By Matt Benger, Policy Analyst
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM: a policy nerd’s haven; two days of lively discussions and panels; a gathering of chamber and business leaders from across Canada, including Manitoba chamber network representatives.
When you put these people in a room together the topics of discussion can quickly become heavy. How can we solve infrastructure issues? How do we mitigate climate change and transition to a net zero economy?
Here are a few key takeaways from some of the many thought-provoking panels our team attended at the Ottawa AGM (click to view the agenda).
On critical infrastructure:
- Infrastructure is stretched thin: We need investment, but the way the economy is now, it does not lend itself to investing.
- We need to be looking at the next 50 to 100 years: Creating a robust and resilient infrastructure takes a lot of time and money, and we need to get ahead of the issues.
- Canada’s brand is tied to trade infrastructure: We need strong leadership if our nation is to improve its infrastructure to compete with the rest of the world and promote Canada internationally.
- Don’t forget about digital infrastructure!
On the path to net zero:
- Collaborative effort: The transition to net zero requires global collaboration. No one person is to blame and no one person is the solution. We all need to band together to achieve the net zero goal.
- Growing pains: We need to make tough decisions and there is no easy answer. In a fast-moving world, we have to look long-term and know that eventually we will get there.
- Beyond the ‘what’ and ‘why’: We already know the issue and why we are transitioning to net zero. We need to address the ‘how’, which requires changes in policy and regulations, but we can’t wait for government. Businesses and associations should push the change with support from government.
- Talk to individuals, too: Employers and government representatives should also be talking to individuals about their personal net zero transition.
On priority business sectors:
- Infrastructure (including digital/technology) is needed to support growth. These two things are inextricably linked.
- Jobs and skills: There is work needed to identify where the jobs are, where the workforce shortages are, and which skills are required to fill the jobs.
- Entrepreneurship: Chambers across the country must support an environment that promotes entrepreneurship and the creation of new businesses.
- How We Get There Matters: Establishing a Path to Net-zero in Canada
- 2022 Proposed Policy Resolutions
- Business Data Lab