Abbotsford – Advocacy on behalf its members is one of the basic tenets of the Abbotsford Chamber. This takes place at all levels of government in various ways . One of the most effective methods of communicating with the federal government is through our annual policy sessions at the Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting. Delegates from Chambers across Canada meet to propose policy resolutions for discussion and debate that are of significant national importance and call for action by the federal government.
This last week, delegates representing 348 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade in all provinces and territories met in Regina, Saskatchewan to review this year’s 70 proposed resolutions. Your local Chamber was represented by President Josh Bach and Executive Director Allan Asaph.
Recommendations approved by the Canadian Chamber included increasing access to foreign markets for Canadian resource products, growing Canada’s manufacturing and agriculture sector and better access to the Canada Job Grant for small and medium size businesses that currently struggle with a high degree of red-tape.
Specific approved resolutions having a more direct impact on Abbotsford were:
• Expanding Canada’s export capacity through harmonizing agri-food cross border trade regulations;
• Preparing business for the Trans-Pacific Partnership;
• Countering diafiltered milk imports;
• Ratification of a free trade agreement with India, one of the world’s fastest growing economies;
• A more competitive air policy that lowers fees, improves air access to destinations and allows for the free movement of labour and goods;
• Remediation standards for legal and illegal substance affected properties. This new recommendation was proposed by the Mission and District Chamber and co-sponsored by the Abbotsford Chamber.
The Abbotsford Chamber, together with the Niagara Chamber and the Windsor-Essex Chamber put forward a resolution in response to a promise by the federal government to bring forward legislation in the Spring of 2017 to legalize the use of recreational marijuana. Since making that promise, the lack of action by the government has created confusion and regulatory uncertainty affecting communities across not only our province but the rest of the country.
In the event that the federal government passes legislation to legalize recreational marijuana use, the Abbotsford, Niagara and Winsor-Essex Chambers recommend that the government implement a regulatory framework that allows competition and consumer choice while protecting consumers, the public and especially youth. It also asked for clear regulations with respect to both workplace safety and road safety. This issue was well debated and was nationally endorsed by the delegates at the AGM policy sessions.
The recommendations in the approved policies will now be presented to the federal government in meetings together with Canadian Chamber of Commerce staff. In addition, all MPs in Ottawa, regardless of party affiliation, receive a copy of the Chambers Resolution Manual.
“These policies have huge potential for Canada and for British Columbia,” said Abbotsford Chamber President Josh Bach, “but only if the government implements them. We will be joining with Chambers across Canada and working hard to advance these policies to ensure our country’s success.”
The Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce is a membership driven organization comprised of partnership with the business community, our mission is to represent, serve and connect our members to build and sustain a thriving business community in Abbotsford.