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COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE

The mission of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is to unite and represent Steinbach and area businesses in the belief that the resulting economic growth and stability provides an enhanced quality of life for the entire community.

The mission of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is to unite and represent Steinbach and area businesses in the belief that the resulting economic growth and stability provides an enhanced quality of life for the entire community. This statement rings true as many local business owners understand how important it is for their business and employees to be interwoven into the fabric of our local community.

The mandate of the Community Relations Committee is to bring business and community together. Over the years, the Committee has supported this statement by way of coordinating various community events and participating in community initiatives. As Committee representatives, we look for ways to celebrate many local business successes and support tourism to our community; we would have to say that this year presented huge hurdles in being able to follow through on any of those initiatives.

This year, our legacy event, the Pioneer Days Parade, was again a casualty of COVID, as were several other new initiatives.

Our Committee is proud to report we are still able to realize on Steinbach Burger Days! This is the fourth year the Steinbach Chamber is hosting Steinbach Burger Days. We had a record number of 19 restaurants sign up to participate this year. This event generates great community involvement and captures significant social media attention while providing gourmet delights for the southeast region.

On behalf of our Committee, I would like to thank the membership for their support and invite them to give us feedback and ideas to continue to foster a spirit of community here in Steinbach.

Submitted by Committee Chair, Tessa Masi – YWAM Island Breeze Manitoba
Matthew Penner – Print Studio One
Kristy Hill – YWAM Island Breeze Manitoba
Mark Hiebert – Barkman Concrete
Rona Malama – Rhino Carpet Cleaning

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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

The mandate of the Business Development Committee (BDC) is to promote and support growth and development of the business community. The BDC works effectively to organize these learning opportunities in various ways as we learn from those who have pursued their vision in the business community over time, by hosting Professional Development presenters, and developing the young leaders of our region.

The mandate of the Business Development Committee (BDC) is to promote and support growth and development of the business community. The BDC works effectively to organize these learning opportunities in various ways as we learn from those who have pursued their vision in the business community over time, by hosting Professional Development presenters, and developing the young leaders of our region.

This year continued to be challenging with the ongoing pandemic in the world. We remained flexible and attuned to what was happening in our business community and tried to provide valuable content and activities within the constraints of Public Health orders and leveraging technology.

The Mentorship Roundtable Event has been reimagined as a series of virtual gatherings focused on business successes and adaptability. Our first event was a discussion with Brian Bartel from MJ’s Café regarding his ability to pivot his business strategy during the pandemic. Our second event is scheduled for September to focus on providing insight into building eStores successfully.

We delayed our Young Leaders Breakfast Series to a fall start to allow for in-person events. We are going to continue using the same model as in previous years – developing the leadership skills of 25 more young leaders in our community. The sessions ‘Introduction to Leadership and Personal Style’ and ‘Conflict Resolution and Team Dynamics’ are based on personal assessment and ‘inventory,’ while Business Fundamentals’ and ‘Sustainability in Leadership’ are focused on core business principals.

Additional learning opportunities were presented through Lunch & Learn events, with guests such as Chuck Davidson from the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, as well as Virtual Town Halls with Honorable Kelvin Goertzen. Both events focused on providing information to our businesses regarding the pandemic and its effects.

Moving forward, we hope to regain some normalization to our activities and return to more in-person events that allow the networking everyone has missed over the last 20 months. Our Committee has worked hard to continue to provide value and support to our business community through these tough times and are impressed with the resilience our community has shown to rally together to support each other!

Submitted by Chairperson, Tracy Ouellet- Ellement Consulting Group
Adam Neustaedter – Gold Key Realty
Chad Brown – Brown’s Plumbing & Heating
Gerald Banman – Harvest Insurance
Jo Unger – Dairy Queen
Brigitte Kemp-Chaput- World Trade Centre Winnipeg
Rick Battistoni – MNP
Stacey Gagne – Signex Manufacturing

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MEMBERSHIP SERVICES COMMITTEE

The mandate of the Membership Services Committee (MSC) is to develop and implement effective marketing, mentoring, and membership programs to achieve Chamber retention and recruitment objectives.

The following is a summary of the key areas of focus for our Committee in 2021:

Membership Growth & Retention
The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce has seen significant growth over the past few years. Our local business community continues to face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, and the MSC has had to shift its focus in response. Over the course of the year, the MSC has worked to connect with our members virtually to see how they are doing and how we can best serve them. While many of our efforts looked different in 2021, we have successfully maintained our membership numbers.

Mixers
We continued with our Virtual Mixers in 2021 and saw good registration for the Speed Networking event hosted June 3, 2021. We hope to resume in-person gatherings toward the end of 2021.

Thank you to our Mixer hosts who collaborated with the Chamber and invested time, effort, and money in offering a quality event to our membership. Thank you also to our members for their understanding and continuing engagement as we offer virtual events.

Video Project
The MSC is working on a video project to promote Shop Local. We have gathered quotes and proposals to be submitted for sponsorship and government funding. This is an ongoing project.

Business Excellence Awards
The Business Excellence Awards exist to recognize and celebrate the great work that is being done within our business community. Once again, the MSC will host a full day virtual event broadcasted via local radio, with a dedicated page on SteinbachOnline.com, and videos on Facebook Live to allow for maximum involvement from our membership and the community as a whole.

The Membership Services Committee extends a big thank you to the Awards Nomination and Selection Committees for their engagement and enthusiasm.

Submitted by Chairperson, Brett Adnum – Golden West Broadcasting
Michelle Hillyard – Steinbach Credit Union
Bonnie Schott – formerly of Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP
Elvin Krahn – BDC Business Development Bank of Canada
Jon Delvecchio – Golden West Broadcasting

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EASTMAN IMMIGRANT SERVICES

Eastman Immigrant Services is funded by the Governments of Canada and Manitoba, and has been supporting newcomers and immigrants in Southern Manitoba for over 20 years. In addition to working with newcomers, EIS is invested in working together with community partners to support welcoming newcomers to Eastern Manitoba.

The fiscal year 2020 – 2021 saw unforeseen changes as a result of COVID. In the first half of the year, clients and staff needed time to adapt to the many changes when everything had to close suddenly. Despite the challenges, we were able to adapt and enjoy many successes.

EIS planned and developed events and workshops to meet client needs and reach our goals while keeping health and safety at the top of our priorities. We always worked with the Manitoba Health and Safety protocols and restrictions. A few of the activities included: English for Work, conversation groups, a Money Management and Budgeting workshop, virtual parent and child activities and information sessions, International Cooking Club, sports activities, gardening clubs, and Lego Club.

Pivotal changes were constant from March – December, 2020; one of these being that the governments closed all borders as soon as COVID hit Canada and Manitoba. This made it impossible for newcomers to arrive because all their flights were delayed. The first newcomers started to arrive in May, 2020.
It took a while for the Settlement sector to adjust to the changes. Staff was supported and set up to work remotely or at the office as restrictions allowed. EIS did everything possible to contact our new and returning clients and collect information we needed through Zoom calls, emails, phone and curbside services.

Clients also needed to adapt to the transitions. Newcomers much prefer in-office services. In-office-visits offer personal client services that build trust and relationships for on-going client support, allow for facilitator/client interactions to better meet client’s goals and needs and considers client’s feedback to understand their situation and offer appropriate advice or referrals.

As there is much information through Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Manitoba Association for Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) and Immigration agencies about phone and e-mail scams, our newcomers did not want to provide personal information over the phone. Not all clients were familiar with technology or did not have access to computers at home. This certainly made some client needs a little more challenging to manage.

Language was another barrier and caused hesitations for staff and frustration for some newcomers. For applications to be processed in a timely manner, it is crucial that applications are completed correctly. EIS staff offers efficient and accurate services, so some applications took longer to complete as often there was a delay in receiving or confirming information. If clients did not respond to email or phone calls, or if they needed to find an interpreter to understand staff inquiries, there were delays.

Computers and access to online services were also a challenge for newcomers. Many computers in public places were closed. All Service Canada offices were closed and switched to online service. The waiting time on the phone was greater than 1-1.5 hours. Newcomers could apply online for Social Insurance Numbers, but it took them 3-5 weeks to obtain that number.

In June 2020, EIS staff started working from the office on rotation and we were able to find creative ways to serve our clients curbside. Shortly after this, government created electronic/fillable PDFs. This was very helpful for clients with computer and internet access.

Our Settlement Workers In Schools (SWIS) activities were affected the most in our organization. Before COVID, we added more schools to our SWIS program and had received extensive support from the Hanover School Division and the Seine River School Division Assistant Superintendents to continue SWIS work and be involved with newcomer families as they accustomed to new school systems. Work with schools was increasing but school closures limited access to schools. SWIS looked for creative ways to adapt and still meet family’s needs to register children and support student’s needs to integrate and/or keep up with schoolwork.

2020-2021 has demonstrated that change is not all bad and can bring about positive ideas and solutions if we allow. There are some practices that we need to keep, like serving most clients in office or group activities but remote platforms have opened up a way to function that can add services or make life more convenient for staff and clients.

Newcomers play an important role in the growth and development of our country and we thank IRCC and the Manitoba Government for their funding support over the past years. This funding contributes to improved social and economic stability for the newcomers who choose to call the Eastman and Interlake regions home. Eastman Immigrant Services is an organization committed to providing exceptional settlement services to newcomers and our recent expansion into the Interlake has enabled us to respond effectively to settlement and integration needs in both regions. This includes settlement, employment and adaptation to a new cultural environment. Communications and relationships are the key to a successful organization and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve newcomers to Canada. We are Better Together.

Submitted by Gwen Reimer – EIS Program Director
Marina Klassen – Receptionist
Erna Friesen – Settlement Facilitator
Joshua Madula – Settlement Facilitator
Theo Mathumwa – Settlement Facilitator
Marcel Marinho – ERIP Coordinator
Rene Schulz – Settlement Worker in Schools
Viktoria Vladimirova – Employment Facilitator
Komal Mahant – Volunteer & Integration Coordinator
Amber Reitsma – Communications Coordinator