October 26th, 2020

Chamber of Commerce finalizes proposals


By Yoos, Cam on July 20, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce has approved new policies and submitted them to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to be voted on at the October annual general meeting.

“While COVID-19 has required a whole new set of supports and advocacy for business, the pre-COVID issues have of course not gone away,” says Cyndi Vos, Chief Executive Officer, Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce.

“Policy development within the Alberta Chamber network takes place at a grassroots level, which means that policy is developed by chambers/boards of trade to respond to a business issue.”

A main issued that has been at the forefront of the Chamber’s advocacy efforts at all levels of government is broadband. The Chamber will present its Telecommunications and the Canadian Economy policy, which asks that the federal government continue to prioritize broadband and fibre.

“The federal government promised $5 billion-$6 billion for the Universal Broadband Fund in the 2019 budget, aiming to get 100 per cent of Canadians connected to broadband by 2030. The fund follows 2016’s Connect to Innovate fund, which pledged $500 million to connect rural communities by next year,” says Vos.

“However, there is still no clear imperative or strategy to make this happen, and there is no motivation for large telecom companies to extend service to areas that are too hard or expensive to connect.”

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce will be recommending that the Government of Canada solicit a competition-based, pro-consumer plan that is supportive of Mobile Virtual Network Operations, as well as suggesting setting aside spectrum for new entrants to the Canadian market and to consider removing foreign investment restrictions in this sector. They also are requesting for the timeline for the 50 Mbps and 10 Mbps goals laid out in the Universal Broadband Fund be moved up to 2025 rather than 2030.

The Chamber’s other policy is the Reuse of Greywater to Help Address Unsustainable Water Resource Demand, which asks that the government consider providing incentives to ensure Canada is on the leading edge of innovation and technological advancement.

“It is imperative that the business community be represented in the water policy debate,” says Vos. “The Chamber is uniquely positioned between the interests of companies and communities, and it has strong strategic relationships with Canadian and Albertan government agencies and committees of jurisdiction to integrate and optimize the use of our finite drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater resources to address many of our countries’ long-standing water needs.”

Canadians are one of the world’s highest global users of water, generating around 300 litres of wastewater each day per person, where the average person in a developing country consumes between 20 to 30 litres of water per day. The Chamber is asking the Government of Canada to provide incentive measures to ensure Canada leads the development of water reuse management practices, and recognizes the global demand for water crisis.

This October, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce will join the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in their annual general meeting to present these policies for the investment and betterment of communities locally and nationally.

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