It’s that time of year when the Ontario Chamber Network comes together to set the lobbying priorities and agenda.
Over the past several months, chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been researching and developing suggestions on how to help improve the business climate and ultimately the Ontario economy. These issues rise from the grassroots of individual communities and land on the provincial stage at the Ontario Chamber Annual General Meeting.
This year’s meeting is being hosted by the Muskoka Lakes and Gravenhurst Chambers of Commerce and is themed “Stronger Together”. Attending for the Peterborough Chamber will be President & CEO Stuart Harrison, Chair of the Board of Directors Ben vanVeen, and Policy Analyst Sandra Dueck.
The policy debate will feature 29 policy resolutions including 23 new resolutions.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce has a recurring resolution around creating flexibility in the apprenticeship system to allow for larger ratios in smaller urban and rural communities. The needs of rural and small urban communities in the apprenticeship realm are different from the GTA. Our member businesses have told us they have to turn people away because of the ratios. With a major gap in workforce in the skilled trades, our area is missing opportunities to keep people local and fill jobs in our community.
The Peterborough Chamber Policy Committee and Board of Directors also approved submitting a
resolution around the transition of the Ontario College of Trades back to the Ministry of Advanced Education.
We learned from our members that two programs developed through the college were valued and
important to keep. The first is to keep the public registry of businesses and status of their membership with the government. Members indicated they used this feature to promote and encourage potential clients to be aware of their standing and record in the skilled trades.
The second recommendation is to ensure new Canadians with skilled trades can easily access the Ontario economy. Other topics that will be discussed during the policy debates include addressing high electricity prices, how government deals with private sector contracts, highway connectivity, strengthening the connections between the business community and our post-secondary institutions and creating a stronger business/commerce curriculum.
In our workshop sessions, we will be discussing the advocacy plan for red tape and continued advocacy around the cannabis legislation.
This work is a signifcant part of the work a Chamber does. Through the policy resolution process we are able to bring the voice of our 900 members along with the rest of the Chamber Network to government as one voice. This influence helps create the conditions for growth and improves competitiveness of our business community.
Stay tuned as we will update our members on the results of the conference!