Month: June 2017

Welcome New Members: March & April 2017

Ayva Educational Solutions

Dianne Beveridge

Technology & Education


Beatissima Law Firm

Evelyn Egbeniran

Legal Services


Bergs Law

Christopher Bergs

Employment Law


BMO Nesbitt Burns

Skylar Mahwanie

Wealth Management


Bramm Research Inc.

Gerald Bramm

Marketing Research


CBRE – Suburban Toronto Office Group

Michael S. Navo

Commercial Real Estate


Canadian BBQ Boys

Matt McCoy

Home Maintenance


Canedge International Inc.

Arun Kaul

International Food Trading


Candybox Marketing Inc.

Neil Persaud

Digital Marketing


Catherine Wang – CHRP

Catherine Wang

Human Resources Professional


Ceridian Canada

Thomas Mroziewicz

Payroll Services


EmbroidMe Oakville

Jeffrey Gross



Epik Networks

Ashfaq Ahmad



FirstOntario Credit Union

David Corbett

Financial Services


Green, Meikle, Smith Chartered Accountants

Ken Green



Gruggen Photography

Dave Gruggen

Commercial Photography


Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP

Brad Moscato

Legal Services


John Sawyer and Associates

John Sawyer

Out of Home Advertising


Lighting Centre

John George



Maison Apothecare Inc.

Natacha Rey

Bath & Body Care

Litian Cai

Advertising & Internet Services


Ontario Terra

Dario Di Nardo

Property Maintenance


PC Oakville Riding Association

Jeffrey Smith

Political Provincial Party


PoleFit Nation

Jane Wilson

Fitness Centre


Prostate Cancer Canada

Rocco Rossi

Charitable Organization


Pusateri’s Fine Foods

Luka Cuvalo

Grocery Store


ROMAG Contracting Ltd.

Mary Hanna

General Contractors

SandBox Media Corporation

Sandeep Sambhi

Digital Marketing


Sarah Fenwick – Mortgage Agent

Sarah Fenwick

Mortgage Agency


Silc Inc.

Parisa Zoghi



Soble, Davis & Day LLP

Matthew Soble

Legal Services


Solution Studio Inc.

Paulette G. Vinette

Not for Profit – Business Consultants


The Pacific Institute Canada

Peter Romeo

Performance Improvement


Willow Tree Family Mediation

Trish Thomas

Family Services


Ultimate Pool Service Inc.

Grant Hildebrand

Swimming Pool Services

Members in the News: May & June 2017

Congratulations Par-T-Perfect on receiving multiple awards at the Canadian Franchise Association 2017 Awards of Excellence in Franchising! Par-T-Perfect received the following awards: Mature Established Franchise (for the 3rd year in a row), Best Non-Traditional Franchise System in Canada and Franchisees Choice (for the 4th year in a row). 

Maggie Habieda of Fotografia Boutique received her Masters of Photographic Arts from the Professional Photographers of Canada. Congratulations! 

Piper Foods/McDonald’s Restaurant completed their $250,000 pledge to the Oakville Hospital Foundation! The 7th Floor South inpatient unit of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital is named in their honour. 

 Congratulations to Cameron’s Brewing Company on celebrating 20 Years of brewing delicious, quality, locally crafted beer. 

Sheridan makes history with 7 Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical, for the Broadway blockbuster musical Come From Away.

Congratulations to the following Oakville Chamber members who made The Great Places to Work® Institute Canada and The Globe and Mail’s 2017 list of “Best Workplaces in Canada – Large and Multinational: BMO Bank of Montreal, FCT, Grant Thornton LLP, Microsoft Canada Inc., RBC Royal Bank, Scotiabank and TD Canada Trust

In April, Michael McCloskey, Founder & President of GreensKeeper Asset Management, published an article in The Globe and Mail and appeared on BNN to discuss the turmoil engulfing Canada’s alternative mortgage lenders. 

Congratulations to Michele Bailey, President and CEO of Blazing The Agency on your recognition for Expansion and Growth in Small Business by BMO’s Celebrating Women Program! 

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is pleased to introduce their newest staff member, Katherine Marino, Administrative Coordinator. 


Half of Ontarians fear their skills will soon be obsolete: Oakville Chamber of Commerce

New Ontario Chamber of Commerce report urges action into alignment of skills, education and career opportunities

Today the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released a comprehensive report, Talent in Transition: Addressing the Skills Mismatch in Ontario, which identifies ten recommendations that will better align the skills acquired by Ontarians with those required by employers. The report, which was developed in partnership with leading officials in the private and educational sectors, as well as with representatives from across Ontario, includes exclusive, new research of both Ontario Chamber Network members as well as the general population on sentiment toward skills development.

Of the six in ten businesses who attempted to recruit staff in 2016, 82 per cent experienced a challenge in hiring someone with the proper qualifications. “Ontario employers are finding it more and more challenging to recruit properly qualified talent. If improvements are not made, we will find ourselves in a situation where there are ‘people without jobs and jobs without people” said Richard Koroscil, interim-President and CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Our latest report identifies opportunities to improve alignment of skills, education, career opportunities.”

It is not just employers who are concerned with the growing skills mismatch. Of the general population, half of Ontarians are concerned their skills and expertise will no longer be useful or will become less valuable in the next decade. Over the last decade, the skills mismatch has been a major concern for the future growth of Ontario’s economy. The report states that as Ontarians move into the knowledge-based economy, with rapidly changing technological advancement, it is essential to leverage our greatest asset, human capital.

The Ontario Chamber’s report outlines a strategy that unites government and industry to work collaboratively to ensure that all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce required to compete in the global economy. In working together on the recommendations presented in this report, Government and industry can:
  • Improve the transition from school to the workplace (through the expansion of experiential learning opportunities).
  • Improve the labour market outcomes (achieved through Employment Ontario programs).
  • Develop a modernized apprenticeship system (reflective of the current business climate and focused on the integration of young people into the trades).
“We hear from employers in Oakville who are experiencing challenges to find qualified employees all the time,” said John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “If we align government, employers and educators to find solutions to the skills mismatch, we can strengthen our economy and ensure there are meaningful career opportunities here in Oakville.”

Ontario’s Chamber Network has been active on the skills issue since 2012. This report is part of larger advocacy work to ensure all regions across Ontario have access to the skilled workforce that they require to compete in the global knowledge economy.

Minimum Wage Increase & Proposed Labour Reform: Advocacy and Policy Update

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce shares the desire for broadly inclusive growth, where everyone has the opportunity to obtain a living wage. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation.

Thank you to all of our members who have shared their comments regarding the proposed new labour reforms including the minimum wage increase to $15.00 in the next 18 months. We have heard you and we will continue to focus our advocacy efforts on your behalf.

In the past few weeks, the Oakville Chamber has met with the Minister of Labour, our local MPP Kevin Flynn, to share our members’ thoughts on the unintended consequences of the proposed changes. Namely, job losses due to rising costs, the inability to remain competitive, the possibility of shutting down local employers and increased costs to consumers. We are working with our local Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and combining our efforts to communicate our concerns related to the reforms and in particular, the pace at which these changes are scheduled to occur.

To that end, the Oakville Chamber is working with the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) group, a coalition of Ontario’s leading industry and sector associations as well as major employers. KOW brings together divergent voices to strengthen our collective advocacy. Our goal will be to address elements of the legislation where we think there is still room for negotiation, while bringing evidence to the table to support the notion of a broader package of offsets to help the business community transition into these new changes. The KOW website has been updated with new content and calls to action. You can visit it at

We encourage you to submit a letter to our local MPP’s through the Coalition’s website (to submit a letter, click here). Please take the time to share your stories with Minister Kevin Flynn and continue to send us your emails. Your voice matters.

Read the May/June Issue!

Deadline to Register for our China Trip is Fast Approaching!

Join the Oakville Chamber of Commerce for this once-in-a-lifetime China adventure!

Space is limited. To register, or for more information, please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email

Registration Deadline: Thursday, July 20th 

For only $2,499* your trip includes:

  • Round-trip International airfare & tax from Pearson International Airport
  • Chinese domestic airfare & tax
  • 4 and 5 star hotel accommodations 3 full meals per day
  • Deluxe bus tours
  • Fluent English-speaking tour guides
  • Admission to all tours and attractions
*Trip cost is $2,499 Canadian per person. Price reflects double occupancy for Oakville Chamber Members. Additional $200 per person for non-members. Add $500 for single occupancy. Addition 3% user fee for payments by credit card.

12-day Itinerary:

Day 1 – Toronto / Beijing Check in at Pearson International Airport for your afternoon flight, HU7976 by 5:15pm to Beijing. Your adventure begins as you fly trans-Pacific aboard a wide cabin jetliner. Cross the International Dateline. Day 2 – Beijing Arrive in Beijing, the Capital of China at 6:40pm. You will be met at the airport by your local tour guide and transferred to the hotel after dinner. Day 3 – Beijing Sightseeing includes the Tian An Men Square, the largest square in the world; the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, home of 24 emperors with a total space of 9,999 rooms. Visit the Pearl Market and the Summer Palace, known for many significance such as the Long Corridor with painted gallery, Kunming Lake and Longevity Hill, Seventeen Arch Bridge and Marble Boat. Peking Roast duck dinner is arranged. Day 4 – Beijing Photo stop at the 2008 Beijing Olympic venues for the outside views of National Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Aquatic Center. Continue the tour to the Great Wall. En route visit the Jade Factory. The Great Wall, the 4,000- mile long and 2,000 years old construction is said to be the only man-made structure visible by naked eye from the moon. Visit one of the Ming tombs, 1 of 13 Ming Emperors’ Tombs is fully excavated and open for exploration. Day 5 – Beijing Morning sightseeing to the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420 A.D., where the emperors prayed to the heaven for a good harvest. Afternoon visit to the Lama Temple of the religion of Lamaism. Day 6 – Beijing/Xi’an Morning flight to Xi’an. Sightseeing at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Visit the Chinese Lacquer Ware Workshop. Evening entertainment of Tang Style Dancing Show. Day 7 – Xi’an Morning bus excursion to the Terra-Cotta Warriors at the Tomb of the First Emperor of Qin Dynasty. Enroute, visit the Xian Art Ceramic & Terra Cotta Factory. On the way back, visit the Ancient City Wall and Banpo Museum, a preserved pre-historical cavemen site. Day 8 – Xi’an/Shanghai/Suzhou Morning flight to Shanghai, follwed by a bus ride to Suzhou. Sightseeing at the Tiger Hill. Day 9 – Suzhou/Shanghai Morning visit to the Suzhou Silk factory. Continue to the centuries old Lingering Garden. Afternoon visit to the National Embroidery Institute to see silk embroidery, an important local craft with 1,000 years history. Then visit Jinji Lake situated centrally at Suzhou Industrial Park. Bus ride to Shanghai. Day 10 – Shanghai Visit the Pudong New Development District. The Bund, a famous waterfront park and landmark of the city. Yu Garden, a maze of marvelous pavilions, ponds, rocky works and over arching trees. Free time exploration of the old town bazaar. Visit the Shanghai Silk Rug Factory. Day 11- Shanghai Free day for your own exploration of the city. Only hotel room and breakfast included. Day 12 – Shanghai/Toronto You may take the morning flight to transit at Beijing then HU7975 at 1:55 pm for Toronto where you will arrive at 2:55pm on the same day.

Register now! 

Please contact Gary Hill and Judith Neal at 905-845-6631, toll free at 1-800-368-3273, or email

I’m A Member Because…


The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has launched their I’m A Member Because… campaign, which consists of Oakville Chamber members stating why Chamber Membership is important to them.

Thank you to our featured members (listed in order as shown):  The Cardamone Group, Core Online Marketing, Cupid’s Gourmet Bakery, Elm Hill Cookies, Euro-Line Appliances Inc.Ristorante Julia, Zarr Tech, Oakville Blueprinting, Integra Tire and Zuri Fashions. A special thank you to Media Rez Studios for producing the video and Fotografia Boutique for the member photographs.

The first video of the I’m A Member Because…campaign will be airing at before every movie for 6 weeks beginning Friday, June 9. You can also view the videos on Intrigue Media‘s screens throughout Oakville and on CogecoTV!

Participate in the campaign, tell us why you’re a member on social media using #ImAMemberBecause

The Unintended Consequences of a $15 minimum Wage

The provincial government has introduced legislation that will increase the current minimum wage by over 30% from $11.40 to $15.00 per hour over the next 18 months.

Small business owners are expressing concern about the size and, in particular, the timing of the changes. Chamber members share the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation. The Ontario Government’s announcement of the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan which proposes numerous changes to current labour and employment standards legislation will go to committee over the summer months. 

The recommendations include:
  • Raising Ontario’s general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
  • Mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies
  • Expanding personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers
  • Ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with a company
  • Updating employee scheduling rules, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.
The cost of all of these benefits will be borne by small business owners.  We believe the government has not yet fully understood the unintended consequences of these changes.   Chamber members have expressed their frustration and concern over rising costs and over regulation.

“It will impact our business cash flow and the costs will have to be passed on to the consumer.  Because taxes with source deductions are going to be higher. We are not against an increase if it is done in increments and not as a total 32% increase over a short period of time.” – Noel Lourenco, Boffo’s

Many affected employers have told us that these changes will have the opposite effect of what the Government is looking to achieve.  One small business owner told us that “Since higher costs for delivery will be passed down from the supplier to the merchant, it will result in inflation. I will be forced to pass the higher costs on to the consumer.” We have also heard from members who say the impact will be felt throughout their businesses.

“If something isn’t done this dramatic and unrealistic increase may force us to close our doors after being a Kerr Street merchant for the last 18 years.” – Dean MacLean, The Mermaid and The Oyster

Higher costs for employers will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers.  If the businesses cannot transfer these new costs to the consumer, employers will be looking to reduce overhead by cutting staff hours and possibly cutting the number of staff.  This will reduce the job opportunities available to youth and other low-skilled individuals who need employment.

While we understand the commendable intentions of these proposals, it is clear that the government can’t legislate prosperity.  Instead of creating more opportunity for workers, changes like these often have the opposite effect by reducing jobs and increasing the cost of living. That is why the Oakville Chamber and the Chamber network with the Keep Ontario Working Coalition  have called on the government to conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis.

As the provincial government moves this legislation through the committee process over the summer we urge them to truly understand the economic impact of these changes that have great potential to hurt job creation, consumer costs, and economic growth.  

How will this affect your business? Let us know: 

Ontario Deserves Evidence-Based Reform: Statement on Ontario’s Fair Workplaces Plan

Changes Will Hurt Job Creation, Consumer Costs and Economic Growth

The Keep Ontario Working coalition, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber Network, expressed concern that the Government of Ontario’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan, commits to unproven sweeping reforms without ensuring protection against unintended consequences, including job losses, rising consumer costs and economic hardship.

The Keep Ontario Working Coalition (KOW) is a broad-spectrum group of business sector representatives concerned with sound public policy to help produce jobs and grow Ontario. As noted in the Business Prosperity Index of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Ontario Economic Report, despite projections that Ontario will lead Canada in economic growth in the coming years, diminished profitability, lower labour market participation, and sluggish market activity; along with other key factors have resulted in a risk-averse atmosphere that businesses are disinclined to grow production. Businesses are questioning if they should grow in Ontario or expand offshore. Despite that, Ontario’s private sector is still doing its part to support workers. As the Government pointed out in Budget 2017, 98 per cent of all new jobs since the recession in Ontario have been full time, and 78 per cent in above-average wage industries. This positive economic activity by Ontario’s private sector demonstrates a clear commitment to good jobs throughout our province.


The following is a statement by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition on the Government’s proposed workplace reforms:

We share in the Government’s desire for broadly inclusive growth. However, in order to achieve this, we need to ensure that we are not risking job losses, rising consumer costs, and economic hardship as a result of over-regulation. “Government cannot regulate prosperity. To demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. “That is why we are urging the government to take time this summer to have an independent third party conduct a comprehensive economic impact analysis on the proposed reforms to consider the unintended consequences to employers. In addition, as the province’s biggest employer, the government must fully understand what these changes will cost in relation to the provincial treasury as well as social services and other government agencies. “Why is evidence-based policy important? Only three years ago, the Premier’s own Minimum Wage Advisory Panel conducted extensive research and concluded: ‘In the Canadian context, researchers have generally found an adverse employment effect of raising minimum wages especially for young workers…typically those studies find that teen employment would drop by 3 to 6 per cent if the minimum wage is raised by 10 per cent.’ “While the Changing Workplaces Review cautioned that any regulatory change shouldn’t impair the competitiveness of businesses in the province, the reforms outlined in Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Plan thus far do not provide the balance needed to help ensure a competitive environment for Ontario. “But we have time. Now we must work cooperatively with government to identify the scale of the economic impact of these changes and help employers transition into any new policy regime. We will continue to be cooperative partners with government to find solutions that will, where possible, inhibit negative impacts on the growth of Ontario’s economy, our people, and our communities.”

Your Business Could Be Eligible to Save On Their Electricity Bills

Your business could be eligible to save on their bills the the Ontario Government’s Industrial Conservation Initiative (ICI) program. This program offers significant cost saving for businesses with average peak demand of over 500 kilowatts (kW). Many of your members might be eligible to save on average one-third off their electricity bills if they apply before June 15, 2017. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has developed an Informational Flyer on the details about the ICI program and how and when to apply. The deadline to apply for the ICI is approaching, please share with your members as soon as possible. Eligible businesses must apply between June 1 – 15. For additional information see the Ministry of Energy’s backgrounder on the ICI program. You can also help us collect data to inform our future policy work on electricity pricing. Please fill out the Ontario Chamber’s short survey. It is only 3 questions and takes 1 minute to complete! Take the Survey Now!