Chamber seeks support from national network to protect vital trade corridor

Media Release

July 27, 2023

Chamber seeks support from national network to protect vital trade corridor

TRURO- The Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce is seeking support from the national Chamber network to protect vital trade infrastructure on the Chignecto Isthmus.

In early June, the Truro Chamber submitted recommendations to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for federal government action that will be presented to more than 400 chambers across Canada in October to seek the national organization’s endorsement for support.

“Our Chamber, and its supporters across Atlantic Canada, is firm in its position that securing this trade corridor is an absolute priority and government at all levels must immediately put an action plan in place to address it,” said Chamber President Eric Tanton.

The policy position, and its recommendations, has already received an endorsement by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Transportation Policy Committee.

The Isthmus of Chignecto is the narrow, low-lying neck of land spanning approximately 21 km, that provides the only land connection between Nova Scotia and the rest of Canada and the principal transportation connection to Newfoundland and Labrador. The isthmus is composed primarily of marshlands located at the head of the Bay of Fundy.

There are numerous transportation and energy transmission linkages that, if interrupted, would have enormous economic impacts on people and businesses in and outside Atlantic Canada. The Trans-Canada Highway, the Canadian National Rail Line, the High Voltage interconnect, fiber-optical cables, a wind farm and the Maritimes and Northeast Gas Pipeline span this narrow stretch of land.

The Truro-based Chamber is recommending the federal government consider the vulnerabilities in this vital trade corridor a national priority while committing to reliable timelines for project completion. It further asks that they establish an equitable funding model removing the unfair burden of repair cost from the two provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick that reflects the national significance of this corridor on trade and utilities.

The estimated $35 billion per annum value of goods and services through the corridor, inclusive of revenues generated by in-corridor economic activity, is at risk. The origin and destinations of transported goods span well beyond markets in Atlantic Canada, handling goods from across Canada to international markets and the island of Newfoundland.

The key challenge in this area is that flood protection is provided by a system of dykes managed by two provincial government departments and CN Rail. A significant portion of the system relies solely on the existence of a raised rail bed that parallels the Trans-Canada Highway for about 8 km. The balance of the system is provided by very old dykes.

“We recently witnessed the impact intense storms and flooding can have on significant trade corridors with the destruction of a section of CN’s rail line right here in Millbrook First Nation, as well as the damage to main roads including sections of the TransCanada Highway,” said Tanton. “The value of this transportation infrastructure to the national economy is significant and the threat to its operation is real.”

The value of goods transported across the isthmus is estimated at roughly $50M a day and growing.  More than 400,000 containers and 230,000 new cars pass through the isthmus on their way to and from the Port of Halifax every year.

The impact of imports and exports to and from the port of Halifax last year is significant in reaching North American Markets. In 2022, 21 per cent of exported goods originated from Midwest US, 39 per cent from Central Canada and 33 per cent from Atlantic Canada, the remaining export markets include Western Canada and other areas of the US. When looking at imports of containerized cargo last year, nearly half of the cargo arriving at the Port of Halifax was sent to markets in Central Canada, about a quarter of it remained in Atlantic Canada and 19 per cent was sent to the Midwest US, the remainder was shipped to western Canada, and other US markets.

A 2022 study costing more than $700,000, cost shared between the federal government and provincial governments of NS and NB, identified 10 potential options, then shortlisted to three with the highest costed option being $300.8 M. That cost is speculated to have increased in the past year.  The study indicated a 10-year timeline to put solutions in place. Federal government has indicated it would consider covering up to 50 per of the cost.

“It is not a question of if there will be an extreme weather or tidal event that breaches the dyke system, simply a question of when,” said Tanton.


The study assumes that, if the status quo persists, over the next 30 years there will be an extreme weather event which results in the closure of the Chignecto Isthmus for two days’ duration once every five years. on the annual trade value of $35 billion the 12-day interruption has a total value of $1.2 billion.


To ensure an all-season trade route to PEI, in the past 30 years Ottawa has contributed more than $1.257B, through an annual subsidy to Strait Crossing Development Inc., compensating for the construction of the Confederation Bridge, exclusive of ongoing revenue from tolls. The Chamber believes the federal government should consider the Chignecto Isthmus of equal importance to the country’s trade infrastructure.


Media Contact:

Sherry Martell

Executive Director

Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce

902-895-6328, or 902-890-4616 (cell)

[email protected]


Download Release here:

Protecting vital infrastructure- NR-072723-f

Chamber sets new course with updated strategic plan


Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit, non-government, volunteer-governed organization representing the business community of Truro and Colchester County.  The organization was established in 1890, as the Truro Board of Trade with 37 charter members. The Chamber is a membership-based organization, where dues from members provide sustainable revenue. Fundraising events, special projects and commission from member insurance programs top up the revenue sources.

Membership has continually grown over the years, reporting a 94% retention rate among members in recent years.  The Chamber hit a milestone in 2022, exceeding 500 members. Year-end reports noted 517 members, a 22% increase from the previous year.  Interestingly enough, 75% of the membership base employs 10 people or less, a true representation of a small-business community.  The Truro & Colchester Chamber is the second largest Chamber in the province, second only to Halifax Chamber of Commerce.

The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce has been the principal voice of the business community in this region for 133 years on matters of economic, political and social importance. The Chamber is also a member of the Atlantic and Canadian Chambers, collaborating with both of these organizations in policy debates and seeking better conditions for businesses.  The current strategic planning cycle concluded in 2023 and the Chamber has now embarked on another strategic planning exercise.  A steering committee consisting of Matthew Mossman, Eric Tanton, Christian Thompson, and Sherry Martell worked with Consultant Yvonne Thyssen-Post of Thyagrissen Consulting Limited in creating this strategic plan.

The organization operates through a volunteer Board of Directors, elected by the membership, and is responsible for developing policy and strategic direction.  The composition of the Board of Directors at the time of the compiling the 2023-2026 Strategic Plan is as follows:

  • President: Eric Tanton, Scotia Wealth Management
  • Past-President: Matthew Mossman, Bell Media
  • 1st Vice-President: Kim Boomer, LIBCAN
  • Treasurer: Cyndi MacLean, MacQuarries
  • Solicitor: Jennifer Hamilton Upham, Patterson Law
  • Directors:
    • Carole Fisher, Ditch Doctor
    • Vonda Hazzard, NovelTea Coffeehouse, Bakery, Bookstore & Gifts
    • Kenisha McMaster, Kenisha’s Cleaning Company
    • Doug MacInnes, Wilson’s Heating
    • Heidi Sponagle, Inn on Prince Hotel & Conference Centre
    • Jeremy Nichols, Commercial Safety College
    • Glen MacKenzie, AEL Millwirght Services
    • Christian Thompson, Truro Nissan

Chamber staff carry-out the day-to-day operations of the organization.  Current staff listing is as follows:

  • Sherry Martell, Executive Director
  • Lisa Matthews, Office & Membership Coordinator
  • Chelsea Weatherbee, Events & Special Project Coordinator

CLICK here to read the Strategic plan

Chamber - SP-FINAL

Dianne Kelderman to receive Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award

For immediate release

News release

April 5, 2022

Dianne Kelderman to receive Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award


TRURO – Well-known business woman Dianne Kelderman will be recognized this month for her life-long commitment to economic growth here and the province as a whole.

Kelderman, president and CEO of the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, will be presented with the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award on April 21, at the organization’s Annual Dinner Gala and Awards in Truro.

“Dianne is an inspiration to so many with her can-do attitude and out-of-the-box solutions to overcome social and economic challenges,” said Matthew Mossman, Chamber President.

“We are incredibly pleased to honour her, especially as a Past President of our Chamber, for her many contributions to the local community and helping drive economic development in the province.”

Through her leadership at the Council, Kelderman has spearheaded countless projects and initiatives to help businesses thrive while also supporting the diverse social needs of communities. She was also recently recognized as one of Atlantic Canada’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Business by Atlantic Business magazine.

This is the first time the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement award has been presented since 2015 and Kelderman is the first woman to receive it.

Along with the Lifetime Achievement award, sponsored by Patterson Law, two additional prestigious awards will be presented at the masquerade-themed evening gala. Developer, entrepreneur and community volunteer Joe Pinto will be honoured with a Business Person of the Year award, sponsored by BDC, for his efforts to increase mixed-housing units, repurpose historic buildings in Great Village and support for the Food Bank.  Mastodon Ridge in Stewiacke has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Community Credit Union. Marking 25 years in operation in 2021, the popular attraction has been expanded and enhanced in the past year and offers countless spin-off benefits to several businesses as a key tourism destination.

The Chamber is pleased to bring back an in-person event after hosting a virtual gala and awards in 2021. Ian Munro, Chief Economist with the Halifax Partnership will be the guest speaker for the event discussing market trends. The President’s Social will kick off the evening’s festivities at 6 p.m. at the Best Western Glengarry followed by the gala dinner at 7 p.m. Seats must be reserved in advance by April 15 and cost $65 plus HST for members and $75 plus HST for future members. To book a seat contact the Chamber at 902-893-6328, email [email protected] or reserve online at by clicking on the event’s calendar.

The Chamber is a non-profit, membership-based organization representing more than 450 businesses and organizations in the Truro and Colchester region as the recognized voice of business.



Media contact:

Sherry Martell

Executive Director

Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce


[email protected]

Workplace rapid test screening program PAUSED

Nova Scotia's Workplace testing program is currently paused for new entry and orders.

Nova Scotia is currently in the midst of a significant COVID-19 outbreak. The level of viral spread has necessitated a change in the province’s testing strategy. Part of this change will include the redeployment of rapid antigen tests, in order to augment the health systems testing capacity and to meet high priority needs. Doing this will ensure Nova Scotians who need rapid COVID tests continue to have access to them.

As a result of this change, the Workplace Screening Program will be paused ( Dec. 11, 2021). All orders placed on or after December 13th will not be fulfilled. Organizations that fall under the following high-priority streams will continue to be supported, they include:

  • Long-term care facilities
  • Shelters and transition homes
  • DCS funded homes and day programs
  • First Nations communities
  • African Nova Scotian communities

We apologize for the frustration this announcement will likely cause. Like you, we are committed to this program and have been humbled by the +2000 businesses and organizations, more than 120 in Colchester County, who have enrolled in the screening program in an effort to protect their employees and broader communities. Please know that these decisions have not been made lightly. The Workplace Screening Program team will continue to provide updates as we receive them from Public Health and the Department of Health and Wellness.

For more information please see the province’s COVID-19 website:

The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce has been a partner with the Department of Health and Wellness since June of 2021 to act as a depot for businesses to pick up tests ordered by local businesses and to provide information on how to sign up for the program. We do not stock tests onsite or facilitate entry into the program. We act as a safe point of contact for businesses to pick up shipments from the province once they have been ordered through the program.

We know there are many other businesses interested in getting into the program to access rapid tests to protect your staff. We continue to meet with Workplace testing co-ordinators and officials with the Department of Health and Wellness to advocate for the program to resume as soon as possible.

Updates will be shared here, on the chamber website, our social media and our weekly member newsletter.

Chamber policy Addressing Workplace Mental Health receives national acclaim

For immediate release
October 29, 2021
Chamber policy Addressing Workplace Mental Health receives national acclaim

TRURO – The Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce’s lobby for more action by the federal government to address entrepreneur and workforce mental health recently received endorsement by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The local Chamber worked with health care professionals, consultants and mental health stakeholders to put forward a policy, Addressing Workplace Mental Health, at the national Chamber AGM and policy debates, held in a virtual forum, on October 28. The policy’s three key recommendations received 95 per cent of the national vote and will now be submitted to the Liberal government for action.

“This policy speaks to the dire need to support the mental health of our entrepreneurs and their employees,” said Sherry Martell, Chamber Executive Director. “As the voice of business, we are speaking up for the half of our population that is now struggling with mental health related issues, which are deeply impacting our workforce, and for our hard-working, dedicated entrepreneurs that are statistically more likely to experience mental illness and five times more likely to contemplate suicide.”
Martell said COVID-19 has gravely impacted the mental health of Canadians showing an increase from an estimated one in five people experiencing mental health issues to now one in every two people. However, she said, it is a challenge to actively gage the mental health impact of the pandemic without a focused effort on pan-Canadian data collection.
She added that pre-pandemic data on the mental health of Canadians as a whole and those actively participating in the workforce is dated, fragmented and inconsistent province to province and territories.
The policy, was also supported by the Canadian Chamber’s National Workforce Policy Committee, the Atlantic Chamber of Commerce and four Nova Scotia Chambers.
The first key recommendation asks the federal government to work with provinces and territories, municipalities, First Nations, business, labour, academia, health care leaders and individual citizens to update a national strategy on mental health, including best practices of current programs in an effort to improve the management of mental health in the workplace. This would include collection of pan-Canadian and international statistics to compare benchmarks, proven examples of prevention, early action to combat stress and early identification of problems focused on increasing worker productivity, along with support for entrepreneurs and employees while highlighting the impact of mental illness on the economy.
It also outlines the need to ensure funding committed to health in federal budgets continues to provide dedicated amounts for provincial/territorial plans to address mental health challenges within their health care systems.

Thirdly, it asks for a review of government benefits and compensation programs for individuals with mental health issues to ensure they are relevant to today’s needs and do not disproportionately place the cost burden on employers.

The policy was one of 69 submitted for debate by the Canadian Chamber network. The Truro & Colchester Chamber is one of more than 450 chambers in the national network actively advocating on issues impacting the business community. For more information about the local chamber, visit

Click here to view the policy



Media contact:
Sherry Martell
Executive Director
Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce
[email protected]

Women in Business Breakfast - Oct. 20


The Chamber will  be hosting a Women in Business Breakfast on Oct. 20 at the Inn on Prince. There will only be 50 seats available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.  This year’s special guest speaker will be Cynthia Kennedy, Axe to Grind foods founder and national champion axe thrower.  h

Fall Celebration - Live for Local Kick off

Small Business Week 2021 will kick off on Oct. 18 with an event marking the Live for Local Rally launch, a regional contest designed to encourage local spending by offering prizes and incentives. The contest will be held from October to the end of December. The kick-off will be a social night featuring a taste of local experience with the Kilted Chef Alain Bossé at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

The cost is $40 per seat or a table of 6 for $200 plus HST


The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce has implemented an Events Vaccination Policy.
Attendees at Chamber events must attest that they have received two doses of a Health Canada - approved vaccine at least 14 days prior to the event (or have a written medical exemption). If one person is purchasing tickets for other individuals in their party, they must attest that each individual has received two doses of a Health Canada - approved vaccine at least 14
days prior to the event (or have a written medical exemption).
By authorizing this purchase you are conforming you meet the requirements of this policy. Public Health will require that vaccine passports be checked prior to entry to the event. Tickets are non refundable after October 13th.

Nominations open for Chamber Small Business Awards

Award Applications


Click here to submit a nomination on the online form

Click here to download a PDF form and email it to [email protected]    SBW award nomination form 2021

Click here to fill out the online application for a Rising Star Start-up Award

Click here to download a PDF of the form and email to [email protected] SBW Rising Star Award

Sept. 29, 2021


Chamber to present 2021 Small Business Week Awards

TRURO – The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to celebrate the many outstanding businesses in this region in October with business-focused activities and award presentations.

Nominations are now open for the prestigious awards, paused in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and will be presented to recipients at a luncheon on Oct. 21 in Truro.

“Thank you to all businesses in Colchester County for your perseverance during these tough times.  We are so fortunate and looking forward to being in person for our Small Business Week. Through these awards, recognizing the outstanding work being done to help grow our local economy,” said Chamber President Matthew Mossman.

“The tradition of these awards dates back many years. We felt it was so important to try and bring back everyone together in 2021, following public health guidelines, so we can celebrate the accomplishments of many in our business community.”

This year a new award is being added to the line up, the Newcomer Small Business Award, sponsored by the Truro-Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity (TCPEP) – Northern Connector Program.

“The Truro Colchester region has, over the last number of years, become a modern, vibrant community,” said David Phillips, Acting CEO/Business Development Officer of TCPEP. “And this is largely the result of new people coming with new ideas and new businesses. It just made sense to us to recognize the incredible contribution of new business leaders in our community.”

Along with the new Newcomer Business of the Year Award, the Chamber is now accepting nominations for the following small business awards: New Small Business of the Year, Small Business Achievement, Small Business Innovation, Excellence in Community Development Award, Agriculture/Agri Small Business Award, Small Business Growth Award, and Export Achievement Award. The awards are sponsored by Community Credit Union, Grant Thornton, RBC, Town of Truro, BDC and MNP LLP, respectively.

Along with these awards, the Chamber will also present its Fourth Annual Rising Star Start-Up Award -Investing in Entrepreneurs, provided in partnership with several of its members. The award includes a combination of $2,500, expertise in key business development areas, and products and services.

The award is designed to offer support to a budding local entrepreneur. Professional mentorship offered as part of the award is key in helping a new business build a strong foundation for success in the future.

A viable start-up located within Truro and Colchester region, a business that is just beginning to develop, will be identified through a submission selection process.

Details and criteria can be found on the Chamber’s website The Chamber will accept nominations for the Small Business Week Awards until Oct. 8th, 2021.

The Awards Luncheon will take place on Oct. 21, at noon at the Inn on Prince. The cost per person is $30 plus HST for members and $40 plus HST for non-members.


The Chamber will also be hosting a Women in Business Breakfast on Oct. 20 at the Inn on Prince. There will only be 50 seats available, so please book early to avoid disappointment.  This year’s special guest speaker will be Cynthia Kennedy, Axe to Grind foods founder and national champion axe thrower.  To book your seat, visit and visit the events calendar.

Small Business Week 2021 will kick off on Oct. 18 with an event marking the Live for Local Rally launch, a regional contest designed to encourage local spending by offering prizes and incentives. The contest will be held from October to the end of December. The kick-off will be a social night featuring a taste of local experience with the Kilted Chef Alain Bossé at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre. For more details about the contest or event, visit our website.

Chamber events are open to members and future members.  Join them in supporting the local business community. For more information about Chamber activities and events, visit or Truro Colchester Chamber Facebook page.

Chamber launches E-commerce 2.0


The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce recognizes the deep struggles many traditional businesses have faced during the recent COVID-19 pandemic operating from traditional bricks and mortar locations.

Not only have they faced great challenges in staying connected with customers, many have been impacted by great financial losses. There is an immediate need to assist our small business community in moving into virtual service platforms to carry out E-Commerce. Consumer habits have shifted and the Chamber is working hard to support businesses to be prepared to serve customers in new ways that will increase profitability, raise confidence and help them rebound.

The Chamber is extending  a project, supported by ACOA, to assist businesses in supplying existing customers and creating new markets by selling online. Our goal is to support small businesses in using E-commerce to their advantage in a way that fits their business model, as well as support businesses currently engaging in E-Commerce to enhance their services or streamline processes.

We will also be offering educational workshops, both in person and online, on a number of E-commerce related topics.

We look forward to working with you to expand E-commerce offerings in the community.


Eligibility Criteria for applicants:

  • Operating for more than 12 months
  • Registered with the Registry of Joint Stocks or comparable federal body
  • Has not already received direct financial support from the Chamber's E-commerce project from June 2020-March 2021 to set up online sales.

Eligible Expenses

  • Training and coaching related to the operation of the selected online platform.
  • Professional services to assist with the set up of an online platform to allow for sales to customers.
  • Enhancements of existing websites, i.e. support to add widgets or plug ins as outlined in the Needs Assessment along with an explanation on how they would enhance online platforms

The program can provide a reimbursement of up to 100 per cent of the eligible costs (pre HST) up to a maximum amount per business. This amount is based on the results of the applicant’s Needs Assessment completed by one of the four Chamber-recommended E-Commerce and marketing professionals as assigned by the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce project manager.

The Chamber is not responsible for covering the cost of registration for online shopping platforms, ongoing costs related to specific platforms or the volume of sales generated. The Chamber is also not responsible for covering the cost of on-going training, maintenance, equipment or software, or any changes requested that differ from the original submitted assessment for consideration if they are a greater cost than the estimate

Project funding and payments are limited to the funds available in the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce E-Commerce project budget.

This funding is not guaranteed. Any applicant commencing a project prior to approval does so at their own risk.

FREE Rapid COVID-19 testing available for business

Sign up Today for FREE Workplace Rapid Screening
The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness to offer FREE rapid COVID-19 testing for business. This simplified program is easy to navigate and report test results. For more information on the program contact the chamber office, 902-895-6328 or email Executive Director Sherry Martell, [email protected]
Businesses that have previously registered for the Rapid Workplace Testing program are encouraged to reach out to the Chamber to learn about the simplified, newly implemented process.
Businesses participating with receive a decal to display at their place of business and letter of recognition from the Province. Creating visible symbols of the prevalence of testing throughout the Nova Scotian community will aid in building consumer confidence.