It’s March and as has been done for the past 127 years, the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce will host its Annual General Meeting (AGM) next week. The 128th AGM will feature Hendrik Brakel, Senior Director Economic, Financial & Tax Policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) who will deliver a speech called Economic and Political Outlook 2017-2018: Canada in a Volatile World.
We also take the time to reflect on the past year of advocacy work. The policy and advocacy efforts of your Peterborough Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the business community are the core work of the organization.
With the help and support of our Chamber members, the Peterborough Chamber had four approved policy resolutions (two at the provincial level and 2 at the federal level); we published 52 issues of the Voice of Business page, executed the Small Business Too Big to Ignore campaign, and handled dozens of media enquiries on issues involving all levels of Government.
As a result of a letter writing campaign and several meetings, Peterborough City Council is continuing with their Tax Ratio Reduction Plan. The approved policy resolutions to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) were
“Identifying the cost drivers behind Electricity Prices” and “Creating a Flexible Apprenticeship Program”. We also co-sponsored two others at the provincial level. The Peterborough Chamber Policy Committee and Board of Directors also approved the submission of two policy resolutions to the CCC on “Advancing Canadian
Competitiveness using short line rail” and “Restoring Canada’s Innovation Competitiveness”. Both of these resolutions passed at the 2016 CCC AGM. The Peterborough Chamber also co-sponsored one other resolution. Our Small Business Too Big to Ignore campaign resulted in two round table discussions with 28 businesses, 6 Voice of Business articles, three reports, and a policy resolution for the 2017 OCC AGM in Sarnia calling on the Government to expand the Red Tape challenge to include a sector for Small Business.
To connect our members with government the Peterborough Chamber hosted roundtables with MP Maryam Monsef, ON NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, WSIB, the OCC on electricity prices, the sharing economy, nuclear refurbishment, Small Business Too Big to Ignore, and VIA Rail. We participated in four OCC task forces, Queen’s Park Day, Peterborough Day at Queen’s Park, and the Ontario Economic Summit where the Premier answered our submitted question on hydro rates. We also recognize the importance of strengthening business through community. As such, we are members of the MP’s Jobs and Economic Development Council, the Mid-Size Cities project, Sustainable Peterborough, the Local Employment Planning Council, and Board Members of Peterborough Economic Development and the Innovation Cluster.
In 2016 we established a new advocacy event. Called The Power Hour, this event brings together our four elected leaders for a one hour conversation and Q & A about business issues. We also seat one of our local municipal councillors at each table, giving everyone a chance to engage directly. This event replaced our annual Gala, and is
representative of our efforts to shift our focus to the needs of our members and the barriers that they face.
The Peterborough Chamber hosted the Shining Waters Rail initiative for 7 years. In 2016 it was recognized as the catalyst for a ground breaking proposal by VIA Rail to establish a new High Frequency Rail line between Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, and through Peterborough to Toronto, providing high frequency, high speed passenger rail service to four of Canada’s largest Cities. Highway 407 is one year closer to its 2020 completion, which will see our 2004 OCC policy resolution come to fruition with the completion of the 407 to the Highway 115/35 intersection.
Finally, in an editorial published in our Voice of Business page we issued a public call for a more positive attitude, identifying the top ten opportunities for Peterborough and the people, companies and organizations driving them. The result was a call for a #TeamPtbo approach, which has been firmly established on local social media and constantly referred to by local community leaders.
Thank you again to our members for their support, and the Policy Committee and Board of Directors for #strengtheningbusiness with us in 2016.
Read the full Policy Report Card
We’ll see you at the AGM!