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So many great things to touch on after this past week’s #CCCAGM16, it’s hard to know where to begin! We kicked the weekend off with registration where our team greeted a bevy of familiar faces. Delegates were treated with what Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, Perrin Beatty, described as ‘celebrity status swag bags’ loaded with goodies including a selfie stick and a number of keepsakes from our generous sponsors.

Saturday began with the Chamber Competition when Darryl Stann, Chief Risk Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance at Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., shared a few words with the crowd. With amazing projects from finalists including the Burnaby Board of Trade, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, the competition proved fierce.  However, it was the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that took home the gold through its efforts to reduce tiers, embrace digital technology coupled with the creation of an inspiring campaign to help their members as well as celebrate 125 years in business. The Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce followed closely behind winning silver at this year’s Chamber Competition with the Burnaby Board of Trade earning bronze. On behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we would like to congratulate all those chambers that brought forward inspiring and innovative projects to share with their colleagues from across Canada.

Another highlight of the weekend included the welcoming remarks of Sunday morning’s opening breakfast. Delegates were greeted by Vice Chief Edward (Dutch) Lerat on behalf of FSIN, Hon. Tina Beaudry-Mellor as well as Councilor Bob Hawkins who welcomed delegates to Regina on behalf of Mayor of Regina, Michael Fougere.

Later, delegates received some insider scoop on the U.S. elections via Paul Frazer, President of PD Frazer Associates and Special Advisor on Canada-U.S Relations to the President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce as well as Laura Dawson, Director Canada Institute at the Wilson Center.

Delegates also heard from panelists Derek Gross, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Finance with Canpotex; Gary Houston, Vice President of Stakeholder Engagement for Energy East; Peter Jackson, Vice President of Potash Operations with The Mosaic Company and Fiona Murray, Vice President of Industrial Products, CN and board director with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The much-anticipated policy resolution debates unfolded Sunday afternoon and resumed Monday morning, where controversial recommendation 22: To Maximize the Economic Benefit of Recreational Marijuana was successfully endorsed by delegates along with other resolutions including Employment Insurance (EI) Reform and the Increase of GST/HST Filing Threshold.

A well-deserved local social evening hosted by the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce at the RCMP Heritage Centre encouraged delegates to sample delicious hors-d’oeuvres including spicy perogies – a personal favourite, sway to some jazzy tunes, and embark on an interactive tour of the centre.

Monday morning we were back at it again! Following an informative Affinity Partners breakfast with representatives from Esso, First Data, 1-800-Members and Competitactics, Chamber policy resolution debates resumed.

Policy debates were followed by a lunch and learn centred on the dangers of cyber fraud risk and how best to stay protected featuring Scott Smith, our Director of Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy as well as Shane Troyer of Grant Thornton LLP. The lunch and learn ended with an invitation from the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce to attend the 2017 AGM & Convention in Fredericton, New Brunswick from September 23-25.

Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada, delivered a riveting talk on the important role of music as a driver of employment and economic growth in Canada during our Music Cities workshop. Check out our Music Cities toolkit.

Before we knew it, it was time for the #CCCAGM16 gala dinner, where our emcee and entertainment, illusionist Derek Selinger, wooed the crowd with various jaw-dropping tricks. Even Perrin Beatty couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly how he lost his suit jacket.

Following a delightful meal that included a Saskatoon berry-glazed cheesecake for dessert, we continued with the recognition of our Outgoing Chair David Paterson. Laughter and even some tears were shed as Michael McMullen, Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors, shared some touching words of appreciation for David Paterson. The swearing-in of Chair Duncan Wilson was equally as moving as Wilson’s good friend and colleague Carole Taylor delivered an emotional tribute to Duncan. Our newly-appointed Chair took a moment to recognize the CCEC award winners including the Staff Person of the Year, Sandra Dueck, Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce; the Executive of the Year from a chamber with 500 or less members category, Valerie Roy from the Atlantic Chambers of Commerce; the Executive of the Year from the 500 to 1,000 members category, Lynda Moffat from the St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce and the Council of Excellence Award recipient David Angus, formerly CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber and now Vice President, Chamber Relations, with Chambers Plan.

Chamber accreditations were handed out to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, the Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce, the St. Thomas & District Chamber of Commerce and the Yarmouth and Area Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations to each of these chambers for their continued pursuit of excellence. 

The evening concluded with a post-gala reception where delegates laughed and danced their way through the Macarena and other hits spun by DJ Chris from Regina’s the Lot Club.

So there you have it, folks! This year’s #CCCAGM16 was one for the books. We look forward to next year’s #CCCAGM17 in beautiful Fredericton, New Brunswick. Planning will begin shortly in collaboration with our 2017 hosts the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you to all for such a memorable year.

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