Category: Blog

Member Profile: Halton Industry Education Council

This past November, Halton Industry Education Council (HIEC) turned 30 – and they have a lot to celebrate! Founded in 1989, HIEC is a not-for-profit social enterprise that focuses on partnership, mentorship and workforce development. HIEC was developed in partnership with the four Halton Region Chambers of Commerce, the Halton District and Halton Catholic District School Boards, and Sheridan College. For three decades HIEC has been developing and delivering innovative programs and services that leverage technologies, advance community collaboration, strengthen economic development, inspire mentorship, and help young people succeed.

HIEC strives to empower youth in their career exploration and contribute to their overall mental wellness as it relates to future planning and opportunities. This includes building stronger connections between educators, employers, and the students who will make up the future workforce through their Career Awareness Program, hosting inspiring community events, and managing multiple technologies that focus on workforce development.

Through the Career Awareness Program, HIEC supports 7,000 students a year as they prepare to transition into high school. The program is for grade 7 students and helps them identify their individual values, skills and interests. During their visit, students also have the opportunity to investigate 3500+ different occupations that are outlined in the Career Development Lab. Students can also participate in a life work simulation program, which provides them with a better understanding of working conditions, salaries, future trends, and post-secondary pathways for jobs that interest them. This program is very successful and has even received international interest.
Building on career planning, HIEC hosts two annual community events: Women as Career Coaches and Men as Career Coaches. These informal and interactive events bring mentors from different industries and careers together with young people for an evening of open and honest conversation about occupational pathways, post-secondary destinations, and work life. Collectively, these events have hosted 5,500 mentors and 6,300 students! Students have reported these events to be very influential; with some returning to the event as career coaches once they’ve established their careers. Consider sharing your career journey at the Women in Career Coaches or the Men in Career Coaches events.

In addition to their in-person programming and events, HIEC operates two important workforce development technologies. is an online matching service designed specifically and exclusively to serve the needs of skilled trades employers and apprentices. The site was developed to address the shortage of skilled trades’ workers in the province. The free online service raises awareness of the trades and provides information on the apprenticeship pathway. The site receives up to 150 new applicants each week, with over 16,000 people seeking apprenticeship opportunities in Ontario. Organizations looking to offer an apprenticeship can register online, post vacancies, and initiate a live search for suitable applicants and apprenticeship candidates. In addition to contributing to the training of the future workforce, there are also grants and other financial incentives available for employers offering apprenticeships.

The other technology HIEC offers is, a free online community that connects employers and the future workforce. Developed in 2008, the site acts as a single point of contact for employers looking to get involved with short, medium, and long-term experiential learning opportunities, ranging from one-hour career talks to full-semester cooperative education placements.

HIEC’s programming is quite remarkable. Not only does it impact our local workforce in Halton through the Career Awareness Program, but it assists Ontario’s workforce through If you have a student seeking guidance for their career path, or you’d like to share your professional journey, or your workplace would like to offer a co-op or apprenticeship placement, contact HIEC. Set up a meeting or book a tour of their impressive facility.  

Work-Life Balance

By Melanie McGregor, Specialist, Communications and Advancement, Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region Branch
“Work-life balance” – that elusive, idealized goal that is talked about like it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. But is it really possible? And if so, how? 

“Work-life balance” can be defined in many ways, but overall, it is feeling that work and life aren’t competing and that we are able to successfully manage our multiple roles and demands in each area. There’s a lot to cram into our days as workers, partners, parents, caregivers, family members, friends, and people with interests, needs, and healthy habits to maintain, and being overloaded can have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. We may feel out of control, have trouble keeping our mind on things, feel guilty, neglect self-care, and feel tired or run-down. 

To address or even prevent these impacts, we need to first think about our own expectations. I like to think of “work-life balance” as more “work-life management. Balance suggests that the two things are equal, stable, in proportion, but in fact, there are times when work will dominate or life away from work will require more of us. Coping during these times is about managing our demands and doing what we can to feel more on top of things and like we can bring our whole selves to work and back home at the end of the day.  

Work-life balance also does not mean that work and life become completely separate realms that don’t influence each other. Work is an integral part of our lives, and what happens at work is bound to affect our feelings, moods, and thoughts outside of work and vice versa. It also doesn’t mean that we will never feel stressed or overwhelmed or have competing demands. It’s a question of seeing these times as signals that we need to do something differently. 

So, what can we do to feel more in control and balanced? Consider these ideas as a start: 
  • If you are an employer, your flexibility can go a long way to creating more productive and satisfied employees. Consider arrangements like flexible work hours, working from home, or day off usage and communicate these to your team. What happens if an employee has a sick child or a medical appointment in the middle of the day? If they and you know what to expect and do in these situations, it can reduce stress and anxiety. 
  • If you are an employee, talk with your employer about what would help you manage your balance. For example, if you are caring for a parent who needs you more in the next week, discuss ahead of time what options are and are not available so you can plan accordingly. 
  • Create and stick to boundaries that work for you. Expectations do vary from role to role, but we often create unnecessary expectations for ourselves. Do you really need to check your e-mail after the workday is done, or is this just a habit you’ve built up that’s cutting into your family time? Try marking the separation between your work time and your personal time more clearly by, say, chilling out with a cup of tea after work or doing a short meditation when you get home.  
  • Be realistic about what you can accomplish. An unreasonable to-do list is a sure path to feeling overloaded and out of balance. At both work at home, think about the time you have and what you can reasonably fit it – not what you’d like to fit in, but what is truly doable. And remember that you don’t need to “be productive” all the time – down time is vital to wellness and well-being. 
    We are bound to feel out of balance now and then, but some reflection, planning, and management should help tip the scales back towards wellness. 

    For resources on mental health, please visit

    Listen to This: Top Podcasts 2020

    Check out these podcasts recommended by the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee. (Click on the titles to listen)

    The Daily
    The Daily is a podcast that covers the biggest stories of our time covered by journalists from The New York Times. It has a conversational and intimate tone, which makes news more accessible. the podcast receives over 1.1 million downloads a day, with new episodes airing every weekday.

    Spectacular Failures
    Host Lauren ober tackles some of the most spectacular business failures of all time in Spectacular Failures. some of the most promising ideas have been brought down by family disputes and scandal, while others were fuelled by bad decisionmaking. The podcast reminds listeners that success isn’t so easy.

    The Bridge with Peter Mansbridge
    The Bridge is a weekly podcast from internationally recognized journalist Peter Mansbridge, discussing what is on his mind that week. It could be Canadian, or international, news or sports. This podcast offers a relaxed commentary on current events.

    TED Talks Business
    Presented by TED, the non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth spreading, TED Talks Business hosts some of the world’s greatest innovators, entrepreneurs and business researchers to share their stories and insights. From money and marketing, to
    loans and leadership listen to global leaders and industry experts as they inform and inspire you!

    Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly
    This podcast gives listeners a “behind the scenes” experience of the advertising industry. Host Terry O’Reilly shares
    fascinating and humorous stories on pop culture, marketing and human nature.

    Dolly Parton’s America
    This podcast explores the life of Dolly Parton, her influence on pop culture, and society more generally. Created by Jad Abumrad, who grew up in nashville where Dolly Parton was one of the biggest icons. Abumrad never paid much attention to her career; but thought of her as simply a country star diva. In 2016, he realized she was a much bigger phenomenon. He argues that analyzing Dolly Parton’s universal appeal, regardless of listeners’ background or politics, will help us
    understand America at this particular moment.

    Mo’ Money Podcast with Jessica Moorhouse
    Host Jessica Moorhouse is a millennial money expert with a passion for personal finance and living a balance lifestyle. In her Mo’ Money Podcast she interviews celebrities, experts, entrepreneurs, authors, friends, family and even listeners of the show – and dives into topics like financial independence, early retirement, budgeting best practices, debt and credit,
    investing, side hustles, entrepreneurship and more!

    Members of the Chamber
    The Oakville Chamber just launched it’s very own podcast! In each episode, President & Ceo Drew Redden sits down with one member of our Chamber community to discuss their individual entrepreneur or professional journey, their job and how they ended up where they are today.

    Succeeding in Uncertainty 

    By Michelle Pickett and Joe Rafuse, PwC Canada

    “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” – Paul Romer, Stanford Economist

    We’re experiencing an unprecedented period of uncertainty, change and disruption. While the longest-running bull market in history continues, many believe that the positive economic trajectory won’t continue indefinitely and that warning signs are already here. The Wall Street Journal’s latest Economic Forecasting Survey reported a probability of nearly 50% of a 2020 recession. PwC’s recent Global CEO Survey reported that pessimism about global economic growth is at an all-time high with 53% of CEOs surveyed predicting a decline in the rate of economic growth in 2020, up from 29% in 2019. 

    With Canadian household debt at a record high, consumer insolvencies are also now reaching eight-year peaks while the US Federal Reserve continues to lower interest rates. This is all unfolding amidst a backdrop of geopolitical tensions, precarious global trade rules, and increasing focus on topics such as climate and the environment.     

    The proliferation of technology in business in everyday life is accelerating as well.  Competition is shifting rapidly where emerging entrants are changing the competitive landscape.  The landscape of the largest US companies by market capitalization has also shifted dramatically – today the top 5 companies by market capitalization are all technology based and represent 20% of the overall S&P 500.  

    With the rate of disruption and change only accelerating over time, how then do companies succeed in this uncertainty?  Focusing on the core business while keeping an eye on the rapidly evolving landscape may seem like diligent practice today, but if history has taught us anything, it is that no industry has deep enough moats to fend off the siege of disruption.  

    Ignoring uncertainty is not a favorable strategy.

    “Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition”

    – Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes in 2008 

    Understand Your Business

    Succeeding in uncertainty requires preparation and being proactive. Businesses should objectively assess critical areas such as Customer and Markets, their Business Model and Capital Structure to better understand key opportunities and threats.  

    Manage costs today

    To put the company in the best possible position to succeed in uncertainty and prepare for the future, management should be managing costs today.  Management needs to focus on immediate cash and profitability improvements while simultaneously addressing the core business to stabilize for the long term. Analysis of significant downturn scenarios (eg. loss of major customers, increase in input costs, etc.) will help identify the impact and financial risks. Companies should start on surgical cost restructuring (Do Without, Do Better, Do Less, Do Different) and look to working capital as a lever to improve cash flow and liquidity.     

    Shape your future M&A strategy

    As companies, private equity firms and other investors reassess portfolios and strategies, opportunities to buy – as others decide to sell – start to grow. Historically, valuations or EBITDA multiples are lower during a downtown, which can create opportunities for acquirers.  Within this cycle it is important to consider how your divisions or businesses will perform in a downturn. How can you maximize value by considering opportunistic sales before a potential downturn while multiples are high? Are there companies that you can proactively target now for potential acquisitions during a downturn? 

    The range of possible futures confronting businesses are increasingly vast. Companies that face uncertainty head on, rapidly adapt, and start planning today are more likely to sustain a crisis and prosper in the face of uncertainty. 

    COVID-19 Update from The Chambers Plan

    The Chambers Plan has developed a COVID-19 updates link to provide up-to-date information. Please check back to the link regularly as the document will be constantly updated.

    Questions in relation to coverage by (insured) employers and employees should be directed to the plan at or call the Customer Service line at 1-800-665-3365. Due to high call volumes, the fastest current response is by email.
    Below are resources that are available to you with the Chambers Plan coverage:
    • Teladoc telemedicine service is available, at no charge, providing medical access to a doctor from your smartphone.
    • Healthy Business Bookmark a full suite of HR resources, is available at under your Admin Access including templates and letters.
    • Business Assistance Service (BAS) provides 9 hours of legal, accounting and HR advice every calendar year (by phone) to help with issues related to your business and employees

    Why Every Ontario Employer Should Participate in the WSIB Excellence Program

    Workplace injuries affect all business sectors, it’s not only in the high-risk industries such as construction and manufacturing.  In 2018, the WSIB reported that 74 people lost their lives at work and accepted over 64,000 claims related to time off work as a result of a workplace injury or disease. 

    What is the WSIB Excellence Program?

    In Ontario, the newly launched Excellence program changes how WSIB works with employers to instill a company-wide culture of health and safety in order to develop a safer and prosperous province. 

    The goal of this program is to reward its safest employers and make available up to $250,0000 in rebates on an annual basis, with restrictions, to each of the current 300,000+ Ontario employers.  This incentive-based program is the first of its kind in Canada, replacing Safety Group, SCAP programs previously in place.  The program makes available $140 million is premium savings to Ontario employers.

    5 Reasons Why an Employer Should Join the Program

    1. The program totally changes how WSIB works with employers by rewarding its safest employers and making available rebates up to 75% of their WSIB premium.
    2. The program is a simple and fair roadmap for all Ontario employers. From small business to large corporations, the program helps employers strive for health, safety and wellness excellence.
    3. The pace of the journey is flexible for employers in terms of timelines, goals and immediate cost savings.
    4. The program is well organized and easy to start. The exact plan or order in which an employer completes the program modules is between the employer and the provider It begins with health and safety foundational building blocks and then moves onto intermediate and more advanced topics to achieve excellence.
    5. The journey is yours: It’s a framework that uniquely fits each company’s health and safety vision.

    Where Do We Begin?

    Familiarize yourself with the guidelines:

    Calculate your Rebates:

    Attend a free WSIB Excellence Information Session near you:

    Contributed by SOS First Aid and Safety Training

    Learn the skills and use the tools you need during your health and safety excellence journey.  Develop and safety culture, progress your career by developing new health and safety skills, get First Aid and CPR certifications, build employee resiliency during high stress workplace situations, implement an effective health and safety management system, or simply advance your knowledge for everyday life skills. Whatever the reason, SOS First Aid ( offers solutions that may align within your unique health and safety journey.

    In business since 2004 and a former Oakville Small Business Award recipient, SOS First Aid (SOS) has developed into one of the top Red Cross Training Partners in Canada. We can help you on your WSIB Excellence journey, ask us how? SOS provides comprehensive, high quality health and safety programs that apply AT WORK…IN THE COMMUNITY and AT HOME.

    To learn more contact Mario Sacco at 905-844-9813 x104 or email 

    CSR: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

    By Warren Leppik

    Warren Leppik is the Chief Storytelling Officer at Cognition Productions, an advocate marketing company in Oakville. More effective than traditional advertising because of the authenticity of real human connections, his proprietary process harnesses the voices and experiences of your company’s customers to drive your marketing, engagement & growth strategies.

    Visit to learn more.

    Over the past few months, I have come across several articles related to the lip-service being paid to Corporate Social Responsibility. This article in Adweek stood out: “A New Survey From The Economist Finds More Executives Talk About Social Good Than Act on It”. According to Marty Swant “48% of respondents said they felt businesses that operate with purpose beyond profit actually end up gaining a “financially competitive advantage” in their markets. However, even more—78%—said companies talk about it more than they invest in long-term initiatives to support it.”

    So what’s the problem? Is it really so hard to get involved? Is it complicated? Cost prohibitive? Time intensive? I would like to take an optimistic stance and would hazard a guess that, rather than being intentionally delinquent, it has more to do with figuring out how best to get started becomes just another item on an overloaded agenda. But there are tangible business benefits, and a way to mitigate an underestimated “values-based” faux pas, by ensuring that your corporate social responsibility is more than just a plaque on the lobby wall.

    In an article entitled “How to Improve Customer Relationships With Brand Authenticity” author John Turner states, “According to the Consumer Content Report from Stackla, 86 percent of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. Show, don’t tell. Every company should have a set of values that they stand for. But it’s not enough to just tell consumers what you believe in; you have to show them. Any company can write on its “About Us” page that they believe in giving back to the community. But that doesn’t mean much if your customers and prospects can’t see it in action. If you SAY you put a strong emphasis on giving back to the community, you had better SHOW your customers you mean it by giving back to local charities with donations or offering your time and knowledge to empower others. Brand authenticity will not only make your current customers happier but will also help you attract new customers by making your company stand out from the rest.”

    Beyond just doing what you said you were going to do, the ancillary benefits to being a good corporate citizen are many. It brings to mind interviews I did for the United Way of Halton and Hamilton last year about involvement with their Workplace Campaigns. Jarvis Sheridan, Partner at O’Connor MacLeod Hanna LLP believes “We have an enhanced profile because of our involvement with the United Way Workplace Campaign. People respect the fact that we are not just a bunch of money-grubbing lawyers. We are there to feel that our responsibility to the community is being met in very many ways. Because we do have that responsibility. We’re doing OK and we need to give back”.

    Finally, in a content marketing world gone mad, with people making up stuff to feed hungry content marketing calendars, what you do in the community becomes a gold mine of authentic feel good stories, proof of your company’s values. Beyond text, you can use video to harness the emotional power of impact stories from people whose lives were changed by the charities you support. The resulting videos build awareness of the need for what the charity does, motivates more people to get involved and shows quite clearly that your Corporate Social Responsibility program is the real deal.

    Member Profile: Courtyard by Marriott Burlington

    The Courtyard by Marriott Burlington is Halton Region’s newest hotel! The hotel sits on the border of Burlington and Oakville with easy access to the QEW, Highway 407, and within close proximity to Toronto Pearson and Hamilton International Airports. The Courtyard by Marriott Burlington is conveniently located adjacent to the Burlington Convention Centre with a heated and covered walkway surrounded by many corporate offices, and is across the street from the picturesque Bronte Creek Provincial Park.

    The upscale hotel features a state-of-the-art lobby with the BISTRO Restaurant & Lounge at the centre of it all – serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails and Starbucks coffee 7 days a week. Guests can also enjoy a well-equipped fitness centre and indoor saltwater pool.

    The Courtyard by Marriott Burlington was designed by Adrian Mauro and his team at Chamberlain Architect Services Limited, and developed by Domenic Fuda and his team at TriAxis Construction Limited with the future in mind. Throughout the hotel guests can connect with ample electrical outlets. The “Boarding Pass Station” features a separate computer station dedicated to printing airline information. The hotel has implemented green technology with a guest recycling program and charging stations for electric vehicles.

    The Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Burlington caters to corporate guests with 1,800 square feet of meeting space to accommodate functions of up to 120 people. The meeting rooms feature LED TVs, white boards, top-down screens and projectors to meet all your AV needs. Exquisite catering menus are avail-able to suit your needs. For organizations needing more space, the adjacent award-winning Burlington Convention Centre features 20,000 square feet of function space to accommodate up to 1,200 guests.

    The hotel has 135 guest rooms, including 10 suites, with hybrid zones for working featuring over 16 power outlets and 7 UsB ports in every guest rooms. All rooms have a light desk on wheels, allowing guests to work from anywhere in their room. each guest room has their own dedicated Wi-Fi router which powers up to 6 devices.

    The team at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Burlington is led by Managing Director Frank Vismeg, who has long-term success in the travel and tourism industry – living and working in over 34 countries! Frank is also the President of Skal International Hamilton-Niagara Club, the world’s leading asso-ciation of travel and tourism professionals from over 85 countries. Through his career he has had the pleasure of hosting celebrities Tom Jones and Christopher Plummer, and on the political scene Prime Ministers Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien, and Stephen Harper.

    “My strength is relationship building” says Frank, “A typical week in-cludes meetings with community and regional stakeholders who share in making Burlington and Oakville one of the top destinations for tourism and conventions. 

    The strength of these relationships was demonstrated at the hotel’s grand opening which included Mayor of Burlington Marianne Meed Ward, Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos, and Premier of Ontario Doug Ford.

    Approaching their one-year anniversary, the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Burl-ington is already attracting loyal customers, and boast a 98% guest satisfaction rating. “The key to the hotel’s success is consistent service quality” said Frank, “A hotel is just 4 walls; it is the people inside that make it run.” Frank said all of his staff have a ‘Yes I Can’ attitude, always going above and beyond to en-sure guests feel welcome and enjoy their stay. They are proud to announce the newest addition to their management team, Ms. Angelica Sanz Rincon – Hotel Manager coming here from the from the Ritz Carlton Resort in Puerto Rico.

    Frank sees a bright future for Burlington and Oakville as the Region continues to grow. He is already working on a new hotel with his partners at the Burlington Hotels Group Inc. – stay tuned for the new development!
    Select the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel Burlington for your next
    business meeting contact:

    Nicoletta Vella, Director of Sales & Marketing:

    Tarah Markham, Sales & Operations Manager:

    Victoria Howard-Csampely, Sales & Catering Manager:

    How to profit from your employee benefits plan

    You wouldn’t normally expect an insurer to keep surpluses in their benefits program but with the Chambers Plan that’s exactly what happens. As a not-for-profit benefits plan, the Chambers Plan reinvests these surpluses back into the program to reduce rates, to continue to add additional benefits and provide high-quality service with ever evolving options.

    Small and mid-sized business owners face a lot of uncertainty and they don’t need that to include their employee benefits plan. A local Chambers Plan advisor can help show them why the Chambers Plan is the number one plan for businesses looking for stability in their benefits plan.

    Why should this be a concern? Well, first there are inflationary factors that can cause your benefits plans to rise. Next, some group benefits providers will lure businesses in with unsustainable rates, which will be followed by larger premium increases in subsequent years. Many business owners have experienced this roller coaster ride already and we can show you how to avoid that.

    Let’s talk first about the low rate trap. Most benefits providers are for-profit entities where logic dictates they need more premium than claims paid out plus the administrative costs to run the plan. In addition, many require funding for their own large claims pool to pay larger claims than normal, typically large drug or out of country claims. Insurers have to provide a return on investment for shareholders. With the Chambers Plan, plan participants are treated like the shareholders with surpluses being reinvested into the pool.

    One of the great things about the Chambers Plan is that it allows start-ups or smaller firms to participate fully in the pool if they have 3-9 employees, though some 1 and 2 person firms may also qualify. If they are fully pooled they join the other 35,000 businesses where renewals are based simply on what’s needed to sustain the pool. This keeps their costs predictable until they grow to a size where they can take on additional risk. If they had a bad year for claims due to an employee or employee’s dependent it won’t impact the renewal the way it would with a traditional carrier.

    In addition, as they grow they can move into the Chambers Plan’s partially pooled option. With this the firm takes on more risk since a portion of claims will be rated against premiums, and for taking on that risk receive reduced rates. As the Chambers Plan is a not-for-profit program, surpluses go back into your claims and provide a reduction.

    What’s also intriguing is that for larger firms with 10-99 employees, the Chambers Plan, as a not-for-profit simply has less overhead. As a pooled, not-for-profit, the plan doesn’t charge reserves (IBNR’s) which can typically eat 8-12% of premiums, and again provide some pooling cost certainty for years where your claims may fluctuate. In addition to this, the plan’s lower than industry average annual inflation.

    The plan has always been around with the goal of supporting business with less than 100 employees, providing not only cost certainly but also additional supporting benefits that firms this size may require. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment. The Chambers Plan also provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This service is invaluable to any size enterprise providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program.

    The Chambers Plan is also administratively light and easy. Employees can access their own information and make claims or inquiries through the My-Benefits platform. Additionally, claims can be done  simply by taking a picture of the claim and submitting through the phone application with direct deposit right into the employees bank account. A Chambers Plan representative can help train you and your employees on how to use the plan and access the resources available. It has been designed to be very user friendly.

     As a not-for-profit program supported by and supporting local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, the benefits continue to evolve based on the needs of the SME marketplace. Needs are in today’s business environment and benefits are evolving to keep up, while also with catering to those still wanting to have more traditional plans. All resources are reinvested with these goals in mind, something unique in the marketplace. 

    Why not profit from your benefits investment?
    Contact Hynek Financial Group, our local provider of The Chambers Plan for more information.

    How To Recruit And Retain Employees With Ease

    A solid benefits plan makes a great addition to an employee compensation package. With the Chambers Plan your business can recruit the high-quality talent you need to compete. Whether your business has 1 or 100 employees you have just as great a need to attract and retain talent as a larger corporation. Their employee group benefits plan can provide you with options that will allow your business to compete with anyone for those employees.

    Protecting your staff shows them you care. It improves your staff retention, makes it easier to hire new employees and makes your workforce happier and more productive with less absenteeism. The advantages of providing protection over not doing so are numerous. In fact, when workers are polled about either having a benefits plan or a $10,000 raise, the majority took the benefits option. In addition, it’s a great area to enhance compensation since health and dental premiums are not taxable benefits though are deductible for the employer. It may cost a lot less after tax than implementing a raise or bonus for both the employee and the employer.

    With more than 35,000 firms insured, the Chambers Plan has become a place for SME’s to come for wellness and benefits plan support. Combined with their partnership with local Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade there are many tools and resources available to help improve your workplace satisfaction. A Chambers Plan advisor can help you customize this to your staff, keeping in mind an older demographic consisting of Baby Boomers will have a different perspective than a younger firm composed mostly of Millennials.

    Whether you have 1 or 100 employees the Chambers Plan can build an offering that meets your needs. If you have a plan an advisor can easily match up an offering or build something different based on your firms needs. Plans can be designed with different categories if necessary for different staffing levels. In addition, the Chambers Plan also provides the BAS, or Business Assistance Service to all plan holders. This is invaluable to small to medium sized enterprises providing HR, Accounting and Legal assistance as part of the underlying program. All employees also receive the Best Doctors program. This can allow an employee to find access to specialists or get a second opinion on either a diagnosis or course of treatment.

    The Chambers Plan also provides the best in class out-of-country protection which can be particularly important if you need to travel for your new business. If you and your staff must travel often this can save you significantly rather than buying travel protection for each trip.

    Other benefits can be sculpted based on budgets. Costs for things such as paramedical benefits for physiotherapy, chiropractor and massage therapists etc., can be capped or limited to provide budget control. Dental coverage can also be tailored to the company budget as well as the needs of the staff. Drug coverage is another area where a variety of options will meet a variety of budgets. Benefits today are no longer a one size fits all product. Firms with younger demographics may prefer more wellness-related benefits such as paramedicals with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

    The Chambers Plan has a group retirement option with both a Group RRSP and a DPSP (Deferred Profit-Sharing Plan) and can also help you with either your individual or your employee’s retirement options. There is a payroll solution provided by Payworks; when used in conjunction with the plan it offers single entry in one system for both your payroll and benefits through their proprietary Tandem link.

    By providing benefits employers reap many other positive rewards. An EAP, or Employee Assistance Program is a perfect example. Typically a low-cost item, an employer may add it to their benefits plan to provide counselling for employees who may need a little help from time to time. An employee may have a spouse or dependent child who needs counselling and because it is now available the employee will not be focusing on that issue at working, making them a more positive, productive employee.

    More traditional benefits are helpful in many ways. An employee with a tooth that’s bothering them or out of date glasses can improve their well-being by having those things looked after. Their homelife may improve if their dependents can also have the ability to update any issues they have.

    Prescription drugs are an even larger issue. Today with the spiraling cost of drugs, knowing you have some coverage means that if a family member needs a script they can obtain it and follow the proper course of treatment. Without coverage drug adherence levels slip and people are less likely to get or maintain the treatments they may need for their own individual situations.

    Another simple by-product of a benefits plan is that employee attendance also improves. Not only are they not taking as much time off to help dependents likely to miss time at work for their own reasons. In addition, if they are healthier the time spent at work will be more productive statistically speaking.

    Having a satisfied staff bodes well for employee retention and makes it significantly easier to recruit new employees. Go to today for more information.