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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

It's always busy but with so many newsworthy events in the past week, it's hard to know quite where to start. We had a great Small Business week series of events last week, concluded with a fantastic Quinte Business Achievement Awards banquet and then the election on Monday (and the announcement from Queen's Park about Bill 148 yesterday).

You'll see bits and pieces of everything except for the election in the rest of this newsletter so please be sure to read through it for a quick shout out to those of our members that won at QBAA and the update from the OCC.  

As for the election, after months of campaigning and weeks of events, the votes were finally counted on Monday evening and I hope all the candidates are enjoying a well deserved rest. Our voter turnout is sadly much lower than it should be and while it's made quite convenient with online voting (though I'm curious to know why they shut it down early where multiple other municipalities left online voting open right up until the polling stations closed) - it doesn't seem to be enough to motivate at least half our population to vote. While this was an election we knew would bring in change, it remains clear Belleville doesn't want to move too far, too fast and we have a fairly equal blend of experience to new blood. We look forward to building on the good relationship I inherited and will now work on nurturing with the new Council. Given the emphasis on communication and collaboration in almost every candidate's platform, this shouldn't be difficult. I do think we can also do better to keep the lines of communication open to you and become another resource to share some of the City messaging - particularly when they are requesting public feedback. As a former Chamber President, we know Mitch is particularly sensitive to your needs as members and this might prompt a number of new initiatives for engagement.

It is also customary for the Chamber to host the new Council at a breakfast and we're working on arrangements to have them join us in November. Certainly our congratulations go out to all the successful candidates and our gratitude for each person who put their name forward to give people a choice. For Taso & Ege who will be leaving after so many years, thank you for your service to our City. I've heard it is a thankless job but you've both been a part of some significant movement forward - this also extends to Jackie, Jack & Mike as well. Again, thank you.  

You'll see the photos below of our Chamber members who were honoured at the QBAA banquet - of 15 awards, Belleville businesses got 7 - 6 of whom are Chamber members! As we get some more photos of the actual event, we'll share them though we do feature our winners in today's newsletter (except for Derrick Morgan standing in for Ashton Calnan at the Right Fit). The event was the largest in recent history with 360 in attendance at the RCAF Museum - over 110 nominees and their supporters along with some of our previous winners. All in all - a great night hosted by the Quinte West Chamber of Commerce and the support of our regional approach to celebrating business. 

Finally a quick note regarding the release today from Queen's Park that Premier Ford has officially repealed Bill 148 and made immediate changes to the College of Trades ratios to assist with getting more people into the certified apprenticeship programs. We were cautiously optimistic this issue would make it back to the table. Minimum wage will not be mandated to rise to $15/hour in January. While the Bill became controversial for this one thing - there are multiple issues that will now be reviewed and the positive elements can be retained. Watch for additional commentary on this over the next few weeks.