2015 Year-End Advocacy Report Card

The Burnaby Board of Trade is the voice of the local business community and routinely comments to all levels of government on a variety of issues important to our members. We feel it is key for decision-makers to hear and consider the business perspective on the issues they face.

And as you’ll see below, in alignment with our belief in the triple bottom line, we are equally committed to advocating for the interests of business on economic, social and environmental issues.

I hope you’ll take a moment to review the below highlights from the past year.

If you have any questions or comments about our advocacy work, or if you have an issue that your business is facing and you need help, please do not hesitate to contact Cory Redekop, Manager of Policy & Events at cory@bbot.ca  or 604-412-0100.


Item:  The Provincial Sales Tax (PST)

Issue: The current PST system doesn’t encourage business investment and innovation.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • Drafted a policy paper calling for the provincial government to “Fix the PST” by implementing refundable tax credits for all business investment in equipment, machinery and software
  • Discussed and presented our PST paper personally to Hon. Mike de Jong, Minister of Finance for BC and to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services which makes recommendations for the provincial budget.

Item:  Inter-Municipal Business Licenses

Issue: Companies that do business throughout Metro Vancouver have to apply and pay for a business license in each municipality they work in – a costly and burdensome requirement.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • BBOT successfully lobbied Burnaby City Council for the creation of a special license for inter-municipal businesses that would be valid across municipal boundaries. A pilot program for the construction and trades sector was launched
  • Pilot program was made permanent this November allowing these businesses to work in Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Delta, Richmond and Vancouver with a single inter-municipal business license, saving them time and money

Item:  Water Shortages and Water Policy

Issue: Water shortages are becoming more common and responsibility for water is fragmented between different governments and agencies.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • Our Environmental Sustainability Committee drafted a position paper calling for a national framework to consolidate existing water policies and create a full accounting of current water resources to ensure sustainable management
  • The BBOT successfully championed this position at the AGM of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce where it was adopted by delegates as a formal policy of the national chamber which will now advocate directly with the federal government

Item:  Pipeline Expansion

Issue: Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion from Alberta through to the Westview terminal in Burnaby.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • BBOT Board of Directors struck a special task force to take a leadership role in reviewing the proposal
  • BBOT released a thoughtful, thorough review of the project to its membership outlining the main arguments for the expansion and identifying four areas of concern with the current proposal
  • BBOT successfully applied to be a Commenter in the National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the project and issued a Letter of Comment outlining the findings of our task force

Item:  Big Bend Bus Service

Issue: Dozens of businesses and thousands of employees were struggling with a lack of transit service in Big Bend area of south Burnaby. Businesses were finding it difficult to recruit employees who didn’t drive and required transit.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • BBOT convened a town hall meeting and roundtable discussion with representatives from the local business community, the City of Burnaby and Translink and advocated for increased service
  • BBOT continued to represent local businesses during Translink’s open houses, consultations, and route optimization process
  • Local bus routes were expanded to improve service to this area and local businesses had transit options for the first time

Item: Climate Change

Issue: The impacts of climate change may be beginning to be felt more acutely. Businesses need to get ahead of looming government environmental regulations.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • BBOT made a submission to the provincial government during the creation of BC’s Climate Leadership Plan calling for support of clean tech and public transit
  • The BBOT’s signature Pledge for a Sustainable Community program was named a finalist for a global Corporate Social Responsibility award by the World Chamber of Commerce
  • BBOT’s Environmental Sustainability Committee drafted a position paper urging the federal government to help small businesses identify environmental risks and identify ways to adapt and prepare, and urged the Prime Minister to consult with the business community on the development of any greenhouse gas reduction plan for Canada.

Item: Transportation & Transit

Issue: The region needs a sustainably-funded, long-term transportation plan to facilitate better movement of goods and people.

BBOT Actions & Outcomes:

  • BBOT voiced concern with the transit referendum tax plan but urged a “Yes” vote for better transit
  • Following plebiscite defeat, BBOT called on government and Translink to regain public trust and come up with a new solution for regional transportation improvements

BBOT’s Government Relations Committee reviewing possible Translink governance models and options for fair and sustainable transit funding