BRITISH COLUMBIA – The British Columbia Chamber of Commerce and 16 regional BC chamber’s and board’s of trade attended the recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (AGM). The BC Chamber passed more policies than any other province over the course of the three day AGM held in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Of the 27 policies submitted by the BC network, 23 passed and will become part of the Canadian Chamber’s Policy and Positions Manual for 2019/2020—which drives the national associations’ advocacy efforts with the federal government.

The BC delegation passed key policies in the following areas:

Rental Housing (submitted by the Kelowna Chamber):

  • Drive investment in new rental housing stock by providing accelerated capital cost allowance on new rental properties.
  • Amend the Income Tax Act to encourage private investment in rental housing.
  • Remove the GST for new rental housing.

Childcare (co-sponsored by the Surrey Board of Trade):

  • Enhance childcare quality, and address the sector’s recruitment and retention crisis

Gender diversity on boards (submitted by the Burnaby Board of Trade):

  • Require Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System to consider gender diversity for all board vacancies.
  • Amend the Canada Business Corporations Act to require public companies to consider gender diversity for all board vacancies.

New softwood lumber agreement (submitted by the BC Chamber of Commerce)

  • Help with tariffs by offering the industry WTO compliant loan guarantees to help maintain credit and borrow against cash deposits
  • Expedite World Trade Organization and NAFTA appeals as needed
  • Leverage recent favourable NAFTA rulings to push for a new Softwood Lumber Agreement with the United States.

Align the Species at Risk Act to Respond to Regional Conservation Needs (co-sponsored by Salmon Arm and Sicamous Chambers)

  • Drive an alternative, multi-species approach that considers variability between regions.
  • Engage with Indigenous communities and stakeholders to develop and implement Section 11 Conservation Agreements.

Leaders from more than 300 chambers of commerce across Canada submitted and voted on 76 proposals to improve Canada’s business environment. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Annual General Meeting brought together over 320 chamber of commerce executives and community business leaders to discuss the economic and political issues impacting the prosperity of Canadian business.