The city of Thunder Bay welcomed chambers from across the country this past weekend for the 2018 Canadian Chamber Annual General Meeting (AGM). The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) carried the provincial voice and was joined by representatives from the Assiniboia, Winkler, Dauphin, Winnipeg, Steinbach, and Brandon chambers.
Over the course of the weekend, delegates renewed acquaintances with colleagues in the chamber network and discussed important business issues facing our various regions. Speakers from the federal government, the private sector, and the chamber highlighted the challenges facing our business in regards to skilled labour, creating the programs designed to address new technologies, how a national pharmacare plan could greatly impact the chamber network and the continued push for a full review of taxes in Canada. Also highlighted was the impact of cannabis legalization and examining the economic development opportunity the industry presents for businesses and communities across the country. As we have the past several years, the Manitoba and Saskatchewan delegations held a joint caucus. Both our provinces share a desire to bring a stronger voice to the national AGM to better share the issues facing our members and residents.
A great deal of time was spent debating policy submitted from across the country. One particular policy drew the attention of MCC was centred around rail service, specifically implementing a consultation required before Notification of Service Changes that would ensure and demonstrate community input into railway actions resulting in service disruptions, reductions, closures or abandonment. Despite best efforts of MCC and the submitting chamber in northern B.C., the policy was defeated. At times, the policy debate became heated, but at the end of the day, the network passed several policies that look to improve our members and all Canadians.
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce would like to extend our congratulations and thanks to past chair Kyle Romaniuk, who was sworn in as a new member of the Canadian Chamber Board of Directors. Kyle is a committed chamber advocate who has enhanced the provincial chamber network with his marketing and branding expertise, including the re-brand of MCC. Kyle will bring a strong voice from Manitoba to chamber’s national board.
We would also like to congratulate our director of policy and communications, Cory Kolt, who was recognized for his five years of service to the chamber and to Winnipeg Chamber CEO Loren Remillard who celebrated ten years.
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce were terrific hosts this year, and we are already looking forward to the 2019 AGM hosted by the St. John’s Board of Trade.