The Sarnia-Lambton COVID-19 Business and Economic Taskforce that consists of key business organizations, that meet twice per week to address issues and challenges that have been identified through extensive consultation with employers across the Sarnia-Lambton area and to discuss plans for economic recovery. Additional business organizations and municipalities are also invited to join from time-to-time to share their unique perspectives from their sector, municipality or area of service.
The focus of the Sarnia-Lambton COVID-19 Business and Economic Task Force is to collect, coordinate and disseminate information, in a timely manner, on strategies, programs and other remedies that are available to mitigate the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the economic well-being of employers and entrepreneurs in the Sarnia-Lambton area.
- Stephen Thompson, CEO, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Shauna Carr, Economic Development Officer, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Karen Richards, Economic Development Officer, Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
- Don Anderson, General Manager, Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation
- Mikelle Bryson-Campbell, Interim Executive Director, Sarnia Lambton Workforce Development Board
- Mark Perrin, Executive Director, Tourism Sarnia-Lambton
- Mary Jean O’Donnell, Chair of the Board of Directors, Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce
- Susan Mills, Manager, Grand Bend & Area Chamber of Commerce
Membership Composition: Members of the Task Force are comprised of organizations with a primary mandate on economic development and are business-facing.
Our goal is help businesses navigate these uncertain times so that they are able to re-open and get back up to full speed once it is safe to do so, and help ensure that as many businesses as possible survive the COVID-19 crisis.
- The COVID-19 Economic Task Force will aim to support the economic interests of the Sarnia-Lambton area through a coordinated and responsive manner.
- The COVID-19 Economic Task Force will work together by seeking local input, providing information via webinars and web sites, making submissions to governments highlighting the impact on local members of the community and recommending supportive measures.
- The COVID-19 Economic Task Force will assist in the development of scenario-based recovery models and the subsequent recovery efforts.
- The COVID-19 Economic Task Force will support businesses of all sizes across the municipalities by providing information resources to help them keep going.
- The COVID-19 Economic Task Force will provide immediate and targeted business assistance to local businesses struggling to respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its inception on March 25, the Task Force has worked collaboratively to launch several initiatives to help employers and employees during these unprecedented times:
- Developed a Resources for Businesses section on the SLEP website. While each organization had various information posted, consensus was reached on having information consolidated and hosted on SLEP’s website. Pages were created to provide information on all the Federal and Provincial resources that are available. The information is updated daily and updates are provided by email to subscribers.
Outcome: to support employers with information so they access the information they need to navigate available program resources and make informed decisions on how best to weather the current economic circumstances.
- Launched the Business Impact Survey with the five member organizations as a tool that will be used to gather feedback from the business community in Sarnia-Lambton area and to better access the needs of all businesses in the area. The data gathered will aid the taskforce in decision making to support local entrepreneurs/businesses, to roll the data up regionally so that decisions makers have the most up to date data available to advocate at the provincial and federal levels. Watch for version 3.0.
Outcome: to use real time, local data to advocate for programs and supports that directly service local entrepreneurs/businesses at the regional, provincial and federal levels.
- Developed a Shop Lambton online map that will be launched soon to support local businesses in Lambton County. The Shop Lambton map will be a visual and interactive database of local businesses that are open, contact information, and hours of operation and how businesses are providing their services. The Task Force reviews best practises being implemented and after hearing about an initiative in Grey County agreed to proceed with this map for Lambton County.
Outcome: to drive more business to retailers and other merchants that are open or providing e-commerce or deliveries/curbside pickups and to make this information readily available to Sarnia-Lambton residents to help support local businesses.
- Investigated solutions to specific concerns employers have that may have a unique circumstance that have not been readily addressed by announced Provincial or Federal programs.
Outcome: to assist employers in finding supports to weather the current economic circumstances.
- Developed a Work In Sarnia-Lambton (WISL) jobs board to support the local business community. WISL is an all-in-one interactive toolkit to match job seekers with businesses across the Sarnia-Lambton area, encourage local training and skill development resources as well as access to local employment service providers.
- Regional Jobs Board – Searchable list of job opportunities found exclusively within the Sarina-Lambton region. These postings are collected by WISL from the top 23 job posting websites for the area, reducing the need to ‘hop’ between job site search engines.
- Regional Jobs Map – Geolocates the job opportunities listed on the Regional Jobs Board onto a map of the Sarnia-Lambton region. In addition, built in filters make it easy to view locations for childcare, schools, apprenticeship training, employment service providers and Ontario Disability Support Program centers to help job seekers find job opportunities and resources that best fit their needs, their lifestyle as well as their career path.
- Regional Census Tool – Easy to navigate geo-referenced census population data for the various areas of Sarnia-Lambton including total population by age group, languages spoken most at home, income level and may other available metrics.
- WISL Guidebook – Check out the WISL guidebook for user details and other frequently asked questions.
Outcome: to assist job seekers and employers find jobs and candidates respectively.
A number of additional initiatives are being offered by individual task force members:
Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation
Emergency Support Loan
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership
Programs and Resources for Business
E-Commerce Assessments for Businesses
Grants and Mentorship for a student to open a business for the summer (Deadline May 28, 2020)
Grants and mentorship for entrepreneurs and business (Deadline May 28th, 2020)
This page was updated June 1, 2020