FREDERICTON, NB – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual general meeting and conference in Fredericton over the past weekend - showcasing New Brunswick’s capital city to 350 business leaders from coast-to-coast. It is estimated that the economic impact to the city’s local businesses was nearly one million dollars.
At the conference, delegates supported a policy resolution submitted by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce that is aimed at attracting and retaining higher numbers of international students. The resolution calls on the federal government to change rules regarding the ability for international students to have expanded opportunities to gain work experience while studying in Canada, to remove unnecessary red tape and the extend the post-graduation job search period.
“The measures we are advocating for will allow international students to obtain more Canadian work experience, which is important for employers,” said Krista Ross, Fredericton chamber CEO. “This measure also encourages these students to make connections with business and the community generally while they are studying - which is key for retention efforts.”
The Fredericton chamber worked closely with the New Brunswick Student Alliance with input from the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations preparing the resolution.
“It was important to us to work with the student community in order to ensure that our recommendations were targeted to international students’ specific needs,” added Ross. “This measure addresses some of the big issues in New Brunswick such as skills, entrepreneurship, aging and declining population.”
The resolution adds to the Fredericton chamber’s ongoing work with both immigration and student retention.
“Earlier this month, the chamber signed a 2-year agreement with the New Brunswick Student Alliance that gives their members - including nearly 10,000 post-secondary students in Fredericton - access to our networking events, committees and member rates on larger events,” said Ross. “We also founded the Choose Fredericton event and campaign and run three immigrant-entrepreneurship support programs.”
The policy recommendations now officially become a part of the national chamber’s advocacy efforts at the federal level.
Discussions at the conference were dominated by the tax changes proposed by the federal government in July. Finance Minister Bill Morneau gave a presentation and took questions from delegates at the conference.
“We appreciate that the finance minister came to the conference to face the business community, but his comments exacerbated the concerns of delegates,” said Ross. “The overall feeling was that Minister Morneau still does not fully appreciate the concerns of business - particularly our members in the accounting field that have been clear and unanimous that the effect of the proposed legislation will go far beyond what is being stated by the government.”
Delegates also passed an emergency resolution that opposed the proposed tax changes with more than 98% of delegates voting in favour.
“There’s no question that the proposed tax changes were the biggest topic at the conference and the issue that has most galvinized the business community in many years,” added Ross. “The conference came at a great time for the business community - it gave chambers from across Canada to get in the same room as discuss the proposed changes at length. Our work on this issue has just begun.”
The official consultation period for the proposed changes ends on 2 October 2017 - a mere 75 days after the discussion paper was released on 18 July 2017.
The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, a nationally accredited organization with nearly 1,000 members, is an active business organization engaged in policy development and advocacy that affects the competitiveness of our members and the Canadian business environment. The Chamber’s vision is 'Community Prosperity Through Business'.
Contact: Krista Ross, CEO, Fredericton Chamber of Commerce – (506) 458-8006