Organizations across Canada engage in business advocacy to ensure the private sector is heard at all levels of government.
Business Advocacy to Influence the Canadian Government
According to the Canadian Constitution, businesses are under provincial jurisdiction. Meaning, provincial governments regulate the flow of goods and services and business operations within their borders. Chambers and Boards of Trade advocate for the business community in their region at the local and provincial levels. However, business advocacy is equally important to influence Canadian Government national policies. To advocate at the federal level, the largest of Chambers and Boards of Trade came together to found the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC). Today, the CGCC is made up of nine business advocacy organizations.
If provincial governments regulate businesses, why do we need someone to advocate for business at the federal level?
Cross-national solutions are necessary to combat the challenges faced by the private sector. However, there are not enough seats at the national table for every business advocacy organization. Advocating for business communities at a federal level requires a unified voice. The CGCC is that voice, as a coalition of Chambers and Boards of Trade willing to collaborate to improve outcomes for business in Canada’s biggest cities.
Our Business Advocacy In Canada
Advocacy efforts help drive policy development and regulatory change in support of business. Examples of business advocacy initiatives include campaigns directed at taxation reduction, removal of regulations, and any other measures that support a stronger business environment.
Advocacy to support Businesses in Canadian Cities
The CGCC represents the interests of business on the issues that matter most to the private sector in nine of Canada’s largest cities. When advocating for metropolitan businesses, the individual Chambers and Boards of Trade listen to their members, share those experiences with their CGCC colleagues, then collaborate to examine the effectiveness of various national policies.
As Canadian cities continue to grow and increasingly businesses face similar challenges, more and more Chambers and Boards of Trade need solutions to their members’ challenges at a national level. Influencing cross-national policies and regulations that impact business is important work. Cities are the economic engines of the global economy. The strength and competitiveness of Canada’s cities will determine the trajectory of Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID crisis.
Are you a business in a Canadian city restricted by national policies or cross-provincial regulations? Contact the Chair of the CGCC in your region to share your experiences or to learn more about the policy recommendations for your area.
Diverse Businesses Need Diverse Advocacy
Business advocacy does not occur in a silo. Effective advocacy requires organizations with different goals and mandates to work together. For the Chambers and Boards of Trade in urban centres this meant creating the CGCC to give their members a voice at the national level.
Not only do regional and provincial organizations working together have a louder voice, but so do national organizations. For example, the CGCC, which lobbies at the federal level, partners with municipal leadership advocating at the national level including Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), with organizations focused on specific industries like Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and with advocacy groups for small businesses including the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The collaborative work, at all levels, focuses on current, widespread issues impacting the private sector.
Advocacy Efforts for Speedy Pandemic Recovery
The importance of business advocacy initiatives became paramount in supporting speedy and effective economic recovery after lockdowns and restrictions on the private sector. In 2020, the Business Council of Canada and the Canadian Global Cities Council sent an open letter to the Prime Minister in support of Canada’s municipalities facing severe financial impact of COVID-19.
Advocacy Efforts for Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business
Business leaders from each city centre voiced that the fractured Canadian market was hurting businesses as much as lockdowns. Their Chambers and Boards of Trade listened and determined that removing barriers to trade would assist local businesses, but required cross-provincial advocacy efforts.
In response, the CGCC advocated for the removal of trade regulations that make it difficult for businesses to sell their goods and services out of province. While cross-country collaboration was key, the CGCC’s business advocacy efforts were also directed at Premiers to take unilateral steps to remove barriers to Canadian goods in their own market – including through recognition of inconsistent standards, red tape reduction, and removal of duplicate regulations.
Advocacy Efforts to Stimulate the Economy in a Sustainable Way
In a 2018 report by the Canadian Global Cities Council titled “Planning for
An Urban Future: Our Call for a National Urban Strategy for Canada.” The Boards of Trade and Chambers from all nine cities recognized that transit offered another example where all orders of government needed to come together. Advocacy efforts focused on investments, such as building green transportation and energy infrastructure and retrofitting old buildings, which could create jobs and long-term payoff toward reducing our carbon footprint.
Advocacy Efforts to Address Current Issues Hurting Business
Advocacy can take many forms. Advocating for business might include listening to the challenges faced by individual business owners, sitting on task forces, sending letters to the government, using social media effectively, and more. Advocacy efforts both drive policy change and address timely, current issues. For example, in 2020, the Canadian Global Cities Council (CGCC) issued a letter calling on the federal government to work with all orders of government to bring swift and peaceful resolution to the blockades impacting railways, ports and bridges across the country.