Chamber Member Represents Whistler Businesses in Meeting with Prime Minister

January 14, 2021


The great working relationship that the Whistler Chamber has cultivated with our local MP’s office, recently created a unique opportunity for one of our Members to be part of an important discussion around Whistler’s economic recovery. A few weeks ago, Patrick Weiler, MP, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, reached out to Whistler Chamber Member, Board Member of the Restaurant Association of Whistler and President + CEO of Infinity Enterprises, Pepe Barajas, to set up a virtual meeting, which took place last week.

What Pepe did not know at the time of joining the meeting was that they would have the honor of being joined by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,  as part of a virtual whistle-stop in Whistler.

The virtual  meeting was attended by:

Patrick Weiler, MP, West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country

Pepe Barajas, President + CEO, Infinity Enterprises Group

Lou Hudec, Director of Finance, Infinity Enterprises Group

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The group was able to discuss the financial support options that the federal government has been able to offer, and one of our very own Members was able to ask important questions about the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and other programs. It was incredibly valuable for Pepe, as a Member of the Whistler Chamber, to discuss some gaps in government support, such as the issues new businesses are having in applying for programs without track records to indicate losses. 

“Federal support for small and medium sized businesses, is key for the uniqueness and variety of our economic landscape, and fundamental to preserve jobs and future opportunities for Canadian citizens and residents,” said Pepe Barajas, President + CEO, Infinity Enterprises Group.

Whistler’s hospitality industry has been particularly hard-hit during the pandemic. With Whistler not expecting to see a return to higher volumes of tourists for 12-18 months, and 25% of all restaurant meals in BC being tourism related meals, an important question for the Prime Minister was how long the financial support would continue. The Prime Minister reassured the group that if support needs to continue, it will. There was also discussion about more targeted support for the various sectors.

Other takeaways from the meeting include:

  • Federal government understands that the tourism industry will take longer to bounce back, and that Canadians will be encouraged to travel locally once safe to do so.
  • MP Patrick Weiler will be bringing up issues around any Provincial decisions that could be counteracting efforts made by federal government to support small businesses
  • Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) program is being revamped and will become more efficient model

 Thank you to MP Patrick Weiler and the Prime Minister’s office for allowing us to share this video.

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