Chamber conference

Canadian Chamber of Commerce operations and program implementation vice-president Stacey Roy, left, along with events and program officer Kristy Murray, centre, get set to enter a conference session at the Valhalla Inn on Thursday with Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce event co-ordinator Kerry Berlinquette, right.

Thunder Bay is playing host to business community delegates from across Canada this week and our local chamber of commerce is mixing some important business with pleasure for them — northern style.

More than 350 delegates are gathering for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting where representatives will discuss more than 66 resolutions related to the organization’s federal advocacy agenda for 2019. The national chamber’s annual general meeting runs from Saturday through Monday. The warmup event is a conference of the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Canada that started Thursday and finishes Saturday morning.

Charla Robinson, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, said that although there are already many agenda items relevant to the city, the host chamber put forth resolutions on two important topics.

“Both resolutions address some of the local concerns that we have that fall under federal jurisdiction,” said Robinson.

The first local resolutions is on immigration and it speaks to the challenge of matching labour force skills to business needs.

“Small communities have a hard time filling a lot of low-skilled positions because they are not able to use immigrants to fill those spots,” said Robinson, adding that we are unable to attract immigrants to our community to fill some of those positions like butchers, truck drivers and personal support workers.

“We have a resolution calling for a pilot category for permanent residency that would allow those low-skilled positions that have labour shortages to actually be permitting international workers to use that work to become permanent residents,” she said. “We are looking to try and help small communities like Thunder Bay to be able to allow those international workers to get the work that they need but also that it will help us fill those shortages and help them qualify for permanent residency.”

The other resolution the chamber is putting forward involves changes to Transport Canada rules around flight crews on airplanes and their duty hours and the type of flights they are allowed to take.

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