February 22, 2023
Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!
It's been a great month for Chamber events, with our 160th Anniversary Party on Feb. 9 and an engaging Member Networking Breakfast on Feb. 15. Make sure you don't miss out on upcoming events! See below for more on all the offerings in March.
Time to have your say on municipal budget priorities
It's Budget Season for all levels of government. After the province reveals BC Budget 2023 on Feb. 28, the federal government will announce its own budget at some point in the following weeks. Municipalities in BC don't have the same flexibility, with legislation requiring financial plans be adopted by March 31 and tax rate bylaws before May 15.

The Chamber is working to remind Greater Victoria municipalities that they need to support their community's businesses through fair taxation. We encourage Chamber members to get involved with their local government through however they can. In the City of Victoria, for example, Council is asking The Chamber for member feedback on a 6.96% increase to residential property taxes that's largely the result of inflation. While that's down from the almost 9% increase initially proposed in January, there might be more opportunities to find efficiencies.

Businesses that pay property taxes in Victoria are urged to voice their formal feedback by:
  • Participating in a public meeting on Thursday, Feb, 23 at 6:30 pm at Victoria City Hall in person, by calling in or sending a written or video submission and tuning in to the live webcast.
  • Completing a short online survey by 11:59 pm, Sunday, March 5.
  • Emailing [email protected] with “City Budget” in the subject line by 11:59 pm on Sunday, March 5.

If you have questions or concerns about municipalities outside Victoria, please let us know by emailing [email protected]. And watch for more coverage on The Chamber's budget advocacy on social media and in upcoming editions of BizNews.
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Complex care a good step toward safer communities
A priority for business that has become more urgent in recent years is the fundamental need for safe communities. It's clear there's no simple answer, but one of the evidence-based solutions is the need to do more to address mental health.

"Our members have been vocal about the need for better support for people facing mental health and addiction challenges," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "This is how we can begin to address the situation we see on our streets and in parks, as well as the hidden struggles that many people are going through silently in their own homes."

The Chamber has advocated to government for investment in complex care, so we applaud the news of an $8.2-million provincial grant to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“We are honoured to be part of the solution, co-designing care to improve health, social and employment outcomes for people with long-term experience of complex barriers to employment," CMHA BC Division CEO Jonny Morris said. "We are excited to see the expansion of behavioural health-care integration with primary-care centres in more sites in B.C.”
Canadian Mental Health Association: Member since 2022
West Shore to Downtown RapidBus starts April 10
The planned RapidBus route between the West Shore and downtown Victoria will be a game changer for commuters when it launches April 10.

The service will run every 15 minutes, making the ride more convenient. That's key for convincing people to leave their cars at home. Buses will run between 7am and 10pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 10pm on Sundays. There will be additional buses during peak times on weekdays to improve customer experience, BC Transit said.

"Smart regional transportation is important for businesses that depend on staff being able to get to the workplace," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "Taking the bus instead of a car is much better environmentally, especially with BC Transit's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its fleet."
BC Transit: Member since 1999
Chamber members help create workforce housing
Housing supply is a hot topic as many regions compete for skilled workers. The demand is especially high for homes accessible to people who earn a living in Greater Victoria's economy. One of the solutions is to think about workforce housing as an investment that directly benefits our region's employers. Last week, BC Housing announced the Capital Regional District Housing Corporation project in the City of Langford is now open. The five-storey wood-framed building at 2782 Spencer Rd. includes 58 rental units for families and individuals.

BC Housing also announced 72 new units in the City of Victoria — 51 affordable housing and 21 supportive units — are open at 210 Gorge Rd. in partnership with the Cool Aid Society. A five-storey wood-framed building as well, the Victoria site includes ground-floor offices that include supports that will help residents become more employable and make the community safer.

“We are already seeing the positive impact of this unique project," Victoria Cool Aid Society CEO Kathy Stinson said in a news release. "Families, single people, seniors and people who need supports are getting to know one another, which is having the desired effect of helping to reduce the stigma around homelessness and creating a sense of community for everyone who lives there.”
City of Langford: Member since 2019
BC Housing: Member since 2021
City of Victoria: Member since 1863
Capital Regional District: Member since 1993
Victoria Cool Aid Society: Member since 2006
Active transportation improves quality of life
Employers need employees, so there's reason to applaud initiatives that make our region more attractive as a place to live, work and raise a family. Making neighbourhoods more accessible for people to walk or cycle to work, and making those routes safer, are steps in the right direction.

“We know that people make healthier, greener transportation choices when the options are there,” said Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming, who serves as Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Last week, the province announced $20 million in funding for the Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants program to help cover costs of multi-use pathways, protected bike lanes, pedestrian bridges and regional connections, as well as lighting, sidewalks and other safety improvements. Greater Victoria projects include:
  • City of Colwood – installation of seven pedestrian and bike counters including two counters with displays.
  • Township of Esquimalt – protected uni-directional quick-build bike lanes on Tillicum Road from the Gorge Bridge to Craigflower Road and two new actuated pedestrian crossings.
  • District of Saanich – AAA bike lanes, new sidewalks, multi-use pathway and utility upgrades on Shelbourne Street between North Dairy Road and Pear Street.
  • District of Saanich – AAA bi-directional bike lane with new sidewalks and boulevard separation along Gorge Road West between Admirals Road and Gorge Road.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Township of Esquimalt: Member since 2020
City of Colwood: Member since 2020
March Emerge Connector @ Victoria Royals Game
The first ever Emerge Connector is sold out but you can still add your name to the waitlist! Make authentic connections and have a great time, all in one inclusive, casual and fun event. Come for the connections and stay for the game. Cheer on your Victoria Royals as they battle against the Prince George Cougars in one of their last games of the season.

Casual networking in the Molson Fan Deck Club Lounge will take place before the game from 5-7pm. Complimentary premium club game tickets will be provided to the first 75 Emerge Connector guests, with additional tickets available at a discounted rate of $20 for family and friends to join you for the game.
March Business Mixer with Amica Senior Lifestyles
Join us for cocktails and community! Only 10 spots left for this after-hours business social event. It will be a vibrant evening that promises to provide an excellent opportunity for members and future members to meet face-to-face, and establish or renew valuable business relationships. Join us for an evening of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments at our March Business Mixer hosted by Amica Senior Lifestyles (Amica Jubilee House)
Sponsored by:
What do Chambers Plans offer to business owners?

Keeping good employees is good for business. Could you use help attracting and retaining the employees that you need?

Whether you have 1 employee or 300, RDF Group specializes in plans that can help with:
• Health, Dental, Vision, and Disability plans
• Group RRSP & TFSA plans
• Employee & Family Assistance programs
• Health Spending Accounts
• Teladoc Telemedicine services.

Additionally, each Chambers Plan offers Business Assistance Service as a free service to help you deal with business situations with which you may not be familiar – such as legal and HR guidance. Business consulting services are included with your Chambers Plan as an additional benefit.

Interested in learning more? For over 17 years, RDF Group Ltd. has helped Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members design a Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance plan reflecting the size and requirements of their businesses.
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Advancing Education with Pearson College
Pearson College is a world class school located in Greater Victoria. You’ve heard of it, but may not know much about about it.

Learn more about this prestigious institution by watching our latest Chamber Chat with CEO Bruce Williams and Pearson’s Head of College and President Craig Davis
Pearson College UWC: Member since 2017
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Elevate your job to the top of The Chamber’s job board!
Are you looking to get extra attention on your job board post? For an extra $45 USD per listing, shoot your job to the top of the job board and increase the number of jobseekers that view your offer.

Your job will also have a highlighted “FEATURED” badge and will be published to the Google Jobs Network.

You can also upgrade your previously posted positions to ensure your job opening gets the most views over time.

Learn more about how to post on the job board and utilize featured posting.

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job, please email [email protected]
Member News
48th annual Flower Count returns this March

With spring just around the corner, there’s no better way to celebrate west coast weather than with the Greater Victoria Flower Count! Hosted by The Chamber and Destination Greater Victoria from March 8 – 15, the 48th annual Flower Count will encourage residents of Greater Victoria to count flowers, take photos of blossoming blooms, and explore the natural beauty of our region.
Which municipality will be crowned Bloomingest Community this year? Submit your counts starting on March 8.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
TD praised for sustainability initiatives

TD Canada Trust has been ranked as the top North American bank in the S&P Sustainability Yearbook. Appearing in the Sustainability Yearbook for three consecutive years, TD was recognized this year for their strong performance in climate strategy, financial inclusion, sustainable finance, and other key metrics.
TD Canada Trust: Member since 1913
TD Canada Trust: Chamber Champion since 2023
Kelp forests to receive innovative boost

Cascadia Seaweed will be testing a new system this summer to help restore kelp forests. Green Gravel, a promising restoration method, inoculates substrates (such as gravel) with kelp spores, and uses the matured result to create new kelp forests. Cascadia Seaweed will be delivering a self-contained Green Gravel Production System to Nova Scotia this summer to undergo further testing.

Cascadia Seaweed: Member since 2021
RBC CEO receives national accolade

RBC CEO Dave McKay has been named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year. Recognized for his progression from a co-op student in 1983 to CEO in 2014, McKay has led a variety of engagement initiatives including youth-based skill programs, strategic plans to combat climate change, and much more.
RBC: Chamber Champion since 2020
RBC: Member since 1962
Bacon and Brie Big Wheel Burger for a good cause

From now until the end of February, $2 from the sale of every feature burger at Big Wheel Burger will go to support Our Place Society’s Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser. Big Wheel Burger is also giving customers a $10 gift card to the restaurant if they register for the walk and raise a minimum of $20.

Big Wheel Burger: Member since 2020
Big Wheel Burger: Chamber Champion since 2020
Our Place Society: Member since 2010
Groundbreaking cancer research in need of funding

BC Cancer has reported that a T-cell therapy treatment developed in Victoria has been shown to eliminate 90% of specific cancer tumors relating to leukemia. Using genetically engineered cells, the patient’s immune system is used to destroy cancer cells using the assistance of immunotherapy. To help fund this and other types of treatments for Canadians in need, BC Cancer is undergoing the most ambitious health campaign in BC history — an initiative to raise $500 million.
BC Cancer Foundation: Member since 1997
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Member to Member Discounts
Members can post Coupons and Discounts free of charge here.
Welcome to our Newest Members!
One Love Consulting
Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees
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