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The first, comes as a result of the problem with the implementation of the HST in this province. The policy asks that the provincial government work with all stakeholders, public and private, to explore the creation of public engagement models that can be used during the proposal and implementation of major taxation initiatives in the future.

“Essentially we’re just calling for them to reach out to the stakeholders and listen to them on new taxation initiatives,” explains Chamber President Brent Hodson. “We feel that the contribution that the public stakeholder will make can influence the policies that they will create.”

The second policy passed is for foreign worker protection. The city’s Chamber was involved in a pilot program a couple years ago on immigration, that educated them about various programs.

“Because of that we’ve had a few workers come into our offices and talk about some of the horror stories that either themselves had faced or someone they know has faced in our region,” says Hodson.

The policy asks the provincial government to review the enforcement they have already in place to ensure that regulations and standards are being followed, as well as to review the penalties for employers not meeting those regulations and standards. It also calls on the government to ensure that funding for existing foreign worker assistant agencies and settlement service continue, and to expand the funding of those organizations to include help for foreign workers and temporary foreign workers.

“With this policy we’re trying to ensure that foreign workers’ rights are protected,” says Hodson, “so that we don’t see human trafficking and slavery happen.”

At the beginning of this year these policies were submitted to the Policy Review Committee for fine tuning, resulting in what was presented at the AGM. The policies will now go into the B.C. Chamber policy book that will be distributed to every MLA in the province.

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