It was a year of growth and accomplishment for the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber’s membership grew this past year to more than 430 members and their annual farmer’s market was the largest yet.
“This year we saw a lot of growth. We had a record number of nominations for our gala this year that really shows us that the community is engaged and is recognizing all the hard work our businesses are doing,” said Tamara Dabels, Chamber executive director.
A key highlight for Dabels was the Chamber’s advocacy work surrounding the upcoming legalization of cannabis on July 1, 2018.
Last spring, the Chamber started to work jointly with the Alberta, Edmonton and other Chamber of Commerce to create a submission on cannabis in the workplace addressing safety.
“That was passed at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, so we are now advocating with other Chambers across the country to ensure that the safety of our workers in the field is being respected,” said Dabels.
They also worked with the Edmonton, Calgary and Alberta Chamber of Commerce, discussing the framework of sales of cannabis in Alberta.
“Because of that advocacy, we’re now seeing that absolutely the retail sales will be in the hands of business owners and not the government’s, as it should be,” noted Dabels.
Other 2017 highlights include, hosting several round tables, their golf tournament, monthly Chamber on Tap gatherings, participating in the 25th annual Santa Claus Parade and having a record attendance at the Christmas marketplace.
One round table discussion was with Sherwood Park – Fort Saskatchewan Member of Parliament Garnett Genuis, regarding proposed business taxes.
“It was the biggest change in 50 years, so it was a super important issue for us to work with the government saying, no this isn’t fair, you need more time to adjust and discuss, because there were implications and impacts that I don’t believe the government truly saw happening,” said Dabels. “We were pleased to see the Federal Government back down on some of those reforms they were suggesting.”
Moving forward, the Chamber wants to continue to advocate on behalf of local businesses.
“To do that we need to know what issues are really relevant, important and pressing to our businesses here, so we want to hear from our members,” she noted.
Dabels hinted there are exciting things to come in 2018.