British Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Network Link
July 2014
Spotlight: Cranbrook & District Chamber
      BC Chamber, Cranbrook Chamber honour "Mrs. P"

The BC Chamber joins with the Cranbrook and District Chamber in thanking Cranbrook Chamber manager Karin Penner for more than 30 years of service to the Chamber network.


Karin has just announced plans to retire at the end of December.


"I speak for every [Cranbrook] Chamber president over the past three decades when I say that working with Karin is - and has been - a true honour and privilege," said Dave Butler, current president of the Cranbrook Chamber.


"Karin's dedication to the Chamber, to Chamber staff and volunteers, to area businesses and to the entire community is unparalleled," Dave added. "Her deep understanding of the inner workings of both the Chamber and Cranbrook has been a steadying factor through many years of change ... changing faces on the Chamber Board, changing elected officials and community issues, and an ever-changing economy."


Karin (or "Mrs. P" as she is known by many) began her work with the Chamber on August 20, 1983 and has been the Chamber manager since then. Along the way, Karin worked with a long list of Chamber presidents and directors and she has been active in the BC Chamber Executives Association. In 1997, Karin was honoured by her Chamber colleagues around B.C. when she was presented with the Gerry Frederick Memorial Executive of the Year Award. And in 2011, the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce was named "Chamber of the Year" by the BC Chamber of Commerce.


Karin's 30 years of inspiring community contributions were celebrated last December in a special Chamber luncheon and by Cranbrook Mayor Stetski and councillors during a January 20th city council meeting.


This year, Karin is working with the current Chamber Board to make the Cranbrook Chamber even more relevant to more businesses. Through Karin's leadership, the Chamber is on track to reach a total membership of 500 area businesses by the end of 2014, with many new networking and professional development opportunities coming on-stream.


"Karin will leave behind very big shoes to fill," Dave said.


"Karin will leave behind a huge legacy of leadership, mentorship and service to the Cranbrook Chamber and to the whole Chamber network," said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber. "On behalf of our entire network, I would like to thank Karin for her tremendous contributions and to wish her the very best for her well-deserved retirement."


If your Chamber is innovating or has achieved a recent success, we'd love to feature your story here. Please contact Jenny MacPhee at
Chamber News
twitter large wave           Vancouver Sun on Chamber policy
Today's Vancouver Sun editorial calls for a more competitive B.C. and highlights the Chamber network's 2014 policy on Property Transfer Tax.
Excerpt from the editorial:

"On housing, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, representing 36,000 businesses, voted at is annual convention in late May to call for changes to the Property Transfer Tax, imposed on those purchasing property.


The rate at which the tax is charged discourages home ownership, with a percentage levied that was appropriate when the tax was first established back in the 1980s, when house prices were much lower. Today, the PTT amounts to highway robbery and is one of the most onerous such taxes in Canada,

aggravating a situation in Vancouver, where housing costs are so burdensome.


The chamber proposed a worthy idea: lower PTT on residents purchasing homes to be lived in. Any revenues lost would be replaced by hiking PTT on property bought by non-residents or corporations controlled by non-residents."


Read the full editorial here.

               AGM evaluation draw winner

Congratulations to Marianne Turley, chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber, the winner of our AGM Evaluation draw (for a $50 Starbucks gift card)!


And thank you again to all AGM attendees who sent us their valuable insights on this year's event!


twitter large wave           Welcome to our new managers!
On behalf of our network, the BC Chamber would like to welcome new managers who have joined the Chamber network over the past few months.
A warm welcome to:
  • Jen Dart, Tofino Chamber
  • Lianne Heales, South Cariboo Chamber
  • Rosa Anne Howell, Fort St. James Chamber
  • Corien Sieders, Fernie Chamber
  • Patrick Van Minsel, Peachland Chamber
           Farewell to Gord Johns!
On behalf of our network, the BC Chamber would like to thank Tofino-Long Beach Chamber Executive Director Gord Johns for his service to the network for the past four plus years. Gord's last day was June 26.
In Gord's farewell note to the network, he said:
"Your amazing support has allowed our Chamber to accomplish so much, and it has been exciting and rewarding. Although I will miss having the "best job ever", and serving a truly unique and progressive business community, I am looking forward to some exciting new challenges in the next phase of my career." 
Stay in touch with Gord via
           New Manager Orientation webinar
On June 26, the BC Chamber held its first New Manager Orientation webinar. This one-hour webinar is designed to explain and review BC Chamber benefits and important details on how to market these benefits to your members.
In addition, this webinar identifies the "need to know" operational topics for managers.
We will run these webinars every two months. The next webinar will be held on Thursday, August 14 at 9am. To register, please contact Lori Climenhaga at
twitter large wave           Policies, Policy Manual update
The BC Chamber's policy team has nearly completed editorial clean up of our 2014 policies, voted in at our recent AGM.
We expect to have our new policies up on our website next week. Chambers can expect to receive a 2014 Policy Resolutions Manual (hardcopy) in the mail this month.
At the AGM, our network voted in favour of 39 new policies. You can see preliminary versions of these on our website here and here (late resolutions).
Network News
               Gerry Frederick nominations open
The British Columbia Chamber Executives proudly established the Gerry Frederick Memorial Executive of the Year Award in 1990 to honour individuals who make outstanding contributions to Chambers, and whose accomplishments can be viewed as models of Chamber management.
The Award recognizes an individual who exhibits the highest standards of excellence, dedication and accomplishment over a sustained period of time, and who is highly skilled and creative at all levels of Chamber management.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 Award.
To obtain a nomination form, please contact Colleen Evans at or 250-287-4513.
Please note that past winners of the award are not eligible for nomination.
               BCCE Conference 2014
Early-bird registration rates are available for The BC Chamber Executive Association Annual General Meeting and Conference, September 11-13 in New Westminster.
To register and for additional details, please click here.


News For Your Members
             Organizational Health and Wellness

A new conference brings B.C. businesses - and particularly HR professionals - key information about organizational health and wellness, including best practices for handling absences, disability management and return-to-work programs.


What: Organizational Health and Wellness: A Strategic Approach Conference

Where: Kelowna, BC at the Coast Capri Hotel (1171 Harvey Avenue)

When: September 19, 2014, 8:30 am to 4:15 pm



Diversified Rehabilitation Group Inc. Health & Wellness Provider is bringing together renowned experts to assist organizations in developing and managing effective Health and Wellness and Disability Management Programs that offer Canadian businesses a minimum of $2.75 return-on-investment for every dollar spent on Health and Wellness and Disability Management Programs.

The conference will provide participants with best practices and real-world strategies that employers can immediately apply to Absence, Disability Management, and Return-to-Work Programs. In addition, the participants will find effective ways to manage escalating disability costs and operational disruptions, while being committed to reducing the human and economic costs of healthcare and disability to employees and the employers.


Who should attend?

This conference is designed for Senior and Middle Human Resources (HR) Managers, HR Advisors, Union Leaders, Shop Stewards, Health Care Providers, Lawyers, Return-to-Work Coordinators, Insurance Case Managers, Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants, Occupational Therapists, and anyone interested in improving Organizational Health and Wellness.


How can I register?

Register at or by calling 1-888-402-8222 (toll-free) or 250-860-2868.

Earn your Credit Units!  Diversified Rehabilitation Group Inc. is approved by BCHRMA, CVRP, VRA, and the Law Society. 


              Art of Leadership Conference

The BC Chamber is happy to partner with The Art of Leadership conference again this year!


Join us on September 30 for Canada's top leadership and innovation conference bringing world renowned leaders to Vancouver, including: 


  • Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York City,
  • Canadian Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser, and
  • New York Times bestselling authors - Charles Duhigg, Dan Roam and Dr. Vince Molinaro

Take of the BC Chamber Early Bird Rate and save $100 Off your registration! 

Use promocode: BCC32 before July 18 for Early Bird pricing!


For more information, visit:   


            Contracts for business innovation

Businesses with pre-commercial innovations can land government contracts with the federal government, through the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP).


The program - implemented by BC Chamber partner, the  Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) - helps companies bridge the pre-commercialization gap by procuring and testing late stage innovative goods and services within the federal government before taking them to market by:

  • Awarding contracts to entrepreneurs with pre-commercial innovations through an open, transparent, competitive and fair procurement process.
  • Testing and providing feedback to these entrepreneurs on the performance of their goods or services.
  • Providing innovators with the opportunity to enter the marketplace with a successful application of their new goods and services.
  • Providing information on how to do business with the Government of Canada.

The BCIP targets innovations in the following priority areas:

The program includes a series of calls for proposals, which include a full description of the priority areas of each component and specific criteria for selection. The next call is anticipated this summer.


Chambers can help local businesses learn the how-to's of landing federal contracts through an OSME webinar or seminar by contacting Tess Menges at or 604.666.5688.

In This Issue
Karin Penner Retires
Vancouver Sun
AGM Evaluation Draw
New Managers
Farewell to Gord Johns
Orientation Webinar
New Policy Manual
Gerry Frederick Award
BCCE Conference
Organizational Health
Government Contracts
Advocacy Snapshot
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Advocacy Snapshot
NORTHERN GATEWAY: The BC Chamber has welcomed the federal government's approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline project.
ACCESSIBILITY: The BC Chamber has welcomed the provincial government's Accessibility 2024 plan.
COMPETITIVENESS: In partnership with the B.C. government, the BC Chamber has launched cross-B.C. forums to tackle the province's competitiveness slide.