LETTER: Contary to your editorial, B.C. Chamber was one of earliest MMBC critics

LETTER: Contary to your editorial, B.C. Chamber was one of earliest MMBC critics

The Editor,

Re: "CEO raises valid concerns about MMBC recycling program," the Now editorial, March 27.

We appreciate your attention to the MMBC recycling program but we were disappointed to see such glaring errors of fact concerning the efforts of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce and our network of local chambers.

Your editorial accuses the B.C. Chamber of ignoring our members’ needs and of "rubberstamping" government policy.

This is false. It is regrettable that you rushed to press without more rigorous fact checking.

In fact, the B.C. Chamber, working closely with our network, was one of the MMBC program’s earliest and most dedicated critics. In close consultation with local chambers, we launched advocacy efforts in July 2013, calling for measures to mitigate impacts on B.C. businesses.

Before B.C.’s chambers took up this cause, MMBC had zero plans to bring in a small business policy and the recycling regulation on packaging and printed paper (PPP) had no exemptions to protect small businesses. It was clear to us that B.C.’s smallest businesses faced not only fees but a nightmare of red tape.

As a direct result of our advocacy, this has changed. We were able to ensure that no business that earns less than $1 million annually will be captured in this program. Similarly, no "Mom and Pop" shop will be captured. As well, no small producer of PPP (less than one tonne annually) will be captured.

These exemptions remove approximately 27,000 B.C. PPP producer businesses from the program, leaving only one per cent of all B.C. businesses affected. Moreover, we advocated, and achieved, having these exemptions enshrined in regulation – something that no other Canadian province has achieved for its small businesses on a PPP program.

Absolutely, we have thanked government for its responsiveness to our network’s needs. But we are not "rubberstamping" anything. We have identified additional problem areas, including the treatment of franchises and potential hardship to industries such as community newspapers. We are actively working to identify and advocate mitigation measures, as we strive to protect a business-friendly B.C.

John Winter, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

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