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From the Desk of the CEO Jill Raycroft

Don’t forget to join us on Thursday, May 24 at the Empire Theatre – doors open @ 6:00 pm

On Wednesday, we hosted the second of our Lunch & Learn pilot series designed to engage members in topics of interest in supporting their business welfare. In a joint initiative, the Bay of Quinte Chambers invited their members to participate in a discussion with representatives from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to identify local issues that require representation at the provincial level. 

We truly appreciated that OCC Policy Analyst, Andrew Thiele, who developed the OCC Platform came to guide us through the ideas for local action and with him came OCC President & CEO Rocco Rossi. Rocco is an engaging speaker and he shared his passion for the need for advocacy with us on Wednesday – when his uncles split on the decision to go to Canada or South America. He attributes the success of the Canadian family – no smarter, no harder working, no more ambitious – to the governance of our province and our country. The Argentinian family has suffered under corrupt government and not been able to create the better life they aspired to. And this is why advocacy, pressure and awareness matter.

A number of organizations will be hosting debates for the candidates in the upcoming provincial election. The debates hosted by the Chambers will generally ask candidates how they intend to address key issues. While the Chambers engage members in a variety of ways through surveys or sector specific meetings, the lunch on May 16 was a different approach to soliciting guidance from the local membership on these issues.

And the conversation helped organize our thoughts around the needs of the Chamber membership. Largely represented by the business community, the Chamber will be seeking answers at the debates to address the needs of business. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has drafted their Vote for Prosperity platform centred on the four pillars of Business Competitiveness, Fostering Job Creation, Building Healthy Communities and Improving Government Accountability. Attendees at the lunch were invited to share what type of action would be required at the local level to support these initiatives.

We also hope the presence of the OCC in Eastern Ontario for this type of conversation will highlight some of the challenges our region faces in light of provincial legislation often guided by advocacy input from larger urban centres. The presence of the OCC and the attendance of newly appointed President & CEO Rocco Rossi is considered an excellent opportunity for “the voice of business from the Bay of Quinte to be heard in Toronto.