November 29, 2023

Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!

Moderator Catherine Holt stands with Ann Squires-Ferguson, Christina Clarke and Rebekah Young at The Chamber's Sustainable Synergy event, held last week in partnership with the Scotiabank Women Initiative. The event offered unique perspectives on finance, economics, ESG, and resilience with a small group of engaged guests — sparking great conversations during the networking that followed.

Rental relief a byproduct of new student housing at UVic

New housing on campus at the University of Victoria is helping ease pressure on the region's rental market.

A residence opened in September, providing 385 single rooms for first-year students. UVic guarantees on-campus housing to help new students acclimate to university life.

A lounge for Indigenous students also opened as part of the multi-stage project, which will add 621 new beds and 162 replacement beds, increasing on-campus housing by 25%.

The Songhees Nation gave UVic permission to use lək̓ʷəŋən names for the new buildings to honour the territory on which the buildings stand.

The first residence, Čeqʷəŋín ʔéʔləŋ (Cheko'nien House), is named after what is now known as Oak Bay, while Sŋéqə ʔéʔləŋ (Sngequ House) is named after a village located in what is now known as Cadboro Bay.

Songhees Nation: Member since 2017

University of Victoria: Member since 1976

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BC Lions announce summer home game in Victoria

After years of flirting with football fans in Atlantic Canada, the CFL is turning its attention to the West Coast. The first Touchdown Pacific game will take place at Royal Athletic Park on Aug. 31 between the BC Lions and Ottawa Redblacks.

“As a lifelong fan of the CFL, I am thrilled to welcome Touchdown Pacific to Victoria," City of Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto said in the news release. "The passionate fans in our community, combined with our historic natural grass stadium, will make this Labour Day contest a classic football match, and a highlight of the 2024 CFL season, with family-friendly festivities beforehand.”

The stadium will be expanded to hold up to 14,000 fans, including standing room.

In 2023, Touchdown Atlantic generated more than $10 million in overall economic impact for businesses and communities in the Halifax region.

In Greater Victoria, sports tourism helps drive more than $100 million in visitor spending annually. Destination Greater Victoria and the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission were key in bringing Touchdown Pacific to Victoria.

City of Victoria: Member since 1863

Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988

New forecast expects provincial deficit to be $5.6B

The provincial government released its Q2 fiscal update on Tuesday, calling for a smaller deficit than previously forecast. The difference is due to bringing in more revenue from personal and corporate income taxes as well as $358 million in federal funding for wildfire recovery.

BC's Second Quarterly Report now projects a $5.6-billion operating deficit this year, and an improved debt-to-GDP ratio of 17%.

Next week, BC's Minister of Finance is scheduled to meet with the Economic Forecast Council to discuss next year's budget, which will be released on Feb. 22. Traditionally, the minister addresses members of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce shortly after budget day.

Among other highlights in the Q2 report were:

  • Housing starts up 11.8% year-to-date with forecasts for 2023 and 2024 above the historical average
  • Employment is up 1.4% year-to-date, including a net increase of 15,430 private sector and self-employed jobs.
  • Net migration to BC in the first half of 2023 is up 25.1% compared to the same period in 2022.

Community housing boosts productivity: report

A report by Deloitte Canada released this week offers an insightful look into how housing plays a direct role in our economic productivity. Specifically, the report examines housing "not entirely governed by the laws of supply and demand."

The report calls this "community housing," which includes co-ops, non-market homes, social housing and lower-cost market rentals. Among the findings is that housing affordability in Canada is at its lowest point since 1990. Canada is also facing a problem with lagging productivity and we need to find ways to boost output without causing inflation to rise.

Through its research, Deloitte found adding community housing to a region supports economic development and productivity. Community housing had been a much more prevalent part of home construction until the 1980s. After several decades of little investment in this type of housing, more units are now being built — though they still represent a relatively small share of total stock being added.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently reported that Canada needs 3.5 million new homes by 2030 to achieve affordability. Deloitte's report concluded that government investment in community housing will help meet this demand and boost our economy's potential output growth.

"If Canada’s community housing units as a share of total housing units were to increase from 2023 Q2’s level of 5.5% to 7% by 2030 this would require an increase of 371,600 units in Canada’s total community housing net stock," Deloitte's report stated.

For BC, this would equate to 50,870 additional units by 2030 — a 42% increase from 2023 levels. Doing so would increase provincial productivity by up to 9.3% adding $25

billion to BC's GDP.

Read: The Impact of Community Housing on Productivity

MLA hosting info session on crisis response team

Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore is hosting an online information session on Dec. 4 that is open to Chamber members interested in learning more about Victoria's Community Led Crisis Response team.

The special unit responds to calls involving people experiencing a mental health crisis. It's an alternative to having police attend these calls. Instead, trained health professionals use their expertise to de-escalate the situation and provide needed care. The Chamber supports efforts to make our community safer for everyone.

"My office team and I are working with AVI and Canadian Mental Health Association to provide an opportunity for more people in the city to learn about what they do and how to access support, whether for themselves, a loved-one, or someone who they interact with at their business," Lore said.

The info session runs 7- 8:30pm, Monday Dec. 4. Email [email protected] for a link to attend the virtual session.

Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams

Update on Royal BC Museum's plan to rebuild

Chamber Chats

Royal BC Museum:

Member since 1994

The Royal BC Museum has been under scrutiny since a controversial announcement last year about its planned temporary closure and rebuild. In this Chamber Chat with CEO Bruce Williams, you will learn the status of those plans and RBCM’s ongoing operations with RBCM Board Chair Leslie Brown and Acting CEO Tracy Drake 

Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings

Meet with their local experts for solutions as unique as your business.

Greater Victoria Business Awards 2024

Nominate a deserving business today!

Each week, The Chamber will profile one of the 14 different award categories, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.

The Business Person of the Year Award honours a business person who:

  • is the founder, CEO, President, or Senior Executive of a company who exhibits business leadership and vision;
  • displays a significant commitment to the success of both their business and the region as a whole;
  • serves as a positive role model or mentor for other business people;
  • and exemplifies professional behaviour maintaining an upstanding reputation in the business community and region as a whole.

Sponsored by:

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to Hanna at [email protected]

Nominate Today
Award Categories

Need some inspiration?

Check out the videos of the 2023 Non-Profit of the Year finalists below. Thanks to  Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, who is our sponsor for this award in 2024.

Winner: Beacon Community Services

Finalist: Victoria Native Friendship Centre

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Kaleidoscope Theatre for Young People – Member since 2007

Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island – Member since 1963

Victoria Hospitals Foundation

Member since 2019

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As an exclusive member benefit, use the code INTRO2023 at checkout to receive a free 30-day listing on The Chamber’s job board.

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