Focusing Forward Together: BC Chamber of Commerce AGM and Conference Will Shine a Light on Important Issues Facing Businesses

Chamber Network

Members of the BC Chamber of Commerce will be in Whistler, British Columbia, from May 31 to June 2 for their 71st AGM and Conference. More than 170 delegates from across the province will gather to discuss important issues impacting businesses. 

Earlier this month, the BC Chamber of Commerce shared the results of its 2022 Collective Perspective survey, which will frame many of the discussions over the course of the conference. Notable findings from the survey include:

  • 87% of business owners feel the costs of doing business have become worse in the last year.
  • 68% of respondents identified the ability to recruit and retain talent as the most important factor for the success of their business.
  • In addition, 76% said the cost of labour and 70% said the availability of labour have become worse over the last year.
  • 63% of respondents view the prospects for their business as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in the next three to five years.
  • Despite a positive outlook for the future, respondents’ perceived support of their business by governments has seen a sharp drop in the last year – local government dropped to 67% from 80%; provincial government is at 48%, down from 63%; and the federal government sits at 50%, a 16% drop.

“We know that businesses, especially small- and medium-sized, are struggling with rising costs and finding solutions to their labour challenges,” says Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “While the provincial government has unveiled the Future Ready Skills Plan to tackle the skills gap, we need all levels of government to take urgent and meaningful steps to reduce the costs businesses face so they can continue to operate, create good paying jobs and keep people employed.”

Economic reconciliation is an increasingly important focal point for the BC Chamber of Commerce. The provincial organization wants to better understand how individuals and organizations can support Indigenous-led initiatives and businesses. As chambers of commerce and boards of trade continue their own reconciliation journey, delegates will be encouraged to reflect on the challenges that Indigenous communities continue to face and how they can help create more equitable opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and support their growth.

Over the course of the conference, delegates will hear from a variety of speakers including representatives from the provincial government and opposition parties, industry leaders, and subject matter experts.

Members will also participate in the association’s annual policy sessions where over 60 resolutions will be tabled, debated and voted upon. The resolutions cover a broad spectrum of provincial and federal issues critical to the success of British Columbia’s business community such as agriculture, exports, housing, health care, public safety and crime reduction, rural development, and transportation. Resolutions that receive 2/3 majority support from the members attending the sessions become BC Chamber of Commerce policy for three years.

“I’ve had the privilege of travelling the province over the last year, visiting over 50 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade to hear what’s on the minds of our business communities,” says Dr. Greg Thomas, Chair of the BC Chamber of Commerce 2023 Board of Directors. “What I have heard – loud and clear – is the need for policies and programs that make British Columbia a more welcoming place to do business. Our robust grassroots policy development process provides the BC Chamber of Commerce with a unique perspective on issues and allows us to be a positive and bold voice on behalf of business.”

Additional information about the AGM and conference can be found on the BC Chamber of Commerce website.