Centre for Employment & Learning Celebrates 20 Years

It is hoped that 2021 will be a year to celebrate many things, including the ever-nearing end of the COVID-19 pandemic and our children finally back to regular in-class learning.
For the Avon Maitland District School Board, it is also a time to celebrate 20 years of managing the Centres for Employment and Learning, a much-needed and well-used service provider for the residents of Huron and Perth Counties.
In September of 2001, the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB) hoped to make it easier for members of our community to achieve their learning and employment goals. To do this, they brought together under one roof a variety of services which had previously been delivered by a variety of providers and organizations. These services included Adult Education, Literacy Services, English as a Second Language, and Employment Services. The marriage of all these services meant that residents of our community now had only one stop in their quests for better employment and learning opportunities.
Five Huron County sites (Wingham, Goderich, Clinton, Seaforth, and Exeter) were created to house the Centres for Employment and Learning (CELs), in the hopes of making the programs accessible to all residents. (In Perth County, the school board continued to operate learning programs in Listowel and Stratford, but employmentfocused programs were still delivered by other organizations.)
Since 2001, the CELs have helped many residents in their employment and learning needs. Some of the programs they offer are outlined below.
Services for Learners
The CELs offer free learning programs in both Perth and Huron Counties. These include English as a Second Language classes, skills upgrading programs, and high-school credit and GED preparation programs.
The English as Second Language classes are made up of new refugees and
immigrants to Canada, as well as non-English speaking residents who may have lived in Canada for many years. Classes range from beginner to intermediate and are a great way for non-English speakers to meet one another and to develop the confidence to really get involved in their new communities.
The Centres also offer a variety of learning programs. Learners can upgrade their skills with either in person or online programming. With help from Literacy Practitioners, learners can work at their own pace to improve reading, writing, math, computer/internet and workplace skills. They can also prepare to write the GED or get ready for high school credits. The LearningHUB (www.learninghub.ca) is a free online portal that offers training in many topics, including Customer Service Essentials, beginner and intermediate Microsoft Office programs, and trades math upgrading to name only a small fraction of what’s available.
Huron and Perth counties also offer adult education and high school credit courses, including co-op credits. This is for people who either need their high school diplomas or who wish to upgrade their courses to gain admission to college or university programs.

Services for Job Seekers
The CELs in Huron County offer a wide range of free Employment Ontario programs.
Who has used these services over the past 20 years? People laid off from work due to labour market change, workers (from business owners and managers to minimum wage earners) unhappy with their careers and looking for change, new immigrants just starting out in Ontario’s job market, people who’ve been fired or quit their jobs for various reasons, retired persons just looking for something to do to keep busy, people who haven’t worked for many years due to disability, injury, addiction, child care duties, or any other reason… In short, anyone.
What are these services? Free assistance in creating targeted resumes and cover
letters, assistance with online applications for people not able to use or access
computers, employment counselling which can include career decision making and onthe-job advice, interview preparation and practice, connecting with employers on clients’ behalf, arranging for training or skills upgrading, and even offering some funding to assist with the job search process. All services are offered with compassion, without judgement, personalized to the client’s needs, and are 100% confidential. Some clients need only a small bit of assistance, and others work with us for months or even years.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to job search and the flexibility built into these fantastic services allows the CELs to offer help to everyone.

Services for Employers
The CELs of Huron County assist not only job seekers, but also employers. One of the most popular programs offered to employers is the Job Matching Placement & Incentive (JMPI) program. The program offers employers up to $6000 as a wage incentive when they hire a new staff member who is registered with one of the CELs. There is also an Apprenticeship Signing Bonus which offers an employer another $2000 if they register their new staff member as an apprentice. This money is normally used to offset wages but can be applied to training programs as well. The discretion is up to the employer.
The idea of this program is to recognize the financial burden that employers take on when they hire new staff, particularly staff who may be facing barriers (such as language ability, mental health, or skills gap).
Another popular program for employers delivered through the CELs is the Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG). Funded both federally and through Employment Ontario, this program offers up to $10,000 for eligible training for EACH existing employee and up to $15,000 for EACH previously unemployed new-hire. The purpose of this funding is to create a skilled workforce for Ontario, which benefits everybody. There is a wide range of eligible training but some of the more popular courses include AZ licencing, leadership skills, computer skills, gas fitting licencing, and fitness training certifications.
Other free services for employers include creating job postings, collecting resumes, and even giving advice on wages, interview techniques, training and translating referrals, and health & safety information.
The year 2020 (and the first half of 2021) was a difficult one for learners, job seekers and employers, but things have been looking up as we move into fall. Since the creation of the Centres for Employment and Learning 20 years ago, staff have been both challenged and incredibly rewarded by helping those in our community. It is the hope of the Centres for Employment and Learning of the Avon Maitland District School Board that everyone in our community continues to be able to achieve their learning and employment goals. For more nformation visit www.thecentreforemploymentandlearning.ca and learn how the Centre for Employment and Learning can assist you.

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Proof of Vaccination Policy Update

The information below was sent by the Huron Perth Public Health Unit. This information has also been emailed to the BIA membership via our Mailchimp mass email on Sept. 21.

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Good afternoon, 

You are receiving this email as a local BIA or similar organization. Please also forward this communication to the local businesses connected to your organization. On Sept 14, 2021, the Ontario government announced the release of new guidelines and updates to Ontario Regulation 364/20 to support its Proof of Vaccination Policy. The Proof of Vaccination Policy requirements comes into effect on Sept 22, 2021. In order to address many of your questions, Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is providing you with a list of important documents that you should read and become familiar with.  We understand that not all businesses are required to request proof of vaccination of their patrons, that being said it is still important to understand the new requirements provincially.  Please review the documents listed below: ·        

Regulation 364/20 – Rules for Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step made under the Reopening Ontario Act, Ontario, has been updated to reflect the new requirements coming into effect on September 22, 2021. A link to this regulation is found here: https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/200364#BK7   ·        

Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act and provides information for specified businesses or organizations listed under section 2.1 of Schedule 1 to O. Reg. 364/20. This provincial guidance document outlines the minimum requirements that all businesses and organizations must follow. This document can be found here:https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/guidance_proof_of_vaccination_for_businesses_and_organizations.pdf ·        

Questions and Answers (Q&A) document to help clarify the new requirements under O. Reg. 364/20 as it relates to proof of vaccination against COVID-19 and the Ministry of Health’s Proof of Vaccination Guidance for Businesses and Organizations under the Reopening Ontario Act can be found using this link: https://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/fq_proof_of_vaccination_for_businesses_and_organizations.pdf   o   Within the above Q&A document, HPPH would like to bring your attention to one question specifically with respect to retaining vaccination records:Are businesses and organizations able to keep or retain any information related to proof of vaccination?As per O. Reg. 364/20, a business or an organization shall not retain any information provided by a patron as it relates to proof of vaccination. As you may be aware, Ontario is also developing an enhanced vaccine certificate with a unique QR code to make it safer, more secure and convenient to support patrons in providing proof of vaccination and for businesses to verify vaccination status.

The enhanced vaccine certificate and verification app will be available by October 22, 2021. Ontario’s Proof of Vaccination Guidance document will be updated to reflect the new processes. Should you have additional questions after reading through the above documents,  please contact us through our Environmental Health Response intake line via email EHResponse@hpph.ca or by phone ext. 3670 or ext. 2670.  We will do our best to assist you.  Please note that this information is very new and we are also continuing to learn and understand what is required at this time.  Please be patient with us.  NOTE: You may be the main contact or the person who receives information from HPPH, however, we recognize there may be additional people at your business or in your organization who has also had contact with HPPH regarding this announcement. Please feel free to share the abovedocuments with anyone else at your business or organization who may have questions or will be assisting with the development of your business or organization’s proof of vaccination policy. 

Thank you.

Inspections Team
Health Protection Department 
Courtney Feeney
Public Health Promoter Communications Team
Huron Perth Public Health 
1-888-221-2133  ext.2557
www.hpph.ca

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BIA to be Part of Vance Trust Board

It is with great gratitude that the Township of North Huron is proud to share in the announcement of the Leland and Thora Vance Fund. Leland and Thora Vance were long-time residents of Wingham. Up until their retirement, they owned Vance’s Pharmacy for over 40 years and their dedication to those in need lives on through countless stories of Leland and Thora making themselves available after business hours on nights and weekends to help those in need of medication, advice, and support. Leland and Thora genuinely cared about the people in our community. They both cared so much that they wanted to continue to ensure that the community’s residents were supported even after their lifetime. To do so, Leland and Thora created an endowment fund with Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) to give back to the community that they loved so much. The fund in the amount of approximately seven million dollars is invested and each year the income on the fund will be distributed to support residents of Wingham and provide annual assistance to organizations and community groups in the areas of education, healthcare, recreation and Christian churches. First distributions will be in 2022. Leland and Thora Vance chose to have a committee that included local leaders and KWCF representatives to make the distribution decisions.

The current committee includes the following or their designates:
(1) Chair of the Wingham BIA – Dave Tiffin
(2) Head of local government – Reeve Bernie Bailey
(3) President of the Lion’s Club – Richard Hall (an organization that they both passionately supported during their lifetime)
(4) President & CEO of Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation – Elizabeth Heald
(5) a fifth representative to be determined
While the committee has just been formed and is in the process of working out the details, at this time, the Township of North Huron would like to thank Leland and Thora Vance for their continuing positive impact on the community. Their legacy will live on forever in a community made stronger by their generosity.

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Huron County Business Retention & Expansion Survey

Newsletter – June 1st Launch

Attention Huron County Business Owners! Huron County Economic Development has announced that today is the official launch of the county-wide Huron Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Surveying Project.

Surveys will be mailed to the business community starting today, and will continue through to the end of November 2021.  Volunteers will reach out to businesses, via telephone, to provide assistance and support as needed.

Think of this as a business census – this is your chance to voice your needs and opinions directly to the County! The information collected in the BR&E surveying is vital for the County to continue making informed decisions, and help them take pro-active actions that will have positive and lasting benefits in our community.

Curious to learn more? Contact Cole Nicholson, Huron County BR&E Coordinator at cnicholson@huroncounty.ca or by phone at 519-525-7315.

Learn more about the Huron BR&E here: https://bit.ly/3urRlJ5

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Updates From the Board

At the Annual General Meeting on Feb. 18, 2021 Ally Sieber-Peyton was elected to the Wingham BIA Board. Ally is a realtor with Re-Max in Wingham. At the March monthly Board meeting Ally stepped up to be the Retail Representative on the Board. We’ve created a subcommittee of 3 other retailers to assist Ally with promotions going forward. At this point the 3 retailers are Alicia Dietner of 2 Step Shoes, Bill George of Naturally Bongins and Christine McGrath of Christine’s Clothes Closet. These will be the only 4 people representing the Wingham BIA for promotional events.

The Board also passed a motion to draft a letter of support for moving the Museum from the original location across from the Town Hall to the former train station at the northern area of Josephine St. This letter is in principle at this time as there has not yet been a formal plan presented to Council.

Lastly the Board has been notified that as of April 1, meetings of North Huron committees will be allowed in person, with Covid protocols in place. As such, the BIA Board meetings will take place in the small Knights of Columbus Lounge the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. These meetings are open to the public, however seating is limited to 12 including the 7 Board members. Notice of meetings are listed in the Coming Events section of this website and an email is sent to the membership ahead of time. If you would like to attend a meeting email chair@winghambia.ca prior to the day of the meeting so we know expected attendance and won’t go over the allotted number.

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Support Grants for Small Business

In a Zoom meeting March 9 with several Huron County BIAs, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson reported that applications for the Small Business Support Grant can be submitted up to the end of March (provincial fiscal year end).
Information regarding the grant can be found at https://tinyurl.com/2b9k83ka.

This Provincial grant may provide up to $20,000 for eligible businesses impacted by the provincewide shutdown.  Minister Thompson reported that to date, during the pandemic,  approximately 89,500 businesses have received support totalling $1.28 billion dollars.

If you have questions about the grant after viewing the website you can contact Minister Thompson’s office or discuss with your business accountant.

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Wingham BIA Holds Virtual Annual General Meeting

With the Covid restrictions in place, the BIA AGM was forced online on Feb. 25. Chair Dave Tiffin called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. After reviewing protocols due to being online the Chair reviewed the minutes of the 2020 AGM. These minutes were approved as presented. The Chair then read a review of 2020 noting that Wingham’s assistance to businesses through hand sanitizer stands, plexiglass shields, floor dots and signage were duplicated by other BIAs in the area. Considering the restrictions, Wingham still saw business growth with several new businesses opening their doors.

Jason Schiestel, who is stepping down as Treasurer, presented the financial statements for 2020. There were no questions from those in attendance and the statements were passed. Chair Tiffin then presented goals of the BIA for 2021 with continued support for businesses dealing with Covid. A major project for 2021 is the expected installation of an LED sign at the south of end town to promote events. Funds for this were passed at the 2020 AGM, but Covid restrictions postponed the installation. The complete 2020 review and 2021 goals can be viewed at the links below.

Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven then presented the budget for 2021. There were no questions from attendees and the budget passed unanimously. Trevor Seip, Council Representative on the BIA Board provided a Council update. This year the Board was looking to add one new member. Ryan Fergusson nominated Ally Sieber-Peyton who allowed her name to stand and was unanimously elected pending Council approval.

The BIA awards were announced by Lisa Hearnden. This year Ideal Supply received the award for Civic Improvement with their new building on Josephine St. Jason Schiestel received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of service on the Board as Treasurer. Lisa Hearnden was named Volunteer of the Year for her unwavering dedication to BIA work including the Festival of Lanterns and this years “parade of the gnomes” along Josephine St. during the Christmas season. Lisa also sits on the Hospital Foundation Board. Recipients of the new business plaques went to Pizza Hut, Sacred Tree, BoHo Tide, Moments Spa, Naturally Bongins, Petro Canada gas bar, McDonalds and Esso. The meeting was adjourned at 7:38 p.m.

AGM Chair Report 2020

AGM Goals 2021

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2021 Annual General Meeting

The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) will hold its 2021 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. virtually via Zoom. Invitations are being mailed out to property and business owners. This meeting is open to the public but only property and business owners are allowed to vote on motions presented. There is one vote per owner regardless of number of properties or businesses in the Wingham BIA.

The Agenda, 2020 financial statements and the 2021 draft budget are available to be viewed or downloaded here below. Email chair@winghambia.ca for a link to the meeting. Attendees will be asked to type their first initial, last name and business name into their Zoom connection.

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Updates from Huron County

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 2.0 
Effective immediately Community Futures Huron is accepting applications for a new round of RRRF interest-free business loans of up to $40,000!

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 2.0 is the second round of the funding program offered through FedDev Ontario and Community Futures Ontario to provide financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are unable to access the Government of Canada’s existing relief measures.

Apply now!

 Ontario Building On Supports for Employers During COVID-19 
The Ontario government continues to provide a variety of supports to employers facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. The government will now be providing even more support to small businesses that are required to close or severely restrict their operations due to the necessary Provincewide Shutdown. This will help ensure they can continue serving their communities and employing people once COVID-19 has been eradicated. The New Ontario Small Business Support Grant – The government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners during this challenging period.

Read more here!

 January Webinars 

January 6 | “CRA – CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) Info Session”
January 7 | “How To Create Your Own Action Plan for Less Stress in 2021”
January 12 | “CRA – CERS (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy) Info Session”
January 12 | “Home Child Care Development Program – General Info & Onboarding #2”
January 13 | “Business Basics: Operations”
January 14 | “New Lenses: The Keys To Refreshing Your Personal Creativity”
January 19 | “Dealing with Difficult People”
January 20 | “Business Basics: Financial Management”
January 21 | “Mindset: Inspired – How to Live & Work Happy in 2021”
January 27 | “Business Basics: Pitching Your Business”
 
 
Learn more & register for an upcoming webinar!
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