BC Government’s Lobbyists Act Causes Red Tape, Muffles Voice of Boards of Trade and Chambers of Commerce
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Surrey Board of Trade, Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to Attorney General David Eby requesting that the Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce industry be exempt from the BC Lobbyists Transparency Act.
“This is yet another request to the BC Government by the board of trade/chamber of commerce industry to remove the red tape of the Lobbyists Transparency Act, which makes doing our job almost impossible. The mandate and purpose of boards of trade and chambers of commerce is to instigate change at all levels of government. As we have ongoing, sometimes daily, conversations with political representatives to help business, the burden of reporting with the new lobbying rules increases our administrative burden. This is red tape that is not needed now, and not needed in the future for our industry.”
Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade are embedded in the fabric of our communities. Our mandate is to give voice to business. In healthy communities, the public sector and private sector co-exist in a balance that creates employment and healthy economies and enables sound policies. This isn’t new, but it is being threatened by onerous requirements that miss their target. We are putting historic relationships at risk with this paternalistic red tape that is effectively censuring important conversations.”
Bruce Williams, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
“Chambers of Commerce are organizations that are vital to the collective well-being of the business community, and the public at large. The lobbyist registry discourages our participation due to the burden of the reporting requirements which many of us simply don’t have the capacity to manage. We ask that the government recognize the importance of our role and set up systems that encourage, rather than discourage, valuable input from organizations like ourselves.”
Bill Collette, CEO, Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce
“We, the boards of trade and chambers of commerce, are the intersection point between businesses, all four levels of government, education institutions, community organizations, the greater community and First Nations — providing a platform and a voice for those who may not otherwise have either. The current level of red tape is completely detrimental. It inhibits the voices that need to be heard to ensure effective governance by our elected leaders."
Mary Ruth Snyder, Executive Director, Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce
In 2020, significant changes to BC’s lobbyist registration regime came into effect. These latest reforms were statutory and regulatory. Statutory, because the implementation of the Lobbyists Registration Amendment Act, 2018 will transform the Lobbyists Registration Act into the Lobbyists Transparency Act. Regulatory, because the Lobbyists Transparency Regulation will replace the Lobbyists Registration Regulation.
WHAT THIS MEANS: If you communicate with BC government officials as part of your business or organization, the revised rules apply. Under the new rules, violations could result in monetary penalties of up to $25,000 and a ban on lobbying of up to two years.
We asked the Ministry to consider four ways to improve the Lobbyists Transparency Act 2020:
Read the letter here: Letter: Re: Exempting Chambers and Boards of Trade from BC Lobbyists Transparency Act
CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
President & CEO Surrey Board of Trade
CEO, Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce
Mary Ruth Snyder
Executive Director, Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce
MEDIA CONTACT: Jim Zeeben
Communications and Project Manager, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community for all through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require. In 2020, the Chamber Champions initiative added a powerful resource to provide leadership and guidance to our organization. Current Champions are: BC Ferries, Big Wheel Burger, CHEK News, CIBC, Knappett Projects, Mike Geric Construction, MNP, PARC Retirement Living, RBC, Scotiabank, Seaspan, Spinnakers, TELUS Business, and the University of Victoria. Find out more at: https://www.victoriachamber.ca/
Since 1863, The Chamber has served Greater Victoria by working together to build good business and great community through advocacy, networking, professional development and innovative services as changing times require.