Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
August 4, 2021
Busy long-weekend a boon for hard-hit businesses
The BC Day long-weekend was a boon for tourism and hospitality businesses, with reports of full patios and dining rooms, and sold out ferries.

Hotels and attractions are also reporting an influx of tourists even as businesses continue to struggle finding and keeping workers. We expect this double-edged blend of increased vibrancy and staffing challenges will only increase after Canada re-opens the border on Aug. 9 to fully vaccinated travellers from the US.

The end of restrictions is welcome news but also comes as concerns grow over the Delta variant. It's now the most common strain of COVID and spreads quickly among unvaccinated populations. Fortunately, Greater Victoria has some of the highest immunization rates on the planet, with almost 90% of people 12 and up having had a first dose and almost 70% fully vaccinated. To ensure that trend continues, the province has launched a new campaign, Vax for BC, with initiatives such as today's Walk In Wednesday, where anyone in need of a first or second shot can show up without an appointment.

The Chamber applauds all of our members who are immunized, and we encourage everyone to share their vaccine photos. Don't forget to tag us and be a #ChamberChangeMaker!
Feds extend wage and rent subsidies until Oct. 23
The federal wage and rent subsidies have been officially extended another month, and will now expire Oct. 23. Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the country's economy is recovering but uncertainty about the COVID-19 Delta variant means many businesses continue to need help.

"Give credit to the federal government for listening to concerns that recovery continues to be uneven and many businesses, specifically in tourism and travel, will need more time," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "An extra month is helpful, but these businesses will need support until they can fully participate in the recovery."

As well as the extension, the maximum rate for the wage and rent subsidies is 40% for the period between Aug. 29 and Sept. 25. instead of being reduced to 20%, as announced in Budget 2021.

"Eligible employers would still also be able to apply for the new Canada Recovery Hiring Program instead of the wage subsidy if they so choose," states the federal announcement.

The hiring program helps employers hire staff, and increase workers' hours or wages, as their business picks up. The program is available from June 6 until Nov. 20, and is designed to help employers move away from subsidies at their own pace.
Stats prove Victoria is a culinary hotspot in Canada
Victoria is legendary for the number of places you can go for a meal or grab a drink, and now Destination Greater Victoria has crunched the numbers to prove the city really does have more restaurants, pubs and bars per capita than any other in Canada.

According to DGV's analysis, Victoria has 4.6 eateries and watering holes per 1,000 residents. That compares to 3.6 for second-place Vancouver and third-place 3.4 for Niagara Falls. The data came from Statistics Canada’s June 2020 Canadian Business Counts for restaurants, eateries, pubs, and bars, while the population figures are from the 2016 Census.

Find your next culinary adventure and help support a local business! #ChamberLocal
Destination Greater Victoria: Member since 1988
August Business Mixer (Online)
One of your last chances to log on from the comfort of your home and connect with businesses across Greater Victoria at The Chamber’s Virtual August Business Mixer.

Grow your connections and discover new opportunities as we conclude our Virtual Mixer series, moving back to in-person networking events starting in September.
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Aug. 19 | 5 - 6 PM
The Prodigy Group presents Bite-Size Connections

Get re-acquainted with emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community at the Prodigy Group's first in-person event this year.

Attendees will be able to sit in groups of six and mingle over personal appetizers. 
Sponsored by:
Thurs., Sept. 16 | 5 - 6:30 PM
Maple Room - Strathcona Hotel
919 Douglas St. Victoria, BC
Registration is limited so don't delay!

Safety protocols will be in place and Provincial Public Health Guidelines will be followed.
Take The Chamber's Membership Survey!
In less than 10 minutes, you can share your thoughts on your Chamber membership by taking our Membership Matters Survey.

Your Chamber Membership provides you with discounts on our benefit programs, opportunities to connect with the business community and supports your business through its advocacy efforts.

Help us help you! Enter to win round-trip flights to Vancouver for two from Helijet by completing the survey. Congrats to Carly from for winning our Early Bird prize from EVO Car Share.
Can employers mandate staff be immunized?
The Chamber supports BC's immunization efforts and we believe the evidence shows COVID-19 vaccinations offer our best chance to put the pandemic behind us.

However, mandating vaccination for BC employers requires taking care to ensure human rights are respected. Unlike the US, where the Department of Justice has opined that employers can require employees be vaccinated, BC's Human Rights Commission has issued general advice for treating people differently based on their vaccination status.

Essentially, the commission says workplaces must balance the need to be safe with avoiding discrimination against people who have adequate alternative means for preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The lack of clarity means the issue will be front and centre with HR departments for the foreseeable future.
Time for Citizens' Assembly to get back on track
It's time to get the Citizens' Assembly process back on track. In 2018, voters in the District of Saanich and the City of Victoria gave a mandate to their respective councils to explore the pros and cons of merging the two municipalities. The good faith discussions were interrupted by the global pandemic, but they're far from forgotten. In fact, recent news about policing challenges shows how vital a Citizens' Assembly might be for the future of our region.

The Chamber has long advocated for Better Regional Services. We don't know what a Citizens' Assembly will find, but it is the right approach to get answers to questions about governance — and merging services such as policing — in Greater Victoria's largest municipalities.

As the province moves closer to Step 4 of the BC Restart Plan on Sept. 7, it's time for the Citizens' Assembly process to get back on track.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Do you want to be on a Chamber committee?
The Chamber has a number of active and engaged committees that report to our Board of Directors. A key reason for the success of our board committees is the involvement of our Chamber members as volunteer committee members.
Each year, there are a few openings on our committees for new members. We are recruiting now for members who will be available starting on Jan. 1, 2022 for at least a two-year term. Here are our committees:
  • The Ambassador Committee
  • The Finance and Audit Committee
  • The Prodigy Group
  • The Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

The opportunity to apply for any of the above committees will be open until Oct. 15, 2021. At the end of the application period, the chair of the committee will be in contact by email or phone.
Trip planning with Teladoc

Do you have a local summer vacation coming up?

Ensure you’re up to date on your prescriptions without ever walking into a doctor’s office. If you’re a member of Chambers Plan Group Insurance, you already have access to Teladoc Telemedicine Services. You can speak with a doctor by phone or video conference to get a renewal of up to 30 days of medication within an hour of booking an appointment.

Members can receive a diagnosis, treatment recommendation, and even be prescribed medicine when necessary. Members can consult a physician about non-urgent medical matters by video conference or by phone, from wherever they are, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

This benefit comes at no additional charge to all plan members and their dependents. Don’t let an empty prescription ruin your trip — download the app to book an appointment with a registered Canadian physician today.

If you’re traveling this summer, be sure to follow protocols and guidelines on how to travel safely within Canada. Check local updates for places you intend to visit, and plan ahead before setting out on your trip.
Showcase your business at the 2021 Auction
We are thrilled to announce the return of our Virtual Auction, taking place Nov. 7 – 14. It is time to showcase your business with a donation.

This is a major fundraising event for The Chamber, with all proceeds supporting our work as the largest and most influential advocate for businesses in the region. Last year, we received nearly 8,000 visitors to our auction platform for a week of bidding on fabulous gifts.

Do you want your products and services featured in the auction? From gift cards to great local items and everything in-between, reach thousands of potential customers by donating a prize today. Keep an eye on our social media feed to see some of the incredible Auction items that will be featured this year.
As an event sponsor, Maximum Express, Courier, Freight and Logistics is offering donors complimentary delivery of their auction item to The Chamber Office.
Have questions? Please call (250) 383-7191
or email Alex at [email protected]
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
A chat with UVic President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Kevin Hall
Plans are underway for a return to classroom learning in September at the University of Victoria and other post secondary institutions.

What has the pandemic changed about education priorities and processes? Find out in this Chamber Chat conversation between UVic President and Vice Chancellor Dr. Kevin Hall and Chamber CEO Bruce Williams.
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020
University of Victoria: Member since 1976
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Find staff with The Chamber’s job board

Make sure you’re well-staffed and ready for a return of a busy Fall by making full use of The Chamber’s job board!

This August is a great time to use your free annual job posting and find great new talent.

With the help of The Chamber, get your seasonal positions featured on our website and in our weekly newsletter BizNews.

Chamber members receive one free 30-day job posting. Enter the code INTRO2021 at checkout.

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job, please email [email protected]
Create an online strategy to drive global sales 
Discover, learn and create an integrated online strategy to drive your global sales.

100% of ICE graduates stated that they are better equipped for e-commerce following the workshop and would recommend ICE to other SME's.

Join us for this two-day interactive workshop:
  • September 7, 2021 — 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • September 8, 2021 — 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Full Bursaries available to Chamber Members - email [email protected]
Member News
Searching for region’s best land and sea dishes

The 2021 Hungry Hearts Culinary Contest has been announced, and Our Place Society is looking for Greater Victoria’s best halibut and mushroom dish. From Aug. 10 to Sept. 7, vote for your favorite dish at participating restaurants, including Spinnakers, Aura at the Inn at Laurel Point, Canoe BrewPub, House of Boateng, Il Covo Trattoria, the Pacific Restaurant at the Hotel Grand Pacific and The Snug at Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

Learn more about the Hungry Hearts Gala Fundraiser at our Virtual August Business Mixer, sponsored by Our Place Society. Register here.
Spinnakers: Member since 1990
Spinnakers (Chamber Champion since 2021)
Inn at Laurel Point: Member since 1991
Canoe BrewPub: Member since 1998
House of Boateng Food Inc: Member since 2016
Il Covo Trattoria: Member since 2017
Hotel Grand Pacific: Member since 1966
Our Place Society: Member since 2010
Province appoints 16 to Order of British Columbia

Debra Doucette, President and CEO of Odlum Brown Limited, is one of 16 people appointed to the Order of British Columbia.

The honour represents the highest recognition the province can extend to citizens and is awarded annually to those who have served with the greatest distinction and excelled in endeavours benefiting the people of British Columbia.
Odlum Brown Limited: Member since 2004
Diamonds and more at new Paul Mara location

After 23 years in their current location, Paul Mara Jewellers is moving down the block. The new space at 619 Fort St. will be three times the size, and is set to open in September.
Paul Mara Jewellers: Member since 2004
Oak Bay commissions Indigenous art for muni hall

The District of Oak Bay has commissioned a new piece of Indigenous art to be featured in the newly renovated municipal hall chambers. An artist from the Lekwungen speaking people will be commissioned to create the mural, budgeted at $27,000. Conversations are still ongoing to select the artist.
District of Oak Bay: Member since 2021
Victoria International receives federal funding

The Victoria Airport Authority has received $3 million in federal funding through a regional air transportation initiative. The funds will be used to attract new air service and build demand for travel while maintaining safety and efficiency. Starting this month, non-travellers will also be allowed to enter the terminal building to greet their friends and family.
Victoria Airport Authority: Member since 1981
Open a new account with CIBC digital verification

Looking to open a new CIBC account? Thanks to their new digital identity verification software, you can open a new account online without the need to visit a branch in person. With the use of machine-learning algorithms, clients can now take a photo of their face and a piece of government-issued ID to create a chequing account or savings account, or apply for a personal line of credit or credit card.
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Member since 1962
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Chamber Champion since 2020
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