L to R: Dan Dagg of Hot House Marketing, Catherine Holt of The Chamber, Peter Guo of MNP, Terry Lake of Hexo and Jocelyn Jenkins of City of Victoria
Business leaders hear firsthand from Cannabis 2.0 frontlines
From combustion to consumption, the future of cannabis will be more about highly regulated wellness products than about firing up a joint.
One week before cannabis becomes legal in Canada, Greater Victoria business leaders heard from three top executives with prominent roles in the burgeoning industry.
Peter Guo, who leads the Enterprise Risk Services practice for MNP, is a recognized expert in BC's cannabis sector. Guo told the 130 people who attended the luncheon at the Hotel Grand Pacific that the business of cannabis is a very real opportunity. While he encouraged the audience to manage their expectations about the return on cannabis stocks, he was clear that significant business opportunities abound. Guo calls legalization the start of Cannabis 2.0, which he says will be more about consumer demand for well-packaged goods rather than grow-ops selling product.
He was joined on the panel by former BC Liberal Health Minister Terry Lake, now the VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at cannabis-firm Hexo. Lake said one of the biggest differences after legalization will be the addition of a regulatory system that will enable consumers to know exactly what they're buying - the amount of THC, CBD, pesticides and other components. His company already has a variety of products to serve many different market segments. He noted that, once cannabis is officially legal, we will see companies such as MolsonCoors offering cannabis beverages as is done in other jurisdictions where cannabis is already legal.
"We have a product that people will use," Lake says, about cannabis explaining that the business model is based on tangible demand. "Even when (the stock market) normalizes, prices are not going to fall through the floor like they did with tech (during the dot.com bust)."
City of Victoria Chief Administration Officer Jocelyn Jenkins, told the audience that the city has a big role in regulating the industry locally and wants to treat cannabis as a legitimate industry.
"We are trying to make sure we treat cannabis very much as we treat liquor."
See the photos from the event here.  
Chamber News
36th Annual Dinner Auction Gala
Small Business Month
Business Leaders Luncheons
Industry Tour: BC Cancer - Victoria
Business Mixers
Prodigy Group Mingles
Event Photos

Board Election Results!   

The election results are in! Thank you to all the members that voted and ran in the 2019-2020 Board Election. The elected individuals will help shape The Chamber in the years to come.

Elected and Appointed for 2019-2020:
Carmen Charette - University of Victoria 
Christina Clarke - Songhees Nation
John Wilson - The Wilson's Group  
Paul van Koll - KPMG
Pedro Márquez - Royal Roads University
Al Hasham, Dan Dagg, Ian Batey, Captain (Navy) Jason Boyd , Kris Wirk, Lise GyorkosRahim Khudabux

Catherine Holt -
CEO of The Chamber
Danielle Mulligan - University of Victoria (2019 Prodigy Group Chair)
The Executive and Committee Chairs will be announced in January 2019.
We also would like to thank our outgoing board members Mark Mawhinney (Odlum Brown Limited ), Mark Smith (Query Technologies Corp), Julia Livingston (The Bay Centre and 2018 Prodigy Group Chair) and Patricia Jelinski (formally CEO of United Way of Greater Victoria). 
Fortis BC asks customers to limit natural gas consumption
FortisBC is asking customers to reduce natural gas use following an  Enbridge pipeline rupture and fire near Prince George. While n o FortisBC infrastructure has been impacted, it is the main line through which gas is moved onto FortisBC's gas system to serve customers in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. FortisBC is requesting customers avoid non-essential use of gas until the pipeline supply issue in the north is resolved to ensure the company is preserving the flow of natural gas. This could be as simple as customers turning down thermostats, or not turning on fireplaces or natural gas BBQs.   
FortisBC: member since 1990 
Get a piece of the pie. Find out how your business can take advantage of upcoming  opportunities with the Province of BC through its new BC Bid site.
Sponsored by:
Limited seating
Tues, Oct 16 | 7:30 am-9 am  
Union Club of BC 
805 Gordon St.
Insurance Reassurance

As a small business owner, sometimes it feels like you have to do it all. Making sure your business and staff are taken care of is no easy task especially when everyone's health and wellness directly affects the success of your business. On top of this, it can be stressful when unexpected problems come up that require an expert opinion - HR, accounting, legal, etc.

The good news is that The Chamber's Group Insurance plan, administered locally by Jack Insurance and Financial Services, looks after both sides of your business. It goes well beyond just providing you with health and dental coverage plans and includes a free "visit" to Business Assistance Service (BAS).

This confidential service provides access to up to six hours of professional accounting, counseling, legal or human resource experts who understand the difficulties small business owners face. So when you have a challenging situation, you have somewhere to turn for support.

Keep your most important asset, your people, healthy and well taken care of with the Chambers of Commerce Group Insurance Plan - the most popular employee benefits plan in Canada for small business. For more info or to register your business, call 250-383-9866 or email Rob Jack.

Jack Insurance and Financial Services: Member since 1998

Jobs, jobs, jobs
Greater Victoria's unemployment rate dipped below 4% in September, with Statistics Canada reporting a rate of 3.9%. That's down considerably from 4.3% in August.
Across the country, the rate was down to 5.9% last month as 63,000 jobs were added. BC and Ontario were responsible for most of the job creation. Compared to September 2017, Canada has gained 222,000 jobs. It's good news for the economy, though it also means that the interest rate increase anticipated by the Bank of Canada will likely go ahead this month. The bank held its overnight rate at 1.5% in September, but noted that data warranted a higher rate to manage inflation and would be gauging the health of the economy leading up to its October 24 announcement. 
Men between the ages of 25 and 54 made up 34,000 of the new jobs, while women in that core age group accounted for 20,000 job gains. Statistics Canada said there were 35,000 fewer self-employed Canadians.
Of the new jobs, 28,000 were in construction. About 12,000 came from public sector hires.
Members Around Town
Royal Victoria Marathon 
Daniel Kipkoech won his fifth consecutive GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon and Emily Setlack won the women's event. Other notable moments were Victoria's Jim Finlayson breaking the master's marathon course record and setting a Canadian Master's age group record - despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009. Additionally, in the Half Marathon Natasha Wodak shattered her own record, winning the women's BC Half Marathon Championship. In its 39th year, the marathon had 1,339 registrants, the Half Marathon: 3,266, the 8K Road Race 2,384 and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run: 1,000, for a total of 7,989. 
Victoria Marathon Society: member since 2017 
Bay Centre wins big 
Earlier this month, at Toronto's International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) Canadian Convention, the Bay Centre received the ICSC Foundation Community Support Award. The award was in recognition of the Bay Centre's community partnership with United Way of Greater Victoria in their fall 2017 "Be. United" campaign and launch of the new bc211 helpline. This award provides a $10,000 US grant to United Way Greater Victoria towards their three-year goal of $15 million to fund a network of social services including a bc211 help line for all Islanders.  
Bay Centre: member since 1990
United Way Greater Victoria: member since 1972 
BC Ferries new ferries
BC Ferries plans to build five new large ferries to serve Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland, at a cost that could reach $1 billion. Replacing four C-class ferries built between 1964 and 1981, the new ferries would be similar in capacity to the Spirit-class and Coastal-class ferries, which can each carry between 1,600 and 2,100 passengers and crew, and 310 to 358 cars. This is a welcome announcement for ferry riders as Thanksgiving weekend saw motorists faced with a four-sailing wait going from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. 
BC Ferry Services Inc.: member since 1983  
Connect with emerging and established members of Greater Victoria's business community .
 Sponsored by:
Thu, Oct 11 | 5-7 pm 
100.3 the Q & the Zone @ 91.3
Top Fl-2750 Quadra St
Meet The Chamber Board:  Lise Gyorkos 
Position: President and Co-owner Page One Publishing Inc.,
which creates Douglas, YAM and Spruce magazines.
How are you involved with The Chamber? Along with being a member and attending Chamber events for the last 15 years, I have been on the board for three years, acting as the Prodigy Group Board Liaison and as the secretary this term. What project is your business proudest of? Though I love all our magazines, I am most proud of launching our first title, Douglas magazine. It took a whole year, but it was a big accomplishment since it was our very own. What's new with your business? We are increasing production of our newest title Spruce magazine (Victoria's Home & Design magazine) to three issues a year, and growing our team to support the demand. Best team-building moment or program you've ever experienced? We all went on a limo-bus to the Cowichan Valley together for a wine tour and culinary experience. Great fun! How do you relax? A soak in the tub with a glass of Prosecco. Favourite place on Vancouver Island? Anywhere by the lake/ocean with my husband and son. What's something people don't know about you? I sometimes sing in retirement homes with my Dad accompanying me at the piano. 
Each week in BizNews, The Chamber will feature a Chamber board member to help our membership get to know our current Board of Directors.
Greater Victoria had record August for hotel vacancies
The resurgence of Victoria's tourism sector continued in August as hoteliers reported record occupancy rates for the month.
Chemistry Consulting, which tracks tourism statistics, says hotels also increased their revenue per available room, up $26.57 over August 2017, as well as average daily room rates.
Frank Bourree of Chemistry Consulting says hotels were 96.2% full in August - the highest rate for Victoria ever seen.  
"Some factors affecting performance for August include the impact of forest fires and smoke in the Interior of BC, diverting travel to the Island, as well as great weather," Bourree said.  
The cruise ship season also has had a fantastic year, with 4.32% more passengers and 5.51% more crew arriving in Victoria this August than the same month last year.
The cruise season comes to an end this Sunday with the 3,080 passenger Ruby Princess scheduled to arrive at 7 am and depart at 4pm.
Chemistry Consulting: member since 2006 
Billion dollar savings planned for ICBC  

Hear from David Eby, Attorney General of BC on the provincial government's plan to save $1 billion dollars by reining in spending at ICBC.
Sponsored by:
Wed, Nov 7 | 11:30 am-1 pm 
Hotel Grand Pacific
463 Belleville St.

Local elections just 10 days away
We have reached the 10-day countdown before the October 20 civic elections. If you are like many people, you're still going through information about the candidates running in your municipality and school district.  
With an eye on helping people in business narrow their choices, The Chamber has asked six questions of everyone hoping to be their community's next mayor. We will continue to update our Q&A with mayoral candidates from all 13 municipalities as answers come in. Please take a few minutes to read the answers and play your part in ensuring the business community is well represented in your municipality.
Advanced polls opened today, and will be available again on October 15 and October 17. Check out the times and details about what you need to cast your ballot in here.  
For general info, read the Times Colonist's story:  Oct. 20 civic election: Who can vote and what you need.
Nominate Now for the 2019 Business Awards
Each week, The Chamber will profile a different award category, encouraging members to nominate a deserving Chamber member.

Business of the Year (40+ Employees) honours a business that:
  • Demonstrates continual business excellence through positive business growth;
  • Demonstrates a commitment to the community;
  • Exemplifies superior customer service; and
  • Embraces an outstanding commitment to quality.
Know a business that deserves this award? Nominate them today!

Need some inspiration? Check out the videos of the 2018 Business Leadership finalists below. Thanks to Wilson's Group of Companies for sponsoring this award.

Winner: Peninsula Co-op
Finalist: Pizzeria Prima Strada
Welcome to Our Newest Members!  


A fresh new look - Chamber Name Tags
In response to members' requests, The Chamber has redesigned the name tags Chamber members can purchase. We increased the prominence of your business name while keeping your name clearly visible.

Need to get one of the snazzy new Chamber Name tags? Email us to order yours today.