Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
August 19, 2020
Chamber Advocacy
Back to school plans take shape for working parents
Working parents of school-aged children will soon have a better idea of what's being planned for classrooms.

SD61 and other school districts are working on plans to bring back students for Sept. 10, with BC's Ministry of Education agreeing to a gradual re-orientation. After districts have their plans approved by the province, parents will have a better idea of the child-care needs they'll require this fall.

The Chamber continues to call on all levels of government to invest in quality child care. As our economy restarts, we need parents to have confidence that they can access quality child-care — especially in these uncertain times — so they can continue to pursue careers and contribute to the labour pool.
Greater Victoria School District: Member since 1976
Mental health treatment vital to safe communities
The time is now for governments to invest in mental health and addiction services that can better address growing concerns around homelessness and street crime in Greater Victoria. Unstable mental health is the root cause of many addictions as individuals chose to self-medicate.

Our region, especially downtown Victoria, needs a chance to recover after the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. We can't afford to have residents, businesses and employees feeling unsafe in their community.
The Chamber understands the complexity of the issue — it doesn't help to label all homeless as either criminals or lost lambs, as Jack Knox notes in the Times Colonist.

Fortunately, there are success stories in other jurisdictions that we can look to for guidance. We also know that Therapeutic Recovery Communities have had success, though helping people stick to treatment can be difficult.
"We can all agree that it's not acceptable to have people sleeping on our streets and in our parks. We can also agree it's not acceptable for people to feel unsafe due to property crime and violent behaviour in their neighbourhoods," says Chamber CEO Bruce Williams, who spoke about the issue on CFAX this morning.

"Unstable mental health is the root cause of many addictions as individuals chose to self-medicate," Williams says. "Prolonged drug use can impair the ability for rational and respectful behavior. A thorough plan to help create balanced mental health in our most vulnerable citizens is long overdue. The time to act is now."

People deserve a home, and our most vulnerable people need services that keep them from ending up homeless. Housing is vital, but it's not enough without mental health and addiction treatment.
Have a question for candidates in city by-election?
A new date for a by-election in the he City of Victoria should be known by next month, after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the one planned for earlier this year.

City staff are reviewing guidelines released by the provincial government and are expected to report to council in September. Victoria, one of 14 municipalities in BC that needs to hold a by-election, has been down one councillor since Laurel Collins resigned after winning the Victoria riding in the last federal election.

Candidates will need to seek a new nomination to be on the ballot in the re-scheduled by-election. The Chamber will keep an eye on candidates and we plan to engage with them with a series of questions that will help inform voters.

Chamber members who have a question for candidates can email Jim Zeeben at and we add to our list.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Victoria youth can apply now for free bus passes
Youth between six and 18 living within the City of Victoria can apply now for free bus passes to use in September. The program aims to encourage young citizens to use public transit with the hope they will continue to seek sustainable transportation as adult commuters.

The application process has changed since it initially launched after the city did not get the participation levels it expected. The municipality was left with thousands of unused bus passes after it purchased them in bulk before waiting to see actual demand.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Getting you back to business
Business Restart Series: Innovation
What opportunities are there for businesses to innovate during a pandemic?

There is no doubt the last few months have been some of the most challenging for businesses in our community. 

Join our Chamber CEO Bruce Williams, along with Anita Pawluk of RaceRocks 3D and Rasool Rayani of Heart Pharmacy, as they break down how businesses can find opportunity through innovation during the pandemic and beyond.
5-Chamber Virtual Mixer set for Sept. 23
Join us for the fourth-annual joint mixer with the Greater Victoria, Saanich Peninsula, WestShore, Sooke Region and Esquimalt chambers!

This vibrant, after-hours business/social event provides an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to meet virtually, establishing or renewing valuable business relationships. Attendees will be sent a list of topics to choose from for our breakout rooms, as we rotate through virtual rooms hosted by all five chambers.
Wed., Sept. 23 | 5-6pm
Level up your business!
Apply for the Trade Accelerator Program today (partial bursaries available for a limited time, for qualifying companies).

New trade agreements and a competitive Canadian dollar make it an ideal time to extend your company's reach through the export of goods and services.

Participating organizations experienced an average international sales growth of 70% within one year of completing the program, penetrated new markets and grew their workforce to meet increased global demand.
This online course runs for nine half-days (9 am to 1 pm) over an eight-week period.

Course dates are as follows:
  • Oct. 14, 15, 21, 22 and 29
  • Nov. 5, 6, 26 and 27
Chamber job board
If you're an employer looking for your next great hire, make sure to post your career opportunities on the Chamber job board.

The job board is an exclusive benefit of Chamber membership.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you within one business day. We know how important hiring the right person can be.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Current Job Listings:
It's time to focus on your social health this summer
This summer, make sure to take care of your physical, mental, social and nutritional health.

For the month of August, The Chamber has been suggesting ways to take healthier steps during these unique times.

Staying connected with your friends and family is an essential part of any great summer, and many social activities can be enjoyed while following provincial health protocols.

Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry advises to interact with fewer faces in bigger spaces, and to focus on engaging in activities that limit transmission risk. Organize a fun day at a park or beach, or spend time exploring the wilderness with a small group. Be sure to stock up on camping supplies from a local retailer.

Staying connected with friends or family by ordering takeout and enjoying a physically distanced picnic is a fun way to support local business while spending time together. Enjoy food and drinks at a Chamber Member Patio with a close friend. If they live in different city, talking on the phone or through a video chat is a great way to stay connected to a loved one.

The BCCDC also provides helpful suggestions for safe socialization. For sporting events, ensure you enforce no contact rules, have smaller teams, and disinfect equipment. Purchase a variety of sporting equipment from Chamber retailers. Resources for parents are also available with advice on how kids can play safely.
Follow Bonnie Henry’s Good Times Guide for more tips on how to have a memorable, safe summer.
Patio Season is in full swing in Greater Victoria! Use this handy checklist to discover patios with incredible views, delicious food and cold drinks to enjoy on a hot day.

Before heading to a Chamber member patio, ensure they are open by visiting the Chamber Member Service Update page or by contacting them directly.

Take a photo of yourself completing the Patio Checklist, and tag us with @victoriachamber and #YYJPatioChecklist for a chance to be featured on our social media channels. Stay safe and support local this season.
Members Around Town
Save The Sales telethon

On Aug. 22, get a blast from the past with a Downtown Victoria Business Association telethon on CHEK.

Save The Sales focuses on supporting downtown Victoria businesses, and encourages the community to shop local. When you make a purchase at a downtown business, enter the amount you spent at for a chance to win $5,000. Each purchase you submit to the Support-O-Meter provides you with an additional entry.
CHEK News: member since 1971
Downtown Victoria Business Association: member since 2007
Free floor graphics

The District of Saanich is providing free DIY floor graphics to help businesses enforce social distancing measures. Printable WorkSafeBC graphics are also available, which provide detailed health and safety information for customers and staff.

District of Saanich: member since 2019
WorkSafeBC: member since 2006
Great beach, great food in Colwood

Looking for a summer snack? Earlier this summer, the City of Colwood closed Ocean Boulevard to vehicles along a stretch of road at Esquimalt Lagoon. This allows pedestrians to move freely and maintain social distancing. As well, food trucks have set up shop on the road for beachgoers to enjoy on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in August.

City of Colwood: member since 2020
Incoming UVic president announced

Kevin Hall has been named the new University of Victoria President and vice-chancellor beginning Nov. 1. As a civil engineer, Hall will utilize his extensive research and executive experience to advance UVic’s global reputation.
University of Victoria: member since 1976
2021 HarbourCats season

The Victoria HarbourCats have launched their 2021 season ticket drive, 101 for 2021. With a goal of signing 101 new season ticket holders, the promo gives fans perks for signing up. Perks include reserving the same seat for every game, a $50 merchandise credit, free 2021 playoff tickets and much more.

Victoria HarbourCats: member since 2012
Zero Waste birthday giveaway

The Zero Waste Emporium celebrated its second anniversary on Monday. To mark the special occasion, customers can enter to win a $20 gift card. Simply take a photo of your purchases and tag @zerowasteemporium, and you will be entered to win. Contest closes Aug. 24.

Zero Waste Emporium: member since 2018
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