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B.C. business community focuses on planning for recovery amid uncertainty at AGM

Last Updated May 23, 2020 at 11:45 pm PDT

FILE -- A woman walks past a restaurant closed due to COVID-19, in Vancouver, on May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

The BC Chamber of Commerce wrapped up a virtual version of its Annual General Meeting Saturday

The chamber adjusted its agenda to focus solely on how business and industry can recover post-pandemic

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Planning for economic recovery amid uncertainty was the focus for B.C.’s business community this weekend.

The BC Chamber of Commerce wrapped up a virtual version of its Annual General Meeting Saturday.

The chamber adjusted its agenda to focus solely on how business and industry can recover post-pandemic.

“Due to COVID-19—and the resulting economic impacts for BC businesses—we’ve been forced quickly pivot toward a new definition of common purpose,reads the website. 

“Economic recovery is our solitary focus for 2020.”

Anita Huberman with the Surrey Board of Trade says planning how to advocate for businesses in the coming year is difficult with so many worried about their futures.

“Things are dire,” she says.

“The challenge we’re facing right now, and we said this even in our debates, is that we don’t know what the future looks like, it’s very uncertain. We don’t know what the second wave looks like,” she explains.

Groups like Huberman’s also find themselves in a difficult position.

“People are being very cautious with their expenses, cautious in terms of capital expenses. For us, our whole role is to be that concierge of connection, to instigate change at the different levels of economy,” she explains.

She notes construction, development and manufacturing weren’t shut down in B.C. which meant activity in some of the Lower Mainland’s biggest industries persisted.

“We’re lucky as you compare us to other provinces or territories in the nation,” Huberman says.

The Surrey Board of Trade did put forward 27 different proposals to the Chamber’s AGM.

“We were seeking support of policies to reinvigorate the economy after the pandemic, To look at ways to support industry, to look at ways to endure,” Huberman says.

“Bottom line it was meant to reinvigorate the economy, and really to support industry.”

The  board gained support for initiatives connected to the development of the Fraser River and support for the taxi industry, among others.

She says her group will continue to advocate for all 27 policies because they chart a path for recovery in the region.