Creating Dialogue

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce advocates on behalf of our membership and the Tri-Cities business community through a number of avenues. One of the ways in which we support our advocacy efforts is by providing our members with access to government officials and community influencers through roundtable discussions and luncheons. See below for a summary of the discussions that have taken place.

BC’s Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Wilkinson

On March 19, 2019, we hosted BC’s Leader of the Official Opposition, Andrew Wilkinson, and MLA for Coquitlam – Burke Mountain, Joan Isaacs, for an intimate roundtable discussion with a dozen local business owners.

Our members asked questions on a range of urgent business issues:

  • Labour market and difficulty in finding staff
  • Compounding taxes and the rising cost of doing business
  • Changes to labour relations such as sick leave and a statutory holiday pay
  • Spikes in commercial property taxes

Wilkinson and Isaacs were sympathetic, and echoed the need to improve affordability in the province while avoiding undue burdens on business. Wilkinson stressed the importance of having businesses rally together and around organizations like the Chamber to maximize their advocacy efforts. He spoke about how change in policy can be influenced by grassroots campaigning, as long as the business community is able to effectively come together and increase the visibility of important issues.

BC Minister of Labour, Harry Bains

On November 14, 2018, we hosted BC’s Minister of Labour and MLA for Surrey-Newton, Harry Bains, for a lunchtime roundtable discussion with a number of business owners from the Tri-Cities.

Our members asked questions on a range of urgent business issues:

  • Labour market and difficulty in finding staff
  • Changes to the Labour Relations Code (with specific concern regarding Secret Ballot Voting for union confirmation)
  • Changes to the Employment Standards Act on issues such as sick leave and statutory holiday pay
  • The costs of labour law changes for the business community

Minister Bains explained the government’s rationale for reviewing the Labour Relations Code and the Employment Standards Act, saying that it would update our labour laws to reflect BC’s modern economy and job market. Secure full-time permanent employment has continued to be replaced by increasing levels of less secure temporary and part-time work. Technology has also transformed the economy and workplace, leading to decentralized and virtual work environments, as well as a greater demand for flexible work arrangements. Participants cautioned against changes that would add significant costs to an already burdened business sector.