For Immediate Release
Sept. 19, 2016
Board of Trade identifies air travel competitiveness, credit card merchant fees as national priorities
REGINA — The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has gained support from business organizations across the country in its fight to make Canada’s aviation industry more competitive.
Over the weekend, a GVBOT policy resolution entitled Enhancing Air Travel Competitiveness was adopted at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce AGM in Regina. As a result, the resolution will now become part of the Canadian Chamber’s advocacy agenda to the federal government.
The resolution — a partnership with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Whistler Chamber, Prince George Chamber, Calgary Chamber, and BC Chamber of Commerce — offers suggestions on how the federal government can help open up air access to more airlines, which would increase tourism and improve the movement of people and goods across Canada.
The resolution also urges Ottawa to develop an overarching national aviation hub and travel strategy, including better facilitation of the movement of passengers in, out, and through Canadian airports, and the overhaul of the regulatory, financing and delivery models for airport security.
“International air travel is a growing sector that brings huge economic benefits for our country,” said Iain Black, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “We have made some great progress in recent years, but our country is still losing thousands of flights each year to airports in Boston, New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles. We need to enable our airports to be more competitive, because every time a new scheduled flight lands at YVR, it generates economic activity in our region and creates up to 310 related local jobs.”
Increased competition would also benefit Canadian consumers, who currently pay more for international air travel than any other country in the world.
“This is an issue of significant economic importance,” said Black. “We’re calling on the federal government to help attract new airlines to Canadian airports, offer more choices to Canadian consumers and in turn make our Canadian airports more competitive with their rivals in competing jurisdictions.”
Tackling high credit card fees for businesses
A second GVBOT resolution, entitled Credit Card Merchant Fees takes aim at the ballooning fees and one-sided contracts associated with businesses accepting credit cards.
Canadian merchants currently pay some of the highest credit card and related fees in the world, totaling an estimated $5 billion in fees each year. GVBOT’s resolution — which was co-sponsored by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce — offers four recommendations on how the federal government can take further action and help protect and support Canadian businesses.
On the strength of a similar GVBOT resolution three years ago, the Canadian government has initiated and/or furthered a series of studies and actions that have resulted in voluntary codes of conduct being adopted by the various entities involved in issuing credit cards, enabling transactions, and financial settlement.
“While some progress has been made, much remains to be done to restore balance to the business relationship between (particularly) small businesses and credit card companies and the other service providers involved,” said Black.
Noting Walmart’s ongoing high-profile fight with credit company Visa, and recent news that consumers in the U.K. are preparing a 19 billion-pound ($24.5 billion USD) class action lawsuit against MasterCard alleging unfair practices, he added, “Whether retailers are large or small, when credit card and related transaction fees for merchants run rampant, it directly and immediately increases the cost of doing business. Those cost increases have to then be passed on to the consumer, resulting in more expensive goods and services.”
Collaboration with other chambers
The GVBOT also co-sponsored two other resolutions that were adopted during the AGM, in partnership with other chambers of commerce from across the country.
The first, entitled Protecting Our Infrastructure (Asset Management) recommends the federal government quickly execute the necessary Provincial-Federal agreements to ensure infrastructure funding continues in a sustainable consistent manner.
It also calls on the government to provide increased support for communities to report on the status of infrastructure and establish project selection criteria that prioritizes funding requests based on national economic interest, return-on-investment, and job creation. The resolution was developed in collaboration with the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, the GVBOT co-sponsored a fourth resolution with the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal which aims to address fraud in public procurement and recommends the adoption of a False Claims Act, similar to that of the United States.
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is proud to have these four policy resolutions adopted by the Canadian Chamber, following months of work and collaboration with other chambers across the country, including the BC Chamber of Commerce. Through collaboration and advocacy, the GVBOT is working to ensure the voice of Greater Vancouver’s business community is heard across the country.
To learn more, download GVBOT’s Canadian Chamber AGM Policy Resolution Book.
About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada’s leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.’s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.