A Calgary that Works

About the policy

Calgary is the entrepreneurial capital of Canada. Businesses create the jobs that support our families, attract top talent from around the world, and contribute to the programs, services and organizations that make our city vibrant.

But these past few years our city has been hit hard. With over 75,000 Calgarians looking for work, we have one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. It’s time to get Calgary back to work.

Businesses have had to make some tough decisions in order to survive. Difficult times call for different approaches and innovations with respect to how we do business in our City. We need City Hall to do the same. While City Council has tried to do things differently, there is more that can be done. Jobs, capital investment and the tax base could be further eroded if action isn’t taken.

 

What we are doing

In September, the Chamber launched a solutions-focused platform of ideas to keep business issues top of mind for both candidates and voters during the 2017 municipal election. Titled A Calgary that Works, the platform was developed with wide ranging contributors, including small business owners, top executives, and leaders in academia, community and arts.

With the sole purpose of creating an environment that allows businesses to grow and create jobs, our platform was based on three pillars: building an Efficient, an Equitable, and an Entrepreneurial city. Each pillar contained one practical recommendation and we look forward to working with the City to achieve these.

 

The three pillars

Efficient

The Chamber recommends that City Council contain annual spending increases within a “Smart Spending Bandwidth” – the combined rates of inflation plus population growth. This will ensure necessary services continue to be provided, while guarding against inefficient program delivery, and climbing property tax bills.

Equitable

The Chamber recommends the business and residential tax rates be locked to a fixed ratio, with a goal of achieving a 2.85:1 ratio during the next City Council term, and a 2:1 within 10 years.

Entrepreneurial

The Chamber recommends City Council put in place a face track process when outdated, or a lack of, regulations are preventing a business from operating. A task force of innovative business leaders should be created to recommend to the City how they can better encourage and embrace new and disruptive business models.

Candidate engagement

Along with our platform, we also launched a website where candidates could fill out our survey questions, add a biography, and commit to implementing our recommendations if elected.

The final element of our advocacy efforts was a Mayoral Town hall that we hosted on October 2, 2017, featuring Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Bill Smith, and Andre Chabot. The Town Hall gave members the chance to ask questions directly to mayoral candidates, and gauge how each candidate stood on business issues.

By the numbers

Throughout the election campaign:

  • Our ideas were covered in over 50 news stories.
  • We had over 10,000 visits to our elections website.
  • 54 candidates filled out our survey (63% of candidates).
  • 33 candidates endorsed our recommendations.