Timmins, ON | Sept. 22, 2016—The Timmins Chamber of Commerce has secured a major national partner in its efforts to push for federal action on assisting businesses and Indigenous communities with resource development issues, including the duty to consult and the impact of climate change on winter roads.
At the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's (CCC) annual general meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan on Sept. 17-19, the Timmins Chamber successfully lobbied more than 330 Chamber representatives from across the country to support policies designed on behalf of local members.
This advocacy success means that the Timmins Chamber policies are now official positions of the CCC. The organization will now actively use these positions to push the federal government for change, supported by the full weight of the 200,000 businesses it represents.
“This is an important win for Timmins businesses and our regional economy,” said Chris Bender, president of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce.
“The Canadian Chamber is the country’s largest and most influential business advocacy group, and now that both our policies have been adopted with a stunning 98% support on the debate floor in Regina, the organization will push for them when they speak to and lobby the federal government. This means that our made-in-Timmins priorities will be will be heard at the highest levels, and with the support of businesses from coast to coast.”
One of the two Timmins Chamber policies adopted by the CCC in Regina include a call for the federal government to clarify the roles of all parties involved in the duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples on any projects that would affect their constitutional rights.
The lack of a clear framework on how businesses and Indigenous communities should approach this process creates uncertainty, and can lead to resource development projects being stalled or outright halted; this undermines everyone’s interests, according to Bender.
“The need for direction is crucial in order to address the many questions that arise in this important process, and to protect the countless socioeconomic benefits that can result,” said Bender.
The Canadian Chamber will now also be pushing the Timmins Chamber’s second successfully adopted policy, which urges the federal government to analyze and take action on the impact of climate change on seasonal or winter roads in remote or northern regions.
The consequences of this issue are already being felt in northern Ontario, where roads made of ice or snow provide temporary access to remote resource development projects and 30 Indigenous communities and through the winter months; they are of significant socioeconomic importance, allowing for goods to be moved at a cost two to three times lower than air transport, which is frequently the sole alternative. As well, the winter roads are often the only option for the transportation of heavier items such as vehicles, equipment, and building materials into these remote communities.
However, shorter and warmer winters resulting from climate change are drastically reducing the amount of time that the thousands of kilometers of winter roads can be used. This is already having an economic impact on affected communities and businesses, and as a result, the Timmins Chamber is urging federal solutions – possibly in the form of coordinating and funding all-season road networks where desired and appropriate, according to Bender.
“These issues are prevalent and pressing in our region, and we look forward to working with the Canadian Chamber, the federal government, and our partners throughout the North in the months and years ahead. There is no question that developing collaborative solutions as we’ve outlined and had adopted in Regina will prove to be of major benefit not just to our members, but to Indigenous communities and economies across the country.”
To view the full versions of the policy that will now be championed by the CCC, please visit the Chamber’s website at www.timminschamber.on.ca, or view them directly at http://tinyurl.com/DutyToConsult and http://tinyurl.com/WinterRoadNetworks
About the Timmins Chamber of Commerce
With 700 members, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest accredited chambers of commerce with distinction in northeastern Ontario. As the “Voice of Business in Timmins” since 1949, our advocacy and policy initiatives focus on ensuring a positive business climate in the City of Timmins.
Manager of Policy, Research and Communications
Timmins Chamber of Commerce