SSMCOC COVID-19 update August 19, 2020
SSMCOC will appear before Ontario's
Standing Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs

Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce CEO, Rory Ring will be appearing before the Ontario Government's Standing Committee on Financial and Economic Affairs by video conference on Thursday, August 20th between 10am and 11am.

As an effort to review the government’s numerous actions to support small businesses, the Standing Committee on Finance will be holding a Small and Medium Enterprises hearing. The purpose of this hearing is to take feedback and recommendations from stakeholders regarding the government’s response to COVID-19. The committee will generate a final report on the government’s response which will be tabled in the Legislative Assembly this coming September.

The link to the broadcasted committee meeting is
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New program will help local businesses go digital in response to COVID-19 - Recovery Activation Program expands to Sault Ste. Marie

With the support of a $7.7 million investment from the Governments of Canada and Ontario, the Recovery Activation Program (RAP) is now expanding to support businesses of all sizes throughout the province, including Sault Ste. Marie. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) has been selected as an important partner to help ensure local businesses benefit from the customized services and mentorship that RAP offers.

Funding and Capital: Four Strategy Session for Women-Led Social Ventures

NORDIK Institute’s Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (SEE) initiative’s new program, Funding and Capital: Four Strategy Sessions for Women-Led Ventures, is designed to build the capacity of women-led social enterprises to access capital and connect to investors. The program is part of the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN), project that supports women and gender non-binary people, typically underrepresented in business, to create and grow enterprises that embed social values into their business model, such as through cooperative, non-profit, as well as both for-profit and not-for-profit social enterprises.

Funding and Capital: Four Strategy Sessions for Women-Led Ventures connects ventures to capital (grants, loans, or investment) that allows them to achieve a specific goal matched to their venture needs, provide peer input and insights, and supports reviewing and advising for a grant or pitch to an investor. It is geared to those who are operating a social business and have a specific capital need that they are seeking to be met over a 12-24-month period. Ventures must have at least one full-time position. They can be in the startup stage, have proof of concept, or can identify a specific need or business function/segment for which they need capital.

Resilient Communities Fund

The Resilient Communities Fund is a one-time fund to support the non-profit sector recover and rebuild from the impacts emerging from COVID-19 so they can effectively meet the needs of communities across Ontario. Please review the Resilient Communities Fund resource page for all of the information your organization will need.  

If your organization requires additional support to complete the application join the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) for a series of group coaching clinics and one-on-one coaching from August 10th to August 27th, 2020. Visit the sign up page and register for as many sessions as you need.  

Ontario Provides Update to Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19

Since announcing the first steps in the government's response to the global pandemic on March 25, 2020, the government has made additional investments and budgeted for further contingencies in the fight against COVID-19. This includes allocating more support for people, jobs, a safe reopening, and the prevention of - or response to - a second wave. With these investments, the government's COVID-19 response action plan is now a projected $30.0 billion, up from $17 billion announced in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 on March 25, 2020. Read more.
Government Of Canada Sets National Temporary Minimum Unemployment Rate For EI Benefits Calculations

As the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is set to wind down at the end of August, the federal government has temporarily adjusted the Employment Insurance (EI) program’s unemployment rate to 13.1%, which will be applied nationally (except for in areas where the actual rate is higher). This temporary measure will set a uniform eligibility requirement for EI regular benefits, provide a minimum entitlement of 26 weeks of benefits and set the number of best weeks of earnings used in the calculation of the weekly benefit rate at 14. More information here.

Federal Government Announces Canada Healthy Communities Initiative

The Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in federal funding to support community-led solutions that respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years. The Initiative will fund smaller-scale local projects under three main themes: creating safe and vibrant public spaces, improving mobility options, and digital solutions. More information here.
2021 Pre-Budget Submission

As the federal government prepares its 2021 budget and looks for new ideas on how to drive the economy forward, the Canadain Chamber of Commerce has made its submission to the Standing Committee on Finance for its 2021 budget consultations. The CCC's Roadmap to Recovery forms the foundation of our submission, which makes 33 specific recommendations to promote private sector economic growth and competitiveness. Read the submission here.

5 Minutes For Business: The Costs Of Complacency

It is hard not to see how complacency played a role in our collective pandemic prevention and preparedness. In this edition of 5 Minutes for Business, we take a look at this and how we can overcome our economic complacency. Read 5 Minutes for Business here.

Canadian Chamber's Mark Agnew Addresses Aluminum Tariffs On BNN Bloomberg

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Senior Director of International Policy Mark Agnew, appeared on Bloomberg Markets with Amanda Lang to discuss the U.S. reimposing tariffs on Canadian aluminum and the need to address fundamental international trade issues. Watch the interview.
READ THE REPORT | The State of Women's Entrepreneurship in Canada 2020

The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) released The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada 2020 today, the first annual WEKH report. The report synthesizes government, academic, and expert research to highlight some of the structural barriers facing diverse women entrepreneurs in Canada. The research shows clearly that COVID-19 has amplified structural barriers, has affected women entrepreneurs more than men and has affected Indigenous, racialized and other diverse entrepreneurs most of all. Click here to download the report.
ICC and IOM Publish COVID-19 Guidance On The Protection For Migrant Workers

To help companies address the specific challenges of migrant workers, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Organization For Migration have published Guidance on the Protection for Migrant Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. This publication includes general principles as well as specific recommendations relating to physical and mental health, living and working conditions, economic support, ethical recruitment and supply chain transparency commitments. The guidance is adapted from IOM’s more detailed COVID-19 guidance for employers and business to enhance migrant worker protection during the pandemic. Access the Guide.
Building Digital Capacity And Business Resilience During COVID-19, with TC Energy

Digital innovation was the foundation that enabled TC’s employees to remain productive, collaborative and connected in the wake of the pandemic. Embracing change allows organizations to accomplish things that didn’t seem possible and unlocks creativity and innovation, inspiring and motivating people to realize untapped potential and deliver outstanding business outcomes to build business resilience. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce welcomes Chris Foster, Vice-President of Information Services and Chief Information Officer with TC Energy on August 27 | 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET, as he discusses building digital capacity and business resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Register here.
Webinar Recording: Maintaining Business Continuity
Through COVID-19 And Beyond, with Rogers

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce was recently joined by Rogers for a webinar to discuss business continuity through COVID-19 and beyond. The webinar included tips on how to equip employees to work from home and how to access and protect your business data from anywhere. You can watch the replay here.
Webinar Recording: Working Remotely Through A Crisis
And Flex Work Long Term, with CWB Financial

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce was recently joined by Canadian Western Bank’s Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Client Solutions for a webinar to discuss the future of working remotely through a crisis and the long-term outlook for flex work. Get tips for setting up effective work areas for employees and for supporting employees’ mental health as well as learn about what major cybersecurity threats exist for SMEs now and post-pandemic. You can watch the replay here.
Webinar Recording: The Importance of Women's
Entrepreneurship for Economic Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate effect on women. Most strikingly observed amongst women from disadvantaged populations, it is also taking a harsh toll on women entrepreneurs. Existing systemic inequalities pre-pandemic have been further exacerbated by recent shut-down measures, resulting in what some economists are calling a “she-cession,” as more women have lost their jobs and fewer women than men are re-gaining employment. What is clear is this: we will not achieve our full economic potential if support for women is not centred in our planning. You can watch the replay here.
Please note that our office is currently CLOSED due to COVID-19, however we are still committed to serving our members and the business community. 

For general inquiries, you may continue to e-mail us at or message us on facebook @ssmcoc. You may also e-mail individual staff, however please understand that there may be a delay in response to inquiries during this time. If your matter is urgent, you may also reach out to Chamber CEO Rory Ring at or 705-255-4361.
The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of 700 plus business and agencies in Sault Ste. Marie and has been serving the needs of this community since 1889. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce will lead the way as the voice of business, advancing economic prosperity for its membership and the business community.