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Nov. 28, 2014

Vernon The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) is joining the national campaign sponsored by the Yellow Pages to encourage consumers to think local while being inundated with Black Friday advertising.    The Yellow Pages started the movement a year ago and went national this year to recognize November 29th as “Shop the neighbourhood” day.  The date was strategically selected between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to counter cross border shopping and internet purchases.

“The campaign is meant to reinforce the benefits to the local economy by shopping in your neighbourhood rather than purchasing something online from another region or country,” says GVCC President Jaron Chasca.  “We are pleased to be joining our members in reminding people of the additional economic benefits that accrue when you shop locally.”

The Chamber’s efforts will include promotion of the event through social media and other communication channels.   The Chamber is also teaming up with the Downtown Vernon Association (DVA) on Friday morning to recognize shoppers who are spending their money locally.

“This is the first year that we have been involved in this promotion,” says Dan Rogers, Chamber General Manager. “Our efforts have been pretty modest but it will allow us to gage interest and build a larger shop local program for next year.”

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The benefits of shopping locally are well illustrated in a promotional video that one of our members (The Rice Box, owned and operated by Mr. On Ouches) put together that reinforces what happens when goods and services are purchased locally.  It creates jobs, helps put food on the table for our neighbours and ultimately builds a stronger community. (



Jaron Chasca, GVCC President 2014-2015                              Dan Rogers, GVCC General Manager

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Nov 6, 2014

Vernon – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) recently provided the candidates for Mayor and Council at the City of Vernon with a short questionnaire to gage their views on business development and government efficiency.  One of the questions asked if the candidate supported making a request to the Province to fund and undertake a study to determine the potential benefits of improved governance in the North Okanagan. The response was near unanimous support for such a request.

``Our members have long supported a move towards amalgamation as a means to streamline local government and make the region`s many local governments more efficient in responding to the opportunities for economic development, says GVCC General Manager Dan Rogers. ``We’re pleased to see the overwhelming majority candidates in Vernon are willing to keep an open mind on the topic and we hope other jurisdictions will follow suit.”

The chamber believes a provincially funded study would determine if there are benefits to local taxpayers from amalgamation or alternative governance models, so the air can be cleared once and for all.

In an effort to provide greater access to information about the candidates running for Vernon City Council, the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has established a candidate’s summary page on its website (  The site has introductory videos from most of the candidates as well as their answers to the chamber’s business related questionnaire.   

“We know not everyone can come out to a public forum so by making this detailed information available online, we are helping our members and the public at large, become better informed about those running for public office,” says Rogers.  “More importantly we hope the increased profile will encourage a greater turnout for the upcoming municipal election.”


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Dan Rogers, General Manager                                                 

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce                                

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Friday, 07 November 2014 13:47


Written by Dan Proulx Published in Press Releases

Oct. 22, 2014


Vernon - The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan have launched a new website aimed at assisting new immigrants who have moved to the North Okanagan.    Entitled “”, the website has been designed to be a resource for both employers and for new immigrants and their families.   Although designed for new immigrants, the website is also a useful tool for anyone interested in knowing more about Vernon.

“We were pleased to be able to work closely with a number of community partners to develop this valuable resource,” says GVCC President Jaron Chasca. “The site will not only promote Vernon but also provide valuable information to immigrants thinking about coming to the North Okanagan.”

The website is based on a Live, Work, & Play theme and features a promotional video that have been translated into a variety of languages including Punjabi, Chinese, Spanish and English.   The information on the site is also available in many more languages.

Printed packages have also been developed and will be made available at no charge to employers to assist in their recruitment efforts. Window decals have also been developed and will be circulated to businesses that can put them on their front door to show that they welcome new immigrants.  Banners have already been installed at strategic locations to show that Vernon is a Welcoming Community.

“The website and material were designed as part of Welcoming Communities Vernon to be a resource for employers of new immigrants,” says Annette Sharkey, Executive Director of the Social Planning Council. “It’s recognized that immigrants provide important cultural diversity to local communities as well as skills, investment and entrepreneurial expertise.”

The chamber will be distributing packages to their members while also making them available through various agencies around the city.    The project was funded by the Province of British Columbia.


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Dan Rogers, General Manager                                                 

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce                                

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Annette Sharkey, Executive Director

Social Planning Council North Okanagan

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Friday, 03 October 2014 13:52


Written by Dan Proulx Published in Latest News


Sept. 26, 2014

Vernon - Jaron Chasca is the new president of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. Chasca is the director and manager at Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services in Vernon and Armstrong. He was elected at the Chamber Annual General Meeting held this morning and takes over from Adrian Johnson of KPMG who remains with the Board as past-president.

“I believe we have a lot to look forward to in growing this organization and helping the business community grow and prosper,” says Chasca. “We have a strong membership base, a dedicated board and committed staff. Those three elements position us well to improve our efforts around advocacy, to add more benefits to our members to help improve their bottom line and to hold exceptional events that set the stage for networking and business development.”

The other table officers elected were Tracy Cobb-Reeves (director, communications at Kal Tire) who takes over as vice president and Markus Schrott (Partner at BDO Canada LLP) who assumes the secretary-treasurer role.   Directors at large for 2014-2015 include, Matthew Davidson (Valhalla Environmental Consulting Inc.), Ingrid Dilschneider (Predator Ridge), Dauna Kennedy Grant (Vernon Public Art Gallery), Adrienne Harris (Portico Property Services), Marlene Higgins (Kal Tire) , Andrew Powell (Nixon Wenger), Caroline Radics ( Investia Financial Services Inc.), and Rob Tedham (RBC Dominion Securities).

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Jaron Chasca, GVCC President 2014-2015                             

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Adrian Johnson, GVCC Past President

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BACKGROUND – Jaron Chasca (Bio)

Jaron, a licensed second generation funeral director and active manager with Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services™, has over twenty years experience in the funeral profession. He began his career as a Funeral Attendant in Calgary and then moved to Cranbrook to work in his family’s funeral home and complete his apprenticeship. After completing a two year apprenticeship, Jaron moved back to Calgary where he was the Sales Manager with the City of Calgary cemeteries for three years. During this time he also completed his Marketing and Entrepreneur diploma from Mount Royal College. Jaron re-joined the family business with Alternatives Funeral & Cremation Services™ in Vernon and Armstrong and brought with him his knowledge, experience and especially his passion for serving bereaved families to the Okanagan.


Sept. 25, 2014

Vernon - Local efforts to boost the City of Vernon’s status as a great place to do business have been recognized by the province. The City was one of the winners of the province’s 2014 Open for Business Award. Just nine communities in all of B.C. won the award this year, out of 162 municipalities in the province.

“This is great news for Vernon, and a tribute to the City’s efforts to create a business-friendly environment,” says Adrian Johnson, GVCC president. “The award, which carries a $10,000 grant to fund more business-friendly developments in the City, will boost Vernon’s reputation province-wide as a great place to do business.”

The BC Chamber of Commerce also commended the City of Vernon for its win.

“Vernon should be very proud of what it’s achieved here,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “These awards recognize role model communities throughout the province that are taking tangible steps to build a better British Columbia.”

Johnson added that while it’s great to see the City recognized as a standout performer, there is still much that can be done to cut red tape and streamline development processes particularly in concert with other local governments in the region.

“We congratulate the City on its award,” says Johnson who also added, “The Chamber will continue to work with our members, the development community and with civic officials in the region to further enhance the entire area’s “open for business environment.”

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Adrian Johnson, GVCC President                                                             

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce                                              

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John Winter, President & CEO

BC Chamber of Commerce

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June 12, 2014

VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) is calling on all levels of government to take a leadership role in advancing the concept of a rail to trail initiative along the Vernon-Kelowna CN spur line. At a recent Board meeting, GVCC unanimously passed a motion that requests the Federal, Provincial and Local Governments take the necessary steps required to ensure the route is preserved as a public trail.

“The closure of the railway harmed many businesses along the Vernon–Kelowna corridor. The best alternative for our economy is the creation of a regional trail,” says Adrian Johnson, GVCC president. “The clock is ticking. There is less than four months for government to act before CN simply divides up the property and sells it off bit by bit. That would ultimately see a great opportunity pass us by.”

“Our Chamber would like to see a collaborative effort to establish a trail that would create business opportunities throughout the region,” says Dan Rogers, GVCC general manager.

A recent economic impact study competed for the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative indicated that the proposed trail would generate millions of dollars every year in additional tourism spending in the Okanagan.

“GVCC’s support demonstrates how important the potential trail is for the business community,” says Brad Clements of the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative.

GVCC will be reaching out to other Chambers in the region to secure their support of this initiative and to prompt interested parties to come together to establish a long term plan for converting the rail line into a multi-use trail.

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Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce

Adrian Johnson, GVCC President                                             

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Dan Rogers, GVCC General Manager

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Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative

Brad Clements, Rail Trail Initiative

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Friday, 03 October 2014 10:52

B.C.’s Chambers pass policy supporting pipelines

Written by rylee Published in Latest News

B.C.’s Chambers pass policy supporting pipelines


Vancouver, May 28, 2014 – B.C.’s Chambers of Commerce have passed a policy calling on the provincial government to continue supporting pipeline projects, where they have met environmental review assessment conditions.

“B.C.’s commodities, including oil and gas, already support tens of thousands of jobs in B.C.,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to grow even more jobs in this sector through the development of new oil pipeline capacity.”

The policy highlights the critical need for B.C. pipeline infrastructure, both for B.C.’s economy and the Canadian economy. It specifically highlights what’s at stake with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, which promises to boost B.C. GDP by at least $8.5 billion over its development plus the first 20 years of operation.

“Right now, Canada is losing up to $50 million a day due to inadequate pipeline infrastructure which is hindering our access to key markets such as the Asia Pacific,” Winter said. “In B.C., projects such as the Trans Mountain expansion promise huge gains for our economy. That’s why we’re asking government to keep supporting the responsible development of our pipeline industry.”

The policy, The Importance to the Economy of Expanded Oil Pipeline Infrastructure, calls on the provincial government to:

  • continue to support a responsible framework for resource development, including a world-class marine tanker safety regime with enhanced marine spill response capability, and a world-class terrestrial safety system;
  • provide greater clarity and specificity on B.C.’s provincial interest, commonly known as the “five conditions” in order to provide certainty, predictability and stability that encourage capital investment; and
  • engage Chambers and other organizations in project pipeline construction communities to maximize opportunities for local businesses during construction and operation of all major projects, including increased opportunities for First Nations participation.

“There’s a lot of fear mongering about pipelines in B.C. but we need to remember that pipelines are nothing new to our province, and in fact sustain many of our day-to-day activities,” Winter said. “Every day, we rely on our extensive pipeline network to heat and light our homes and businesses, and to power our transportation system.”

The BC Chamber of Commerce has long supported pipeline projects in B.C., provided that they meet environmental review assessment conditions. Last year, B.C.’s Chambers passed Supporting Canada’s Responsible Resource Development (2013), which highlights the economic benefits of the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

Chamber and business delegates from around B.C. passed this policy at the BC Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting & Conference, the province’s foremost business gathering, held this year in Richmond May 23-24. This unique grassroots policy-building forum brought together approximately 200 Chamber delegates from across B.C. to vote on new business/economic policies.

This year, delegates voted in 39 policies; adopted policies now become part of the BC Chamber’s advocacy agenda.

The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province. Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is “The Voice of Business in BC.”

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For further details, please contact:

John Winter

President & CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce

T 604.638.8110

C 604.376.3577


Jenny MacPhee

Communications Officer

BC Chamber of Commerce

T 604.638.8114

C 604.366.4990


Thursday, 10 July 2014 11:01

Chamber Hires Membership & Events Associate

Written by Dan Proulx Published in Press Releases


Dan Proulx grew up in Calgary and in 2009 moved to Vernon along with his wife Vicki who is originally from Armstrong.  Dan has been heavily involved in JCI Vernon since 2011 chairing many events and holding the position of Membership Director.  He was presented with JCI Canada’s National New Member of the Year Award and this year was fortunate to be elected President. He has also served for a year on the board of directors for the Funtastic Sports Society.

During his professional career, Dan has worked in a variety of occupations including most recently as a membership and insurance associate at BCAA in Vernon.  Previously he worked for a number of years at Investors Group where he gained valuable sales experience and expanded his customer service skills.   He’s excited about the opportunity to grow the Chamber’s already strong membership base while also enhancing the events and benefits GVCC provides to its members and the business community.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014 10:00

Greater Vernon Chamber Secures New General Manager

Written by Dan Proulx Published in Press Releases

April 15, 2014

Media Release: Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce Secures New General Manager

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the hiring of Dan Rogers as their new General Manager, commencing Tuesday April 22, 2014.


Rogers was born and raised in Victoria but has spent the last 30 years in Prince George where he has worked for a number of organizations in various marketing and communication roles. He was also active in local government over the past couple of decades spending 15 years on Prince George City Council, including three years as Mayor. Among other notable achievements, he co-chaired Prince George’s successful bid committee for the 2015 Canadian Winter Games.


For the past year he has been providing communication consulting services to small business and local governments.


“I am eager to get to work with the Chamber’s board in helping the business community grow and prosper,” says Rogers. “I also look forward to working with Chamber members and collaborating with other community organizations, to build a stronger Chamber and community.”


“For our business community to continue to prosper, we need a Chamber manager with an unusual blend and depth of skills in advocacy, marketing and business management. It’s a difficult role to fill,” says Adrian Johnson, president of the Chamber and a senior manager with KPMG. “We conducted a thorough search for the right individual, and are thrilled to be able to bring Dan’s talent to Greater Vernon.”


“Dan has a diverse commercial background working for small companies, non-profit organizations and a crown corporation. In addition, his experience with local government will be tremendously valuable in advocating for a better environment for doing business. All this, combined with his knowledge of event management and his passion for volunteering, make him a great fit for our Chamber,” says Johnson. “We look forward to welcoming Dan and his young family to the Okanagan.”  

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 12:13

Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging in BC

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce welcomes changes to recycling regulation that protect B.C. businesses

Vancouver, February 4, 2014 – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) applauds the B.C. government for listening to B.C.’s Chamber network and amending a recycling regulation that was causing substantial concern among businesses so that it will impact less that 1% of B.C.’s businesses.

“This is a huge relief to our local business community,” said Adrian Johnson, GVCC President. “This change exempts the majority of our local businesses, including our smallest business members with less than 5 employees, from new costs and red tape.”

The regulation targets packaging and printed paper (PPP) and is slated to go into force in May.

The B.C. government has announced that it will enshrine in regulation an exemption for any B.C. business that meets any of the following criteria:
•    annual revenues of less than $1 million;
•    less than 1 tonne of packaging and printed paper produced annually and/or
•    a single point of retail sale (and not supplied by or operated as part of a franchise, chain or under a banner).

That means that less than 3,000 businesses in the province will be captured by the regulation, out of more than 385,000.

Johnson noted that the GVCC supports the principle of extended producer responsibility (EPR), which aligns with B.C. business values, but cautioned that EPR programs need to be implemented carefully to avoid unintended consequences.

“This exemption correctly balances environmental goals with business needs,” Johnson said. “We applaud the B.C. government for responding to businesses’ concerns and limiting the scope of the program, appropriately, to B.C.’s largest PPP producers.”

The Chamber network throughout B.C. raised the alarm about the regulation last summer after businesses across the province were contacted about coming new obligations and fees by Multi Material BC (MMBC), the agency charged with producing a stewardship plan under the regulation.

¬¬¬¬“It became clear that this regulation would have unintended fallout for businesses, and particularly small businesses, across B.C.,” said Johnson. “As a Chamber network, we knew we needed to roll up our sleeves, get to work and fix this thing.”

Backed by local Chambers, the BC Chamber of Commerce worked extensively with the B.C. government and MMBC to hammer out a way forward that avoided a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

“Today’s announcement is the fruit of those labours: A re-tooled regulation that achieves B.C.’s environmental goals, while protecting the vast majority of B.C. businesses from new costs and red tape,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber.

Winter commended the B.C. government for actively listening to, and responding to, businesses’ needs.

“This exemption is a testament to a responsive government that’s serious about its commitment to businesses and to cutting red tape,” Winter said.

Winter also commended local Chambers throughout B.C. for helping drive the solution.

“Our local Chambers have worked heroically on this file, pushing hard for the on-the-ground needs of B.C. businesses,” Winter said. “Our partnership with local Chambers, such as the Vernon Chamber, has been crucial to achieving this victory.”

The BC Chamber and its network of local Chambers will carefully monitor the implementation of this regulation, to ensure that any further issues are quickly identified.

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For further details, please contact:

Adrian Johnson
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
T  250 545 0771

John Winter
President & CEO
BC Chamber of Commerce
T 604.638.8110
C 604.376.3577

Q: What has changed with this announcement?

A: Under the original regulation, any business that produces packaging and printed paper (PPP) as defined in the Recycling Regulation  was required to either register with Multi Material BC (MMBC) or produce its own stewardship plan.

The revised regulation will provide three (3) exemptions to this requirement. Your business is now exempt if it meets any of the following criteria:
•    has annual revenues of less than $1 million;
•    produces less than 1 tonne of PPP material annually: or
•    is a single point of retail

If your business meets one or more of these criteria, you will not be required to register with MMBC or pay any fees under the program.

Q: Does this address all of the Chamber network’s concerns regarding this regulation?

A: At this time, this change addresses all of the BC Chamber’s recommendations to government on this file. Going forward, the BC Chamber will continue to carefully monitor this regulation, and consult with its network for on-the-ground insights, through the implementation stage.

Q: How did this change come about?

A: This change is a clear victory for the Chamber network, which has led the charge on protecting B.C. businesses from fallout under this regulation.

This was an issue raised by member Chambers last summer, following correspondence issued by MMBC to a number of businesses across the province.

After extensive consultation with members, stakeholders and government the change announced today will result in a solution to this issue for the vast majority of our members.  The process undertaken to reach this agreement is a testament to the power of the Chamber network.

You as members recognized a problem facing your members. This was then brought to the BC Chamber.  Whilst maintaining close communication with member Chambers, we then undertook research and outreach with MMBC and other stakeholders to determine the scale of the issue and potential solutions.

Only after this exhaustive process were we in a position to approach government with an effective, workable solution that addressed the concerns of our members.

Q: I’ve seen the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in the media a lot on the MMBC issue. Didn’t the CFIB push government into making these changes?
A: While all voices were valuable on this issue, the BC Chamber’s leadership was clear. The B.C. government news release announcing the amended regulation singles out the BC Chamber as having led this regulatory change, on behalf of B.C.’s business community.

Moreover, the BC Chamber took leadership on the file last summer, well before the CFIB took up the issue.

Significantly, the BC Chamber’s constructive approach, and extensive work with government and MMBC on the details of today’s announcement, proved pivotal to achieving a solution for B.C. businesses.

Q: How do I know if my business is above the thresholds identified in the amended regulation?

A: The only criteria that will be unclear to businesses will be the amount of PPP material they are responsible for placing into the residential recycling program.

Businesses will need to assess the amount of PPP material they produce.  MMBC will make public an online assessment tool that will allow business to quickly and easily assess the amount of PPP they produce.

Q: If my business exceeds all three of these criteria what does that mean?

A: If your business exceeds all of these exemptions then the regulation requires you to either develop your own stewardship plan or to register as part of the MMBC program.

For further details on how to register contact:
•    Allen Langdon, Managing Director for MMBC, at or (604) 315-8422; or
•    MMBC’s steward relations team at 1.888.980.9549 or

Q: Why do we have this program?
A: The regulation is the latest in a series of initiatives that originated in the 2009 Canada-wide Action Plan for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).  This plan, agreed to by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, aims to increase diversion and recycling of waste by co-ordinating the provincial EPR programs and extending the application of EPR.  

EPR is defined as an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility (physical and/or financial) for a product is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle. There are two key features of EPR policy:
•    the shifting of responsibility (physically and economically) upstream to the producer and away from municipalities, and
•    to provide incentives to producers to take environmental considerations into the design of the product.

To date, B.C. has implemented a number of these programs covering a range of products from batteries to paint to smoke alarms through to light bulbs.  MMBC is the latest EPR program to be implemented.
Q: Does the BC Chamber support extended producer responsibility (EPR)?

A: The BC Chamber is not opposed to extended producer responsibility.

To this end, the BC Chamber supports a regulation that is carefully targeted at B.C.’s largest producers of packaging and printed paper – a solution which achieves environmental goals, while limiting the red tape and cost impact of this regulation on producers of negligible amounts of PPP.

Q: What’s next on this file? What will the Chamber network be monitoring?
A: The BC Chamber will work with local Chambers to monitor how the implementation of the regulation is going throughout B.C., and will work with government to ensure that the goals of the amended regulation are being achieved.
Q: Who can I contact for more information?
A: Should questions arise regarding MMBC’s plan and sector specific concerns related to the plan contact either:
•    Allen Langdon, Managing Director for MMBC, at or (604) 315-8422; or
•    MMBC’s steward relations team at 1.888.980.9549 or

MMBC’s program information can be found at

For more information on the Recycling Regulation and amendment to include packaging and printed paper contact:
•    Julia Bates, Senior Policy Advisor, BC Ministry of Environment:, or (250) 356-9089.

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