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Inside the 2023 AGM & Convention

Inside the 2023 AGM & Convention

October 12 - 14 we gathered in Calgary for our AGM & Convention. We welcomed delegates from across the country to vote on policy resolutions, hear from thought leaders and have a little fun.

From October 12 – 14 in Calgary we welcomed delegates from across the country to vote on policy resolutions, hear from thought leaders and have a little fun. 😊 🎉

Here are some key highlights and takeaways from the weekend!

Thursday, October 12

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith welcomed delegates to Alberta during our Thursday night reception.

Friday, October 13

Candace Laing chaired our Annual Meeting of Members and expressed her appreciation for the valuable efforts of the Canadian Chamber Network in the previous year. We are pleased members appointed Candace to a second term as Chair of the Board. Subsequently, Perrin Beatty, our President and CEO, took the stage to outline the actions needed to energize Canada’s economic future.

The way forward is in this room. You all have a vital role to play in restoring Canada’s reputation, driving sustainable growth, and ensuring a bright economic future for the next generation.

The Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Key Takeaways

  • Canada’s productivity has fallen to pre-pandemic levels due to a lack of private sector investment and innovation, leading to stagnant economic growth.
  • Among our fellow G7 countries, five of which outperform us in productivity, we rank last in terms of the percentage of GDP spent on research and development.
  • To appreciate the value of innovation, we need only look at some of our most economically crucial sectors. Our world-class agriculture sector is on the cutting edge of technology and AI-enabled innovation. Our energy sector has reduced emissions through new forms of carbon storage and by repurposing and developing low-carbon alternatives, such as sustainable fuels and small modular nuclear reactors.
  • Another major factor in our declining productivity in Canada is our lack of investment in upskilling workers. Canada needs skilled and specialized talent to fill 400,000 new jobs in growing and evolving fields, including energy, tech, and advanced manufacturing.
  • Canada cannot regulate itself to economic growth. Simplifying our overly complex regulatory framework and tax system is the most effective way we can ease the burden of doing business.

Value of the Canadian Chamber Network

We then shared our Shaping the Future of Business Success: The Value of the Canadian Chamber Network video with attendees. Through this video, we are aiming to tell a compelling story about how, as a network, we create the conditions for our collective success. The Canadian Chamber Network gives businesses more of what they need to succeed: insight, influence and impact.

The Honourable Anita Anand joined us for a keynote address and Q&A

I know that we have to continue to build an economy that works for everyone. In a country like Canada, with geographic diversity and high interest rates, we need to listen and learn, then we need to pivot and respond.

The Hon. Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board

Key Takeaways

  • Minister Anand stressed government adaptability and efficiency, especially through Bill S-6, which modernizes federal regulations to reduce business burdens, enhance digital interactions, simplify regulations, and promote cross-border trade.
  • The government is investing in EV battery plants to position Canada as a global leader, potentially creating 250,000 jobs and adding $48 billion to the economy. These efforts also include building charging infrastructure for public EV access.
  • The government is actively promoting affordable housing, removing GST on purpose-built rentals to boost supply and collaborating with local municipalities to expedite housing construction.
  • When asked about the CEBA loan, which was extended in large part due to the efforts of the Canadian Chamber Network advocacy, and the impending deadline, she emphasized the significance of assisting businesses both during and after the pandemic. She acknowledged that while this might not be the news some members and businesses were hoping for, the government now bears the responsibility of prudently managing public funds while carefully balancing competing financial priorities.

Blueprint to the Future: Leading in A New World of Work

Eric Termuende, workplace culture and leadership expert, took the stage to share his research-backed blueprint for successful leadership, empowering the leaders in the room to build teams that are more productive, engaged, creative and innovative.

The fastest way to speed up human connection is to slow down.

Eric Termuende

Key Takeaways

  • The talent shortage and the decline in unemployment rates can’t be solely attributed to the pandemic. Other contributing factors include a global decrease in birth rates, an aging population with a high retirement rate, and the transformation of the workforce due to the emergence of new businesses and organizations embracing Industry 4.0 technologies such as machine learning.
  • In an unpredictable future with a persistent talent shortage, building exceptional teams and creating great places to work are essential. Achieving this involves fostering trust, reducing friction, and cultivating a culture of experimentation.

Build a Deep Sense of Trust

  • Trust is vital for constructive intellectual conflicts, idea-sharing, commitment, accountability, and achieving results.
    • Building trust involves slowing down to speed up human connections, focusing on who people are rather than what they are working on, asking for help, and discarding generation stereotypes.

Isolate and Remove Friction

  • Identify and address the root causes of friction through small shifts.
    • Creating time and space to have conversations

Foster a Culture of Experimentation

  • Function from a place where failure is not feared but seen as a part of the learning process.
    • The leader should also demonstrate vulnerability, openly acknowledging their own failures and being more transparent about them. This fosters a culture where people feel encouraged to learn from their mistakes. Sharing past mistakes helps us progress and creates a sense of connection through shared experiences.

Armchair discussion

To round out our presentations on Day 1, our Chief Economist, Stephen Tapp joined Edwin Cass, Chief Investment Officer at CPP Investments, for a thoughtful armchair discussion on the state of our economy.

Policy Debates

With over 60 resolutions to work through, delegates convened in our main ballroom for the first round of policy resolution debates. 🎤  

The resolutions adopted from these debates help set our advocacy agenda for the upcoming year.

After an eventful day, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce hosted a social evening at the Studio Bell National Music Centre!

Saturday, October 14

Inclusive Growth Awards

Celebrating those working towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive economy.

Our Inclusive Growth Awards recognize chambers of commerce, boards of trade and their members across the country that do exceptional work to remove barriers and create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive economy. We were honoured and proud to shine a spotlight on these incredible people and organizations that are working to advance economic reconciliation and foster diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the workplace.

Congratulations to Our 2023 Winners

Chambers of Commerce / Boards of Trade

Members of Chambers of Commerce / Boards of Trade

Underrepresented Entrepreneur

Special Recognition

Vanessa Génier, Founder & CEO, Quilts for Survivors and Member of Timmins Chamber of Commerce, alongside our Senior Director, Future of Work Diana Palmerin-Velasco.

A member of the Missanabie First Nation in Ontario, Vanessa, an Indigenous mother, initiated a Facebook group with the purpose of inviting fellow quilters to collaborate in crafting quilt blocks as a tribute to residential school survivors. Her organization is dedicated to fostering comfort and healing through the creation and gifting of quilts, with a primary goal of ensuring every surviving individual from residential schools receives a quilt.

To learn more about our Inclusive Growth Awards and to hear all our winners’ stories, click here.

We welcomed the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business to the stage to discuss with the Canadian Chamber Network what small businesses in Canada need to succeed.

Minister Valdez, a former small business owner, addressed the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs and elaborated on her advocacy efforts on behalf of small businesses.

Key Takeaways

  • The Minister discussed initiatives to boost funding for marginalized communities, such as women, indigenous groups, racialized businesses, and 2SLGTBQ2+ individuals. The Women’s Entrepreneur Strategy (WES) was highlighted which aims to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. She also made mention of the VISA and Mastercard commitments which will reduce SME credit card fees, potentially saving $1 billion over five years.
  • She highlighted the CEBA loan forgiveness option, the government’s $49 billion support for pandemic-hit businesses, wage and rent subsidies, and the importance of gathering business feedback, specifically recognizing the persistent hardships experienced by the tourism and restaurant sectors.
  • She stressed the Canada Digital Adoption Program‘s significance for SMEs looking to adopt digital technologies, covering expenses like IT equipment, technology implementation, staff training, and related materials and support services.

Jodie Parmar, Head of Project Development for Western Canada at Canada Infrastructure Bank, sat down with our Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Matthew Holmes, and took questions from the audience on ways to finance infrastructure projects and partnership opportunities with CIB.

More Political Conversations 

Our Vice President and Deputy Leader of Government Relations, Robin Guy, welcomed recently elected Shuvaloy Majumdar, MP for Calgary Heritage, to share the Official Opposition’s thoughts on small business in Canada.

There are two metrics that really matter: how many jobs we are creating and how much investment is coming into Canadian projects.

Shuvaloy Majumdar, MP for Calgary Heritage

Key Takeaways

  • MP Majumdar shared his primary priorities as a new Member of Parliament, emphasizing that the concerns of Calgary align with those of Canada as a whole. He stressed the importance of bolstering the energy sector to support a robust economy.
  • He highlighted the significant role geopolitics play in Canada’s supply chains and the national interest in expediting the delivery of our energy resources to the market.
  • He also discussed how businesses can actively contribute to economic growth by minimizing risk and accessing new opportunities. He stressed the government’s role in facilitating this by creating mechanisms to mitigate risks for SMEs entering various markets. Additionally, he emphasized the need for the government to devise trade acceleration plans across the 14 major economic sectors to enable Canadian businesses to engage in these initiatives.

Data is fun, right? 📈 We think so!  

Our team at the Business Data Lab proved that candy can be the ultimate motivator during an interactive presentation where they led participants through a quiz on the products offered by BDL.

Thank You Calgary and Hello Halifax!

Patrick Sullivan, President and CEO at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce getting delegates excited to head east for #CCCAGM24

Our closing social night at the Rooftop YYC was one to remember. 😉 Thank you to Pathways Alliance for supporting the evening.

Thank you to all our attendees and sponsors for their contributions. We’d also like to thank the Hyatt Regency Calgary for the hospitality.

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