Whistler Chamber October Advocacy in Action Member Input Session


November 4th, 2021

The Whistler Chamber’s monthly Advocacy in Action meetings continued last month, with the October 19th discussion joined by local MP Patrick Weiler and representatives from across the Whistler business community.

In her introduction, Chamber CEO Melissa Pace took a moment to recognize Small Business Week and all the local entrepreneurs that drive our business community.  Melissa also welcomed TD Bank Group as continued partners for Advocacy in Action. Attention was drawn to ongoing surveys to check in on the status of the labour force, BC Chamber Collective Perspective report, and provincial paid sick leave.

MP Patrick Weiler then took a moment to thank businesses and entrepreneurs for their perseverance, to mention programs and relief initiatives introduced by government, and announce investments and grants to facilitate digital commerce, with recognition that the tourism sector will face special needs to properly address.

After opening the discussion to the attendees, concerns regarding the labour shortage took centre stage. Efforts to bring more temporary foreign workers to Whistler were discussed, as were resources for both employers and employees to help foreign workers assess pathways to permanent residency. MP Weiler chimed in to share that the minimum rates for LMIAs will be lifted, allowing for more labour shortages to be filled more easily.

Issues of community welfare and mental health were then discussed. Attending Members voiced their recognition of the Whistler Community Services Society (WCSS) and the critical role they have played in supporting the Whistler community during the pandemic. The importance of avoiding worker burnout was evident during the last few months, during which many workplaces in town have been operating while short staffed.

Members then moved on to the topic of the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) and EI. Members voiced serious concern with MP Weiler to not extend these programs, and to ask government rethink the negative impact this program has had on businesses and getting people back to work. MP Weiler made it clear that, while the decision for changes to these programs are looming soon, there are many factors to consider when making changes.  He understands the critical importance these changes would have and will continue to support our Members concerns in Ottawa.

One Member inquired about the government’s focus on providing grants and resources to businesses to branch out into the digital economy. It was felt that, while the digital economy has been well supported, not enough has been done for the experiential economy that is well represented in Whistler in the form of the tourism industry.

In closing, Melissa Pace touched on upcoming Chamber events and the redesigned Whistler Experience Training Program. This year, the program will be altered to reflect Whistler’s roots in mountain culture, and will feature new Indigenous Cultural Awareness and Gender Diversity programs. The Whistler Experience Program is the pathway to the Spirit Pass.

The team at the Whistler Chamber will continue to host Advocacy in Action Sessions. The Chamber continues to advocate to build back a strong, sustainable business economy.   Understanding the needs and developing concerns of local businesses is how we advocate for our Members at all levels of government. Please consider registering for our next session on November 16th – we would love to hear from you.

What is an Advocacy in Action Session?

As your Chamber, one of our key roles is to advocate on behalf of the Whistler business community. Our power packed Advocacy in Action Sessions are designed for you, our Members, to let us know where to take action. We want to stay up-to-date with developing concerns of our business community during COVID-19, and be better prepared to advocate for you during these unprecedented times. This is an opportunity to speak frankly and let the Chamber know how we can make your business better.