Toronto Board of Trade name change steps on MBOT toes

Mississauga Board of Trade president and CEO Sheldon Leiba is frustrated the Toronto Board of Trade has changed its name to the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

“The name change implies a scope beyond the geographical boundaries of the municipality of Toronto,” Leiba told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

The name change reflects the fact that more than 25 percent of its members are located outside the Toronto core, Toronto Board of Trade president and CEO Carol Wilding said in a statement.

Leiba, however, argues local boards of trade and chambers like MBOT deal with regional issues and offer area-specific expertise, such as transportation, attracting and retaining skills, and integrating immigrants.

“There is a relevancy to local solutions to business issues,” he said. “The board of trade is about creating a strong sense of business community in Mississauga and connecting and serving businesses in the community.”

Leiba said he was not consulted, nor did MBOT have any opportunity to comment or provide input about the name change decision. “We don’t have the background to fully comprehend how this will affect our organization,” he said. “We need a greater understanding of how the Toronto Board of Trade will operate, advocate and expect to serve members beyond the borders of Toronto.”

Still, Leiba is confident that MBOT won’t lose many members or potential members due to the change. “We are a very strong and active board of trade and so we are able to successfully demonstrate the value-proposition for businesses to belong to our organization,” he said, citing their strategic plan, programs and services for this year.

Leiba said it’s also a common practice for a chamber in the GTA to have members from outside their community. “In our case, we would not go into another municipality and actively solicit for members, but we would certainly welcome businesses who see value and join MBOT.”

And while Leiba said there is a lot of crosspollination within chambers, he encouraged companies to belong to their ‘home’ chamber as well as any additional ones where they do business.

“When a business is located in a community, they don’t exist in a vacuum,” he said. “They need to draw talent from that community, have access to the infrastructure, amenities, business support to connect and develop their communities.”

“That can’t be artificially created from outside a community.”

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