BC Chamber of Commerce 2008 AGM

BC Chamber of Commerce Express Newsletter - October 2008 Issue


Election 2008

BC Chamber in the Headlines

Policy Successes

Chamber News

Provincial News

National News


Election 2008

The 2008 Federal election has resulted in a third consecutive minority government. The Conservatives enhanced their representation in the House of Commons to 143 seats but fell short of the required 155 required to achieve a majority government. Other points to note were:

  1. BC followed the national trend by increasing its support and seats for the Conservative party, at the expense of both the NDP and the Liberals
  2. The Conservatives saw their support increase from 37.32% of the vote and 17 seats to 44.44% and 22 seats.
  3. Election 2008 hit a new low in terms of voter turnout with only 59.1% - 13.8 million out of 23.4 million - of eligible voters made the trip to a polling station, breaking the previous low from the 2004 election that saw a 60.9% turnout, according to the preliminary figures.
  4. While BC’s turnout was higher than the national average at 61%, this was still lower than the 64.3% in 2006 and the 63.3% in 2004

National Election Results



Change from 2006

Vote Share

Change from 2006
































308 seats

BC Election Results



Vote Count

Vote Share


















36 seats

BC Chamber perspective

All the major parties contained policies that were in keeping with recommendations made by the Chamber at the provincial and national level dealing with a number of issues that are key to BC and Canada's continued prosperity.  Further to this we were pleased to note the commitment from the parties to address the challenge posed to our economy by the global financial crisis and a commitment to work collaboratively in the interests of all Canadians.

The Chamber believes that Canadians have sent a clear message, at this point in time no party has demonstrated the vision and leadership required to be given a majority. With this in mind the Chamber believes that all parties should respect the will of the people and ensure that Parliament achieves real results that allow us to move forward as a province and as a country. 

The BC Chamber will be producing results on a constituency-by-constituency basis as well as providing members with the key areas of focus for all federally elected representatives.

If you require any further information please contact:

Jon Garson

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BC Chamber in the Headlines

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Policy Successes

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Chamber News

Bcchamber.org – What’s New Online at the BC Chamber of Commerce

  • Weekly Poll – Visit the BC Chamber homepage to take part in our new weekly poll.  Share your opinion on issues and topics of interest to BC’s business community, and compare your answers with the rest of British Columbia. This week's question: If a tax credit was available for small business to offset training costs would you use this credit?
    If you have a question you would like to see on our weekly poll, email ahoy@bcchamber.org
  • Member Buttons – In our Members-Only Resources section, check out our new Member Buttons for use on our Members’ websites.  Members must login to access this resource.  If you have any questions about the buttons, or need help putting yours up, email ahoy@bcchamber.org

BC Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events

  • Cabinet Ministers Breakfast Series with the Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts. 
    November 18th, 2008, at 7:00 am – Terminal City Club, Vancouver
    Join us for breakfast with Hon. Bill Bennett and hear him address issues such as the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and their impact on the province, pre and post-games; the Provincial Government’s international tourism initiatives - how BC is represented to the world; BC’s border relations and what the Government is doing to promote border efficiency.
    Visit www.bcchamber.org/news/events.html  for more information.
  • Reminder: BC Chamber of Commerce 57th Annual General Meeting & Conference in Prince Rupert – Don’t forget that the 2009 AGM and Conference is being held in Prince Rupert, May 21 – 23, 2009.  If you intend to join us, remember to factor the associated costs and travel expenses into your budget for 2009!

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BC Champions Canada’s Infrastructure at National Meeting

Delegates from British Columbia represented the concerns of the province’s business community to the nation this month at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting in Quebec City.
Foremost in those concerns is the state of Canada’s infrastructure, specifically as it relates to the country’s exports, transportation and tourism.  Resolutions put forward by Chambers of Commerce in British Columbia served to drive home the fact that BC’s infrastructure in particular is essential to the nation’s economic well-being.

“Canada’s economy relies on its exports, and it relies on British Columbia to be able to process them,” says John Winter, President & CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce.  “The infrastructure of our ports, airports, and borders must be able to keep up with demand, and without careful and significant maintenance, development and investment over the next several years, we are not convinced the current infrastructure will be able to that.”

Particular issues to which chambers of commerce in British Columbia have pointed, in resolutions proposed at the Canadian Chamber’s AGM, include the improvement and acceleration of Canada’s Blue Skies policy; investment in rail and terminal infrastructure access at Canada and BC’s major ports; development of transportation systems surrounding international airports of all sizes to facilitate movement to and from the airports; and the augmentation of Canada – US border services to increase the number of crossings available 24/7.

“If we want to ramp up our international trade, it should go without saying that the systems which make that trade possible need to be similarly intensified,” comments Winter. “The attractiveness of Canada’s commodities will suffer if access to them represents a logistical challenge.  We’d like to see these and other infrastructure investments in BC made an absolute priority in Canada’s future economic strategy.”

BC leads the charge at Canadian Chamber AGM

In total, BC had 20 resolutions passed by delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM, with 4 referred to the Board of Directors. In addition to infrastructure investment, BC is setting the national agenda in the following areas:

  • Skills
  • Crime and Public safety
  • US – Canada
  • Immigration
  • Transportation

For more information, contact:

Jon Garson

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BC Chamber of Commerce Directors Selected to Represent Business Community on Conservation Councils

The BC Chamber is pleased to announce that two members of our board of directors have been appointed to the Premier’s Citizen’s Conservation Councils on Climate Action representing their regions.

Dan Albas of Penticton, and Paul Wortley of Sparwood will join other citizens from their areas representing youth, seniors, municipal government, local business, First Nations, community groups, and educational institutions, in advising government on the best ways to encourage British Columbians to incorporate climate awareness into their everyday lives.

Albas, Director at Large for the Chamber, and owner/operator of Premier Martial Arts in Penticton, says he is very excited to be asked to be part of this forum:

“I think the establishment of these councils shows that the Premier understands that regional councils will better reflect the diversity of British Columbia, and that this sort of grassroots involvement from the people who understand the issues particular to their communities is preferable to a top-down approach.”

Wortley, BC Chamber Executives Representative for the Chamber, and Manager of the Sparwood and District Chamber of Commerce, echoes Albas’s excitement:

“I am glad that the Provincial Government is taking steps to work with the people of British Columbia on Climate Change,” he says. “The Government is aware that each region has its own challenges – that in itself is a step in the right direction. This is not something for which a blanket approach will work.”

Albas also points out the importance of including a business perspective in the councils, a point of view that can sometimes be overlooked.

“As a small business owner it’s an exciting opportunity too,” he says. “Communities sometimes forget that business owners are citizens too – we live here and have concerns like everyone else, and it’s great to have the opportunity to represent that aspect to this council.”

Both Wortley and Albas, as contributors to their communities, and contributors to the business community at large through their work with the BC Chamber, will be instrumental in guiding decisions which are not only good for the environment in British Columbia, but good for our economy as well.

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Mental Health Workshop Opportunity for Chambers

The Canadian Mental Health Association is offering a unique opportunity to local Chambers of Commerce to provide their members with an award-winning Mental Health Works presentation: 

“Issues & Solutions:  Managing Mental Health in the Workplace”

At no cost to the Chambers, this 1.5 hour presentation, offered as a public service by the Canadian Mental Health Associaiton, will provide members with:

  • Practical strategies on how to identify and address mental health issues, including emotional distress and burnout with employees
  • Engaging, multi-media presentation including video of people who live and work with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Useful information and resources for effective performance management when mental health or addiction is a concern

Small to medium-sized business owners rarely have the specialized personnel or the training to deal with employee mental health issues and help employees remain productive. The cost and accessibility of this type of presentation is out of reach for most. Since there is no cost for the presentation or travel expenses of the certified trainers, Chambers may choose to use the event as a fundraiser or promotion.  The only conditions are:

  • Sessions must be held prior to September 2009
  • There must be 50 participants or more at each session – Chambers can partner with neighbouring Chambers or open it up to non-members to make up these numbers (Note that special promotional assistance may be available to help you fill seats.)
  • There must be a Certified Mental Health Works Trainer available to deliver on the dates chosen.

Bookings will be limited and on a first-come, first-served basis.  To book yours today, call Margaret Tebbutt, Manager, Mental Health Works, CMHA-BC at 604-688-3234, ext 244


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Provincial News

October is Small Business Month

This year, Small Business Month’s theme is “Green Business is Smart Business.”  To mark the occasion, LiveSmartBC is partnering with BC hydro to offer free energy assessments to small businesses.  The Small Business Walkthrough program consists of 30 – 60 min walkthroughs by energy experts.  The walkthroughs will be available until February 28th, 2009.

The newly launched LiveSmartBC website is also offering incentives, ideas and resources for small business owners wishing to make their operations more energy-efficient.  Throughout October, the site will be profiling small business “going green” success stories.

Visit www.livesmartbc.ca for more information.

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Peace River Site C Hydro Project – Have Your Voice Heard

For much of the last decade, British Columbia has been a net importer of electricity. We’ve depended on other jurisdictions to supply up to 15% of our electricity requirements. That is why BC Hydro is looking for innovative ways to help meet BC’s future electricity needs.

The Chamber has been consistent in its support for aggressive action on both the supply and demand side of BC’s energy mix. The Chamber believes it is critical that we enhance our conservation efforts to reduce demand, as well as bolstering our supply through the construction of new generation capacity. It is within this context that we support the development of Site C.

If built, the Site C dam would be located seven kilometres southwest of Fort St. John. It would be the third hydroelectric facility on the Peace River after the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon dams and would produce approximately 4,600 gigawatt hours of electricity each year – enough to power about 460,000 homes.

No decision has been made to build Site C. BC Hydro is currently in Stage 2 – Project Definition and Consultation – of a five stage process for evaluating Site C. Stage 2 involves extensive engineering, environmental and technical work to further define the project and update decades-old studies.
Three rounds of public consultation are planned in Stage 2. Pre-consultation concluded in February, and the first round of project definition consultation took place in May and June. A second round is underway now – from October 1 to November 30, 2008.

Feedback will be used along with technical and financial input to refine elements of the potential project’s design and to assist in defining the scope and nature of ongoing technical, environmental and other studies.

The Chamber believes this is a critically important process for BC. We encourage all chambers to participate in this process to ensure that all sides of the issue are addressed during the consultation phase.

Have your voice heard:
The discussion guide and feedback form are now online at www.bchydro.com/sitec
You can provide feedback and learn more by:

Meetings are being held in the Peace River region, Prince George, Vancouver and Nanaimo.

  • Completing a feedback form online: www.bchydro.com/sitec
  • Written submissions:  sitec@bchydro.com  or PO Box 2218, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3W2
  • Visiting the Community Consultation Office: 9948 100th Ave, Fort St. John
  • Toll-free phone: 1-877-217-0777
  • Fax: 604-623-4332 or 250-785-3570

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Mobile Business Licence Project Update

The following is an excerpt from a recent interim report published by the Provincial Government on their Mobile Business License Project – part of their plan to enhance BC’s small business environment.  The BC Chamber of Commerce has long felt that both municipal government and businesses would benefit from this type of program.  The results of this report have confirmed this belief, and will support our encouragement of government to move forward with this project.

Okanagan-Similkameen Mobile Business Licence Pilot Project – Interim Report

On January 1, 2008, 17 municipalities in the Okanagan-Similkameen implemented a 12-month Mobile Business Licence Pilot Project. The pilot project built on the success of the pre-existing inter-municipal licensing system in the North Okanagan, expanding it to include an additional 11 municipalities. This report reviews the Mobile Business Licence Pilot Project, as of August 2008, to determine if the Mobile Business Licence has reduced red tape for small business owners and increased compliance for municipalities.

Participating Muncipalities
Armstrong; Enderby; Coldstream; Spallumcheen; Vernon; Lumby; Salmon Arm; Summerland; Oliver; Westside; Lake Country; Kelowna; Osoyoos; Peachland; Princeton; Penticton; Keremeos.

Mobile Business Licence Sales 2007 and 2008

Licences Sold    

Jan – Aug 07*

Jan – Aug 08

a) Non-resident licences**   



b) Intermunicipal licences






More than one licence



Total revenue from mobile licence sales ***



* Excludes data for Spallumcheen



** Held by 667 businesses



*** For 2008, does not include non-resident licences



Municipal Administrators
An email with five survey questions was sent to all 17 participating municipalities, requesting their assistance in gathering information for the report. Responses were received from 14 of the 17 municipalities.
An overall positive impression of the pilot project was reported by 79 per cent of responders. According to 57 per cent of responders, it requires the same amount of effort as their previous system.
Municipalities identified the following items they would like to see addressed:

  • Clarify certain definitions, such as “storefront”.
  • Pro-rate Mobile Business Licences purchased during the calendar year.
  • Review the use of the term “Mobile Business Licence” since it causes some confusion over what is a mobile business (e.g.,mobile vendors working only in one municipality are requesting a Mobile Business Licence).
  • Issuing more than one Mobile Business Licence to a business when they purchase more than one type of base business licence.

The Steering Committee, consisting of municipal representatives, will review these items and determine what, if any, changes may be appropriate.
The Ministry has indicated that the increase in the number of licences and the increase revenue can be attributed to increased compliance and the increase of regional economic activity. After the first year of operation, a more detailed analysis will be undertaken to determine what proportion of the increase is attributable to each factor.

To view the full report visit: http://www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/resource-centre/pdf/MBL.pdf

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Sustainability 2008: Canada’s Green Investment Conference

Sustainability 2008 is the premiere event of an annual series of CleanTech investment conferences to be hosted in Vancouver.

The event is open to the public and free to attend for all pre-registered guests (non-registered attendees will be charged $35 at the door). Attending the event is an excellent opportunity to network with investors and business leaders and learn about the CleanTech sector.

Date: October 24th and 25th
Location: Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center, 999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Time: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (both days)

To pre-register and for additional information: www.sustainability2008.com The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of the CleanTech sector among members of the investment community. Some of the industries covered will include:

  • Alternative energy
  • Clean transportation
  • Carbon reduction
  • Environmental management
  • Water and air purification
  • Green construction
  • Agriculture

A number of industry experts will be brought in to provide presentations to attendees. Topics discussed will include:

  • Industry Overviews
  • Key Themes and Trends
  • Analyzing Individual Companies
  • Private and Public Capital Funding
  • Canada’s Position Internationally
  • Individual Stock Recommendations

For additional information, please visit the event website at www.sustainability2008.com, or call 604-270-3999 (Toll Free: 1 877-999-0122).

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National News

Chambers Awarded Accreditation at Canadian Chamber AGM

At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual general Meeting held recently in Quebec City, 12 community chambers from across the country received their accreditation.

“We are proud to recognize these chambers as examples of effective, well-managed and stable organizations making a difference in communities across the country – keeping “the voice of business” loud and strong” said Perrin Beatty, Canadian Chamber President and CEO.

To achieve accreditation, a chamber must meet minimum standards in critical areas, including areas of governance, operations, membership programming, policy and advocacy and strategic planning.

Accreditation is aimed at continuous operational improvement and standards of local chambers of commerce and an elevation of their profile across the country as effective and well-managed organizations.

“Accreditation is the acknowledgment that member chambers have been successfully evaluated against rigorous national standards of policy, service and performance,” said Roslyn Castleden, President of the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada.

Developed by a team of chamber executives, in conjunction with provincial and territorial chambers and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the accreditation program is operated by an arms-length organization called the Chamber Accreditation Council of Canada (CACC). The CACC is composed of representatives from across the country. The Council meets twice per year to review applications for accreditation.

Accreditation is a means of reinforcing and clarifying to the community at large what activities are pivotal to a chamber’s functions and determines the chamber’s unique value proposition vis-à-vis other organizations in the marketplace.

Chambers of commerce and boards of trade that are successful in achieving the requirements for accreditation are recognized each year at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting.

The chambers of commerce and boards of trade that received accreditation at this year’s AGM in Quebec are:

Alberta Chambers of Commerce
The Brampton Board of Trade
Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce
Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce
Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce
Saint John Board of Trade
Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce
Whitby Chamber of Commerce
La Chambre de commerce de Lévis
La Chambre de commerce de St-Georges
La Chambre de commerce et d'industries de Trois-Rivières
La Chambre de commerce et d'industrie de Mirabel
La Chambre de commerce et d'industrie Les Maskoutains

For more information about accreditation, contact:

Roslyn Castleden

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National Do Not Call List

As of September 30th, 2008, the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) was brought into effect in Canada.  This means that consumers will be able to register on the DNCL which will prevent telemarketers from calling home, cell and fax numbers that someone has registered. 

Telemarketers have 31 days to remove consumers from their lists after they register on the DNCL.  Those registered consumers will be able to file a complaint if they are still receiving calls after the 31 day grace period.

For telemarketers, these new rules mean:

  • that you cannot contact those consumers who have registered on the DNCL;
  • maintaining their own do not call lists; and
  • registering with the Do Not Call List.

These rules apply to all persons who make calls or send faxes to sell a product or service, or to request donations.  Calls made for the purposes of market research, polls or surveys are not considered telemarketing calls and are exempt.

Exemptions to the new DNCL include:

  • registered charities seeking donations;
  • newspapers looking for subscriptions;
  • political parties and their candidates, and
  • companies with whom consumers have an existing commercial relationship. 
  • Telemarketing calls and faxes sent to businesses are also exempt. 

Penalties for violating the new DNCL rules include fines up to $1,500 for an individual and up to $15,000 for a corporation, for each violation.

For more information visit: https://www.lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/

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