Municipal Budget Update
Following many hours of special budget meetings throughout January, City Council has revised the 2019 proposed city budget to reflect a 2.29% tax levy increase. 

The Chamber congratulates members of City Council and Administration on the hard work and difficult decisions that were undertaken to achieve these expenditure reductions to address our concerns about municipal spending and tax growth. 

Citizens will have the opportunity to provide their input at the post-budget public consultation tonight and City Council will ratify and finalize the budget at its meeting on February 11 th.  
Addressing Program and Policy Shortfalls
Employers across Ontario, but particularly in small cities of under 200,000 population and rural areas, are experiencing a shortage of qualified employees and a shrinking labour market. This challenge will continue to grow as existing workers retire. One part of the solution to the skills shortage challenge is through progressive immigration policies and processes. 

The current Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) is one area where Ontario’s policies put us at a disadvantage in attracting migrants to meet our labour market needs. The list of eligible professions is narrow and does not include many of the professions that are experiencing shortages (plumbers, personal support workers, truck drivers, etc).   To add further challenges, the OINP requires employers to obtain a labour market impact assessment prior to offering a job to a recent migrant and the OINP does not allocate any of its 6,600 nominated spots to support regional immigration. 
Your Chamber is continuing to advocate to the Ontario Government to address these shortfalls in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and will be advocating for the support of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in this regard. We believe that the expansion of the list of in-demand jobs to include NOC skill level C, the elimination of the need for a labour market impact assessment for small and rural communities, and the allocation of a percentage of nominee spots by region would improve the ability of small and rural communities to address labour shortages through the OINP. 
Upcoming Chamber Events
Diversity Lunch and Learn
February 5, 2019, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
McNaughton Room, City Hall, 500 Donald St E

Leader's Luncheon with Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli
February 7, 2019
Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel & Suites

Leader's Luncheon: City Hall Edition
February 15, 2019
Airlane Hotel & Conference Centre

Member Social
February 20, 2019
Casual drop-in from 5 - 7pm.
The Foundry

Save the Date: 100 People Who Care
February 20, 2019
During the Member Social at The Foundry

YQT: Your Quarterly Training
April 10, 2019 | 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Held in the Chamber Boardroom

Leadercast 2019: Leading Healthy Teams
May 10, 2018 | 8:00am - 4:00pm
Victoria Inn
Don't miss these upcoming opportunities to meet and learn from key influencers at the provincial and municipal levels:, Ontario Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli and Thunder Bay's own Mayor Bill Mauro. Register online today!

Leaders Luncheons are made possible by series sponsor Intercity Industrial Supply.
St. Joseph’s Care Group (SJCG) combines tradition and innovation in responding to the unmet needs of the people of Northwestern Ontario since 1884. They are here for their clients, offering a broad range of programs and services in Addictions & Mental Health, Rehabilitative Care, and Seniors’ Health across multiple sites in the City of Thunder Bay. Learn more on our website.
NWO Local Immigration Partnership's 11th Annual Immigration Forum
The North Western Ontario Local Immigration Partnership invites you to attend the 11th Annual Regional Immigration Forum.

Who should attend?
Employers, Service Providers, Municipalities and Government Representatives/Agencies from North Western Ontario.

What will be discussed?
Attraction and Retention Strategies
Economic Immigration Pathways
Employer Engagement & Tools

Who will we hear from?
Presentations will be made by a variety of agencies and government programs including: Northern Policy Institute/Institut des politiques du Nord; The Conference Board of Canada; Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program; FedNor, Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada etc.

The North West Local Health Integration Network (North West LHIN) is pleased to announce new, free, technology-based mental health resources available to the people of Northwestern Ontario
Supported by funding from the Government of Ontario, the services are designed to help adults and youth manage mild to moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Big White Wall® ( is an anonymous online mental health platform that is available 24/7, without the need of a referral, for people over the age of 16. Coordinated by the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Big White Wall® provides a supportive online community, education and guided self-help programs with the aim of reducing social isolation for people dealing with anxiety and depression.
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Ontario Division is offering BounceBack®, ( a free skill-building program designed to people over the age of 15 better manage low mood, stress and worry. The program offers two types of support: one-on-one telephone coaching using workbooks, and a series of online videos that offer practical tips. People interested in this program are encouraged to talk with their family physician or nurse practitioner to get a referral. The online videos are accessible at any time at: (using access code: bbtodayon). Bounceback® and Big White Wall® are funded as part of a three-year structured psychotherapy demonstration project. more...
B Corp Certification Short Survey Workshop
Interested in becoming a certified B Corp? Guided by Craig Ryan, Director of Social Entrepreneurship - BDC , you will complete a short form of the B Corp assessment – free, confidential and online. Please bring a laptop and be prepared to fill out the short version of the survey.

You’ll learn about it, and get a general idea of how you’d score in the full assessment. Presented by the CEDC. Register here.
Resources for New Members
Register for our next YQT ("Your Quarterly Training") and enjoy lunch with other Members while you learn how to make best use of the various programs we offer. Register now.

Looking to get started with Chamber services on your own? Visit this page for a how-to checklist designed to help you connect with Chamber programs and services as well as other Chamber Members.
2018 Report to Members
The 2018 Report to Members was presented during our Annual General Meeting, held on Thursday, January 31 in the TEC Hub at Confederation College.

Watch for your copy in the mail, or see it on our website.
Good News
Good News collected this week highlighting the following Chamber Members:

Confederation College
Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre

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