Summer 2023 Chamber Advocacy Recap
August 3, 2023
The Whistler Chamber recently welcomed visiting government officials to our resort municipality. Spanning June & July, we invited Members too meet and discuss their issues, updates and opportunities with Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky, Nancy Healey, Commissioner for Employers, Patrick Weiler, MP for West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country, and the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance. Let’s recap some of these discussions!
Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky
The Whistler Chamber hosted MLA Jordan Sturdy for a business roundtable. Following introductions, MLA Sturdy emphasized government’s awareness of Whistler’s desire to address immigration and housing issues that have been among the prime concerns for many local businesses.
Conversation soon opened up among attendees, with an emphasis on government’s role in regional transit and the lack of budget increases to match population growth in the region. Concerns regarding general costs of living in the corridor were voiced. MLA Sturdy advised that the best way for the Whistler community to have our voices heard is to email our Ministers and participate in government intake and feedback initiatives. The Chamber will explore options to facilitate this process for our Members (i.e. providing letter templates).
Nancy Healey, Commissioner for Employers
The Whistler Chamber hosted Nancy Healey for a separate business roundtable as part of our regular Advocacy in Action discussions, presented by TD. She began the meeting by giving a presentation covering various topics relating to the labour market, including a look into the most recent BC Labour Market Update, an assessment of Canada’s EI program, Budget 2023, Immigration, and upcoming developments to workforce strategies.
Chamber Members took the opportunity to illustrate the degree to which the labour crisis is impacting the Whistler community. Housing issues go hand-in-hand with labour concerns, and improvements to streamline the hiring of temporary foreign workers were discussed. Some Members voiced their concerns that labour shortages are degrading the visitor’s experience. Rising costs of doing business were also discussed. The Chamber will prepare to share Whistler specific labour data to highlight conditions here.
Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance & Patrick Weiler, MP, West Vancouver – Sunshine Coast – Sea to Sky Country
In partnership with Tourism Whistler, the Chamber proudly played host to both Minister Boissonnault and MP Weiler at the Rainbow Theatre in the Whistler Conference Centre for a free townhall that was well-attended by dozens of members of the Whistler community. Minister Boissonnault began the townhall by presenting the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy and its strategic priorities:
– Invest in tourism assets
– Embrace recreation and the grate outdoors
– Partner to grow Indigenous tourism
– Attract international events
– Improve federal coordination
Following the presentation, Minister Boissonnault and MP Weiler engaged in a Q&A from those in attendance with questions regarding business levels in-resort.
The Chamber also attended a meeting with MP Weiler and Minister Boissonnault to share more about labour and housing challenges. The Chamber will explore ways to highlight the importance of housing as support for tourism infrastructure, potentially as feedback via the fall economic statement.
We Speak up for You
The Whistler Chamber advocates on behalf of the local business community to influence policy and decision-makers to address issues, such as difficulties with the labour market, housing challenges, and rising costs of doing business. Our team is in regular contact with Mayor and Council, MLA Jordan Sturdy, MP Patrick Weiler, and the extended Chamber network throughout BC to discuss the ever-changing business landscape as employers grapple with these issues.
How Can I Get Involved?
We keep our finger on the pulse through regular touch points with our Members. Advocacy in Action Member Input Sessions, presented by TD, are a great method of connecting – these small group discussions with community leaders from various industries provide an opportunity to discuss the needs and developing concerns of Whistler’s businesses.
*Minister Boissonnault was serving as Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance at the time of his visit to Whistler. On July 26, 2023, he was appointed Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages.
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