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Business, we have your back: Tri-Cities Chamber CEO pens column for Business in Vancouver

Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce | Photo courtesy of BIV, photo credit: Chung Chow

As published in Business in Vancouver, February 26, 2024. Read it on BIV here.

Businesses are stronger together — here’s how chambers can help

In today’s increasingly complex and challenging economic landscape, it’s more important than ever for businesses to have a strong network of support and resources. That's where local chambers of commerce and boards of trade come in. We serve as powerful allies for businesses of all sizes, providing invaluable advocacy, benefits and opportunities for growth and success. As the CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, I am passionate about the transformative impact that joining your local chamber of commerce or board of trade can have on your business. Here’s why.

Advocacy and representation
Yes, we lobby governments. Chambers of commerce and boards of trade are highly influential advocates for the business community, representing their interests at all levels of government. We do this at our individual business association level, and collectively through the vast networks of the BC Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Whether it's advocating for pro-business policies, lobbying for regulatory reforms or championing infrastructure investments, we work tirelessly to create a favourable business environment for our members. Membership helps ensure a strong voice for business in shaping policies and decisions that impact community and industry.

Connections are powerful. One of the most significant advantages of joining your local chamber or board of trade is access to an extensive network of fellow business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals. Through various events, members have the chance to forge valuable connections, exchange ideas and explore potential collaborations that can lead to new partnerships, referrals and business opportunities.

Educational resources and support
Chambers of commerce and boards of trade offer a wealth of educational resources and services to help businesses thrive. From workshops and seminars on topics such as marketing, finance and technology to one-on-one business consultations and mentoring programs, members have access to valuable insights and expertise that can help you overcome challenges and seize opportunities for growth.

Benefits and savings
Many chambers and boards of trade offer exclusive member discounts and savings programs on essential business services, supplies and insurance, helping members save significant money and increase efficiency.

Visibility and credibility
Joining your local business association can enhance an organization’s visibility within the community. Chambers and boards of trade often highlight member businesses through their newsletters, social media channels and events, providing valuable exposure and recognition for a brand. Displaying a membership certificate or logo on a website and in marketing materials can signal to customers, clients and partners a commitment to community, economic development and supporting local prosperity.

Community engagement and collaboration
Chambers and boards of trade play a vital role in fostering a sense of community and collaboration among local businesses. Through community events, volunteer opportunities and charitable initiatives, members have the chance to give back to their community and make a positive impact. Chambers collaborate with other community stakeholders — including local governments, non-profits and educational institutions — to address common challenges and advance shared goals. By joining a local chamber, you become part of a larger community of businesses working together to build a stronger and more prosperous future.

In Canada, chambers of commerce and boards of trade are normally registered under Canada’s Boards of Trade Act and assigned an exclusive region to represent. This is a longstanding practice in our country and in many other countries around the world, as it’s proven to be effective at enhancing business interests and strengthening communities. I’m continually impressed when new immigrants come to the Tri-Cities, set up a business and immediately join our chamber. Many know from experience in their home country just how important and powerful it is for their business to be part of their local chamber. To all business owners out there, let’s not lose sight of this. Apathy and isolation will not lead to strong business and strong communities.

I urge you to join your local chamber of commerce or board of trade, and to take advantage of the benefits of membership. The more member businesses that chambers and boards of trade collectively have, the stronger our local, provincial and national network becomes. And at this increasingly challenging time, businesses truly need a very strong network at their backs.

Leslie Courchesne is CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, which serves Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore and Belcarra, and represents more than 1,300 organizations.


Since 1971, the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has been the largest business association serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, and Belcarra, now representing 1,300+ organizations from every sector. The Chamber works to foster economic development, provide connections and benefits, and influence public policy at all levels of government to ensure strong business and strong communities. The Tri-Cities Chamber is an active member of the BC and Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

For more information, contact:

Leslie Courchesne, Chief Executive Officer
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce

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