This Affects ALL Employers

  • New Employment Standards Poster Requirement In Effect

Effective May 20, 2015, a 30-day window opened that requires employers in Ontario to provide all current employees with a copy of version 6.0 of the Ministry of Labour’s Employment Standards poster. Any new hires after May 20, 2015 must be given a copy within 30 days of their date of hire.  Ministry-prepared multi-language translations of the poster are available.  For the online path to the English version of the poster click here.

Members are welcome to call the Chamber office for links to additional information on this requirement.

This Week’s Green Mail…

Click here for our latest weekly issue of Green Mail.  Inside: the Chamber celebrates Free Enterprise with pictures and smiles from our 2015 Award winners… all just one click away. The St. Thomas & District Chamber produces and distributes this business news and community info newsletter each week.  You can subscribe to it and get an email copy via the link on the left side of this page, or view it here on our website, or see it via the Chamber’s social media posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

5 Minutes for Business


In this edition of 5 Minutes for Business, Hendrik Brakel, our Senior Director, Economic, Financial and Tax Policy, looks at how our loonie is performing.

Right now, our loonie is performing well, but as we look ahead, the loonie will hit some turbulence. As the lift from oil prices tapers off, the dollar will be pulled down by slower growth in Canada and rising interest rates in the U.S., which will attract investors away from Canadian securities. This means our loon will flap around, eventually perching at an average of 80 cents in 2015 before improving to 83 cents next year.

Read 5 Minutes for Business.

For more information, please contact Hendrik Brakel.

A Celebration of Local Excellence





THANKS for a great night!


CONGRATULATIONS to our 2015 winners.

The 2015 Free Enterprise Awards Reception was held Wednesday May 13 at St. Anne’s Centre on Morrison Drive in St. Thomas.  To everyone who attended and supported our event, we humbly say thank-you.  The comments we have heard from people attending tell a great story. “I learned a lot tonight”… “Very heartfelt presentations”… “There are some truly amazing people here”.

We couldn’t agree more.

There were four winners in two categories this year.  2015 Free Enterprise Awards of Merit:  Sandra DiMeo of Ferguson DiMeo Lawyers; Elgin Travel & Cruises; and the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital Foundation.

One Free Enterprise Master Award was presented this year:  Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services for completing over 100 years in business and community service.  They became the first insurance brokerage ever to win this Award.

We are definitely #StThomasProud!  Congratulations to all of the 2015 winners.  You make our community a better place to be!

The 2015 Free Enterprise Awards are made possible with the support of our sponsors:

PROGRAM SPONSORS:  Gorman-Rupp of Canada; the Workforce Planning & Development Board; Reith & Associates Insurance and Financial Services; and the Elgin Business Resource Centre.

RECEPTION SPONSORS:  Graham Scott Enns LLP, Chartered Accountants; RBC Royal Bank; Fanshawe College St. Thomas Elgin Regional Campus; ARC Financial Group; and Quai du Vin Estate Winery.

MEDIA SPONSORS:  myFM 94.1 St. Thomas; Photos by MG; Freeman Audio Visual Canada.

Back From Ireland

rszGALWAYOur latest Chamber tour group has completed a 9-day tour of Ireland. They returned May 21.  The Strathroy & District Chamber co-ventured with the St. Thomas & District Chamber to offer this exclusive tour of southern Ireland with visits to Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny and even an overnight stay at the incredible Dromoland Castle.

Pictured here, the downtown, inner-city harbour at Galway.

Where to now?

As we have for the past four years, the St. Thomas & District Chamber, along with other Chambers of Commerce regionally and across North America, can now offer exceptional group pricing on business and/or pleasure tours to destinations around the globe.  We will soon be considering our next offer.  China has, so far, been the most popular destination but we want  to hear from Members on wants and wishes.  Where would you like to go?  Let us know with a quick call or note to the Chamber office. Just hit the Contact Us tab above to reach us.



Ontario’s Budget 2015 – Analysis & Comments

Is the Province doing things for us – or to us?

Ontario’s 2015 Budget has been released and the staff at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce have prepared a summary of issues that impact the business community.

Click here to see more.

Our View on the Federal Budget – Analysis Without Political Rhetoric


Unlike the politicians, the Chamber of Commerce network prides itself on having the capacity for detailed analysis and commentary on the federal budget without rhetoric and grandstanding.  Our goal is to share information that is useful and valuable to the people and communities we serve .

This is an election year, and this is undoubtedly an election budget. There is a strong emphasis on tax cuts for the (hardworking) Canadian families that will receive the bulk of federal largesse this year. Just the income splitting and the expanded universal child care benefit will cost $7.8 billion in 2015 and $4.5 billion per year thereafter. From innovation to infrastructure to the environment, this budget has something for everyone.

In fact, we at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce were pleasantly surprised by a number of the business-friendly tax adjustments and spending commitments. Back in the summer of 2014, the government was forecasting a $1.9 billion surplus on top of a $3 billion contingency fund. Then oil prices collapsed from $100 to $45 by the beginning of January and the Parliamentary Budget Officer expected that the resulting $5.5 billion hit to the federal treasury would leave a deficit of $400 million. Minister Oliver delayed the budget by a couple of months citing “economic uncertainty.”

Since then oil prices have recovered slightly, to around $56 this morning, and we expect them to be back in the $65 by year-end. The government also enjoyed a $3.4 billion windfall from the sale of GM shares. As a result, there is room for some helpful measures to support Canadian business, a few things that will make life easier for business, a couple of gimmicks and a nice healthy surplus of $1.4 billion.

Click here to read or download analysis prepared by the Canadian Chamber’s Chief Economist, Hendrik Brakel.

The Benefits Our Members Can Get… a quick look

Information overload is something we all share and, here at the Chamber, we understand. And that’s why we’ve assembled a quick checklist for Members to see and consider the growing number of benefits, discounts and services that come with Chamber membership.

The information below is a quick summary. By all means, if you see a program or product you’d like more information on, the Chamber staff are eager and able to respond from our office or to put you in-touch with program agents and reps.

First, let’s be clear on who can participate in Chamber programs and services, or take advantage of significant price advantages we offer across the entire Chamber network.

It’s easy:  Once a business or organization joins the Chamber, all of the personnel in that business or organization can get involved, attend or participate. In some cases, as explained below, our opportunities extend to retirees and immediate family members. You can check another section here on our website for additional details, too.  Go to  the “Membership” tab above this article and below our logo here on our main page. Under that tab is a section called “Membership Benefits”.

Fuel discounts – Our national program with Esso (and Exxon / Mobil in the US) earns you savings of 3.5 cents per litre at any of over 1,000 Esso outlets anywhere in Canada and 18,000 Exxon or Mobil stations in the states.  It’s free to enroll.  Register as an organization for multiple vehicles in a fleet or as an individual. Contact Esso sales at 1-888-330-2419 or to apply.

UPS Courier discount – Our newest addition to our Benefits Bundle connects you with the largest courier and shipping company in the world.  Save 30% on courier shipments to Canada, the US and worldwide destinations. Additional savings on imports, customs brokerage fees & more. 75% savings on heavyweight freight, full load or LTL.  No charge to enroll. No minimums. No maximums.  Call 1-800-MEMBERS (636-2377) M-F, 8 a.m. to 6 or visit

Credit Card/Debit Card processing – Our Chamber Merchant Services program is managed by First Data Canada and not directly connected to any bank so you can choose where your account is locally.  Full range of on-line, mobile and point-of-sale processing equipment.  Monthly account fee just $5.  VISA rate is 1.55%, MasterCard, 1.60%, Interac debit, just 5 cents per transaction. Amex, Discover and other card rates – just ask. New: Mobile Debit for your Smartphone! for more. Follow us on Twitter for the latest deals & news @ChamberMerchant

Insurance – personal Group Plan – The St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce has been a strong supporter of our national Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan since it started in 1974.  Life insurance, health, drug, dental, disability, critical illness, travel and more. Ours is the #1 group insurance plan for small business in Canada. Our local licensed agent is Jeff Crossett at ARC Financial. 519-637-0181, Ext. 204, or you can explore our Group Plan through our national website:

Insurance – property & vehicle Group Plan – Cars, trucks, boats, motorbikes, homes, cottages and more.  The savings we achieve by pooling Chamber Members together as a group can be phenomenal.  Novex Group is our insurer.  Our local licensed professional agent is Reith & Associates.  Call 519-631-3862 or go online to and click on the Chamber logo.  Their website will prove our savings and compare our plan with others!

Pension Reform?

An Employer Perspective on Fixing Ontario’s Pension Problem

One of the provincial Chamber’s latest research projects deals with Ontario’s pension proposals. This report finds Ontario’s employers want a pension system that supports our long-term competitiveness, targets groups that require additional pension support, and builds on the province’s status as a global leader in financial services. Weighed against these and other objectives, employers are firmly in favour of Pooled Registered Pension Plans (PRPPs). They are much less supportive of enhancing government-managed pension programs. Learn more…



Beneath The Surface

Our latest report reveals that Ontario’s Ring of Fire, the mineral resource-rich region in the James Bay Lowlands, will generate up to $9.4 billion in new economic activity over the first 10 years of operation and sustain 5,500 jobs annually in Ontario.The report, Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Economic Potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire, makes it clear that the short-and long-term economic impacts of the Ring of Fire will be shared across the province.

According to our study, the mining development could generate more than $25 billion across numerous sectors in Ontario by 2047, including $2.7 billion in revenues for the financial services sector and $1.2 billion for the wholesale and retail trade sectors.

Based on extensive analysis and consultation, our report also outlines the key challenges that stand in the way of the development of the Ring of Fire and a 13-step action plan to overcome them.

Read the report

Read coverage in the Toronto Star

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St. Thomas, Central Elgin & Southwold including Port Stanley, Belmont, Shedden, Fingal, Talbotville, Sparta and Union


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