SAULT STE. MARIE -- As the pandemic continues to alter societal norms, a northern association of businesses is calling for increased education for workers to adapt to the new normal.

The Sault's Chamber of Commerce wants more training for workers and businesses affected by the pandemic at educational institutions throughout the city.

According to the Rory Ring, CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, the organization is engaging in talks with schools to develop and provide programming to workers in an online setting, in order to bring them up to speed with the direction the workforce is headed.

"You're already starting to see more and more companies shift to an online format and remote working, so letting people fall behind is not something we want to see," said Ring. "The pandemic has already exposed a big flaw in many of our businesses, which is that they're simply not equipped with the right technologies."

Ring said that he envisions a future in which companies and employees are mostly working from home.

"We've even begun doing it here at the chamber, of course, forced to do so by the pandemic," he said. "So this is an opportunity that we feel we need to capitalize on, for us to make education part of the economic recovery."

Algoma University is one of the schools the chamber has opened talks with on developing programs for employees and businesses.

While it's still early, its president says it's more than interested in developing them.

"We want to be at the tables where people are talking about how do we support business and small business in particular, to get back up on their feet," said Asima Vezina. "We need to make sure that those institutions survive, because it's crucial to rebuilding our community."

Ring adds that the chamber will help lobby governments for funding, in order for schools to cover the costs.

In the long run, he says he hopes to build something "unique" to the region.