More than 100 local business and community leaders gathered at Market Hall last week for a chance to discuss business issues with Minister Anita Anand, President of the Treasury Board of Canada.
It was an opportunity to raise concerns and address pressing issues to someone in the inner circle on Parliament Hill, a discussion that hopefully leads to stronger public policy.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce as well as our colleagues at the Ontario and Canadian Chambers of Commerce regularly meet with and voice our concerns to our elected leaders, but it’s important that we aren’t the only voices they hear from. While we do our research to understand a variety of issues — we don’t know it like those who work with it day in and day out.
As chambers, we can appreciate that the best solutions come at the grassroots level from local business, non-profits, charities, and community-minded people. Our own policy and advocacy process is built on grassroots advocacy. We take local discussions and issues raised by businesses and organizations and turn that into advocacy policy that we then bring to the provincial and national levels. It’s a direct pipeline to our elected leaders.
But the chamber advocacy process is just one part. We strive to provide opportunities for local business and community leaders to directly talk with their government leaders. Events like the discussion with Minister Anand allow the decision makers to hear the concerns and creative solutions directly from those experiencing them. Opportunities like this are a key part of the Chamber’s role in the community.
We have plans for quite a few upcoming opportunities. Power Hour, a signature annual Chamber event, is returning on Friday, February 23. This event features a discussion with the Warden of the County of Peterborough, the Mayor of the City of Peterborough, our provincial Member of Parliament, and our federal Member of Parliament. Attendees can submit questions ahead of time or write them down during the event.
In 2024, we are planning events with as many of our local elected leaders as we can, including a Warden’s breakfast scheduled for April 19 and another breakfast with several township mayors planned for June.
On top of these public events, we hold regular roundtable discussions. These events are typically a smaller group of 10 – 20 businesses and organizations with interest in a particular topic. We have a few coming up in the next couple weeks, including one on skilled trades and another on Employment Insurance. Our aim is to keep the groups small enough to be able to have a meaningful and candid conversation with the government representatives on hand. To do this, we do have to limit numbers and offer space by invitation-only. If you’re a Chamber member interested in being part of these conversations, let me know.
In addition to discussions directly with government representatives, we work with chambers across Canada where businesses are dealing with similar issues to work together on our efforts for change.
Together, we have a stronger voice in addressing the issues and opportunities that will help our communities thrive.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce acts as a catalyst to enhance business growth, opportunity, innovation, partnerships and a diverse business community.