Our Policy Advisory Committee provides leadership in identifying and taking action on issues relating to municipal affairs in Kelowna. These issues must be of specific interest to the members of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, and of concern to the business community at large.

Chaired by a member of the Chamber Board of Directors, this group will work with Chamber staff to provide proactive leadership in the role of increasing awareness for members and providing advocacy on municipal affairs issues that impact the long-term health and vitality of the economy of Kelowna. 

For more information about the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Policy Advisory Committee and how to get involved please contact us.

 

The Policy Advisory Committee is or has played a role, or is working on the following:

Reliable and safe water supply for Kelowna 

Water quality and supply should meet or exceed Canada’s quality standards.  Local water purveyors serving Kelowna should seek common ground to provide consistent, quality  water in a linked system. Work collaboratively for the health of our community, seeking efficiencies and sustainable, quality supply. Consistent and predictable water supply during droughts

Affordable and attainable housing 

Support local groups efforts to solve homelessness and then address the underlying issues and supports required to keep that person off the street.

Determine options for attainable housing for working people in a high cost real estate market

2nd crossing 

Work collaboratively with provincial government and greater Kelowna stakeholders. We are representing the interests of the business community and will use survey data and polling to determine impact of route choices. This is a two year commitment. 

Civic Block 

Attend open houses for re-development of the civic block in downtown, encourage members and board to be involved and express and opinion. The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce believes there is value in a large conference centre to be added to the downtown. Our views are not supported in this planning process.

Parking 

Encourage well signed, well placed parking for customers and sufficient parking for staff that does not negatively impact neighborhoods.

Skills Training

Monitor skills shortage and employee skill enhancement opportunities for opportunities.

Environmental 

The committee meets with environmental consultants, cycling coalition City staff and other interested stakeholders in an effort to try and obtain private funding for electric car charging stations.


Provincial and Federal Issues 

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is invited to participate locally in meetings with elected officials and Ministers to provide our opinion on issues, trends and concerns of our business community. Members advise of issues impeding their ability to conduct business and we ask community groups for issues impacting their interest group.

The volunteer committee researches and writes policy resolutions recommending changes to the appropriate level of government. The provincial and/or national Chambers of Commerce body vote to support the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce resolution and it then belongs to the larger group. The provincial or federal Chamber adopts the resolution and lobby government to bring about changes to regulations or indeed parliamentary acts on Kelowna’s behalf.

In addition every provincial and federal resolution from all Chambers cross the board table for discussion and support or not, enabling our representatives to speak for our business community at annual general meetings and policy caucus. Regional discussion also occurs amongst local chambers.

The Policy Advisory Committee is or has played a role or is working on the following:

Reduction of Property Transfer tax

The Chamber network continues to work with the real estate and construction associations to draw the province’s attention to the Property Transfer Tax that is counter productive to housing affordability. We are making joint recommendations to ensure tax flows to government are tied to indexing of new housing prices and ultimately we call for the elimination of the Property Transfer Tax. We have also asked to eliminate tax on title transfers of common owner, better breaks for first time home owners and higher rates for non-resident property owners.

Elimination of Small Business Tax for Credit Unions 

The Chamber recommends that the provincial government:

  • Extend the small business tax benefit permanently.
  • Continue to work with credit unions to meet their needs with regulations and tax regimes that keep them strong and viable.
Invasive Mussel species

We asked the Province to tighten the net and improve check points on BC border points. This is to ensure that no invasive mussel species enters BC’s pristine lakes on boats and devastates our infrastructure and lake dependent economies. The Province does operate roving check stations, we remain committed to seeing funding in place for coverage on every access to BC. The Federal government responded to our resolution and changed the regulations making it illegal to import mussels on vehicles or boats.

Inter provincial sale of wine, beer, spirits 

An on-going issue is the shipment of private purchase wine, beer and spirits between provinces. Some provinces like Ontario are refusing to allow the free flow of quality BC product. The BC Government was asked to keep the pressure on these hold outs.

Tax Credits for Digital Media 

The digital media industry has become a significant economic driver in B.C. with no signs of slowing down over the next years ahead. With this growth B.C. has an opportunity to set up the infrastructure necessary for this industry to become global leaders across all its sectors and continue to strengthen B.C.’s economy. There is an opportunity for the provincial government to work with the federal government, local governments, the academic sector and the digital industry to identify impediments to this sector’s growth.

Harmonization of BC's Employment Standards Act 

A new provincial resolution to consider changes to British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act to harmonize its hours of work and overtime provisions with those in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code. This is an issue with employers who have employees working in both provinces

Family Physician Shortage 

Gathering information and monitoring presently. 


Policy Resolutions Supported by Government

When policy statements have been successfully implemented by government, or a significant portion of the recommendation has been successfully implemented, the policy is deemed to have been achieved. It can take many years for policies to be adopted by government. 

These policies, which originated at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce as provincial or national policy initiatives, are being or have been implemented.

2012 Improving Consumer Choice: Removing Inter-Provincial Trade Barriers to Sales of 100% Canadian Wine (Initiated by the Kelowna Chamber in 2008). Resulted in the passing of Bill C-311 'Free the Grapes'

2012 Organized Crime Task Force Funding (Initiated by the Kelowna Chamber in 2008).

As a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Kelowna Chamber supports each BC Chamber policy. View the current BC Chamber Policy Manual for policy details.

We are also proud and active members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and annually participate in the development of national policies Canadian Policy Manual.

For more details, read more in the Provincial and Federal Policy Committee sections below.

See our media releases for updates on the Kelowna Chambers' latest advocacy efforts.