Entries in Canadian Chamber of Commerce (15)

Thursday
Sep222016

Peterborough Chamber instrumental in setting policy agenda

The parliament of business has wrapped up for another year.  The almost 350 delegates attending the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (#CCCAGM16) voted on the advocacy needs of the business community.   

Among the 70 resolutions debated were two from the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.   

The first resolution, Advancing Canada's Competitiveness using Short Line Rail, asks for a tax credit program and a separate funding program for capital reinvestment in short line rail.  Increasing the opportunity for short line rail companies to improve their rail track infrastructure helps to open up regional economies and increase the efficiency of rail traffic around Canada.  The Peterborough Chamber was pleased to see that it passed with 98.7% support.   

The second resolution from the Peterborough Chamber was called Restoring Canada's Innovation Competitiveness.  This resolution asks for an innovation stream tax credit to complement the Scientific
Research & Education Development (SR&ED) credits that currently exist.  The resolution also asked the government to simplify any processes and to create an innovation environment that encourages private sector innovation.  

“Thank you to the members of the Peterborough Chamber Policy Committee for helping to advance these two issues that will help our Canadian and Ontario economies grow,” says Jim Hill, member of the policy committee and incoming 2017 Chair of the Board, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.  “It was very exciting to see them receive the approval of the delegates.”

Also passed during the two-day policy debate sessions were resolutions on scaling up, broadband connectivity, marijuana distribution, increasing the efficiency of the regulatory review process around natural resource development, air travel competitiveness, and improving the Express Entry immigration system to recognize the value of graduating international students to our workforce.   

"The annual policy process is quite remarkable. Most of the recommendations to government come from chambers just like ours, from across the country. There is a lot of research that goes in to the typical policy resolution," says Stuart Harrison, President & CEO, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. "The resolutions are then studied by Chamber committees across the country in order to make sure they are accurate and reflect all regions of Canada. The AGM provides a final opportunity for tweaking, wordsmithing, and collaboration, but more importantly for approval by the delegates."

The work of the delegates now becomes the work of the Canadian Chamber. With a strong mandate the CCC will now lobby the appropriate ministries within government.

"An approved policy resolution has the weight of the entire business community behind it and is a very powerful tool when lobbying the government on behalf of our members," adds Harrison.  "This is the core work of the Chamber network." 

For a full look at the policy decisions go to: peterboroughchamber.ca

Wednesday
Jun152016

Peterborough Chamber submits two policy resolutions for CCC AGM

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) depends on the policy resolutions and recommendations from local chambers and boards of trade, such as Peterborough, to determine advocacy issues important to the business community. 

On the CCC website (chamber.ca), the policy process is described as culminating in a democratic vote on the floor of our annual general meeting (AGM). 

Following approval at the AGM, the CCC, along with our members, can move forward in our advocacy efforts based on the resolutions contained within our Policy Resolutions Books. Each resolution, once approved, has an effective lifespan of three years.

For consideration in 2016, the Peterborough Chamber has submitted the following:  

Advancing Canada's Competitiveness Using Shortline Rail

This resolution asks for capital investment tax incentives for shortline rail companies 

Restoring Canada's Innovative Competitiveness

This resolution asks the federal government to improve the SR&ED tax credits to encourage more private sector innovation

These policy resolutions will now be assessed by the CCC Policy Committees to see if they will be on the floor for debate at the Annual General Meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan in September.

Thursday
Mar242016

It's a question of balance ... and here are the questions

I’ve been participating in Sustainable Peterborough Climate Change Action Plan discussions as a member of the economic and business subcommittee. Throughout the discussions the challenge has become more evident: how do we strike a balance between the current reality and the desired outcome of the future?  

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has spent the past year looking at our natural resources industry through the lens of Why Resources Matter. An infographic released last summer shows natural resources-based industries contributed almost 17% of Canada’s GDP, 14% of Canada’s jobs and resource-based manufacturing represented 46.2% of Canada’s total manufacturing output.  Those numbers show our economy is quite entrenched in this sector and one of the reasons why climate change action plans like the one currently underway for Peterborough and surrounding communities are so important.  We have to figure out how to sustain our economy through a balanced approach to our natural resources.  Take for example the economic impact from a drop in oil prices. How do we push the conversation beyond fear of, for example, nuclear, oil, pipelines, and resource extraction to one of innovation, leadership, and opportunity? 

We have to have a plan and way forward that is sustainable for generations.  The goal of the Climate Change Action Plan is to reduce Peterborough’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  These targets are important because it will foster innovation at all levels of our community.  No one sector, group or level of government can accomplish this goal in isolation. We all have a responsibility.  But do we legislate?  Incentivize?

We also face the challenge of current realities. In the next 25 years the population of the GTHA and the Outer Ring is expected to be around 13.5 million people.  For perspective that’s just slightly below the current population of the entire province (13.8 million approx July 2015).  How will they move around, where will they live, how will we heat their homes, how prepared are our sewage treatment plants? How do we as a province and a municipality prepare?  

The province of Ontario is currently reexamining the legislation around the blue box program.  The current theory is to put the financial responsibility of the program on the producers of materials, with the desired outcome to encourage producers to use more recyclable materials and plan for those products that cannot be. However, I don’t think we can underestimate the responsibility of the consumer as well.  The producer can use a highly recyclable material, but how do we reconcile the issue if the consumer isn’t on board?   

The province announced in the 2016 budget they will be moving toward a Cap and Trade system that is expected to generate $1.9 billion in revenue for the government starting in 2017.  They have also committed to using those revenues to support initiatives to cut GHGs including public transit, clean technology, and making homes and businesses more energy efficient.  Will this sort of incentive legislation work in the business community?  What measures or incentives are there for homeowners?  

In the Peterborough area we are seeing more bike lanes on our streets and more land has been purchased by the City to complete the TransCanada trail.  We are definitely a city and county in tune with our natural environment.  This goes for residents and businesses.   And with a research park around the clean tech sector about spring up at Trent University, it’s quite possible to believe that future companies in this space will help us answer some of the questions above.  However, they need the time, the opportunity, the environment and the support to grow.   The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and GreenUp have the Green Business Peterborough program.  It encourages businesses to formulate goals and a plan of action that will help move them down the path to environmental sustainability.  Check out the program at greenbusinesspeterborough.ca

Canada’s economy is heavily invested in natural resources from water, to forests to minerals to oil and natural gas.  Moving forward from where we are today is going to take strategy, cooperation and balance. 

Wednesday
Feb242016

What's holding us back? The Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness

What are the issues and policies that are preventing Canadian businesses from realizing their full potential?  

For the fifth year in a row, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has identified the Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness.  The 2016 version is a list of key impediments that are preventing Canadian businesses from reaching their goals and, in turn, Canada from improving its productivity and economic prosperity.

As the Canadian Chamber stated in a recent press release, “in a fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs a supportive environment and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This annual list of barriers points to economic hurdles of our own making, self-imposed limits on the growth of Canadian businesses. Through this initiative, the Canadian Chamber is bringing these barriers to the forefront and is urging all stakeholders to act more swiftly to improve our country’s ability to compete globally.”

“Although the policies involved may have started with positive goals, they now hinder business success, and many of the issues on our list were repeated from previous years,” says the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “We need to act now. We’ve identified a series of improvements that can be put in place rapidly. We ask the government to remove these obstacles before conditions worsen.”

Top 10 Barriers

 

  1. Public policies block small companies from becoming bigger To grow Canada’s companies, the government needs to change the corporate tax rates and breaks that penalize growth.
  2. Canada is vulnerable to cyber crime Canada loses $3.12 billion to cyber crime per year, and nearly half of all small businesses have been the victim of a cyber attack because they are less equipped to handle attacks.
  3. Canada’s trade agenda – new agreements are just the start Canada needs to help businesses scale up internationally. Canada also needs to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with the European Union, get new deals done with China and India, and cooperate on regulations with its trade partners.
  4. Canadian resources cannot get to world markets Governments need to support pipelines and other infrastructure that will allow Canadians to trade with the world.  The Energy East Pipeline project would create 250 high paying jobs at GE Peterborough. 
  5. Poor literacy numeracy and digital skills are limiting productivity in segments of Canada’s workforce Canada needs a plan to make sure people have the skills for tomorrow’s jobs.
  6. Canada needs a more aggressive and effective innovation strategy Canada needs to reinvest in an innovation ecosystem that supports the capability of business to rapidly respond to change.
  7. Canada is not ready for climate change Canada needs clear federal policy on carbon regulation and a climate adaptation strategy.
  8. Internal barriers to trade cost Canadians billions and restrict investment To get free trade within Canada, the federal government should apply pressure on the provinces and expand the right of private parties to seek redress.
  9. Lack of clarity regarding businesses’ responsibilities to Aboriginal peoples constrains investmentCanada needs meaningful reconciliation with its Aboriginal peoples; however, it is not clear to businesses what reconciliation means and what they need to do to do their part in achieving it. The federal government, as the primary interlocutor between Aboriginal peoples and other constituencies, needs to lead the way.
  10. Canada’s brand does not support business competitiveness The world sees Canada as a great place to live but not to do business, and Canada has not been doing a good job at changing those perceptions. The government must increase its efforts to improve its business brand through tourism and investment promotion.

 

“These barriers are of our own making. They are the result of acting wrongly or failing to act at all, but we can eliminate them if we have the will to do so,” says Mr. Beatty. “Government can provide the leadership to remove these hurdles. This is the opportunity to take another step towards a Canada that wins.”

Read the full report at peterboroughchamber.ca/policypublications 

Tuesday
Oct202015

Chambers of Commerce set lobbying agenda in Ottawa

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Ottawa this past weekend. What happens at this meeting? This year over 325 delegates representing 150 chambers of commerce and boards of trade gathered in the nation’s capital for two days. The goal was to set the lobbying agenda for the Canadian Chamber to bring forward to the federal government.

It was a pretty unique time to be in Ottawa, leading up to the 42nd Federal Election, but more importantly the Canadian business community represented through the Chamber of Commerce leaders and board volunteers voted in favour of around 50 resolutions.  

Among the policy resolutions approved by the delegates were three directly involving the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce.  

  1. Energy East, which asked the government to support the project as an economic driver while ensuring responsible management of the environment and other concerns.  This resolution was brought forward with co-sponsors The Saint John Region Chamber, Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec, Belleville & District Chamber, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, Regina Chamber of Commerce, and Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce. The nationwide support for this resolution speaks to the jobs the project will create, including 250 jobs in Peterborough and allow for Canadian oil to be moved and used in Canada with greater efficiency.  
  2. Canada Pension Plan, which asks that employees be allowed to increase their portion of the contribution to CPP to discourage provinces from starting to implement their own plans. Peterborough was a co-sponsor with the Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce. 
  3. Infrastucture, which stressed the importance of a solid plan for the economy (this was put forward by the London Chamber of Commerce and supported by 21 Ontario Chambers). 

Thank you to the Peterborough Chamber Policy Committee for their input on these resolutions.

Also now on the books are policies that start to address how businesses of all sizes feel the government should move forward with clean technology, innovation funding, research funding, improving the tax statutes, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, improving communication between the rail industry and business,  greenhouse gas emissions, and collection of taxes from foreign companies for online sales.   

The largest number of resolutions this year focused on trade, including trade with the U.S and the Asia-Pacific. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal was a large part of the discussion.  

By the time the policy resolutions were all debated and voted on, the delegates left Ottawa giving the Canadian Chamber of Commerce a solid plan to bring the message of the business community to Parliament Hill.  

"The CCC AGM is the Parliament of Business,” says Stuart Harrison, President and CEO, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck is the Chair of the Ontario Caucus and led the Ontario delegates including incoming Board Chair Jason Becker in the voting process and strategy.”

The approved policy resolution book will be online shortly and we will be posting it to our Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as, peterboroughchamber.ca