Business leaders from across BC met in Prince George May 24 to 26 to set a new policy agenda for the BC Chamber of Commerce’s advocacy efforts with the Province. At the session representatives from Chambers of Commerce from across the province called for a more transparent approach to taxation in BC, innovation in regional solid waste management; and community and local government policies on rebalancing. municipalities and regional districts, and for a provincial role in municipal restructuring, amongst others.
“Our grassroots policy-development process is second-to-none in British Columbia. This year in Prince George, business leaders from across BC came together to vote on policy recommendations from local chambers across the province advocating for business in BC,” explained John Winter, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce.
A series of policies were passed at the BC Chamber Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference. This unique policy-building forum brought together chambers from all corners of the province which engaged in vigorous debate and adopted new policies affecting business operations throughout BC. Policies that are adopted become part of the BC Chamber’s advocacy agenda. This year, delegates voted on nearly 50 proposed policies.
Policies voted into force include:
- Promoting Innovation in Regional Solid Waste Management
- A More Transparent Approach to Taxation in B.C.
- Rebalancing Municipalities and Regional Districts
- Provincial Role in Municipal Restructuring.
- Making Tourism funding more secure
While addressing the issue of developing a more transparent approach to taxation in the province Winter said, “There is an erosion of public trust around taxation decisions, Chambers recommend the provincial government commit to a provincial dialog on tax in BC to determine what is the appropriate mix and type of taxes and levies need to pay for programs and services.”
Winter also commented on the provincial government’s role in municipal restructuring when he said, “There are areas in B.C. where urban municipalities share common boundaries; Chambers ask the provincial government to amend the Community Charter to include option for instigating municipal restructuring by order of the province where a clear benefit exists.”
Several hundred delegates and other participants took part in the Chamber AGM, one of the key meetings the organizations stages each year. The Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce opted out of participating in the policy session, but is planning to attend a more focussed planning session this fall. “I will be attending the annual BC Chamber Executives Conference in Kelowna in September. This is more of a think tank and trade best practices event which I found extremely valuable last year,” explained Kim Smythe, the local Chamber’s CEO.