Hill Days 2022: The triumphant return of in-person meetings!
From May 30 – May 31, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce hosted our first in-person Ottawa event in over two years, and did it ever feel good!
Our annual Hill Days are a great opportunity for our members to meet with Parliamentarians and government officials in Ottawa to discuss the most pressing issues facing Canadian businesses.
This year, the Chateau Laurier served as home-base as members of several of our councils and committees came together to hear insights from fantastic keynote guests, meet with policy-makers and network over the course of two days.
Read on for some of the biggest highlights and takeaways!
Monday May 30 – Day 1
Our keynotes for the day included The Hon. Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, who kicked things off with an address on the importance of immigration to our economic recovery and communities.
At lunchtime, The Hon. Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism & Associate Minister of Finance joined us to discuss national and regional economic development.
Members of our Cyber. Right. Now. campaign had the opportunity to meet with several government representatives, including Tracy Gray, Small Business Opposition Critic, to discuss cybersecurity concerns and opportunities. Members had an especially outstanding and productive meeting with Michèle Mullen, Director General of Partnerships, Risk Mitigation and Secure Architecture at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. There were also informative discussions with Shared Services Canada and Public Services and Procurement Canada. The day’s meetings concluded by significantly advancing a key goal of the Cyber. Right. Now. campaign – to create stronger connections between the government and agencies involved in cybersecurity and the private sector. We are now working toward scheduling the first Cyber. Right. Now. industry-government forum for this coming fall.
Our Western Executive Council met with several western MPs to discuss a strategy for Canada’s West, one that recognizes its needs and builds on its strengths.
Members of our Net-zero Council engaged with representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Natural Resources Canada, as well as the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, Public Services and Procurement Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada to discuss a transition to net-zero that maximizes economic opportunities while streamlining major emission reductions. The Council looks forward to continued engagement through the recently announced Regional Tables designed to drive economic opportunities in a prosperous net-zero future.
Our E-Commerce and Digital Trade Strategy Council had great engagement with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and Ministers’ offices regarding the urgent need to update Canada’s privacy legislation. They also began discussions about elements that are needed when it comes to digital trade agreements.
Members of our National Cannabis Working Group (NCWG) met with representatives from Health Canada and Finance Canada and reiterated the significant first-mover advantage Canada has internationally in terms of demonstrating how to properly and effectively regulate the growing industry. While there are positive signs of recognition of cannabis as a growth sector, our members discussed the need for an urgent statutory review of the Cannabis Act to ensure a holistic approach is taken, one that includes economic, public health, and public safety considerations.
We had over 250 guests join us for our Hill Day reception at Metropolitain Brasserie Restaurant, which included remarks by The Hon. Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transportation.
Tuesday May 31 – Day 2
To kick off Day 2 of Hill Days 2022, we were joined by Yves Giroux, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, to discuss the Canadian Economy. From federal fiscal policy, including the impacts of high inflation and rising interest rates on the government’s bottom line, to defence spending, he covered it all!
At lunch time, we were joined by The Globe and Mail’s Marieke Walsh and Joël-Denis Bellavance of La Presse for a conversation on Canada’s media and political landscapes.
Our Critical Minerals Council had a variety of meetings with politicians, ministerial advisors and senior officials from ISED, Natural Resources Canada, Global Affairs Canada and Small Business and Export Promotion. The Council, which is co-chaired by Teck Resources and Toyota, is dedicated to advancing business leadership on resource extraction, processing, usage, export and recycling. Members underlined that executing an effective critical minerals strategy is vital to reinforcing Canada’s global brand as a secure and sustainable supplier for domestic and international markets as well as facilitating investments required to expand national critical minerals stockpiles and supply chains.
Conversations were particularly interesting in ensuring decision-makers understood the links between issues such as the critical minerals supply chain, Canada’s economic competitiveness and national sovereignty, particularly in the North.
Our Transportation and Infrastructure Committee had several meetings, including with the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, as well as Transport Opposition Critic Melissa Lantsman, MP George Chahal, and representatives of Transport Canada to discuss wealth-generating infrastructure investments and a competitive transportation sector.
Members of our Health Innovation Committee met with Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, Adam van Koeverden, and had meetings with Health Canada representatives and the Health Opposition Critic, Dr. Stephen Ellis.
Our Digital Economy Committee talked economic growth, technology adoption, digital inclusion and the urgent need to update Canada’s privacy legislation with a number of Parliamentarians and government representatives including Canada’s Chief Information Officer, Catherine Luelo, as well as Ben Lobb, Digital Government Opposition Critic and representatives from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Our International Affairs Committee had wide ranging discussions regarding international trade with senior officials from Global Affairs Canada, as well as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Small Business and Export Promotion Arif Virani, and Opposition Critic for International Trade and Supply Chain Resilience Randy Hoback.
Our Food Supply Council took the opportunity to meet with staff from the Minister of Agriculture’s office, as well as Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Pest Management Regulatory Agency to discuss the direct correlation between Canada’s agricultural and economic issues.
Canada’s agriculture and agri-food sector, including producers, manufacturers, retailers and more, has contributed to our country’s reputation as a food superpower. We need to be looking towards creating the economic conditions that spur innovation, improve environmental sustainability and mitigate the impacts of threats to supply chains like severe weather events, global conflicts, and labour stoppages.
After two years of nothing but virtual meetings, it felt great to be back in action in-person! A big thank you to all our members for your work on behalf of Canadian businesses, and of course, to all the Parliamentarians and government representatives who took the time to meet with us.
Until next time!
Photo Credits: Denis Drever Photography