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Welcome to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to ensure the Okanagan region will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. As the area's leading membership driven business organization, we are committed to providing value to our members.


Get involved & expand your reach with over 60 Chamber events each year! Connect with the Community calendar too!


Chamber News

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  • Travel, Awards, Best Business Practices - Fall is Underway
    Sep 29, 2015

    We all say September 1 is the real start of the new year, and 2015 is no exception. Our tremendous staff at the Kelowna Chamber worked away during August to ensure all our September events filled up and shone; here we are staring October in the face, with an already impressive number of events behind us. Lots more to come.

    Today I am NOT writing about the economy. I am going to focus on our immediate successes and near-field challenges in our run-up to wintertime.

    September saw the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce succeed in the Canadian national “Chambers Competition”. We see taking part in this program as a way to join our collegial chambers as we all promote and share best practices. Along the way, being recognized for excellent work gives recognition to our staff, to our Board, and our Chamber members.

    Standing out from our competitors and colleagues means more members want to join our organization, and to form partnerships with us. I am delighted to announce that the Kelowna Chamber was a national winner this year, and one of our rewards is a complimentary registration to the 2016 Canadian Chamber's annual meeting (Regina). We also will be making a presentation on our local work, as part of the award, to our colleagues at this year’s annual meeting in Ottawa. We are honoured!

    At the same time (September, of course) we took part in the well-organized and well-executed CCEC (Chamber of Commerce Executives, BC) annual meeting hosted by the Greater Westside Board of Trade. Their Karen Beaubierdid a terrific job welcoming and organizing all and everyone. Our very own Allison Conroy, Communications Coordinator, won the 2015 Newsletter-Communication Award for Chambers of 500+ members. Allison does a stellar job, week in, week out, with our social media, and especially our electronic newsletter and our website. We are terrifically happy for Allison, and salute her hard, and creative work.

    I mentioned travel – that is part of our September smorgasbord of work, as well. The Canadian Chamber has set up a Gateway to Asia Tour, which will give several of us a front row seat to look at the policies and realities of our resource sector and export infrastructure.

    From September 29 to October 1, I will take part in meetings, presentations and tours in Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Kitimat. I am privileged to have been chosen to take part in learning more about the growing economies of Asia and how BC’s export infrastructure is playing an increasingly key role in our country’s ability to diversify our export markets, while creating economic ties to our region. Like so many of our business members, I want to see future economic growth in our valley as a result of these initiatives. Being chosen for this bursary and learning experience is very important to me and to our Chamber.

    Working with our many partners continues to enrich our activities and our ability to reach our members. Chambers throughout the Central Okanagan are coming together with other business stakeholders on a regional initiative – the Central Okanagan Business Walk. This 4th Annual Business Walk, powered by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC), sees more than 60 business leaders in the Central Okanagan volunteer their time for the morning to conduct conversational surveys with up to 400 businesses. Businesses are asked about their business environment and what they need to thrive. The results of the 2015 Business Walk will made available by the end of October. The COEDC hosts two smaller walks spring and fall, focusing on human resources issues for manufacturers and tourism, as well. All provide timely information for our members.

    We continue to work with our growing list of members businesses on many fronts; hosting our 28th annual Business Excellence Awards in October; hosting a federal candidates forum in addition to multiple events every week to serve our wide range of member interests; and just generally, staying thoroughly and completely involved in the business life of our community. A full slate, and we are grateful for the opportunities to enrich our members’ business lives.



  • Canada's Budget Surplus as the Holy Grail
    Sep 23, 2015
    Never in Canadian history has such an abstruse issue of public finance so dominated the election campaign. 

    Even before the government announced a $1.9-billion surplus for 2014-2015, each party was using the issue as a powerful symbol. 

    The NDP emphasize their commitment to running a balanced budget as a way of showing responsibility and seriousness (and they're willing to raise taxes to do it.) The Liberals are skeptical the surplus exists at all, saying it depends on gimmicks, like the sale of GM shares, and they promise three years of deficits to show they care more about the economy. But for the Conservatives, the surplus is everything; the key to their re-election strategy. 

    It's difficult to claim you're a great economic manager in the midst of a recession, but a surplus shows you're at least doing something right. The government has struggled mightily to balance the budget. When it cut the GST by 2% starting in 2006, a $14-billion hole was left in the budget, and it took years of tough spending cuts to return to balance. Then in 2009, the global economy fell into the worst recession since the 1930s, and the G-7 leaders agreed that fiscal stimulus was needed. The government was dragged, reluctantly, into spending vast sums, $35 billion, to stimulate the economy. Since then, it has been in cost control mode --freezing staffing levels and squeezing departmental budgets. 

    The surplus is a great achievement, but it may not be the ideal medicine right now. If you believe the Bank of Canada's claim that the economy is so 'atrocious' that it requires the stimulus of two interest rate cuts, then it's strange that the government would be simultaneously pulling money out of the economy by running surpluses. 

    Fiscal and monetary policies are now pulling in opposite directions. Whoever is in power will find it difficult to balance the budget next year. In July, Canada's Parliamentary Budget Officer projected that the $1.9-billion surplus would actually become a deficit of $1.5 billion-and that was before Canada went into recession. If we take the government's own budget assumptions, that every 1% decline in real GDP represents a $4.1- billion hit to the bottom line, and we apply a more realistic GDP growth number of 0.7%, Canada should end up with a deficit of $3 billion in 2015-2016. But this would be a tiny rounding error on the $290-billion budget and just 0.15% of GDP, far below Europe (2.9%) and the U.S. (2.8%). 
    As long as Canada's nominal GDP growth is 3-4% and the deficit remains comfortably below that, then debt-to-GDP will shrink over time. And right now, the government can borrow 10-year money at the ultra-low rate of 1.44%. 

    At the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the national level, we have always advocated for balanced budgets because we worry deficits will grow and swell whenever governments stop worrying about them. 

    Senior Director, Hendrik Brakel, heads up the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Economic, Financial & Tax Policy area. His thoughtful insights state that, "Canadian businesses also need the infrastructure to get their products to world markets. They need technology and the most highly skilled workers in the world. They need access to capital, particularly for fast-growing startups." 

    The point is that a surplus shouldn't be the Holy Grail, so long as budgets are balanced over the medium term. We also need to make some smart investments, because thriving companies and their employees pay many of the taxes.
  • Clean Drinking Water a Concern in Kelowna
    Sep 15, 2015

    Kelowna City Council outlined priorities yesterday that will guide city operations through to 2018 and the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce was very pleased to see clean drinking water on the top of the priority list.

    Our residents and businesses deserve consistent quality assurance that the water they consume meets or exceeds Canadian standards.  We commend the irrigation districts that are committed to work with the City to ensure one system, with multiple water sources that will protect and meet the needs of our growing community in the most cost effective way.

    “Council’s highest priority is clean drinking water,” said Mayor Basran. “Approximately 21 public and private water utilities deliver drinking water of varying quality and rates to Kelowna residents. The City wants to work with the Province and Irrigation Districts to develop a long-term plan that leads to an integrated and resilient water system that delivers clean drinking water to all citizens at equitable rates and offers a sustainable water supply for agriculturists. We also want a system that can respond to impacts resulting from climate change and changing regulations.

    We have been an active participant working with City staff and Council on issues relating to a safe and welcoming community for business and residents. As the voice of business, the Chamber looks forward to bringing our members thoughts to Council on clean drinking water, building vibrant urban centres, ensuring a healthy, safe, active & inclusive community, delivering a balanced transportation network, acting as a catalyst for business and providing strong financial management

    For more information and a list of Council priority projects, check out the Council focus document and quick-reference one-pager at kelowna.ca/council under Council Priorities.



  • Business Excellence Award Finalists Announced!
    Sep 11, 2015
    Thirty-five finalists will be honoured at the 28th Annual Business Excellence Awards on October 21st at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort where eleven category recipients will be announced, along with the Business Leader of the Year recipient.

    Presented by the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and Platinum Sponsors the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP, the popular Kelowna event is part of the annual Small Business Week® activities (October 18-24, 2015).
    "As we celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Business Excellence Awards and recognize this talented group of entrepreneurs, we are impressed with the depth and breadth of Kelowna's dynamic business community," says Caroline Grover, CEO for the Kelowna Chamber. "We are equally inspired by the innovation and tenacity demonstrated by the finalists and their companies."
    The Business Excellence Awards program celebrates achievement in our business community with finalists in each category selected from a wide group of nominations. The panel of judges visits all of the finalists and will judge them on the growth and development of their business, customer service, employee relations and community service.
    The Business Excellence Finalists for 2015:


    • Cottage Quilting Ltd.
    • Express Employment Professionals
    • Float Space
    Sponsored by: FortisBC
    MICRO BUSINESS AWARD (1-3 employees)

    • CareSmart Seniors Consulting
    • Magnetix Matchmaking
    • Meadow Vista Honey Wines
    Sponsored by: Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board
    SMALL BUSINESS AWARD (4-15 employees)

    • Bellamy Homes
    • Giobean - Coffee the Italian Way
    • Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery
    Sponsored by: Prospera Credit Union
    MID-SIZE BUSINESS AWARD (16-50 employees)
    • Ecora Engineering & Resource Group
    • Edgecombe Builders Group
    • SK Form & Finish Inc.
    • Yeti Farm Creative
    Sponsored by: BDO Canada LLP

    • Arion Therapeutic Farm
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • Open For Change
    Sponsored by: Urban Systems Ltd.

    • AJ Hazzi, Vantage West Realty Inc.
    • Yuriko Larson, Vintage Origami
    • Shane Pizzey, Aspire Health & Performance
    Sponsored by: Accelerate Okanagan
    • 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
    • St. Hubertus Estate Winery
    • Summerhill Pyramid Winery
    Sponsored by: Interior Savings Credit Union

    • BC Golfguide.com
    • Hotel Eldorado
    • Urban Distilleries
    Sponsored by: Tourism Kelowna

    • marketer inc.
    • Smart Betty Media
    • McManus Marketing & Communications
    Sponsored by: Pushor Mitchell LLP

    • QHR Technologies Inc.
    • QuestUpon
    • TELUS
    Sponsored by: UBC Okanagan
    LARGE BUSINESS AWARD (51+ employees)

    • BigSteelBox Corporation
    • Emil Anderson Construction
    • KF Aerospace
    • Sun-Rype Products Ltd.
    Sponsored by:Grant Thornton LLP
    The recipient of the prestigious Business Leader of the Year award sponsored by MNP LLPwill be announced prior to the Awards dinner.
    Ticket Prices: Early bird price $100.00 plus GST to 4 pm Oct. 9. After that date, ticket prices are $125 plus GST. Ticket sales will close at 4 pm Oct. 16.  Click here to reserve your seats for this popular event!
    About the Business Excellence Awards
    The Business Excellence Awards are an annual ceremony that celebrates outstanding business success in Kelowna and surrounding area. Since their birth in 1987, 200 awards have gone to well deserving businesses. 
    Each year, nominations are received for the business and individual awards from across the valley. 
    Once nominations close, we throw a party in their honour and the nominees are provided a detailed nomination package to complete.
    Completed packages are then reviewed by an experienced group of judges by which a group of finalists are selected. We then host a second party for all those nominees who submitted packages to become semi-finalists, at which we announce the finalists!
    The finalists are then visited in-person by appointment at their place of business by the judges in September.
    The finalists are profiled during the Business Excellence Awards ceremony during Small Business Week in October and the recipients are announced that evening.
    Both the finalists and the award recipients receive valuable publicity before, during and after the event. The employees of these companies also feel a sense of pride in their employer.