Satinder Chera

Satinder Chera
Grad Year: 
Political Science
Director of Provincial Affairs
Social Science, Education & Religion
Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses

“This was a newly-created position to enable stronger lobbying efforts on behalf of small and medium sized businesses in Ontario. The CFIB has been a big voice for small business for over 35 years with 105,000 members nationwide in every sector. Taking our direction from CFIB Members, through regular surveys, we lobby for small- and medium-sized businesses at the federal, provincial and local levels of government,” says Satinder, who is also currently in the process of completing a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Waterloo.

“In this position, strong government relations are developed through regular meetings with the Ontario Premier, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Leader of the Official Opposition, Members of Provincial Parliament, Mayors and Reeves. Some of the exciting opportunities include appearing in extensively in the media. This has resulted in effective representation of business interests in major daily newspapers (including The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and The National Post) on live radio programs and through regional media outlets to debate public policy issues. Promoting business interests in collaboration with other trade associations has resulted in a strong public profile for small businesses. The challenges are competing with other organizations that also have vested interests in lobbying on behalf of businesses.”

Satinder, who was an intern at The Fraser Institute in British Columbia in 1998, says relationship building with members of the government, the media and stakeholders is essential for successful lobbying.

“I was selected from hundreds of applicants to attend The Fraser Institute’s Student Leaders Colloquium in British Columbia to debate pressing public policy issues in 1997. During my internship in 1998, I reviewed government policies from the perspective of free market principles. After the internship, I understood the process of creating public policies and assessed implications of public policies,” says Satinder who co-authored a report on the performance of the government of British Columbia during the 1990s, which garnered extensive media coverage.

“My experience at The Fraser Institute, my involvement in provincial politics and my undergraduate degree were key achievements. I was initially hired at Queens Park as a policy assistant to an MPP. My undergraduate degree built a solid foundation that coupled with experiential skills to set me apart from other candidates. The key to success is to always keep a balance with work, academics and volunteering efforts. To establish a successful career in any field it is important to get involved with the community.”