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Earlier this month, the chamber’s Municipal Government Affairs Committee submitted its annual policy brief to Fredericton City Council. When authoring our briefs to government, we use feedback from our membership through our surveys, consultations with stakeholders and partners (including City staff), and the expertise and insight of our committee and board of directors. Gathering information and input from a variety of sources allows the committee to fulsomely consider the issues that matter to chamber members.

Krista Ross, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce on the Alberta oilsands
In March 2015, Krista Ross, CEO of the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce attended a two-day tour of the Alberta oilsands. This also included a visit to Calgary to see the business side of the province’s oil and gas industry. The tour was hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as part of their Partnership for Resource Trade initiative.

The Brian Gallant Liberal Government delivered its much­anticipated first budget on March 31, 2015. Overall, the cuts were probably not as deep and tax increases not as intense as some had predicted, but all New Brunswickers are impacted in some way. Ministers Melanson and Boudreau have also been laying the groundwork for a much “tougher” budget for 2016­17 throughout the pre­budget process and the Engage NB program review, which has continued in the immediate aftermath of releasing this year’s document.

Platforms

Now that we are officially passed the half-way point of the 2014 election period, each of New Brunswick’s five registered political parties are starting to lay their cards on the table. Central to these policy and funding announcements/promises are the party platforms, all of which have now been released. These platforms form the basis on the parties’ message to the voting public and in theory, form the foundation of the winning party’s mandate for the next four years.

A big part of the chamber’s raison d'etre is to make connections – member-to-member connections, connecting members with the right services and benefits, acting as a bridge to government officials and providing critical information to the membership.

We accomplish many of these goals by making our own connections through working with partner stakeholders. A few examples:

Our relationship with the Neil Squire Society has made access to their programs and services much more known and accessible to our members. Their “Working Together” program is a wage subsidy initiative that makes it easier for employers to hire persons with disabilities by providing financial and other support. For more information, contact Kristine Johnston at (506) 450-7999 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On 17 September 2014, the chamber’s professional development offerings begin for 2014-15 with a Lunch and Learn titled “How to Avoid Looking Stupid When Using LinkedIn.” Heather MacLean, CMO of TaylorMade Solutions and Chair of Ignite Fredericton’s board of directors will guide participants through how to get the most out of this business-specific social media platform. Heather states:

On June 24, 2014, David Campbell of Jupia Consulting released a report titled “Our Path to a Stronger New Brunswick: Potential New Brunswick Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resource Investments.” Commissioned by the Province of New Brunswick, the report looks at the potential economic impact of five prospective large-scale projects:

Questions That Count – 2014 NB Election

In April, we hosted the leaders of all five of New Brunswick’s registered political parties in our “Political Leadership Series” as the first phase of our pre-election activities. That initiative allowed the parties to generally address chamber and community members on topics of their choosing that related to the province’s business environment.

Now in the second phase we are moving on to more targeted information through our Questions That Count. The questions were chosen by our Provincial Government Affairs Committee after consultation with the chamber membership and board of directors. They were provided to all five parties on 11 June 2014, who were asked to respond by 11 July 2014. We will start releasing the responses received during the week of 21 July 2014.

New Brunswick’s Small Business Investor Tax Credit

New Brunswick’s Small Business Investor Tax Credit initiative is an underutilized program that chamber members should venture to learn more about. Particularly with enhancements in 2013 and 2014, the program has expanded its scope and (perhaps because it isn’t used as often as it could be) doesn’t have a cap on its use. Below is a brief overview of the program, with full details found here: http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/finance/taxes/credit.html. Chamber members are encouraged to contact a legal and/or financial professional before applying to the program.

By now hopefully you have made yourself familiar with the federal government’s anti-spam legislation (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, or ‘CASL’), coming into force on 1 July 2014 and consequently have taken a long, hard look at your emailing practices. Over the past year we have provided information in Insight Magazine, through our bi-weekly newsletter, at a lunch and learn session and via social media. If your organization has not yet become familiar with the new legislation and regulations, I refer you to the helpful resources available on the Canadian Chamber of Commerce website: http://www.chamber.ca/resources/casl/. Please also contact the Fredericton chamber office with specific questions/scenarios – we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction.