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UPDATE: Message from the President

Monday, May 04, 2020

Todd TuckeyFellow Members:

For most of us, this will be the beginning of week 8 of this Covid-19 crisis. Our lives and businesses have been altered. Our governments have pivoted and worked collectively to assist businesses and individuals financially.

We at the Chamber have also altered how we do business on a daily basis. While all our staff is working from home, they are still answering all of the calls and emails that are coming in, setting up Zoom sessions to keep everyone informed with several different topics each and every week, and reaching out to members to check in and offer help.

The staff is also ensuring that the information we are posting is current, accurate, and relevant, so that you can rely on us as your single source for everything business. We are also very engaged each and every week with all of our local elected officials. Both of our MPs, John Brassard and Doug Shipley, have been sharing federal information through us, and answering local business questions; our MPPs, Andrea Khanjin and Doug Downey, have been working with us to keep businesses informed on provincial requirements for essential services and safe remote operations, along with supports to keep businesses running; and through our participation on the Mayor's Task Force, we are able to collaborate on municipal solutions, while bringing business concerns to the city's attention.

During this state of emergency, it is anything but business as usual for most of us. With that, the Corporations Act was updated to allow organizations to push out things like elections and AGMs (Annual General Meeting) as far forward as 120 days after the state of emergency has been lifted. Normally, tomorrow would be the day we would open up the call for nominations for our next board of directors. We have heard from several interested parties that they are not sure where they will be in June and are nervous about running for the board at this point in time. We have taken that and other concerns into account, and as a result your Barrie Chamber Board of Directors has voted to move our AGM to Wednesday September 9, 2020. This will, of course, impact the election timing, and we will keep the membership informed as to when the nominations for the board of directors opens up.

Several months ago, we engaged a local firm to assist the Chamber with bringing our vision, mission, and strategic plan up to date for the next 5 years. We were due this fall for a full review of these items. The purpose of doing it at this point in time was to ensure that the Chamber and board have a clear direction and plan moving forward, prior to engaging a new Executive Director. Due to the confidential nature of these meetings, and the quantity of material to cover in them, the firm wants these meetings done in person. Because this process is so critical to the organization, it must be undertaken properly; with the potential timing of current meeting restrictions, the vastly different economic landscape, and the expected time it will take to compile the final results, we were advised that it could be as far as 6-9 months out before we could start the process of finding the right candidate. It was suggested by the firm that the board appoint an Interim Executive Director until we are prepared to hire. During an in camera session of the board meeting last week, it was a unanimous decision to appoint Paul Markle to this position. Paul has built great tenure with the Chamber over many many years as a dedicated volunteer, serving in the roles of Treasurer, 2nd V.P., and 1st V.P. Paul also was instrumental in researching solutions and implementing our membership database and CMS, ChamberMaster. Paul will be engaging different aspects of this system to ensure we are getting the most value out of it for our members.

Paul MarkleTo welcome Paul or reach him for questions or assistance with anything, please feel free to call the Chamber office at (705) 721-5000 or email him at

It is a little uplifting to see the province working on its plan to slowly open up our economy. We all need to be patient while they figure out, with the assistance of the Chamber and many others, how to safely do this. If things open up too quickly and we have a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, they may be forced to revert back to a form of lockdown. We all need to do our part by continuing our social distancing; do not go out if your trip isn’t truly required; be careful when out walking, particularly as the weather improves and more people seek fresh air, increasing the chances for contact every single day. The City of Barrie has by-law officers out there working for the best interest of all citizens to ensure social distancing is happening and won’t hesitate to enforce that, and we fully encourage them in their job. Remember, the sooner this passes, the sooner our lives, both work and personal, will become somewhat normal.

As always, the great staff at the Chamber – Julie, Kayla, Katherine, Melissa, and Paul are all here working for you, our members. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of them if you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions.

We are here for you,

Todd Tuckey, CSP, President

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