Morden Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Candace Olafson took part in a slate of meetings with the Province's top officials ahead of their upcoming Economic Development Strategy announcement.
Olafson notes the discussions hit on key issues like taxation and improving the local workforce to make Manitoba's economy more competitive, "which are both critical to the long-term growth of Manitoba."
"We just want to close that competitive gap," she says.
In the recent Manitoba Prosperity Report from the Manitoba Employees Council (MEC), it was revealed the Province struggles in a number of areas including taxation, GDP and private capital investment. Compared to a number of indicators of economic prosperity, Manitoba came in last compared to B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
One of the recommendations the chambers made included a full review of both personal and corporate tax structures to give business owners confidence that tax reduction is a priority. Increased access to venture capital funds and a review of the provincial planning act and idea incubators were also highlighted.
Olafson says it was a productive day being the voice of business at the provincial government level. "This government is telling us they're focused on red tape reduction and that is often what chambers of commerce are advocating for."
The chambers also voiced concern regarding insufficient Manitoba is in a "data vacuum" when it comes to labour market information. Those gaps in information on job vacancies mean chambers don't know exactly where labour is needed or the specific skills that are in demand.
The Morden and District Chamber of Commerce joined chambers from across Manitoba to speak with Premier Brian Pallister, as well as Ron Schuler, Minister of Infrastructure, Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen and Minister of Health Cameron Friesen, among others.