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During this time of year, chambers of commerce from coast to coast are preparing draft policy resolutions for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM to influence government on its decisions impacting business.

This is one of the primary ways chambers advocate for their members on issues of national relevance. Chambers also prepare policies that guide their efforts lobbying for support from provincial and municipal governments. Once approved by membership, these policies are woven into the Chamber’s governance documents such as the strategic plan, business plan and operational policies.

For the first time this year, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is hosting a week-long policy internship program in Ottawa to improve policy development and teamwork within the Chamber’s network of community chambers.

I am pleased to share with the members of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce that I am one of only six applicants from chambers across Canada to be selected into this new program.

Other chambers to be represented throughout 2017 are Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Lethbridge Chamber; Dufferin Board of Trade; Saskatchewan Chamber and Hamilton Chamber.

Warren Everson, the senior vice president of policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, sees this as an opportunity to “better understand each other – to understand the issues ‘in the field’ and how we might be of greater assistance to your lobbying efforts on behalf of your members and, at the same time, be able to gain a better understanding of how we work at the federal level in Ottawa on issues that affect businesses across Canada.”

As part of the internship, our Chamber will be providing an update to the national chamber’s policy group on priority issues in our region.

As we are the only Chamber selected east of Ontario, we will be bringing issues of Atlantic Canadian significance to the capital city.

We will participate in policy project work with one or more of the national policy team and as part of the week’s agenda, we will accompany policy directors on meetings with ministers, staff and Parliamentarians.

I look forward to participating in the session in Ottawa in early May.

However, before then, there will be a great deal of excitement here in Truro with our Chamber’s Annual Awards and Gala dinner.

On April 27, we will present our two most prestigious awards – our Business Person of the Year and our Business Excellence awards – and welcome gala guest speaker Cathy Bennett, recipient of several Top CEO in Atlantic Canada awards by Atlantic Business Magazine and recognized as one of the top 25 Women of Influence in Canada.

Bennett is CEO of the Bennett Group of Companies (BGI) and Finance Minister and President of the Treasury Board of Newfoundland and Labrador. A successful and driven entrepreneur, she is a leader in the business community having served as a Governor of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Treasurer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Nalcor Energy in 2012, as a Director on the Board of Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro and the Bull Arm Corporation.

She was President of the St. John’s Board of Trade in 2007.She served as a Director of the NL Business Coalition and was an active member of a Labour Market Committee in a Strategic Partnership with the Provincial Government and the Federation of Labour. She was a Director with the Atlantic Province Chamber of Commerce, a member of both the Business Advisory Group of Memorial University’s Faculty of Business and the Advisory Board for The Learning Partnership. Her business focus has been acknowledged with awards as Employer of Distinction in 2011.

We are thrilled to welcome her to Truro on April 27. Seats for the gala can be reserved by calling 902-895-6328 or by emailing oa@tcchamber.ca.

Sherry Martell is the Executive Director of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce.