SSMCOC COVID-19 update June 12, 2020  
Sault Chamber Presents to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs RE: Ontario'sTourism Sector

On Thursday, June 11th, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce CEO, Rory Ring, presented to the Government of Ontario's Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding the the province's Tourism Sector. This cross-party committee heard about the need to support tourism by establishing confidence in the tourism consumer, financial supports for PPE implementation, filling the gap for municipalities falling short on the municipal accommodation tax, support for marketing travel in Ontario, and revisiting the property tax system.

Tourism-related businesses, whether they be a hotel / motel, food service establishment, sport or music venue are all extremely sensitive to decreased revenue. It was stressed that the challenges ahead are real and we need real solutions.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is proud to represent our community and our local businesses, as Ontario moves into a phase of recovery and reopening
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber: RBC Report Underscores Vital Need to Focus on Small Business Recovery

Yesterday, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, joined with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to partner in the launch of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) report,  Small Business, Big Pivot: A devastating downturn, and how Canadian enterprises can transition .

The report contains proprietary economic research which outlines how the landscape has shifted for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document also includes a tangible plan to help Canadian small businesses thrive in a post-pandemic economy.

Strive Young Professionals COVID-19 Business Recovery Advocacy Survey

Strive Young Professionals group is looking for feedback on how our members and business owners have been impacted by COVID-19 and how they feel about the Government of Ontario’s plan for reopening and recovery. Please take a moment to provide us with your feedback so that we can understand what we can do to advocate for our members in these unprecedented times.

 If you have any questions, please contact our Advocacy Officer at
City adjusts traditional Canada Day festivities, encourages virtual celebrations instead

Following public health guidelines and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Sault Ste. Marie has made the difficult decision to cancel its traditional outdoor Canada Day events, including its fireworks display. 
Locally, citizens are asked to decorate houses, doors, windows and yards with all things Canada. Photos can be submitted to the City’s Facebook page using #SaultCelebratesCanadaDay. The City hopes to revisit its July 1 Canada Day fireworks display as part of its annual Culture Days celebration in the fall. Read MORE.
$57 Million Investment in Digital Main Street Will Help Businesses Reopen, Recover and Grow Long after COVID-19

Announced Thursday, the Ontario government, in partnership with the federal government, is helping small businesses reach more customers through the Digital Main Street platform. It is a $57-million program which will help up to 22,900 Ontario businesses create and enhance their online presence and generate jobs for more than 1,400 students.

Through the $57-million contribution to the  Digital Main Street  platform, businesses will be able to take advantage of three new programs to support their digital transformation:
  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy.

Beaches and Campsites to Open at Ontario Parks

As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park. Read more HERE.
Adjusted Eligibility Criteria for the COVID-19 Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

To meet the evolving needs of Northern Ontario businesses and organizations, FedNor has announced adjusted eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Eligible businesses and not-for-profit organizations can now qualify even if they have applied for, or have even received, other federal COVID-19 funding. These changes apply to the Regional economy stream of the RRRF affecting businesses (such as incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives), Indigenous organizations (like Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement-owned businesses), as well as a variety of not-for-profit organizations and associations.

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF):
  • Covers a wide range of costs, including rent, utilities, insurance and much more
  • Includes Funding up to $250,000
  • Program offers 0% interest
  • Payment moratorium is available up to December 31, 2022
  • Repayments to be made in installments over a maximum term of five years from the date the first payment was issued
  • Recipients of contributions up to $40,000 who repay 75 percent of their contribution before December 31, 2022, will be granted 25 percent funding forgiveness up to a maximum of $10,000
  • Eligible not-for-profit recipients qualify for non-repayable funding.
Visit the Regional Economy Stream section of the RRRF on the FedNor website for all the details. Applications are being assessed quickly on a first-come, first-served basis
Helping Small Businesses Go Digital Critical to Economic Recovery

On June 11, Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce released the following statement in reaction to the joint announcement by the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario in support of small businesses accessing new opportunities by creating and enhancing their online presence and expanding their reach to new customers in and beyond Ontario.

“Ontario’s economy and communities thrive when small businesses succeed. The OCC welcomes today’s support for small business to get online and embrace digital tools to grow their organizations. We understand the hardships small businesses are enduring while COVID-19 abatement measures are in place and applaud government efforts to help them pivot to recovery and growth post-pandemic.

“Today’s news coincides with RBC’s release of their report,  Small Business, Big Pivot . The report underscores that small firms need to leverage new technologies and adapt to the virtual economy. As consumer behavior changes, the ability of small businesses to pivot to digital will be a major determinant of Ontario’s long-term economic recover.”
Hon. Perrin Beatty Addresses Reopening And Recovery In The Financial Post 

“The starting point needs to be a frank admission that the disease has not been beaten and that we will be forced to live with it in our midst until we have a vaccine. Governments must move from telling us to stay home to implementing a coherent plan to manage COVID risk while allowing people to resume more of their ordinary lives. No plan can eliminate risk but one that is well-designed can reduce it to manageable proportions. We’ll face setbacks and course corrections but we must move towards reopening society.”  Read the full Op-Ed.

 Canadian Chamber Wants to get Canadians Back to Work, the Smart Way

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Senior Director of Workforce Strategies and Inclusive Growth, Leah Nord, released the following statement this week in an effort to get Canadians back to work in a coordinated and strategic way.

“To move out of this crisis, through transition and into recovery, Canada’s path starts and ends with small businesses, the drivers of our economy. The solutions they need going forward need to be designed by business for small businesses, in addition to being sector-specific and tailored by communities for communities. These solutions need to be driven by local and real time data, including labour market information and delivered through local employer collaborations." Read the full statement HERE.

The Business Of Business: Working Remotely And The Importance Of Cybersecurity 

In this episode the Business of Business, Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, and Lissa Ricci, Senior Leader of Small Business Solutions at CISCO, discuss Canada's transition to working remotely amid the pandemic, as well as the importance of prioritizing cybersecurity during this time. Watch HERE.

Webinar Replay: Getting Creative with Your Mobile Phone

On June 9th, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the CBRN hosted 'Getting Creative with Your Mobile Phone'. Learn how to plan and create content using your mobile phone as well as tools, tips, and creative apps that can help you create high quality content for your customers and followers. The webinar recording can be found here
Cyber Threats To Canadian Organizations 

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security has issued an alert regarding cybercrime during the pandemic. The centre has assessed that the COVID-19 pandemic presents an elevated level of risk to the cybersecurity of Canadian health organizations involved in the national response to the pandemic, including but not limited to medical research, manufacturing, distribution and policy-making organizations.  Read the Alert HERE.
Deloitte Small Business Relief Tool

To support Canadian small businesses, Canadian Business Resilience Network partner, Deloitte has developed a simple tool that brings together in one place the various financial relief programs that are available federally, provincially and privately. The COVID-19 small business relief tool helps you navigate the available federal, provincial and private funding measures through a quick, easy-to-use questionnaire that takes less than two minutes to complete and comprises of four simple questions. The tool will help you find the relevant programs that your business can apply for and the process to do so. Currently there are over 100 programs available to Canadian small businesses. Click HERE.
With local businesses forced to close or reduce their hours amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the newly launched  FanSaves Helps Gift Certificate Program  is helping give business owners a boost across the country and in the Sault Ste. Marie region. Click HERE to learn more.
Recovery Funding & Programs Webinar

Join on us on Wednesday, June 17th from 1:00pm to 2:00pm for a high level overview and a chance to ask questions about some of the various funding opportunities available to businesses and organizations as we move into recovery and re-opening. We will discuss some of the programs you can tap into to help your business as well as funding sources to help you hire staff and students. Join us, along with representatives from: FedNor; the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation; the Community Development Corporation of Sault Ste Marie & Area; the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre; Destination Northern Ontario; the Indian Friendship Centre; Metis Nation of Ontario. Register HERE.
Leadership During a Crisis with Hon. Perrin Beatty and Rocco Rossi

Join the Northern Ontario Chambers of Commerce on Wednesday, June 17th , from 10:30am to 11:30am, as they host the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Rocco Rossi, President & CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, for a fireside chat. Mr. Beatty and Mr. Rossi will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the business community, the work of the Chamber network during the crisis, and how doing business in the North may reveal a different future for Northern Ontario businesses. Register HERE.
WEBINAR - Physical return to work: Practical realities
and transformative opportunities

On Wednesday, June 17th at 3:00 p.m. EDT, join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and three EY professionals for a virtual roundtable, where they will discuss the realities and opportunities of the physical return to work and how this evolving situation is encouraging organizations to reimagine their work environment and workforce model. Topics for discussion will include: Operational resilience; Health and safety considerations for a physical return to work; Technology and cybersecurity concerns; The workforce of the future. Click HERE to register.
WEBINAR - How to Build an Effective Advertising Strategy,
in partnership with Facebook

You're ready to advertise but need a strategy and a plan. We'll walk through how to define your advertising goals and objectives, reach your target audience at the right time and place, and learn to measure a successful advertising campaign. Join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, June 24th from 1:00pm to 2:00 pm. Tune in to hear answers to the questions you submitted during registration. Click HERE to register.
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.