How Do We Measure Up?
There's a new ruler in town - the South Island Prosperity Index - aims to measure the strengths and weaknesses of the region annually to pursue a sustainable economy and measure success over time.

At today's sold-out Chamber luncheon, South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) shared the results of the first ever report measuring 140 indicators. Key findings show that Greater Victoria (13 municipalities and 10 First Nations) outperforms other Canadian city-regions in human health but lags in housing affordability and transportation.
"As we repeat this exercise each year trends will start to appear," said Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of SIPP. "This is where actions start to emerge as the region responds to challenges and capitalizes on emerging opportunities."
The next steps are to use the Prosperity Index as part of a regional proposal being developed for Canada's Smart Cities Challenge. Grants of $5 - 50 million will be awarded to help municipalities develop plans that pair technology and big data applications to help solve real on-the-ground challenges and improve livability for residents across the region.
Thank you to everyone that attended today! Click here to see the photos. 
Chamber News
Jobs Minister Luncheon
2018 Business Awards Nominations
Chairs' Holiday Reception
Business Mixers
Event Photos

The New Mainstream: Greater Victoria Tech

"I'm not even sure what a tech company is any more," says Scott Phillips, CEO of Starfish Medical - a leading medical device design company and service provider. "Every company needs to be using technology tools from marketing automation to social media to global sourcing in order to compete against the best in the world at whatever they do. We all have access to amazing tools that never existed before."  
For the November Business Matters, The Chamber examined Greater Victoria's thriving tech sector and its challenges. We gathered insights from Chamber members VIATEC, Starfish Medical, Bambora, Metrics Chartered Professional Accounting and Query Technologies. Click here to read.
Want to learn more about what's ahead for BC tech? Join us for lunch with Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. Minister Ralston will outline the provincial government's plans for small business and initiatives to expand trades, innovation and technology sectors in this province. Tickets available here .
VIATEC: member since 1991
StarFish Medical: member since 2009
Bambora: member since 2015
Metrics Chartered Professional Accounting: member since 2016 
Query Technologies: member since 2015
BC Economy Grew by 3.5%
Statistics Canada confirms British Columbia's economy grew by 3.5% in 2016, exceeding last February's forecast of 2.7% provided by the Economic Forecast Council (EFC).

The province's higher-than-expected economic growth in 2016 triggers the Economic Stability Dividend (ESD), negotiated as part of the province's 2014 Economic Stability Mandate. The ESD will increase compensation for unionized employees by 0.4% beginning in Feb. 2018.

"The Economic Stability Dividend helps to share the benefits of BC's growing economy with employees in K-12 education, post-secondary, research universities, health care, Crown corporations, public service and community social services," said Minister of Finance Carole James. "Our government will continue to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared widely by taking action to make life more affordable, improve the services that people rely on, and invest in a strong, sustainable economy."

Indu Brar
General Manager , Fairmont Empress 
What is the best part about doing business in Greater Victoria? It's an exciting time in Victoria right now.  There is a great energy and excitement about the future, about growth and collaboration, industry and businesses coming together and putting our best foot forward. How is your business involved in the community? The Fairmont Empress has been part of the fabric of the community for over 100 years. We take great pride in supporting the community, whether it is from opening up our lawns to the community for major events like Canada Day or Symphony Splash, or playing a key role in hosting major fundraisers and supporting community causes in a meaningful way. What's your favourite sport to play/be a fan of? I like to play basketball every once in a while, and like the Golden State Warriors, I also like to watch some football and am a fan of the Seahawks! How do you relax? I like to run to clear my mind, and I like to cycle but don't do it nearly enough. I like the speed of the downhill!   If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead who would it be? Barack Obama.      
More about Indu - and additional Member Snapshots - can be found in the November Business Matters.

Fairmont Empress: member since 1962
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology
Join us as Minister Ralston outlines the provincial government's plans for small business and initiatives to expand trades, innovation and technology sectors in this province.
Tues, Nov 21 | 11:30 am-1 pm         
Union Club of BC
805 Gordon St. 

ALR Denies Expansion of Therapeutic Community
Last week, two announcements from the BC Government demonstrated a need to do more to focus on the priorities that local stakeholders presented to candidates for provincial MLA positions.

The recent announcement from the BC Coroner's office announced the number of deadly overdoses in BC passing 1,100. That same day, the Agricultural Land Commission denied a proposal from Woodwyn Farms to utilize 1% of their property to provide housing for a long-term therapeutic community for those with addictions.

The proposal requested spot zoning of two of the 193 acres. Those two acres would eventually house up to 96 participants as well as support staff. For now, up to 10 recovering addicts can stay at Woodwynn. Neighbourhood concerns about crime have not been an issue. "In eight years we've had the police here twice, dealing with issues with our participants. At typical shelters or tent cities, police are there 24/7," indicated Executive Director Richard Leblanc. Therapeutic communities, both locally and internationally have proven lasting success rates of over 70%.

Members Around Town
New Building at Bayview
Designs for the fourth building in the 10-building, Bayview Place development in Vic West have been unveiled. It will be a 26-storey, 195-unit building along Kimta Road overlooking Lime Bay and will be completed by the summer or fall of 2020. When completed, the whole 20-acre development will be made up of residential towers, an urban market, arts and event space and public amenities, all connected by parks and trails. 
Bayview Place: member since 2006
Celebrating 90 Years
In December the Oak Bay Beach Hotel, which was completely rebuilt and re-opened in 2012, will mark the 90-year anniversary of operations at its Beach Drive location while it caps off its first five years in business as a new entity.
Oak Bay Beach Hotel: member since 2011  
BC Chamber Needs Your Input
Collective views and collective voices make an impact when we all participate. BC Chamber asks businesses throughout the province to participate in the annual Collective Perspective Survey. The results will be shared with Deputy Ministers and MLAs in early December to ensure the collective needs of business are met.

Not only are you making sure that the needs of Greater Victoria businesses are being heard - you could win a $500 voucher for Air Canada. Take part today. 
November Business Mixer   
This is an excellent opportunity for members and prospective members to establish or renew valuable business relationships.
Thurs, Nov 16 | 5-7 pm
6th Floor - 620 View St.

Signaled Turn to Dedicated Douglas St. Bus Lane
The Province has issued the construction tender to extend the northbound bus lane along the busy Douglas St corridor from Tolmie Ave to the Burnside Bridge.

"Greater Victoria's priority bus and bike lanes are critical to supporting a more effective and efficient transit system," Manuel Achadinha, president and CEO of BC Transit. "These lanes are designed to increase the reliability of public transit, making it the preferred choice of today's commuters."

While a portion of the project (Tolmie Ave to Saanich Rd) was originally tendered in Feb 2017, the ministry made the decision to hold and issue a larger, combined tender for the full lane extension from Tolmie Avenue to the Burnside Bridge in order to attract more competitive bids and provide better value for taxpayers.

"The Chamber, with other regional stakeholders, has been advocating for bus lanes to the Westshore so the bus is faster than a car, making it the best alternative," says The Chamber CEO Catherine Holt. " This project is good news that is way overdue."

The tender is now posted on BC Bid with targeted completion for fall 2018 and an estimated project cost of $12.75 million, with the Province contributing $8.125 million and the Government of Canada providing up to $4.625 million under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

BC Transit member since: 1999

Nominate Now for The Chamber's 2018 Greater Victoria Business Awards
Each week The Chamber will be profiling a different award category, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member for our 2018 Business Awards.

The Outstanding Customer Service Award honours a business that:
  • Demonstrates exceptional customer service. You can provide up to 10 testimonials from customers dated within the last 2 year.;
  • Serves as a role model, mentor or example of excellence to other businesses; and
  • Exhibits a commitment to the community. 
Know a business that deserves this award? Nominate them today!

Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2017 Outstanding Customer Service finalists below.

Winner: STS Pain Pharmacy
Finalist: Outlooks for Men  
Thanks to Innov8 Digital Solutions for sponsoring this award last year.
Bad Teeth - Root of Income Inequality    
According to a recent Maclean's article, having bad teeth isn't just a health risk it also threatens a person's ability to get a job that will help them overcome poverty.    
"For a significant number of industries, the visual, first impression is still a large influencer when it comes to hiring," says Christine Willow, owner and partner at Chemistry Consulting Group . "While I would like to think that the way a person looks does not impact their chance for promotion or other opportunities, I believe the reality is that it still does."  
It's a hard problem with no easy fix because most oral health care is exempt from provincial and territorial health-care plans.    
Home Insurance for You and Your Employees
Along with your business, your home is one of the biggest investments that you'll ever make. And we understand that it can be very challenging navigating the many insurance providers available.

Did you know that as a Chamber member, you and all your employees could save with preferred rates on home and tenant insurance? Being a member means you have privileged access to the TD Insurance Meloche Monnex program, which provides savings through lower preferred insurance rates, plus enhanced protection that can be adapted seamlessly to your changing needs.

Good home and tenant insurance is one of those things you just can't do without. Click here to learn more.
TD Home Insurance: member since 2016

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