Skip to Main Content
Ask an Expert Series Background Image
Home > Ask an Expert Series

Ask an Expert Series

Three yellow rounds
Ask An Expert

The County of Simcoe collaborates with various partners to host the “Ask an Expert” series, which aims to assist businesses and organizations with an accessible presentation platform. The series began to assist businesses ad organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have continued the events due to popular demand. Covering key topics relevant to entrepreneurs and business leaders, this series features experts on topics such as Health and Safety, HR, Accounting, Marketing, Business Planning, Legal a​nd Mental Health and more all incorporating a Q&A session as well.

Partners from the entrepreneur ecosystem include: the Small Business Centre of Barrie, Cities of Barrie and Orillia, South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre, Orillia Area Community Development​ Corporation, Sandbox Centre,​ Nottawasaga Futures, North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation and the Centre for Business and Economic Development.

Top Sector yellow round Simcoe County Innovation Image Bottom Sector yellow round

Check out our past webinars!

Join Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), for an overview of the economy, here and abroad. Learn how inflation, the rise of interest rates and the resulting economic slowdown are changing our business environment. You’ll also discover how entrepreneurs can forge a path forward in a context marked by labour shortages and global uncertainties. The session will conclude with an opportunity for you to ask the expert your questions.

​Joint Advisory

Explore strategies to take control of your business finances amid uncertain economic times. This information session, presented by Shannon Jackson, a chartered insolvency and restructuring professional with BDO Canada Limited, will focus on how to manage approaching payment schedules. With 15 years of experience helping individuals resolve their financial difficulties, Shannon is an expert on assisting people and businesses restructure their finances to get a fresh financial start. ​

​Joint Advisory

Learn about hiring global talent and the economic immigration programs businesses can use to meet their hiring needs.  This information session will provide an overview of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s economic immigration programs and resources for employers looking to hire and retain foreign workers from within Canada and abroad:

  • Find out more about hiring temporary foreign workers and the work permit process.
  • Learn about hiring international students and how to retain them after they graduate.
  • Connect with resources to help find skilled workers faster.​

​Joint Advisory

Learn how to determine the value of a business for sale or purchase, and how to prepare to sell your business. David Holmes, a chartered professional accountant and chartered business valuator, will discuss common issues to navigate when buying or selling a business.

Through this Ask an Expert session, participants will learn:

  • How to prepare your business for sale
  • What information a buyer should request and review
  • How businesses are valued and the most common business valuation methodologies
  • The primary considerations that impact a business’ value
  • Common issues when selling or buying a business
  • Tax planning when buying or selling a business​​

​Joint Advisory​​
Link to YouTube Recording​​​

Watch for advice and guidance on how businesses can break down prejudice, promote unity, and foster compassion in our communities. Experts Monica Henao and Jonas Stark from Get REAL will provide insights on ways that leaders can combat 2SLGBTQ+ discrimination, racism, and bullying.

Through this Ask an Expert session, participants will gain:

  • Increased knowledge of 2SLGBTQ+ identities, terminology, and language to help avoid costly PR missteps externally with clients, customers, and partners
  • Practical steps and creative ideas on how to improve company culture internally to increase staff retention and performance
  • A chance to work through realistic and customized workplace scenarios
  • The opportunity to ask questions anonymously and get advice from two highly experienced “Get REAL” speakers, including a transgender speaker​​

​Joint Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording​​​

Watch for advice, guidance and best-practices to support the mental health and wellness of yourself and your employees. This session provides insights on ways that leaders can keep their employees, themselves and their businesses active and healthy. Topics include:

  • The importance of mental health and how it affects your business – the impact of COVID-19
  • Identifying stress triggers and signs of burnout
  • How to manage stress and anxiety – how to take care of yourself and others
  • Where to go for help – resources, tools and apps
  • What have the last two years done to mental health?
  • How to improve your mental health according to science
  • How to help those around you who are struggling

Joint Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording​​

Gain enthusiasm and excitement for social media, as you learn tangible strategies that you can begin to implement that will support your business goals.

Joint Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording​​

Learn the benefits of developing a comprehensive strategic plan and receive tactical guidance on how to implement strategic planning processes.

Link to YouTube Recording​

An Ask an Expert webinar session to support businesses and organizations with the roll out of vaccination certificates and workplace policies.


​More and more businesses are planning new work and service delivery models that will be effective for their customers, company culture and employees moving forward. This session, led by Dr. Lisa Bélanger, a behavioural change expert, discusses the pros and cons of different work models (remote, hybrid, in-person, etc.) through a culture and change management lens.

Topics include:

  • Understanding culture integration between virtual and in-person working
  • Key considerations for selecting a work model
  • Preparing your leadership team for your working model of choice
  • How to stay connected and foster a strong team environment despite changing work and service delivery models
  • How to create an inclusive environment


This Ask an Expert session focuses discussion on key considerations for employers if their employees are working remotely, returning to the office, or a blend of both. Topics include information with regards to potential work models, employee expectations, legal risk areas around vaccination policies and other changes required to enable various work models.

This event is part one of a two-part mini-series on transitioning work models.

KPMG’s A Hybrid Workplace Guide​

Cybersecurity is a growing risk for all industries. Grant Thornton’s extensive cybersecurity work shows that the threats that organizations face and the true impact of a cyber-attack is not well understood by businesses in general. This event comprises a wealth of information on cybersecurity to address this gap, including:

  • The top cybersecurity risks facing Canadian businesses
  • Lessons from the front lines on how these risks can impact your organization
  • How to safeguard against security breaches and steps your organization can take to prepare your people, protect your critical information and infrastructure, and improve your cybersecurity
  • Common mistakes that Canadian businesses are making that leave them vulnerable to cyber-attack
  • Tips on how to make immediate changes that can significantly improve the security of your organization

Link to YouTube ​Recording

Digital marketing strategies and tactics are extremely important to the success of a business; however, keeping consistent, impactful and timely strategies in place is often time consuming. This session will share how technology adoption and automation can make your digital marketing practices ​easier. Whether you’re managing your social media, your online store, advertising, or content creation, this session will share tips and technology to reach your customers and clients using real time local stories.​ On June 23, the County of Simcoe and area partners presented another Ask an Expert virtual session, focused on how to go digital with your business and best practices when it comes to your marketing strategy. 

Link to YouTube Recording

Sandbox Centre, in partnership with County of Simcoe, XcelerateHER, Grant Thornton LLP and RBC, invited business and organizational leaders to join us on June 9th, 2021for another Ask an Expert virtual session to learn about the impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on women in business and the window of opportunity that lies ahead to ensure a more inclusive recovery. ​​​
Link to YouTube Recording

COVID-19 has necessitated broad changes and impacts for many businesses. Many business owners who had carefully developed business plans and models over the lifespan of their operations have had to reconsider their best-laid plans and adapt quickly. Financial forecasts that seemed realistic in 2019 may be less viable and owners may be considering other options. On May 20th from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the County of Simcoe and area partners hosted another “Ask an Expert” virtual session for business owners, focused on Businesses in Transition and How to Stay in Control.​ ​​​
Link to YouTube Recording

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. On May 6th from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the County of Simcoe and area partners hosted another “Ask an Expert” virtual session for business owners, focused on Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity.​​​
Link to YouTube Recording

During COVID-19, residents have continued to shop local, supporting small businesses and artisans. Our communities are anticipating a busy outdoor Farmers’ Market season and on April 1st from 1:30 to 3 p.m., the County of Simcoe and area partners hosted another “Ask an Expert” virtual session for business owners, focused on Selling at Farmers’ Markets.

Link to YouTube Recording

Navigating the 2021 tax season may be more complicated for many small businesses and self-employed individuals that had to pivot, shut down, or alter operations in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Allen Lloyd, Tax Advisor, Consultant and founder of Lloyd Management Services (LMS) took part in a webinar that helped small businesses prepare to file a tax return. Allen brought with him 10 years of experience as an Outreach Co-ordinator and Resource Officer at the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA), and more than 25 years of experience assisting clients with income tax preparation and advocacy.

Link to YouTube Recording

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 25th “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

This webinar was moderated by Dave Hyde, Small Business Consultant for the Small Business Centre of Barrie, Simcoe County and Orillia and questions were answered by experts in the health and safety space, including:

  • ​Marlene Kesler, occupational health and safety, occupational hygiene, and workplace health/pu​blic 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, WSPS
  • Kelly Magnusson, Emergency Management Program Manager, Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU)
  • Christina Weider, Environmental Health Manager, SMDHU

The Ask an Expert virtual series brought forward insights and knowledge to businesses and organizational leaders seeking support and advice with litigation matters resulting from COVID-19.

Link to YouTube R​ecording

Businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the next “Ask an Expert” virtual webinar occurring on November 12th, which will provide insights on understanding employment standards, and occupational health and safety rights and obligations as they relate to COVID-19.

  • What flexibility is there around changing hours of work?
  • Can an employee be let go if they refuse to go back to work due to a family obligation related to COVID-19?
  • Who is responsible for protecting workers against COVID-19 in the workplace ?
  • Can a worker refuse to work if they feel unsafe due to COVID-19?

On October 15, 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

On September 21, 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

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording

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

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 planning
  • 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

Joint Media Advisory
Link to YouTube Recording

On July 23, 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

Business and organizational leaders participated in the “Ask and 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

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

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

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