Dione Chambers

Provincial chambers’ policies stir debate

Greater Vernon Chamber delegates in attendance at AGM in Kamloops

Business was at the forefront in Kamloops this weekend, as chambers of commerce from across the province debated provincial policy.

With a strong representation from the Okanagan Valley, the Greater Vernon Chamber was pleased to see policies they support passed by more than the required two-thirds majority vote at the annual general meeting (AGM) and policy session.

Some of the most notable policies passed included; pressing the pause button on BC’s proposed Speculation Tax; minimizing the undue negative impacts of the Employer Health Tax, and protecting funding for local tourism marketing and projects.

“The message we are sending to the provincial government as a unified voice on behalf of business, is for the government to push the pause button on potentially damaging policy,” said Markus Schrott, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

“In regards to the changes announced this spring to the MRDT, the chambers have long advocated for the tourism funding, and that funding should not be used for anything other than its originally intended purpose. Recognizing that tourism is a major economic driver for our region, we were pleased to see this policy passed.”

“We have heard from our members regarding the negative impacts of the Employer Health Tax, from local businesses to non-profits,” said Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber general Manager.

“An MSP task force was created in 2017 to make recommendations for the Employer Health Tax and the provincial government went against the task force’s recommendations. This included the timing of the rollout to avoid double dipping. With the passing of this policy, we are hopeful the government will reconsider its proposed changes to the Employer Health Tax.”

The BC Chamber Of Commerce AGM and conference is held in a different community each year. The event is the largest annual business policy forum in the province. Every year, member chambers of the BC Chamber develop and submit policies for the consideration of their peers.

This year, 52 policies were up for debate at the BC Chamber of Commerce AGM.

A complete list of all policies will be available at vernonchamber.ca once final edits are completed by the provincial organization.

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