Chamber CEO Catherine Holt, BC Ferries CEO Mark Collins and Chamber Chair Dan Dagg
At the Business Leaders Luncheon: Mark Collins, CEO of BC Ferries , sponsored by Point Hope Maritime, Chamber members learned about the challenges BC Ferries has with telling its story. Did you know the organization earns 71% of its revenues from fares? As paying customers are the core of its business, BC Ferries realizes it needs to work on continuing to improve the experience for travellers. You can check out Mark's presentation here and photos from the event can be found here.
Merging Saanich and Victoria - a smart start
As a strong proponent for modernizing regional services, The Chamber is encouraged by news that Saanich and Victoria have engaged with the Province to outline how a merger of our region's largest two municipalities could happen. The next step for Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell is to go to their respective councils and discuss a path forward.

"As Victoria and Saanich are by far the two largest municipalities in the region, a merger between them would go a long way to rationalizing local government services and is more achievable than a multi-municipality approach," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt.

Helps says the fact this discussion has been going on for years means citizens are already engaged. "But yes, I think the fact we're starting with two as a question mark is easier than 13, or even four or five,"   Helps told the CBC. "You have to start somewhere. It's not meant to be exclusive, if others are interested in joining in, but there needs to be a starting point."

A good model already exists north of the Malahat, where Duncan and North Cowichan formed a 36-member Citizens Assembly made up of volunteers chosen by lottery. That group decided the best way to merge the two municipalities is through a provincially approved referendum, set for June 23.

Amalgamation Yes is hosting a meeting at Victoria High School from 6-9 pm on April 25. It will include both mayors and Peter MacLeod, the moderator of the Duncan-North Cowichan Citizens' Assembly on municipal amalgamation. 

Chamber News
Business Leaders Luncheons
AGM & Mayoral Address
Premier John Horgan Luncheon
Governor of the Bank of Canada Luncheon
Member Networking Breakfast
YYJ Eats
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos
2020 North American Indigenous Games Bid 
The provincial government welcomed members of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council to Victoria with an announcement of $3.5 million (35% of the Games' budget) in support for the 2020 Games bid by Songhees Nation. The games are hosted every 3 years and feature athletes competing in a number of sports including archery, badminton, basketball, lacrosse and soccer.

"I'm happy to support the Songhees Nation's bid to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games," said Premier John Horgan. "Sport plays a powerful role in the development of young people. These Games present an opportunity to engage Indigenous youth in sport, and build on British Columbia's commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations. We'd be thrilled to host the 2020 Games here."

Greater Victoria is vying against bids from Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg. The NAIG Council will decide in May which Canadian city will host the games.

Songhees Nation: member since 2017
Save big on your next Business Leaders Luncheon tickets!  

Save 10% when you purchase tickets to two or more of our upcoming Business Leaders Luncheons.

Business Leaders Luncheons are a fantastic opportunity to hear from industry and political leaders in the community. They also provide members an opportunity to network with each other and the speakers themselves!

AGM & Mayoral Address
Tue, May 1
11:30 am-1:30 pm
Sponsored by  
Chris O'Riley, CEO of BC Hydro
Wed, June 13
11:30 am-1 pm
Sponsored by

Members Around Town
All aboard for Shania Twain
Shania Twain is visiting CFB Esquimalt tomorrow April 19 from 1-2 pm to meet members of all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The singer will take a tour of HMCS Ottawa and a submarine, while getting familiarized with military vehicles and equipment before leaving. She will also host a listening party, playing a recorded version of one of her new songs "Soldier,"and explaining the meaning behind the song.
CFB Esquimalt: member since 1979 
  VIATEC Award finalists 
VIATEC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council) has announced the finalists for its  17th annual VIATEC Technology Awards. Winners will be revealed at the gala June 15th at the Royal Theatre. The evening pays tribute to the leaders, creators and innovators that have driven the local tech sector to more than $4 billion in annual sales, making it the fastest growing technology region in BC and Victoria's largest private industry.
VIATEC: member since 1991 
Vista 18 turns 18 
Vista 18 Westcoast Grill & Wine Bar, part of the Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites, celebrates its 18th birthday on April 18, 2018 with a Champagne birthday party. At 8:18 pm, Vista 18 will light up its rooftop in celebration. Starting April 19, the rooftop restaurant will be offering a three-course "Legacy" menu that includes Vista 18 classic dishes and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine.
Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites: member since 1974
$4.7 million for children's health on the Island
The Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island will provide $4.7 million in health-care funding for kids on the Island. The group's largest-ever investment in programs, comes from donors and fundraising efforts. The money will support three priority areas: early childhood development, child and youth mental health and rural and remote community access to health care.
Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island: member since 2007 
Family Business Excellence Awards
DriveWise BC and Titan Boats were named co-winners of the Family Business Excellence Award handed down annually by Family Business Association of Vancouver Island. Daisy Klaibert of Beacon Hill Wealth Management won  this year's Young Entrepreneur Award.
Drivewise Learning Academy Inc: member since 2015  
Titan Boats: member since 2015
Beacon Hill Wealth Management: member since 2017
University of Langford?
The Provincial government is paying Royal Roads University $250,000 to study how residents of the West Shore and Sooke can better access post-secondary schools. Royal Roads is conducting the study on behalf of its partner schools, Camosun College and the University of Victoria. 
"We've been looking at ways to advance the delivery of post-secondary education and training to programs in the West Shore for a number of years," Langford Mayor Stewart Young said, in a provincial news release announcing the study. "It makes a lot of sense to give students pursuing a post-secondary education the opportunity to do that in the community they live in."

Young, who urged the government to conduct the study, told the Times Colonist his preference is for a downtown Langford campus so local high school grads can continue their studies close to home.
Take The Chamber's Membership Survey!
In less than five minutes, you can share your thoughts on your Chamber membership by taking our Membership Matters Survey.

Your Chamber membership provides you with discounts on our benefit programs, opportunities to connect with the business community and supports your business through its advocacy efforts. Are you getting your full membership value? 

Help us help you! Enter to win round-trip flights to Vancouver for two from Helijet
or two tickets to YYJ Eats by completing the survey.
Trekking in Japan
Message from Chamber CEO Catherine Holt
Here I am on one of the mountain passes of the Kumano Kodo, an ancient pilgrimage route in Japan and a World Heritage Site, with our tough and tiny Japanese guide Kyoko.  We hiked a mountainous and trying 82 km over 6 days, with the icing on the cake being the last day, which started with a 5 km climb straight up - no switchbacks for a pilgrim!

The sign at the summit reads "Even the famous poet Fujiwara Teika (1162-1241) was at a loss for words after walking this section, stating in his pilgrimage diary from 1201 that 'This route is very rough and difficult:  it is impossible to describe precisely how tough it is.'"  Although no poet, I will say it was one of those experiences in life that makes everything else seem easier!
Thanks to Yamnuska Mountain Adventures and our incredible guide, Naoto Motoyama, for an amazing adventure and for his superb karaoke skills and to The Chamber's capable staff for keeping things working so smoothly while I was off traipsing. 
Province promises 14,000 new rental units over next decade
On Wednesday, the Province announced $1.9 billion over 10 years for 14,000 new rental units across BC. The new Building BC Community Housing Fund will work with municipalities, non-profits and co-ops to try and ease the burden felt by people squeezed out of the tight rental market.

"Providing new affordable rentals for low- to moderate-income families and individuals keeps them living and working in our city," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps in the provincial news release. "We look forward to working with the Province on developing new, affordable housing for the city."

Projects will be prioritized based on a number of criteria, including targeted clients and how much the project would help reduce the rental crunch in its region.

New York and Washington say yes to Victoria
The New York Times calls Victoria an "urban jewel" in its recent article " 36 Hours in Victoria, British Columbia" and The Wall Street Journal states "hipness has infiltrated picturesque Victoria" in its recent article " Victoria, British Columbia's Quaint Capital, Finds a New Cool . "  
The New York Times laid out a great food and fun-filled itinerary which included stops with 4 Chamber members: Fairmont Empress, Little Jumbo, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel.
Plans this weekend? We dare you to try experiencing Victoria in just 36 hours like the New York Times! Challenge accepted? Let us know how it goes.

Fairmont Empress: member since 1962

Little Jumbo: member since 2013

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria: member since 2007

Best Western Plus Carlton Plaza Hotel: member since 1978
Five questions to ask instead of "how are you"
Find networking events a bit overwhelming? Do you often think you run out of things to say after the first question? You might be asking the wrong question. In a recent article called " Five Questions You Can Ask Instead of 'How Are You?'" Forbes identifies alternate questions to ask that will spark quality conversations.

Some examples (read the full list here): 
1. What was the best part about your day?
2: What work is most exciting you this week?
3: What new ideas are giving you energy lately?

Want to try it out? Join The Chamber and Prodigy Group tomorrow, April 19 from 5-7 pm at the April Mixer and Mingle. Co-hosted by Max FurnitureRuffell & Brown Interiors Ltd. and Pacific Rollshutters and Awning Ltd. this is an excellent opportunity to make new connections and ask new questions!  
Join the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt Chambers to hear Premier John Horgan speak on his government's vision for the Province of British Columbia as well as regional priorities.
Sponsored by:
Tue, May 15 | 11:15 am-1 pm 
Crystal Gardens , 720 Douglas St.  

Insurance Reassurance

As a small business owner, sometimes it feels like you have to do it all. Making sure your business and staff are taken care of is no easy task especially when everyone's health and wellness directly affects the success of your business. On top of this, it can be stressful when unexpected problems come up that require an expert opinion - HR, accounting, legal, etc.

The good news is that The Chamber's Group Insurance plan, administered locally by Jack Insurance and Financial Services, looks after both sides of your business going well beyond just providing you with health and dental coverage plans include a free "visit" to Business Assistance Service (BAS).

This confidential service provides access to up to six hours of professional accounting, counseling, legal or human resource experts who understand the difficulties small business owners face. So when you're faced with a challenging situation, you can feel comfort in knowing that you have somewhere to turn for support.

Keep your most important asset, your people, healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. For more info or to register your business, call 250-383-9866 or email Rob Jack.

Jack Insurance and Financial Services: Member since 1998
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  


Member to Member Deals

Want your company's special offer to appear here? Send us an email!