Plans & Projects
Charla Robinson, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President
“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” Those words by Leo Tolstoy perfectly describe this wonderful season of the year. At the Chamber office, we are indeed busy with plans and projects as I begin my role as President. I am so looking forward to working with the Board, staff and membership towards the enhancement and fulfillment of our mission: “To influence effective change and foster an environment where business and the community can prosper.”
I have been involved with the Chamber for much of the past 18 years as an employee, a volunteer, and an event participant. My interest in government policy has continued to grow through my work experience on Parliament Hill, at Queen’s Park and, most recently, with the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association. I firmly believe that good government policy is the grease that keeps the wheels of business turning smoothly. Alternatively, the lack of appropriate policy can bring growth and commerce to a grinding halt. The Chamber plays an important role in ensuring that the wheels keep turning.
The coming months will see the further development of the Chamber’s strategic plan by the Board of Directors. Your feedback on Chamber activities, programs and services is a vital part of this planning process and I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to complete our survey here. Survey respondents will be entered to win a one night stay in a Jacuzzi suite and breakfast for two from the Airlane Hotel & Conference Centre. The results of this survey will guide us in our planning to ensure that we are meeting your needs.
Our newest event, LifeFest takes place this weekend at the Lowery’s SportsDome. The expo will showcase lifestyle, health, wellness, fitness, nutrition and family focused opportunities that will inspire you to live better. The event also features a special evening with the Food Network’s Thirsty Traveler, Kevin Brauch, who will share travel stories and samples of his signature cocktails accompanied by specialties created by Thunder Bay’s top chefs.
Also this weekend, Chair of the Board Ed Schmidtke and I will join Chamber leaders from across the Province at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting in Chatham, Ontario. The event is an opportunity for members to learn from subject experts, debate policy resolutions and formulate the annual advocacy strategies of the Ontario Chamber. Thunder Bay has submitted two resolutions (link to webpage) for discussion and debate:
Resolution one advocates for changes to the Ontario Apprenticeship program to expand the number of apprentice positions in order to address the growing shortage of skilled workers, including a pilot project for Northern Ontario;
Resolution two recommends that the Government of Ontario repeal the growth limiting Far North Act and develop land planning processes for far north communities.
Spring is also a time for renewal. The Chamber staff will be participating in this year’s Eco-Superior “Spring Up to Clean Up” campaign, rolling up our sleeves to give our office neighbourhood a makeover. Making and keeping our community beautiful takes effort and I encourage all Chamber members to take a few minutes to grab a broom and a recycle bag to tidy up your corner of the city.
Good luck with your business plans and projects – happy Spring!