Several policy resolutions authored by the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce were approved by the over 300 delegates at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) AGM in Saint John, New Brunswick recently.
The policy resolution process sets the advocacy agenda for the CCC for the coming year. They take these positions from Chambers such as ours to the federal government on our behalf. This is a significant part of the work a chamber does. Through the policy resolution process we are able to bring the voices of our 900 members along with the rest of the Chamber Network to government as one voice. The influence of our voice helps create the conditions for growth and improves the competitiveness of our business community.
This year the Peterborough Chamber introduced two new policy resolutions.
The first, titled Addressing Barriers to Succession Planning calls for a level playing field for those looking to pass their business on to a family member. The resolution was developed in conjunction with Chamber member Park Place Financial.
“We want to help family business owners plan properly for the exit of their business. The problem is right now it is more tax favourable to sell the business to a third party than a member of their own
family,” Darrell Wade, co-founder and Family Business Advisor, Park Place Financial. “What does that do for the long term of our economy? It changes the landscape of our Canadian economy. Think about the framework our country has been built on and the foundation of the business owners today; it’s all been small and medium sized businesses that have been able to pass on, in their families, from generation to generation. Those family businesses are at risk because it is becoming unsustainable to sell to a family member.”
The resolution also presents three other recommendations around succession planning, including expanding the scope of existing small business financing programs to incorporate succession planning as a legitimate reason for business financing. The Peterborough Chamber worked with the BC Chamber of Commerce on these recommendations.
The second titled Investing in Building Community addresses the rise of social enterprise and the importance of supporting these companies. The resolution was developed in conjunction with Chamber member Ashburnham Realty. The second part of the resolution offers suggestions to develop structures that can help with the financing of community building projects and property development to reduce pressure on government and its limited resources.
Peterborough also worked with several chambers in Ontario and Alberta to reintroduce a 2016 policy resolution titled Restoring Canada’s Innovation Competitiveness. The Red Deer Chamber of Commerce brought the resolution to the floor. It passed as presented and included the following suggestions to the federal government:
A policy resolution titled Advancing Canadian Competitiveness Using Shortline Rail that the Peterborough Chamber worked on with the Cape Breton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Regina Chamber of Commerce was also reintroduced and passed. The resolution calls on the federal government to create a dedicated short line capital funding program (low interest loans/matching funds, etc.) that is accessible to all short line companies and to establish a tax credit program to assist short line rail companies in making capital investments.
The Peterborough Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored on a policy resolution from the Tillsonburg & District Chamber of Commerce that asks the government to expedite the process by which business obtains the duty drawback on tariffs. The resolution titled Enhancing Tariff Claims Process to Address Business Needs & Encourage Trade Growth was passed as presented.
In all, 76 resolutions were debated with 8 failing. The 2020 AGM will be held in Ottawa next September.