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  Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC                                                                          Photo courtesy: www.tourismkelowna.com Photographer Brian Sprout - Picture BC
Home > Chamber > Policy & Committees

Committees

 

Advocacy

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 this 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. These issues support our members and a vibrant, sustainable business environment.

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.


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 Local Issues Committee and how to get involved please contact the Chamber or committee co-chairs Angela Nagy or Shelagh Turner.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is invited to monitor and participate in local planning activities with varying ranges of timeframes or involvement. Every month the Chair writes a written report on the committee meetings and this is submitted to the Board. Some issues are discussed and some are within the board reading materials. The Chair has the opportunity to gauge board support and opinions for issues.

Local issues may pop up over night and an immediate response is required from media within a single day window. There is no time to sufficiently educate board members and have a media response within the 8 hour window to be current news. At these times the CEO will respond to media with or without Board or Executive comment.

The Local Issue Committee is or has played a role or is working on the following:

Policy or Issue

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce position

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 & 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 neighbourhoods.

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.

 


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 opportunity 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, Brian Bonsma.


Ambassadors Committee



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 Shawna McCrea .


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, Una Gabie.


Women's Leadership 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 connections for C-suite executives to share, learn and extend peer mentoring in a trusted environment, 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

For more information click here


Provincial & Federal Policy Committee

Committee Chair: Jeff Robinson

 

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.

Every month the Chair writes a written report on the committee meetings and this is submitted to the Board. Some issues are discussed and some are within the board reading materials. The Chair has the opportunity to gauge board support and opinions for issues.

The Provincial & Federal Policy Committee is or has played a role or is working on the following:

 

Policy or Issue

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce position

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

Message from our Policy Chair, Jeff Robinson

In May 2015 the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce travelled to Prince George for the BC Chamber AGM. We brought forward five resolutions from our membership and received support from our colleagues across the Province.

The theme this year for four resolutions seems to be the continuing fight on four separate issues where we have seen some success and support from Provincial and Federal governments, but feel that there is still room for improvement. We recognize the positive support the BC and Canadian Chamber networks receive from government on many of our resolutions and sincerely appreciate that we are their go to organization representing business.

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.

Another 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.

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.

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.

And we rounded out our weekend of policy debates with a new 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 haveemployees working in both provinces.

Last spring, the federal government announced it would eliminate the extended small business tax benefit for credit unions over the next five years. British Columbia provided a similar tax rate for credit unions because they were eligible for the federal reduction. Phasing out the federal reduction meant that the lower B.C. tax rate would also be removed unless legislative changes were made to protect it.

In its 2014 budget, the B.C. government decided to retain the small business tax benefit for the province’s 43 credit unions until 2016. That was a step in the right direction.

Like banks, credit unions are required to build ever-increasing capital to ensure soundness. But unlike banks, credit unions are member-owned co-operatives and cannot access capital markets. Instead, they must rely on retained earnings for capital, while banks are able to issue stock on capital markets. Increasing taxes on credit unions impedes the ability of credit unions to grow their retained earnings and capital.

Credit unions play an important role in B.C. communities by providing financial services to businesses and individuals and by supporting local projects.

We wish to ensure that B.C. families and businesses throughout our rural and urban communities can continue to benefit from the competitive financial services offered by our local credit unions. The people and organizations of the community that use the credit union help set its governance, its owners are its customers. Credit unions are currently the only financial institution in more than 40 communities in B.C.(1)

Increased taxes after 2016 will hurt the ability of credit unions to support local economic growth and their ability to support the province’s business sector. When credit unions pay higher income taxes, their ability to lend to small businesses, provide service to underserved communities and support local community economic development is reduced.

A 2013 report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) concluded: “CFIB’s assessment of the banking industry reveals that credit unions outperformed all the banks in serving the small- and mid-sized enterprise market in 2012.(2)

The 2012 survey results mirrored CFIB’s report in 2009, which also showed credit unions were the preferred lenders and services providers for small businesses across the country. Credit unions ranked high in providing financing, the level of their fees and the quality of their account managers.
By standing alongside credit unions, the Chamber believes it is standing with small businesses in B.C. by ensuring B.C.’s business markets has access to the necessary financing and banking services that credit unions provide. The geographic reach of credit unions in northern and rural communities is notable.
Finance Minister de Jong promised to adjust current legislation to shelter credit unions from the full impact of the negative federal income tax change for another three years:
We commend the provincial government for listening to the concerns raised by credit unions and thousands of their members about the impact a tax hike would have on credit union operations;
The decision not to follow the lead of the federal government is good news for credit unions, their members and the communities they serve. It is a three-year reprieve; and
If the small-business tax benefit is removed permanently, Central 1 Credit Union estimates credit unions will face an annual tax increase of $20 million.
The 2014 B.C. budget maintains a provincial tax rate for credit unions of 2.5 per cent until 2016, at which time the province will phase out the small business tax exemption for credit unions over a five-year period.
The federal government is currently phasing out its tax benefit and if the province had not extended the exemption it would have increased the income tax paid by B.C. credit unions by $2.8 million in 2013, $9.5 million in 2014 and $14.2 million in 2015, Central 1’s economics department estimates.
We recommend that the small business tax exemption be retained indefinitely. This will not be a cost to the provincial government because it is currently an unrealized source of tax revenue. In fact, had the federal government not triggered this chain of events, the province would not have had cause to rescind the small business tax from credit unions. We suggest that the cost to the province, if this exemption ends, may be to business and communities who directly benefit from the more than $17.6 million that B.C. credit unions provide annually to a wide range of community and economic projects.(3)
Further, we believe retaining the small business tax benefit indefinitely is a positive for elected and bureaucratic levels of government who can utilize credit unions as geographically dispersed, community-based sources of economic development stimulus.
By permanently extending the small business tax credit for credit unions, the government will demonstrate and recognize that credit unions are unique and historically dependent on this tax structure to the benefit of communities. Any opposition to this tax structure could be overlooking the sensitive inter-relationships of member-owned financial institutions that see profits directed to the community for re-distribution.

THE CHAMBER RECOMMENDS:

That the provincial government:
extend the small business tax benefit permanently; and
continue to work with credit unions to meet their needs with regulations and tax regimes that keep them strong and viable.
Footnotes

(1) Central 1, http://www.central1.com/news/central-1-credit-union-welcomes-bc-government-decision-maintain-tax-benefits-bc-credit-unions.
(2) CFIB, Battle of the Banks: How SMEs Rate Their Banks, http://www.cfib-fcei.ca/cfib-documents/rr3292.pdf.
(3) www.creditunionsarehelpinghere.com
- See more at: http://www.bcchamber.org/policies/competitive-tax-environment-credit-unions#sthash.DDvhjsxx.dpuf


 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Mandates


Taxation Advisory Committee Mandate


Volunteer Opportunities

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.