February 19, 2020
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
Province 'stays the course' with Budget 2020
The provincial budget speech delivered yesterday by BC Finance Minister Carole James was about "working together to build a stronger BC." The budget itself has had mixed reviews. With a provincial economy that remains the envy of Canada, the government has opted to " stay-the-course."

Initial coverage of the budget focused on a tax hike for people earning more than $220,000 per year. For a good explanation of the new tax bracket, check out this summary from Grant Thornton.

The budget also contains incentives for electric vehicles, funding to hire more teachers and money to crackdown on illegal cannabis sales. And there is good news for students who can now access provincial grants of up to $4,000.

However, The Chamber is disappointed the government did not take the opportunity to fix the Employer Health Tax. A shrinking surplus in a time of economic growth also raises questions — though The Chamber agrees that continuing to invest in affordable child care and housing are important to ensure employers have the workforce needed to keep our economy humming.

The Chamber will have more to say about BC Budget 2020 when we host Minister James on Feb. 27 at the Fairmont Empress. See below for details on how to attend.
Hear firsthand about Budget 2020
Provincial Finance Minister Luncheon
Hear from B.C. Finance Minister Carole James at her first public event in Victoria following the tabling of the provincial government's 2020 Budget.

The presentation will provide an overview of the recently unveiled budget and details on province-wide changes that could impact our community and your bottom line.
Thurs., Feb. 27 | 11:15 am - 1 pm
The Fairmont Empress
721 Government St.
Sponsored by:
2020 Business Awards Finalists announced
The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the finalists for The Chamber’s 2020 Greater Victoria Business Awards.

The finalists have distinguished themselves in many categories and many ways, including outstanding customer service, sustainable business practices, innovation and business leadership and building our community.

From start-ups to local legends, The Chamber’s 2020 Greater Victoria Business Awards shine a light on hard-working businesses, business people and community leaders in 14 categories worth celebrating. Finalists were chosen by an independent panel of prominent community leaders who served as judges.
Royal Theatre studying options for expansion
A study looking into the feasibility of expanding the Royal Theatre was announced today by Royal and McPherson Theatre Society executive director Franz Lehrbass.

The study, funded by a local philanthropic foundation, will bring in consultants to work with people who have a stake in the theatre. The first phase will analyze needs and determine priorities for expansion.

Phase two will conceptualize a plan that will lead to a report in four to six months. A final report will then be shared with the theatre society, the Capital Regional District and municipal funders.

“It’s important to include participation from the community to ensure the study’s success,” Lehrbass said. “Their knowledge and experience is vital to the process and we’re looking forward to engaging with the community as we begin the study.”
Royal and McPherson Theatres Society: Member since 1976
Promote your job across Canada
Desperately seeking a larger talent pool? The Chamber, with the help of HotHouse Marketing, is connecting workers from the rest of Canada with jobs in Greater Victoria during February and March. Make sure your jobs are on our board to showcase why we really are the best place in the country to live, work and play.

Every Chamber member receives one free job posting annually. Learn more here .
Chamber Member Tip of the Week

"Be clear about the personal qualities that are essential in your work place and don’t compromise just to fill a vacancy. For example, at The Chamber we need everyone on our small staff to be optimistic, self-motivated, team-oriented and customer-service focused. Then we can rock it. "

Catherine Holt, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber comes with numerous benefits for your team, including The Chamber’s Group Insurance Plans.

Contact us for details.
More not-for-profits now defined as lobbyist groups
New rules taking effect May 4 will define significantly more not-for-profit organizations as lobbyists and require them to file reports and potential face fines for representing their members.

The Lobbyists Transparency Act, which replaces the Lobbyists Registration Act, eliminates the previous threshold for what is considered lobbying.
"Most not-for-profit organizations and societies that communicate with BC public office holders in an attempt to influence government decisions will likely soon be required to register in the Lobbyists Registry," says a statement from the Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists.

The registrar will hold a public information session in Victoria on the extensive new government regulations, on April 23 at 947 Fort St. (second floor), from 4 to 6 pm. If you can't attend that session, the office plans a webcast on April 3 from 11:30 am to 1 pm.
BC Ferries announces names for new hybrid vessels
At a ceremony today, BC Ferries officially christened its two new hybrid diesel-electric Island class ferries.

The Island Aurora and Island Discovery will serve two routes — Port McNeill to Alert Bay-Sointula and Texada Island to Powell River.

The ferries will be quieter and reduce emissions. They're also designed to eventually become completely electric once the required technology is feasible.
BC Ferries: Member since 1983
BC Transit adds 12 CNG buses to Greater Victoria
On Feb. 18, BC Transit announced 12 new heavy-duty buses powered by compressed natural gas are now in service in Greater Victoria. The buses seat 35 and can carry 46 standing passengers. The fuel burns cleaner with fewer emissions and is less expensive. The provincial and federal governments each provided 40% of funds, with the Victoria Regional Transit Commission kicking in 20%.
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Chamber Business Leaders Series 2020
Learn about the largest reform of BC auto insurance in 45 years including the announcement of a new Fairness Office and how ICBC's plans are focused on improving customer service and financial stability.  
Wed., Mar. 4 | 11:30 am - 1 pm
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
100 Harbour Rd.
Sponsored by:
Tour BC Ferries' electric hybrid vessel then join us for lunch to hear from President & CEO, Mark Collins, on how this new class of vessel is changing the future of the company and contributing to a sustainable environment.
Tue., Mar. 24 | 11:30 am - 1 pm
Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort
100 Harbour Rd.
Sponsored by:
Clarification: councillors joined protest at legislature
In our BizNews commentary about last week's protests, we unintentionally created the impression that Victoria Councillors Sharmarke Dubow, Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday were part of the Feb. 10 protest that blockaded the Johnson Street and Point Ellis bridges during rush hour. The councillors say they were only at the protest at the Legislature on Feb. 11.

“I didn’t participate in any of the demonstrations by land defenders that blockaded bridges … I attended the rally at the Legislature on Tuesday. I was there in support of the cause but I didn’t participate in any of the blocking of entrances, “ Coun. Loveday said in a message to The Chamber.

“I played absolutely no role in the demonstrations at the Johnson Street Bridge and Bay Street Bridge on February 11, 2020. I was nowhere near the bridges on that date,” Coun. Isitt said in a letter to The Chamber. 
Reconciling conflicting systems at root of protests: Mayor
The Chamber is concerned when protests targeting provincial government decisions negatively impact businesses and people in Greater Victoria simply because we are next to the Legislature. Canadians are known for showing exceptional tolerance for demonstrations and civil disobedience, but we draw the line when protestors go too far and their motives become unclear.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who noted the three councillors were not representing the city while engaged in protests, has written a column acknowledging the complexity of reconciliation with indigenous people and the importance of working constructively and consistently on these objectives.
Make every day Family Day
Families across Greater Victoria celebrated in the sunshine this past long weekend. With spring just around the corner, take advantage of the region's exciting venues and breathtaking sights with help from these Chamber members:

With sun starting to shine across Greater Victoria, flowers are starting to bloom! Be sure to participate in the 45th Annual Greater Victoria Flower Count taking place Mar. 4 – 11.
Members Around Town
New design for the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has received a development permit to upgrade and expand the new NEXT gallery. Victoria council voted in favor of this 11,000 sq. ft. expansion and construction is planned to commence in the coming months.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007
Broadmead Care rebrand

On Feb. 13, Broadmead Care unveiled their new brand, logo and website. The rebrand aimed to showcase the tagline “Where Love, Life, and Living Matter” more predominately, while their website has been fully updated with interactive elements. 
Broadmead Care: member since 2017
Navo by Regroove Solutions

Regroove Solutions Inc has announced the launch of their new productivity efficiency app, Navo. Navo provides interactive links for organizations and eliminates the need for teams to search for commonly accessed materials and internal links. Navo is compatible with Office 365 and is available for download today. 
Regroove Solutions: member since 2019
Parkside Hotel welcomes Dragons
Calling all entrepreneurs: Dragon’s Den will be hosting auditions at the Parkside Hotel & Spa on March 5. More information about auditioning can be found here. Small business owners are encouraged to sign up for a chance to showcase new products or services on national television and receive a substantial investment.
Parkside Hotel & Spa: member since 2013
Welcome to our newest members!
Member to Member discounts
Adele Fraser Coaching
Mayfair Optometric Clinic
Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites
Regroove Solutions Inc
Charge Fitness
Signature Merchant Services
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