Thursday, 18 December 2014

Port Me Home - Getting You and Your Car Home Safely

The holiday season is filled with opportunities to celebrate! Glittering parties, delicious food and festive drinks are available in abundance but a safe ride home isn’t always as easy to find. Port Me Home is a professional designated driver service that opened in June 2014 and has cars stationed in Port Stanley, St. Thomas and London.

Owner Dawn McKinlay was operating a house cleaning business when she realized that a need existed in Elgin County for a designated driver service. Instead of calling a cab when you are out, call Port Me Home and they will get both you and your vehicle home safely. This service is perfect for Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Birthday parties as well as weddings and stag and does.

Port Me Home only charges users for the trip home and not for the distance to get to the pick-up location and is particularly affordable for a group of several people.
“We are less expensive than a hotel room and you don’t have to worry about going to pick up your car the next morning,” said McKinlay.

They are open from 5:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday nights of long weekends. The service is available 24/7 for those who call and pre-book their times 24 hours in advance.

In the future Port Me Home hopes not only to offer designated driver services but to offer services to take people to their doctor’s appointments and surgeries. Certain surgeries such as cataract surgery, laser eye surgery and wisdom tooth surgery forbid people from driving home by themselves. Instead of requiring friends and family to take time off work to drive them to and from appointments, Port Me Home will be available.

Port Me Home can be booked by phone, e-mail or text. For more information on Port Me Home’s services visit, or call/text 519-495-9858 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014 a One - Stop Location for Labour Market Information

Good quality information is essential for individuals looking to make career decisions in an ever changing economy. This information can also be very useful to employers looking to recognize key employment trends and plan for future growth and development of their organizations. In March of 2014, the Elgin Middlesex Oxford Workforce Planning and Development Board in partnership with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities and the London Economic Development Corporation launched in order to provide current local and regional labour market information in one convenient and easy to use online location.

The resource is designed to be useful for several different groups including students, job seekers and employers. It provides users with accessible, up-to-date and relevant data including market conditions, industry information, changes in the internal and external business environments, future hiring and employment trends, wage and salary expectations and education and training information.

Job seekers are able to see what companies are hiring by viewing an on-site list of active job boards in Elgin, Middlesex and Oxford Counties. They can research the training they will need to apply to these jobs and can get an idea of how much money they can be expected to make.

This type of information is also extremely useful to students trying to decide on a sustainable future career path. They can use the website to get an overall picture of the viability of entering certain occupations in the area, what they can expect to earn in each occupation and what education and training they will need to pursue this type of occupation. There is also a section on the website dedicated to resources for newly landed immigrants and persons with disabilities.

Employers and human resources professionals can utilize to get a better idea of what competitive wages are for a particular job or occupation, get an idea of how many qualified people in the area can fill these jobs and to determine the potential future growth in an industry. The website also has resources to teach employers how to better accommodate employees with disabilities.

The data found on comes from Stats Canada, a variety of independent data providers, government ministries and the EmployerOne Survey that is administered to local businesses each year. Data can be searched by job or by industry and results displayed compare trends from Middlesex, Elgin, London, St. Thomas and Oxford to trends at the provincial and national levels. 

Increased Connectivity and Responsiveness at the Municipality of Bayham

It was clear to new Chief Administrative Officer Paul Shipway that the Municipality of Bayham’s computer and communications technology system was in need of significant updates. The system operated on old servers, used outdated equipment and was heavily reliant on paper files located at the main municipal administration office in Straffordville.

Municipal staff was spread out over five separate locations including the main municipal administration office, fire and emergency services, water treatment facilities and public works and each of these locations used a stand-alone computer system. These five stand-alone systems had no connectivity to one another and staff requiring documents stored on other systems needed to request them by e-mail or visit the location in person.

“Municipalities are required to be fluid and responsive to the needs of citizens,” said
Shipway. “Operating in silos does not allow us to be as responsive as we would like to be.”
An organizational review identified that a modern and intuitive computer technology system was crucial to the staff’s ability to do its job in an efficient and effective manner while meeting the complex needs of the community.

Improvements to the system will include transitioning to a single terminal server environment where all municipal staff, regardless of location, can search and access the same documents quickly and easily. Additionally a fast and stable internet connection will be brought to the municipal office through the installation of fibre connections. Fibre connections are thinner and lighter than metal cables, are less susceptible to interference and have a much greater bandwidth, meaning that they can carry more data. These updates will ensure that Bayham is able to adapt and compete in an increasingly technological world.

The need for high speed internet to ensure the economic vitality and viability of rural municipalities is one that is recognized not only by the Municipality of Bayham, but by the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus and the Southwest Economic Alliance with their joint SWIFT initiative – to bring ultra high speed fibre optic regional network to everyone in western Ontario regardless of where they live.

For more information on the Municipality of Bayham visit and to learn about the SWIFT initiative visit