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  • Local Chamber Staff Member Awarded - April 24th

    Local Chamber Staff Member Awarded 1 Week Internship with Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Monday, April 24, 2017

    On Monday, May 1st the Communications and Policy Strategist at our local Chamber, Peter Casurella, will be heading into work as usual, but he will be going to work 5 blocks away from Parliament Hill in Ottawa at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

     

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the Federal branch of the nation-wide business network. Their team works on behalf of all of the local Chambers of Commerce to make sure that the Federal Government hears and pays attention to the concerns of the business community across the country. In January, they put out a call for local chambers to apply for a 1 week internship in Ottawa with their policy team, and one of our staff was selected.

     

    “This is a really great opportunity for us,” said Karla Pyrch, Executive Director of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. “Not many people realize how much work the Chamber does to make sure that our municipal, provincial, and federal governments hear their concerns. We take the issues that are relevant to business here in Lethbridge, and through the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, our concerns get heard by decision makers in Ottawa. Our Communications and Policy Strategist is going to be able to learn first-hand how their staff works and bring that knowledge back to improve our efforts here.”

     

    Peter Casurella has only been working at the Chamber of Commerce for three months and is very excited about the trip.

     

    “I am absolutely thrilled to be given this opportunity. As a newcomer to the Chamber this is the perfect way for me to learn from professionals who have been in the policy and advocacy business for a long time. I’m hoping this opportunity will allow me to build contacts with a network of peers who will be an ongoing asset to the work we do on behalf of our local member businesses.”

     

    During his one week in Ottawa, Casurella has a packed schedule of meetings with the offices of various ministries, including the Ministries of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Transport, and International Trade. He will also be working with Chamber staff on policy research for both Indigenous Affairs and Digital Inclusion for Rural Areas. 

     

    You can follow Casurella’s trip by tuning in to the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce’s social media for the first week of May. (Facebook: @LethbridgeChamber  Twitter: @LethChamber)

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

    Budget 2017 Update - March 23th

    Budget 2017

    Lethbridge Chamber applauds long-term investments but is concerned over growing debt.

    On Wednesday the Federal government released the new budget for 2017-18 titled “Budget 2017 - Building a Strong Middle Class”. However, a realistic title for this budget could have been “Budget 2017 - Let’s Just Wait and See”. With significant regulatory, taxation, and trade changes expected south of the border in the coming months and only moderate economic growth nation-wide, it is no surprise that there’s few surprises to be seen. The government’s intention is understandably to delay major new initiatives until the evolving situation in the United States resolves itself into something predictable.

    Priorities were shifted, very little new money was spent, but there were also few tax changes.

    Harry Gross, President of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, applauded the investments in skills-training and innovation evident in this budget.

    “All levels of our government are putting a priority on investing in Agri-food as one of the central pillars of a new, diversified Canadian economy. Our region is ready to be a leader in that drive. However, many of our producers and industry members can’t always find workers with the right high-tech, computer, or technical skills that they need to expand and run state-of-the-art operations. We’re hopeful that the Federal government’s investments in skills training and innovation will help address these needs.”

    The Chamber is also concerned about a lack of vigor in Ottawa to address the decreasing competitiveness of Canadian businesses as our neighbours south of the border move to slash regulations and taxes.

    “Canada is a great place to do business,” said Karla Pyrch, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce, “but businesses that compete internationally hoped to see something in this budget to give them an edge in the face of rising labour and regulatory costs.  There simply wasn’t anything.”

    The Chamber also warns that Canadians should be wary of the high deficits being run by the Federal government. Although Canada’s economy has been performing moderately well, there is no guarantee that it will continue to do so, nor that commodity prices will recover at the rate that this budget plans for.

    “When you run deficits of this size you have very little room to maneuver if there is a sudden downturn in the economy,” said Gross. “The government is banking on steadily improving resource prices and economic growth to result in smaller deficits, but there’s no guarantees in global economics, and there is still no plan to bring us back to balanced budgets within the foreseeable future.”

    While this budget delivers some solid long-term investments vis-à-vis skills training and investments in innovation, it does so at an increasing cost that will be shouldered by the next generation with an ever-steeper mountain of debt.

     

    For more information, contact Peter Casurella by telephone at 403-849-7225 or by email at policy@lethbridgechamber.com.

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

    Budget 2017 - March 17th

    New Budget delivers on local commitments, but lacks infrastructure spending for Southern Alberta, and raises concerns about the future.
     
    Lethbridge, Alberta – In the wake of yesterday’s provincial budget, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is expressing concern the growing provincial debt, specifically that there is no plan in place to get us back to balanced budgets. While the deficit for 2016-17 is estimated at $10.8 billion, this year the government of Alberta appears to have found some savings that would lower the 2017-18 deficit by half a billion dollars to $10.3 billion. However, with our current provincial debt headed for $45 billion in the coming year, economists predict that we’re well on our way to $71 billion by 2019-20.

    What does this mean? We’re headed back to debt levels that the province hasn’t seen since the late 80’s.

    “While the current government can’t be blamed for the economic crisis that they inherited and the collapse of commodity prices, it’s very troubling that every year the debt continues to climb by billions of dollars without any clear path back to balanced books,” said Harry Gross, President of the Chamber of Commerce. “This province needs a realistic plan to return to balanced budgets that doesn’t involve hoping for a return to high oil prices.”

    In the short term there’s some good things in this budget for Southern Alberta. The government has continued to uphold its commitments to several large-scale infrastructure projects in our region, including the Destination Project at the University of Lethbridge, the Trades and Technologies Facility at the Lethbridge College, and continued project funding for the Chinook Regional Hospital. Additionally, there’s funding for a range of new projects and services including a new school, funding to support the new Cavendish Farms Expansion, commitments to help provide clean drinking water on local reserves, and funding for more affordable housing projects.

    “The business community is also happy that the government maintained the small business tax at 2%,” said Gross. “With the costs from minimum wage increases and the Carbon Levy, businesses need all the help they can get to stay competitive.”

    The Chamber was also encouraged by the government’s commitment to maintaining the investment tax credits that were created last year.

    The Chamber would have like to see room in this budget for investment into Southern Alberta’s transportation infrastructure. Karla Pyrch, the Executive Director of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, explains:

    “Our region is in a position to really grow. Both the Federal and Provincial governments are looking for ways to diversify our economy so that we are less reliant on commodity prices in the future. Our region can be a global leader in agri-food production, but we need our governments to invest now into better roads, rail, and air infrastructure so that producers can get their products to new markets, faster and cheaper. If we can do that, it will drive growth in our whole region and benefit everyone. We’re going to continue to advocate for this going forward.”

    Alberta needs to come to terms with the fact that we’ve got a spending problem, made worse by a decade of good times and high royalties.

    “We don’t know if or when we will see a return to high oil prices,” said Gross. “The business community would rather see the government assume that today’s oil and gas prices may be the norm for future years rather than continuing down the current path in the hopes that things will sort themselves out if they hang in there.”

    For more information, contact Peter Casurella by telephone at 403-849-7225 or by email at policy@lethbridgechamber.com.

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

    Opportunity Knocks - March 14th

    Chamber brings job seekers and employers together with Opportunity Knocks Employment Fair                                                                                                                          

    Lethbridge, Alberta — On Wednesday, March 15 the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce will host a career and job fair that will connect job seekers directly with employers.

    The fifth annual Opportunity Knocks Career & Job Fair is an event that will see businesses in Lethbridge which are currently, or soon will be, seeking employees come together at the Lethbridge Lodge for a day-long career fair. Also attending will be a range of career services organizations to help job seekers improve skills and become better able to find employment.

    Last year, Opportunity Knocks saw more than 1,100 job seekers, ranging from students through to professionals, brought together with over 30 businesses. This year, the Chamber has nearly 50 businesses looking to fill positions at all levels.

    The fill list of businesses currently registered for Opportunity Knocks is as follows:

    Employers

     

    Able Dental Group

    AGI Nobleford

    Alberta Human Services

    Avon Canada

    A-Win Insurance

    Bridge City Chrysler Jeep Ltd.

    Canada Border Services Agency

    Cor Van Raay Farms Ltd.

    Davis GMC Buick Ltd.

    Distilled Liquor Co.

    Exteriors by Leroy & Darcy

    Farmers Edge

    Fibrenew Lethbridge

    Infinity Property Care

    Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

    Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    Lethbridge Regional Safety Committee

    McDonald’s

    Mint Smartwash

    MNP LLP

    Omega Flooring Ltd.

    Paladin Security Group

    Precon Manufacturing Ltd.

    RBC Financial Group

    Real Estate Centre   

    Rehabilitation Society of Southwestern Alberta

    Richardson Oilseed

    Royal LePage South Country

    Select People Solutions

    Sun Life Financial

    Varsteel Ltd.

    Wendy's Restaurants

    Woodman White & Associates Professional Corporation

    YMCA of Lethbridge

     

    Education & Employment Services

     

    5th on 5th Youth Services

    Execuserv Plus Inc.

    Lethbridge College

    Lethbridge Family Services

    Lethbridge School District #51

    Reeves College

    Saamis Aboriginal Employment

    Southern Alberta Community Living Association

    Teamwork Training Ltd.

    Training Inc.

    Treaty #7 Urban Indian Housing Authority

    University of Lethbridge

    Volunteer Lethbridge

     

     

    Opportunity Knocks 2017 will take place on March 15 from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Lethbridge Lodge.

     

    For more information on Opportunity Knocks, contact Kevin Farrell by telephone at 403-327-1586 or by email at kevin@lethbridgechamber.com.

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

     

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

    Investing in Southern Alberta - March 8th

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is asking the both the Provincial and Federal government to consider transportation infrastructure in Southern Alberta when making large investments. 

    In order to encourage economic growth and increase our region’s ability to compete internationally we need improvements to rail, roads, and the local airport.

    As our city soars past the 100k mark, our manufacturing and agri-food sectors continue to grow. However, there is a growing concern amongst the business community that opportunities are going to be missed if we don’t invest now in expanding our infrastructure capacity.

    “Lethbridge, and the surrounding region, are well positioned for growth,” explained Harry Gross, President of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a growing international demand for high-quality foods and agri-food products and there’s a very real possibility that our region could become a global leader in the distribution of our products to local, regional, and international markets. One of the biggest challenges standing in the way of this is our transportation infrastructure. There are some investments we can make today so that we can be ready for tomorrow.”

    Businesses looking to set up shop or expand their operations in Lethbridge have to calculate what their costs will be to produce the product, and what the cost of getting those goods to market will be. The Chamber of Commerce is asking for investment in the following three areas of infrastructure to increase our competitiveness and access to markets:

     

    • The Federal Government to work with rail operators in the region to ensure open and fair access to rail transportation by reducing regulations.
    • The Provincial Government to invest in Highway 3 to open up more east-west traffic from the B.C. border to Highway 1.
    • The Provincial Government to help create a plan for growing our local airports so that the region will have more access to diverse markets.

     

    “Investing in these projects would be a win for both the Provincial and Federal Governments,” said Gross. “Both administrations are looking for ways to boost economic growth and diversify our economy in a short period of time. Southern Alberta is open for business and ready to grow.”

     

    The full Policy from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce can be found online at:

    http://www.lethbridgechamber.com/policies

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

     

    Minimum Wage - March 6th

    Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce calls for economic impact measurements before more increases to minimum wage

    - while Alberta Chamber of Commerce calls for a halt to increases so that businesses can adjust.

    For Immediate Release

    Lethbridge, Alberta, March 6, 2017 – Two years ago the Government of Alberta resolved to increase the minimum wage from $10.20/hr to $15.00/hr by 2018 – an increase of almost %50 in only four years. In 2015 the minimum wage was increased to $11.20/hr, and in 2016 it rose another dollar to $12.20. For businesses of all sizes, these increases have put pressure on their finances at a time that they have been struggling to cope with the downturn in the economy, rising regulatory fees, and the additional burden of the carbon levy. With all these factors contributing to costs for businesses, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and the Alberta Chamber of Commerce are both calling on the Provincial Government to delay further increases so that we have time to assess the impacts and give businesses time to adjust.

     

    “Our current minimum wage of $12.20 per hour is the highest of all the provinces in Canada,” explained Harry Gross, President of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. “It’s fantastic that Alberta can lead the country in this way, but we have to make sure that we’re striking the right balance so that businesses can keep offering quality employment while also being competitive with competitors in other provinces.”

     

    Feedback from the businesses that the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce represents has made it clear that the situation for many companies is deteriorating.

     

    “We’ve been hearing that many of our members are having trouble making ends meet,” said Gross, “and the minimum wage increases are what’s at the top of their minds. Many businesses have had to cut back worker’s hours, cancel plans to expand or grow, or reduce benefits. We’re worried that the people these increases are trying to help are actually being hurt and we’re calling for the government to measure the impacts before doing further increases.”

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce has called on the Provincial Government to delay further increases until a system of metrics can be put in place to measure the effects of the increases on factors like poverty, the cost of living, food bank usage, unemployment, the cost of doing business, employment vacancies, and business start-up to closure ratios.

    Last week, the Alberta Chamber of Commerce released the results of its third survey of employers across the province regarding the impacts of minimum wage increases.

    In a publicized letter addressed to the Hon. Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, Ken Kobly, President of the Alberta Chamber of Commerce said:

     

    “The key message employers have communicated through the series of surveys is that increases in minimum wage are having negative impacts on more than employers’ profit margins. From those in entry level positions to senior leaders, many Albertans are paying for these increases through lost benefits, hours, advancement opportunities, and – most importantly – jobs.”

    In light of these results, the Alberta Chamber of Commerce is calling for the Provincial Government to defer further increases to reduce the pressures on employers so that they can provide realistic and sustainable opportunities for job creation and employment which support all Albertan’s prosperity.

     

    The full Policy from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce can be found online at:

    http://www.lethbridgechamber.com/policies

    The full Policy from the Alberta Chamber of Commerce can be found online at:

    http://www.abchamber.ca/pages/PolicySubmissionsandMaterials

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

     

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Peter Casurella at 403-327-1586 or by emailing policy@lethbridgechamber.com

     

    The Alberta Chamber of Commerce

    The Alberta Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business for the Province of Alberta, advocating to the Provincial Government on behalf of over 24,000 businesses across Alberta.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Jason Leslie, Manager of Communications, at 780-425-4180 ext. 4, or by emailing jleslie@abchamber.ca

     

    CIP Fundings - February 27

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce asks City to focus on Business Development in Capital Improvement Program

    For Immediate Release

    Lethbridge, Alberta, February 27, 2017—With the current unsettled state of Alberta’s economy, and growing debt at all levels of government, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is calling on Lethbridge City Hall to prioritize capital spending on projects that focus on driving immediate economic growth and job creation in their upcoming Capital Investment Program.

    “The city only has so much money to spend, and with government grants decreasing, there’s even less money for capital projects then there has been in a long time,” explains Harry Gross, President of the Chamber of Commerce. “We’re simply asking the city to take a hard look at the projects on the table, and prioritize those projects that will drive more business, create more jobs, and encourage more economic activity in the region.”

    The reasons for the Chamber’s recommendations are simple. When the economy slows down, the city brings in less money, and consequently there’s less money to invest back into community projects. We should therefore use the funds that we do have to help speed up the economy again so that we will have more to spend on the many worthwhile projects that are on our community’s wish list.

    The Current Capital Improvement Program for the next four years is nearing the end of its planning stage with City Hall going through the final rounds of community consultation before setting its priorities.

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business. We represent over 750 businesses and over 10,000 employees in the Lethbridge area.

    For more information on this initiative, please contact Kevin Farrell at 403-327-1586 or by emailing kevin@lethbridgechamber.com

    10 Ways For Canada to Win - February 16

    The Opportunities Canada Needs to Build the Next 150 Years of Business Success
     

    Lethbridge, Alberta, February 16, 2017—In a year of political and economic uncertainty, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, has identified Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins, a list of key opportunities Canada can seize right now to regain its competitiveness, improve its productivity, and grow its economy.

    “Our list outlines specific recommendations on what Canada can do better, and the opportunities to improve our economic success. Canada can’t sit still while our competitors run laps around us. We need every advantage, and the Canadian Chamber will work with government to put these new measures in place,” said the Hon. Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “If we take advantage of these opportunities, we’ll give our businesses new tools to ensure their growth and success.”

    In this fiercely competitive world, business needs more than its own skills to win—it also needs supportive environmental and public policies to encourage competitiveness. This new version of an annual Canadian Chamber report moves away from identifying self-inflicted wounds that have prevented Canada’s economy from achieving its full potential and instead describes the opportunities for us to do better.

    “The world is shrinking and Southern Albertan businesses need to be competitive internationally. All of the measures identified in the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s document would help drive this competitiveness,” said Harry Gross, President of the Board of Directors for the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve emphasized opportunities that touch Canada’s internal economy, from reducing the cost of doing business to dismantling internal barriers to trade. What we need now is a commitment to get the job done.”

    “As we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, we can look back at the essential role business played in shaping our country. But as we look forward, it’s clear we’ll need every advantage to continue building a more prosperous country. These ten opportunities can provide a foundation for the next 150 years of Canadian business success,” said Mr. Beatty.

     

    Consult the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins document.

    http://www.chamber.ca/advocacy/ten-ways/

    Watch a short video on the Ten Ways to Build a Canada That Wins.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8jN34mkK0s

     

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce

    The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is The Voice of Business, promoting and enhancing a healthy economic and social environment in our region by serving the interests of business.

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce

    The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 200,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at Chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom

    For more information on this network initiative, please contact Kevin Farrell at 403-327-1586 or by emailing kevin@lethbridgechamber.com