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Apr 26, 2019

Pushing the policy buttons in government – making sure our members’ voices are heard

The BC Chamber's grassroots policy development process is second to none in British Columbia. Every year, this membership of businesses, Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade develops policies that reflect the on the ground needs of BC businesses. Through this process, the BC Chamber membership endorses approximately 40 new policies every year at its Annual General Meeting.

The breadth and diversity of these policies reflect a broad-based membership; during any given year, there are policy recommendations for the majority, if not all, of BC’s provincial government ministries.

In 2019, 87 policies were submitted to the BC Chamber from around the province – where there are 125 chambers from corner to corner to corner.

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce has a robust policy development process, one that runs year-round. In the fall of 2018, we hosted a policy development forum for our members which resulted in 43 overall policy initiatives, of which 37 were Provincial, 22 were Federal, and 13 were Municipal.

The Chamber’s Policy Advisory committee honed that long list down to 24 provincial policies, and began researching, meeting with members, consulting with other chambers, and writing. We submitted eight new policies to the BC Chamber in March, and updated one renewing policy (three years old) all of which we will summarize and defend on the floor of the BC AGM May 23 and 24 in Burnaby. The Policy Review Committee of the BC Chamber expressed support for all our policies but one which was written around hydrogen fuel cell technology.  They sent that one back to us for more technical research, and on advances with respect to renewable energy. We’ll see it finished and submitted in 2020 – we now have our first policy for next year.

We’ll write more about all of them once they have been adopted (and possibly amended by other Chambers) – but for now here is a list:

  1. When we build it, they will come: why an aerospace innovation cluster in Kelowna creates new business for BC and Canada
  2. Share a handshake: move people and cargo across borders and reduce redundant paperwork
  3. Getting more rental housing onto the market – now
  4. Crush and credit: put control of recyclables management into the hands of the private sector
  5. Support a prosperous, sustainable and innovative tree fruit sector in BC
  6. Stop and rewind: end the speculation tax now
  7. Accelerating transportation infrastructure to serve one of the fastest growing regional economies in Canada
  8. Improving primary care and saving healthcare dollars with physician extenders-physician assistants (renewing from 2016)

We are also supporting 19 policies put forward by other chambers, that range from disaster mitigation to promoting wineries, cideries & distilleries to amending the property assessment process to protect business from unsustainable taxation.

We’ll cheerfully report back to you in June, when we’re back home – then it’s time to submit our federal policies for September’s Canadian Chamber AGM. And our policy development forum for 2019 is November 14.  Mark your calendars and let our Policy Analyst, Caroline Miller, know if you want to attend to help us build policy for 2020.