UPDATE: Peace region chambers of commerce disagree with BC Chamber on vaccination passports

UPDATE: The article has been changed to add comments from the FSJ and District Chamber of Commerce. FORT ST. J…

UPDATE: The article has been changed to add comments from the FSJ and District Chamber of Commerce.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Dawson Creek, Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd Chambers of Commerce are voicing their opinions on vaccine passports.

All three chambers sent out releases on Facebook that they do not support the BC Chamber of Commerce’s stance on the proof of vaccination program announced on Monday.

According to President of the Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce, Patricia Adamson’s release on Tuesday, neither the board of directors nor the membership were consulted by the BC Chamber of Commerce regarding its support of the Province of B.C.’s vaccine passport.

“We believe this is an overreach of government into the already complex day-to-day operations of our small businesses,” wrote Adamson on Tuesday. “The board recognizes the daily challenges that our businesses are experiencing due to the pandemic restrictions, labour shortages, supply chain issues and weather-related impacts. We also recognize the additional burden to employers who initiate and support a passport program compounded by the concerns of who will regulate and enforce customers as they enter their business.”

The Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce asks government to instead consider extended clinic hours to meet the needs of northeastern B.C. businesses and residents.

Executive Director of the Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce, Naomi Larsen, says they did not give their approval as a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

“The Chetwynd Chamber of Commerce and myself have been trying our best to serve all businesses in our community as well as our members during this pandemic and will continue to do so,” said Larsen on Tuesday. “Our businesses and members will need our help and understanding now more than ever.”

Jerrilyn Kirk, Executive Director of the Tumbler Ridge Chamber of Commerce, says they do not support the BC Chamber’s position or the layout of the order.

“We see this as a complication that will add hardship for our local small business,” said Kirk.

As for the Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce, the board is still trying to find out where their approximately 400 members stand on the passport. Similar to the other Peace region chambers, they weren’t consulted on the BC Chamber’s stance.

President Chuck Fowler says the chamber will survey its members to find out where they’re at. However, he says the only thing that matters is that the chamber helps its members through the policy changes.

“These things are coming down the pike so quickly. It’s a matter of figuring out how we’re going to add value to our membership and help through the policy changes,” said Fowler.

“At the end of the day, BC public health is going to do what they’re going to do.”

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