In our June 29 newsletter, we reported that BCCA had sent its submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services as part of the Budget 2021 consultation. Following our submission, BCCA was asked to present at the Economic Recovery Roundtable with Premier John Horgan. In his presentation, BCCA Board Chair Ben Hyman shared a number of key points, noting co-ops face barriers and that it was important that the BCCA be able to work with government to ensure those barriers are removed.
To reinforce this messaging, we called upon our members to join a letter-writing campaign to amplify the message of co-ops as a mechanism for social purpose business, community economic development, social innovation and more. Thank you to everyone who participated in the campaign and sent us copies of their letters sent to government.
Following the presentation, BCCA also participated in two meetings with Ministers and MLAs from the NDP government, and one meeting with Liberal MLAs. These were not only great opportunities to reiterate the messages shared as part of the Economic Recovery Roundtable, but also provided government an opportunity to ask questions of us, and we were impressed with the level of engagement. We will be providing government more clarity around aspects of the economy that co-ops can help address, including health care and child and seniors care.
It would appear our GR activities are gaining traction. On August 21, 2020, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services released the Report on the Budget 2021 Consultation – Volume 1, which references our submission and contains a recommendation related to co-ops:
Co-operatives: The BC Co-operative Association made several recommendations aimed at growing co-operatives. They explained that co-operatives are a beneficial model for promoting community resilience and engagement, noting that co-operatives emerged as a response to economic upheaval with support for workers and community, rather than profit maximization, a central principle. They were of the view that co-operatives can help address long-term economic stability, climate change, and reconciliation.
Fiscal and Regulatory Policy, Co-operatives: 55. Create opportunities to invest in and develop co-operatives by reviewing and implementing necessary taxation and regulatory measures.
We are encouraged by the response by government to date and will be working hard to keep up the momentum. Thank you to Jennifer Anthony of FleishmanHillard Highroad for her hard work and support in our government relations activities.