• Series Recordings
    June 18, 2020 - December 31, 2021
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Cybersecurity Business Information
    October 15, 2020
    3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Reopening Ontario
    November 12, 2020
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Legal Disputes
    November 24, 2020
    11:30 am - 12:30 pm
  • Staying COVID Safe
    December 15, 2020
    10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Employee Mental Health Check Up
    February 25, 2021
    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Selling at Local Farmers' Markets
    April 1, 2021
    1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Navigating the 2021 Tax Season
    April 15, 2021
    10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity
    May 6, 2021
    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Businesses in Transition and How to Stay in Control
    May 20, 2021
    2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
  • COVID-19 Impacts on Women in Business
    June 9, 2021
    10:00 am - 11:30 am
  • Digital Productivity and Automation
    June 23, 2021
    10:00 am - 11:30 am
  • Cybersecurity - Risks, Realities and Prevention
    July 21, 2021
    10:00 am - 11:30 am
  • New Ways of Working - Key Considerations for Employers
    August 17, 2021
    2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Managing Culture - Leading A Healthy Workplace
    September 8, 2021
    10:30 am - 12:00 pm
  • Vaccine Certificates & Best Practices for Businesses
    October 6, 2021
    12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Ask an Expert 1024x538 - 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 Comm​unity 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 23:  Vaccine Certificates & Best Practices for Businesses

As of Sept. 22, 2021, Ontario residents who are 12 and older need to show proof of vaccination or proof of a legitimate medical exemption when accessing certain indoor public settings. This Ask an Expert webinar on October 6 will outline information and best practices for businesses and organizations to be compliant and best serve their customers, employees and the general public.

Our Experts:

Deborah Joslin, CEO President-ess Next Gen Hub Inc. Safety Training and Consulting Services Ltd. Entrepreneur, HR & Safety Specialist, Business Developer & Coach

Deborah will be providing guidance and templates for the development of Operations and Human Resource Policies and Procedures, including the appropriate accommodations, to ensure a smooth transition for vaccine certificate compliance.

Pamela Patry, HBOR, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services – Acting Pandemic Program Lead – Field Operations

Pamela will provide information on the Layering approach of Controls in the workplace (new PPE guidance), the newly released Safety Plan Builder and Violence & Harassment Resources.

Kevin Shelley, Ministry of Labour, Trades and Skills Development (MLTSD)

Regional Program Coordinator for the Newmarket office, covering York Region, and Simcoe County. Kevin will be talking about the MLTSD position on an employer creating vaccination policies and employers having to review proof of vaccination status in those select businesses.


Webinar 22:  Managing Culture – Leading A Healthy Workplace

Part two of the two part mini-series on transitioning work models; More and more businesses are planning new working and service delivery models that will be effective for their customers, company culture and employees moving forward.

Join on September 8 for an exclusive session featuring Dr. Lisa Belanger, Behavioural Change Expert discussing work models (remote, hybrid, in-person) and key considerations from a culture and change management lens.


Webinar 21:  New Ways of Working – Key Considerations for Employers

Part one of a two part mini-series on transitioning work models. On August 17, this session will be a focused discussion on key considerations for employers if their employees are working remotely, returning the office, or a blend of both.

Hear from speakers Maciej Lipinski, Senior Associate with KPMG Law and Shesta Babar, Director, People and Change at KPMG.

Link to YouTube Recording COMING SOON

Webinar 20:  Cybersecurity – Risks, Realities and Prevention

Cybersecurity is a growing risk for all industries, Grant Thornton’s extensive cybersecurity work shows that many clients don’t understand the threats their business’ face, or the real impact a cyber-attack would have.

On July 21, you will learn about cybersecurity risks that threaten Canadian companies and to get the knowledge and tools to ensure your organization is protected. This exclusive session will be hosted by Sandy Boucher, of the Grant Thornton Cybersecurity Practice. His extensive experience investigating cyber breaches has given him a unique perspective on what organizations should be doing to protecting themselves. He’s a frequent speaker on the topic across the country and his plain language approach resonates with business leaders who want to know where to start.

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 19:  Digital Productivity and Automation

Digital Marketing best practices are often widely known. Things like frequent posts to your social media, consistent email marketing, and blogging are not overly complicated but they are all time consuming. In this session on June 23, we want to discuss how technology adoption and automation can enhance your productivity so that your digital marketing is on par with or better than today’s standard best practices. Whether you’re managing your social media, your online store, Advertising, or content creation, we will share, using real time local stories, tips and technology to make your life easier and keep your business running smoothly.

Speaker Ben Frisch has been working in Marketing and Communications for over 15 years. Since launching BFresh.Media in 2015 Ben has worked with many local, national, and even global brands and organizations, producing content and providing digital marketing solutions. In early 2019, Ben was honoured to represent the Digital Main Street Program and become this area’s first Digital Service Squad representative. Since then, Ben has helped hundreds of businesses transform their digital marketing and has built a team of amazing squad members to help even more local businesses achieve their digital goals.

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 18:  COVID-19 Impacts on Women in Business

The past 12 months have seen a series of events that have permanently impacted both the nature of the workplace and women’s opportunities within it. Many of the hardest hit sectors where many women work – like retail, travel, hospitality – haven’t fully recovered. They bore the brunt of job losses. Working practices have become more flexible, new leadership traits are coming to the fore, and the need for a diverse workforce and inclusive culture has never been more apparent. In these extraordinary times, agile, forward-looking businesses will recognize this moment of change as a chance to evolve and thrive.

On June 9, hear from national leaders and a panel of ambitious women in business from across our region that have persevered through the pandemic and the impacts they have faced as a result. At different stages and various levels of business, listen as they provide their shared perspectives and what opportunities lay ahead for the equity of women in business.

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 17:  Businesses in Transition and How To Stay in Control

Many business owners who had carefully developed business plans and models over the lifespan of their businesses have had to lay those plans aside and adapt quickly. Financial forecasts that seemed realistic in 2019 no longer apply and many business owners have had to take on significant debt to weather the storm. In many cases, previously acquired debt cannot be repaid as planned. Transitioning out of business is an option being considered.

On May 20, this webinar will explore 3 topics:

  1. Selling the business – Lawyer Tim Timpano & Accountant David Holmes
  2. Closing the business – Lawyer Tim Timpano & Accountant David Holmes
  3. Options for dealing with financial distress – Insolvency Trustees Brenda Wood & Robyn White

Link to YouTube Recording 

Webinar 16:  Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity

In the past year we have experienced an event like never before in our lifetime. The impacts of a global pandemic have affected businesses and organizations, and their ability to deliver goods and services. Taking the time to develop a business continuity plan can help organizations identify vulnerabilities, and develop mitigation strategies and contingency plans in order to reduce the negative consequences of all types of emergencies. 

This session on May 6, will provide the knowledge and tools required to initiate a business continuity plan as well as enhancing emergency preparedness among staff members.

Local experts presenting at this virtual session include:        

  • Rob Heffernan, Emergency Services Program Supervisor, County of Simcoe
    Rob joined the Emergency Management Department at the County of Simcoe in 2008. He delivers a range of emergency management training courses and for staff at the County, local municipalities and partner organizations. As an Alternate Community Emergency Management Coordinator he works on the development and maintenance of the County’s Emergency Operations Centres and Emergency Response Plans, including the Continuity of Operations Plan. Rob is committed to helping residents and organizations to be better prepared for emergencies and disasters in our region.
  • Colleen Simpson, Manager of 911 and Emergency Planning, County of Simcoe
    Colleen joined the County of Simcoe as Manager of 911 and Emergency Planning in 2019. She oversees the Emergency Planning department, while ensuring the development, implementation and administration of the County’s emergency management programs. Colleen has over 20 years experience in emergency services along with extensive knowledge in 911 and emergency management. She has a Master’s degree in Disaster and Emergency Management and is certified as an Associate Business Continuity Professional (ABCP). 

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 15:  Navigating the 2021 Tax Season

On April 15, join Allen Lloyd, Tax Advisor and Consultant, and Founder of Lloyd Management Services for this free virtual session.

As a former Canada Revenue Agency employee, Allen Lloyd has the knowledge and experience to properly prepare your tax return, ensure you benefit from Canada’s tax system, answer any questions you may have.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Requirements for maintaining books and records
  • Reading and using financial statements
  • Understanding CRA tax requirements
  • Where to find useful information online

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 14:  Selling at Local Farmers’ Markets

As the warmer weather approaches, local farmers and artisans are preparing their products for their local farmers’ markets. The COVID-19 global pandemic continues to rage on with new variant strains, raising several questions about how to sell local product safely this summer. This session will help local sellers understand required safety protocols and practices to follow at farmers’ markets in 2021.

On April 1, join representatives from Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit as they discuss everything you need to know to sell at local farmers’ markets this season. 

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 13:  Employee Mental Health Check Up

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all aspects of our daily lives, including transforming the way we work, making employee mental health one of the most important issues facing workplaces today.

To better understand how to support your employees’ resilience during these uncertain times, business leaders are invited to join Hayley Peek, Mental Health Consultant and co-founder of “Supporting Through Struggle TM” for the February 25 “Ask an Expert” virtual webinar.​​​​

This session will provide information and insights on:

  • Pulse check on our state of mental wellness
  • Exploring practical ways to support our mental health
  • What is resilience and how can we begin to build it 

Link to YouTube Recording


2020 Webinars:


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.

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.

Link to YouTube Recording​​​

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.

Link to YouTube Recording​​

Webinar 4:  Insights on Supporting Mental Health In The Workplace

Business and organizational leaders participated in the “Ask an 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.​

Link to YouTube Recording​​​

Webinar 5:  How To Talk To Customers In A Crisis

On July 23, 2020 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. 

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 plan​ning
  • 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  

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 

Link to YouTube Recording​​

Webinar 8:  COVID-19 Workplace and Business Safety

On September 21, 2020 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

Link to YouTube Recording​

Webinar 9:  Cybersecurity Business Information

On October 15, 2020, 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

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 10: Reopening Ontario: What You Need to Know About ES & OHS Related to COVID-19

On November 12, 2020, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) joins the Ask An Expert series. Learn what employers and employees need to know about employment standards and occupational health and safety to safely operate during COVID-19.

Webinar 11: Legal Disputes

November 24, 2020, as Canada rides through a second wave of the COVID pandemic, with no end in sight, there is no denying that these are tough survival times for many businesses.

In this insightful and invaluable panel discussion by three of Ontario’s leading litigation lawyers, Don Jack (one of Canada’s leading commercial litigators), Pavle Masic (a seasoned corporate, estates and insolvency litigator) and Andrew Camman (of Polishuk, Camman and Steel is a senior leading employment and labour lawyer) will share their collective experience and wisdom on how small businesses can pro- actively spot, avoid or pivot or mitigate costly litigation. Early action can save tens of thousands of dollars, but business owners first mistake is often to wait too long to deal with unpleasant matters.

In this webinar, Jack, Masic and Camman will outline pragmatic options, ways of handling disputes in the most cost-effective ways possible, (including mediation and arbitration) and will answer your questions about what to do when you are about to be sued or feel you have no option but to sue.

Irene Taylor, the Vice President of Business Diversification at Pace and a leading speaker, writer and advisor on business and law will moderate and pose your most pressing questions to the panelists.

Details for accessing the session will be sent in advance.

Link to YouTube Recording

Webinar 12: Staying COVID Safe: Getting Ahead of Changing Health & Safety Regulations

December 15, 2020, 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/public 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 for Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS)

Source: County of Simcoe