Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
June 17, 2020
Province seeks input to guide economic recovery
The provincial government is looking for input on what people want to see as the economy slowly recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking from the lawn of the Legislature today, Premier John Horgan said he was hopeful that next week BC will be able to fully move into Phase 3 of BC's Restart Plan.

The province is providing three ways to share ideas and priorities:

  1. Fill out an online survey
  2. Email responses to today's report
  3. Participate in virtual town halls

The Chamber encourages all of our members to have their say and make sure the provincial government understands your concerns and ideas. We will continue to speak up for business to make sure that programs work for you.
New! Business Restart Series
Business Restart Series: Tourism
As Phase 3 begins, tourism businesses in the Inner Harbour are grappling with how to adapt with a renewed focus on domestic tourism as our borders remain closed.

Join our CEO Bruce Williams and a panel of tourism leaders including  Indu Brar   (Fairmont Empress),  Ian Robertson   (Greater Victoria Harbour Authority) and  Randy Wright  (HarbourAir Seaplanes) as they talk about how the pandemic continues to affect our tourism industry, what's needed and a look to the path forward to recovery.
Wage subsidy better than CERB for economic restart
On Monday, the federal government announced the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit was being extended for an additional eight weeks.

The Chamber welcomes the news, through we are concerned about the lack of uptake of programs businesses need to survive until the economy can recover.

In an interview with CHEK, incoming Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said the CERB puts money in people’s pockets and helps keep the economy moving. However, there is concern that not enough businesses have been able to access programs aimed at helping keep workers in their jobs. CBC reported on June 12 that 400,000 fewer workers were being supported by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy from mid-April to mid-May compared to between mid-March and mid-April.

As of last week, the wage subsidy program had paid out $10.4 billion of $73 billion initially budgeted for the program. The late rollout, challenging application process and qualification criteria haven't helped.

The federal government has said it will extend the wage subsidy program and is encouraging businesses to rehire employees who are currently collecting CERB.

The Chamber will continue to call on government to make it easier for businesses to do so, by making the program more accessible.

“There are businesses who don’t currently qualify for the wage subsidy, but, if they did, it would get them back up and going,” Williams said, adding that keeping workplace teams together is vital to ensuring the economy can restart quickly.
More businesses able to apply for CEBA on Friday
On Friday, applications open for business that previously did not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account. The change happened after The Chamber and other business organizations called on government to expand the program to include owner operators, sole proprietors and family-owned corporations whose remuneration is in the form of dividends or methods other than payroll.
Nominations open for 2021-22 Chamber Board
Now more than ever leadership matters.

We’d like to invite you to be a part of the history of the region and serve on The Chamber Board.

Each fall the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce holds an election for new board members. Each board member is elected for a two-year term with staggered renewal dates. This year, six (6) board positions are up for election and we're looking for great nominees like you.

Our influential board works with decision-makers at all levels of government to support our region’s businesses and maximize the value of membership with The Chamber.

Click here for key dates, the nomination process and the voting procedure.

Download a nomination form here. Please also include your bio and photo for the election ballot. Additional questions can be directed here.

Nominations close Thursday, July 30 at noon.
Child care relief shows value of investing in families
British Columbia has an opportunity to become the province of choice for working families if we can lower barriers for parents who live in our region.

On Tuesday, the province announced it was extending the temporary emergency funding program for licensed child care centres until the end of August. The funding has helped essential workers to keep working by enabling the child care providers they rely on to stay open. Since it was implemented on April 1, the program has allowed centres to manage their costs and added $2 per hour to the wages of early child care educators.

Investing in families is an investment in our economic health, and one of the keys to ensuring employers in our region are better able to find and keep the workers they need.
Public hearing on unrelated tenants set for Saturday
On June 30, Saanich is hosting a public hearing on changes to its bylaw regulating the number of unrelated people allowed to live in the same house within the municipality.

The meeting was set for a Saturday to allow more residents to provide input, Saanich mayor Fred Haynes told the Saanich News. The hearing was originally scheduled for March but was cancelled due to COVID-19.

A lack of affordable housing has been one of the biggest obstacles to ensuring our region has an adequate workforce available for employers. The Chamber supports Saanich's initiative to increase the number of housing options, especially in areas with record low-vacancy rates.

To speak at Saturday's public hearing, you need to register by email at or call 250-475-5501 by noon Friday.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Wholesale pricing welcomed by hospitality industry
Allowing restaurants, pubs and tourism businesses to purchase alcohol at wholesale prices helps at a time when many are struggling to get through the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, the provincial government announced it will stop adding a retail markup for businesses that purchase inventory through the Liquor Distribution Branch. The price break will be in place from July until next April.

The Chamber lent our support to this request by the hospitality industry and we're happy that government has responded. During these times of uncertainty there are opportunities to create change for the better. The province is also looking at other ways to modernize liquor distribution by adopting recommendations made last year in a report by Deloitte.
Deloitte Canada: Member since 2015
Policing alternatives can't come at expense of VicPD
There are always ways to be better, and Victoria Police Chief Del Manak says he's open to expanding civilian services that could be used to respond to calls now handled by his officers.

However, The Chamber agrees with the police chief that the discussion should be focused on how the department serves citizens and not on how to cut its budget.

Tomorrow, Victoria City Council is scheduled to look at exploring alternative responses to people struggling with addiction and mental health issues when they are in a crisis situation that currently requires police to attend.

It's a great idea, and one that is already being executed by a number of integrated units in our region. The Chamber encourages Victoria council to take the time to think through its plans before disrupting policing services, which are vital for maintaining safe communities.

A longer-term approach is to explore combining Victoria and Saanich police services to increase resources and opportunities for both departments.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Victoria Police Department: Member since 2008
Happy Father's Day
Make sure Dad feels special this Father's Day! Whether you will be relaxing in the backyard or having a virtual chat, show your appreciation this year with a gift from a local business.

Need a gift? You can't go wrong with tried and true Dad-pleasers:

Open for Business — Chamber directory style
To help locals looking to support businesses in the region, we want to make it easier to find businesses that are open and ready to provide products or services.

You'll see on our Chamber  online business directory  that we've added an Open icon for businesses. Details on how the business has adapted and/or new hours will appear in Products and Services at the bottom of the listing. We've also enhanced the SEO keywords on these listings to get you noticed.

Do you have updated business hours or services? Contact us   for your Open Icon and enhanced directory listing.
Job Board back to being exclusive member benefit
The job board has returned to being an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

The Chamber is proud to have featured more than 500 jobs on our job board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. We opened up this member benefit to help our community meet the demand for essential service jobs. We are now seeing a return to job postings that reflect the restart of our economy.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Members Around Town
Whale Whale Whale, what a deal!

Eagle Wing Tours will begin offering discounts for locals looking for an adventure. You can receive 20% off your tour if you are a resident of BC, and 30% off if you live in Greater Victoria. Daily tours begin July 1.

Eagle Wing Whale and Wildlife Watching Tours: member since 2013
Discover Greater Victoria

Be a Local Tourist In Your Town is returning from June 15 to July 15, and many Chamber members are offering fantastic deals:

Happy Anniversary! Financial Services Ltd. is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. With more than 125 associate offices across Canada, provides high GIC rates from its network of 34 financial institutions. Financial Services Ltd: members since 2004
Brand Trust in Canada

The University of Victoria has released the Gustavson Brand Trust Index 2020, a comprehensive summary of surveys designed to discover how consumer trust has changed since COVID-19.

Although overall faith in brands is declining, Costco Wholesale and Canadian Tire were included in the top 10 most trusted brands in 2020.
University of Victoria: member since 1976
Costco Wholesale Langford: member since 1998
Canadian Tire Hillside: member since 2018
De-cluttering for good

Do you have items around your house gathering dust? From now until June 29, sell your items on and you could win $2,020. Half that amount will go to you, while the other half will go to a local food bank. member since 2011
Lights, Camera, Staycation

Although travelling abroad is still out of reach, you can now experience a travel-inspired photoshoot locally with Flytographer. Hire a local photographer and see a gorgeous local location while getting professional photos of you and a loved one. You can also save $50 on future trips by using the code " seeyousoon" at checkout.

Flytographer: member since 2015
A Taste of India

On Friday night, Taj Taste of India will host a live music performance featuring Sagar Chawla and Harkaran Singh. This newly opened restaurant features delicious Bollywood inspired food. If you're interested in attending, make sure to reserve a table.

Taj Taste of India: member since 2020
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