The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce calls for a National Business Strike
National protest will deliver a powerful message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that business has had enough
The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce is calling on Canadian businesses to participate in a protest of the federal governments proposed tax changes. These changes will have a significant negative impact on businesses of all sizes and types.
“On September 15th at 1:00 pm EST we ask all businesses in Canada to stop work for one minute and take photos of your business and staff to include with your correspondence with Members of Parliament as part of the tax consultation process” says David Duplisea, CEO of the Chamber.
“A 1-minute strike will not impact operations, revenue or customer service but our hope is that putting faces to the millions of Canadians who could be impacted by these changes will send a powerful message to Minister of Finance Morneau and Prime Minister Trudeau” added Duplisea.
The Chamber has aggressively lobbied on behalf of members with activities including meetings with MP’s, launch of an MP letter campaign, commentaries and editorials. The Chamber announced the National Business Strike in conjunction with a breakfast information session it will host on September 12 at the Delta Brunswick Hotel.
“There are over 1 million businesses who will be impacted by the proposed changes across many sectors. If small businesses were to stop work for a longer duration, the impact would be significant. Any business strike of length would be devastating,” said Duplisea. “We want to make this a simple process for business owners to register their concern and have their voice heard.”
The Chamber website (www.thechambersj.com) is set up to allow businesses to send an email to their MP and attach photos. Businesses that choose to share their photo on social media are encouraged to use the hashtag #nomoretax . For a national search of MPs, please access:
The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce is a dynamic advocate and the principal voice for the business community of Greater Saint John. It offers a variety of programs, activities, services, and networking opportunities designed to enhance the business prospects of members and the overall business climate of the area.
New Chair's remarks at the 197th Annual Meeting & Luncheon
Address at the Delta Brunswick
By Dick Daigle, Chair of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce
I am honoured and humbled to continue the work that has been started by those who have come before me. Our former business associations have been longstanding pillars in our community, and our expanded organization in now poised to continue that tradition. Yet, as we just heard from David, status quo is not an option. We are not content to rest on our laurels and I am excited to work, on your behalf, to advance the values that we have created together as an organization.
In the coming year, we look forward to partnering with you as we celebrate, support and encourage those in our community who are committed to business in our region. Our community is “Open and Ready for Business” and our members can count on us to continue to spread the word and support initiatives that encourage economic development and foster growth.
We partner with local economic and community development organizations, as well as all three levels of government to harness the power of our entire community to push our priorities forward.
In the past couple of years, we have begun to establish The Chamber as the go-to organization for all things business, and we will continue to advance and reinvest in our programs, events and member services and to create an environment for new investment.
As your advocate and your voice to local government, you can trust us to remain focused on the priorities that you have identified for us and to speak and react on your behalf, always with our eyes on the future and our ears to the ground for upcoming trends and opportunities.
Through our surveys, conversations with members and an ongoing relationship with past chairs, we have learned that you want us to become even more vocal in our advocacy efforts, with an increased visibility within the community. Streamlined and more effective marketing and communications will allow us to remain relevant, agile and flexible as we move forward with this mandate.
The next year will be an exciting time for us. New projects and initiatives on the horizon bode well for the future of our community. We have a compelling story to tell, one that is the envy of many regions. We must remove barriers to business, we must remain open to new ideas and above all, we must remain open for business.
As part of our Saint John Region Matters Series, The Chamber is releasing to you, our members, the results of the Candidates Questionnaire.
The questionnaire was developed through feedback from our members, our government relations committee and members of our community. The goal was to establish the key priorities for this federal election in the Saint John Region. Once our questions were finalized, the questionnaire was then distributed to local election candidates in the Saint John area. The responses of the candidates were collected by The Chamber and were then placed, unedited, into a Q&A style document for all to view. The priorities of our members help to stake our place in ensuring all voices are heard and become part of the election dialogue.
You can see the full Candidates Questionnaire Responses by clicking here .
We hope you take the time to be informed by reading the responses from our local candidates, and be sure to make your voice count by voting on October 19.
CEO of The Chamber
One membership. One network. Unlimited possibilities.
New Chair's remarks at the 196th Annual Meeting & Luncheon
Address at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre
By Grant Kimball, Chair of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce
Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning and welcome!
It is a great honor to be sworn in as the new chair of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce.
Reflecting on this organization's long history, with its countless inspiring business leaders, I feel both privileged and humbled to follow in their footsteps. To be given the opportunity to lead this team and to give back to the community that has given so much to me, and my family, is truly inspiring and somewhat daunting, but no doubt will be exciting and fulfilling!
My goal today is to give you some insight into what we are working on at the Chamber and how our 3 year strategic plan is setting the stage as we prepare to celebrate our 200th anniversary.
It is my hope that when you leave this meeting you will have a better understanding of what your Chamber is doing for you and how you can get the most out of your membership! As a member of the Chamber we want you to feel informed and connected to all that we do on behalf of the business community of the greater Saint John Region.
Your Chamber is a network of over 700 member businesses representing over 30,000 professionals. From these ranks we
have many very dedicated volunteers who are engaged in the Chamber and give back a tremendous amount of service to our community. For this we are truly thankful. These dedicated volunteers have made the Chamber the organization it is today.
On that note, I would also like to recognize our board members who are completing their terms and thank them for their hard work and guidance as very valuable members of the board. Thank you for everything you all have done for the Chamber and our business community.
I would now like to thank my predecessor, our newest Past Chair, for all of his hard work and dedication to moving the Chamber forward and helping to set the foundation of today’s Chamber. Andy Lodge is a true leader and champion of the Chamber movement in every sense of the word. It was through Andy’s guidance and vision that we were able to amalgamate the four regional chambers into the one strong organization we have today. Through all of Andy’s leadership and hard work we now have a stable platform that provides one voice for the businesses of our community. This more robust Chamber will give us a larger voice and a solid platform to continue to grow and help local business for years to come. On behalf of our members and myself, I want to thank you Andy for all your time and dedication, you truly helped make a difference!
I would be remiss if I didn’t also recognize David and his team for all their hard work over the past year in executing Andy and the Board’s vision. Well done!
For our new slate of directors, we have some big shoes to fill and there is still a lot yet to be accomplished, but I am excited to work with you and am confident that we are the team to meet each and every challenge and opportunity we will face in the coming year.
Now I would like to give you an idea of what to expect from your Chamber in 2015 and beyond. As discussed previously, we did our strategic plan to guide us for the next 3 years so we could have a consistent message that our members helped develop, can support and will benefit from.
Through that process it became clear our membership want us to:
* Forge one collective voice for business in the Saint John Region.
Saint John is known to have too many voices with many different priorities. As a result, our politicians have viewed this lack of clarity with confusion, resulting in them not clearly knowing what our region wants and in what order we want it. We want to work closely with all economic development agencies in our region so we can refine the message and prioritize our wants and needs.
* Advocate for a positive business climate.
To determine our advocacy position, the Chamber will evaluate issues on their ability to help our members make money, save money and reduce risk. An example of this is us working with all stakeholders to reduce red tape at all levels of government. This will enable business to more easily navigate the process of trying to start a new business or develop projects in our region.
We have also met with all three levels of government to impress the importance of being strategic with infrastructure spending and development, spending dollars where they will have the most benefit to business.
As well, we have heard from over 92% our members that they are in favour of responsible exploration and development of our natural resourses. To help advocate on this, the Chamber has taken the lead role in hosting the East Coast Energy Connection on June 9th and 10th. We are bringing in experts from across North America to help educate our members and the business community about all possible forms of energy production.
The Chamber has also applied for intervener status for the Energy East Pipeline hearings, where we will be supporting the economic benefits to the Region.
* Increase focus on small business.
85% of the Chamber's membership is made up of small to medium sized business, which is the backbone of our local economy. We are committed to help these members prosper through education and our member benefits program. We will also raise their overall profile in the community through our networking mixers, social media and our member to member program.
* Support True Growth 2.0
We have an engaged mayor and council and also a united business community with the formation of the new Regional Chamber. All of the elements are in place to roll up our sleeves and put our efforts behind the True Growth 2.0 strategy. The elements of success are there if we all work together.
* Strive for operational excellence.
Your Chamber strives to be a best in class operation using best practices in everything we do. In order to be successful we need a strong volunteer base to fill out our board, committees and task forces. I ask that each of you consider
lending your time and various talents to help us succeed in this endeavor.
With the help of our membership we can all succeed and prosper.
As part of our ongoing Saint John Region Matters Series, The Chamber is releasing to you, our members, the results of the Leaders' Questionnaire.
The questionnaire was developed through feedback from our members, businesses in key economic sectors, regional economic development champions and our Board of Directors. The goal was to establish our key Provincial priorities leading up to this election. Our role as The Chamber is to ensure that political parties are keenly aware of the issues most important to our members. We will hold the Provincial Government accountable to these priorities as they become part of our longer-term regional strategic plan. The priorities of our members help to stake our place in ensuring all voices are heard and become part of the election dialogue.
You can see the full Leaders' Questionnaire Responses by clicking here.
The Saint John Region is New Brunswick's economic engine, and we want the province's leaders, its drivers, to address our key priorities.
We hope you take the time to be informed by reading the responses from our Party Leaders, and be sure to make your voice count by voting on September 22.
CEO of The Chamber
One membership. One network. Unlimited possibilities.
The following commentary was developed in partnership with The Chamber and Enterprise Saint John. It ran in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday, August 23, 2014.
Ready to fuel our future
Around the globe, thousands of communities are currently transitioning to natural gas as their preferred energy source, and realizing the economic benefits that come with its development. More importantly, these communities are doing so not at the expense of the environment, but to its benefit as well, through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
The benefits of natural gas development have been seen in many jurisdictions across North America, including Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Arkansas, who have transformed and diversified their economies. They’ve gone from “have-not” status to producing viable, long-term economic growth with expanding employment opportunities and increasing public and private-sector investment. These outcomes also contribute to the development of healthy social systems and a vibrant cultural fabric.
Scientific studies conducted in the U.S. and U.K. on the environmental effects of natural gas exploration and drilling, such as the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2012 report, have found that health, safety and environmental risks can be effectively managed through robust environmental assessments, monitoring and regulatory oversight. Overall, the risk of seismic events and water table contamination are low and water supply requirements for drilling can be managed sustainably through recycling and reusing wastewater where possible.
In terms of economic benefits of natural gas development, the state of North Dakota draws many comparisons and contrasts to New Brunswick, having a similar population size and climate. In 2001, North Dakota faced significant economic challenges and limited growth opportunities. Its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, a standard economic measure of the state’s total output divided by the population, ranked 38th out of 50 states. What turned the tide of economic growth for North Dakota, according to the United States Energy Information Administration, was the development of Bakken oil and gas reserves. Following the development of these reserves, the state's GDP per capita rose consistently each year, eventually surpassing the U.S. average in 2008. By 2012, its real GDP per capita was more than 29 per cent above the national average. In the process, unemployment was reduced to just 2.8 per cent, the lowest rate of any state. North Dakota also currently boasts a billion-dollar budget surplus.
This is the sort of growth that New Brunswick needs.
As the collective voice of Saint John’s business community, The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise Saint John are proponents of increasing our province’s use of natural gas, and developing our own resources, if the economic conditions are right and it can be done in an environmentally responsible manner. And environmentally responsible development is possible, as demonstrated by a recent study by the Geological Survey of Canada that found that natural gas development in New Brunswick’s McCully Field had had no impact on groundwater in the area.
For many of our largest industrial members, access to reliable and competitively priced natural gas is essential to their long-term viability. For example, PotashCorp has played a significant role in growing our region through continuously investing in its operations, the community in which it operates and increasing jobs. The Picadilly Mine Expansion is one such major project, with $1.6 billion already invested – and nearly $1 billion of that investment directly benefiting New Brunswick. That translates into more than 2,500 person years of employment during construction, and over 250 well-paying, permanent jobs. Much of this investment was enabled by their use of natural gas as an energy source.
If we do not embrace natural gas development, we risk losing future investment opportunities as well as the ability to attract new industries. The window of opportunity to attract new investment is rapidly closing. In a fiercely competitive industry, billions of dollars in new energy and advanced manufacturing investments – and the thousands of well-paying jobs that come with it – are migrating to other jurisdictions with ready access to local natural gas supplies. Our community and province’s ability to benefit from these investments depends directly on our access to stable, competitively priced natural gas.
As a region, we are also approaching a natural gas supply crisis. The Maritimes are rapidly running out of natural gas supply and in the process, we are transitioning from our traditional role of being net exporters of natural gas to becoming net importers.
We now have North America’s most expensive natural gas prices and that makes it very difficult for our businesses and citizens. In fact, Chamber members have told us loud and clear that energy expenses are one of the primary challenges their businesses face.
Continuing to import at world prices is not a sustainable economic option, and neither is relying on our neighbours south of the border.
Our region will remain at a competitive disadvantage unless we can develop our own natural gas industry.
Fortunately for New Brunswickers, we have the potential to do so because we have the talent and resources. Natural gas production in this province dates back to 1859, with 29 natural gas wells currently in production in the Sussex region alone. We have a history of resource development, and qualified local companies with the skills and people to do it.
Furthermore, our shale deposits indicate the potential for significantly increased natural gas production, and we have an existing pipeline and LNG infrastructure in place to move gas production to key domestic and export markets.
What does this mean for our future prosperity?
A 2013 report by Deloitte estimates that natural gas extraction could result in an $11-12 billion investment over a 20-year period, with up to $2 billion in government royalties. That said, economic natural gas extraction and development in New Brunswick is not a given - our geology needs to be better understood. Safety and environmental responsibilities must also be top priorities through the use of best available proven technology and sound government regulation. Deloitte also stated that in comparison to mature oil and gas jurisdictions such as Alberta, British Columbia and Arkansas, “The regulatory framework developed in New Brunswick can be best categorized as more stringent and more demanding than all other markets examined.” With those priorities in mind, we have an opportunity to position our province at the forefront of evidence-based industry regulation, environmental performance and safety monitoring. Currently, we have several private sector partners investing hundreds of millions of dollars in our province to do just that.
Our local workforce also has the expertise to develop these resources, with many of them already helping to develop the oil and natural gas sector in Western Canada, for the benefit of all Canadians. The time has come to reverse the flow of workers and transfer payments between New Brunswick and Western Canada.
Clearly, natural gas development is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, but the investments won’t wait forever. Let’s kickstart our economic engine and fuel up for greater prosperity and a brighter future for all.
Business community unanimously supports formation of a new,
regional Chamber of Commerce
Monday, May 12, 2014
Dear Chamber Member,
Less than a week ago marked an historic occasion when members of the Saint John region's business community unanimously voted in favour of forming a stronger, regional business association. Officially named "The Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce," the new organization will, more simply, be called "The Chamber."
Members of a regional steering committee officially unveiled the new name, logo and tagline to a round of applause at a sold-out luncheon in the Delta Brunswick Ballroom last Wednesday.
The Chamber now represents members of the former Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce, the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Saint John West Business Association and the Saint John Board of Trade.
Countless letters, emails and invitations for membership feedback, and over 600 volunteer hours from dedicated people across our region confirmed that the business community saw no borders or divides - there is power in numbers.
We will now be serving the needs of over 1,000 member businesses who employ 35,000 people across Southern New Brunswick. Through one membership, all businesses will have the ability to harness the power, expertise and creativity of this expanded network.
Thank you to our dedicated members, volunteers and other community partners for saying yes to a renewed spirit of regional cooperation and teamwork.
One membership. One network. Unlimited possibilities.
A very important milestone was achieved this past week for advancing our region's business community and the Chamber partnership movement. Members of three of our region's business associations voted unanimously to pave the way for a new, unified regional organization.
The business community has voted yes to becoming a stronger, more unified voice for business in the Saint John region.
Three General Meetings took place, including The Saint John West Business Association's on April 22, the River Valley Chamber of Commerce's on April 23 and the Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce's on April 24. At each General Meeting, motions were made to allow for the vision of uniting into a bigger and better business association. The members voted unanimously to support the motion.
This is a big step forward. The next milestone will be May 7th at the Saint John Board of Trade's Annual General Meeting where we will build upon the motions of each of the Chambers and the result will be a new organization. On May 7th we will become a new, more inclusive business association, one that better reflects our dynamic business community.
We encourage everyone to attend this historic general meeting on Wednesday, May 7 at 11:00 am at the Delta Brunswick Saint John. This will be an exciting day for our community. A luncheon will follow at noon where we will unveil the new logo and brand. Andy Lodge, the Chair of our new organization, will speak about our shared vision and celebrate the beginning of the new era of prosperity for our region. There is no cost to attend the General Meeting. Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased here or calling 634-8111.
We hope you can join for this important step forward.
Danny Harrigan, President of the River Valley Chamber of Commerce
Our journey of exploring a very exciting partnership opportunity is coming closer to reality. Each of our organizations have made tremendous progress in working toward forming a new single business entity.
Our goal is to enhance member value by looking at ways to become a stronger, more unified voice for businesses in the Saint John region.
We first introduced the idea of our organizations coming together last August. Since then, each of our organizations have sent letters, emails and then invitations for membership feedback forums, held in the fall. Overall, membership support has been very strong.
Behind this initiative, there have been dozens of meetings between our respective groups and over 600 volunteer hours from people across our region. The more we've met, the more we've realized that we have more that unites us than divides us.
Through a partnership, we see opportunity to more naturally reflect how our members live, work and grow their businesses. Together, we serve the needs of about 1,000 member businesses, employing 35,000 people across Southern New Brunswick. The new regional approach has the ability to harness the power, expertise and creativity of this expanded membership network.
In addition to looking at such things as partnering on events, pooling resources, enhancing marketing exposure, streamlining memberships, aligning key member priorities and overall strengthening of the network, member value will be enhanced in three areas:
Being part of an even stronger advocacy group for business. Collectively, we are the voice of business for the Saint John region, and it is about to get louder and more harmonized.
Being part of our region's best business network. We'll be an integrated 1,000-member strong association, easily accessible through a mobile online directory and mobile app (check it out at MyChamberApp) while dramatically improving promotional exposure and savings through a member-to-member benefits program.
Attending the best events. Together, we will be the region's #1 events organization, hosting events with business and community leaders from one end of our region to the other.
Discussions have continued to include the importance of regional representation. Each of our four associations will have a Regional Vice-Chair on the new Board's Executive. This will help ensure regional opportunities not only continue to be well represented, but get the backing of a bigger and stronger network.
Over the coming weeks, each of our organizations will be holding their Annual General Meetings.
Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce - April 24, Amsterdam Inn, 6:00 pm
River Valley Chamber of Commerce - April 23, Brundage Point River Centre, 7:00 pm
Saint John West Business Association - April 22, Lancaster, Legion #69, Wilson St, 7:00 pm
Saint John Board of Trade - May 7, Launch of New Organization, Delta Brunswick, 11:00 am
At each of our sister Chambers and Association meetings, a request to vote on the dissolution of the organizations as they exist today will be tabled to allow the new partnership boundaries to be established, and the new organization to be formed.
We are excited to be taking this important step forward. Together, we will strengthen the voice of business in our community. In the coming weeks you will be receiving an invitation to attend the formal launch event for our new organization scheduled for 11:00 am on May 7 at the Delta Brunswick Hotel. We hope you will be able to attend and be a part of an historic event.
Danny Harrigan, President of the River Valley Chamber of Commerce
The New Brunswick Government released their 2014-2015 budget on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 and your Saint John Board of Trade has provided feedback to several media outlets. Our reaction to the budget is summarized as follows:
In our meeting with the Minister of Finance during pre-budget consultations, we advocated strongly on the need for stability for our small business members. We are pleased that the Province will not introduce any new taxes to further burden small business owners. Over 80% of our membership is made up of small businesses and they are vital to a healthy economy. Adding additional economic burden would have been detrimental so we applaud the Minister for not introducing any new taxes or fees in this area.
We urged government to apply deliberate measures to ensure a competitive edge is maintained, so our small business entrepreneurs can compete at home and on the world stage. We are encouraged by the enhancements introduced to the Small Business Investor Tax Credit, improving access to much needed capital.
The Saint John Board of Trade is pleased with the enhancement to the Apprenticeship Program, allowing for greater harmonization and mobility, and focus on developing a better qualified workforce. We understand that the skills gap is a major hurdle for our province’s current and new potential employers, and are encouraged that the provincial government is taking steps to address this.
We commend government efforts to drive productivity and reduce operational expenses; we called for further transformational change to return to a balanced budget. It is unfortunate that a return to a balanced budget is delayed to 2017-2018 and we are concerned that some of the influencing conditions are beyond our control.
The Saint John Board of Trade urges the province to develop new job creation and wealth generation strategies for New Brunswick. Additionally, there is a lack of new population growth initiatives, or enhanced immigration policies. We must take ownership of our development, and a strategy for growth needs to be developed.
The Saint John Board of Trade called for aligning capital investments with the Province’s strongest economic drivers. This is how we will achieve economic recovery and wealth creation in the province. We are skeptical that the current capital investments outlined will have the greatest return on investment, and question its applicability to the Saint John region. As the economic engine of our province, we are disappointed that Saint John was not mentioned specifically under the capital budget overview.
On behalf of the members of the Saint John Board of Trade we respectfully submit our views and recommendations for the 2014 pre-budget consultation process. This may also serve as a basis for our discussions on Monday, January 27.
We applaud efforts taken to drive productivity and foster a sense of fiscal responsibility within government and recognize the good work in meeting operational expense targets. However, a significant shortfall in revenues driving over half a billion dollar deficit, adding to an over 11 billion dollar debt is a sign that further transformational change is needed, coupled with an aggressive economic development and job creation strategy.
At the Board of Trade, over 80% of our members are small businesses. We believe that a thriving small business sector is an important aspect to a strong economy and that deliberate measures need to be taken to ensure a competitive edge is maintained so small business entrepreneurs can compete at home, and on the world stage.
Our members can no longer bear increased pressure on input costs namely labour, energy and taxes. To this end, the board:
discourages the raising of minimum wage at this time;
recommends continuing with workforce expansion and training programs;
encourages the development of a skills alignment and gap strategy so that our training programs and incentives match with the skills requirements of our workforce;
recommends an aggressive strategy for natural resource development, specifically a domestic supply of natural gas as a means to provide relief on input energy costs;
discourages an increase or implementation of any new tax regimes directly impacting small business, such as costs associated with a prescription drug plan, and;
calls for a lowering of the small business tax rate.
The Board also feels strategic investments in urban centers, leveraging strengths in existing infrastructure, will afford cities the opportunity to better contribute to the province’s overall economic recovery.
Saint John is the economic engine of New Brunswick, so it is important that our leaders recognize and support initiatives that will revitalize this region’s economy. With 80% of New Brunswick exports emanating out of the Saint John region, a strong Saint John will result in a stronger New Brunswick.
Opportunities for Saint John
The Tucker Park Collaborative in Saint John is currently investing in small and medium sized enterprises that will produce dividends in our province for years to come. These innovation investments within the healthcare sector can also strengthen our ability to export our research developments, further generating revenue, and will lead to growth in all sectors of the Tucker Park Collaborative. The Board asks government to:
invest in strategic infrastructure, including a 3T MRI, leading to the establishment of the Saint John Regional Hospital as a premier tertiary care centre that will attract top talent in the health care sector.
explore expanding the province’s network of collaborative care centres. This will result in measurable impacts on how physicians, nurse practitioners, and other support staff work together to deliver excellent primary care, and will also reduce the funds directed to setting up sole practitioner offices. Cutting costs can be made through partnerships like these, ultimately providing better care for less money.
reduce the strain on the health care system by making strategic investments in recreation and wellness education. By funding the necessary infrastructure and education we can reduce unhealthy behaviours that cost millions in government funding.
Port Saint John:
It is well known that US ports are becoming more and more congested. Shippers and receivers are looking for new eastern options and Port Saint John is poised to be the solution while helping to grow Canada’s exporting and importing trade. With the recent announcements of the EU Trade Agreement, expanding growth opportunities in Brazil, and the Energy East Pipeline, we believe there has never been a better time for Saint John and New Brunswick to capitalize on its natural strengths and proximity to seize the economic opportunities we are being presented with in this province. We ask that government:
continue to work with the Port to encourage New Brunswick shippers to use Port Saint John. This approach will allow all parties to work collaboratively so that our provincial companies can increase their global competitiveness and see all regions of our province grow and prosper;
pursue new business leads and investments that have marine activity, creating cost effective access to global markets.
Support for the country-wide effort to open new export opportunities for western crude through a West to East Pipeline will maximize the value of the resource through our Irving Oil refining capacity. This is going to change the global energy landscape and New Brunswick is positioned as the epicentre of this global supply chain, through infrastructure development, the creation of a reliable energy supply, and future potential for spin off investments.
Government support is essential to maximize the resulting benefits that will flow from this. Government needs to work closely with industry to minimize barriers and eliminate impediments that could adversely affect the successful completion of the pipeline into our region.
Fabrication, Advanced Manufacturing and a Barge Terminal Facility:
The ability to transport modular units by sea is critical for manufacturing in New Brunswick. There are about $100 billion worth of mega‐projects in Atlantic Canada, many of them in isolated locations. Transporting large units by road or rail is not feasible, so lack of marine access handicaps fabricators. This is detrimental to the fabricators of Saint John and Southern New Brunswick.
The board urges government to:
Continue to support this project and assist with efforts to move it forward.
ICT Sector Support:
Saint John is ideally positioned for continued growth in the ICT sector, offering a superior urban landscape and dynamic ecosystem, attractive to today’s and tomorrow’s technology worker. We are a Top 7 Intelligent Community and our infrastructure and appealing way of life makes us a playground for creativity and innovation.
Members of the Saint John Board of Trade recognize that a coordinated approach is required to grow the ICT sector, and that the Government of New Brunswick must continue to play a vital role to accelerate that growth. This includes offering programs and incentives which promote innovation, providing access to venture capital, supporting talent attraction and retention, and providing technology firms with an opportunity to apply their innovations as an early adopter user.
Provincial initiatives to support ICT sector growth, innovation and entrepreneurship could include:
programs which support youth development and readiness for employment within the ICT sector. This includes initiatives at high school and middle school, which exposes kids to code and gives them an ability to explore technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, regardless of the field they will eventually pursue;
enhance access to venture capital funds to give promising ICT companies the ability to innovate, commercialize technologies and fulfill their potential for growth and export;
broaden immigration policies to encourage the attraction and retention of talent and the new ideas they bring;
tax credits as a percentage of investments made for businesses investment in technology-based R&D;
support home-grown technologies as an early adopter and model user of advanced technologies and services.
This is how we will attract new people and ideas, and harness the power of our youth, keeping them, and their families, here at home in the province of New Brunswick.
We look forward to meeting with you to discuss these topics of vital concern to Saint John and thank you for the opportunity.
As the New Year approaches, it is the perfect time to look back at our accomplishments in 2013, while also looking forward to what's ahead.
This year has had many highlights for your Saint John Board of Trade, such as our outstanding events, which connect our members to one another and to important leaders, including Frank McKenna, Premier David Alward and Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Altogether we hosted over 3,600 members and guests in 10 networking mixers, 8 luncheons, 5 receptions, 3 breakfast presentations, 1 golf tournament, and recognized 7 recipients in our 29th annual Outstanding Business Achievement Awards Gala.
We sincerely thank our Distinguished Speaker Series sponsors, Emera and Stewart McKelvey and our other sponsors for supporting these valuable events.
We continued our important role as Champions for Business in 2013, on initiatives such as advocating for Sunday shopping, supporting the Energy East Pipeline, and encouraging a stronger, unified voice for business in the Saint John region.
There were also improvements made with respect to our communications and network connections in 2013, enabling our members to be better informed, while also helping promote their businesses. This included a new and improved website, offering the mobile-friendly business directory, and increasingly intelligent use of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
We have built a solid foundation for next year and beyond, but there is work to do. In 2014 we plan to refresh our strategic plan and act upon results from our member priorities survey.
We at the Saint John Board of Trade are very proud of our accomplishments in 2013, but we're also even more excited about 2014. We'll continue to work together towards our ultimate goal: for Saint John to be recognized as the best place in Canada to start, run and grow a business...period.
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to announce the appointment of David Duplisea as our new Executive Director. David will start this role later this month.
A native of Saint John, David has more than 20 years of marketing, business development and technology industry experience and has held senior executive positions in Saint John, New York and Toronto. An experienced small business entrepreneur, David was also a founding member of the Board of Directors of Propel ICT where he helped design the business model that propelsjimplemented to establish a business technology incubator in New Brunswick. He most recently served as a Policy Advisor in Renewable Energy and Energy Innovation, and Senior Advisor in Smart Grid Technology and Innovation with the New Brunswick Department of Energy.
David’s top priority will be to further the Saint John Board of Trade’s mission to make Saint John the best place in Canada to start, run and grow a business. After an extensive recruitment effort, we feel fortunate to have found such a qualified candidate. We know our members and our team at the Saint John Board of Trade will benefit from David’s experience, vision and leadership.
The Board also wishes to acknowledge and thank Dick Daigle, who has served as our interim Executive Director over the last six months. Dick has kindly offered to assist us as David transitions into his new role.
On June 7th the Saint John Board of Trade held a highly successful luncheon with our Premier David Alward and the Premier of Alberta Alison Redford. The “Energy” in the room was strong with over 400 guests, as both Premiers outline the importance and benefits of a pipeline that would bring Alberta crude to market through Saint John.
The Saint John Board of Trade is proud to host this event that brings further strength to to our communities True Growth 2.0 initiative. With this initiative seen as provincial in scope, we welcome d guests from all around the province including, The Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, The Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, The Kennebecasis Valley Chamber of Commerce, The River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the West Side Business Association.
A special thanks to our title sponsor Irving Oil, our silver sponsors Revolution Strategy, Downey Ford, Atlantica Center for Energy, The Saint John Hotel Asscociation, Port Saint John and our bronze sponsors Emera and the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre.
New Chair's remarks at the 194th Annual Meeting & Luncheon
Address at the Delta Brunswick in Saint John
By Eric Poirier, Chair of the Saint John Board of Trade
It is truly a great honor for me to be sworn in as your new chair of the Saint John Board of Trade. In preparing for this day, reflecting on this organization’s 194 year history, its’ countless inspiring business leaders, I feel humbled and yet privileged to follow in their footsteps. To be given this opportunity to lead this team and make a difference in my community is truly inspiring and no doubt will be exciting and fun!
My primary goal today is to give you some insight on what we’re going to be working on at the Saint John Board of Trade for the next year. My hope is when you all leave today you will have a better understanding of what it means to be a member of the Saint John Board of Trade, the value that it delivers, and hopefully you’ll feel a little more engaged and connected.
Members of the Saint John Board of Trade are part of something special, one of the oldest business associations in Canada. We are a dedicated network of over 650 Saint John-area businesses representing over 30 000 professionals and countless dedicated volunteers. Volunteers who are fully vested and give back to this community a tremendous amount of service for which we are truly thankful.
On that note, I’d like to recognize our four board members completing their terms and thank them for their hard work over their tenure as members of the board of directors – Rob Belliveau, Matthew McKenna, Gerry Verner, Claire Ryan and, former Board Chair, John Warrington.
Thank you for everything that you have done for our business community.
To our now past chair, a true leader, one to whom I owe an extreme amount of gratitude for his guidance and teachings over the last few years, Larry Hachey will be forever engrained in our community’s history as a leader who dared us to be better, to be bold and to be the best! His vision to have Greater Saint John recognized as the most desirable place in Canada to start, run and grow a business…period! sparked in everyone a renewed focus; a thirst for collaboration; a drive to collectively dig deep and deliver a plan towards prosperity for the Greater Saint John Community – a plan galvanized by True Growth 2.0! On behalf of our members, Larry, I want to thank you, for your focus, your passion for our community, your integrity and your vision.
For our new slate of directors, although we have some big shoes to fill, I must say that I am feeling good about the opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to working with you over the next year. The future looks bright!
Members of the Saint John Board of Trade share a vision. A vision that remains at the forefront of our strategic plan, continuously reminding our community, our members and our team what we stand for, what we are working towards…to make Saint John recognized as the best place in Canada to set up, run and grow a business…period!
Now you’re perhaps sitting there thinking to yourselves, “that’s all great Eric, great vision, but why should I bother, why be a member anyway, what’s in it for me?”
It’s tough out there. Everyone is having to do more with less. Input costs keep climbing – we’re having to dig deeper, work smarter. We’re all too often hearing statistics that we’re losing our young people, our skilled labor, sometimes…our neighbors.
There’s power in numbers – you aren’t alone, we aren’t alone. Allow me to share a story…having moved here about ten years ago I was nervous. In my twenties, in a leadership role for my company, I needed to forge ahead and establish relationships and build a network. I would be remise not to recognize that from day one, this community as a whole took me in and helped me become the person I am today. The many leaders of the Rotary Club of Saint John, Enterprise Saint John, my board colleagues at the KV Chamber of Commerce, l’Association Régionale de la communauté Francophone de Saint Jean, and especially the Saint John Board of Trade gave me, as they do for many others, the ability to leverage a truly unique network of mentors and coaches focused on helping you grow.
Working together – that’s how we will grow our businesses, our economy, and our community – not just within the Saint John Board of Trade, but through our network associations, with our economic and community development partners.
That is the value that your membership to the Saint John Board of Trade delivers – a Network that helps you prosper.
How we deliver value will be the focus of our strategic plan. A plan composed of the following 5 strategic initiatives:
First, we will increase our focus on small business.
The Communities in Boom Report – a solid gauge of the level of entrepreneurial activity in our region as compared with other cities across Canada states that: “Despite the millions of influences that affect community growth, nothing would happen if it weren’t individuals making entrepreneurial decisions to hire, invest or innovate. The more of those people in the community - the stronger growth that follows.”
With this in mind, I pledge today that our Saint John Board of Trade team will work hard towards a mandate to help those who drive this entrepreneurial activity - those who ignite our network of innovation and growth. A mandate that recognizes that our members are our customers and our collective efforts must be focused on helping our members - Make Money, Save Money and Reduce Risk.
Second, we will advocate for a positive business climate.
Saint John is a great place. It is home to some key strategic, foundational building blocks, anchor businesses, strategic industry sectors, that will no doubt lead to growth and prosperity not only for our city, but for the province as a whole. The Saint John Board of Trade will celebrate these every chance we get and we will advocate for investments, enhancements, and projects that will strengthen our community and help us achieve our vision. For example: We need to celebrate the fact that Saint John is the most interconnected transportation hub, which offers the most diversity, redundancy and access to countless markets, in Eastern Canada. It starts with our access to the world through our deep water port interconnected with rail and highway systems that branch out in every direction connecting a network of cities, industries, tourist destinations, countries and continents. Whether you’re trying to export your product to some of the fastest growing world markets, or you’re looking to import goods, virtually no city will be able to offer this same level of diversity – a solid solution in anyone’s supply chain strategy.
Saint John is the province’s gateway to the world.
We need to support the country-wide effort to open new export opportunities for western crude through a West to East Pipeline and maximize the value of the resource through our Irving Oil refining capacity. Saint John is home to the country’s largest, most technologically advanced oil refinery. Not only do we have the infrastructure in our backyard to be successful, we have the expertise in our people. Maximizing refining capacity can lead to significant spin off investments in an industry where we are experts.
Not only do we have one of the most interconnected transportation hubs, Saint John and most of the Province of NB is home to the world’s most advanced broadband networks. However, it’s our people who continually mix in technology with their entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, focused on making our lives easier, that clearly sets Saint John apart from the rest.
It’s part of why Saint John was named one of the world’s Top 7 most Intelligent Communities.
Remember, Saint John is home to the province’s ICT Knowledge Park – it’s called “Uptown Saint John” and it’s lighting up the upper floors of our beautiful heritage buildings, not to mention contributing to great restaurants, coffee shops, bars, street level retail, loft apartments, entertainment and water front development!
We need to celebrate and recognize the fact that right here in our North End, in Tucker Park, we have the potential to be internationally recognized as a World Cardiovascular Research Center of Excellence. It is imperative that we continue to fuel this innovative health research program through NB Health and Life Science that leverages the physical infrastructure and partnerships built between our hospital, medical school, university and college in order to exponentially increase health research investment in our province, not only creating many high paying jobs, but putting our province on the map for health research.
Our businesses, our residents, our city absolutely needs access to clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water. Mayor and council, the Saint John Board of Trade are 100% behind the cities’ efforts in solidifying this antiquated water distribution system so we can all have peace of mind when we turn on the taps – or perhaps brewing our favorite beverage!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of opportunity in Saint John – Let’s celebrate it!
Our third Strategic Initiative will be focused on forging one collective voice for business in Greater Saint John Saint John has often been accused of having too many voices with too many priorities. As a result, our politicians have often viewed this lack of clarity with confusion, sometimes resulting in paralysis. "What do they want" and "in which order do they want it", have often been their lament. While some cities are clear with their top one or two priorities and rallying their entire communities in support, we tend to have 10 priorities, with immediate start dates and many champions. We need to be better at this, as a colleague once shared with me; we have to raise our game!
Saint John is at a unique point in its history. We have a tremendous Mayor and Council, a galvanized business community that wants to roll up its sleeves and a broadly endorsed economic plan in True Growth 2.0. The elements for success are there, but the window of opportunity is small. If we are going to stop waiting for things to happen to us and instead take the lead in making things happen for us, then we have to be focused and speak with one voice with what we want...and what we need.
Working together we can do better to speak as one voice for Greater Saint John.
Fourth, we will Support True Growth 2.0.
Through committee alignment and leveraging our network of volunteers and members we will advance regional collaboration and strengthen network connections and support the implementation of the priorities behind True Growth 2.0, the community’s economic development action plan.
Bravo to those who have led the charge. There are some incredibly ambitious ideas emerging and I’m excited to be leading the Saint John Board of Trade as we all link arms to move ahead to a place of economic prosperity for our region.
And finally, with the help of our team of dedicated employees we will achieve Operational Excellence. In essence, the Saint John Board itself is a small business. In this context, our members have the right to expect that we strive to operate as a “best in class” chamber, employing best practices for small business operations.
On behalf of our team members, Carole, Nick, Patrick, Eden, Sophie, Christine and Dick, and our volunteers, we thank you for being our members and look forward to serve you as we collectively drive to move our community forward.
In closing I want to leave you with this thought that was presented to me one day by a member of our team. In the end your membership to the Saint John Board of Trade is like a gym membership. If you’re not frequenting the gym, leveraging your membership, you’re not going to get stronger.
I encourage all of you to leverage your membership – get engaged. If you’re wondering what you can do to take advantage of your membership here are some ideas – simply attend the networking mixers or luncheons, bring a friend or invite a customer, volunteer, talk to us – seriously, call me! Talk to other members, network, and don’t be nervous, we’re all in it to connect!
By working together, we will make our vision a reality…making Saint John recognized as the best place in Canada to start, run and grow a business…period!
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Minister of Atlantic Gateway
APRIL 9, 2013
Saint John, New Brunswick
Thank you for the introduction; thank you to the Saint John Board of Trade for its kind invitation; and thank you all for coming.
I am very pleased to be here to share with you my vision for the future of this great Province. As business and community leaders of New Brunswick, I know you share my optimism in the tremendous potential of New Brunswick. The Saint John Region can be proud of its long tradition of being a gateway to the world, not just for the province, but also for the country. Its strong shipping and transportation capacity, skilled work force, and industrial base, makes it a cornerstone of the provincial economy. AND, the Fundy Region has much more than that to offer. Just ask the almost 2 million passengers that have cruised into your beautiful harbour. From Saint Andrews, to Sussex, to Saint Martins and the Fundy Trail, the world is getting to experience what we have known all along; NB is a wonderful place in which to live and work.
And speaking of your harbour, as Minister for the Atlantic Gateway, I was pleased to play a role in the phenomenal growth of your commercial port. When I look down Water Street, and see the great additions of your two new terminals, and your harbour full of ships and commerce, as a New Brunswicker, I am immensely proud.
Although our province faces some real challenges at the moment, when viewed in an international context, we have much to be thankful for.
While many of our international allies and trading partners continue to struggle with crushing debt levels, and the effects of the economic downturn; we in Canada have emerged as a model of stability. Our fiscal position continues to be the envy of the G-7 and our economy has actually expanded for 6 straight quarters.
So, as a country, we have much to be proud of.
I'd like to take some time today to talk about how our Province of New Brunswick, fits into the larger picture of economic growth in Canada, and some of the incredible opportunities, that, – with work and commitment – could be ours to capture.
As you may have seen in the media, I was at an important event a week ago today at the Irving refinery; together with Premier Alward, MPs Weston, Moore and Williamson and a number of Provincial MLAs; to mark an important milestone in the process of bringing a visionary pan-Canadian project right here to Saint John - the TransCanada pipeline. If this project proceeds, this 4,400km line from Western Canada to Eastern Canada; could indeed be the modern equivalent of the railway that helped build and connect our nation shortly after confederation.
Last week, TransCanada announced an important step in the process of establishing a pipeline to bring crude oil from Western Canada to Eastern Canada. While this is not yet a sure thing, TransCanada has determined that there is sufficient market support to seek firm commitments - through a binding open season - from interested parties for a pipeline from West to East and, potentially, right here in Saint John. If this proceeds, it represents a significant economic growth opportunity for this province. It is indeed encouraging news for families and communities right here and across Canada.
Global energy demands are expected to increase by about 36% from 2010 to 2035 and I want to see Canada - from our East Coast - positioned to support that demand.
Our government has long recognized that Atlantic Canada is uniquely positioned to capture a growing portion of global trade and transport. That is why the Federal Government, has invested over a quarter of a billion dollars in transportation infrastructure throughout the region. This has all been done through the Atlantic Gateway initiative, of which I am proud to serve as Minister.
Our region has a modern, competitive and integrated transportation system.
Our geographic positioning is a significant competitive advantage, as Ports like Saint John are strategically located on the shortest maritime routes from North America; to Europe; to Asia via the Suez Canal; and to Latin America; which currently boasts some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
As my Chief of Staff, and your former Port Chairman, constantly reminds me, Saint John is just one nautical mile further than Santos Brazil to New York, and without all the congestion. Countries like India - where the gap between the supply and demand for energy is increasingly widening - are looking to Canada's East Coast to deliver. And, ladies and gentlemen, our Coast can deliver.
As a government, it is our role to ensure a favourable business climate for the economy to grow in a responsible way. To do this, we are keeping taxes low, ensuring a streamlined and strong regulatory system is in place, and building Canada's relationships with growing energy markets. Over the past several years, our government has demonstrated stringent support for the responsible development of our natural resources. We want to see Canadian refineries processing substantially more Canadian oil, generating Canadian jobs and making our country less reliant on more expensive foreign oil.
It is notable that, because of a lack of pipeline capacity, Canadian oil is selling at a much lower price compared to international competitors. Indeed, some $50 million dollars a day is lost to the Canadian economy.
$50 million dollars lost to the Canadian economy every day translates to a significant loss of potential tax revenue to the government. That means billions of dollars less every year to fund critical social programs like health care and education.
And we are working hard – with the help of our colleagues in the Provincial government – to ensure that economic growth potential is realized.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we know that in uncertain global economic times - such as those we have been experiencing for a few years now - the most important contribution a government can make is to find ways to boost growth, build up confidence and to maintain a sound fiscal position.
In the aftermath of the fallout from the deepest recession in a generation, returning to balanced budgets is crucial. We are taking responsible steps now, so we won't have to take more extreme measures like other countries have, to keep their financial systems afloat. Every Canadian family knows that, when expenses outstrip income, the future of the whole family is at risk. We will not put the future of the Canadian family at risk by spending recklessly. In fact, our most recent Budget tabled by my colleague the Honourable Jim Flaherty - Economic Action Plan 2013 - contains the smallest increase in discretionary spending in nearly 20 years.
Through our plan to balancing the books, will not raise taxes and we will not cut major transfers to seniors, pensions, children, or families.
And we will also not reduce transfers to other levels of government who rely on that funding for health care, education, social services, and other services Canadians count on. But we will continue to invest where it counts – like in infrastructure. For example, municipalities have asked us to index the Gas Tax Fund. That, combined with an incremental GST Rebate for Municipalities, means that we can invest $32B over 10 years as part of the Community Improvement Fund. This will help municipalities build roads, public transit, recreational facilities and other community infrastructure.
We have also set aside $14B for a new Building Canada Fund to support major economic projects of national, regional or local significance – like the investment our government recently made in the Saint John Harbour Bridge. In addition, through Canada's Economic Action Plan 2013, we have allocated $1.25B to fund public, private partnerships in NB and across Canada.
This long-term, predictable funding represents the largest and longest federal infrastructure investment in Canadian history.
I know that Premier Award's provincial team also recognizes that the benefits of the pipeline proposal, which coupled with the strength of our Provinces transportation infrastructure, are a powerful combination for future growth. So today, I ask that you share a vision with me. One where New Brunswick and Saint John facilitates an energy powerhouse; one where the Atlantic Gateway is a critical Portal to North America and the world, with all the ancillary spin offs of manufacturing and distribution centers; benefits that come with being strategically positioned in the supply chain.
As your Regional Minister in the Federal Cabinet, together with my hardworking colleagues, we believe in the opportunity ahead, and are committed to ensuring it is fully realized. I firmly believe we are at the cusp of some wonderful developments.
Together, and with your help, we can ensure our great potential is fully realized. I look forward with excitement to the opportunity ahead, and trust you share my vision. I thank you for your kind attention today, and look forward to our continued work together.
Dear Member: On behalf of the members of our Nominating Committee, a report indicating those individuals who have agreed to allow their names to stand for election as members of the Executive and/or Board of Directors of the Saint John Board of Trade for the year 2013/2014 can be viewed below.
In accordance with the by-laws, further nomination of candidates willing to stand for election are welcome and will be accepted provided they are received no later than 4:00 p.m., April 23, 2013. Each nomination must be signed by a minimum of two members and emailed to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominees must be members in good standing of the Board of Trade and have consented in writing to accept office if elected.
If further nominations are received in writing, an election will be held at the annual meeting of the Board of Trade, which will take place at11:00 a.m. May 7, 2013 at the Delta Brunswick Hotel.
If you have any questions regarding the nominations process, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Message from the Chair - 2013-2013 Provincial Budget
The New Brunswick Government released their 2013- 2014 budget yesterday afternoon and your Saint John Board of Trade has provided feedback to several media outlets. We are very concerned that this budget continues to lead New Brunswick down a path where we are living beyond our means.
The Saint John Board of Trade's pre-budget submission called on this government to make the tough decisions necessary to eliminate the deficit. We understood that this would result in increased revenue generation though taxes and fees. The corporate tax increase in this budget is within reason and keeps us competitive with neighbouring provinces. However, the increases in income taxes are a further burden on our already struggling small businesses as New Brunswicker's will have less disposable income to support local entrepreneurs. This income tax increase will undoubtedly slow down our economic recovery.
Our position is that the budget should be balanced though tough spending cuts not adding revenue. This budget does not invest wisely, where the return on our dollar is more urgently required. As an example there are no structural changes to our health care system, which continues to cost more than we can afford. The budget does little to rationalize services and it makes it more difficult to attract physicians to our province. On the other hand our post secondary education system, where 90% of research and development in our province happens, is being asked to do more with less.
Our province needs to make tough economic decisions with how we spend our money and this budget fails to do so. The Saint John Board of Trade would be able to support the revenue increases if it meant that expenses would be decreasing at a higher level. However we cannot support a budget that asks New Brunswickers to pay more for services we cannot afford.