Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
March 10, 2021
Reminder: Spring ahead Saturday night!
Province announces vital funding for inter-city bus
After many months of calling on governments to help transportation businesses that have been devastated by the pandemic, the province finally delivered good news yesterday.

Funding of up to $10.7 million is available for inter-city bus operators, as well as up to $16.5 million for regional airports to support operations for one year starting April 1.

“During the pandemic, inter-city bus operators that connect rural and remote communities and regional airports that provide medical safety services experienced a significant drop in ridership,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure in a news release. “This relief funding will help these vital services stay open and be ready for a strong recovery when travel restrictions are relieved by the COVID-19 vaccination effort in BC”

Minister Fleming, who spoke to Chamber members on March 2 as part of our Business Restart Series with provincial ministers, said relief would be announced soon to ensure valuable transportation services get through the pandemic.

“Today is filled with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and relief for the inter-city ground transportation sector across the province, but more importantly for the members of our rural, remote and Indigenous communities that rely on these services,” John Wilson, president and CEO, Wilson’s Group of Companies said. “With the announcement of this grant, I am pleased to say we will be looking at restarting services in the coming weeks to ensure Vancouver Island once again has the connectivity that so many members of our communities need.”
Wilson's Group of Companies: Member since 2004
Creating Connections with Prodigy
Hear from one of the city's best networkers on how to create new connections in a virtual world. Rahim Khudabux, Owner of Max Furniture will join us to share his winning strategy to creating connections and also talk about the power of mentorship before attendees set out to mingle in virtual breakout rooms.
Thurs., Mar. 11 | 5-6 PM
Growing Local: Food Security on Vancouver Island
The emergence of the pandemic and subsequent panic buying in grocery stores highlighted the reliance modern societies have on national and international food distribution systems.

Hear from Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, how new policies, programs and technology are helping increase food security, support urban agriculture systems and the growing realization that when people Buy BC they are supporting food production, jobs, and sustainability in our communities.
Plan for safe return to campus in the fall, PHO says
There was more good news that the pandemic will soon be behind us. On Monday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advised BC's post-secondary schools to plan to have students back on campus in the fall.

The province hopes to provide clear guidance over the next few weeks, enabling post-secondary institutions such as Royal Roads University, Camosun College and the University of Victoria to work with Island Health and WorkSafeBC on detailed safety plans.

"There are still lots of unknowns, and many of you will have questions," UVic President and Vice-Chancellor Kevin Hall said in a statement. "We'll do our best to keep everyone updated over the coming weeks and months while building flexibility into our planning. When the final fall timetable goes live in May it will indicate how courses will be delivered and registration will begin in June as usual."
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Royal Roads University: Member since 1996
WorkSafeBC: Member since 2006
Island Health: Member since 2020
PST added to sugary drinks, streaming services
Two planned tax changes that were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic will go into effect on April 1, 2021.

Starting next month, Provincial Sales Tax will be charged on carbonated beverages that contain sugar, natural sweeteners or artificial sweeteners. The products are currently exempt from PST.

As of April 1, PST must also be collected by e-commerce businesses outside the province, such as US-based services Netflix and Disney Plus.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Compassion the priority
for care homes
Compassion and caring have always been key to long-term care homes, but the pandemic has increased awareness about how important relationships are to residents and the staff who look after them.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams looks back at the last year and lessons learned with David Cheperdak, President and CEO of Broadmead Care, and Amir Hemani, CEO
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
By responding quickly to early concerns about COVID-19, both organizations were able to ensure the safety of people under their care. What they found out was how important their staff are to bringing joy to residents in later stages of life. Find out how they rose to the challenge, and how technology and new ways of thinking about employee resiliency have become embedded in each organization’s culture.
Broadmead Care: Member since 2017
Berwick Retirement Communities: Member since 1970
BC's business recovery grant program extended
BC's Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation has agreed to extend the application deadline for the Business Recovery Grant from March 31 to Aug. 31.

The Hon. Ravi Kahlon spoke to Chamber members on Feb. 18 as part of our Business Restart Series with provincial ministers. At that time, he said he was listening to businesses and would adjust the program to ensure pandemic relief was available.

As well, businesses are required to demonstrate a 30% revenue loss in any one month between March 2020 to the point of application. That's significantly lower than the previous requirement of at least 70% revenue loss in March or April 2020.

The $345-million program provides fully funded grants to businesses that employ up to 149 BC residents. Grants can be up to $30,000, with an additional $15,000 available to tourism-related businesses.
Art gallery gets relief funding from province
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is among 120 arts and culture organizations on Vancouver Island benefiting from $3.5 million in provincial grants.

The art gallery will use its share of the funds to hire a digital assets co-ordinator and an educator to develop and deliver online programming.

The funding is part of the provincial government's Expanded Arts and Culture Resilience Supplement delivered through the BC Arts Council. Organizations can use the funds for operating costs, to pay artists and to protect or restore jobs such as theatre technicians, production designers or arts administrators.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: Member since 2007
Highlighting our Chamber Champions
As part of the celebration of Chamber Week in February, our Chamber Champions submitted quotes highlighting the importance of investing in The Chamber. Each week we will be showcasing these quotes.
"The Chamber brings alive the local voice of Greater Victoria entrepreneurs with the credibility of a nationally respected organization."
Learn more about how these organizations are championing the work of The Chamber.
Camping at BC Parks
On March 8, camping reservations opened for BC Parks. Before you head out on your next great adventure, be sure to read the 2021 Camping Season Policies to ensure you’re staying safe while enjoying the great outdoors.

Every successful trip starts with a great plan, and Chamber members are here to ensure you’re well supplied for your next local camping trip.
  • From tents and fishing poles to adventure clothing and outdoor sporting goods, you can find all the equipment you need at a local retailer.
  • Before driving into the woods, make sure your vehicle is serviced and ready for backroads or rent a vehicle that will be up to the task.
  • Feeling peckish? Pick up some food at a great local restaurant to enjoy by the campfire. Just remember to properly store food items to deter animals from your site.
  • Unwind in the wild by picking up something new to read at a bookstore
  • Grab some coffee or tea to start your morning off right.
Before heading to your campsite, be sure to review the latest Provincial Health Order to verify your camping plans are within the guidelines. Although Bonnie Henry is optimistic that BC could be in a “post-pandemic world” this summer, by taking the necessary precautions now, we can continue to bounce forward together.
Chamber Job Board

With 14 categories to choose from, The Chamber’s job board is perfect hiring tool for any industry.

When you post your next job, be sure to add a category in the job title so it can be properly sorted. From Accounting & Finance to Technology related positions, you can see the full list of categories here.

If you have a specific category, you can also utilize the Industry Type field on the job posting. This list is continually added with new industry types.
If you have any questions about the Job Board, or would like a specific industry type added, please email 
Member News
UVic vaccination clinic

A COVID-19 vaccination clinic, operated by Island Health, has opened at the University of Victoria. Located in the McKinnon Gym, UVic will be providing short-term parking and janitorial support. This is one of more than 30 sites operating across Vancouver Island.
Island Health: member since 2020
University of Victoria: member since 1976                  
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020    
Virtual Photo Booth Fun

Four Frames Photo Booth is launching a virtual photo booth experience. Available for galas, weddings, graduations and more, this new service will let you create an avatar of yourself that other virtual attendees can use in their photos. So, even when you’re apart, you can have fun group photos of your family and friends.

Four Frames Photo Booth: member since 2019
Nature Sketch program receives national funding

The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature has received $20,000 in funding from the Investment Readiness Program. The funds will be used to support and expand the foundation's Nature Sketch Program, a national campaign with the goal of inspiring observation and appreciation of the natural world across Canada.
The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature: member since 2013
Walk with a View

Time to start your training regime, for an exciting treetop walk at the top of the Malahat.
Malahat Nation is hoping to have their new Malahat SkyWalk open this summer.
Safe to say you’ll get your 10,000 steps in the day you visit.
Malahat Nation: member since 2019
Victoria Hospitals Foundation: member since 2019
Double your Critical Care donation

The Victoria Hospitals Foundation, with support from Seaspan ULC, is matching donations for their Critical campaign. For a limited time, donations up to $500,000 will be matched to build Vancouver Island’s first permanent, purpose-built High Acuity Unit. The $7 million campaign will expand critical care capacity at Royal Jubilee Hospital by 73%.
Seaspan ULC: member since 1972
Seaspan ULC: Chamber Champion since 2020
Island Savings celebrates 70 Years in business

From having one location in 1951 to supporting 13 branches across Vancouver Island, Island Savings is celebrating their 70th year in business. Island Savings has continually supported communities across the Island, investing more than $512,00 in donation and relief programs in 2020 alone.
Island Savings: member since 1984
Langford tops list of livable places in Canada

The City of Langford has been ranked as the Most Livable Place in Canada in 2021, according to

The livability report factors in growth, scenery, nightlife, outdoor activities and accessibility. Langford scored well for being an attractive and fast-growing city.
City of Langford: Member since 2019
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