Chamber presents to Legislative Finance Committee
VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce is urging the provincial government to make child care, economic development and mental health funding priorities in the coming year.
On June 2, the Chamber presented to B.C.’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services, which is conducting consultation on the proposed 2021 provincial budget.
“We thank the members of the Select Standing Committee for providing the Chamber an opportunity to highlight what we believe are essential building blocks for a vibrant economy and resilient communities, particularly as we move through Covid-19 recovery,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.
During the submission, the Chamber supported a recent City of Vernon child care action plan, including expediting the implementation of the $10 a day plan for child care, increasing capital funding for the creation of new licensed spaces and operating costs, and increasing financial supports for those training as early childhood educators.
“We frequently hear from our members that attraction and retention of employees is challenging because of the lack of child care, and this ultimately has a significant impact on employers’ ability to operate and contribute fully to the economy,” said Robin Cardew, chair of the Chamber’s advocacy committee.
In terms of economic development, the Chamber is asking the provincial government to allocate funds to initiatives that support economic success.
“As an example, the hotel room tax is forwarded to municipalities after the funds are received by the government. With tax payments by businesses deferred until September, that money is not reaching municipalities. Beyond this, Covid restrictions on travel have negatively impacted the source of the tax,” said Cardew.
“The slow pace of processing the hotel tax to municipalities and marketing initiatives does not allow for advanced planning by destination marketing organizations. Once a solid reopening of B.C. is apparent, funding must flow quickly to ensure tourism bounces back as soon as possible.”
The Chamber’s submission also focused on prolific offenders who frequently struggle with mental health or substance abuse. The Chamber is requesting increased funding for treating offenders while incarcerated, post-release housing with support programs, local residential treatment for low-income residents, and reimbursement for individuals seeking private addiction treatment.
“Treatment and housing enhances safety for high-risk individuals, communities and businesses, and the ultimate goal is to provide individuals with the assistance they need to become full partners in society,” said Cardew.
The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is expected to present a 2021 budget report to the Legislative Assembly in August 2020. British Columbians can submit ideas for the budget before June 26, 2020 at https://consultations.leg.bc.ca/Submission/Create?cons=Budget2021
For more information:
Richard Rolke, Communications Coordinator
Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce
Info@vernon chamber.ca 250-545-0771