We are coming to the end of the most difficult and trying year globally that we have ever seen. COVID-19 has completely altered every aspect of our lives. With respect to business, it has closed the doors of many establishments. It has greatly affected employees, consumers and entrepreneurs at every level. Many of you have seen, and heard first-hand, the toll all of this has taken on your clients, on your staff and on your own rural communities.

But you have all risen to the challenge and have made every attempt to better the lives of the folks in your areas of the province. You have managed to keep a glimmer of hope burning in the hearts of many, despite perhaps facing your own personal setbacks and challenges.

Thank you.

You are strengthening and reinforcing the foundation of this organization; supporting small and medium sized businesses in rural Ontario, in their hour of need.

Despite these very difficult times, try to visualize a future where the lessons we have learned during COVID-19 help us to move forward collectively and collaboratively, continuing to support one another, and those in our communities, through 2021 and beyond.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.