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BC Chamber says they are siding with businesses, local Chambers call vaccine passports ‘overreach’

'No willingness for the province to move away from the current orders.'
Vaccine-passports-Gusztav Hegyi-Moment-Getty Images
Papers please.

Last week the Dawson Creek, Chetwynd, and Tumbler Ridge Chamber’s of Commerce put out releases noting concerns with provincial vaccine passports - and condemning the BC Chamber for no consultation before the BC group supported the matter.

However, BC Chamber president and CEO Fiona Famulak says the provincial organization is listening to businesses.

“As a business advocate – we are in favour of using every tool possible to keep businesses open – and proof of vaccine is a tool and if it avoids businesses shutting down – we support this,” said Famulak to the Mirror last week.

Famulak underlined the BC Chamber does not consult, and has never asked individual chamber organizations before putting out releases.

“No. We don’t solicit input.”

Famulak said the mandate of Chambers is to keep business in business.

“Based on August 16th poll – 80 percent of business support proof of vaccine. We are standing behind the majority of business,” she said noting the BC Chambers appreciate the diversity of opinion amongst regional Chambers.

“It gives us a robust perspective.”

Famulak said it was important to focus on similarities, not differences.

“We are advocating for the same things. Very aware enforcement will fall on the shoulders of small business – and we do want government to address this.”

Premier John Horgan has since noted the government will enforce vaccine passports or proof of vaccine and is taking the matter seriously.

The Fort St John Chamber of Commerce solicited its business members to gain their perspective before taking a stance on the matter.

The trio of South Peace Chambers of Commerce received correspondence back from the province this week; noting the provincial restrictions and mandates that were in place; are staying in place.

"While we expressed our concerning surrounding passport enforcement, staffing, privacy, the division of our community and further concerns around mental health, Northern Health stated at this point there is no willingness for the province to move away from the current and upcoming public health orders," stated the South Peace Chambers on Wednesday in an update to members.