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Ask an Expert Series

​​ This County of Simcoe, the Small Business Centre of Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia, South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre, Orillia Area Community Development Corporation, Nottawasaga Futures, North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation and the Centre for Business and Economic Development are partnering to present the "Ask an Expert" series to assist businesses and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This series will feature experts on topics such as Health and Safety, HR, Accounting, Marketing, Business Planning, Legal and Mental Health as well as a Q&A session.

Webinar 12: Staying COVID Safe

A health and safety event exploring policy and procedures that small businesses should be implementing during COVID-19 and in preparation of further restrictions or potential lockdown.

The webinar will be moderated by Dave Hyde, Small Business Consultant for the Small Business Centre of Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia and questions will be answered by experts in the health and safety space, including:

  • ​Marlene Kesler, occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, and workplace health/pu​blic health policy leader
  • Hamish Morgan, Regional Manager for Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)
  • Wayne Murphy of Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development
  • Bill Chen, Regional Community Coordinator, WSPS
  • Kelly Magnusson, Emergency Management Program Manager, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU)
  • Christina Weider, Environmental Health Manager, SMDHU

Joint Advisory


Webinar 11: Legal Disputes

The Ask an Expert virtual series brought forward insights and knowledge to businesses and organizational leaders seeking support and advice with litigation matters resulting from COVID-19.

Joint Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording

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Webinar 10: Reopening Ontario

Businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the next “Ask an Expert" virtual webinar occurring on November 12th, which will provide insights on understanding employment standards, and occupational health and safety rights and obligations as they relate to COVID-19.

  • What flexibility is there around changing hours of work?
  • Can an employee be let go if they refuse to go back to work due to a family obligation related to COVID-19?
  • Who is responsible for protecting workers against COVID-19 in the workplace ?
  • Can a worker refuse to work if they feel unsafe due to COVID-19?

Joint Media Advisory​


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Webinar 9: Cybersecurity Business Information

On October 15, local businesses and organizations are invited to learn how to best prepare for cybersecurity challenges.

The webinar will be moderated by Dave Hyde, Small Business Consultant for the Barrie Small Business Centre, and will include experts AJ Khan, CEO of CyberStrategiez Inc, Carl Hayes, Partner and Vice-President of Business Development for Stratejm, and Sumit Bhatia, Director, Knowledge Mobilization and Communications with Rogers Cybersecure Catalsyt. The event will provide insights on:

  • Why cybersecurity is important to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • How to do a cybersecurity assessment
  • Cybersecurity governance
  • Technology and next steps
  • Safety

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 8: COVID-19 Workplace and Business Safety

On September 21, business and organizational leaders are invited to virtually join health experts from the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) as they provide insights on workplace and business safety measures to help keep employees, clients and customers as safe possible during the pandemic.

At this session, Kelly Magnusson, Manager, Emergency Management Program and Martin Kuhn, Program Supervisor for the Smoke-Free Program, both experts from the SMDHU, will help business and workplaces to:

  • Understand how COVID-19 is impacting business and workplace operations
  • Learn the requirements for operating safely
  • Share best practices to promote employee and customer safety

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 7: Financial Distress and Knowing Your Options

The Ask an Expert virtual webinar series returns on September 17, 2020 with a focus on helping businesses and organizations that are facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. The session will be led by expert Rob Stelzer, Vice President, Advisory Services, in the Grant Thornton recovery and reorganization group, as he provides insights regarding insolvency, restructuring, corporate recovery and business viability.

At this session, business and organizational leaders will:

  • Gain an understanding of the different statutory protections for business facing financial challenges
  • Learn tips for effective communication with banks and other stakeholders
  • Receive a macroeconomic perspective on potential future challenges as a result of the pandemic

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 6: Building on your foundations

The Ask an Expert virtual webinar series continued August 13, 2020 when business and organizational leaders joined subject matter experts as they shared insights on how businesses can create additional value for their customers, strengthen their business model foundations and ensure business viability.

This session provided businesses with:

  • Learn about the importance of business planning
  • Understand key factors in developing strategies to survive and thrive in today's economy
  • Discover tools and resources that can help improve market share
  • Hear first-hand experience from business owners who have successfully implemented new strategies

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 5: How to talk to customers in a crisis

On July 23, business and organizational leaders joined marketing and communications experts to learn ways to market, communicate and engage with their customers and clients while navigating these challenging times as part of the "Ask and Expert" virtual webinar series.

The panel, including Communications Strategist Sandra Kahale, and branding and marketing experts Lara McCulloch and Heather Briggs, explored what to say, how to say it, along with when and where to really connect with customers, show leadership, and build your brand bravely in times of crisis.

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 4: Insights on supporting mental health in the workplace

Business and organizational leaders participated in the "Ask and Expert" webinar which focused on supporting employee mental health. The session was led by Hayley Peek, Mental Health Consultant and co-founder of "Supporting Through StruggleTM" and offered helpful information on how businesses and managers can understand and support their employees' well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery.

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording

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Webinar 3: Legal advice on what businesses can do to overcome COVID-19

Moderated by Don Jack, one of Canada's leading business litigators, the panel included Pavle Masic and Jason Dutrizac of DS Avocats, insolvency and bankruptcy experts, and Andrew Camman of Polishuk, Camman and Steel and David Law of Law at Work, senior leading employment and labour lawyers. This panel provided valuable "need to know" information and invaluable takeaways to help businesses overcome this pandemic.

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 2: COVID-19 Navigating Employment and Workplace Challenges

At this session, Tim Timpano, Partner, Downey Tornosky Lassaline & Timpano, was joined by Sophie Mathewson, Strategic Advisor & Coach at Prism Group International, to share helpful information, advice and guidelines assisting businesses in navigating potential employment and workplace challenges related to reopening, operating safely and supporting employees during the pandemic.

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording


Webinar 1: COVID-19 Workplace and Business Safety in Simcoe Muskoka

At this session, presented in partnership with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU), County of Simcoe, and the District of Muskoka, SMDHU experts Dr. Charles Gardner, Medical Officer of Health and Dr. Steve Rebellato, Vice President, Environmental Health Department provided insights on how to safely reopen and operate your businesses as the medical pandemic continues

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Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording