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Policy Positions

  • Creating Equity in the Property Tax System of British Columbia

    What we most often hear from local business leaders and owners is their commercial property taxes do not stand the test for value. We question whether a municipality can justify its decision that determines a business consumes up to four times more municipal services than a resident. The Chamber’s position is that fair and competitive residential and business taxes, a competitive cost of living, as well as a regional approach to economic development, contributes to a healthy, resilient and growing economy. This policy, Creating Equity in the Property Tax System of British Columbia, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2010 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Filling the Gap through Economic Immigration (2016)

    Chamber members are citing challenges in hiring qualified workers as a barrier to growth. In urban centres with a high cost of living like Vancouver, Toronto, and Victoria, it becomes particularly challenging to fill gaps at the mid- to lower-end of the employment spectrum, particularly for skilled entry-level as well as low-skilled difficult-to-fill positions. Businesses then turn to hiring foreign workers, but are often frustrated by complex bureaucracy and lengthy timelines. The federal government can effectively adjust the system through a demand-driven focus to immigrant selection, such as by awarding points in the Express Entry process for a job offer, without requiring a Labour Market Impact Assessment. This policy, Filling the Gap through Economic Immigration, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2016 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Increase Apprenticeship Completions in the Skilled Trades

    Canada needs to increase the number of certified skilled trades workers if it is to avoid shortages in the skilled trades.

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  • Increasing Rental Inventory Through Fair Tax Treatment

    The Chamber believes that a healthy rental market is important to business operations providing housing for employees at all levels of the employment spectrum including entry-level employees. Employers are increasingly finding the issue of rental availability to be a hurdle to recruitment and retention of employees. In some areas, extremely low vacancy rates may have adverse effects on the ability of businesses to grow. This policy, Increasing Rental Inventory Through Fair Tax Treatment, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2012 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Measure of Overall Tax Burden

    The Chamber calls upon the provincial government to develop a comprehensive report highlighting inter-municipal tax competitiveness and to work with other provinces to develop an inter-provincial comparison. It requests that information be combined with the cost of living in each jurisdiction to provide a fuller tax picture to businesses, individuals, and elected officials. This policy, Measure of Overall Tax Burden, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2006 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and the BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Police Amalgamation

    The Chamber recommends that the BC government 1) establish provincial standards for the integrated delivery of police services by police forces where municipal boundaries are immediately adjacent, and 2) where necessary, legislate amalgamation of police services in areas where established standards are not being met and where uniformity would benefit service delivery and public safety. The Chamber has advocated vocally on this issue for the last several years. The province is committed to police service integration and is not considering ordering amalgamations. This policy, Police Amalgamation, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2011 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Proposed National Marine Conservation Area Reserve – Strait of Georgia (2016)

    The beauty of British Columbia is intrinsically tied to tourism, external investment, and the health of our communities. In 2003, Canada and British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) Reserve in the southern Strait of Georgia. The proposed boundary is within a heavily populated area with high levels of private, commercial and public activities. Vancouver Island’s coastal communities stand to be greatly affected by the proposed NMCA Reserve, namely their real estate prices, their businesses, as well as their way of life. This policy, Proposed National Marine Conservation Area - Georgia Strait, was originally drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2012 and endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year. The last update was in 2016.

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  • Protecting Our Public Infrastructure

    Canadian businesses needs public funding to continue in a sustainable consistent manner that accrues to communities for infrastructure improvements and upgrades. To that end, The Chamber recommends that the federal and provincial governments establishes project selection criteria that prioritizes infrastructure funding requests based on criteria such as national/provincial economic interest, return-on investment, and job creation, as well as the that the provincial government develop a long term infrastructure strategy and plan. This policy, Protecting Our Public Infrastructure, was jointly drafted by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber, Greater Victoria Chamber as well as the Vancouver Board of Trade in 2016. The policy was endorsed by both the Canadian Chamber and BC Chamber with their member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Provincial Role in Municipal Amalgamations

    This recommendations is for an amendment to the Community Charter to a third option for instigating municipal amalgamation; that being amalgamation by order of the province. Currently the Community Charter provides for a municipality to call for a referendum question or for the minister responsible to call for a referendum question. It does not provide for the provincial government to call for amalgamation. This policy, Provincial Role in Municipal Amalgamations, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2012 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Public Investment in BC Ferries’ Infrastructure

    BC Ferries is a key transportation link that directly affects the quality of life on Vancouver Island and contributes to the B.C. economy. The Province has established minimum service levels and has set price caps. This leaves BC Ferries' options to realize sustainable business operations as: increase fares (up to a point), seek additional funding sources, or secure additional revenue streams. Despite its efforts to reduce operating costs and even with 2015 increases in ridership, BC Ferries increased its fares April 2016. Fare increases can affect employment opportunities and property values, especially in coastal communities, as well as B.C.’s GDP and tax revenues. This policy, Public Investment in BC Ferries’ Infrastructure, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2016 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Rebalancing Municipalities and Regional Districts

    Regional districts need to be held to a similar accountability and achieve efficiency in the use of taxpayer dollars. The Local Government Act does not work well with the Community Charter and the balance between these two levels of local government has been lost. This policy, Rebalancing Municipalities and Regional Districts, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2015, and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Regional Transportation Authorities

    The Chamber recommends that a Regional Transportation Authority be established in the capital region and other urban municipalities. This policy, Regional Transportation Authorities, was drafted by the Greater Victoria Chamber in 2013 and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year.

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  • Reviewing Regional District Accountablity

    Due to changing demographics, economic, political, social and structural conditions with regions throughout B.C., regional districts can find themselves in conflict with the private sector. The Chamber recommends the provincial government establish a task force responsible for reviewing the scope of regional districts. This policy, Reviewing Regional District Accountability, was drafted by the Vancouver Board of Trade in 2016, and endorsed by the BC Chamber and its member chambers/board of trades the same year. The Greater Victoria Chamber adopted this policy in 2016.

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As a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber supports each BC Chamber policy. View the current BC Chamber Policy Manual for  policy details.

Likewise, as a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Victoria Chamber supports each Canadian Chamber policy. View the current Canadian Chamber Policy Manual for policy details.

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