January 14, 21, 28 - Altona Elks Chase the Ace - Altona Hotel - 6:00-7:45
Jan 27- Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Pembina Valley, monthly Trivia Night Fundraiser - Altona Hotel
Register your Manitoba-based business with Retrain Manitoba to access funding up to $2500 per employee for training and professional development purposes.
Invest in your workforce by helping your employees get the skills and knowledge required to foster innovation and adapt to the changing business needs due to the pandemic.
The Manitoba government is partnering with Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Winnipeg to launch Retrain Manitoba, a $12.5 million workforce skills development grant program that will help Manitoba to move to the next stage of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Employers can apply for training funding up to $2,500 per employee, up to a maximum of $75,000.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce understands that there must be a balance between supporting local business, stimulating the economy, and protecting our province’s healthcare system.
The conversations we’ve been having with government to date have focused on safety and strategies to keep businesses open. Throughout the pandemic, businesses have been taking proactive measures, and in many instances exceeding the required public health measures to ensure their staff and the public are safe.
There is no question that in this fourth wave, Omicron is the main factor setting the capacity limits, not provincial health orders. Even among businesses permitted to operate at 100% capacity, most are operating at far less than that.
We are calling on the province of Manitoba to take the following steps to support our business community during this difficult time:
Provide businesses with rapid tests: Rapid tests will help businesses ensure their workforce is healthy and keep their doors open. If we are going to maintain 100% capacity for businesses in some sectors, owners need a tool to ensure they are operating safely, for both staff and patrons. We are calling on the government to provide an adequate supply of rapid tests to businesses throughout the entire province, as well as to design a test distribution plan.
Ensure that those Manitoba businesses required to reduce capacity limits as a result of COVID-19 prevention orders are financially compensated. See below
Sector Support Program
Applications are now open until January 31st for the Sector Support Program. The Manitoba government is providing further support for businesses affected by public health orders.
Food service facilities that rely primarily on dine-in services, including those in hotels
Museums and galleries
Recreation and sport facilities and centres, including gyms
Total assistance is based on the number of workers employed for the last pay period that preceded the December 21, 2021 public health orders:
$3,000 for businesses with up to 9 employees
$6,000 for businesses with 10 to 19 employees
$9,000 for businesses with 20 to 49 employees
$12,000 for businesses with 50 or more employees
One worker includes either a full-time or part-time employee.
Do you happen to have a stash of Chamber Bucks gathering dust somewhere? There is a significant number of Bucks that are outstanding since the beginning of the program. They are still valid and redeemable at all Altona Chamber of Commerce Member businesses.
Maybe you have been saving up for a big purchase but now is the time to spend them. We are in the process of cleaning up our spreadsheet and would like to have as many as possible redeemed and recorded as we get ready for a new streamlined Chamber Bucks Management System.
Please Call 204-324-8793 if you have any questions.
Altona Chamber Announces Winners of Christmas Shop Local Promotions
During November and December, the Altona & District Chamber of Commerce supported numerous promotions funded by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce designed to promote Shop Local Projects in Manitoba.
Projects in the Altona area were: Poutine Week; Decorated Christmas swags & Buy LocalMB.ca clings delivered to storefront Members; Light Up Altona to promote home & business decorating and to provide more sites for the Town of Altona tour video; and Photos with Santa in Altona Mall.
All of these projects were very well supported by our Community. The winners of the Home Decorating Contest are: First - Peter & Sarah Friesen; second - Jose Legaspi; and third - Lin & Louise Loewen. The winners of the Business Decorating Contest are: First - Friesen's Corporation; Second - The Flower Shop; third The Altona Mall. Congratulations! All will be contacted to distribute their Chamber Bucks prizes.
The eight winners of the Photos with Santa have been notified and and are picking up their Chamber Bucks prizes now.
We wish to thank our local partners on these projects: The Party & Gift Shop, Great Canadian Dollar Store, Oma's Kitchen, Ruff Mutts Inc., Jessica Giesbrecht, Alexa Carr, The Flower Shop, DG Inspired, MEC staff, all restaurants that participated in Poutine Week and everyone who increased their efforts to boost our spirits and make the Christmas season a little happier.
You should have received your Membership renewal invoice via email in the last couple of weeks. We hope you have already considered the value of your Membership.
The Altona & District Chamber of Commerce was formed on May 8, 1961 and celebrated our 60th Anniversary in 2021. We held 10 teleconference Board of Directors meetings and a virtual Annual General Meeting via Facebook Live.
We chose “Shop in Altona & District” as our theme for the year. Chamber Bucks was the ultimate Shop Local promotion. In 2021 $217,000 was sold and so far, $199,627 has been redeemed. All of this was spent at Altona & District Chamber Member businesses!
The Chamber was fortunate to access federal and provincial Shop Local programs to assist many of the businesses hardest hit by restrictions and to provide some fun for the community members as they shopped locally.
We were very happy to welcome thirty-two new Members this year despite shutdowns, restrictions, closed borders and the cancellation of live events. Our Members used the information we provided to access federal and provincial funding and recovery programs, and many pivoted to alternate products to be able to continue.
Social Media played a huge role in our promotions this year with daily posts on Instagram and Facebook as well as Twitter and LinkedIn to promote Chamber and Member events, activities, and promotions. We published a monthly emailed newsletter with many updates during the month as well. The Digital roadside Sign outside the Civic Centre is constantly updated to reflect community interests. Twenty-one Members were interviewed and highlighted in the Chamber Spotlight in our local newspaper twice per month. Another promotion on Social Media and our Website (www.shopaltona.com) was “Bright Spots in Covid” where seven owners/managers were interviewed to show the versatility of our Members.
We also assisted with Fundraising efforts of our Member Organizations, including the Elks Boo-Hoo Drive Through and Calendar, Library Expansion, YFC, the Station year end, Furever Friends Cat Rescue, Big Brothers/Sisters Trivia Nights, Pembina Valley Pregnancy Care Centre Awareness and Altona Community Foundation Giving Challenge.
Lobbying efforts for our Members is very important to the Chamber of Commerce and to this point, we participate in many Zoom meetings including the closing of the Altona Hospital ER for six months. A letter was sent to MLA Josh Guenther outlining business interest in this decision. We were concerned that this closing would negatively impact Altona’s ability to attract new businesses and new employees to the area. The Altona & District Chamber of Commerce holds memberships in the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Chamber Executives of Manitoba, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada and Chamber of Commerce Professionals. Virtual and in person meetings with these organizations provide opportunities for education and to learn about new and upcoming programs to share with Members and to provide feedback to provincial and federal government Ministers.
The Altona & District Chamber of Commerce could not do what we do without the volunteer Board of Directors, Jared Barnabe, Craig Neufeld, Kal Smith, Shauna Giesbrecht, Landon Stephenson, Jesse Voth, Glen Robinson and Larry Fehr; Staff Cheryl Link and Deandra Braun, summer staff Nicole Schellenberg and all the support, advice and assistance from Town Council, R.M. Council and our Members.
Rapid Test kits have become very hard to get in Manitoba lately. The criteria of the Manitoba Distribution Agency has changed and are now only available for businesses with unvaccinated employees.