamber.on.ca/rapidtest

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:

Linda Branderhorst, General Manager

Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce

10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON N3Y 1V5 Email: general.manager@simcoechamber.on.ca

Office: 519.426.5867

Mobile: 519.583.2248 http://www.simcoechamber.on.ca/

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce

Since 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.

April 28, 2021

Statement

 

ONTARIO’S PAID SICK DAY PROGRAM IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

New measures in Ontario address some – but not all – flaws in federal program

(Simcoe, ON – April 28, 2021) – Today, Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce President, Sue Downs, and Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following joint statement in reaction to the Government of Ontario’s Paid Sick Day Program Proposal announced today:

“Today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario is a step in the right direction to protect essential workers. Ontario is the only province that has committed to a paid sick day program during the pandemic. The proposed provincial top up to the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit is also encouraging but is contingent on federal government participation and does not address other shortcomings of the federal program, such as processing delays. We would like to see all levels of governments open to further adjustments of their programs – as they have been with other programs rolled out in the pandemic – to ensure programs meets the needs of workers and the market in Simcoe and area.

 

“Our position continues to be that business, particularly small businesses, simply cannot afford the additional financial responsibility to fund sick leave at this time, which is why the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce support the notion of a temporary paid sick program that is paid for by government for the duration of the pandemic. Any paid sick day program must be fully and immediately accessible to workers who need it with a quick and seamless reimbursement for employers. When workers protect themselves, they protect their colleagues, their employers, and their communities.”

 

 

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce

Since 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.

 

About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

 

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:

Linda Branderhorst, General Manager

Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce

10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON N3Y 1V5 Email: general.manager@simcoechamber.on.ca

Office: 519.426.5867

Mobile: 519.583.2248 http://www.simcoechamber.on.ca/

Canada’s Budget 2021 Delivers Historic Support Against Uncertain Backdrop

The Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Supports for Business, Communities, and Inclusive Growth and Cautions on Debt and Deficits 

Simcoe, April 20, 2021 – Today, Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce President Sue Downs, released the following statement in response to the Government of Canada’s 2021 Budget.  

“Today, the Government of Canada released a historic budget at a time when Canadians need it most,” Sue Downs.  “Canada’s 2021 Budget gives businesses in Simcoe and area the much-needed supports to help weather the current health crisis and lays the foundation for a strong and inclusive economic recovery.”


“I echo Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: The Budget’s focus on growth and jobs is an important step towards our economic recovery, but our growth drivers will need to shift from public spending to private investment to help get our finances under control. The plan to reduce deficits over the coming years is important, but it will depend on meeting our growth target,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

In 2021, Ontario will continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. Leading up to Canada’s 2021 Budget, the OCC called for policies that will foster economic resiliency within our health care system and among those hit hardest by the pandemic such as small businesses, women, and racialized groups.
“Leading up to Budget 2021, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce and the OCC urged federal and provincial governments to invest in the long-term affordability and accessibility of child care and address the shortage of early childhood educators. We are pleased with the Government of Canada’s historic investments and commitment to working closely with the provinces and territories on program design and delivery, as recommended in our report, The She-Covery Project: Confronting the Gendered Economic Impacts of COVID-19 in Ontario,” added Sue Downs.
Some of the measures welcomed by the OCC in Canada’s 2021 Budget are:

Supports for business

·        Program extensions. As employers and workers continue confronting the headwinds of the pandemic, Budget 2021 commits to extending various business supports, including the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy.

·        Financing for small business and entrepreneurs. When small businesses thrive; communities thrive. Entrepreneurs, particularly women and racialized communities face several barriers to growth. We are pleased to see additional access to capital for small business and entrepreneurs through initiatives such as the enhancement of the Canada Small Business Financing Program and resources to support diverse Canadian entrepreneurs

.·        Digital Adoption Program. This is an innovative program that will help create jobs for young people and help small business adopt new digital technologies which will be important to get our economy moving.  

Support for communities

·        Regional Supports. COVID-19 is having uneven impacts on different regions of Ontario, accentuating existing disparities. Recovery will look different for each community. As many small business owners do not qualify for other support programs and are starved for capital, additional supports through several regional economic development agencies are welcome.

·        Further supports in broadband infrastructure. The pandemic has exacerbated the digital divide for people and businesses, particularly in remote and rural communities. Further commitment to connect all Canadians, including businesses, to reliable broadband is welcome news. 

Support for inclusive growth

·        Child care. Child care can act as an economic equalizer to parents and mothers, particularly, women from minority communities. Affordable and accessible child care can help level the economic playing field for families.

·        Diversity and inclusion in procurement. There is both economic and social value in making our supply chains more diverse and inclusive. We welcome the Government of Canada’s commitment to modernize their procurement processes to expand opportunities for diverse businesses and suppliers that champion diversity. Changing the incentive structures is the most powerful way to change outcomes.  Read the full pre-Budget submission here.

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:Linda Branderhorst, General ManagerSimcoe & District Chamber of Commerce10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON  N3Y 1V5Email: general.manager@simcoechamber.on.caOffice: 519.426.5867Mobile: 519.583.2248http://www.simcoechamber.on.ca/

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of CommerceSince 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.


For immediate release

April 7, 2021

Statement

Ontario Chamber & the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce Call for Accelerated Vaccine Roll-out with Prioritization of Essential Workers to Expedite Safe Reopening of Ontario’s Economy

No Easy On & Off Switch for Business: Recent Closures Devastating for Business Community

(Toronto – April 7, 2021) – Today, Sue Downs, President of the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce and Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to further restrictions announced today:

“Ultimately, we want to see a safe and sustainable opening of Ontario’s economy. Closures buy us time at a high cost to business, our economy, as well as the mental and the long-term health of Ontarians. We recognize the restrictions brought in today are to help save lives and curtail the spread of the virus. However, in absence of further supports, new restrictions will simply devastate Ontario’s business community.

“An expedited vaccine roll-out prioritizing essential workers who cannot work from home is critical to preventing these stops and starts that are so damaging for business. With the Ontario Business Support Grant coming to a close, we call for continued supports that will see businesses through the third wave of the crisis.”

“We call on all levels of government to work together to accelerate vaccinating Ontarians, so we can fully reopen the province. As the Government of Ontario proceeds with Phase 2 of the rollout, we would like to see the earlier prioritization of essential workers who cannot work from home and are most vulnerable and at risk.” – Sue Downs, President of the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce.

“The Ontario Chamber’s Ontario Vaccination Support Council members are ready, willing, and able to support and accelerate local vaccine deployment efforts. As supply ramps up, we need an all-hands-on deck approach from Ontario’s business community, labour, associations and academia to move these vaccines from freezers to arms as quickly as possible. From vaccine facilities and centres to volunteers to donations to support ride programs, we truly see Council members stepping up to make a difference.” – Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce

Since 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.

About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:

Linda Branderhorst, General Manager

Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce

10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON   N3Y 1V5

Email:  general.manager@simcoechamber.on.ca

Office:  519.426.5867

Mobile:  519.583.2248


STATEMENT 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

February 5, 2021

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

(Simcoe – February 5, 2021) – Today, the Simcoe 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, Sue Downs, President of the Simcoe 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 Simcoe 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 Linda Branderhorst, General Manager of the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce. 

About the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce

Since 1888, the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce has been serving the community. Today, many local businesses and individuals make up our membership. Through the Chamber’s various committees, special events and programs, members enhance business and other opportunities in Simcoe and the surrounding area, making the community a better place in which to live and work.

To arrange interviews, or to obtain high-resolution artwork please contact:

Linda Branderhorst, General Manager

Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce

10 Argyle Street, Simcoe ON   N3Y 1V5

Email:  general.manager@simcoechamber.on.ca

Office:  519.426.5867