• OP ED by Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce

    B.C.’s chambers of commerce and boards of trade are integral to our communities’ health and prosperity

    February 13 to 17 is Chamber of Commerce Week in British Columbia. It’s an opportune time to recognize and celebrate the meaningful work undertaken by the chambers of commerce and boards of trade in communities across the province.

    Whether it’s advocating to local, provincial or federal governments for changes to public policy, developing innovative programs and initiatives to support business, or leading charitable works that contribute to social well-being, local chambers of commerce and boards of trade are the trusted “boots on the ground” that understand the unique needs of their communities. 

    They are convenors, collaborators and catalysts for positive change and are integral to creating sustainable, healthy communities.

    As the largest and most broadly-based business association in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce represents 100 local member chambers of commerce and boards of trade and, through them, 36,000 businesses of every size and from every region in the province. We champion the collective voice of our members to create an environment in which B.C. businesses prosper, families thrive and our communities flourish.

    British Columbia is an expensive place to do business. And so, our immediate focus is to help create an environment where businesses succeed. However, our collective purpose is much greater and focuses on the symbiotic relationship between successful businesses and healthy communities - one cannot exist without the other.

    And so, contrary to what many people may assume, we advocate also on important societal issues that exist in all our communities. 

    For example, there is a critical dearth of affordable housing in communities across the province that makes it impossible to attract and retain workers. Layer on the lack of inter-community transportation and dependable childcare both of which prohibit parents from returning to/entering the workforce and it’s no wonder our businesses, especially in rural communities, struggle to attract and retain the workers they need.

    Of equal concern are the mental health and addictions challenges seen in nearly every community. Those challenges affect our personal and professional lives equally, and too many of us have experienced their impact on our family members, our friends and our co-workers.  We cannot expect to have a productive economy, without a work force that feels supported.  Given the breadth and depth of our collective reach, our members know we must play a role in finding lasting solutions to these problems. 

    Finally, while B.C. has made gains on Indigenous reconciliation and participation in the economy, much more needs to be done. Across the province, many of our members are undertaking the work to listen, to learn from and to collaborate with their Indigenous partners. We know, indigenous economic reconciliation is inextricably linked to deeper, lasting reconciliation.

    With predictions of a recession in 2023, the need to address some of our greatest challenges with increased urgency, social and economic, is clear.

    The BC Chamber of Commerce, along with its network of local chambers of commerce and boards of trade advocate on all issues that will help to create an environment where businesses prosper, families thrive and our communities flourish.

    I encourage you to check out your local chamber of commerce or board of trade to learn about the integral role it plays to your community’s health and prosperity. I am proud of the work they undertake and you should be too.

    See the official proclamation by the provincial government: click here

    Fiona Famulak
    President and CEO 
    BC Chamber of Commerce 

    Ritu Khanna 
    Executive Director 
    South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce


    Thank you to our generous Pillar Partners

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