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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.

Tuesday, 04 February 2014 09:59

Okanagan College and Chamber of Commerce Branding Survey

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts
Take the Survey 
The chamber is working with the Okanagan School of Business to carry out a student project on Vernon's "brand". The project involves a survey and literature review by Wes Briggs, who is a 4th year student enrolled in a BBA Honours program. We are seeking as wide an input as possible and ask for your support by filling out this short survey. It is completely anonymous and individual responses are confidential.  HERE IS THE LINK
Please forward this to your co-workers and people in your own network. Thank you for your help. The report will be completed late March.
Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:24

Business and community leaders gather to support New Prosperity

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases


 Vancouver, December 10, 2013 Today, provincial business and community leaders came together to encourage the Government of Canada to approve the New Prosperity project and to raise awareness of how mining drives B.C.’s social and economic well-being.

The federal minister of environment and the federal cabinet are expected to make a decision on whether to approve the New Prosperity project within the next few months. Today in downtown Vancouver, leaders from business and mining associations, political leaders, mining suppliers and other stakeholders gathered together in a show of support for the project.

 “We’ve come together to send a clear message to Ottawa: Our province needs this project,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “It’s our collective view that the New Prosperity project must be evaluated with full consideration for both the great social and economic benefits it would create and for B.C.’s proven track record of building and operating mines in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

The New Prosperity project is a proposed open-pit copper-gold mine near Williams Lake that would employ 700 people during construction and support 500 full-time direct jobs and 1280 indirect jobs for many years to come.

 Winter said the project’s value is magnified by the economic need in the region.

“Communities in the Cariboo have been hard hit by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and are looking for ways to regroup and 
rebuild,” Winter said. “Our Chambers in Williams Lake and Quesnel have been working tirelessly to explain
 how much the region needs the jobs and opportunities that New Prosperity represents.”
Kerry Cook, mayor of Williams Lake, also spoke about the value of the project to the region.

“We view the New Prosperity project as an opportunity to provide new jobs, training opportunities and enhanced economic activity,” she said. “In addition, it is a project that affords our region – municipalities and First Nations communities alike – an opportunity to work together and address common challenges we face in terms of job growth, business and community development.”

 Winter noted that New Prosperity is just one example of the critical role that mining plays in B.C.’s economy and in its communities.

 "We know first-hand how important mining is to our province and we need to continue to attract and support resource development and investment,” Winter said. “Mining sustains dozens of small towns across British Columbia, providing the well-paying jobs and investment that support recreation centres, libraries and other services that make these communities great places to live, work and raise a family.”

 Mining provides approximately 30,000 well-paying, secure jobs throughout British Columbia with average salaries of over $100,000. Mining is one of the most important industries in the province and needs the support of every level of government.

British Columbia’s mining industry is respected around the world for its leading safety and environmental protection practices that take place on a daily basis at dozens of mines across the province.
“B.C. mines are world leaders in sustainable development and environmental stewardship,” said Karina Briño, president and CEO of the Mining Association of BC. “We take every precaution to assess risk and mitigate any potential effect on the environment and we are committed to responsible and sustainable development.”

 Speakers and special guests at today’s event included:

Iain Black, President and CEO, Vancouver Board of Trade

Karina Briño, President and CEO, Mining Association of BC

Kerry Cook, Mayor of Williams Lake

Greg D’Avignon, President, Business Council of BC

Gavin Dirom, President and CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration BC

William Lacy, Vice-President, Quesnel Chamber of Commerce

Wayne Mills, President, Local 115, International Union of Operating Engineers

Patty Moore, Past Chair, Mining Suppliers Association of BC

Terry Mulligan, President, Mining Suppliers Association of BC

Jason Ryll, President, Williams Lake Chamber of Commerce

Keith Sashaw, President and CEO, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of BC

 The BC Chamber 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



Friday, 18 October 2013 08:47

Regional Governance in Greater Vernon

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Local governance issues are a hot topic this month in Greater Vernon. A group called the Greater Vernon Governance Society has been promoting the amalgamation of the City of Vernon, District of Coldstream, Electoral Area B and Electoral Area C into a single entity for the purpose of increased efficiency in tax spending.

We, at the Vernon chamber, regularly hear from members that struggle with aspects of the local governments from both the tax and the services point of view, so having a look at amalgamation as a solution is certainly welcome, from our point of view. The Greater Vernon Chamber also has policy on record asking for a “regional approach to economic development” since some of the obstacles to business attraction and expansion cross political boundaries. There are many challenges with multiple governments but the process of amalgamating jurisdictions is decided by the electorate.

The Greater Vernon Governance Society has started a petition to gather names hoping to show significant public support for a referendum question on the subject. Information can be found on this at

Another issue in Vernon that the Vernon Chamber has an open file on is the ongoing discussion with local governments around development cost charges and the permitting application process. Late in June a group of chamber members called BIG RED (Business Improvement Group for Real Estate and Development) met senior city staff for a first meeting to develop a working relationship and outline some concerns. Progress is taking place and some incremental steps are being taken. This issue is also complicated by the requirements from multiple levels of government.

There is also an active discussion around the Official Community Plan (OCP) review this year. In 2008 Vernon was growing at break neck speed and the OCP reflected a need to control and cool down. Now days the opposite is the case, so businesses are urging the city to take into consideration a need for economic growth in the OCP. The draft version of the OCP review does have a limited economic development section. A more robust and fulsome plan would demonstrate a greater commitment to this endeavour.

Thursday, 17 October 2013 09:03

BC Chamber Update on Federal Throne Speech (Oct 16, 2013)

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Yesterday’s federal Throne Speech had some good news for the BC Chamber membership, including a notable policy win for us on credit card regulation. In alignment with our credit card policy, the Throne Speech recognized that Canadians deserve to know the real cost to merchants when they pay by debit or credit card. The government will now require credit and debit card providers to disclose the cost of different payment methods to merchants.

Further good news in the Throne Speech includes:

  • A commitment to balanced budgets: The federal government will introduce balanced-budget legislation, which will require balanced budgets in normal economic times and concrete timelines for returning to balance in the event of an economic crisis;
  • A commitment to reduce debt: The government commits to achieving a debt-to-GDP target of 25% by 2021 and reduce the ratio to pre-recession levels by 2017;
  • A commitment to freeze spending: The Throne Speech commits to a freeze of the overall federal operating budget, and to reform of the way the federal system manages spending; and
  • A commitment to fight red tape: The federal government will introduce legislation to enshrine the One-for-One law; for every new regulation added, one must be removed.

Other items in the speech that the BC Chamber will be watching closely, and will continue active advocacy on, include:

  • Canada Job Grant: The Throne Speech announced that the government is moving forward with introducing the Canada Job Grant. This training grant has a lot of potential, if designed so that all business sizes can access it, and the BC Chamber will continue active advocacy on this front to convey the needs of B.C. businesses in the implementation of the grant; and
  • Temporary Foreign Workers: The BC Chamber was disappointed to see the government pushing ahead with changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program that are causing challenges for B.C. employers and other employers across Canada. The BC Chamber is following up immediately with the federal government to again stress the valuable role temporary foreign workers play in B.C.’s economy and the benefit of a robust temporary foreign worker program to supplement locally-available workers.  We will continue active advocacy on this file and push for necessary access to skills and labour to fill critical B.C. jobs.


Thursday, 03 October 2013 08:14

Small Business Week

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases

Monday, 19 August 2013 15:06

New By-Laws Proposed for 2013

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases

 The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is planning to change the by-laws at the next Annual General Meeting at the Laker's Clubhouse  on Sept 26. To see a copy of the old by-laws, view here. To see the new propsed by-laws, view here.


The new by-laws are model by-laws that bring the chamber into compliance with the Board of Trade Act.

Thursday, 01 August 2013 15:35

BC Chamber says Core Review promises “substantive” gains

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Press Releases


BC Chamber says Core Review promises “substantive” gains



Vancouver, July 31, 2013 – The BC Chamber of Commerce commends the B.C. government for advancing plans for a Core Review, which targets greater efficiency and accountability in government’s use of taxpayers’ dollars.

“We think a Core Review with this mandate and scope promises substantive gains for B.C.’s taxpayers,” said John Winter, the BC Chamber’s president and CEO. “This initiative is great news for British Columbians and aligns directly with what our 36,000 represented B.C. businesses have been calling for.”

Winter said that some of the best news coming out of the government’s just-released terms of reference for the Core Review includes:
•    the broad scope of the initiative, which includes B.C. ministries, boards, commissions, Crown agencies, schools, universities, colleges and hospitals; and
•    an emphasis on finding alternative, more cost-efficient service delivery models.

“We’re very pleased to see that the government is truly trying to put its house in order, including tackling areas of public concern such as B.C.’s Crown corporations,” Winter said. “We also commend the government for emphasizing alternate service delivery models, which could bring private-sector efficiency to some government operations.”

The BC Chamber also applauded the B.C. government’s plans to refine the ideas that emerge from the Core Review through consultations with industry and other stakeholders.

“All in all, we’re extremely pleased to see how this initiative is advancing and we look forward to helping find private-sector solutions to some of B.C.’s challenges,” Winter said.

The BC Chamber 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

Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:04

Chamber Policy Recommendation: Regional Branding Strategy

Written by Dan Rogers Published in Blog Posts

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce policy on a regional branding strategy


Currently, Greater Vernon lacks a strong brand. An effective brand must:

  • have the support of the community;
  • differentiate the region from other regions;
  • capitalise on the region’s strengths; and
  • target appropriate economic development opportunities.

Greater Vernon has a strong basis for a brand themed on Greater Vernon’s health, wellness and lifestyle strengths. Unlike any other community in Canada, we have:

  • an active population with genuine year-round access to excellent and varied outdoor recreation, including hiking, road and mountain biking, beaches, lakes, fishing, world-class golf courses, snowmobiling, abundant playing fields for many sports, world-class Nordic skiing facilities and a tremendous ski hill;
  • a growing core of complimentary alternative health services including massage therapy, integrative medical services, chiropractors, acupuncture therapy, Tai Chi and yoga organisations, and a highly popular national icon health spa accommodation facility;
  • one of only two accredited massage therapy educational programs in B.C.;
  • local agricultural production of healthy fresh products; and
  • a regional growth strategy that includes the concepts of compact and complete cities that support active transportation.


These existing strengths, coupled with strong branding of those strengths, position our community to seize certain opportunities and mitigate existing weaknesses, including:

  • attracting an educated demographic to live and remain in the area, thus providing a talented and stable workforce;
  • attracting businesses to the area which rely on human talent, rather than industry, and so mitigating concerns over a lack of suitable industrial land and building;
  • attracting further businesses which operate in the health and wellness field;
  • encouraging affluent tourism; and
  • attracting retirees, with their pension income, to live in the region.

The Chamber Recommends,

That the local governments of Greater Vernon actively research the benefits of and community support for a branding concept based on Greater Vernon’s health, wellness and lifestyle strengths.

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