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November 27, 2018
(Medicine Hat) The Medicine Hat & District Board of Directors adopted the policy Predictable and Fair Market Value Assessments and co-sponsored a policy on Interprovincial Trade Barriers. Both policies align with our mandate to create a competitive business climate through efficient and transparent processes that allow businesses to grow by providing stability and reducing regulatory burdens.
The Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce has been advocating for predictable and fair market value assessments since 2013. There has been a concern when property assessment values have fluctuated, resulting in sudden, unexpected and significant increases to resulting tax liabilities for some property owners. The most recent concerns related to non-residential property assessments primarily included:
  1. Calculation of capitalization rates
  2. Use of vacancy rates
  3. Subjectivity of rental income quality classifications
  4. Transparency and accountability
Sarah MacKenzie, President of the Chamber of Commerce commented, ‘We’ve updated our 2013 policy position to reflect our current progress on this issue. While many concerns related to consultation, customer service and communication have been addressed, there are still outstanding issues that continue to surface with various aspects of property assessments including capitalization rates, vacancy rates, rent rates, time adjusted sales values, subjectivity of assigned classifications and income quality rating, as well as overall transparency.”
Through advocacy efforts the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce is committed to supporting and fostering a positive and predictable environment for businesses to operate within. MacKenzie continued, ‘Our aim is to have consistent, predictable and fair processes that will enable our municipality to move beyond past issues and create a better environment that meets legislative requirements, lessening the negative affect on businesses and allowing a reasonable period of time to prepare for increased expenses.’
In addition, the Board of Directors has co-sponsored a policy that was adopted at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Annual General Meeting and Policy Convention on September 24, 2018 in Thunder Bay, Ontario. As a co-sponsor, the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce will advocate to remove barriers that continue to significantly impede the movement of goods, services and labour between Canada’s provinces and territories, creating ongoing uncertainty that harms Canada’s reputation as a secure place to invest and do business.
‘It is imperative that our chamber have a policy on removing the trade barriers between provinces. We support an agreement that ensures the elimination of barriers that inhibit trade and the growth of a vibrant economy’, MacKenzie acknowledged.
While strides have been made with international trade agreements including, USMCA, CETA and the CPTPP, the same concepts of trade liberalization and decreased protectionism need to be applied within Canada. MacKenzie commented further, ‘Interprovincial trade is an essential part of the national, provincial and local economy. We need to use the Canada Free Trade Agreement as a framework to simplify the differing regulations that exist across the country, which makes Canada a complex market to navigate and adds to the cost of doing business,’
MacKenzie concluded by stating, ‘When agreements and processes are crafted, whether at the local, provincial or national level, it is essential that regulatory compliance is not so burdensome that it impedes the ability for businesses to succeed. We will always advocate for a predictable, efficient and transparent economic environment that is in the best interests of our members.”
To read the full policies and all our recommendations visit the advocacy page on our website here:
Please direct all media inquiries to:
Sarah MacKenzie
2018-2019 President, Chamber of Commerce
(403) 527-5214 ext.221
The Chamber of Commerce is a member-driven, volunteer-led organization, proudly representing the interests of businesses in our region, and working diligently to stimulate a strengthened and vibrant economy through our connections, support and influence. For more than 115 years, the Chamber has stood for promoting business, monitoring government and championing managed growth in the local economy. The Chamber represents over 800 businesses in our region and is aligned with both the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC), which represents over 25,000 businesses and the Canadian Chambers of Commerce (CCC), which represents over 200,000 businesses. With the largest and most influential business organizations locally, provincially and federally, the Chamber network is the most unified, valued and influential business network in Canada and works together to shape policy and programs that will make a difference to businesses in our region.