By Morgan Peters
Staff members and board volunteers of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce attended the 2019 Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual conference in Saint John in September.
“Hosting the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and conference in New Brunswick for two of the past three years has put our province front-and-centre for the national business community,” said Karen Grant, Fredericton Chamber President. “We don’t often have those opportunities, so it was a great benefit to showcase what New Brunswick has to offer as a place to do business.”
The centrepiece of the conference are the policy debates where local chambers have an opportunity to submit resolutions that can be accepted or rejected by delegates. Resolutions receiving at least 2/3 support become part of the national chamber’s advocacy efforts. The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce sponsored or co-sponsored three policy resolutions that were passed by delegates at the conference:
- “Improving Start-Up Visa Processes to Decrease Wait Times” calls on the federal government to accelerate processing times of the Startup Visa Program – administered locally by Planet Hatch – and improve communication with applicants and designated institutions. (99% voted in favour)
- “Taxation of the Digital Economy” asks the federal government to prepare for pending OECD recommendations so Canadian businesses do not become less competitive. (97.3% voted in favour)
- “The Risks of Cyber Crime – Electronic and Digital Issues” calls for increased tools and communication to enhance cyber security in Canada. (99.3% voted in favour)
“We are appreciative of the support we received from the chamber network on these issues which are of great importance nationally and locally,” added Krista Ross, Fredericton Chamber CEO. “For Fredericton – the Startup Capital of Canada, growing cyber security hub, and global-facing export economy, these policy priorities are particularly relevant. We hope that leveraging the advocacy weight of the national chamber will have a positive impact on our local economy, sector development and immigration efforts.”
NB Chambers Place 2nd in National Competition
At the same conference, a consortium of chambers of commerce in New Brunswick placed 2nd in the national Influence in Action Competition. The Fredericton, Moncton, Saint John, and Atlantic Chambers of Commerce provided over 400 delegates with an overview of the 2018 provincial election advocacy program entitled We Choose Growth.
“Working with our chamber colleagues, along with Le Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick and the New Brunswick Business Council on the We Choose Growth Campaign was an effective manner to get our message heard by all political parties in province as well as the general public,” added Ross. “It was certainly an honour to be recognized on a national stage by our peers for our efforts.”
This multi-stakeholder program coordinated the interests and influence of business organizations across the province in efforts to promote increased investment, jobs and growth in the provincial economy. The model was subsequently used in the 2019 provincial election in Prince Edward Island by the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce and their partners and stakeholders. Chambers from across Canada expressed interest in learning more to implement in their jurisdictions.
The 2020 conference takes place next fall in Ottawa.