Advocacy in Action
It seems strange to be heading to an in-person convention, but that’s what is happening as I write this article. Chambers from across the province will gather soon for the Ontario Chamber’s AGM and Convention. Safety protocols for the delegates and our political guests are still in place.
Over the course of the conference, we have the opportunity to hear from the Leaders of the Liberal, Green and NDP parties, as well as from The Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria, President of the Treasury Board of Ontario. That is especially important in the days leading up to the June election.
One of the main reasons, though, for Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade from across Ontario to gather is to formulate advocacy priorities for lobbying the provincial government. This year, the policy convention takes place in Brampton and our Chamber Board Chair, John Lobraico and I will be representing the interests of the Milton business community.
So, what does this mean to you? I have written about this before, but the Chamber network is the only business association in the country has an office in every electoral rising in Canada. In Ontario, the OCC has 157 member chambers of commerce and boards of trade and a diverse network of 60,000 member businesses.
That means politicians hear from the Ontario Chamber while at Queen’s Park…and then from their local Chamber when they return home.
And, for more than a century, the OCC has undertaken important research on Ontario’s most pressing policy issues, advocating for solutions that will foster the growth of Ontario businesses and lead to the creation of jobs in the province. Through focused programs and services, they support businesses of all sizes, encouraging workforce development and inclusive economic growth. This work is based on the belief that strong businesses are the foundation of a prosperous Ontario.
The direction the Ontario Chamber takes in its day-to-day lobbying comes directly from the debates at the convention’s policy sessions. Most resolutions are researched and written by local Chambers based on issues of importance to the business community. At this convention alone, Chambers will debate thirty-four policy resolutions.
That means our local Chambers strongly influence the lobbying efforts of the OCC. That means we are truly a grassroots organization.