Business: How the Toronto Board of Trade Can Help You

By Gilda Spitz

The Toronto Board of Trade is Canada's largest local chamber of commerce, with members from every type and size of business.

The goal of the Toronto Board of Trade is to promote business in Toronto, and to help its members reach their business goals. It provides services such as business publications (salary surveys, guidebooks, and contact lists), facilities with meeting spaces and catering, and discounts on networking events.

Every member of the Toronto Board of Trade also receives membership in the Toronto World Trade Centre, which can open the door to additional business opportunities.

Special advantages for newcomers

Many newcomers to Canada - entrepreneurs, skilled workers, and professionals - ran successful businesses in their home countries, and now want to start a similar business here in Canada.

Because Toronto is "the most diverse city on Earth", as pointed out by Glen Stone, Public Affairs Manager, the Toronto Board of Trade provides several unique services to help the members of its multicultural business community.

Advocacy with government

The Toronto Board of Trade urges all levels of government to start new programs, or change existing ones, to help immigrants. For example:

Funding for immigrant services: The Toronto Board of Trade has successfully lobbied the federal government to increase the amount of funding for immigrants for programs such as English as a Second Language.

Recognition of foreign credentials: The Toronto Board of Trade is currently urging the government to change its regulations on recognizing foreign professional credentials, so that people with degrees in medicine, engineering, and so on, can more easily work in their chosen fields in Canada.

Association alliances

Several business associations from various ethnic communities in Toronto hold Association Alliance memberships with the Toronto Board of Trade, offering discounts on Board membership:

  • Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs
  • Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade
  • Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce
  • Italian Chamber of Commerce of Toronto-Canada
  • Toronto Chinese Business Association

Toronto Region Immigrant Education Council

Often people who have been successful in business in their home countries find it difficult to do business in Canada. Even simple actions such as how to greet prospects, how to exchange business cards, and how to speak to members of the opposite sex can be confusing because of cultural differences, says Stone.

Newcomers can now participate in a program called The Mentoring Partnership - which is an initiative of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). The newcomer is paired with a mentor - an established Canadian - who can provide information on the Canadian way of doing business. "Learning how business works here is very helpful," says Stone.

Cost and contact information

The cost to join the Toronto Chamber of Commerce ranges from $375 per year for individual entrepreneurs to $15,000 per year for large enterprises.

For more information, visit the Toronto Board of Trade web site at http://www.bot.com, or call 416.366.6811.

CNM