The Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Reflects on 2020 and Looks Forward to 2021
COVID-19 continues to create conditions we have never seen before, but even during such a challenging time, businesses in the Haliburton Highlands are pushing forward. The Chamber has focused on supporting our members every step of the way by rolling out new programs, resources, and acting as a conduit for business-centric information and connection.
Throughout 2020 The Chamber has launched many new initiatives to support business across Haliburton County, including:
- The Chamber Partnership Initiative: Launched in November 2020; this program is in partnership with Employment and Social Development Canada and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The partnership ensures that wage subsidy funding and student placements are seamless and easy to access, aiding youth development and integration into the Haliburton Highlands and providing our members with subsidy during this time of economic downturn.
- BuyCloseBy Season: Launched in October 2020; the Chamber collaborated with each of the lower-tier municipal Councils, community partners, and the media to officially proclaim the holiday shopping season as #BuyCloseBy Season. Awareness was raised around the importance of shopping local; something is especially important this year.
- Online Training: Launched in October 2020, this online training platform provides members with access to affordable, modern training for their employees centered on safe, respectful workplaces, including WHMIS, diversity, and inclusion training. Our members get a 25% discount.
- Connectivity Advocacy: Throughout 2020, the chamber has engaged elected officials and service providers to ensure our local perspective is heard and a stakeholder in ongoing and future discussions.
- COVID-19 Recovery Support: Constant, timely communication and resource collection to ensure our members have the information they need when they need it during this turbulent time.
- Barter Pay – Launched in October 2020 to our members, this benefit allows local businesses to trade credits for goods and services they need for goods and services they have available to them with over 4,000 firms across Canada. This is a great program that will enable you to continue to invest in your business even when cash flow is uncertain.
These programs are now available alongside our long-standing programs like the Chamber’s Plan group health insurance and benefits, a member-exclusive rate with First Data, a 3.5 cent per litre Mobil/Esso Fuel Discount, along with the continuously growing Member-to-Member discount program.
With the focus on 2021, the Chamber is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes across the Haliburton Highlands by aiding in business transitions, effectively communicating with local businesses and other stakeholders, strengthening advocacy to ensure the voice of local business is heard, and encouraging youth integration in our business community.
The Chamber plans to undertake a strategic planning process in early 2021 and is looking forward to our members communicating their needs and concerns to us in order to continue building and serving the business community across the Haliburton Highlands.
The Chamber’s long-standing Executive Director, Jennifer Locke, will be leaving the organization as of January 15, 2021. Jennifer’s dedication, expertise, and passion for the local businesses has been critical to the incredible achievements the Chamber have seen throughout her tenure. The Board of Directors would like to thank Jennifer on behalf of all members and express their great appreciation for all she has done.
To help realize The Chambers goals in 2021 and beyond, Amanda Conn has been hired as The Chamber’s Executive Director. Amanda joins the organization with an extensive background in marketing and working with various organizations, including not-for-profit, start-ups, and high growth organizations. “The board is excited to work with Amanda and we are confident that the Chamber is in good hands. Under Amanda’s guidance the Chamber will be well positioned to thrive and continue to support our members during these challenging times, and for years to come. The board and members are grateful for Jennifer’s hard work, dedication, and progress that she helped the Chamber achieve during her time in this role. She has grown and nurtured relationships with leaders and other organizations in our community that will continue to be very beneficial to the success of the Chamber. We wish her success in her future endeavours.” says Andrea Strano, President of The Chamber.