President Krysta Logozzo Daniele kicked off the new Rotary season with a fine introduction, and welcome to all including our distinguished speaker Charla Robinson, President of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce (chamber@tbchamber.ca).

Co-hosts working the virtual magic were: Kevin Holloway and John Stephenson, and 31 members tuned in.

Following Krysta's strong opening remarks, acknowledgements and warm welcome to all, there was a video  O Canada and then a fine video by the new (2020-21) Rotary International President Holger Knaack extolling his vision of a wish list for world Rotarians for his year..this includes, growth, involvement, improvement, project development; in fact almost "everything".

President Krysta's highlight announcements:



1. As above, her initial personal vision for a strong and committed PA Rotary year.

2. The Club Visioning exercise including a 3-year strategic plan. A recap will be available at the July 28 meeting.

3. District 5580 matching grant application in for $5000 to be applied to the Salvation Army Field of Greens.

4. Club fundraising: Rotary Radio Day adjustments and brainstorming a new fund-raising initiative is happening.

5. The new District Governor is Robert (Bob) McLean, and Assistant DG is Dan Brown (Nipigon Rotary Club)

6. The Club again will work the Dew Drop Inn July 23rd.

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President-elect Jim Madder introduced and thanked later our fine guest speaker today, Charla Robinson (see above). Jim made clear the exceptional resume and work ethic of Charla in this community.

Her main areas of focus were:

1. The Anti-Racism and Inclusion Accord which can be found at http://tbchamber.ca/advocacy/anti-racism-accord and
2. Covid-19 Now: Guidance and Resources for Business, the Chamber's approach to help pandemic affected business found at http://tbchamber.ca/covid19

Both of these initiatives were covered in detail with the help of a PowePoint slide show.

The details are available at the Chamber website at http://tbchamber.ca

Re the Anti-Racism Accord, the Resource Guide is now available. Re Covid and business there is extensive data on the local impact which is quite severe in terms of business revenue losses and lost employment. Charla acknowledged the essential and successful application of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy in keeping many businesses afloat (58% uptake).

Members engaged fully in the Q and A period, actively encouraged by Charla.  Topics included: explanation of the Wake the Giant program embracing indigenous students; port shipping (a big uptake in business is a highlight); the Chamber approach to the minimum wage proposal (the prior 29% boost with insufficient lead time was seen to be untenable but a universal basic income is supported by the Chamber; recognition and support for non-profits (positive relationship); opportunities for immigrant employment (huge); Chamber prognostication for the future "reopening": we must accept the new normal including face mask protection, and clarity and consistency in messaging  is paramount.

This was an auspicious first Rotary meeting for the new year. Well done Krysta and members. A most appropriate testimonial was provided by Past-President Rod Morrison.