Local chambers of commerce recognized for ‘innovative’ rapid screening initiative

The COVID-19 Rapid Testing initiative has since been adopted coast-to-coast, giving more than 62,000 businesses access to free test kits

Local initiative recognized provincially for helping business people fight COVID-19.

Awarded at the 2022 AGM and Convention hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, leaders of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce received the President’s Award for Program or an innovative service, acknowledging their efforts in launching the COVID -19 Rapid Testing Initiative.

This program, eventually adopted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and rolled out across the province, has provided more than 8.6 million free tests to small and medium-sized businesses in communities across Ontario – with the goal of to help identify asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace

Greg Durocher is President and CEO of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. Speaking as a guest on The Mike Farwell Show, Durocher said it was great to see the initiative – developed in conjunction with Greater KW Chamber President and CEO Ian McLean – being recognized by colleagues across the chamber network for their work in helping more than 62,000 businesses across Ontario stay open safely.

“Obviously Ian and I are people in the community…and we just want to do the right thing. We try to take advantage of every opportunity to do that, and it’s really wonderful to have your peers and colleagues recognize you. in this way, so we are very grateful.”

Originally implemented to help businesses in the Waterloo region, Durocher said the pilot project in association with the federal government generated immediate and overwhelming interest, leading to a call with Health Canada about how best to see the project distributed throughout the network of chambers.

“We reached out to Rocco Rossi from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Perrin Beatty from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and they were all excited to get the program in place – so it’s not just in all the province of Ontario.” said Durocher. “With our playbook on how to set it up and get it out of a bedroom, it went coast to coast.”

Durocher also argued that chambers of commerce are not only teeming with highly motivated individuals, they are also uniquely positioned based on their collaboration to deliver vital programs where government or organizations may find it difficult to mobilize. .

“The chamber network is a really fantastic network to do this because we’re not bound by railings.” said Durocher. “Chambers across the country are just doing things to fill the gaps and voids that exist in the community, to address issues and to help the community resolve those issues. Whatever it is – whether it’s health, social or commercial care.”

The COVID-19 Rapid Testing Initiative continues to roll out free rapid tests to businesses, regardless of chamber membership with 150 or fewer employees, through participating chambers, although the Chamber’s website of Commerce warns that some may run out of supplies on occasion due to demand.

As of Wednesday, Cambridge & Kitchener Waterloo’s ‘Chamber Check’ website has been warning of a backlog of more than 3,300 orders being processed

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