At the Prodigy Group 11th Anniversary Mingle connect with emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community tomorrow, Feb 8 from 5-7 pm at  Steamship Grill and Taphouse. Celebrate Prodigy Group's birthday with $5 draft beer, $5 cocktails, $6 wine and an oyster bar by donation to benefit TP the Town!
More Pot Rules
The BC government has begun filling in the details surrounding its plans for regulating and selling non-medical marijuana, but is cautioning it will take some time for a clearer picture to form.

They include:
  • Cannabis retail locations cannot sell tobacco, liquor, food or other products. BC Liquor Distribution will be allowed to open stand alone outlets.
  • The legal age of possession will be 19, with adults allowed to possess up to 30 grams of non-medical cannabis.
  • Cannabis will not be allowed inside vehicles (unless in a sealed package or an inaccessible place) and those caught driving while impaired will be given a 90-day prohibition.
  • Adults will be allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household, but they may not be visible from public spaces, and landlords and strata councils will have the right to ban cultivation.
  • Smoking and vaping of non-medical cannabis will be banned in beaches, parks, playgrounds and other places "frequented by children."
  • There will be no cap on the number of licences or resellers, but local governments will have veto power, with "the authority to make local decisions, based on the needs of their communities."
 
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Airbnb to Collect PST and MRDT in BC
The BC government and Airbnb have reached an arrangement allowing the online company to collect provincial sales taxes and MRDT on all short-term rentals booked through its platform Finance Minister Carole James announced today.

"The Chamber supports new business models such as Airbnb as long as they are required to meet the same level of regulation and taxation as existing businesses in the sector," said Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "This outcome is consistent with our position."

Once legislative and regulatory changes are made, Airbnb will begin collecting the 8% provincial sales tax (PST) and the up-to-3% municipal and regional district tax (MRDT) on short-term accommodations located in BC through its platform.

"These changes are a welcome opportunity to continue helping the province and its residents benefit from the positive economic impacts of home sharing," said Alex Dagg, public policy manager for Airbnb in Canada.

Short Term Vacation Rentals are also coming under municipal regulations, such as those introduced by the City of Victoria, to ensure a level playing field in the tourism accommodation industry.

Valentine's and Family Day Activities

Join your fellow Chambers members in celebrating with those you love by enjoying a bite out, a night away from home, or plan an action-packed weekend at these local treasures

Just a few of the many Valentine's Day events:
  • Sat Feb 10 - The Royal BC Museum's adult-only event Night Shift: Wild Romance has everything from dance shows to a cupid loving photo booth, live music, craft station and delicious drinks and food by Truffles.
  • Feb 9-14 - Book in advance to bring a friend or your Valentine for a free in-store for a seasonal flight of teas at Silk Road Tea.
  • Feb 14 - Individuals and employees alike can order HeartGrams for friends, colleagues, or loved ones and for every HeartGram purchased $1 will be donated to a local charity. HeartPress PR employees and volunteers will be out and about delivering your HeartGrams around the core of downtown Victoria.
And a fun Family Day event:
  • Feb 10-12 - Downtown Sidney will be taken over by the LEGO Brick Festival! The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea will have underwater LEGO displays, Robin Sather - Canada's only certified LEGO professional - will build an incredible 6-foot sports themed structure and more!
You also can check out Tourism Victoria's " Top 10 Things to Do with Your Family in Victoria" and " 22 Date Ideas in Victoria, B.C." if you're looking for some long weekend or romantic inspiration. While you're out exploring the region use #VictoriaChamber or #YYJbiz, we'd love to see what you get up to!

Please note The Chamber office will be closed Mon Feb 12 for Family Day.


Tourism Victoria: member since 1988

Royal BC Museum: member since 1994

Silk Road Tea: member since 2013

HeartPress PR: member since 2014

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea: member since 2016

FINANCE MINISTER LUNCHEON
Be the First to Hear About the Budget!   
   
Hear from BC Finance Minister Carole James at her first public event following the tabling of the government's 2018-19 Budget.

The presentation will provide an overview of the recently unveiled budget and details on province-wide changes that could impact our community and your bottom line.
  
Wed, Feb 21 | 11:15 am-1 pm            
The Fairmont Empress
721 Government St.     
   
    
 
Plans for Affordable Rental Housing for Families
Greater Victoria school district, the City of Victoria and the Pacifica Housing Society have devised an innovative partnership to bring desperately need affordable family rental housing to the grounds of the former Burnside Elementary School.

"The Burnside Gorge community is home to a disproportionately high number of transitional housing residences,"
says Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. "This project is excellent news to help diversify the neighbourhood with the affordable rental housing for families that our workforce needs."

The proposed plan would see Pacificia Housing lease the land from the city for 60 years. The 88 unit rental development would have two- and three-bedroom units and include child-care and community spaces. The former Burnside Elementary School would then reopen as the Burnside Education Centre and be home to programs relocated from the S.J. Willis Education Centre.

" UDI Capital Region recently released a report that shows the City of Victoria is a leader in new multi-family housing, as they currently have over twice as much under development as any other municipality," adds Catherine.

An additional commitment to affordable housing is being made by the Capital Regional District (CRD). At the Regional Housing First Program info session up to $60 million of capital funding will be available to support the development of affordable rental housing in Greater Victoria.


City of Victoria: member since 1962

Capital Regional District (CRD): member since 1993


UDI Capital Region: member since 2017

Members Around Town
MV Coho Back on the Water
Black Ball Ferry Line's MV COHO is back in action after its annual dry dock continuing its long history of ferrying visitors between Victoria and Port Angeles.
 
Black Ball Ferry Line: member since 1961  
Engel & Volker  
Engel & Volkers Vancouver Island have announced the Garman Group as the brokerage's newest real estate advisors.
  Engel & Volkers Vancouver Island: member since 2004     
Pacific Coastal adds Tofino Service 
New flights are coming to the Island! Pacific Coastal Airlines has added a new daily non-stop flight between Vancouver and Tofino to its spring schedule starting April 3.
Pacific Coastal Airlines: member since 2006
Swartz Bay Terminal Plans 
A consolidated waiting room to create one airport-like area for all foot passengers at the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is just one of several ideas being proposed by BC Ferries as plans are developed for a major overhaul of the facility. Hear Mark Collins, CEO of BC Ferries, talk about this and more at a Chamber Luncheon in April. 
  BC Ferries: member since 1983
ICBC Reforms - Dousing "The Dumpster Fire"
ICBC - which is facing an estimated $1.3 billion deficit for this fiscal year - has announced a number of reforms.

There will be
a cap of $5,500 for pain and suffering on minor injury claims, as part of a series of reforms by the provincial government to fix the financial crisis at the public auto insurance company.
ICBC says the average payout for pain and suffering for minor injuries was $16,500 in 2016. The cap, scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2019, will not apply to wage loss and medical care, or for legal costs.
 
The good news? ICBC will be doubling the overall limit that can be claimed for medical care and expenses, from $150,000 to $300,000, retroactive to Jan. 1. It will also increase injury benefits and allow certain claims to go through an independent dispute resolution process. However these will also be paid out by ICBC weekly instead of a lump sum, another move the government hopes will reduce the incentive to sue.  
 
 
New Innovation Commissioner
BC's thriving tech sector will have a new
Catherine Holt, Minister Ralston, Al Hasham at a Chamber Luncheon in Nov 2017.
voice in Ottawa and abroad, following Alan Winter's appointment as the province's first Innovation Commissioner.

"Alan Winter's breadth of senior leadership experience in the biotech and information technology fields makes him the ideal ambassador for our tech and innovation sector," said Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston. "His appointment is one of the many ways your government is working to enhance BC's economy and continue to grow our thriving innovation sector."

In Nov 2017, at a Chamber Luncheon, Minister Ralston let attendees know that an appointment was in the works.
 
Chamber Chair Dan Dagg in Douglas Mag
Chair of the 2018-19 Chamber Board Dan Dagg was featured in Douglas Magazine. Read why the president of Hot House Marketing wanted to become chair, his key issues in the community, amalgamation and what he imagines Greater Victoria looking like 10 years from now.

At the 2017 Greater Victoria Business Awards Dan was also the recipient of The Chamber's first ever Chamber Member of the Year Award for all his work helping the Greater Victoria Development Agency transform into the independently funded South Island Prosperity Project. 

Speaking of the Greater Victoria Business Awards, the finalists for 2018 will be announced Fri, Feb 9. Stay tuned for that important announcement!  


Hot House Marketing: member since 2005

Page One Publishing Inc.: member since 2004
BC Politics: The Times Are Changing  
Former BC Premier Dave Barrett Passes Away
Barrett was the first NDP premier in BC from Sept 1972 to Dec 1975. During his short time in office he carried out reforms at a blistering pace including the creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve, the public auto insurance corporation ICBC, a provincial ambulance system and Pharmacare.


New BC Liberal Party Leader: Andrew Wilkinson
The MLA for Vancouver-Quilchena ran on a platform of a strong economy. Priorities include abolishing the small business income tax for family businesses and fighting the electoral reform referendum scheduled for this fall. In the previous government, Wilkinson served in several cabinet positions, including minister of advanced education, minister of technology and innovation and attorney general.
Business Excellence Award Winners
Seven Chamber members have won awards at the  Business Examiner's 18th Annual Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards. Congratulations!

Business of the Year
Dodd's Furniture & Mattress: member since 2002
Small Business of the Year
Balance Home Cleaning: member since 2013
Hospitality
Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa: member since 2010
Health Care
Comfort Keepers: member since 2016
Professional

Engaged HR Inc.: member since 2015
Technology
Freshworks Studio: member since 2017
Tourism
Eagle Wing Whale & Wildlife Watching Tours: member since 2013

Business Examiner: member since 2009
 
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  
 

C.N. Canadian National Railway
 
   


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