This past weekend, Chambers of Commerce from across Canada gathered in Ottawa for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting. The 2022 CCC AGM saw Chambers from across the country listen and learn from top level presenters and speakers about the latest trends, impacts and innovative solutions to today’s business issues and challenges.
As this is Small Business Week, I wanted to highlight some of the work being done at a national level on behalf of businesses across the country. The Canadian Chamber network allows other Chambers from across Canada to champion issues and policy solutions through a grassroots process, to ensure that Chambers of all sizes are advocating for issues that face small businesses today.
Three policies that the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce supported and spoke to for our business community here in Central Alberta are as follows:
1. Labour attraction and retention is a key issue across the country. The Red Deer Chamber supported a policy titled Attracting and Retaining More International Students Through Canadian Work Experience, and it calls on the Government of Canada to allow international students to work while attending school in Canada, and to have this work count towards future visa application requirements.
2. Mississauga’s legendary Mayor Hazel McCallion is quoted saying “The feds have all the money, the provinces have all the legislative authority, and the cities have all the issues.” The Red Deer Chamber supported the policy Equitable Tax Distribution to Assist Canadian Municipalities, which calls for the federal government to work with provincial and municipal governments to review funding mechanisms to ensure municipalities have the ability to fund their needs, including infrastructure.
3. Another relevant policy for our region, that was put forth and supported by the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce, was Supporting the Agri-Food Industry under International Trade Agreements. The desire of this policy is to ensure the federal government pays more attention to accessing foreign markets through more comprehensive trade agreements. Canada is one of the most important countries in the world, and ensuring a safe, reliable food supply through our international trade agreements need to keep pace with world demand and increased market needs.
Over 50 more policies were debated and adopted as part of the Canadian Chamber network. The Red Deer Chamber has been a strong voice on the national stage, and we are working hard to build on the traditional model and engage with the business community to ensure our voice is heard.
Scott Robinson is the CEO of the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce. More info on chamber activities and events can be found at www.reddeerchamber.com.