The Chamber is the voice of business for the Kelowna region, responding to many of the current issues that impact on business vitality. That role includes proactively working with and lobbying government to constructively influence public policy on a variety of issues in support of a healthy free-enterprise system. Part of any healthy free-enterprise system is an active media. We work closely with local reporters to educate, rally and communicate with the general public on a wide variety of issues that affect our membership and community.
Healthy and vibrant businesses are part of the fabric of any great community. In regular meetings with MLAs, MPs and Ministers, the Chamber has strived to work with and lobby government to provide a strong and constructive influence on public policy on a variety of issues that support our members and a healthy free enterprise system.
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.
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.
Member Care Committee
Member Care Committee Mandate
As a committee of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, this group will serve in an advisory capacity to Chamber staff on activities and programs relating to the enhancement of the value of Chamber membership.
Chaired by a member of the Board of Directors, this group will provide leadership through guidance and feedback to enhance the value of Chamber membership. Great oppotunity to volunteer and share your marketing ideas and communication skills.
For more information about the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Member Care Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee chair Gladys Fraser.
Local Issues Committee
Local Issues Committee Mandate
As a standing committee of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, this group will provide 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 Municipal Affairs Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee chair Carmen Sparg.
Federal Policy Committee
Committee Chair: Tom Dyas
Policy adopted at the by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce at their AGM on September 29, 2014
Protecting western Canada’s fresh waters from zebra and quagga mussels
The rapid spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels through fresh waters east of Saskatchewan has had devastating impacts on hydroelectric power, marine shipping, fishing and tourism industries. These species have recently spread through waterways in the southwest United States, and now pose an imminent threat to fresh waters in Canada’s western provinces. The federal government must take decisive action now to avoid irreversible damage to our marine and tourism industries.
Quagga and zebra mussels pose a serious and costly threat to aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, tourist destinations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities throughout western Canada. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Asia, quagga and zebra mussels have caused millions of dollars in damage to the Laurentian Great Lakes area and have cost the North American economy billions of dollars to control. The damage these species cause is diverse; among other things, quagga and zebra mussels:
Disrupt native ecosystems by altering food webs, concentrating pollutants in their wastes, and inducing bird and fish kills;
Attack infrastructure by clogging water intakes and distribution systems, and by damaging pumps and hydroelectric power generating facilities;
Injure tourism (and tourists) by fouling beaches with razor sharp shells and decay odour; and
Hurt marine industry by impairing the structural integrity of steel and concrete (such as are found in marinas and port facilities), and causing damage to watercraft.
Zebra and quagga mussels typically migrate from one body of water to another on or in watercraft, but can also be transported on boat trailers, fishing gear, recreational equipment and float planes. In addition to adults that attach themselves to hard surfaces, larvae, which are invisible to the naked eye, are easily transported to new waters in ballast tanks and bilges. Once introduced to a body of water, there is no known way of eradicating zebra and quagga mussels. Their unwelcome presence is permanent, and the damage they cause perpetual.
Fortunately, the advance of these species has not reached the lakes and waterways of Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. But the danger to these waters and the economies they support could not be clearer. On March 12, 2014, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) staff in Osoyoos, British Columbia observed invasive mussel shells on a boat being transported from Lake Pleasant, Arizona. Though federal legislation does not allow mussel-contaminated boats to be stopped at the border, the hauler voluntarily allowed the boat to be detained and decontaminated. This incident represents just one of many potential catastrophes averted.
Canada lags far behind the United States in addressing this issue. To give one example, the Canadian Border Services Agency lacks the legal authority to detain watercraft entering Canada so they can be searched for zebra and quagga mussel contamination. In contrast, the United States has empowered its border agents to detain watercraft pending inspection for invasive mollusks since the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§ 3371–3378) was amended in 1969, and since 1990 has had legislation directed specifically to the threat of invasive aquatic species being transported in ballast water (Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act of 1990). In addition, several US federal agencies (including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Environmental Protection Agency) are already taking action to stop the spread of these mussels in that country.
If swift action is not taken to neutralize the threat of incoming mussels, the cost of zebra and quagga mussels infesting western Canadian waters is likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade.
Virtually every industry that interfaces with freshwater will be affected, including the pacific salmon fishery, hydroelectric power generation, tourism, and marine shipping. The federal government must act immediately to stop zebra and quagga mussels from causing severe damage to the Canadian economy.
That the federal government takes steps to:
Enact legislation that empowers the Canada Border Services Agency to detain, inspect and refuse admission to Canada to any vehicle contaminated with zebra or quagga mussels.
Facilitate cooperation among the states and provinces whose waters are not already contaminated by zebra and quagga mussels.
Support the establishment of a non-contamination perimeter about the Pacific Northwest Economic Region (PNWER).
Provide appropriate support to provinces engaged in combatting zebra and quagga mussels in their waters.
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
 In 2011 and 2012, authorities in Idaho stopped more than six boats per year bound for western Canada that were infested with mussels.
 Damages from an infestation of Lake Okanagan has been estimated at $42 million per year (Self, J., Larratt, H. 2013. Limiting the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species into the Okanagan. Prepared for the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District., available online http://www.obwb.ca/fileadmin/docs/2013_obwb_ais_report.pdf); damage to BC generally has been estimated more conservatively at $21 million annually (Robinson, D. et al. 2014. Preliminary Damage Estimates for Selected Invasive Fauna in B.C. Prepared for Ecosystems Branch, B.C. Ministry of Environment.); damage to Alberta has been estimated at more than $75 million annually (Neupane, A. An Estimate of Annual Economic Cost of Invasive Dreissenid Mussels to Alberta. ESRD. November 2013)
Reduce Costs to Improve Federal Buildings 2012
Globally, governments and the private sector alike are increasingly looking for ways to increase sustainability and to decrease their overall impact on the environment. The Canadian government can play a central role both in Canada and internationally by demonstrating sustainability leadership.
As a significant builder and manager of infrastructure, the government is in a position to ensure that its federal building portfolio both from a construction and ongoing maintenance perspective are managed in a cost effective manner that maximizes sustainability and minimizes negative environmental burdens.
Efficient and effective approach to determine a federal building’s sustainability and environmental impact is to assess the overall impact caused by the materials used to construct the building based on:
• direct and indirect sustainability and environmental impacts of the materials used in the construction/renovation the building project.
• employ recognized life cycle assessment tools and methodologies to make quantitative material comparisons
• meet competitive and sustainable funding formulas for federal building.
That the federal government:
1. When building new structures, renovating or adding on to existing buildings, the government shall require proponents and design teams to demonstrate critical evaluation of sustainable and lowest impact material solutions using recognized evaluation tools.
2. When building new structures, renovating or adding on to existing buildings, the government shall employ the materials that demonstrate sustainable and the lowest environmental impact within building code requirement.
3. Take steps to amend the National Building Code to include measurement criteria for assessing the sustainable and environmental impact of building materials including the adoption/identification of appropriate life cycle assessment tool(s) that fulfills federal government objectives.
4. Meet competitive and sustainable funding formulas for federal building set by the federal government.
As a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, our Chamber supports each Canadian Chamber policy. View the current Canadian Chamber Policy Manual for policy details.
Provincial Policy Committee
Committee Chair: Tom Dyas
The following resolutions were developed by the Provincial Policy Committee and were endorsed unanimously by the membership of the BC Chamber of Commerce in May 2012. These resolutions now form part of the BC Chamber Policy Manual and will be presented to the provincial government. Excerpts follow;
Growth Engine BC Digital Media Industry (2012)
“There are digital media tax incentives offered in six Canadian provinces, twenty-one US states and several other countries. Due to this un-level playing field, BC has lost many jobs to other territories. So these industry associations are important to protect and grow BC‘s significant investment in infrastructure and talent.”
That the Provincial Government works with the industry to identify impediments to the sectors growth. This should focus on:
1. reducing regulatory requirements and to improve regulatory requirements
2. the ongoing competitiveness of the provincial and federal tax structures; and
3. ensuring the industry has access to a skilled workforce
Improving Consumer Choice: Removing Inter-Provincial Trade Barriers to Sales of 100% Canadian Wine (2012)
A prime example of a sector faced with inter-provincial barriers is Canada’s growing wine industry. Canadian consumers have limited access to the world-class, award winning wines that Canada’s 400+ grape-based wineries are producing. Federal and provincial laws and regulations prohibit the personal transport or direct delivery of Canadian wines across provincial boundaries. An amendment of these prohibitive and archaic regulations would strengthen the domestic wine industry and facilitate consumer choice.
That the Provincial Government:
1. Work with all provinces and territories to facilitate the shipment and/or direct sale and delivery of 100 per cent Canadian wines from out-of-province/territory wineries to Canadian consumers.
2. Work with the provinces/territories and the Canadian wine industry to create a personal exemption system that would allow specified quantities of wine to be personally transported by or delivered directly to out-of province/territory Canadian consumers.
REPEAL OF PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX (PTT)
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is on record that affordable housing for families is a major factor in creating attractive, livable, and competitive cities. Affordable housing is important to the business community as it is a strong selling point for attracting and retaining employees. Business must remain competitive and the cost of housing is a major source of wage pressure.
The Property Transfer Tax (PTT), places an unfair burden on homebuyers (because you are paying a high tax for a service with minimal cost; you are paying a high tax in a market where the housing prices are the highest). Until elimination is possible, the following recommendations are intended to ensure a fair approach to the PTT for homebuyers now and in the future.
That the Provincial Government:
1. Increase the 1% PTT threshold from $200,000 to $525,000 with 2% applying to the remainder of the fair market value; and,
2. Index the 1% PTT threshold of $525,000 using Statistics Canada’s New Housing Price, and make adjustments annually.
Ambassadors Committee Mandate
As a committee of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, this group will serve a one year term in a front line role by welcoming members to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
Chaired by a member of the Kelowna Chamber, this group will meet new members of the Chamber to enhance the connectivity of Chamber members, enhance the value of Chamber membership, and strive to have Chamber members more engaged in the Chamber and contribute their ideas in a regular report to the Member Care Committee.
For more information about the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Ambassadors Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee chair Bruce Murray.
The responsibilities of this committee include: monitoring the financial statements; drafting and reviewing internal policies; ensuring internal policies reflect the Policy Governance Model; bringing forward policies to be monitored in a timely manner; conducting board self-evaluations; monitoring the ED’s compliance of policies; conducting the ED’s annual performance review and recommending any ED salary changes and/or premiums to the board.
For more information about the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Governance Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee chair Curtis Darmohray.
Young People in Business Committee
This committee strives to identify and take action on the key issues that relate to young people who are either fully engaged in business or just beginning to embark on their careers. These young people range from business owners and employees to undergraduates and recent grads. Moreover, this committee also seeks to foster the development of a forum for young people to meet, network and exchange ideas within the Central Okanagan community.
These objectives are pursued by working with local business owners, educational and training organizations, young employees and recent graduates to develop a well-rounded picture of the opportunities and obstacles for young people in business. This knowledge is used to formulate action plans to help young people be successful in the Central Okanagan community.
For more information about the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce’s Young People in Business Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee chair Ben Pidskalny.
Women's Leadrship Network
The Women’s Leadership Network of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce supports and strengthens the community of women leaders in the Central Okanagan. This pre-eminent group of women combines their resources to support and further the advancement of women in leadership in the community.
The Women's Leadership Network provides a forum for Executive women in the Central Okanagan business community to meet, network, and exchange ideas. It offers social opportunities and conncections for C-suite executives to share, learn and extend peer metnoring in a trusted enviornment, working as Senior Executives to support Women.
- To provide a forum for Executive women in the Central Okanagan business community to meet, network and exchange ideas;
- To offer social opportunities and connections for C-suite Executives to share, learn and extend peer mentoring in a trusted environment
- To work as Senior Executives to support women
- To offer mentorship or recognition for younger women leaders in the Central Okanagan business community;
- To encourage and educate women on the value of being on boards and in politics, especially in leadership roles
- To identify issues facing women in business and bring forth to relevant governing bodies or organizations
- To assist in the recruitment of senior staff
- To influence and provide feedback to government, boards, relevant groups when requested
- To assist with the growth of the Central Okanagan business community, welcoming and supportive to newcomers
- To offer additional membership value to senior and junior staff of existing Kelowna Chamber of Commerce members
Membership Requirements: Individuals who uphold the purpose of the WLN, and are current members of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, may apply to be members of the WLN. Membership is intended for senior executives who have earned and are currently holding positions such as a Director, Vice President, Partner, or the C-suite level of organizations with more than 8 employees or $1 million in revenues and at least 10 years experience in their chosen field. Individuals may qualify if they have held a senior executive position within the five (5) years prior to the date of application.
Applications: All new members will first need to be approved by the The Member Steering Committee of the WLN. To apply, please email Stephanie Baziuk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fees: There is no cost to join beyond current membership with the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce.
For more information click here
For more information about volunteering with the Kelowna Chamber please contact us.
Volunteering has a meaningful, positive impact on your community. But did you know that it can have many benefits for you too? Here are some reasons to volunteer:
Learn or develop a new skill
Volunteering is the perfect vehicle to discover something you are really good at and develop a new skill. It is never too late to learn new skills and no reason why you should stop adding to your knowledge or skill set just because you are in employment or have finished education.
Be part of your business community
We sometimes take for granted the community that we live in. Volunteering is ultimately about helping others and having an impact on people’s wellbeing. What better way is there to connect with your community and give a little back?
Motivation and sense of achievement
Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved in volunteering. As a volunteer you have made a decision to help on your own accord, free from pressure to act from others. Volunteers predominantly express a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from your desire and enthusiasm to help.