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Tuesday
Feb172015

STABLE BUDGET FOR THE BC ECONOMY - Surrey Board of Trade would like further clarity for Surrey investments  

“The Surrey Board of Trade applauds the BC Government for delivering a balanced budget in an unstable economy. The surplus of $878 million and the forecast of increasing surpluses for the next three years will serve the Surrey business community and our residents well,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade. “Now the government needs to clarify their strategic investments in Surrey.”

GOOD FOR BUSINESS - GOOD FOR COMMUNITY

Balanced Budget

Fiscally responsible, a good foundation for future growth.

Support for International Trade

The establishment of the Renminbi Trade Hub will facilitate increased trade with China and the potential for increased jobs in BC. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recognizes the potential for $6.2 billion in transaction costs savings over the next 10 years. Surrey and British Columbia will benefit greatly as a result.

Families

Last year we saw some progress in terms of budget support to BC families. The Surrey Board of Trade supports the exemption of Child Support Payments from income assistance calculations. Further, Surrey families will appreciate the increase in tax credits for sports equipment.

Poverty Reduction

The Surrey Board of Trade recognizes some progress to reducing poverty in this budget such as the Early Childhood Tax Benefit and Community Living BC investments. However, we would like to see a more comprehensive strategic approach around reducing poverty in BC as, unfortunately, BC remains the leader in child poverty for Canada. A title we should plan to remove.

AREAS WHERE CLARIFICATION IS NEEDED

Will Surrey be the beneficiary of new investments in the areas of health care, post secondary education, skill and trades training capital spending? The Surrey Board of Trade, given Surrey’s growing population of 1500 people a month, would like to see greater detail on the BC governments infrastructure and investment plans for Surrey.

Environment

The Surrey Board of Trade’s Environment Advocacy Team will be reviewing the economic impact of the new water Sustainability Act, which will be in force in 2016.

Education

We appreciate the funding of North Clayton Secondary School and the investment in Surrey. As the fastest growing large city in BC, we are looking forward to further funding announcements to address the overwhelming number of students being educated in portables.

Crime & Justice

We note that there is no discussion of the provincial Blue Ribbon Panel Report on Crime Reduction in this budget. The Surrey Board of Trade contributed to the study and supports the recommendations, which require strategic investments to strengthen crime prevention in Surrey.

Conclusion

The Surrey Board of Trade appreciates the concerted fiscal responsibility shown by the government in these uncertain economic times. We look forward to hearing more detail regarding how the budget will impact Surrey’s economy. 

For more information on BC's Budget go to: http://bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2015/default.htm 

Tuesday
Feb172015

Surrey Women in Business Awards Finalists 2015 and Keynote Speaker Announced: Justin Trudeau

On Thursday, March 5, 2015, the Surrey Board of Trade will host the 6th Annual Surrey Women in Business Awards Luncheon, with Presenting Sponsor Vancouver City Savings Credit Union.  This event recognizes the hard work of Surrey’s businesswomen and their contributions to the community. 

We will be joined by keynote speaker Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, and MP for Papineau, Quebec.

Steve Darling of Global BC is back as Master of Ceremonies!

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2015

Location: Eaglequest Golf Course (7778 152 Street, Surrey, B.C.)

Time: Registration and lunch - 11:30 a.m.; program - 12:00-1:30 p.m.

Admission (+GST): $55.00 each or $440.00 for a table of 8

 

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Friday
Feb062015

Surrey Board of Trade applauds Premier’s announcement of the Violence Free BC (VFBC) Strategy

The Violence Free BC (VFBC) strategy, as announced on February 6th by Premier Christy Clark in Surrey, focuses on reducing domestic violence with five key priorities:

·       Challenging beliefs and behaviours

·       Ensuring services are responsive, innovative and coordinated

·       Supporting women as they rebuild their lives

·       Addressing violence against Aboriginal women

·       Fostering strong relationships and new partnerships

“Domestic violence is not only a domestic issue,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “It is violence of the most brutal sort perpetrated against women. It is a societal issue. Having a new Domestic Violence Unit that combines investigators and support workers, working together to help women and families not only survive but to begin recovery is a major step forward. I look forward to helping with the public-awareness campaign when it begins. It really is the responsibility of the whole community, including business, to help stop the hurt.”

The DVU will include Surrey RCMP police investigators, community-based victim services, and a Ministry of Children and Family Development child protection worker. By having these services in one location, they can work collaboratively on domestic violence cases. The DVU and future public awareness programs will be funded from the civil forfeiture proceeds and other crime prevention program funding sources.

“The Surrey Board of Trade's Crime and Justice Team will be very happy to see this initiative move forward,” said Anita Huberman. “We know that domestic violence has a profound impact on a woman’s ability to continue to be employed or to find employment – key to her ability to escape horrible situations. More work needs to be done to raise awareness of how employers can help their employees. The team is currently examining Getting Serious About Crime Reduction, the BC Blue Ribbon Panel Report to determine how businesses can work with our community partners to help reduce crime in general, and domestic violence in particular.”

An overview of the Blue Ribbon Report will be at the Surrey Board of Trade Business Lunch on April 24th at Eaglequest Golf Course, with Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy and Parliamentary Secretary Darryl Plecas, MLA Abbotsford-South.
 
Quick Facts
The Surrey Board of Trade’s Crime and Justice Advocacy Team have examined the impacts of domestic violence to business last year and, in conjunction with the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce released a position paper in the spring of 2014. Among the conclusions and recommendations were

1. Prevention: create and implement training, education, support, and partnerships using tools such as those provided by WorkSafeBC

2. Services:  develop and implement and engagement strategy to identify key issues specific actions, strategies, timelines and desired outcomes in collaboration with community partners, and develop resource materials to support the legal community and public

3. Accountability and justice: determine next steps regarding domestic violence courts upon review of the BC Justice Reform Initiative report, and develop legal education materials for the public with the Public Legal Education Institute and the Legal Services Society on the Family Law Act.

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Thursday
Feb052015

Surrey Board of Trade Wants More Than a Yes Vote in Transit Plebiscite

The Surrey Board of Trade strongly supports a YES vote for the Transit Plebiscite. The decision for support was made at the January board meeting, as improvements within the Mayors’ plan will benefit Surrey’s businesses and residents. The Surrey Board of Trade is a supporter of the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition and has long led the charge for Light Rail for Surrey.

“The infrastructure projects planned for Surrey such as Light Rail, the Pattullo Bridge, and road improvements are urgently needed for our rapidly growing population – at about 1500 a month now. This ballot is a major opportunity for Surrey to finally receive desperately needed investment in Surrey’s transportation infrastructure. With today’s economy, the Metro Vancouver Congestion tax, through the PST, is the most cost-effective way,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We strongly encourage the public, this one time, to vote for a large scale transportation infrastructure project that will ease congestion, improve the movements of goods and people, and to ease consumers abilities to reach Surrey’s businesses.”

“Transportation improvements are major economic development drivers. When businesses relocate or are thinking to starting in Surrey, they look at transit and transportation corridors. Currently, our ability to attract businesses is compromised. Further, benefits of improved transportation and transit opportunities will assist residents travelling throughout Surrey. Students can access education and employment. Seniors can access health facilities. Those with low income will not need the expense of a car if they can access employment and services through better transit.”

The Surrey YES Campaign will be launched on February 11th at 11:00 a.m., Surrey City Hall. The Surrey Board of Trade encourages members of the business and industry community to attend.

The Surrey Board of Trade wants more:

1.    A phase 2 plan for Light Rail to extend to Cloverdale and South Surrey. B-Line buses will not be sufficient in years to come with the expected population growth. Therefore all of Surrey’s centres will need to be considered. The Surrey Board of Trade will advocate for private sector funding options and alternatives to support expanding current plans.

2.    The Pattullo Bridge should not be tolled

3.    Assurances are needed to have the proposed tax be fully integrated with current PST collection systems to reduce/minimize impact on businesses. Our economy must remain competitive.

4.    The Premier and her ministers responsible for Translink and provincial transportation decisions and legislation, need to commit doing everything they can to secure a YES vote this spring.

5.    In future, such decisions should not be put to a referendum. Politicians are elected to make the hard decisions and demonstrate leadership for future planning.

6.    The provincial government needs to review the legislation that created Translink, the governance and financial structure of Translink, and make necessary changes/improvements as soon as possible to increase public trust.

7.    The Province and Federal Government need to formally pledge their commitment for their anticipated contributions of $3B over the next decade.

 

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