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Chamber responds to BC throne speech

VERNON – The B.C. government has a vision for the new legislative session but the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce wonders what it all means for business.

On Feb. 8, Premier John Horgan and the government unveiled its speech from the throne.

“The throne speech raises a lot of questions but provides very few answers as the document is lacking any significant detail,” said Robin Cardew, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

The throne speech highlights specific actions the government will take in the coming months, including:

  • Tying minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation;
  • Introducing a cooling-off period on home purchases during a volatile market;
  • Helping prepare people for the jobs of the future with a generational commitment to develop the talent B.C. needs over the next 10 years to close the skills gap;
  • Managing B.C.’s lands and resources through a new ministry that supports the goals of reconciliation, economic development and environmental protection.
“Business owners and non-profits will want to know exactly how linking minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation will impact them. How often can employers anticipate that labour-related costs will be climbing in a year and which metrics are being chosen for those increases?” said Cardew.

“As for the housing market, there is no question that affordability for British Columbians is a significant issue. However, what does a cooling-off period mean? What should buyers, sellers and real estate professionals expect?”

There also wasn’t any information on how training will be rolled out to address the labour shortage or how a new ministry will balance economic development with a focus on the environment and reconciliation.

“More details on these initiatives may be part of the provincial budget Feb. 22, and we hope the budget and the budget process, of which the Chamber was a part of, contains the necessary information for businesses to plan and execute meaningful measures to come out of the past and focus on our vibrant future,” said Cardew.

“The government must understand that damaging the viability of businesses will not result in a healthy and vibrant economy. However, we are receiving hints through the speech from the throne that business owners may field the brunt of costs. We hope for properly laid plans to meet the goal of building a stronger B.C. for everyone and look forward to the details of the budget,” said Cardew.

 
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:    
Dan Proulx, General Manager   
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
P: 250-545-0771              E: manager@vernonchamber.ca