December 6, 2023

Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria!

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams speaks with award-winning author, family business advisor and TEDx speaker David C. Bentall last week. The Chamber event was held with our new Family Business Committee at the Union Club of BC, and was sponsored by Mike Geric Construction along with supporting sponsors CIBC Wood Gundy - Kurtis Dukelow, CIBC Commercial Banking and CIBC Private Banking.

Bank holds interest rate at 5% as inflation easing globally

It ain't over 'til it's over, but there are promising signs that better days are ahead for everyone squeezed by inflation and interest rates.

That was the sentiment of the Bank of Canada, which held rates steady at 5% today, citing a sluggish Canadian economy that's slowing the rise of prices for many goods and services.

"Combined with the drop in gasoline prices, this contributed to the easing of ... inflation to 3.1% in October," the bank stated in its media release. "However, shelter price inflation has picked up, reflecting faster growth in rent and other housing costs along with the continued contribution from elevated mortgage interest costs."

Most analysts, such as CIBC's Avery Shenfeld and the Conference Board of Canada, said the statement aligned with market expectations that also call for interest rates to begin to drop in mid to late spring.

Shenfeld noted the bank no longer considers Canada's economy to be in "excess demand," though today's messaging included a warning that rates could rise again if we don't stay the course.

"Governing Council ... continues to focus on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behaviour," the media release said.

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2024 Business Awards - Nominate Today!

Chair's Holiday Reception - Taking Waitlist

Joint Business Mixer with Destination Greater Victoria

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Your Tax Questions Answered - Small Business or Self-Employed Edition

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Real estate market improves for local buyers, sellers

A slow economy could help Greater Victoria residents finally make the move to a new home within the region. Having that mobility is one of the keys to improving the supply of housing affordable to people at various stages of their careers.

"Local people who planned to sell and move within Greater Victoria may have hesitated to list their homes back when record low inventory meant less choice when they became buyers," Victoria Real Estate Board Chair Graden Sol said in a media release. "Now that we see some balance in the market, these people have more inventory to pick from and may feel more confident listing their existing home. And of course, all buyers are having better experiences with more time and more choice."

There were 2,644 active listings for sale at the end of November 2023, a 25.2% increase from November 2022.

The benchmark value for a single-family home in the Victoria Core in November 2023 was $1,286,400, down from October's value of $1,305,900. The benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in November 2023 was $577,400, down from the October value of $585,600.

Victoria Real Estate Board: Member since 1969

Next phase of BC's e-scooter project starts this spring

They're a common sight in many cities around the world, but will e-scooters find their niche as part of the transportation puzzle facing many BC communities? The province announced today that it will begin a new safety review in April to continue the work of a pilot program that started back in 2021.

In places where motorized scooters are available, they have been shown to reduce the use of larger vehicles while supporting other modes of public transportation. The pilot project was done in 13 BC communities, with Nanaimo the only Island city. The next phase will run for four-years in any BC community that authorizes their use. Those communities will be able to prescribe where electric scooters can be used, subject to new regulations.

"During the next phase of examination, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will lead an ongoing safety evaluation, together with government partners, ICBC and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit," the ministry stated in a media release. "This work will complement safety evaluations supplied by communities participating in the review."

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia: Member since 2023

How will AI affect your business in 2024?

In 2023, generative artificial intelligence was suddenly everywhere. It's showing up in business software applications, Internet search functions and standalone apps that enable even non-technical users to overcome writing, coding and design challenges.

To help businesses benefit by adopting AI responsibly, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce held an AI Executive Summit on Nov. 22. Among the key themes that emerged were:

  • the need to turn research into action
  • the importance of the public understanding what AI is and what it is not
  • embracing opportunities by knowing real risks
  • responsible but unobtrusive regulation
  • ensuring smaller businesses benefit
  • And squarely addressing the fears about a new disruptive technology.

The themes will guide the work of the recently formed Future of AI Council, a 30-member forum representing a cross-section of organizations. The council "will play a leading role in advocating for government policies that establish AI as a positive economic force through the responsible development, deployment and ethical use of AI in business."

New rules around single-use plastics start Dec. 20

Provincial regulations announced in the summer are set to take effect this month, banning certain single-use plastics in BC. The rules aim to prevent single-use and plastic waste, divert more waste from landfills and keep consumer products working longer.

Starting Dec. 20, businesses can't use:

  • plastic utensils, including spoons, forks, knives, chopsticks, stir sticks and drink splash plugs
  • pre-packed bundled food service accessories.

By customer request only or from a self-service station:

  • wooden utensils
  • cup lids and sleeves
  • straws
  • condiments
  • napkins
  • wet wipes
  • garnishes (e.g., plastic sushi grass, umbrellas for drinks).

The Chamber supports innovation done by business to meet public demands and reduce waste. We will continue to work with regulators to ensure regulations address the changes already implemented by businesses championing climate action leadership.

Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams

How philanthropy enhances health care

Chamber Chats

Victoria Hospitals Foundation:

Member since 2019

Despite challenges we experience within our healthcare system, Canada is still a world leader in providing care to sick people. That care is not all paid for by your tax dollars. In this Chamber Chat, CEO Bruce Williams learns from Avery Brohman of the Victoria Hospitals Foundation about how philanthropy enhances our hospital care.

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 of the Year Award (11-39 employees) honours a business that:

  • demonstrates continual business excellence through positive business growth
  • displays a commitment to the community
  • exemplifies superior service
  • embraces an outstanding commitment to quality.

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 2024  Business of the Year Award (11-39 employees) finalists below. Thanks to  the Grant Thornton who is our sponsor for this award in 2024.

Winner:  LA Limousines

Finalist: Songhees Events and Catering

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Member News @VictoriaChamber

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Royal BC Museum

Member since 1994

City of Victoria

Member Since 2023

City of Langford

Member since 2019

Hemlock Printers Ltd.

Member since 2003

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Last chance to use your free job board posting for 2023

December is the final month to make sure you use your free annual job posting. Get January off on the right foot, by making sure people know about the opportunities that you offer when they work with you.

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

If you have any questions or need help uploading your job, email us at [email protected].

Chamber Job Board 

Financial Analyst – TELUS Business

Client Advisor, Auto Insurance - Acera Insurance

Director, Curriculum & Teaching Innovation – University of Victoria

Investment Advisor – RBC

Customer Sales & Service Representative – BC Ferries

Associate Director, Eyēʔ Sqậ’lewen – Camosun College

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Moe's Home Victoria - 20% Off Regular Priced Items

Winkchronicity - Save 10% when you book your first retreat

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Charge Fitness - 10% off Personal Training & Complimentary Introductory Session at Charge Fitness

FRS Clipper - Save 10% on all Clipper owned/operated products

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