The icy shoreline of Lake Winnipeg served as a stunning backdrop to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce’s 88th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and inaugural 2019 Manitoba Economic Summit. More than 100 delegates from across the province — from Winnipeg to Thompson, Brandon to Swan Valley, and Gimli to Dauphin — arrived in Gimli, also known as New Iceland, for two days of keynotes, policy discussion, and expert panelists and presenters.
“There are significant shifts happening in the labour market, and businesses are facing powerful disruptions in the way of fast-moving technology, evolving job roles, and in the rise and fall of sectors and industries,” says Chuck Davidson, MCC President & CEO. “Our goals with this summit were to host experts whose messages would be directly beneficial to members of our local chambers and business leaders. Delegates walked away energized, ready to address the challenges facing Manitoba and take advantage of opportunities.”
On Thursday, May 2, representatives from more than 20 local chambers of commerce participated in the MCCs 88th annual general meeting, which saw the election of two new board members, Beverlie Stuart of the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) and Eric Wiens of Stantec.
The meeting was followed by lively policy debate and discussion led by MCC Policy Committee Chair Brian Kelly, on topics ranging from skills development and workforce readiness to northern 911 service, oil pipeline projects, school tax amendment proposals, air travel expansion, and more.
Davidson says that policy development and advocacy is a big part of the MCCs mandate as a provincial chamber organization.
“Our policy book contains almost 60 well-researched statements on issues affecting Manitoba’s competitiveness — most of which have been submitted by local chambers in our network for consideration then voted in at AGMs — and others which have come from the MCC policy committee and approved through the same process. We believe it’s one of the most significant roles we play, because together, our 10,000 business members have a much stronger voice than when they’re speaking alone.”
The 2019 Manitoba Economic Summit was the first of its kind for the MCC, with keynotes from The Honourable Perrin Beatty, President & CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; The Honourable Ron Schuler, Manitoba Minister of Infrastructure, and Stuart Murray, Host Committee Co-chair, Manitoba 150.
“We hosted sessions on climate change and business resiliency, economic development and adapting to tech and demographic changes, community branding and its benefits, as well as workforce challenges. Our panelists and speakers offered sound knowledge of these issues, an understanding of how to approach them in a practical way, and in many cases, recommended resources to turn to for guidance.”
The MCC prides itself on designing networking opportunities to members and the Manitoba Economic Summit delivered. Summit delegates were treated to a lively welcome reception put on by the Gimli Chamber of Commerce, our gracious hosts, and featuring Viking craftsmen, warriors, and artisans, as well as Icelandic fare.
“Delegates connected with other chambers and business owners/operators throughout the two days, which is great, especially if you’re from a rural and northern region that’s a bit more remote or sparsely populated,” says Davidson. “It’s so important to be able to put faces to names, and to have access to other business owners and community leaders so you can discuss common issues and challenges.”
Next year, the 89th annual general meeting and 2020 Manitoba Economic Summit will be held in May in the city of Winnipeg with the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the largest in the MCCs 71-chamber network, serving as gracious hosts.
Very special thanks to host chamber, Gimli Chamber of Commerce, Presenting Sponsor CN, and to all valuable supporters, including Platinum Sponsors: Travel Manitoba, Johnston Group, chamberplan.ca; Gold Sponsors: Manitoba Pork, Payworks; Silver Sponsors: World Trade Centre Winnipeg, RevGenApps.com, Print Pro.