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2012 – What A Year – From Ethanol to Metrolinx’s “Big Move”!

A Year In Review – 2012 was once again extremely busy for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, with close to 2,500 business people attending the over 90 events and meetings throughout the year. An army of close to 100 volunteers organized events, researched and discussed issues affecting the business community. The events ranged in size from 15 at a Lunch & Learn to over 220 at our Business Excellence Awards. Membership in a tough economy held with over 1,100 entrepreneurs, managers and corporate executives on the Chamber Who’s Who list.
Networking kicked off in February with over 120 attending the Annual Tasting Evening at Parkwood hosted by the Michie Wealth Management Group of RBC Dominion Securities. March saw the return for a 4th year of The Challenge. Close to 140 laced up their bowling shoes and honed their driving skills at NEB’s Fun World. Besides the great networking, the participating teams vied for the $1,000 in Charity of Choice prize money. The winning team was “The Peepers” from The Optical Group and their charity of choice was CNIB. The April and October “Marketplace” events had over 130 attendees and over 40 table top displays.

In May, who could forget the 26th Annual Golf Day – the sun came out and the over 160 golfers and sponsors enjoyed a perfect day. The event was a networking success and thanks go to our lead sponsors Johnson Insurance Inc. and the Oshawa Port Authority plus the over 60 sign and silent auction sponsors.

Cruisin’ into August the Chamber’s 8th Annual Autofest Kick-Off BBQ hosted by Syvan Developments Ltd. had over 150 members line up on the patio for a special lunch from Halenda’s Fine Foods Ltd. With fall came the 4th Annual Chamber Curling FUNspiel sponsored by Petley-Hare Insurance Brokers and CRCS Disaster Kleenup. Ten teams took to the ice at the Oshawa Golf & Curling Club to vie for $500 in Charity of Choice prize money. Team Johnson Insurance was the winner of the FUNSpiel and their charity of choice was the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres. Closing out the year the Annual Christmas networking social, sponsored by John Williams, C.A. was hosted in the Officers’ Mess of the Ontario Regiment. Over 120 enjoyed the networking and each attendee brought along a special gift of food or toys which was given to the Simcoe Hall Settlement House. A good time was had by all.

Women In Business first introduced ten years ago, featured three dynamic speakers in 2012:  Elaine Garnett of Channel 12; Oshawa’s first female firefighter Candice Hollingshead from Oshawa Fire Services and Michelle Mitchell of Rhythm Dynamics Dance and Performing Arts. In addition to the monthly Business for Breakfasts and Lunch & Learns, the Chamber introduced the Professionals Under 40 Networking event designed to bring together up and coming young entrepreneurs.

In September, the 17th Annual Business Excellence Awards took place and the recipients of the prestigious Business Excellence Awards were: “Business Person of the Year” – David Mills of Mills & Associates Ltd., Architect; “Business Excellence” – ALCI Aviation Limited/Enterprise Air; “Business Excellence” – Link Greenhouses Inc.; “Innovation” – The General Motors of Canada Automotive Centre of Excellence at UOIT; “Civic Pride” – D.G. Biddle & Associates; and “New Enterprise” – Jungle Heat Imports. The event, held at the Quality Hotel & Conference Centre in Oshawa, was emceed by Chamber of Commerce Past President and TV personality Don Pitman.

Throughout the year the Chamber tackled some popular and some not so popular issues in its quest to affect change. It advocated for the extension of the runway at Oshawa Airport, and once again weighed in on the harbour issue advocating for business at Port of Oshawa, as well as taking a stand on the Region’s proposed Fair Wage Policy and the City of Oshawa’s increase in Food Shop licenses. In the fall, at a submission to the Nuclear hearings, the Chamber of Commerce reaffirmed its long standing support for the application for Darlington’s New Build.

As part of its consultation process, the Chamber hosted a meeting with Oshawa City Council to discuss issues of importance to the local business community. And throughout the year the Chamber tackled issues of concern to our Region and community, hearing from politicians at all levels including Regional Chair Roger Anderson, Oshawa Mayor John Henry, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid,  Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency Gary Goodyear, Thomas Mulcair, leader of the federal NDP party, Ms. Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at special roundtable sessions and luncheons.  The Chamber also brought in experts on issues of the day, hearing from individuals like UOIT President Dr. Tim McTiernan, who gave an update on the University, Steve Arnold, Warden of Lambton County and Dr. Terry Daynard, retired Professor of Guelph University to learn about ethanol and Bruce McCuaig, the President of Metrolinx talking about the “Big Move” and how it impacts Durham Region.

As part of its advocacy work provincially and federally the Chamber challenged and garnered the support of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on its resolution calling for a National Nuclear Energy Strategy for Canada.  For more information on the issues we are following visit www.oshawachamber.com.

The Chamber is a business of information—collecting it and sharing it with its members and the business community. As part of this information service, the Chamber once again, produced four long standing publications: Durham Relocation Guide celebrating its 17th year of publication, Oshawa Visitor’s Guide in its 12th year of publication, its Chamber Membership Directory & Buyer’s Guide and its monthly business paper Business Matters—which combined had an annual distribution of over 95,000.

The Chamber continued the monthly eNews bulletins— eNews Business Matters and eNews DEPC, both designed to keep the business community informed about the changing business climate. The Chamber also added social media—Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn—to communicate with its members.

The Chamber remains committed to changing with the times and continuing to provide positive leadership by providing services, and promotion of business opportunities in support of its members. For more information on networking events, advocacy issues or publications check out this website.