Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
March 24, 2021
"We at the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce are calling the roadmap to a post-COVID economy the 'recovery runway' and we are identifying 'pivot pilots' as those organizations and leaders who have been nimble with pivoting the way they do business," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams says in his latest column at

Businesses that are leading the recovery — those pivot pilots — serve as a beacon of optimism as we taxi down the recovery runway.
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Housing announcement welcome news as city ends camping in parks by May 1
Less than a week after the City of Victoria voted to end daytime sheltering in parks by May 1, an announcement today provides more information on longer-term solutions for people experiencing homelessness. BC Housing has purchased properties to build permanent supportive housing in Victoria at:
  • 865 Catherine St., 45 homes
  • 959 and 953 Balmoral Rd., 60 homes
  • 1053 and 1075 Meares St., 50 homes
  • 1176 Yates St., 37 homes.

Also announced today are supportive housing projects in the District of Saanich (2949 Albina St., 52 homes) and Central Saanich (1909 Prosser Rd., 39 homes), which were purchased through a partnership between the federal and provincial governments and the Capital Regional District.

The six projects will add more than 280 supportive housing units to Greater Victoria, which will allow everyone who needs shelter to be able to move indoors.

On Monday, Chamber CEO Bruce Williams was on CFAX urging everyone to stay compassionate in these difficult times. It hasn't been easy but better times are coming and we want to celebrate together when they arrive.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Capital Regional District: Member since 1993
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
BC Housing: Member since 2021
Tourism workers recruited to help vaccine rollout
Workers in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry are being deployed in mass-vaccination centres. The province announced today that 1,400 people who were laid off because of the pandemic are being re-trained to help clinical staff move people through the vaccination process. Tourism and hospitality workers bring an expertise in providing friendly service quickly in high-volume situations, with many able to offer logistical or language support.

BC plans to provide initial vaccination to everyone eligible in the province by July 1.
Feds extend no-interest loan program until June 30
The federal government has extended the Canada Emergency Benefit Account no-interest loan program. On Monday, the government announced that the deadline for new applications is now June 30 instead of March 31. The program has provided $45 billion in credit through more than 850,000 no-interest loans since it was launched last April. Loans of up to $60,000 are available to cover operating costs for businesses that have lost revenue because of the pandemic.

This deadline extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000 or to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for an additional $20,000.
Construction industry steps up to help restaurants
The economic recovery hasn't been the same for everyone. To help the struggling restaurant and hospitality sector, BC's construction industry is launching a grant program to encourage construction employers to treat crews to lunch from local restaurants. Grants depend on the size of the crew and are $250 or $500.

The BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association is grateful for the support.
“It’s a generous idea and we’re thrilled to support it by making posters available to all our members so they can put them up in the window or even visit the construction sites near them and make sure they’re aware of the grants and the #LunchBoxChallenge,” BCRFA president and CEO Ian Tostenson said.

The #LunchBoxChallenge initiative is part of activities celebrating Construction Month in April, which include the Vancouver Island Construction Association as a sponsor. The industry was declared essential early in the pandemic and has fared better than many other sectors.
BC Restaurant & Food Services Association: Member since 1996
Vancouver Island Construction Association: Member since 1986
Rules amended to allow artisans at farmers markets
With spring in the air, there's good news for BC's farmers markets. The province has lifted restrictions so that artisans can once again set up shop in markets. The change will allow non-food vendors, such as flower vendors, to sell at farmers markets, which must still follow Provincial Health Office rules.
Local food production more important than ever
The strain of the pandemic has exposed the risks of over relying on international food systems and has emphasized the importance of investing in local food production.

Hear how new Buy BC programs and food hubs aim to support local producers on March 30 at our virtual event with Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
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Sponsored by:
In Partnership with Nanaimo Chamber
2021 Fireside Chat with Honourable Erin O'Toole
Join us for a lunch-time presentation by the Hon. Erin O’Toole speaking about the Opposition’s perspective on the federal government's response to the pandemic, the upcoming federal budget and the future of Canada.

All Island Chamber members can register for free using the promo code: Island Chamber Members

This virtual chat and Q&A will be moderated by Greater Victoria Chamber CEO Bruce Williams.
Sponsored by:
Wed. April 7, 2021 | 12-1 PM
Saanich's odds improve as casino back on the table
A casino in the District of Saanich could spur development of a hotel and resort and offer a new source of revenue that would take some of the burden off residents, business and industry. The BC Lottery Corp. has asked Saanich if there is interest in pursuing the idea, after plans for a casino in downtown Victoria fell through.

“It’s an opportunity to get some real funding for our amenities … bicycle paths, sidewalks. How about a third ice surface for Saanich?” Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes told CHEK News.

The discussion is in early stages but Mayor Haynes suggested the location will be in east Saanich, between the Swan Lake area and Gordon Head.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
BC Lottery Corporation: Member since 1994
Victoria extends AAA bike-lane network east
The City of Victoria is extending its network of bike lanes, adding 4.8 kilometres with a recently approved plan. The new lanes will serve riders of all ages and abilities and connect Fernwood, Oaklands and the Jubilee area with downtown.

Safe cycling lanes encourage active commuting, contribute to safe cities and help employers' efforts to find and keep workers. To have your say in the ongoing discussion about the city's cycling network, visit
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
How to make working from home work for you
Has working from your dining room table “office” outlived its purpose? Converting home space into working space is a pandemic priority for many people right now, and will be for the foreseeable future. Learn more about what considerations are needed to create a productive home environment.

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams speaks with Ann Squires Ferguson, CEO of Western Interior Design GroupBlaise McDonald, President of Mac Renovations, and Caitlin McKenzie, CEO of Monk Office.
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
Western Interior Design Group Ltd. member since: 2013
MAC Renovations Ltd. member since: 2003
Monk Office member since: 1976
Did you know?
Chamber Members receive exclusive benefits on office supplies.
Highlighting our Chamber Champions
As part of the celebration of Chamber Week in February, our Chamber Champions submitted quotes highlighting the importance of investing in The Chamber. Each week we will be showcasing these quotes.
"At TELUS we 'Give Where We Live.' In Greater Victoria, we lead and give on all levels of business and community support. The Chamber Champions is a perfect platform for us to continue doing so."
Learn more about how these organizations are championing the work of The Chamber.
Fraud Prevention Month
March is Fraud Prevention Month — thousands of Canadians are affected every year by fraud, leading to more than $37 million lost in 2020 alone. With COVID-19 scams unfortunately on the rise, ensure you and your loved ones are educated in the identification and prevention of fraudulent activities.
Chamber Job Board
Spring forward with The Chamber’s job board!

As sunnier days are quickly approaching, now is a perfect time to ensure you’re well-staffed by using your one free annual job posting

Chamber Members are entitled to one free 30-day listing on the Job Boar every calendar year. Simply use the code INTRO2021 at checkout. 

If you have any questions or need assistance uploading your job posting, please email
Member News
Good Deeds Cup

The Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island has received $100,000 after the Victoria Admirals won the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup earlier this week! While the Admirals were not able to play games against other teams due to the pandemic, they focused their energy on giving back to the community. The team made a 60-second video showcasing the benefit of donating to the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island to support kids experiencing physical and mental health challenges. Congratulations Admirals! 
Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island: member since 2007
Camosun producing vaccine trays

With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine requiring a storage temperature of -70 C, Camosun College has developed a solution to ensure vaccines can be transferred safely to remote communities. By creating specialized trays and an innovative grabbing tool, vaccines can remain stable while being repacked in smaller shipments. To date, 450 trays have been deployed across the province. 
Camosun College: member since 1981
Wear2Start featured on Vital People

Wear2Start Society was recently featured on the CHEK News segment Vital People, a program sponsored by The Victoria Foundation.
As a volunteer based non-profit, Wear2Start works to empower women through fashion by providing clothes, shoes, haircuts and more to women in need. The Victoria Foundation has also provided a grant to Wear2Start to assist in hiring a part-time volunteer coordinator. 

Wear2Start Society: member since 2020
CHEK News: member since 1971
CHEK News: Chamber Champion since 2020
The Victoria Foundation: member since 2004
David Smyth Abstract Awards

Cell Therapy Transplant Canada (CTTC) a national association made up of Canada’s stem cell transplantation doctors, nurses and their research teams has announced a new set of awards named in memory of David Smyth, the son of Mike Smyth, president of WDS Capital & Associates Inc. David encouraged Canadians to join Canada’s stem cell registry to save lives. The winners of the David Smyth Abstract Awards will be announced June 13-16 at CTTC’s annual conference, and will recognize the best ideas in Canada by new stem-cell researchers in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Cell Therapy Transplant Canada is led by Dr. Kirk Schultz of the BC Children’s Hospital.  

WDS Capital & Associates Inc: member since 2021

BC Children’s Hospital Foundation: member since 2016
'Welcome to Victoria' garden returns

Although international tourists will not be arriving in Victoria this summer, CHEK News will be working with a local landscaping company to plant the “Welcome to Victoria” flower garden in the Inner Harbour. The iconic arrangement will be planted with the intention of welcoming local guests during the summer season. 
CHEK News: Chamber Champion since 2020
CHEK News: member since 1971
An over-whale-ming announcement

Prince of Whales Whale Watching have resumed services for locals in Greater Victoria. Offering private Zodiac tours at half-capacity, COVID-19 protocols are strictly followed to allow you to safely see the marine wildlife of Vancouver Island. Vancouver operations are set to resume on April 2, and their Telegraph Cove location will open on May 1.
Prince of Whales Whale Watching: member since 2002
UVic recognized for workplace diversity

The University of Victoria has been named one of Canada’s best diversity employers for the tenth consecutive year. UVic was among seven Canadian universities to receive accolades. The competition recognizes inclusive workplaces for women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Indigenous peoples and LGBTQ2 peoples. 
University of Victoria: member since 1976                  
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020    
Digital field trips

The Royal BC Museum is offering digital field trips for students, seniors, and community groups. Topics that range from BC Indigenous History to Behind the Scenes Tours, allowing students to participate in live, two-way, interactive virtual learning experiences. 
Royal BC Museum: member since 1994
CIBC ranked No. 1 for gender equality

CIBC has been ranked as the No. 1 company in Canada for gender equality by Equileap. By analyzing specific issues such as equal pay, gender representation and anti-sexual harassment policies, CIBC placed first overall in Canada and 19th globally. Currently, women comprise 40% of CIBC’s executive committee and will comprise 50% of its board in April 2021. 
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: member since 1962
CIBC - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce: Chamber Champion since 2020
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