Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
May 13, 2020
On April 30, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association presented a blueprint for re-opening to the province. The Chamber supported this initiative, including a call to allow restaurants to buy alcohol at wholesale prices, which was reportedly agreed to by the province today.

"The Chamber continues to advocate for all of our members, and we are encouraged by the initiatives we're seeing from businesses planning to safely re-open in the coming weeks," Chamber CEO Catherine Holt says. "It's critical that the public supports businesses as they work to re-open safely and rebuild their customer base."

If you have news about your plans for re-opening, make sure to let us know by emailing Membership Manager Stef Cara
BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association: Member since 1996
Victoria falls through cracks in new federal fund
Victoria appears to have fallen through the cracks of a program designed to help businesses from falling though cracks.

The federal government announced today a $962 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund aimed at businesses that don't qualify for previous relief efforts.

The fund includes $304 million for Western Economic Diversification Canada, which has greater flexibility to allocate funding to businesses, including those in the tourism sector, affected by the pandemic. However, it's uncertain what this will mean for Greater Victoria as the federal announcement states the fund will be delivered by Community Futures offices. Our region is not included in the Community Futures program.
Tourism struggle likely to last until next summer
The Chamber hosted our 12th Fireside Chat today with Chamber CEO Catherine Holt speaking with Destination Greater Victoria CEO Paul Nursey.

Among the highlights was discussion of a report released today by the newly formed Greater Victoria Tourism Rescue and Recovery Task Force. The task force has outlined its "First-Phase Priorities for Immediate Support to June 2020." The tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has closed the region to international visitors and restricted cruise ships.
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
Rebound forecast for 2021, Conference Board says
The Conference Board of Canada is forecasting Greater Victoria's economy will bounce back in 2021.

"This year, with the economy being battered by the pandemic, GDP will fall 2.9 per cent," says the conference board report, predicting housing sales will bolster real estate services that contribute to the economy. "(And) the winding down of the pandemic should allow at least some travel to resume and larger numbers of people to gather, boosting prospects for Victoria’s accommodation and food services and arts and entertainment sectors."
HarbourAir flights return with enhanced safety
HarbourAir has resumed service with a reduced schedule of flights.

"Please rest assured, we have adopted stringent safety measures that exceed both Transport Canada and Health Canada’s recommendations," states the HarbourAir website. "We have introduced vigilant cleaning and physical distancing protocols."

The Victoria-Vancouver route is currently operating with five departures per day.
HarbourAir: Member since 1993
As restrictions start to ease, the retail industry is looking to define their new normal as they implement additional measures to keep workers and customers safe and their doors open.

Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and  Greg Wilson, Director of Government Relations (B.C.), Retail Council of Canada  tomorrow as they talk specifically about how the retail sector is preparing to restart business.
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and  Jeff Bray, Executive Director, Downtown Victoria Business Association , as they discuss how our downtown businesses can recover in the face of the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Join Chamber CEO Catherine Holt and  Victoria Police Chief Del Manak , as they talk about safety for businesses and citizens in the downtown core as businesses re-open and practical steps we can all take to ensure a safer community.
Ogden Point Breakwater to re-open May 10
The Breakwater at Ogden Point will re-open next Wednesday at 10 am. The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority closed the structure in March to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness. GVHA will continue to monitor the Breakwater to make sure people adhere to social distancing requirements issued by the Provincial Health Officer.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority: Member since 2003
Victoria purchases pair of Pandora properties
The City of Victoria has purchased two parcels of land in the 900 block of Pandora Avenue for $9.56 million. The property will eventually be used for affordable housing. The location is across the street from Our Place and has the potential to provide services needed to address street crime, homelessness and addiction issues.

This is welcome news as we all depend on having a safe community to live and work. However, we also need to spread out services for this population throughout the region instead of concentrating it in one neighbourhood.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
New workforce housing opens Friday in Saanich
Residents of a new non-market housing development in Saanich will begin moving in Friday. The four-storey building on Carey Road includes 73 units with rents tied to income or at affordable rates. The building will be owned and operated by the Capital Region Housing Corporation.

The Chamber has advocated for more workforce housing in Greater Victoria as this has been a major concern for employers for many years.

As our economy recovers in the months and years ahead, we will benefit from having affordable homes for workers who are needed to create the goods and services that will allow our region to thrive once again.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Explore BC Locally
With BC Parks opening on May 14 , more and more Vancouver Islanders will be spending time discovering new parks and beaches. As we enter Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan, it is important to remain diligent with hand-washing and physical distance measures, while staying active and enjoying the sun.

BC Parks plans to re-open camping facilities on June 1, so now is the perfect time to visit a local retailer (or their online store) to stock up on camping supplies

Find local activities in Victoria , Saanich , and Langford , and visit our Chamber Member Service Updates page to see updates from local businesses. 

Now is the time to explore within your own community, and enjoy the great weather to come. 
Victoria outdoor rec spaces set to re-open tomorrow
The City of Victoria is re-opening some of its outdoor recreation spaces starting tomorrow. The move aligns with the province's plan to ease restrictions on opportunities for recreation as part of Phase 2 of BC's ReStart Plan.

In Victoria, people will have access to tennis and pickleball courts, sports fields, and skate and bike parks. There is no timeline for opening other recreation facilities yet.

The District of Saanich is also working on re-opening some of the assets that remained closed due to COVID-19. The municipally owned Cedar Hill Golf Course re-opened on May 5.

The City of Langford has updated its website to help citizens navigate resources available during the pandemic. The site includes a list of activities that can be done while maintaining appropriate physical distancing.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
City of Langford: Member since 2019
Let us know about updates to your hours or services
We've created a webpage to help your customers keep track of updated hours and services as a result of COVID-19. If your changes are not yet listed, email  to have your information added.

Click on a category below to find innovative ways our members continue to serve Greater Victoria.
Connecting employers with employees today
The Chamber is proud to have featured more than 200 jobs on our Job Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to offer this service free of charge to employers using the code SUPPORTYYJ.

The Chamber is receiving recognition for this program internationally and are working with various organizations to encourage other chambers and associations to help local essential service providers and employees get connected.

If you have any difficulty posting, please email We will get back to you ASAP on the next business day.

All jobs posted to our job board have been vetted by a member of The Chamber team.
Thanks to our friends at H2 Accelerator, we have a new ad campaign you'll see online. It encourages out-of-work locals to pitch in at businesses that need help.
Members Around Town
House-Pickled Veggies

Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses is now selling house-pickled vegetables and preserves . From pickled red onion to Saanich strawberry preserve, these delicious spreads are now available in Spinnakers online store . Also available are an assortment of freshly baked goods, growlers with local beer, and much more. 
Spinnakers Brewpub & Guesthouses: member since 1990
Diamonds in The Rough

Broadmead Care has launched their Diamonds in The Rough fundraiser for veterans living in the Veterans Memorial Lodge. Raffle tickets are one for $20 or three for $50, and the winning ticket will receive a 1.01 Carat 18k Ladies Diamond Ring worth $4,000. Tickets are available now until June 2.

Broadmead Care: member since 2017
Giving Grads a Reason to Smile

Decorate Victoria with Huff n Puff is celebrating graduation with customizable balloon deliveries . These long-lasting art pieces are installed on your lawn, or available for curbside pickup. Call 250-382-4833 to pre-order. 

Decorate Victoria with Huff n Puff: member since 2019

Synergy Sustainably has launched an initiative to provide free garden kits to those in need. #MyFEDFarm has a goal to provide 500 gardens to homes in need, and a crowdfunding campaign is now available to sponsor a single planter, a garden for a family, or even an entire neighbourhood.

Synergy Sustainability: member since 2017
Innov8 Acquisition

Innov8 Digitial Solutions has acquired Simbatech IT Services, a Kelowna-based IT company. As BC’s largest independently owned and operated office equipment supplier, Innov8 will use this acquisition to support IT services offered to clients. 

Innov8 Digitial Solutions: member since 2016
Innovation meets style

To accompany their recently launched online store, WIN Resale Shops is implementing a Virtual Boutique . Customers can chat with a personal shopper on the phone or through FaceTime or Zoom for a personalized shopping experience. 
WIN Resale Shops (Victoria Women In Need Community Cooperative) : member since 1998 
Virtual Beauty Consultation

Elate Cosmetics is now offering virtual one-on-one beauty consultations . Their standard $25 consultation fee is fully redeemable towards Elate products, and experts are available to give personalized advice based on your own skincare routine. 

Eluma Beauty Inc (Elate Cosmetics): member since 2019
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