Our Summer Reading List

Are you developing your summer reading list? Consider these books recommended by the Oakville Chamber’s Marketing Committee.

Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World

Geoff Mulgan

This book explores how organizations can leverage human and machine intelligence together, to better solve business and social challenges in a future demanding new ways of thinking.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

David Allen

Getting Things Done is the ultimate book on personal organization. It provides easy and actionable tips on how to attain a sense of control over all your work and provides a road map to the Getting Things Done (GTD) Method. Following the GTD method is intended to free up your brain to solve problems and help keep all your projects, personal and profession, on track.

How Women Rise

Sally Helgesen

Sally Helgesen explores the things that women say, do and think in the workplace that hold them back. And provides practice tips on how to overcome the habits that hold us back and rise to the top of their chosen career ladder. The book is equally inspiring and practical.

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?

Alan Alda

An enlightening book from an actor’s perspective about communication, curiosity and connectedness. Anyone from business to art to science will benefit from this compelling read.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Robin Sharma

This inspiring tale provides a step-by-step approach to living with greater courage, balance, abundance, and joy. It tells the extraordinary story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer forced to confront the spiritual crisis of his out-of-balance life.

Patty McCord

When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was Chief Talent Officer. Her principles are based on encouraging debate and communication, building teams with the future in mind, surrounding yourself with top talent, and going beyond salary surveys to calculate compensation. Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.

Notice of the 2019 Annual General Meeting

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 24th at 4:00 p.m. at the Oakville Chamber office (located at 700 Kerr St., Suite 200).  

All Oakville Chamber of Commerce members are invited to attend.  Details of the Annual General Meeting will be sent electronically to all Chamber member designated representatives.

f you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Oakville Chamber at 905-845-6613 or info@oakvillechamber.com.

Oakville Chamber to host Steve Paikin at the 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner

Canadian journalist, author and producer Steve Paikin will be the keynote speaker at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce’s 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner. The Chair’s Dinner will take place on Wednesday, September 25th at the Oakville Conference Centre.

Steve Paikin has held reporting jobs in private radio and print media and is best known as the face of TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Since joining TVO in 1992, he has produced several feature documentaries and has sat in the anchor chair for more than two decades.

The Chamber is pleased to welcome Steve Paikin as the keynote speaker at the 65th Annual Chair’s Dinner” said Drew Redden, President & CEO of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “Paikin is a leading media figure on the Canadian political landscape – an author of four books on Canadian politics and has moderated six federal and provincial Election Leaders’ Debates. It is fitting that we are hosting him prior to the 2019 Federal Election. We look forward to hearing Steve Paikin’s insights on the Election and hearing stories from his notable journalism career.

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce will also introduce their 2019/2020 Chair of the Board and Board of Directors to the community at this formal event which includes a networking reception, dinner and raffle.

Event Details:

Date:               Wednesday, September 25

Time:              5pm Networking Reception; 6pm Dinner Gala

Location:        Oakville Conference Centre

                        2515 Wyecroft Road, Oakville

You can register for the 65th Annual Chairs Dinner online. Tickets are $135 for Oakville Chamber members and $175 for non-members. Tables of eight are available at a discounted rate.

Unleashing the economic potential of Ontario’s beverage alcohol sector

Ontario Chamber Network Recommends a Comprehensive Approach to Alcohol Reform in Ontario

Today, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a new report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario. This report outlines how the province could modernize the sale and distribution of beverage alcohol and responsibly promote growth across all four categories – wine, beer, spirits, and cider. 

“Ontarians want to see a more modern, convenient beverage alcohol retail system and we are closer than ever to substantive reforms to how alcohol is distributed, bought, and sold in Ontario,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The report finds that, despite public support for modernization, reform is a more complex undertaking than it appears at first glance, due to the complexity of legislation and regulation involved. As the government proceeds with reforms to beverage alcohol sales, the Oakville Chamber and Ontario Chamber Network the need for a comprehensive approach to avoid perpetuating inequities in the taxation and regulation of wine, beer, cider, and spirits that limit growth.

“By removing barriers and levelling the playing field,” Rossi added, “The Province can unleash the potential of the beverage alcohol sector, support regional economic development, meet the needs of today’s consumer, and generate greater tax revenue to fund the public services on which Ontarians rely.”

Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario provides the Government of Ontario with a number of timely recommendations including:

  • Modernizing the sale of beverage alcohol by allowing beverage alcohol producers to sell their products on e-commerce marketplaces and platforms using third parties to process payments.
  • Alleviating tax burdens by reducing taxes on Ontario wines, aligning taxation levels for craft cider with those of craft beer, and applying a graduated tax to the current spirits basic tax.
  • Cutting red tape by reducing the reporting Ontario wineries and cideries have to complete from a monthly to quarterly basis, allowing Ontario spirits and craft beer producers with a retail store to sell their products at farmers’ markets, and providing airports with an exemption to allow for the sale of alcohol 24-hours-a-day.
  • Removing antiquated inter-provincial trade barriers by allowing consumers to purchase alcohol online from other provinces/territories and producers to deliver these products to the consumer’s home.

“The power of the alcohol sector to be a force for economic growth extends beyond just the expected industries. The production, distribution, and sale of alcohol has a ripple effect that benefits agriculture, tourism and hospitality, and retail throughout the province” stated Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce.  


Read the Ontario Chamber Network report, Refreshing the Sale of Beverage Alcohol in Ontario here.

How To Easily Offer Your Employees A Wellness Benefits Program

Large companies aren’t the only ones that can provide their staff with a Wellness program. According to a recent (2017) Sanofi Health Survey, wellness and illness prevention are top priorities for employers. Let the Chambers Plan provide you with the resources to provide your staff with wellness options regardless of the size of your organization.

Today, there are varying views about what a wellness program should look like. There are some that feel food stations at work and flex hours are a wellness program. Others feel it should include an Employee Assistance Plan and options like a Lifestyle Spending Account, allowing employees to claim benefits like gym memberships and active devices such as Apple Watches or a FitBit.

Regardless of your point of view, one thing is very clear when it comes to Wellness. A more satisfied, happy employee is a more productive one. Often the increases in productivity while at work, the improvement in absenteeism and the general theory that happy people get along better can make this financially beneficial for employers.

When people feel more taken care of it improves their entire lifestyle, not just their workplace environment. The Chambers Plan can help with that in so many ways. The employee portal for managing their plan, My-benefits.ca, has a health assessment tool an employee or their family members can use to help identify if they have any risks associated with their current health or lifestyle.

The Chambers Plan has always had 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. In addition, the Chambers Plan 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.

Firms can also elect to add the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to their benefit plan. This is a low-cost item that can greatly impact mental Wellness in the workplace. It provides face to face counselling to employees and their family members and for only a few dollars a month, employers can add this non-taxable benefit to their plan. Consider the impact to someone dealing with mental health issues; even if it’s not the employee but instead a family member, that employee brings that stress with them to work everyday which does not result in a positive outcome. In addition, these resources can be accessed directly without employer involvement. This confidential treatment allows for resolution of issues without any impact or stigma for them in the workplace.

Today there are so many issues that can affect an employee’s Wellness. More and more people are dealing with the stress of aging parents and the financial burden that goes with it. Some need grief counselling or even assisted living accommodations. Depression is also a very common problem in society that still carries some stigma and needs quiet resolution.

Having security from a benefits plan, whether it includes income protection, health and dental claim protection or a combination of all things can really improve a firm’s perspective on wellness. A Chambers Plan advisor can also arrange for fiscal piece of mind with a Chambers Plan Group RRSP and as a by-product provide financial literacy sessions for employees that may need or wish to know more.

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.

Add in the lower overhead of the not-for-profit Chambers Plan, the ease of use for both employees and employers and the consistent stable renewals, the employees won’t be the only ones satisfied. Under the Chambers Plan employees have a lot of resources at their fingertips, and having your advisor demonstrate how to use the Chambers Plan is extremely beneficial so your staff get the most out of it. Wellness is achievable whether you have 1 or 100 employees.

Contact Hynek Financial Group to learn more about the Chambers Plan.

Vote Prosperity: Federal Election Platform

Vote Prosperity

“Today the Canadian Chamber of Commerce launched Vote Prosperity, the Canadian Chamber Network’s election platform. Vote Prosperity calls on all of the federal parties to support Canada’s job creators by including these seven priorities in their election platforms:

  1. A tax system that is fair, efficient and modern.
  2. A regulatory system that works for everyone, including business.
  3. Access to new markets around the world and the breaking down of trade barriers at home.
  4. Resources to help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and succeed at home and abroad.
  5. Technology that makes Canada the most connected country in the world.
  6. A workforce with the skills, education and training required to prosper.
  7. A healthier pharmacare system for healthier Canadians.

The Oakville Chamber will advocate on behalf of our members on these important priorities. We look forward to working with all of the candidates in the upcoming Federal Election.”

Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Visit www.voteprosperityCA.ca to learn more about this initiative.

The Value In Protecting Yourself And Your Employees

New venture

  Many entrepreneurs feel that when they leave their job to start their own enterprise they may have to forego things like benefits for a while. This isn’t the case. The Chambers Plan allows them to take the risk on their new venture without risking their personal or family’s health. The Chambers Plan can insure you before you take on employees and provide traditional group benefits even if you are your only employee.

  As a not for profit plan designed for start-ups and entrepreneurs, the Chambers Plan has assembled more than 30,000 other businesses into Canada’s largest pool of its kind providing additional protection and stability for small and medium business enterprises.

One of the great things about the Chambers Plan is that it allows start-ups 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 and 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 their dependent it won’t impact rates the way it would if with a traditional carrier.

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

Regardless of the firm size, the Chambers Plan offers typical benefits such as life, disability, critical illness, health and dental plans. To determine what levels of protection you want to put into place and also match your budget, a local Chambers Plan representative can help you marry up the two. It’s also important to prioritize the protection when you start your own benefits program, keeping in mind your advisor can help you to evolve your benefits plan as you grow your organization or should your needs change.

 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 buying travel protection on 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 paramedical with less drug coverage, while an older staff may prefer having the scripts in place.

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 doing nothing 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 employer.

Protecting your family and those of your employees is a feel-good thing to do for employers. The Chambers Plan gives you that ability regardless of the size of your organization. They insure most industries and the plan is guaranteed renewable. With the stability in premium provided by the program there’s no reason your small business can’t have a benefits plan as soon as your business is ready regardless of size. You don’t have to give up traditional benefits just because you’ve gone into business for yourself.

 Having the freedom to do what you love while protecting your family’s health and well-being is a part of the entrepreneurial wish-list. That’s why more than 30,000 small and medium sized business have chosen the Chambers Plan to help provide that protection.

Learn more about the Chambers Plan.

Oakville Chamber of Commerce gives thumbs up to Draft Economic Development Strategy

The draft Economic Development Strategy being received by the Town’s Planning and Development Council signals that the Economic Development Department is committed to providing a foundation upon which businesses can prosper.

Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is encouraged to see that the Economic Development Department has listened to the business community and is making plans to improve the business climate in Oakville.”

“Last fall we released The Roadmap to Business Success highlighting four pillars identified by our members: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruiting and Retaining Talent and Innovation. This strategy clearly addresses many of our member priorities that will foster a business supportive environment while encouraging economic growth for the Town” Redden continued.

The draft Strategy has been developed through research and community consultation of which the Oakville Chamber was part of, underscores key areas of concern to the business community such as reducing red tape, improving transportation services, and the ability to recruit and retain talent.

The document also highlights professional and financial services, digital media, information communications technology film and life sciences as key sectors of growth. 

Tim Caddigan, Chair of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce said “We commend the Town’s Economic Development Department for identifying opportunities where the Town can support existing businesses while promoting the long-term health of our local economy.”

 “As an advocate for the Oakville business community, we look forward to further consultation with the Town of Oakville as it embarks on finalizing its five-year strategy and its commitment to making Oakville the best place to work in Canada.”

Provincial Budget 2019

“The Oakville Chamber has been focusing our advocacy efforts on four key priorities: Transportation and Infrastructure, Business Competitiveness, Recruiting and Retaining Talent, and Innovation. The Chamber is encouraged to see these member priorities reflected in the Provincial Budget.

The Chamber also welcomes the government’s focus on building a more competitive tax environment. The Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive will provide the needed tax relief for business while promoting investment and job growth. The Oakville Chamber, along with the Ontario Chamber Network, will continue to encourage the government to help small businesses scale-up by creating a variable small business tax rate.

The Oakville Chamber looks forward to seeing more details on the government’s planned investments of $14.7 billion in infrastructure over the next ten years, and will continue to press the government to address the province’s infrastructure deficit.”

-Drew Redden, President, Oakville Chamber of Commerce

Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce analysis.

Read the Provincial Budget 2019.