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Jun 10, 2014

Kelowna Chamber acts as Voice of Business at BC Chamber AGM

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6/10/2014 Media Releases
Kelowna Chamber acts as Voice of Business at BC Chamber AGM

Business leaders from across B.C. have passed policies calling for provincial government reform as it relates to the taxation rate for credit unions, changes to the treatment of business by government, a new take on Property Transfer Tax and better oversight of product stewardship (recycling) organizations such as Multi Material BC.
These policies were passed at the BC Chamber Annual General Meeting & Conference, the province’s foremost business gathering, held this year in Richmond May 23-24. This unique grassroots policy-building forum brought together approximately 200 Chamber delegates from across B.C. to vote on new business/economic policies.
This year, delegates voted in 39 policies; these adopted policies now become part of the BC Chamber’s advocacy agenda. There are key areas of policy development; finance and taxation, energy, natural resources and environment, jobs and skills development, local government, social policy and transportation

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce acting as the voice for local business brought forward and were supported in four resolutions, identified as issues impacting our region and province.
“Business leaders from around B.C. are calling for serious changes to how local governments interact with the business community. B.C.’s businesses are raising the alarm about burdensome property taxes and Community Amenity Contributions, a lack of democratic voice for our businesses through a business vote, and the handling of crown corporations: For B.C.’s economy to grow, all levels of government need to come alongside and support job-creating businesses.” States Curtis Darmohray, President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce. “Our membership has seen first-hand the costs that product stewardship organizations such as Multi Material BC put onto B.C. businesses. Our BC Chamber policy calls for better oversight of this type of organization to ensure that any costs put onto businesses are fair, clear, and manageable.”
The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce policy committee is chaired by Tom Dyas “we worked closely with all of the seven Chambers in the Valley to draft and support resolutions that speak to the issues of the Okanagan and indeed the Interior, as we worked with Kamloops Chamber as well”. “This is an unprecedented regional collaboration.”
Jeff Robinson and Roger Wheeler worked on policies relating to housing costs, “Affordable housing is an important part of a strong economy but a continuing challenge in B.C., particularly in the Lower Mainland. B.C.’s Chambers are proposing some additional relief from Property Transfer Tax for B.C.’s new home buyers, while offsetting this lost revenue by raising the tax for non-residents of Canada. This approach is similar to what’s been done in other real estate investment jurisdictions such as Paris, New York and Hong Kong.”

An example of policies voted into force include:
• B.C. Municipal Property Tax Policy – Fairer Taxation for Business
• Rent control: phasing out provincial control of rent increases
• Removing Uncertainty from Community Amenity Contributions
• Competitive tax environment for credit unions
• The Importance to the Economy of Expanded Oil Pipeline Infrastructure
• Property Transfer Tax Reform; Affordable Housing is Good for the Economy
• Ensuring Affordable Product Stewardship Programs
• Moving forward on the solid business case for a national park in the South Okanagan-Similkameen
• CRA breaks for business mistakes
• B.C. municipal property tax policy – fairer taxation for business
• the need for a Business Vote in B.C.
• Return to 3-year funding agreements for licensed charities

John Winter, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce: believes“Our policy development process canvasses the best and brightest ideas from business leaders right across B.C. Once again this year, this unique grassroots process has delivered some excellent policy recommendations to help enhance B.C. as a business jurisdiction.” “Energy policy is paramount in B.C. Our Chambers are calling for some changes to current policy to, among other things, reconcile B.C.’s ambitious economic policy on files such as LNG with our current greenhouse gas reduction policy.”


For further details, please contact:
Caroline Grover, CEO
Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
T - 250 469-7356 C - 250 470-3407
E - caroline@kelownachamber.org