Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
May 26, 2021
The restart plan marked the end of a five-week circuit breaker that had restricted in-person dining, recreational travel and indoor fitness classes.

The next milestone is June 15 when travel within BC will re-open along with extended hours for restaurants and pubs and the ability to hold small in-person meetings. By Canada Day, travel throughout Canada will open, and bigger meetings will be possible. There will also be no limits on dining, and bars and casinos can return with limited capacity.

“These are hopeful times and we can see the end of the pandemic and a chance to get our lives back,” Williams says, adding that the Chamber’s 2021 Business Awards recently celebrated the many incredible stories of organizations and entrepreneurs who found innovative ways to be successful — our Pivot Pilots. “We’ll need these leaders now as we make sure all businesses can take part in the recovery. We want to extend a hand to everyone who needs it now to make sure you have what you need to be successful.”
Cruise ships get approval to bypass Canada, for now
The Chamber is calling on provincial and federal governments to step up their advocacy efforts after US President Joe Biden signed off on the Alaska Tourism Restoration Act.

The move allows cruise ships to sail directly from Seattle to Alaska, without stopping in a Canadian port. The change, approved by Biden on Monday, temporarily waives the US Passenger Vessel Services Act.

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson said in a GVHA newsletter he's working to make sure cruise ships return to Victoria when regulations allow. The industry is worth $130 million per year to our regional economy and creates 800 jobs.

The US decision is good news for the Alaskan economy, and doesn't impact Canada for now as cruise ships are not allowed until next year. Robertson said he expects to hear more about the return of cruise ships by the fall.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Major attractions have until June 7 to apply for grant
Major tourism attractions have less than two weeks left to apply for a grant of up to $1 million. The province announced last week it set aside $50-million for the BC Major Anchor Attractions Program. Funds are available for not-for-profit organizations and businesses, and can be used for payroll, rent and "utility costs related to restarting or ramping up operations in preparation for gradual reopening."

The application window is open until June 7, with funds provided in July.
Show Greater Victoria restaurants some love
Many of our member restaurants have been hard hit by COVID restrictions, and working with our partners — BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, City of Victoria, Destination Greater Victoria, Downtown Victoria Business Association and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce — we have a tasty plan to remind everyone to safely support our local businesses.

Keep an eye out for Picnics & Patios social media posts to enter to win great prizes! Tag your favorite restaurant and two friends for a chance to win a catered picnic lunch for two at Government House, along with other weekly prizes.

Share a photo of your summertime snack and use the hashtag #PicnicsPatiosVicBC for five additional entries.

Continue to show support for the hospitality industry as we enjoy delicious food and drinks across the region.
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association (BCRFA): Member since 1996
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Downtown Victoria Business Association: Member since 2007
Government House: member since 2020
Saanich tweaks rules to make council more efficient
Council meetings will run a little more efficiently in the District of Saanich after the municipality adopted a new procedure bylaw. The new rules are meant to save time, including using a consent agenda to allow for non-controversial business to be addressed quickly. If an item requires more consideration, a member of the public or an individual councillor can ask for it to be added to the regular agenda.

The changes will also ensure council meetings are used for making decisions and that less formal debates happen at the committee-of-the-whole stage.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Business Examiner: Be a Chamber Change Maker
Column by Chamber CEO Bruce Williams
Business Examiner May 2021

There’s a growing buzz building at pharmacies and immunization clinics across Greater Victoria as the light marking the end of the pandemic is getting a lot brighter.

I must admit, getting vaccinated was a profound moment for me. There was a hum of anticipation among those waiting their turn, a feeling of community and doing your part. Some were even welling up with tears knowing they would soon get their much anticipated vaccination — and from seeing the joy on the faces of those who had their shot and were heading out into the sunshine.

The better days we’ve been working so hard for are a little more tangible now. BC’s immunization plan is rolling out faster than anticipated, and it’s looking like we will have our summer of safe celebration.
Have an opinion on tax forms? Tell The Chamber!
The Canadian Chamber is looking for guidance on their advocacy work with the Canada Revenue Agency. As a business, what changes will make it easier for you to fill out your tax forms?

If you have a peeve or a bright idea on how tax forms can be digitized, consolidated or eliminated, let the Canadian Chamber know by filling out an online form.

What's one small change that would make a big difference to you?
Upcoming events
Co-op Students - Business Connector
The Chamber wants to help you find your next team member. Join us tonight to meet co-op students from Camosun College and the University of Victoria who are looking to gain experience and help your business.

Meet a wide range of students with diverse skill sets at The Chamber's Co-Op Connector event and start your planning for the fall.

No matter the size of your business, with multiple funding programs available, this is a great opportunity for your business to tap into new talent.
Wed., May 26 |5 - 6 PM
Special thanks to the Camosun College and University of Victoria Co-op programs for sponsoring this event:
Opportunity on the Path to Reconciliation
Hear how British Columbia is working to promote Indigenous-led economic development opportunities by strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities and leveraging Indigenous knowledge and perspectives.

British Columbia is the first province in Canada to recognize Indigenous peoples’ human rights in law, and to put the UN Declaration into action as we work towards the creation of true and lasting reconciliation.
Sponsored by:
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
Housing the Unhoused
The long anticipated process of housing the unhoused is underway as many are being decamped. How’s the process going?

In the latest Chamber Chat, Bruce Williams speaks with Julian Daly of Our Place Society, Kelly Roth of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness and Murray Langdon of BC Housing.
Our Place Society: Member since 2010
Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness: Member since 2012
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Work for a Chamber Champion
Hiring for a co-op position doesn’t only provide a student with a chance to learn practical skills, it also gives your business an eager and adaptable new employee. Ensure your business is finding youthful talent with the help of The Chamber’s job board.

If you’re interested in learning more about hiring younger candidates, The Chamber is hosting a Co-op Students-Business Connector on today at 5 pm. Learn how to find talent and identify funding opportunities with Camosun College and the University of Victoria.

Register here.

If you have any questions about the job board or need assistance registering for the event, please email [email protected].
Apprentice Carpenter – Knappett Projects Inc.
Introducing PocketPills
The Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan is now offering prescription medication delivery for all Chambers Plan members through PocketPills starting June 1.

PocketPills is a proudly Canadian online pharmacy and technology company that provides free home delivery for prescription medications — often by the next business day. They also offer direct access to their team of pharmacists by text, live chat, phone or email. And their app allows individuals to manage not only their own prescription needs, but also those of family members.

Plan members are also eligible for an extra 10% drug co-insurance coverage on prescription drugs filled through PocketPills. Get more coverage for the same cost to you and your employees.

Looking for more information on how to use this new benefit? For more than 17 years, Jack Insurance and Financial Services has helped Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce members design a Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance plan reflecting the size and requirements of their businesses. For more information, contact Ryan at Jack Insurance
Member News
Game on with Vikes Esports

The University of Victoria is participating is Canada’s first post-secondary esports event. The tournament, taking place May 29, will be UVic’s first step into competitive online sports. Vikes Esports aims to build a community of gamers across campuses to engage students who, due to COVID-19, are unable to compete at in-person events.
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Plate it forward

CIBC has announced a new initiative to provide 100,000 meals to healthcare workers. As a gesture of appreciation, the $2.2 million Plate It Forward campaign will deliver meals throughout May and June directly to hospitals across Canada.
CIBC: Member since 1962
CIBC: Chamber Champion since 2020
Newest Island Class ferry sets sail

BC Ferries’ newest vessel, the third Island Class ferry, has departed Romania and is en-route to BC. The 60-day voyage will bring the ferry across the Mediterranean Sea, through the Panama Canal, and will traverse 10,700 nautical miles before arriving in Victoria. The vessel will be one of two ferries to service the Campbell River to Quadra Island route in 2022
BC Ferry Services Inc: Member since 1983
30 marathons in 30 days

In support of Victoria Hospitals Foundation, fitness trainer Yana Hempler is running 30 marathons in 30 days. In support of Hempler’s campaign, Tecnet Canada Inc. has donated $10,000, a pledge of $1,000 daily for her last 10 runs. 

Victoria Hospitals Foundation: Member since 2019
Tecnet Canada Inc: Member since 1981
Helping sell your small- or medium-sized business

Paratus Business Resources is launching their online PriceBuilder Community, which provides valuation tools and resources to help business owners interested in selling their business. The community is designed for organizations that may not need a full-service brokerage.

Users can ask questions to other owners, get expert advice from a library of resources and access much more

Paratus Business Resources: Member since 2021
New grants open doors for women and Indigenous students

Camosun College will soon be receiving $440,000 in funding to empower more women and Indigenous students to learn a skilled trade. The funding, provided in part by Seaspan Victoria Shipyards, will provide annual bursaries over the next three years as well as a grant to install specialized equipment, including marine welding booths and virtual training consoles.
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Member since 2002
Seaspan Victoria Shipyards: Chamber Champion since 2021
Kicking it with Hotel Zed

Hotel Zed is hosting an online contest to give one lucky winner a custom pair of Hotel Zed shoes and a two-night stay in Victoria, Kelowna or Tofino. Kick the pandemic in style and enjoy a vacation now that it is safe to travel regionally.

Enter now until June 1.
Accent Inns | Hotel Zed: Member since 1992
Going nuts for Fatso

Fatso’s Jill Van Gyn, has been recognized as an entrepreneurial leader at BC Business's Women of the Year Awards. Since launching the company in 2016, Van Gyn worked to perfect the Fatso recipe using a variety of plant-based fats. Today, Fatso is available nationally, selling a variety of almond, peanut and seed butters.

Fatso: Member since 2019
Bone up on 3D printed research

Camosun College Innovates has been scanning and manufacturing replica bone fragments of large animals for research and display purposes. The fragments, produced in the Babcock Canada Interaction Lab, use 3D printing to create an affordable and feasible solution for researchers. Camosun is currently recreating the skeletal remains of a bowhead whale for academic study, which will then be displayed in Alaska.
Camosun College: Member since 1981
Babcock Canada Inc: Member since 2018
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