As the voice of business in Brandon, the Chamber of Commerce works with its members on both policy and advocacy to ensure the strongest possible business environment for our members. This means hearing from members on what could be done municipally, provincially and federally to help them do business better, and then working to make those ideas a reality. As an organization, the Chamber works to research and identify issues of importance or concern for business, often through committees. Through rigorous work and consultation, the Chamber sometimes develops position papers or policies on these issues.
Provincial Policies Approved by Manitoba Chambers
Every year, chambers from across the province come together to discuss and debate policy that reflect the grassroot challenges and needs of the Manitoba businesses. Representatives from the Brandon Chamber attended this year’s Manitoba Chamber AGM & Business Summit on May 13th, 2021 and, we were pleased to get support for approval of two renewed policies and two new policies.
- Flexible Funding for Post Secondary Institutions
- Support for First Nation Development Areas (FNUDAs)
- Tracking Students & Funding Post Secondary Institutions
- Creating a Manitoba Post-Secondary Transfer Credit System
City of Brandon Budget
Every year, the Brandon Chambers of Commerce participates in pre-budget consultations with the City of Brandon through stakeholder meetings and by participating in public consultations and attending budget deliberations.
Resolution Policy Development
As part of it’s ongoing advocacy efforts, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors approved three policy resolutions in March 2021, to call the government(s) to action on varying issues impacting business.
- (2021) Creating a Manitoba Post-Secondary Transfer Credit System
The Chamber supports the development of a more streamlined and efficient model of transfer credits which will create a more accessible postsecondary education system that benefits our learners, our employers, and our economy.
- (2021) Tracking Students & Funding Post-Sec Policy
The Chamber recommends development a provincial identifier system of tracking students form K-12 and throughout post secondary education.
- (2021) Meals-Entertainment Claim Policy
The Chamber recommends modifying business tax deduction legislation to encourage spending in restaurant and hospitality industry.
Amid COVID-19, the BCC has been unwavering in our commitment to Brandon businesses. Through countless calls and meetings we’ve advocated for real relief, in particular for businesses forcefully affected by public health COVID-19 prevention orders.
The Chamber of Commerce network has been vocal from a number of angles:
- Calling on the government to avoid blanket approaches to public health restrictions.
- Encouraging a risk-based approach and evidence based decision making to determine to business closures and openings.
- Asking for clear guidelines for, and transparent communication with, businesses so that they can openly safely.
- Leveraging the private sector in support of vaccinations
- Pushing hard for a ‘Support Local’ sensibility
- Encouraging continued financial supports for those industries impacted most.
- Letter to Dr. Roussin and Premier Pallister (January 10, 2021)
- Letter to Dr. Roussin and Premier Pallister (June 10, 2021)
- Letter to the Editor (March 6, 2021)
- Letter to The Premier and Dr. Roussin (February 23, 2021)
- Correspondence from Minister Eichler (December 30, 2020)
- Letter to the Premier and Dr. Roussin (December 22, 2020)
- Letter to the Premier and Dr. Roussin (December 2, 2020)
Every year, the Brandon Chamber of Commerce submits a pre-budget commentary to the provincial government’s public consultation process. In our most recent meeting, with Minister Fielding, we shared our priorities to restart the economy and provide strategic investments through several recommendations including:
- Providing continued supports for those industries impacted most by COVID-19
- Focus on investments that will help retrain and reskill Manitobans affected by the pandemic.
- Reduce red tape to make it easier for businesses to navigate these difficult times
- Commit to providing support, resources, and development for the long term success of the Rural Manitoba Economic Development Corporation (RMEDC)
- Work with the business and education sectors on a strategy to establish a new framework to better identify the needs of business and the development of education programs to meet the growing demand for future employment.
Red Tape Reduction
The Chamber believes that a well-designed and effective regulatory environment supports businesses, protects consumers and contributes to healthy communities. The Chamber supports policy that improves efficiencies and timeliness of permitting, provides clear and transparent guidelines that businesses can rely on, and removes roadblocks to risk-taking, innovation and investment.
Our Government Relations Committee has advocated and consulted with both the municipal and provincial governments on ways to reduce red tape with recommendations provided through our Red Tape Reduction Policy.
Brandon School Division Budget
Through stakeholder meetings and consultations, the Brandon Chamber provides feedback to the school division on their annual budget and to keep updated on the school division’s Continuous Improvement Plan. In the fall of 2020, we once again met with school division representatives to discuss priority issues including value for tax dollars, outcome based learning (supported by the Continuous Improvement Plan), and impacts of COVID-19.
Workforce Development, including business concerns around labour challenges and skill gaps, continues to be a priority focus for the Chamber.
Skills & Opportunities Summit
To garner a better understanding of the challenges around workforce development, our Workforce Alignment Committee hosted a Skills & Opportunities Roundtable Summit, in February of 2020, with over 70 participants representing a diverse group of community and business leaders. The resulting report identified 5 broad themes: the importance of soft skills, the shift in work/life balance, education and business working together, and the need for retention.
The Chamber also supports other Workforce Development initiatives including hosting the Future of Workforce Luncheon, participating in the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project, helping to host the Aboriginal Job Fair and co-hosting the annual Westman HR Conference and developing policy to advocate for flexible funding for post secondary institutions so that they can address employer’s labour needs more effectively.
Municipal Election 2022
In the fall of 2022 there was a Municipal Election. The Chamber was active in representing business interests by hosting a debate with the two mayoral candidates, which was recorded and aired on WCGtv. For city council candidates, we contacted all candidates to fill out a yes/no questionnaire, which were then converted into scorecards. These were separated by ward and then distributed to all members and the public.
Do you have advocacy concerns that are affecting your business?
If you would like to talk about issues affecting your business or have any questions on our advocacy work, contact our General Manager, Connor Ketchen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 204-571-5342.