Posted by Vira Hughes on Mar 12, 2020

This past Tuesday we heard from Brent Francis, the Director of Advocacy and Outreach for the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. Brent told us that the role of the Chamber is to Advocate, Educate and Connect businesses from the greater Edmonton area. He said that they have nineteen hundred member companies in the metro Edmonton area. They help their members to grow and succeed by hosting events, providing trade workshops and providing networking opportunities. They also have partnerships with other business communities around the world. They are part of the Canadian Global Cities Council, a coalition that represents more than fifty percent of the people in Canada. They also work with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and those in more northerly communities to ensure that businesses in all of Alberta benefit.

Brent said that right now, many businesses are struggling trying to keep the doors open and to attract investment. The chamber advocates on behalf of their members to promote projects such as the trans mountain pipeline. They also advocate for regulations that will make running a business easier for their members, such as more consistency from province to province. He said that right now, when moving large loads on highways, BC only allows transport during daylight and Alberta only allows transport at night. Sizes of product allowed for sale are often different from province to province. Certification for trades is different from province to province. All of these things make it difficult for a local business to expand to other provinces. On the federal front the pipelines are a big issue right now. Eighty percent of our oil is currently exported to the US, but they are becoming a less reliable customer so we need to expand and sell our product to overseas markets.

He said that he wished he had some good news to give us, but that he was actually here to tell us the truth. We would like to thank him for his very honest and interesting presentation.